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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.

The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #7 Hotel Le St. James

December 25, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #7 spot we have the Hotel Le St. James in Montreal, Canada.

Quick facts about the Hotel Le St. James:

- This historic building is ideally situated in lively Old Montreal with easy access to shopping areas, restaurants, and the financial center.

- Located less than a mile from Central Station and just 12 miles from Dorval International Airport.

- Each room and suite has its own character and personal charm.

- The hotel’s restaurant, XO Le, is Montreal’s highest rated restaurant in 2009 by the Gazette.

- Le Spa, the hotels luxurious spa served as the Merchant’s Bank vault in the late 1800s.

- Pet friendly, allowing pets less than 30 lbs.

- Mobil Travel’s highest rated property in Quebec since 2003.

- The hotel’s original architecture dates back to 1870, with design features that have remained intact over the centuries.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Hotel Le St. James.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #10 Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona

December 22, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #10 spot we have the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona, located on Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s most exclusive shopping street.

Quick facts about the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona:

- Walking distance from Barcelona’s most exciting landmarks including Las Ramblas, the Plaza de Cataluna, the Gothic Quarter, and Gaudi’s major architectural works.

- Offers 276 rooms and 41 suits, all renovated and new in 2011.

- Rooms use the most up-to-date technology including a Satellite Newspaper kiosk to access 168 international newspapers.

- Offers Smart Roadster Convertible cars with GPS, and this service is free for one day for guests who reserve a suite.

- Business Center features 5 PCs with Windows XP, laser and ink-jet printers, photocopier, fax, scanner, shredder, and office supplies.

- Outdoor, rooftop pool offers guests incredible views of Barcelona.

- The Penthouse is the most exclusive and luxurious room option. It offers the most impressive panoramic view of the city, two private terraces, and 6 plasma screen televisions.

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona.


New Year’s Eve Getaways

December 22, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Looking for a last-minute New Year's Eve getaway?

Here are a few ideas!

Eventi Hotel New York in New York City -- Complimentary champagne toast in the lobby during wine hour on New Year's Eve, watch the ball drop on the big screen, complimentary rickshaw service to avoid dealing with taxis on New Year's, $30 mini bar credit, $20.12 off any of the 3 Signature Treatments at Spa@Eventi, complimentary journal to pencil in your resolutions, complimentary Joy Bauer breakfast to kick-start a New Year and "New You!," a "Hangover Kit" complete with a vitamin multipack and Alka-Seltzer, late checkout of 2 p.m.

Loden Vancouver in Vancouver, Canada -- Ring in the New Year at the Loden Hotel and Tableau Bar Bistro, voted Vancouver's Best New Restaurant. Check into the Loden for a weekend grand finale to the year and savor the flavors of the season with Chef Marc-Andre Choquette's classic French bistro fare. Checkout the following day is 2 p.m. Package includes: overnight stay in a Signature King Guestroom, $125 food and beverage credit to Tableau Bar Bistro for New Year's Eve Dinner or New Year's Day brunch, complimentary valet parking.

W Hotel Scottsdale, Arizona -- This New Year's Eve, make an entrance at Cirque Nouveau, where vintage circus meets a modern twist celebration. Guests of this unforgettable night will enjoy exciting sideshow-inspired attractions, a spectacular midnight firework display, live musical performances and more.

Affinia Hotel in Chicago -- The hotel's Winter Wonderfest includes four passes and complimentary trolley rides to Navy Pier's 11th Annual Winter Wonderfest, a winter-themed attraction featuring a 170,000 square foot playground with winter-themed attractions, rides, games and ice skating at Navy Pier. It also includes a Navy Pier savings book (valued at up to $200) and a $10 mini-bar credit. Additionally, families can enjoy a delicious New Year's Eve holiday menu at C-House, Top Chef Master Marcus Samuelsson's modern American restaurant, located at the hotel.

This article was originally written for our sister publication, Travel Agent Central by Amy Bertrand.


W Paris to open on Valentine’s Day

December 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Located in the heart of the city of lights, the W Hotel Paris Opera is set to open on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2012. The W Paris will be the first W Hotel in France, and it will be more of a boutique hotel, offering only 91 guestrooms, including 22 suites. This luxury hotel is steps away from the Granier Opera House as well as a short walk from the Rue de la Paix and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, two fashionable shopping streets.

The restaurant at the W Paris provides guests with a culinary experience unlike any other. The chef prepares the menu with extreme attention to detail, highlighting the best ingredients available each season. Be amongst the first to experience the W Paris, and prepare to get swept away by the beauty and romance that comes with the city of love and Valentine’s Day!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #18 The Peninsula Chicago

December 14, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #18 Spot we have The Peninsula Chicago, located on the Magnificent Mile, the heart and soul of Chicago.

Quick Facts about the The Peninsula Chicago:

-  Offers 339 rooms and suites that are decorated in a classical yet contemporary style which can be controlled using state-of-the-art interfaces located within the room.

- The Peninsula Spa was rated one of the top ten urban spas in the country, and houses an indoor pool and spa center that spans the top floors of the hotel, offering a breathtaking view of the city

- The Magnificent Mile is the shopping center of Chicago, with such amazing stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany and Co, and numerous other luxury brands.

- Three distinctive restaurants and a bar serve a variety of fine cuisine, including a chocolatier who concocts 25-40 different kinds of confectionary treats a night.

-The hotel offers children's packages that cater to the age of the child and the American Girl store next door.

- With a grand ballroom and six additional meeting spaces totaling over 14,000 sq. ft. of space, The Peninsula is a top-notch space for meetings and galas.

- The Peninsula has received the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award and Mobil Five Star awards as well as the Forbes 5-star Award for nearly every year since its opening in 2001.

