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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.

Keeping it Chilly at the W Los Angeles Westwood

November 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We can definitely see the humor and fun in ice skating without heavy winter clothes holding you down, so we’re thrilled that the W Los Angeles Westwood has recently re-opened its signature ice rink for the third year in a row! This hotel’s 1600 square foot ice rink is made with environmentally friendly ice hybrid and is open for use by hotel guests until January 1st, 2012. This ice rink will also be the hot spot for access to the Ice Bar, serving signature food and cocktails, a skate-up cabana, a gingerbread cookie decoration station for kids, and regular Saturday performances by the BH Cabaret Theater. The ice rink is open from 3pm – 10pm on weekdays, 10am – 10pm on weekends, and $10 gets you a full hour of skating and includes a skate rental. The gingerbread cookie decoration station is open on weekends from 11am – 1pm, and the BH Cabaret Theater puts on a show at 6pm.

The W Los Angeles Westwood is conveniently located between Rodeo Drive and the Santa Monica beaches, and it is surrounded by beautiful boutique shops and beaches. Be sure to add this hotel to your list of places to stay and practice your ice skating tricks.


Holidays in the Sun: Fun Freebies at Santa Monica's Hotel Shangri-La

November 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Shangri-La Santa MonicaA dose of California sunshine could be just what the doctor ordered this holiday season. Why not take a break in style at Santa Monica's Art Deco beacon on the bluff? Newly revamped, the Hotel Shangri-La promises Old Hollywood glamour just steps from the sand and the historic Santa Monica Pier. Each room captures gorgeous ocean views, as does the posh rooftop bar, Suite 700, where the sunset-viewing is out-of-this-world. As if you needed more tempting, the Hotel Shangri-La has rolled out the "Holidays in the Sun" package which is packed with freebies: freshly baked cookies & milk upon arrival, two complimentary holiday cocktails, a $50 VISA gift card, Ice Skating for two (one hour), and complimentary valet parking. Available November 15, 2011 – January 31, 2012 from $385 in a one-bedroom suite with a full gourmet kitchen.


Who Won the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize?

October 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisWe've been waiting with bated breath to find out which talented designer would nab the prestigious Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. The luxury hotel group-- celebrated for iconic hotels in urban centers in Europe and the U.S.-- launched the Fashion Prize to honor the work of young designers- and it's gotten some serious buzz in the press. Just this past weekend, the prize was bestowed in The Rodeo Ballroom at The Beverly Hills Hotel after a runway presentation featuring models from cycle 18 of America's Next Top Model. (The event was filmed for an upcoming episode to be aired in spring 2012.) After much deliberation, the judges chose the collection by Anndra Neen as best representing “the spirit of individuality, luxury, style and craftsmanship" of The Dorchester Collection's hotels. Anndra Neen received $40,000 and will have the opportunity to display their work at the fabulous Hôtel Plaza Athénée (pictured) during Paris Fashion Week in 2012.


And to All a Free Night: Spend the Holidays at the L'Ermitage Beverly Hills

October 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

L'Ermitage Beverly HillsWhat will you be doing this winter? Ditch the snow shovel and sniffly nose for the warmer climes out west. If you spend the holidays at L'Ermitage Beverly Hills, the glamorous hotel that's earned the rare distinction of both the Forbes Five Star and AAA Five Diamond awards, they'll throw in a third night for free along with daily American breakfast and two signature holiday cocktails. ("Reindeer Games" sounds like our kind of a tipple.) The sun is shining over Beverly Hills all year round, and the boutiques of Rodeo Drive await... Get spoiled rotten at this legendary address which quite a few celebs have called home. "And to All a Free Night" is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other promotions. Valid until January 8, 2012.


Four Seasons L.A. Launches ICE Technology, and It's Changing the Way We Stay

October 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is the first Four Seasons to embrace ICE technology to digitally connect every room to all parts of the hotel. Before we dive into what that means for travelers, let’s explore what this Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Season Hotel L.A. has a tropically landscaped rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and a pool grill, allowing you to indulge in seasonal specialties in full relaxation mode. Aside from rooftop fun, the Four Seasons L.A. also has a full-service spa where you can unwind in the steam sauna or pamper yourself with various spa treatments. After a day of exploring Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning Gardens Restaurant.

With the launch of ICE Technology, all of the amenities available to guests remain the same, but the way you can access and utilize those amenities will change. All of the guestrooms and suites will have iPad2 devices, permitting guests to customize their stay with the push of a few buttons. Guests will be able to make restaurant reservations, order in-room dining, research nearby attractions, call valet parking, coordinate airport transportation, make beauty and spa appointments, make specific housekeeping requests, research transportation options, schedule wake up calls, check out of the hotel, and much more. Is this technology essentially eliminating the need for face-to-face customer service? Not necessarily. According to Mehdi Eftekari, the General Manger at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, “most of our guests travel with a smartphone, tablet, or both, so it made sense to provide access to the hotel’s services through the same intuitive touch interface.” How are guests reacting to this new technology? Mehdi Eftekari reports that “guests are very impressed. The interface is so intuitive and easy to use, they feel right at home.” What do you think about this new development? Check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles to experience it for yourself.

