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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.

Queen’s Birthday Offer at the Dukes Hotel, London

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel

The award-winning, classic Dukes Hotel, tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the special exhibition in honor of the Queen's 80th birthday. On display at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace in honor of Her Majesty's birthday, the extensive exhibit showcases the Queen's evening dresses (80 of them! from the 1940's to the present) and personal jewelry, including private gifts and historic pieces, such as the Vladimir Tiara, the Cambridge Emerald Necklace, two brooches set with stones from the famous Cullinan Diamond, and a pair of Boucheron aquamarine and diamond clip brooches given to then Princess Elizabeth by her father, King George VI, for her 18th birthday. Visitors to the exhibition see the Palace's 39-acre garden, and appreciate rare views of the Palace's garden façade and the 19th-century lake. As part of Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration, Dukes Hotel is going over the top (try this for British pomp and pageantry) with a special package. "Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration" includes a two-night stay in a Classic Double room including daily breakfast and afternoon tea and two tickets to the "Special Exhibition" with entrance to Buckingham Palace. Priced at GBP 525, inclusive of VAT, available from July 26 to September 24, 2006.

(Guests will also enjoy Duke's luxurious spa and the world-famous Dukes Martini at the bar.)


The Latest Trends with Designer Boutique Hotels

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The New York Times dazzles with its savvy weekend piece "The Latest Splash? Baths and Pools." The next big thing for hip hotels includes "Peekaboo Baths" (where, in places like Madrid's Hotel Puerta América and the Hotel Rival in Stockholm, "bathers are exposed to their fellow guests" in an open-plan bathroom), "Pools with a View" (the rooftop bar and pool craze first started at The Standard in downtown LA), "Guest Galleries" (the trendy 21cMuseum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky is first and foremost an art gallery), and "Megasuites," like the EUR 30,000-a-night Penthouse suite at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.


Chicago Hot Tables: Dine Overlooking the Skyscrapers at The Peninsula Chicago

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Outdoor Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago

The spot with the best Chinese food in the city--mouthwatering Shanghainese and Cantonese dishes--is also home to an exquisite (and unique) open-air terrace. Sit among the skyscrapers while experiencing the finest service for which the award-winning Peninsula Chicago is known. Voted number 1 hotel in the US by Travel and Leisure, the Peninsula Chicago is also a Mobil five star and AAA five diamond property. Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, the Shanghai Terrace is also known for its 1930's supper club atmosphere and elegant Asian decor.


Royal Festivities in Thailand

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Bangkok Forget the full moon party. 2006 in Thailand is one year-long celebration, in honor of the King's 60th year on the throne. In early June, throngs took to the streets in parades and revelers enjoyed a week of work holidays, to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on June 9, 1946. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning living monarch, and commands sincere loyalty and respect across the country, especially for his fight for the underprivileged classes. Now is the time to visit Thailand. Where to stay in Bangkok? Stake a suite at the riverside Peninsula Bangkok, and soak up the hotel's unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of the city and Chao Phraya River. At the hotel voted "World's Best Hotel" by Travel and Leisure readers, the service is legendary and the facilities-- three-tiered swimming pool, a Fitness Center with gymnasium, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis courts, and chic dining options-- are excellent. Related Articles, IHT, "Update: Royal Festivities Offset Seasonal Tourist Drop-Off"


Five Star Lodgings for Cats

June 21, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

…including webcam pet-watch services for travelers fraught with separation-anxiety from their four legged friends. That's right. The Russians sure are savvy when it comes to their pet hotels, which are springing up with reckless abandon around Moscow. As reported by the Moscow Times:

A sheet of paper was pinned to the door of each [pet] cabin for staff to keep records of the cats' appearance, psychological state, appetite and bowel movements; owners are also encouraged to leave tips about how their pets should be treated.
And at Cat's Dream Hotel:
Luxury cabins offer such perks as heated floors in winter, toys, premium cat food and fish bowls -- either real or on a flat screen. The business is so successful that the Kivva family is building another kennel exclusively for kittens. By the end of the summer, they hope to install video cameras linked to the Internet so that pet owners will be able to see their furry friends anytime, from anywhere.
Apparently, pet hotels are so popular, New Year's reservations require booking in August. Via The Moscow Times


New York City Summer Restaurant Week

June 20, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nobu restaurant

The city that never sleeps is open 24/7. As a cute reminder of this fact, New York is celebrating its annual Summer Restaurant Week with its finest restaurants serving up three-course prix-fixe lunches for $24.07 (three-course dinners are $35, with beverages and taxes additional). July 10-14, and July 17-21, Monday-Friday only. The list of participating restaurants is extensive (200 of them!), covering all neighborhoods, and includes 21 Club, Asia de Cuba, FIVES at The Peninsula, Gramercy Tavern, Mercer Kitchen, and Nobu.