View photos, read more, and check availability at The Peninsula Chicago >>


Incredible Deals at the Taj Campton Place Hotel

December 7, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Taj Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco is offering a few incredible offers and promotions that are too good to pass up! This luxurious, boutique hotel offers personalized service that accommodates the needs of all travelers, and its restaurant is one of the top San Francisco restaurants, offering award-winning European cuisine. Starting now, the Taj Campton Place Hotel has the following deals that’ll be sure to inspire you to explore the Bay Area.

Shop Til You Drop Package: The Taj Campton Place Hotel is located steps from San Fran’s shopping center of Union Square and San Francisco Centre. This package is perfect for those hoping to buy all of their holiday gifts and get a little something in return. This package includes a special San Francisco cable car ornament of blown-glass and VIP treatment at Bloomingdales including: an appointment with At Your Service personal shopper, a $75 gift card, a 15% off all-day savings certificate, a signature gift, a Dior makeup consultation, and personal package delivery service to Taj Campton Place for purchases of $250 or more. This package is subject to availability, valid until January 7th, 2012, and requires a minimum two night stay. (Blackout dates may apply)

Stay a Bit Longer Package: Extend your stay and experience a little more of this exciting city. This package allows guests to stay two nights, and get the third night free! This offer is limited to a maximum of two complimentary nights available per stay. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a three night stay. (Blackout dates apply) Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 

Suite Celebrations Package: Book a suite and enjoy a 50% discount on the second night. All of the suites at the Taj Campton Palace overlook Union Square, so you’ll get to enjoy an incredible deal along with an incredible view. This package is subject to availability, valid until March 31st, 2012, and requires a minimum of a two nights stay. Rates are subject to 14% occupancy and 1.5% tourism assessment fees, per room, per night. Please be advised that the rates are adjusted at checkout. 


Missoni Fashion and Décor at the Four Seasons Maui

November 29, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The 22 Knots Boutique in the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea recently partnered with Missoni to offer its full line of Italian décor as well as apparel to the beautiful city of Maui. Lee Ann Sauter, the CEO and Founder of Seaside Luxe states that “the Missoni collection is one we know our customer won’t want to leave the island without.” Two Missoni-inspired Cabanas have been added to the Serenity Pool, providing favorite beach accessories, pillows, blankets, and furnishings. 22 Knots Boutique will have Missoni’s latest collection of swimsuits, skirts, shorts, and accessories perfect for fashionable travelers.

Aside from incredible fashion options at the Four Seasons Maui at Wailea, Missoni also has two luxurious, 5-star resorts in the United Kingdom and Kuwait. Both of these resorts embrace the Missoni Way of making the world more beautiful and comfortable. The rooms and suites at the Missoni Hotel Edinburgh have a dynamic color scheme, unique patterns, and elegantly apply signature Missoni design notes. All of the rooms and suites at the Hotel Missoni Kuwait have stunning views overlooking the Arabian Gulf Road. The Missoni properties, style, and décor embrace elegance and warmth, and we encourage you to experience what these properties have to offer!


Weekend Trips from Washington D.C.: Middleburg and More

November 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Goodstone Inn and Estate, MiddleburgJust an hour west from Washington D.C., the rolling hills of Virginia's Piedmont make for a fantastic day trip or weekend outing from the nation's capital. A number of vineyards offer wine tastings (in Loudoun, Fauquier, and Rappahannock Counties), and for those seeking adventure, excellent hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains abound. This is horse country (read: you should dress the part) so pick up some threads in the charming stores that line Middleburg's main drag, where you'll also find all kinds of organic goodies at the Home Farm Store (Ayrshire Farm's gourmet retail shop). For a sweet treat and an excellent cup of coffee, Warrenton's Red Truck Bakery is *the* place to go.

Looking for a place to stay in the countryside? Folks make pilgrimages to The Inn at Little Washington in Rappahannock County for some of the best food you'll eat in the US of A. Another good bet: The Goodstone Inn and Estate, recently profiled by the good folks at Daily Candy. To quote: "Pretend you’re visiting a rich uncle’s estate at the welcoming Goodstone Inn & Restaurant. Book a room in the carriage house for breathtaking views or gather a weekend party group to rent an entire house (bonus: A chef can make your meals using local ingredients and freshly picked veggies from the garden). Then unwind in the spa or stroll the grounds to visit with farm animals."

For more information about visiting Virginia, check out Virginia is for Lovers, the Official Tourism Website of the Commonwealth of Virginia.


Girls Getaways: Moet Champagne Slumber Party at Mandarin Oriental New York

November 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental New YorkWe've seen our fair share of glam girls' getaway packages, but this might just take the cake. Who needs over-the-top Vegas revelry when when you can have Moët (and manis!) in Manhattan?! The Mandarin Oriental New York-- home to Nutcracker Afternoon Teas this holiday season-- has partnered with one of the world’s finest champagne houses to create a bubble-licious "Moët Champagne Slumber Party" for up to four friends. Celebrate NYC's best time of year with Christmas shopping, pampering, and bonding with your best friends over flutes of Moët Imperial Champagne. Here's what the package includes:

*One night in a suite for up to two people, or one night in a suite with a connecting room for up to four people

*Two bottles of Moët Imperial Champagne per suite/room

*Manicures and pedicures in the hotel’s five-star spa

*Saks Fifth Avenue VIP shopping experience with a Personal Style Consultant

*A selection of ‘girls’ night in’ movies

Package rates start from $3,250 for one night of suite-only accommodations for up to two people, and start from $5,000 for one night of suite with connecting room accommodations for up to four people. This package is available until April 30, 2012, is based on availability, and cannot be combined with other offers.


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.