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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.

Porto Zante’s De Luxe Villas on Zakinthos Island


By: Madelyn Giblin

Porto Zante GreecePorto Zante is a luxurious Villa-Hotel located on a private beach west of the Greek mainland. Private villas offer gorgeous poolside views overlooking spectacular sandy beaches and the open ocean. Located only 8 kilometers from the international airport, Porto Zante is both a remote get-away and accessible vacation scene.

Porto Zante De Luxe offers four different options for villas, accommodating anywhere from two to twelve people. Villas include bathrooms complete with Jacuzzi bathtubs and hydro jet showers. Each villa comes with living rooms and is fully air conditioned with a private parking area. Many of the villas also come with fireplaces and verandas. Enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area, providing a relaxing environment to kick back and enjoy the many delights this culturally rich area has to offer.

Rates start at 500 Euros ...


The Signature at MGM Grand Wins


By: Courtney W. May

MGM Signature TowerTripAdvisor.com has officially chosen The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas as the No. 1 "Best Luxury Hotel in the U.S." The TripAdvisor's 2008 Travelers' Choice Awards also recognized The Signature among the "Top 100 Best Luxury Hotels in the World" and the "Best Hotels in the World's 25 Most Popular Destinations." What makes the win so interesting is that the Signature does not offer a casino, is non-smoking only, and all-suites - no standard rooms here. While it is true guests can still use the MGM Grand for gambling and smoking, by booking the Signature, they get to enjoy a gated entrance and suites with balconies.

Note Bene: At 550 square feet, the MGM Signature Junior Suites are big on style and are the most basic, standard room category.


Ocean Front vs Ocean View Room Descriptions


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

People are frequently confused over the terms "ocean view" versus "ocean front" as found in hotel room descriptions. Cambridge Beaches oceanfrontMost beach resorts will try to best describe the room views to make sure guests are fully informed. In the rate terms, oceanfront (Cambridge Beaches pictured at left) means that you will have the best possible ocean views from your windows and, if available, balcony. Your room will be directly facing the ocean - frontage views. Of course, ocean-front rooms are always the most expensive as well. But if your idea is to lay in bed and look out over the ocean, these are the rooms that will guarantee you that opportunity.

 

On the other hand oceanview rooms (Cambridge Beaches pictured) will have some possible view of the ocean - whether it is out certain window to the side, available at an angle, or seen from the side of your balcony. Cambridge Beaches Ocean ViewOcean-view usually guarantees at least a sliver of ocean will be seen from somewhere inside, or even directly outside, your room. If seeing the ocean is really important to you - then you definitely need to reserve an ocean front room to be on the safe side and get the best possible views.


The Fabulous Evolution of the Hotel Mini-Bar


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-barIt all started back in 1963 with The Madison in Washington D.C., when the capital's landmark hotel decided to introduce a novelty: the in-room mini-bar! Fabulously convenient, stocked full of helpful items, the mini-bar is now universally appreciated (late-night snack binging!) and abhorred (scandalous overpricing!). Since its debut, the mini-bar has come a long way. In an era of truly over-the-top hotel amenities (baby butler service, pet pampering, unpacking and bath service), the mini-bar has been completely made over and sexed up.

Gramercy Park Hotel Mini-bar

Hotel Victor in Miami offers all kinds of decadent treats. A hotel this cool-- furnished by celebrity designer Jacques Garcia with retro furniture and an illuminated moon jellyfish tank in the lobby-- has gone one step further by introducing full-size in-room bars, stocked with a large range of liquor and "South Beach life-style essentials" like chilled eye masks.

The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta caters to female guests with practical items like stockings and nail-polish remover. Gentlemen, don't despair when you forget socks at home! The mini-bar is stocked with fresh pairs of black socks to match your dark suits.

Omni Hotels created Sensation Bars in cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco with all sorts of items to create soothing mini-spa treatments in-room. Think sleep inducing CDs, lavender pillow sprays, eucalyptus bath salts and mini Zen gardens.

Hotel Mela Mini-bar

But the biggest trend of late is sex kits in the mini-bar. NY's 60 Thompson and Miami's Sagamore may have "Shag Bags," and the Montalembert in Paris has a "petite love box," but the Hotel Gansevoort has ticklers!

On a recent trip to New York, we snapped these shots of the goodies on-hand at the Hotel Mela and Gramercy Park Hotel. The mini-bar at Hotel Mela isn't refrigerated; instead you'll find a basket spilling delicious snacks, drinks, and an "Intimacy Kit." What's inside? Lifestyles, lubricant, and individually wrapped life savers. (We just couldn't resist buying one. As a *cough* souvenir...)

The mini-bar at Gramercy Park is nothing short of awesome (check out the pix). T-shirts, sweet treats... They've also got an Intimacy Kit, of course, but it's as classy as they come. And if things get too rowdy, there's a first-aid kit, to boot.

Curious? Be careful when you take that item from the mini-bar! Most of today's "smart" minibars have infra-red sensors (or wireless technology, found at the sophisticated Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C.) that automatically records your purchase on your bill when you reach for, say, a bag of M&M's or something equally as tempting...

