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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.

Living La Dolce Vita: The Nijinsky Suite, Hotel de Russie, Rome

April 11, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Russie, RomeSituated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is a stylish retreat in the very heart of Rome. Celebs flock to de Russie for its picturesque terraced gardens-- a true rarity in a bustling city-- and fine health club with hydropool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and Turkish steam bath. Don't miss the martinis served with caviar at the elegant Stravinskij Bar. For a truly unforgettable stay, book the Nijinsky Suite, the most exclusive Presidential Suite in the Eternal City. Sprawling over the sixth and top floor of the hotel, the Suite boasts a large terrace overlooking the butterfly garden and the rooftops of Rome. Lounge in the comfortable sitting area, surrounded by flowers. Too much sun? Adjust the electric movable canopy. Inside the Suite, you'll find a king bedroom, spacious dressing room, marble and mosaic bathroom with tub and separate shower, steam bath, living area with plasma TV, kitchen, and dining room with separate bar area.

Until April 30, 2008, take advantage of the "Living La Dolce Vita" offer-- a 2-night stay in the unparalleled Nijinsky Suite which also includes the following:

• Daily Buffet Breakfast

• Oysters and Louis Roederer Champagne in room upon arrival

• Transfer from and to the Airport by private sedan

• Early morning private tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

• 2 hour ride around the glamorous shopping district of Rome with the De Russie Mobile (electric car)

• Romantic Dinner for two at Le Jardin de Russie Restaurant (beverage not included)

• 50 minute "Colour Massage" for two in the exclusive "Double Room" of the De Russie Wellness Zone

Priced at EUR 6,900.


New York City: Artistically Inclined at The Gramercy Park

April 7, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

Gramercy Park Hotel Guest Room 1201During my recent stay in New York, the Gramercy Park Hotel on 21st Street and Lexington Avenue, right on Gramercy Park was one of the properties that I got the chance to experience. I stayed on the 12th floor in room 1201, which is a Deluxe Loft with a view of the inner courtyard. The colors and design were in keeping with the hotel's claim of featuring a "vivid Renaissance color palette inspired by Raphael". The room featured a large bathroom, seating area, and King size, overstuffed bed. During my stay I ....

    - ate appetizers and had drinks at Wakiya Gramercy Park Hotel - and thanks to the recommendation of the bartender - the soup dumplings on the Dim Sum menu were absolutely wonderful,

    - had reservations for a girlfriend and I at the Rose Bar (I got in!) on a Saturday night where we sat next to the fire and drank martinis,

    - enjoyed a continental breakfast on the Private Roof Club and Garden (where J.Lo had her baby shower the previous evening)

    - and exercised in the Aerospace Fitness Centre.

Rates for the Deluxe Loft are usually around $725 (I received a 50% discount). I of course took photos during my stay - and you can see them all HERE or a few individual ones below ...

Gramercy Park Hotel RooftopThe Roof Club and Garden on the 16th floor uses "artist Julian Schnabel's vivid color palette of dazzling Renaissance colors" where "custom furniture and fittings weave through the space in a breathtaking series of seamless indoor and outdoor areas." The space also features a room which "includes a ceiling light installation that evokes the notion of a chandelier in the movie Blade Runner."Gramercy Park Hotel Rooftop

I especially enjoyed the Garden portion of the Rooftop space, with a retractable roof 16 stories above the city. For the continental breakfast, hotel guests were seated in sofas and chairs around coffee tables, and the food spread included fruits, pastries, cereals, yogurts, and breads. The waiters made sure to clear the tables and refilled orange juice and coffee.

View more photos or plan your visit to the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City >>


Live Royally in New York City at The Carlyle - The Royal Suite

April 3, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

The CarlyleI recently traveled to New York City on business, and of course in my line of work, I stayed in three hotels over the course of five nights. One of those properties was The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, located on Madison Avenue at 76th Street. The hotel strives for a "private residential atmosphere" and they more than succeed. The dedication to creating that feeling is demonstrated by the Managing Director choosing to live on the property with his family.

I was spoiled like a princess at The Carlyle in the hotel's "Royal Suite" - room 2209. The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 FloorplanThe Royal Suite is located on the 22nd floor along with three other suites and is a short ride with the white-gloved elevator operator from the lobby. The Carlyle's Royal Suite floor-plan (click on the image at right) doesn't do justice to how spacious the Royal Suite actually feels. After stepping inside, I thought I had entered into someone's Park Avenue apartment with gorgeous hardwood floors, area rugs, and fabric wall coverings.