Via Washington Post "What's the Deal?"


The Remaking of Los Angeles: Plans Unveiled for Downtown Luxury Hotel Complex

June 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

LA Convention Center and hotel complex

Hurray for downtown LA. Developers and urban planners are on a mission to revamp the city's downtown, and remake it as an attractive travel and business destination. Long devoid of a viable city center, LA has now pinned its hopes on the revitalization of downtown. Thousands of condos and apartment units have been constructed recently, restaurants and shops are springing up in their wake, and downtown may actually be evolving into a noteworthy destination.

Indeed, developers just unveiled their plans for a ginormous 1,000-room, 54-storey luxury hotel complex for the Convention Center, which will include downtown's first five-star hotel, a 124-room Ritz-Carlton, and a four-star Marriott Marquis, with the largest ballroom in the city. The $750-million project, slated to open in 2010, will be one of the city's largest buildings, with a whopping 2 million square feet. The chic, glass high-rise will center around L.A. Live, the 27-acre sports-entertainment complex that has everybody talkin'.

Via Los Angeles Times

Photo Credit: LA Times


London’s Triple Threat - The Maybourne Group

June 19, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for Maybourne Hotel Group

Berkeley Tea Cookies

The Maybourne Hotel Group has 3 hotels in London - The Berkeley, Claridge's and The Connaught. The Berkeley, overlooking Hyde Park in Knightsbridge, is offering a Prêt-à-Portea & Champagne Prêt-à-Portea this summer descrbed as "A Fashionista's Afternoon Tea." Eclairs, fancies and frou-frou mousses are all set for a makeover in the style of the world’s top fashion designers, such as Bottega Veneta, Ralph Lauren and Versace (the Autumn/Winter 2005 fashion collections are the inspiration - see photo).

Some awesome special rates at all 3 of the properties are available during the summer. Examples include 'Summer in the City' where reserving two consecutive room nights will give you a third night for no charge, or the 'Twice is Nice' offer where when you reserve one room you get a second room complimentary which is ideal for a family or two couples.

Check them all out at:

www.maybourne.com


Spotlight On: Pantelleria Dream

June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pantelleria Dream

Looking for an undiscovered island? In Europe, of all places? Look no farther than Pantelleria, the secret volcanic wonderland located between Sicily and Tunisia in the blue-green waters of the Mediterranean. After the June article in Vogue, the cat's out of the bag about this one. The "secret escape for Madonna, Julia Robers, and Giorgio Armani," the "virtual natural spa with thermal rock pools, crater lakes, and cave saunas," sounds too good to be true. And the recreational activities on this island are endless: diving, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, vineyard-hopping, and touring the magical Roman ruins. In this Italian paradise, a new hotel opening is causing quite a stir. Pantelleria Dream offers 46 exclusive suites situated within dammusi, which are the typical island structures comprised of black volcanic rocks which help to insulate from the heat and the sun, with Arab-influenced vaulted ceilings inside. Each dammuso boasts a panoramic terrace with sweeping ocean views. For an ultraprivate, unparalleled experience, request the Venus Suite, which is distanced from the main hotel structure in sublime isolation, and stocked with luxurious amenities. Starting from EUR 180 for a double dammuso, including breakfast.

Related articles:

Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties"


Buzzworthy: Tortuga Bay, Dominican Republic

June 15, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Vogue applauds the newest boutique on the "beach-blessed east coast of the Dominican Republic," its glamorous villas designed by Dominican-born Oscar de la Renta. Travel and Leisure describes a gorgeous tropical oasis, where "the only contact to the outside world is a golf cart, a satellite TV hookup, and a cell phone connection to a concierge." Tortuga Bay is located within the Puntacana Resort and Club, which boasts extensive facilities: two golf courses (the one designed by Pete Dye and the other by Tom Fazio), eight restaurants, five bars, and glorious stretches of private white sand beaches. Yet Tortuga Bay is blissfully private and quiet. The 50 suites (situated within 15 villas) were designed by Oscar de la Renta, both inside and out, graced with locally crafted mahogany and rattan furniture. Guests enjoy use of a golf cart (to navigate the awesome facilities, including Puntacana's spa), and are pampered by impeccable service from the personal villa manager who organizes all details of their stay. Needless to say, the stars are flocking to the DR to be pampered with Tortuga Bay's low-key luxury. Summer rates start at $650 for a one-bedroom suite. Related Articles: Vogue, "Travel: Bathing Beauties" Travel and Leisure, "The New Gold Coast" (June 2006)