We encourage you to check out the article about ICE technology by Melanie Nayer here.


Bazaar-o World: Extraordinary SLS Hotel/José Andrés Restaurant Is Going Global

October 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Being a Washington, DC, local, I can’t help but fall in love with the cuisine of José Andrés, the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur. He has pioneered the field of molecular gastronomy by cleverly manipulating texture to subvert our expectations. For instance, at his signature DC restaurant, Minibar, instead of a salt-lined margarita glass, you can expect an aerated salty sea-foam floating above your drink. His visionary view of food’s potential to surprise and entice has inspired a new direction in the culinary arts.

So when I heard that his SLS Hotel restaurant in Los Angeles, the Bazaar, is thinking of going global with its brand, I practically jumped out of my chair in anticipation. José Andrés is already slated to open another establishment at the upcoming SLS Hotel in South Beach, Florida, and Robbie McKay, Director of Communications for SBE, the luxury hospitality group who owns the Bazaar, says that they have their eye on the DC market as a possible next location. Keep an eye out on this one folks. This is a hotel restaurant that is far more than the standard luxury fare.

For now, you can only dine at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.  It's well worth the trip.

Via Tim Carman (@timcarman) at the Washington Post.


A Fresh Redesign: Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles Reopens

October 13, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Now this is the story all about how

my life got flipped, turned upside down

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I went on vacation to a hotel called Bel-Air.

Now here’s news: The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles is reopening this month, and the property has turned things upside-down with its renovation. With a fresh new look, they’re positioning themselves to be the prince of spa services. The revitalized property offers a 4,000 sq. ft. spa by La Prairie and is the first US hotel to launch a line of in-room amenities by the same luxury Swiss company. The familiar swans still glide across the serene lake they call home, and their habitat is now maintained by an updated circulation system that saves over 1.5 million gallons of water. It’s great to see more and more hotels incorporate green engineering into their modernized design plans. Alongside the familiar Grace Kelly suite, the new presidential suite even offers a private courtyard and private pool where can guests can relax after enjoying dinner for up to ten people from their private chef’s kitchen. The main buildings preserve some of the original colonial Spanish aesthetic, while also being ‘modernized’ to include retro themes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This is hotel the Dorchester Collection is clearly proud to be reopening, and as well they should be.

Not only does the Hotel Bel-Air feel completely renewed, until December 29th, Hotel Bel Air will include a $100 dining credit with your reservation, so you can enjoy fresh cuisine imagined by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck the next time you stay at this lovely hotel.


Endless Summer in Santa Monica: Beach Picnic and Cocktails at Hotel Shangri-La

September 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Shangri-La, Santa Monica

Mourning the end of summer? We've got just the cure. Head to southern California for some sun, surf and sand. It's always summer in Santa Monica! The Hotel Shangri-La-- the beautifully renovated Art Deco landmark perched on the bluffs above the Pacific-- has an "Endless Summer Package" that's got your name on it. Running through the end of October, the package features a picnic basket crafted by the Chef de cuisine with organic ingredients fresh from the farmer's market. Not only that, but the package also includes the perfect night cap in Suite 700. There's no better view in town for sunset cocktails! You'll also get complimentary valet parking with your accommodations in a one-bedroom suite with a gourmet kitchen and ocean views. Priced from $375 per night. Subject to availability, and valid through October 31, 2011.


Paradise in Pasadena: Food Credit at The Langham Huntington

August 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington PasadenaJust nine miles north of Los Angeles, The Langham Huntington, Pasadena is a 23-acre garden oasis set against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains. The hotel's been a landmark in beautiful Pasadena since 1907, and continues to woo the fit and the fabulous for tennis, nearby golf, and spa time. And the restaurant (The Royce) is fantastic, serving "New American Cuisine" by chef David Féau emphasizing fresh seasonal produce. The Langham Huntington is the perfect place to stay and play for the whole family. A special offer valid through September 4, 2011 includes Lanai accommodations and a daily $50 food and beverage credit to be used at the pool bar. The "Family Stay & Play Package" is priced from $219 per night, subject to availability, Sunday- Thursday nights only.


Rembrandt Drawing Stolen from the Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Ray

August 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Marina Del RayThomas Crown strikes again... This time at a five-star hotel. Last Saturday, a Rembrandt drawing valued at more than $250,000 was stolen from a private exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Marina Del Ray. Called "The Judgment" the pen and ink etching was made in 1655, one of 700 drawings by the Old Master. The police say the heist was carefully orchestrated; an accomplice distracted the curator while the thief made off with the drawing in a matter of minutes. Rembrandts are favored by art thieves, says The Telegraph, recalling the 1972 theft of three paintings from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardiner museum.