According to The Carlyle -

    With just 187 rooms and suites distributed among the hotel's 60 residential apartments, The Carlyle offers the exclusive ambience of an Upper East Side pied-a-terre. The Royal Suite is an elaborate two-bedroom suite offers 1,700 square feet of living space and features both a king-bedded and twin-bedded bedroom. There is a full kitchen, dining room for six, two marble bathrooms, a double-high ceiling in the raised living room, grand piano and mantle fireplace. This suite is located on the 22nd floor and features views sweeping skyline and East River views. Tastefully appointed and individually decorated by Alexandra Champalimaud, the Royal Suite features original hardwood floors, area rugs, luxurious fabrics and linens, and unique artwork adorning its walls.

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Living Room ViewThe hotel's description fails to mention that from the kitchen, dining room, and master bedroom you can see views of New York's Central Park - and that these impressive views are from windows which open all the way ... without screens or safety nets. I loved it, but I can imagine it would be terrifying for others.

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 2nd BedroomAfter wandering through the suite for a half hour, I called friends of mine who live in New York and invited them to share the second bedroom of the suite. I thought they might enjoy the extra space! The suite easily fits four adults or two adults and two children. The sofas are not pull-out for sleeping, but I can admit that I did take a small nap in one accidentally.

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Stairway to Living Room I honestly have nothing but wonderful things to say about The Carlyle's Royal Suite and amenities. The suite has a very regal feel with rich colors, black marble and deep woods – but the large open windows, mirrored walls, and high ceilings keep it from being oppressive. The standard published rack rate for the Royal Suite is $6000 USD per night for 2 adults (I personally did not pay that much!). The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 2nd BathroomThe most standard, basic rooms at The Carlyle start at $755 USD per night for two adults. Just for comparison sake, the hotel's most spectacular suite is the 2600 square foot duplex on floors 28 and 29 which features three bedrooms, full park views in the tower and is $15000 USD per night.

Below are more photos I took during my stay in the Royal Suite as well as two that the hotel provides as the stock photography for the suite presentation. The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Living RoomThe representation is very accurate.

My picture of the living room area from the top of the stairs - looking towards the fireplace to the right, piano straight ahead, desk and television to the left. (I wish I had a better camera or lighting for this one).

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Master Bedroom The main bedroom with king bed, door to the right, standing in the bathroom doorway. There was an iPod docking station, multiple closets, television, great views, and of course slippers and robes for two.

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Masterbath The main bedroom's bathroom is pictured with open French doors looking towards the sink area straight ahead, shower and toilet to the left, sunken tub to the right.

The Carlyle Hotel NYC Royal Suite - Dining Area The Carlyle Royal Suite dining area - the mini bar is in the cabinets and six person dining table is in the middle of the room to the left.

The Carlyle Hotel Royal Suite - #2209 Grand Piano The working grand piano located in the living room area.

The 2 stock photos provided by the hotel ...

The Carlyle Royal Suite Living Room New York The Carlyle Royal Suite Bedroom New York City - Stock Photo

Don't forget - Guests who make their reservations through Five Star Alliance for The Carlyle will receive a special welcome gift upon check-in, a $50.00 food and beverage credit as well as a complimentary in-room continental breakfast daily for up to two guests.

Learn More about The Carlyle Hotel in New York City >>


Toe-Testing the Waters at the Regent Bal Harbour

April 2, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

For those guests who are tired of getting into the shower only to find the water is not the temperature you wanted, the brand new Regent Bal Harbour has the ultimate amenity for you. Its palatial showers, with floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean also have custom "toe testers." Each shower has a faucet groove for guests to dip their toes in to test the temperature of the water before turning on the head to enjoy a relaxing shower. Enjoy the oceanfront Regent Bal Harbour - the first luxury hotel to open in Bal Harbour Village in over 50 years.


