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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.

Upscale Shopping in Dubai: the BurJuman Centre

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BurJuman

In a city of superlatives, it's not hard to be deemed "the world's most luxurious shopping destination." Dubai's BurJuman Centre-- located in the very heart of the city-- is the residence of high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Valentino, Emanel Ungaro, Loewe, Etro, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Lacroix, Salvatore Ferragamo... Its 800,000 square feet of retail space (300 leading stores) is centered around an enormous atrium courtyard, filled with sunlight.


A New York Landmark - The Carlyle

March 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From James McBride, General Manager, The Carlyle

The Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel in New York City has a long (by US standards) and varied history - dating back to 1930 where it was considered the "home away from home" for discerning luxury travelers in Manhattan.

Mr. McBride showed us where deep within the hotel's website they offer up 10 Fast (and ultra interesting) Facts. Then at the bottom we've added even more facts that you might be interested in about the Carlyle.

Check them out ...

Fast Facts

- Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan have called The Carlyle their “unofficial” New York home.

- Each guest room has a direct telephone line to Sotheby’s, for those who don’t feel like venturing out or wish to place their bids in privacy.

- During the Kennedy administration, owner Robert Dowling always kept the “Kennedy duplex” empty just in case the President decided to come to New York.

- Composer Richard Rodgers was The Carlyle’s first tenant back in 1930.

- The Carlyle is a showcase of great art. Bemelmans bar contains the only surviving public murals of artist/author Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the famed Madeline children’s book series. Additional works by Audubon, Kips, Redoute and Vertes adorn the hotel’s walls creating a veritable gallery environment.

- Diane Ginsberg Jaffe, the daughter of the hotel’s founder, named The Carlyle after British writer Thomas Carlyle.

- The two Jan Weenix murals in the lobby were originally owned by William Randolph Hearst.

- The Carlyle is a virtual catalog of design history, home to the work of some of the world’s most legendary decorators including: Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, and Renzo Mongiardino.

- The Carlyle is alive with music; 23 suites have Steinway or Baldwin baby-grand pianos tuned twice a week.

- The Carlyle has been the hotel of choice for Hollywood’s elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo.

Some additional Fun Facts we found ...

- The hotel designed by the architectural firm of Bien & Prince, was completed in 1930. A newspaper account of the time described the design as a "diversified setback style," which provides private terraces for some guest rooms and suites.

- The hotel's first decorator was Dorothy Draper, a mid-20th-century feminist who decorated in the "Empire manner."

- One of the country's foremost decorators, the late Mark Hampton, updated many of the guest rooms with a contemporary interpretation of the understated elegance achieved by Dorothy Draper 70 years ago.

- In 2002, interior designer Thierry Despont restored Bemelmans Bar and the lobby.

- Each room is characteristically unique with such color schemes as Chinese red, burnt orange and celadon. The walls are decorated with Audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi or the English country scenes by Kips.

- The hotel was created by Moses Ginsburg, a Russian emigrant whose wealth was in real estate, the hotel was intended to secure Ginsberg’s position in society.

- Two elegant banquet rooms, decorated by Mark Hampton, are the venues for private parties and functions.

- There have only been five ownerships in its history - currently Philip F. Maritz, President of Maritz-Wolff & Company

- During the hotel's 13-month construction, Wall Street crashed. Knowing he would lose millions, Ginsberg forged on. When the banks foreclosed in 1930, the Carlyle was off to a less than auspicious start, but of course survived.

- Bellman Michael O'Connell, who joined the Carlyle in 1949 fresh out of college and is still on the staff, remembers John Kennedy bidding him farewell the night before the President’s assassination in Dallas in 1963.

- In 1940s, the wealthy tycoon Robert Dowling purchased the Carlyle and, like Ginsberg, saw an opportunity to set the highest standards of innkeeping and establish his own place in New York society. Run like a private club, social references were required to obtain a room or an apartment in the 1950s.

- In 1967, the Carlyle was purchased by real estate entrepreneur Peter Sharp. A native New Yorker whose family owned and operated the Ritz Tower, the Delmonico and the Stanhope (all residential hotels). When Peter Sharp died in 1992, the hotel was run by a board of directors until an appropriate owner could be found.

