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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.

Dial W for Luxury: The W Hotel in Montreal

January 28, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

W Hotel MontrealA few months ago near my home in Washington, DC, I was sitting at the bar of the luxuriant W Hotel downtown. I started a conversation with another patron, both of us enjoying finely crafted cocktails which have become a signature of the worldwide chain. I eventually noted to my new companion that I was reviewing the hotel and would like his feedback. After a stream of consciousness endorsement that ran on for nearly 5 minutes, he paused, looked up at me and asked, “What exactly does The W stand for anyway? I was thinking Washington at first, since we’re in DC, but then all of them are called that.” I looked back, thought for a moment, and replied, “The W stands for luxury and excellence.” Truly there is no better answer, for wherever one finds the Starwood brand hotel, the accompaniment to each stay is just that, luxury and excellence.

W MontrealThe trouble with having such high expectations is living up to them. In the hotel world, I’ve often been disappointed by an inferior extension of the brand. Yet for the W hotels, this has NEVER occurred. Case in point: The W Hotel, in Montreal. Just as I found in Washington, DC and New Orleans, and Santiago, Chile, and everywhere else, The W Hotel in Montreal was magnificent. My check list is long, but I can sum up for you here. Luxury rooms, check. Great dining, check. Excellent spa, check. Amazing service, you betcha. In fact, after a visit to the spa, I was led to the bar for a string of stellar cocktails, something I always take the time to do at The W Hotel. I don’t know how they find such excellent mixologists, but they always do. When I’d had one too many, I slept peacefully in my quiet, well-appointed suite. It all proved to me that The W Hotel in Montreal, just like all the rest, once again stands for luxury and excellence.


Rock Legend Chooses Montreal’s L’Hotel Le St James

January 26, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

Hotel Le St JamesWhen I saw the penthouse suite encompassing the top floor of L'Hotel Le St James in Montreal, I quietly asked the manager who could possibly afford to stay here. He looked at me with knowing eyes and whispered into my ear. He said, in French, “Only the wealthiest and most famous, to be fair. Several big names that you would know for sure, and one very famous rock star recently.” I wanted to know who and probed further, but he politely informed that he could not divulge the name. His clients, from the wealthiest (rock star) to the least affluent (me), come here to relax and enjoy a stay in Montreal’s finest hotel. They didn’t want to be troubled by paparazzi, and certainly didn’t want to be followed around on previous or forthcoming visits.

So I did some research of my own, on the internet, on the phone, and in some of the clubs and restaurants around L’Hotel, which, being the finest in the city, would surely have been visited by the certain persona non grata. And indeed, wow! When playing Montreal if REDACTED chooses the St. James, then I had come to the right place. REDACTED is known for choosing elegance, and the sultry sounds of REDACTED would be at home only in the finest of hotels. Color me impressed!

L' St JamesBut L’Hotel Le St James was equally amazing for a meager guest like me. I merely had a normal room, if you can call it that, as it had the largest tub I’d ever had the pleasure to soak in, and the most comfortable bed my ailing back had ever rested on. Not to mention the views of the Old City, just outside the frost covered window. In fact, gazing out through the light snow, I could gaze out over the spires of the Notre Dame Basilica as well as the ice-strewn Saint Lawrence River, coursing through the old port. Beautiful!

One final note: Since my visit fell over the holidays, I was excited to celebrate in style. I inquired with the concierge about getting reservations for Christmas brunch at the downstairs eatery, XO Le Restaurant, recently awarded 4 stars, and was pleased to find a spot available. The decadent food was only matched by the marvelous service and décor. The staff presented me with a glass of excellent champagne flown in from France, and I raised a glass, “Joyeux Noel!” Merry Christmas, indeed.

Editor's Note: A picture of the author enjoying his stay:

IMG_4729


Movies on the Beach & Nobu Sushi Classes with One Bal Harbour, Miami

January 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

One Bal Harbour, MiamiSun, sand, and surf aren't the only reasons to jet down to South Beach this winter. (Though they sure are good ones!) The Miami International Film Festival will be heating things up in early March, and One Bal Harbour is offering movie previews to get you in the mood. Head to the ultra-luxury beachfront hotel, celebrated for its first-class amenities, for a complimentary screening al fresco at 8 pm on January 29, 2011. Enjoy fresh popcorn and refreshments while perched at the water's edge on pillow-topped linen couches. After the film, stop by ONE Kitchen for an exclusive chat with the director of the award-winning film. Also on the agenda this month: Cooking classes with one of Nobu's chefs as they demonstrate the art of sushi-making. (The class takes place on January 22, 2011 at 1 pm.) Book a stay at One Bal Harbour with a special package like the "Sun, Stay, and Shop" offer, and you'll get complimentary perks thrown in. Like luxe transportation to The Bal Harbour Shops.