Suite Package Deal in Prague at the Hotel Palace Praha

March 25, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Palace PrahaDating from 1909, the Art Nouveau-style Hotel Palace Praha is smack dab in the middle of Prague, just a stone's throw from Wenceslas Square. In addition to the 114 guest rooms, combining traditional elegance with all the modern comforts, the hotel boasts some to-die-for suites with marvelous views of Prague Castle: 3 Junior Suites, 2 stylish Old Town Suites located on the 6th and 7th floors, the Opera Suites with white Carrara and Rosso Verona marble bathrooms and state-of-the-art entertainment systems (and views of the State Opera), and the 5th floor Art Nouveau Suite. Our favorite is the 6th floor Palace Suite with its private sauna and balcony. When you book the Suite Package at the Hotel Palace Praha, you'll experience pure luxury in the heart of Prague with some excellent add-ons including a 3-course candle-lit dinner in Gourmet Club Restaurant-- awarded one of "The Top 10 International Restaurants in Prague." Priced from just EUR 335 per night in a Junior Suite and available through the end of 2008, the package includes luxurious accommodation in one of the suites, daily full buffet breakfast in L'Epoque Restaurant, welcome drink upon arrival, home made chocolate pralines in-room, 3-course candle-lit dinner, free access to the hotel sauna and business center, and a voucher to the nearby Fitness center (use of fitness, indoor pool, whirpool and steam bath).


Suite Luxury: Fabulous Faena’s 3 New Lavish Suites in Buenos Aires

March 24, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

Faena Hotel + UniverseThe opulent and gorgeous Faena Hotel + Universe in Buenos Aires is just one distinctive part of the Faena Art District in BA, Argentina. With lavish restaurants and bars, authentic theater spaces, an exceptional wine cellar, world-class spa, and top-tier accommodations, the hotel has topped itself once again. At the end of 2007, 3 over-the-top, extremely lavish suites were introduced to the property – F Suite, Tower Suite, and Imperial Suite (click on the images below for the bigger pictures).

F Suite Living Room The F Suite, the most exclusive suite in Latin America, is a wholly private and impeccably appointed 1,291 square foot residence located on the 6th floor of Faena Hotel + Universe featuring two bedrooms (1 pictured), three bathrooms, living (pictured) and dining rooms, a kitchen, a library and outstanding panoramic views of the Faena Art District, embankment and city center of Buenos Aires. Additional amenities include a marble bathroom with rain forest shower and Jacuzzi and a state of the art in-room entertainment center with three 42-inch plasma screens.

Atop Faena Hotel + Universe is the Tower Suite, a triplex suite with exceptional views of Rio de la Plata and the MicaelaBastidas Park. The centerpiece of the suite is a fiber optic teardrop crystal lamp that shifts from amber to blue to green to purple, located at the foot of the stairway and specially created for the suite. Imperial Suite terrace The two bedroom, two bathroom suite also includes living and dining rooms, marble bathroom with jacuzzi and relaxation area, an outdoor terrace and flat screen home theaters in the living room and bedroom.

Imperial Suite living room.jpgWith two outdoor terraces, offering double 180-degree views that face east and west, supplying idyllic panoramic views of city and river, sunrise and sunset is the Imperial Suite. Inside, a spacious living/dining room with sliding glass windows, kitchen, cloakroom and one super king-sized bedroom and bathroom make the Imperial Suite perfect for honeymooners or any other romantic escape.  Imperial Suite bathroom The marble-floored bathroom features a Philippe-Starck designed jacuzzi and separate shower, while the living room and bedroom each boast home theaters with flat screens and surround sound.

All suites include one of Faena Hotel + Universe's famous personal Experience Managers, high-speed wireless internet connections and automatic red velvet curtains with Venetian blinds.

Faena Hotel + Universe is known for ultimate luxury and the F Suite, Tower Suite and Imperial Suite continue the tradition of welcoming guests with exceptional service and luxe comforts.


The New Bottega Veneta Suite at St. Regis Grand Hotel, Rome

March 18, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Grand Hotel RomeThe St. Regis Grand-- the opulent icon in Rome-- is known for its sumptuous interiors. And now guests can choose to stay in the seductive Bottega Veneta suite, designed by Tomas Maier and unveiled in October 2007. Appointed with a mix of furnishings from the Bottega Veneta home collection and traditional pieces, the suite is even perfumed with a signature room fragrance. The expansive space is comprised of a foyer, three bedrooms (two with separate sitting areas), three baths, and a living room with a fireplace. Guests can expect the legendary service for which the hotel is renowned; 24-hour butler service is the norm for all guest rooms.


Luxury Fairytale Resort in the Himalayas at Wildflower Hall

March 14, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Wildflower HallIf you want to experience the magnificence of the Himalayas while staying in style, Wildflower Hall, located in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh, India, is the place to be. Situated at 8,350 feet in pine and cedar forest, Wildflower Hall offers a variety of activities for those who love the outdoors and those who love to be pampered. The surrounding area offers hours of entertainment in hiking, biking, horseback riding, and even a fully stocked archery court. In addition the hotel also offers a tranquil and relaxing spa, with a variety of therapies from around the globe. Rooms are furnished with exquisite decorations, and offer spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. The hotel also offers a full list of business amenities, including meeting rooms, board rooms, and fully equipped business center to meet all of your needs. For a truly grand stay, check out Wildflower Hall's exceptional Lord Kitchener Suite, named for the former resident of the hall; it features a four poster bed and separate second bedroom.


