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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.

Hotels with a History: Carolina Inn

January 17, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Built in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill, a successful businessman and alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Carolina Inn was constructed “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni and University visitors.” In 1935, John Sprunt Hill donated the Inn to the University under the condition that all profits to go towards “the maintenance and support of the University library, and especially for the support of the collection of books and papers known as the North Carolina Collection,” and his wish is still carried out today.

The Carolina Inn is centrally located in downtown Chapel Hill within walking distance of shopping, art galleries, and the historic Franklin Street district, and it architecturally embraces the rich history of the south. The Inn was originally designed after the Potomac River front of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, and it has elements of Southern plantation houses as well as Georgian neoclassical attributes. The Carolina Inn is a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and it is beautifully furnished with antiques and historical images. The history, culture, and warm story behind it make the Carolina Inn a luxury property worth exploring.


Win 2 Free Nights at the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in New York City!

January 16, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel is one of the incredible 5 star properties participating in the Five Star Alliance Giveaway! Located in the heart of Manhattan with incredible views of Central Park, the Carlyle is one of the best and most luxurious hotels in New York City. This hotel is a timeless classic and has been called home by industry leaders since its debut in 1930. The professional staff and the world class dining and entertainment provide guests with endless opportunities to take in everything New York City has to offer. Each of the Carlyle’s 180 rooms and suites has been individually decorated and appointed with the finest fabrics and furnishings. Certain accommodations feature private terraces, grand pianos, and breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel for a romantic weekend, a business trip, or a gathering with friends, the Carlyle certainly has every amenity and room type to meet and exceed your expectations.

The Five Star Alliance Giveaway is offering a chance to win 2 free nights for 2 adults at the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in New York City or 3 free nights for 2 adults at the 41 Hotel in London! The choice is entirely up to the winner. To enter, simply ‘like’ Five Star Alliance on Facebook by March 1st, 2012. For contest details, we encourage you to check out our Facebook page or visit the contest page on our website. We are absolutely thrilled to have partnered with the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, and we cannot wait to award a lucky winner the opportunity to experience one of the best and most luxurious hotels in New York City!


Claude Monet Exhibit Opening at Bellagio las Vegas

January 4, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance

Known for exhibitions that showcase exceptional art in an unrivaled setting, Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art (BGFA) presents “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light” opening Feb. 18, 2012.

Organized in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), this landmark exhibition will feature works that illustrate the height of Claude Monet’s engagement with color and light. BGFA will showcase 20 pieces by Monet, the founder of French Impressionist painting, accompanied by eight additional canvases by the master’s predecessors and contemporaries. All of these works are drawn from the MFA, which holds one of the largest collections of paintings by Claude Monet outside of Paris.

“Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art’s mission has always been to present exhibitions that engage and excite lovers of all genres of art, from classical to modern to contemporary,” said BGFA Director Tarissa Tiberti. “Exhibiting Monet and the French Impressionists provides historical background to some of the more contemporary shows we have presented over the last three years.”

Spanning four decades of Monet’s career and featuring many of the artist’s most celebrated and recognized paintings, “Claude Monet: Impressions of Light” will also highlight paintings by other masters of the genre including Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Camille Pissarro and Eugene Louis Boudin. It was from Monet’s collaboration with these painters, along with his solitary explorations of the French countryside, that his own signature style eventually emerged.

After exploring Monet's incredible masterpieces, check into the Bellagio and take in the beauty of the Lake Bellagio, the pristine pools, and the stunning courtyards. 

This article information originally appeared on our sister website, Travel Agent Central.


A Luxury Traveler’s Bucket List: Prague, Czech Republic

January 4, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions and managed to stop going to the gym or taking those cooking classes come February. This year, make a commitment to a simpler, more fulfilling resolution: travel more. Take in what the world has to offer, and do it in style. Be sure to keep up with our new blog series where we’ll be featuring an incredible destination everyone should visit in his/her lifetime. Consider this list a tool to give you a few ideas and inspiration on exciting places to go, where to stay, and what to see!

Our first feature destination today is Prague, Czech Republic.

About Prague:

Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic has a rich history and culture running through its narrow, cobblestone streets. Prague is a city of resilience, persevering through floods, fires, and invasions, making it extremely unique and captivating. This city’s breathtaking churches, Gothic-style architecture, the castle, and the Charles Bridge all make this one of the most incredible cities in Europe.

Must-See Attractions:

The most famous landmark is the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle complex in the world. It is open daily and is home to the Czech Crown Jewels. Witness the changing of the guard at the top of every hour and opt in for a guided tour to take in the history and beauty of the castle. Another must-see attraction is the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Prague. Both ends of the bridge are reinforced by towers, and the entrance gate is beautifully adorned with Gothic sculptures.  For other must-see attractions, we encourage you to explore the list of the Top 10 Prague Monuments, put together by PragueWelcome.com

Local Cuisine:

Be sure to try the pork or beef dumplings called ‘Knedliky,’ fried cheese, and their onion and garlic soup. And of course, be sure to try traditional, Czech beer as well!

