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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
 
FSA LogoThe Luxury Hotel Insider: Exclusive luxury hotel deals, features and special rates from the luxury hotel experts at Five Star Alliance. 
 
Named one of Tripbase's Best Luxury Travel Blogs for 2011, below are Five Star Alliance's newest articles featuring exclusive information on luxury hotels worldwide including special offers and deals at the world's best hotels.

Say Hello to London’s Restored Landmark, the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel

March 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Pancras Renaissance London HotelWith the Royal Wedding fast approaching and the Olympic Games drumming up excitement for 2012, London has become the destination du jour-- with no shortage of stylish places to stay! In recent months, a slew of new hotels have opened on the famously fashionable hotel scene. One of the most highly anticipated is the St. Pancras Renaissance London Hotel, reopened after a dramatic £150 million transformation. With the arrival of Eurostar trains in 2007, the St. Pancras railway station was itself renovated, and now it has a hotel to match. The red brick building-- a stunning example of High Victorian Gothic architecture-- was saved from demolition and has been restored to its former glory as one of the city's great landmarks. The five-star St. Pancras Renaissance London has 204 rooms and 41 suites.

To quote the London Evening Standard:

...it is the restored public spaces that will astonish visitors: the grand sweeping staircase, the Ladies Smoking Room - the first place in Europe where women could smoke in public - and the old ticket office that has been converted into a bar. A St Pancras ale is being brewed in tribute to the station's history as a transportation point for millions of barrels of beer. The hotel reception and function room have been carved from the former taxi rank, and Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing will open a restaurant and bar serving classic British cooking and named after the station's master architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott.


Spring in South Carolina at Charleston Place

March 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Charleston PlaceTake a long weekend in Charleston, and it's guaranteed that you'll return home with a spring in your step. A good dose of history, lots of art, flower-filled gardens, and all kinds of good grub (from elegant fare to Southern comfort food that's finger lickin' good). Not to mention the comfortable climate. Charleston Place-- the Orient-Express hotel that's famed for its true Southern hospitality-- is celebrating the arrival of spring with a fabulous package where you get to choose from a memorable variety of experiences, one for each day of your stay. Available from April 1- June 4, 2011 and priced from $370 per night, the "Spring Selections" package includes luxury accommodations, complimentary Internet access and daily newspaper, plus your choice of one of the following (per night):

* $100 Food & Beverage Gift Card for use in the Charleston Grill, Palmetto Cafe, Thoroughbred Club or In Room Dining

* $100 Spa Gift Card for use in The Spa at Charleston Place

* Schooner Pride two hour Sunset Sail for two, including two drinks per person

* Carriage ride for two from Palmetto Carriage Works


See Siem Reap with your Girlfriends: Stay at the Historic Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor

March 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Raffles Grand Hotel d'AngkorAlways dreamed of seeing the Angkor Wat ruins in Siem Reap, Cambodia? Do it in style with a girlfriends getaway at the Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor-- originally built in 1932 to provide classy digs during the "golden age of travel." The elegant French period hotel is inviting you to check out the mystical Angkor temple complex while reliving the romance of Indochina's colonial heyday during a three-night stay at one of Asia's finest hotels. The "Girlfriends Getaway" is designed for groups of four ladies, and combines spa pampering and gourmet dining with escorted shopping and temple outings, priced at US$1,955 per night. What else is in store? Airport transfers, round-the-clock assistance from Raffles Butlers, daily Champagne breakfast, a private cocktail party and two gourmet dinners, including a ‘Royal Khmer’ tasting-menu of imperial cuisine at the fine dining restaurant Le Grand. You'll also score culinary secrets in a private cooking class with a Raffles chef. Inside your two-bedroom villa, you'll get manicures and pedicures, facial and reflexology treatments, a mediation session and a choice of aromatherapy or traditional Khmer massage. Did we mention the consultation with the local fortune teller?


Easter Break in Italy: Special Festivities with Baglioni Hotels

March 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Regina Hotel BaglioniNeed a change of scene? Craving a little Spring sunshine? Book yourself a trip to Europe for Easter break and you'll find yourself stopping to sniff the flowers (and sip the wine, and taste the chocolate bunnies) while recharging your batteries. Nothing says Easter like Italy... And the Baglioni Hotels Collection is doing it right with festive meals and fine chocolates for all guests. Whether you're looking to travel to Venice, Rome, Florence or Milan, Baglioni's got you covered. Here's the scoop:

Luna Hotel Baglioni, located just a few steps from St. Mark's Square in Venice, is celebrating Easter by giving guests a Chocolate Easter Egg and a choice of Easter lunch or dinner at the award-winning Canova Restaurant.

Relais Santa Croce, a stylish 18th century residence in Florence, is offering a special Easter weekend focused on food: a chocolate tasting at “Arte del Cioccolato” by specialist Tuscan chocolate maker, Roberto Catinari and dinner at the Guelfi & Ghibellini restaurant with a sweet surprise.