A Las Vegas Wedding - Not Always What You Expect

March 12, 2008
By: Christina Vasquez

the ventianWhen many people think about Las Vegas weddings they think of a quick ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator, in a drive-through chapel on the old Vegas Strip. However within the walls of the fine luxury hotels on Las Vegas Blvd. are hidden gems of amazing wedding options that break the stereotypical mold of a Las Vegas wedding. For me personally my best hotel experience by far has been at The Venetian. Granted I am very partial to this property as it holds wonderful memories of the day when my husband and I were married within this charming Las Vegas hotel. Our wedding day was far from the typical Vegas wedding; it was elegant, intimate and included all the personal touches that we asked for. We were pleasantly surprised at the amount of options that the hotel offers for weddings, including a personal wedding planner, suites and ballrooms for receptions of every size, and floral and video services available on site to ensure our every expectation was met. The specialized treatment that we received from the wedding planners and hotel staff was impeccable and the romantic setting and accommodations provided to us by The Venetian made our wedding day even more memorable. You will find great wedding packages offered at many hotels such as Caesars Palace, Bellagio and the Venetian. These hotels have created customized wedding packages that range from small intimate ceremonies to grand traditional ceremonies-- and everything in between!


The Colony Villas at Half Moon Bay

February 27, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Colony Villas at Half MoonLocated in the exclusive Rose Hall area in Jamaica, the Colony at Half Moon, scheduled to open in 2010, offers unparalleled views overlooking beachfront property near Montego Bay. Located within the Half Moon Resort, the Colony will feature 30 luxurious villas offering a choice of three, four, or five bedroom villas, all with personal pool, dining area, gardens, terraces and verandas. The Colony at Half Moon is an experience unlike any other in the Caribbean. Each bedroom will have a private bathroom, and each villa is provided with its own personal cook, gardener, housekeeper, butler and laundress. In addition to the wealth of activities to do at your personal villa, the Colony at Half Moon also offers a variety of services and facilities including a spectacular golf course, the Spa at Half Moon, multiple bars and restaurants, a dolphin lagoon, equestrian centre and a shopping village. Enjoy a unique Jamaican vacation in style.

Publisher Update: I just received the following note from the hotel with updates:

Much in the spirit of the founding families of Half Moon, The Colony is a singular opportunity for visitors to our treasured resort to become a part of the Half Moon heritage through ownership of a luxurious villa at The Colony at Half Moon.

These opulent, spacious three-, four- and five-bedroom villas will offer both villa owners and guests an unparalleled level of comfort, service and amenities. Planned for 14 acres of Half Moon's 400-acre estate, visitors to The Colony at Half Moon will enjoy an even deeper sense of home with the attentive care of a butler, cook, housekeeper, laundress and gardener in surroundings designed to offer the very best of gracious Caribbean living.

The Colony at Half Moon signals the final phase of a vision that began in 2003 to bring about a renaissance at Half Moon that would see our beloved resort being a part of the legacy for another generation of guests. Step by step with your unwavering support, we have renovated, refurbished and upgraded the facilities, services and amenities offered at Half Moon. The feedback from you and your clients have been invaluable in helping to shape and guide the direction we have taken over the years. With this new offering and all that The Colony villas promise, we are confident that we will have a product to which you will be even more proud to send your clients.

Equally, we are mindful of the treasured clients you will continue to send to Half Moon while The Colony is being erected. Let me assure you that every measure is being planned to ensure that any work relating to The Colony will have minimal impact on the comfort, enjoyment and experience you and your clients have come to expect of Half Moon. Thanks to the vast space and layout of Half Moon, The Colony has been planned for a small area of our 400 acres that is away from guest accommodations. We are confident that our mutual clients will continue to have memorable experiences at Half Moon and will enjoy even more the experience The Colony will offer.

For your information, please find attached aerial views of the resort that outline the space designated for The Colony at Half Moon. Also attached are renderings of the aesthetic hoardings and pathways planned for the site. We have also included for your interest architectural renderings of The Colony villas. While work is scheduled to begin within the next 16 months, much of that is contingent on the success of the project's pre-sale efforts. The response to this offer has been very positive and we believe the project should remain on schedule with an estimated completion in late 2010.