- Each guest room features an armchair designed by Mark Hampton which is named after his daughter Alexa.

- The Gallery, also known as 'The Living Room', is a favorite among East Side residents, foreign diplomats, politicians and celebrities, it was there that Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, arriving together by chance, introduced themselves and sat down for a chat.

- The afternoon tea is enhanced by real Devonshire cream flown in from England.

- The 2005 Oscar Goody Bag for celebs included a voucher for the Carlyle.

- In February 2006, the Carlyle announced the opening of the Royal Suite after a redesign.

- In 2006, All Madelines are invited to go to the Manager at Bemelmans Bar and say "Bonjour. My name is Madeline" and they will receive a three-tiered tea, served among the renowned Madeline murals, on fabulous Madeline-inspired linen and china. (more details)

We're sure to be missing even more fun, fast facts about The Carlyle, so visit New York and the hotel to learn even more and then let us know.

The Carlyle, Official Site

The Carlyle, Five Star Alliance


Upscale Dining in Las Vegas: Joel Robuchon at the Mansion in the MGM Grand

February 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Joel Robuchon

Upscale Vegas dining at its finest. Brought to you by the legendary Joel Robuchon, whose phenomenal Paris restaurant earned the highest honor from Michelin (three stars) in a mere three years, the fastest of any chef on earth. Named "Chef of the Century" by French guidebook Gault Millau, Robuchon has created an epic, gastronomique restaurant sure to delight the senses in a once-in-a-lifetime dining extravaganza. Indeed, the tempting 16-course menu is stacked with heavenly delights. Ready to start salivating? How about a fresh scallop cooked in its shell with a lemon and seaweed butter, duck foie gras and spring vegetables in a green cabbage ravioli, sea urchin flan flavored with fennel, or Brittany lobster under a disappearing saffron hostie in a seafood bouillon... Reservations are highly recommended-- book ahead. After all, there is only one seating of 60 for dinner. Priced at $275 per person.


Check Out: the Expedition Everest at Disney World

February 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Expedition Everest

The craggy, mysterious Himalayas, or some faux fantasy from Disney? Looks like the real deal to me. Snowcapped peaks, colorful Tibetan prayer flags fluttering in the wind, a monastery, Everest base camp, and real, imported flora and fauna. Disney's just-completed Expedition-Everest: Mission Himalayas promises to be as educational as it is action-packed. After all, the Disney creatives partnered with Conservation International and Discovery Networks and sent a scientific, exploratory mission to the Himalayas:

The team searched for new plants and animals not yet discovered in the eastern Himalayan region from China to Nepal, one of the most botanically rich temperate regions in the world with an estimated 12,000 plant species, including 3,500 found nowhere else.

Opening this April, the newest attraction takes riders to an encounter with the scary and mythical Yeti, aka the Abominable Snowman, after "trekking" into a remote Himalayan village and "exploring" local artifacts. Who cares about the lines? I'm so there.


New Winter Developments from Half Moon in Rose Hall Montego Bay, Jamaica

February 22, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Marcia McLaughlin, Public Relations Manager, Half Moon

Apart from the huge $2million dollar renovation of the Half Moon Golf Course (it is dubbed "one of the best walking courses in the Caribbean") which now boasts improved features for both the avid and casual golfer, Half Moon has two other winter developments.

#1. American Airlines now has non-stop service from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Montego Bay (cutting back even more on your excuses for not visiting).

American Airlines has launched its new non-stop service from Dallas/Ft. Worth to Montego Bay four times weekly; the service offers easy connections from the West Coast and feeder cities such as Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and more. This service now makes weekend getaways easier today than ever before and is just one of many ways vacation seekers across the globe can get to Montego Bay. More flight schedules to Montego Bay.

Half Moon Kids

#2. Anancy Children's Village - themed after Jamaica’s fabled children’s character Anancy the Spider.

Anancy Children's Village

Children visiting the resort will enjoy the charming new Anancy Children's Village. Borrowing from the witty spider made famous in Jamaican folklore, the new children's play area has been modeled around a village concept with buildings ablaze with a mosaic of brightly coloured hues guaranteed to enlighten the senses of young visitors. Find Out More.

