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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.

Dispatch from Paris: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Le Royal Monceau

October 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau, ParisThe talk of the town in Paris is the re-opening of Le Royal Monceau, the legendary palace hotel that recently emerged from a dramatic renovation by designer Philippe Starck. The Informed Traveler went behind the scenes before the official opening date to check out the property, now operated by Raffles. And we're totally smitten. This could easily be one of the hottest hotel openings around the globe this year. Here's what we loved:

Le Royal Monceau, ParisA thoughtful and eclectic design scheme. Inspired by the working studio of André Malraux, each spacious guest room is equipped with a guitar, haute couture walk-in closet, and a map highlighting Starck's favorite Paris addresses.

Desserts by Pierre Hermé. Enough said.

Le Royal Monceau, ParisA movie theater that puts iMax to shame. Built for major film premieres and private screenings, the 100-seat cinema has divine leather seats, high-tech projection equipment, and a decadent snack menu, including gourmet popcorn recipes dreamed up by Hermé himself. Can we say celeb central?

Le Royal Monceau, ParisAn impressive contemporary art collection in the hotel's public spaces. The on-site contemporary art bookstore boasts screens which broadcast live feeds of international art auctions. There's even an Art Concierge on staff.

The cigar lounge, painted in bright red, with 50 private cigar boxes outside, reserved for cigar-lovers to store their favorite cigars for the next visit.

Restaurants which are destined to become top addresses in the French capital. Both La Cuisine and Il Carpaccio boast talked-about decor (a chandelier made from shells in the Italian resto, a colorful ceiling painting called "Le Jardin de Paris" adorns La Cuisine).

Le Royal Monceau, ParisA central garden with a giant tea-pot sculpture designed by Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos. This garden is a magical space available for al fresco meals in the summer months. It's also got a neat pond with views- through sheer glass- of the spa swimming pool below. In another part of the hotel, there's an organic garden where the chefs grow herbs and produce for the restaurants.

Coming soon: an outpost of the trendy L'Eclaireur concept store. *Swoon*

Note: The spa-- My Blend by Clarins-- won't be open til next year.


Ritz-Carlton Tysons Corner Opens New Restaurant from Chef Michel Richard

October 26, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chef Michel Richard, Ritz-Carlton restaurantRumored to be opening this week outside the nation's capital: the highly-anticipated new restaurant from award-winning chef Michel Richard. Located at The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner, the new "Michel" restaurant will be in the old "Maestro" space and will serve up "innovative modern French cuisine" in an "upscale, casual" setting. Zagat Buzz describes the design scheme:

A symphony of luxurious materials and craftsmanship, the chrome-and-burgundy-toned contemporary space features textured walls and banquettes, sculptured lights that change colors, cleverly designed viewing into a showcase kitchen and a chef’s table that’s suspended from the ceiling (look, Ma – no legs!).

At the helm is Executive chef Levi Mezick, who had former stints at top NYC restaurants Daniel, Oceana and Per Se. What's on the menu? Favorites like wild mushroom pie, steak frites, vegetable tartar, and duck with figs and cinnamon. Expect top-notch desserts, as Chef Richard got his start as a pastry chef in his native France.

Image Via Washington City Paper


4th Night Free in Paris at the Sofitel Arc de Triomphe Hotel

October 15, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel Paris Arc de TriompheLooking for a little romance in Paris? Book the Sofitel Arc de Triomphe-- just steps from the Champs Elysées-- for a stylish taste of the City of Light. You've got all the fashion boutiques at your fingertips from this address on a quiet street in the Golden Triangle. Behind the Haussmann-style facade, there's a gourmet restaurant that serves bountiful buffet breakfasts (lunch and dinner, too). Plus the Clés d'Or Concierge will hook you up with dinner reservations to the coolest spots in town (or perhaps the top of the Eiffel Tower?) The classic guest rooms are all outfitted with the Sofitel MyBed, flat screen TV, and free wifi. Take advantage of a special offer called "Exclusively Yours" and get your 4th night on the house when staying four consecutive nights.


A Sky-High Infinity Pool and More at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

October 12, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marina Bay Sands SingaporeHow do we love the Marina Bay Sands? Let us count the ways. An infinity pool 55 storeys above the ground with 360 degree views of Singapore... The incredible Sands SkyPark, a tropical oasis floating atop the hotel and stretching longer than the Eiffel Tower on its side... The restaurants by Guy Savoy... The museum shaped like a lotus flower...This is the world's most expensive hotel, built at a cost of billions, so we expect nothing less. Book one of the 2,560 guest rooms and you'll be privy to the inside secrets of a business, leisure, and entertainment destination that's unparalleled. As globorati points out, Savoy's resto is "only the second restaurant outside Paris for the multi-starred Michelin chef," with most of the ingredients flown in from France. What else is inside? An indoor canal, "the best shopping mall in Asia," a convention centre, a casino, and an outdoor event plaza and theaters featuring Broadway hits such as "The Lion King."


Ritz-Carlton Rolls Out the Hotel Credits

October 7, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Grand CaymanWeekend getaway, here we come. Ritz-Carlton may never slash their room rates to lure guests, but they certainly know how to reel in well-heeled clients with alluring enticements. The "Reconnect" package is back, perfect for a quick, rejuvenating escape with luxurious accommodations, breakfast, and up to a $100 resort/hotel credit per night that can be used for shopping, dining, or spa services. All served on a silver platter, Ritz-Carlton style. Plan an adventure to a resort like Grand Cayman (pictured), Powerscourt, Half Moon Bay or Palm Beach (dining under the stars, anyone?), or plot a city escape to a world-class urban hotel.