New Mercedes S400 Hybrid at InterContinental Los Angeles Century City

January 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Los Angeles Century City

There's a lot to love at the InterContinental Los Angeles Century City. Let's start with the spa- a true urban oasis featuring zen-like villas where you can unwind with a Road Rage Massage. Hint: It comes with a Rush Hour Martini to help you relax. Talk about city pampering! Then of course there's the outdoor heated swimming pool with sundeck and whirlpool, not to mention the fitness center. Guests rave about the rooms, tricked out with gadgetry and equipped with a private balcony showcasing views across Los Angeles to the Pacific. A prime Westside address puts you within spitting distance of Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, 20th Century Fox Studios, and MGM Tower, and within driving distance of the Getty Center, LA city center, and the beach. We've raved about the hotel's insider experiences (shopping with LA wardrobe stylists, helicopter tours over the City of Angels). And here's another perk we like: the new luxury eco-friendly house car. The Mercedes S400 Hybrid is available for guests within a 1.5 mile radius of the hotel.


Chinese New Year in London with the Egerton House Hotel

December 16, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Egerton House HotelFebruary 14th isn't just about cupids and hearts. The day marks the start of the Year of the Tiger, and thousands are expected in the streets of London to fete the Chinese New Year in 2011. Even Harrods will have a traditional lion dance in its Food Hall on February 14th. On Sunday, February 21, 2011, the celebrations will be going off. Head to Trafalgar Square, the hub of activities, where 50,000 revelers are expected to check out the live shows with performers, Chinese dragons, lions and acrobats. Street stalls in Chinatown will be celebrating the occasion with yummy Chinese grub, and Leicester Square will host a fireworks display in the afternoon. Book at stay at the Egerton House Hotel-- the elegant five-star hotel housed in a townhouse in the heart of fashionable Knightsbridge-- and the staff will give you the inside scoop on where to go and what to see to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Choose the "Get More From Your Stay" package and you'll be entitled to a complimentary gift to enjoy, with one option being a £50 shopping voucher at Harrods.


Countdown to the Cosmopolitan: The Newest Luxury Hotel in Las Vegas Opens Dec 15

December 13, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cosmopolitan Las VegasThe opening of the Cosmopolitan is just days away, and the media is atwitter. HotelChatter is counting down the days to "Las Vegas' most exciting opening in ooh, at least 11 months." In the December 2010 issue, Travel + Leisure gets the inside scoop on "casino cabanas," the "lobby columns patterned in high-definition video screens," the hotel's incredible art collection, and dynamite restaurants that "establish the Cosmopolitan's foodie street cred."

Chef and Food Network star Scott Conant will set up the fifth location of his sexy Meatpacking District spot, Scarpetta, as well as a wine bar. José Andrés will open a version of his Washington D.C. tapas bar, Jaleo, plus a new restaurant that combines Mexican and Chinese cuisine. There will also be outposts of Blue Ribbon Sushi (the cult New York restaurant from the Bromberg brothers) and Milos Estiatorio (Greek seafood in Manhattan, Athens and Montreal). Even more in tune with the hotel's urban vibe is a "secret" pizza parlor...

The new luxury hotel is guaranteed to make a splash on the Las Vegas scene. Hot rates: Get a room at the Cosmopolitan for a song! Try $160 the week of December 20th...


Holiday Shopping on the Magnificent Mile: Special with the Fairmont Chicago

December 2, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont ChicagoMaking your list, checking it twice? Head to Chicago's Magnificent Mile for some holiday shopping in style. The Fairmont Chicago will hook you up with a gift card to Saks Fifth Avenue, provide gift wrapping for all your purchases, not to mention complimentary parking. Talk about hassle-free gift shopping! After a day exploring one of the greatest avenues in the world, return to the Fairmont for some spa indulgence. Positioned in the Grant Park and Millennium Park neighborhood, the hotel recently underwent a $50 million renovation. Book the "Great Avenues Holiday Shopping Package" and you'll get overnight accommodations for two, a $100 Saks Fifth Avenue gift card, complimentary parking and gift wrapping, free shopping for items purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue, and late check out of 5PM so you can shop a little longer. Subject to availability until January 3, starting from $214 USD.