The Anancy Children’s Village at Half Moon includes shaded play areas, activity rooms, a wading pool, sand box, expansive outdoor play area with each activity supervised by a well-trained coordinator.

A note to remember about Anancy's - they accept "only children that are fully potty trained aged 3 - 12. Families with children who are not potty trained can take advantage of our Nanny service and have nannies escort children to the Anancy Children’s Village."

Have kids older then 12? Don't worry, there is also plenty for older children too including tennis clinics, volleyball, nature walks, golf, squash, horseback riding and water sports galore.

Half Moon, Official Site

Half Moon, Five Star Alliance


Skiing in the Morning and Sunbathing in the Afternoon in Dubai

February 20, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Ski Dubai

Since its opening in December, Ski Dubai has captured our imaginations (and wagging tongues). Contributor Alex Rose has the scoop.

You can now go snow skiing in one of the hottest places on earth. Dubai, the city-state in the United Arab Emirates, opened the first of two state-of-the-art indoor snow parks this past December; the second, Dubai Sunny Mountain Ski Dome, is scheduled for 2006. It’s the world’s third largest indoor ski resort and the only one in the Middle East. The 25-storey structure covers an area of about three football fields and can hold up to 1,500 people at a time. The indoor park maintains temperatures between 18F and 28F with real snow including falling snow flakes. It's connected to the billion dollar Mall of the Emirates and resembles a Swiss mountain resort complete with the St Moritz Cafe to warm yourself with a hot drink. The indoor snow park has chairlifts with skiing, snowboarding, bobsledding, and a ski school. It includes five color-coded slopes with varying degrees of difficulty for both enthusiasts and beginners, and the world's first indoor black diamond run. The longest ski run is over 1200 feet. There's even a rumor that Dubai might field a team for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Admission to Ski Dubai is $35 and winter clothing and ski gear are rented as part of the admission fee.


Luxury Travel in New Zealand: Queenstown’s Blanket Bay

February 17, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Blanket Bay

As the New Zealand Herald reports, luxury travel in kiwi territory is booming. Lodges like Kauri Cliffs, Wharekauhau, Blanket Bay and Huka Lodge are glam destination resorts that play host to celebs (laying low), oil tycoons, and the international jet-set. The cat's out of the bag about the remote Pacific islands whose breathtaking scenery played center stage in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings flicks. Our pick? The luxurious hideaway of Blanket Bay, with its magnificent setting next to Lake Wakatipu, beneath snow-capped peaks. Earning top accolades from CNT, Forbes, and the Sunday Times UK, Blanket Bay offers 12 secluded rooms and suites, constructed of timber and stone and filled with sumptuous furnishings. The suites boast exquisite views from large private terraces. Likewise, the mountain and lake vistas are phenomenal from the outdoor heated lap pool. Activities range from the adrenaline-pumping (jetboating and heli-skiing) to the calm and relaxing (excellent health and spa facilities).

Blanket Bay, Official Site

Blanket Bay, Five Star Alliance


Miami Hot Spots: South Beach Food and Wine Festival

February 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

South Beach Festival

Decadent, daring, delicious. This is one of the country's premier culinary extravaganzas, with a star-studded lineup of celebrity chefs and renowned wine and spirits producers ready to entertain and delight over the three-day-weekend. Hosted by Food and Wine magazine, the South Beach Food and Wine Festival will boast 75 restaurants and 150 wineries under tasting tents overlooking the beach. Starring chefs include Wolfgang Puck and Nobu Matsuhisa. Feb 24-26 (though Veuve Clicquot's Bubble Bath, at the Hotel Victor, is on the 23rd). Buy your tix online.


Gadget on the Go: Pure Digital Disposable Videocam

February 16, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Videocam

On vaca and you forgot the video camera? Don't fret. The newly- and greatly-improved US Airways mag has found the answer. A disposable videocam. I kid you not. $30, weighs a mere five ounces, and on sale at the ubiquitous CVS pharmacy. The little thing captures up to 20 minutes of video and sound, which the CVS photo lab will happily put on DVD for you. ($13 processing fee)