Talk of the Town: Introducing Cassa Hotel and Residences in New York

October 5, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cassa Hotel and Residences, New YorkThere's a new architectural landmark in New York City's Midtown and it's getting lots of press love. A luxury condo hotel with a prime location near Fifth and Madison Avenue shopping and the bright lights of Broadway's theatre district, the Cassa Hotel and Residences has 165 refined guest rooms. Here's what The New York Times has to say about this new breed of condo hotels: "Room service on demand from a celebrity chef. A maid to make the bed with fresh linens every day and leave a chocolate on your pillow at night... All yours with the purchase of a luxury condo." But even if you're not in the market for a Manhattan condo, you're guaranteed to appreciate the service and amenities at this sophisticated hotel. Here's the skinny from The Globe and Mail:

Lower Manhattan's hotel boom is trickling up to Midtown with the opening of Cassa Hotel and Residences. Unlike blander hotels in the Times Square neighbourhood, Cassa has a whiff of European minimalism with exclusive guest amenities such as an in-room Dean and Deluca snack bar, the Cassa Care babysitting program and daily fresh flower delivery upon request. Art and architecture buffs will appreciate the polished, black volcanic walls in the lobby and the Rizzoli and Taschen design books in the rooms... Introductory rates start from $287 a night.

Cassa Hotel and Residences, New YorkTake advantage of the Sneak Peek Special Offer, available until December 30, 2010, and get savings depending on the length of stay. Stay 2 Nights, Save 10%; Stay 3 Nights, Save 15%; Stay 4+ Nights, Save 20%. (2-night minimum stay and 1-night non-refundable deposit required. Rates are based on double occupancy and subject to room availability; blackout dates may apply.)


Autumn in Rome: Shopping, Spa, and Foodie Delights at the Hotel Hassler

September 30, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Hotel Hassler, RomeAutumn could be the best time to visit the Eternal City, when the summer crowds have dispersed and Rome is yours for the taking. Immerse yourself in the fall colors (not to mention fashion!) and experience a stay at the Hassler Roma, the legendary hotel perched atop the Spanish Steps in the heart of the historic city center. The hotel of choice for visiting stars, The Hassler is just minutes away from Rome's top shopping venues and important landmarks (like the Pantheon and Coliseum). The "Autumn in Rome" package is the ultimate pampering experience. Here's what's included: • 3 nights in a room of your choice • Daily buffet breakfast at the elegant Salone Eva • 2 massages at the Amorvero SPA (1 per person, per stay) • Relaxing tea at the Amorvero SPA after the massage • Light lunch for 2 in the Salone Eva (starter, first course & home-made dessert, drinks excl.) Validity dates: November 1 – December 22, 2010. Limited availability! “Autumn in Rome ” package rates are euro 1,350 for a Deluxe Double / twin room and euro 1,530 for a Grand Deluxe Double / twin room. Rates are for a 3-night stay, per room. Cancellation deadline is 4 days prior to arrival in order to not incur a 50% penalty charge.


Where to Sleep in Chicago

September 29, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Elysian ChicagoThe New York Times recently fixed its gaze on the Windy City in "36 Hours in Chicago" after Mayor Richard M. Daley's recent announcement that he'll be stepping down after 21 years in office. From architectural wonders to the hottest restaurants in Chicago (like Girl & the Goat, "a much-blogged-about new restaurant where the "Top Chef" winner Stephanie Izard takes livestock parts seriously"), the article has some good picks. Where to bed down while in town? The Elysian, of course, which landed a place on Conde Nast Traveler's annual Hot List 2010. Here's the skinny from The NYT:

Opened last year, the Elysian (11 East Walton Street; 312-646-1300; elysianhotels.com) is a cushy 188-room hotel where the beds aren’t made — they’re “draped” in 460-thread-count Rivolta Carmignani linens. From the outside, the building, not far from the Magnificent Mile, resembles a chateau. Rooms start at about $430.

Related Articles:

Bed, Breakfast, and Marc Jacobs at the Elysian Hotel Chicago

Tipping is Not Necessary at the Elysian Hotel Chicago


Win Fab Anniversary Prizes at JIA Hong Kong

August 25, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

JIA Hotel Hong KongThe JIA Hong Kong-- the trendy Philippe Starck-designed boutique hotel-- is celebrating its first anniversary with a lucky draw. Stay at the JIA Hong Kong between September 1 and November 30 for a chance to win exceptional prizes plus a one-night stay in a suite. The JIA prides itself on the true "insider's experience" of Hong Kong that it offers each guest. When you stay at the hotel, you get the insider access card as one of the hotel's signature extras, which gives entry to the hottest private members clubs in town, plus privileges at cool restaurants, bars, stores and spas. Thus the prizes for the draw are offered by JIA Insider Access Partners: a Bothos vegetan buffalo leather trolley suitcase worth HK$8,800, and a bespoke man's suite from Moustache worth HK$8,500.

Details on the First Anniversary Lucky Draw: Each night of your stay will be entered in the draw. Complimentary room prize is valid from December 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011 (not valid on New Year's Eve or Rugby Sevens 2011).


Luxury Shopping in Shanghai at The Peninsula Arcade

August 10, 2010
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula ShanghaiIn Shanghai for the World Expo 2010? (Hopefully you booked the EXPO-rience package at the Art Deco-inspired Peninsula Hotel, the new property on the Bund that offers breathtaking views over the city.) Shopaholics won't want to miss the exclusive shopping opportunities at the Peninsula Arcade, boasting a slew of luxury boutiques-- from Giorgio Armani and Prada to Chopard and Piaget. Billed as the most exclusive shopping destination in Shanghai, the two-storey arcade even has a Peninsula Boutique along with 24 leading luxury brands.