Luna Hotel BaglioniRegina Hotel Baglioni in Rome will be serving Easter Monday brunch in its beautiful Belvedere Room. Located on the top floor of the hotel, this glass walled room lets you enjoy breathtaking views across the Eternal City.

Carlton Hotel Baglioni, situated in the heart of Milan, is offering an Easter break full of shopping opportunities and indulgent spa treatments: private Deluxe Car transfer to/from the Fidenza Village (Parma), a special body exfoliating treatment with Mimosa essence at Spiga 8 Spa and an elegant dinner on the Baglioni Terrace.


Where to Stay in San Francisco: Hotel Drisco in Pacific Heights

March 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Drisco, San FranciscoYou may not be able to snag some prime Pacific Heights real estate (San Francisco's exclusive neighborhood is filled with multi-million dollar mansions) but you can stay there in style at the Hotel Drisco. Located in one of the most exclusive parts of Pac Heights, the Hotel Drisco is an intimate getaway spot providing all the luxe amenities of a much larger luxury hotel with attentive service, to boot. Loyal repeat guests love this historic hotel because it feels like an elegant residence, the perfect respite from the hurried pace of the city. The gorgeous bay views are another enticement. Plus the hotel offers lots of freebies: a gourmet Continental breakfast, overnight shoeshine, wine and cheese reception in the evenings, and a town car shuttle service to Union Square, the Financial District and the Presidio every weekday morning. What's more, guests can take advantage of the gym facilities at the Presidio YMCA. Keen to discover all the hidden sites of SF? The Hotel Drisco can hook you up with custom guides to off-the-beaten-path insider spots.


Summer in London: Rates from £149 with Breakfast and Room Upgrade at The Cranley

March 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Cranley, LondonSummer rates from £149 at a London city center hotel with complimentary Continental breakfast and a room upgrade... Sound too good to be true? The Cranley-- a charming townhouse hotel located in South Kensington-- has released a limited-time "Summer at The Cranley" offer that's music to our ears. (Available from July 27- September 4, 2011 and subject to availability.) Within easy walking distance of London attractions and transport links, The Cranley is akin to a luxurious private residence with only 39 rooms and suites. It's warm and welcoming, and guests dig the "home away from home" vibe. Rooms are appointed with antique mahogany furniture, period oil paintings, and handcrafted four-poster or half-tester canopied beds covered in hand-stitched Irish linens. Nice touch: When you arrive, you'll be treated to a complimentary welcome drink, and there's Champagne and canapés served every evening between 7- 8 pm. Did we mention the free wifi?


Friday Photos: The Ca’ Nigra Lagoon Resort in Venice, Italy

March 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ca' Nigra Lagoon Resort, Venice

Smack dab in the middle of Venice on the Grand Canal, the Ca' Nigra Lagoon Resort is a majestic palazzo turned four-star design hotel. Dating from the 1600s, the former home of Ambassador Conte Costantino Nigra was meticulously restored to showcase its original mosaics, venetian floors, marble friezes and fine glass panes. Your surroundings may be old school (the Stea family's private antiques collection, for example) but the technology is decidedly 21st century.

Ca' Nigra Lagoon Resort, Venice Italy

On the banks of Venice's most romantic waterway, the Cà Nigra Lagoon Resort boasts gardens full of roses and centuries-old trees, an oasis of calm in Venice. (And also the perfect spot for outdoor parties!) With only 22 Junior Rooms, each uniquely decorated, the Ca' Nigra Lagoon Resort offers the ultimate in privacy and personalized service.

Ca' Nigra Lagoon Resort, Venice, Italy


Normady Celebrates 1100 Years: Stay at the Chateau La Cheneviere near Omaha Beach

March 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau La Cheneviere, NormandyHappy birthday, Normandy! (1,100 years isn't exactly small potatoes.) Eleven centuries after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte which created the regional dukedom, Normandy is fêting the occasion with celebratory events and festivals galore in 2011. Plan a jaunt to France to mark the anniversary and revel in Normandy's Viking past. While you're there, make a pilgrimage to the D-Day landing beaches; explore Mont St Michel; marvel at the charming seaport of Honfleur, adored by the Impressionists; and gasp at the incredible Bayeux tapestry, a UNESCO-listed treasure. Looking for accommodations? A stay at the Château La Chenevière-- a veritable 18th-century castle nestled in beautiful gardens-- is an experience in itself. Not far from Omaha Beach and the historic town of Bayeux, the chateau-hotel has 29 charming guest rooms, recently renovated with new beds, sumptuous fabrics, and carpets. In the grand dining room, tuck into classic French cuisine highlighting Normandy's flavors. The heated outdoor pool and terrace are ideal for soaking up the chateau ambiance after exploring the nearby touristic sites.

Hot deal: Book with Five Star Alliance and you'll get a bountiful buffet breakfast when you choose the exclusive "Five Star Alliance" rate. You'll also enjoy a special in-room gift: a bottle of Pommeau and caramels.