Photos Via Courtney May (top to bottom: mini-bar of Gramercy Park, Gramercy Park, Hotel Mela)


Highest Price per Room was The Point at Saranac Lake


By: Courtney W. May

The PointMore than $18 billion in upscale and luxury lodging facilities changed hands in 2007, according to Stephen Hennis, Managing Director of Hospitium. A total of 279 properties were traded last year and The Point at Saranac Lake in upstate New York garnered the highest price per room in 2007 at more than $2.7 million per room. With only 11 rooms on the property - $2.7 million per room is a steal when you consider that it has received the Mobil 5 Star award and is a member of Relais and Chateaux. Nightly room rates (they start around $1400 per night) are all-inclusive for two people, with carte blanche use of sports equipment and facilities, as well as three meals, afternoon tea, unlimited wine, liquor, and liqueurs from help-yourself bars open 24 hours a day. In the heart of the Adirondacks - on the shore of Upper Saranac Lake, The Point can be reached in six hours from Manhattan and three hours from Albany, New York. The hotel has a "Great Camp" motif with no phones and no televisions - definitely geared for people to get away.


Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London Unveils Six Exclusive Luxury Suites


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Carlton Tower Luxury SuiteLondon's celebrated hotel, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, has just announced the addition of six brand new luxury suites created by world-renowned interior designer Khuan Chew (the genius behind the stunning interiors at Dubai's seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel). Located smack dab in the middle of Knightsbridge, the Jumeriah Carlton Tower raises the bar for luxury in London: these new suites are simply oozing glamour and sophistication. Private lobbies sweep through to spacious lounges appointed with rich upholstered couches and dark wood furniture. Bedrooms are detailed with chrome studding set into the leather walls, modern light fixtures, and sumptuous bedding. The bathrooms, appropriately, are the largest in the hotel-- with deep infinity baths and rich red marble for the double sinks. The Six Luxury Suites can be booked as either a one- or two-bedroom suite starting from $3,610 for a one-bedroom suite and from $4,880 for a two-bedroom suite.

P.S. The hotel has also recently unveiled 92 refurbished rooms! You'll love the new pop-up TV at the foot of the bed, and mirror-vision concealed TVs in the bathrooms.


Tradition in New York City at The Carlyle


By: Lucy LeTourneau

Carlyle Window ViewUpon entering The Carlyle, as I did during a late evening arrival last week after a harrowing cab ride from New York's Penn Station that coincided with the end of a Rangers hockey game, I was immediately soothed by the simple but elegant surroundings and the friendly and welcoming hotel desk staff. A guest representative escorted me to my room, a Deluxe Suite on the 10th floor and gave me a quick tour. The suite was beautiful and felt very homey with hardwood floors and area rugs, vs. wall to wall carpeting we've come to expect in most hotel rooms. Even though my suite was directly across from the elevators, the rooms were amazingly quiet. Although I wasn't in the hotel long enough to enjoy the world famous Bemelmans Bar or Café Carlyle, this leaves a great excuse for less-harried return visit.

Scoop: The Carlyle is currently offering guests who book through FIVE STAR ALLIANCE a complimentary in-room continental breakfast daily.


Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi: The World’s Costliest Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Emirates PalaceGuess where President Bush stayed last weekend on his Middle East trip? The oil-rich outpost of the United Arab Emirates boasts the most extravagant luxury hotels in the world, like the seven-star Burj Al Arab where aquarium walls full of tropical fish line the escalators, and the world's largest fleet of Rolls-Royces is available for guests.

President Bush, arriving in Abu Dhabi over the weekend, stayed in one of the basketball-court-size "Ruler's Suites" at the Emirates Palace, which bills itself as the world's costliest hotel. At $3 billion, with 300 rooms, that comes out to $10 million a room.

In this spare-no-expenses kingdom, the opulent Emirates Palace stands out because of its brand new Anantara Spa. You'll find an enormous private treatment complex, Vichy shower suite, hammam with heated marble beds, and intricate architectural details: Moorish tile floors beneath a glowing domed ceiling. Return to your room, sauntering down the hallways shimmering with gold mosaics, and enjoy private butler service and Hermes bath amenities.

P.S. We hear the hotel's best suite is the 1,185-square-foot Khaleej Suite, overlooking the Persian Gulf.


The Perfect Eastern Shore Getaway: Suite Dreams Discount at The Inn at Perry Cabin


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Inn at Perry CabinWashingtonians, take heed. A blissful spa weekend is just a pleasant drive away- in the quaint Victorian town of St. Michaels on Maryland's Eastern Shore. The Inn at Perry Cabin is an idyllic hideaway, with a stunning spa which opened last summer to much acclaim. With signature treatments like the Linden Ritual and the Five Flower Solace, which incorporate local medicinal plants, the Linden Spa has proved itself worthy of all the buzz. Book the "Suite Dreams" package and get your second night at 50 percent off! Plus, you'll get a bottle of wine on arrival, and two tickets to the famed Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Starting from $495 (for the first night).


New Forum Tower Rooms at Caesars Palace Las Vegas


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Caesars Palace Forum Tower RoomCaesars Palace Las Vegas is the world's best known resort-casino, celebrating the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome in an 85-acre destination location that sets the standard for entertainment, dining and luxury. Caesars Palace is in the final stages of their Forum Tower renovations - where all the rooms, suites, corridors and elevator lobbies are being renovated top to bottom.

Forum Tower WashroomsAvailable to book as of January 31, 2008, with travel beginning in April, the new Forum Tower Rooms will be considered an upgrade room in addition to the Palace and Augustus Towers. Forum Tower Rooms will now feature two LCD televisions (the second built into the bath mirror), wired and wireless Internet service, iPod docking station, oversized showers with dual rain bath showerheads, plus more.