Christmas in the Windy City: Trump Chicago Pulls Out All the Stops for the Holidays

November 24, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump ChicagoTrump Chicago knows how to party. The Chitown landmark broke out the costumes for Halloween, even offering guests a Pumpkin Workout Class, and now the luxury hotel is getting all dolled up for Christmas. (We hear they shipped in some reindeer from the North Pole for a recent holiday party.) To get you in the mood, Trump Chicago has planned some perfect holiday packages, available through December 30, 2010. Here's the skinny:

Home For the Holidays (rates start at $435/night)

Staying at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago during a visit with friends and family? Arrive to their party with the perfect housemade gift in-hand, compliments of Executive Pastry Chef Sarah Kosikowski. This package provides:

-Guest's choice of a perfectly packaged tin of cookies, a pumpkin pie or a specially designed New Year's Eve treat, made in-house by the pastry team

-Overnight stay in a Deluxe Guestroom

-Continental breakfast at Sixteen - the hotel's modern American restaurant, or in the privacy of their guestroom.

Trump International ChicagoShop Til You Drop (rates start at $455/night)

Historic State Street and the famed Magnificent Mile are just steps away, making it easy to expedite your holiday shopping. With this package, you also receive some post-shopping rewards. Guests can toast to a successful shopping day with two cocktails at Rebar, the hotel's mezzanine-level lounge, and enjoy one $50 credit each at The Spa at Trump to redeem toward stress-relieving treatments, while the hotel's holiday desk provides complimentary gift wrapping. The package also includes continental breakfast for two people; discount cards valid at area department stores; and a one-night stay in a Deluxe Guestroom. Guests who want to shop in style will receive a special rate on limousine service with Metropolitan Limo.

Trump International ChicagoBaby It's Cold Outside (rates start at $695/night)

Escape the cold with a romantic overnight stay in one of Trump Chicago's luxurious one-bedroom suites, equipped with a full kitchen, fireplace, and five-fixture bathroom. Guests can get cozy in front of a crackling fire while sipping on their choice of a hot toddy or hot chocolate and taking in sweeping views of the Chicago River and the city's architectural landmarks. In-room breakfast will be delivered the next morning, and each guest will receive a signature Trump bathrobe as a holiday takeaway. Travelers who wish to warm up at The Spa at Trump can reserve an individual or couples 60-minute Ginger Warming Massage for a discounted price of $100 per person (normally $160).


Chauffeur-Driven Mini Coopers: Now Available at The Peninsula Hotels in Chicago and New York

November 18, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Peninsula Hotels' Mini CoopersGuests of The Peninsula Hong Kong have raved about the two Mini Coopers (added to the hotel's fleet of Rolls-Royce Phantoms earlier this year). What a great shopping spree sidekick! So now The Peninsula Hotels in Chicago and New York are following suit, introducing chauffeur-driven Mini Coopers-- painted in Peninsula green, of course-- for holiday shopping in style. The cars are outfitted with iPod/iPhone connections and mini refrigerators stocked with drinks and cold towels. As the USA Today's Hotel Check-in explains, "The chauffeur won't have a problem loading a guest's purchases into the tiny auto, thanks to a storage box mounted on the rooftop." Just book a suite and you'll have free access to the cute cars for up to three hours per day. Next up: The Peninsula Tokyo, which will roll out its Mini Cooper service in January.


From $169: Holiday Shopping at the Loews Annapolis Hotel

November 17, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Annapolis HotelCheck into the Loews Annapolis Hotel this holiday season, and your room key will be transformed into a "Holiday Key to the City"-- giving you insiders' savings to the best local boutiques. Just show your room key while shopping around town, and you'll get exclusive savings on every purchase at the 12 participating stores, including Annapolis Day Spa, Alpaca International, Breeze restaurant, Paws Pet Boutique and Annapolis Pottery. The “Holiday Key to the City” package includes luxurious accommodations and valet parking, with rates starting from $169 per night. Valid through December 30, 2010. While you're there, dine on some delicious Chesapeake Bay seafood at the hotel's Breeze Restaurant, featuring locally-sourced ingredients.

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