Luxurious Accommodations:

Prague has 26 luxurious hotels. A few worth checking out are the Augustine and the Boscolo Carlo IV. The Augstine has been created from several buildings, including the 13th century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. The hotel’s beautiful rooms all have stunning views of the courtyards, the monastery chapel, or Prague Castle. The Boscolo Carlo IV is another incredible hotel, and it offers unique amenities such as a Cigar Bar and an indoor pool with a striking Mosaic floor. This hotel encompasses a magical blend of the past and future in its architectural design and room décor.

Have you been to Prague? Where did you stay? We encourage you to get involved and tell us about your excursions on our Facebook or Twitter page!


Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012: The Henry Jones Art Hotel

December 15, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.

The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.

The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Tasmania, Australia is featured on the Gold List 2012: Best for ambiance and design. This luxury hotel is the first and only dedicated art hotel in Australia. It presents an atmosphere that allows guests to enjoy art in a unique manner. The public areas in the hotel have 300 paintings and sculptures, many of which are for sale. There are beautiful works of art in every guest room, exposing guests to sophisticated art all the while providing them with a luxurious experience.


The Best of New England: Mandarin Oriental Boston and Blantyre Resort Team Up

November 15, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Mandarin Oriental BostonThe Mandarin Oriental Boston has partnered with Blantyre Resort to offer guests an unforgettable taste of New England in both the city and the countryside. Not only will you get a dose of Boston's history and culture, but you'll also get to relax in the heart of the Berkshires on Blantyre's sprawling 117-acre estate. The "East Meets West" package-- connecting Eastern and Western Massachusetts via the MA turnpike-- offers exclusive rates and services at these two stylish properties. Starting from $595 and valid until December 20, 2011, the package includes the following:

At Mandarin Oriental, Boston: * Upgrade to next available room type at time of check-in, based on availability * Daily full American breakfast for two at Asana restaurant * Two welcome signature cocktails in M Bar & Lounge overlooking bustling Boylston Street * $50 credit towards a treatment at the five-star spa * Two tickets to Top of the Hub's Skywalk Observatory atop The Prudential Building, located steps from the hotel * Minimum two-night stay

At Blantyre: * Upgrade to next available room type at time of check-in, based on availability * Daily Breakfast for two at the Main House restaurant * $200 resort credit * Complimentary tickets to Edith Wharton’s The Mount Estate & Gardens and Norman Rockwell Museum * Minimum two-night stay


Squaw Valley Offers More than Just Skiing

November 14, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The winter months are rolling in, and that means it’s time to put away the shorts and start waxing your skis and snowboards. Squaw Valley, an incredible world class resort offers 4,000 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of various ages and skill levels. My family is a group of avid skiers, and I have had the opportunity to ski at most of the resorts surrounding Lake Tahoe, so I can confidently say that Squaw Valley is one of the best resorts with some of the toughest runs, but it’s also a resort that offers a lot more than just incredible slopes.

Come spring and summer, Squaw Valley offers access to its Umbrella Bar, the only mountain top bar in the United States with a pool and hot tub. This favorite drinking spot offers a relaxed environment to spend time with friends while making new ones. The Umbrella Bar is surrounded by breath-taking mountain views, making it the perfect place to relax after a day of outdoor adventures.

Hop on to the Cable Car and ride 2,000 vertical feet to High Camp. Check out the Olympic Museum and learn about the 1960 Olympics which took place at Squaw Valley. High Camp also serves as the gateway to beginner terrain, allowing visitors to enjoy access to plenty of wide, gentle slopes perfect for beginners developing their skills.

For luxurious accommodations located steps from the slopes, consider the Resort at Squaw Creek. This hotel provides ski-in/ski-out access, on-site cross country ski center, 18-hole championship golf course, heating swimming pools, waterslide, and beautiful hiking and biking trails.


Christmas at Plaza Athénée, Paris: Plant Your Own Tree at the Palace of Versailles

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisHere's your chance to "plant your roots in French History" at the Château de Versailles. Talk about cool Christmas gifts! The Hotel Plaza Athénée, the luxurious Parisian palace hotel, is offering you a special limited-time special offer to buy a Christmas tree and plant it at the legendary Château, where you'll have your name engraved, and get free access to the Château de Versailles for one year. Not only that, you'll also receive your very own ownership certificate to show off to friends back home. The sprawling palace-- a symbol of royal opulence-- is surrounded by an important forest, currently being replanted by local governmental organizations. To be part of the legend, you must act fast! The Plaza Athénée's "My Private Tree" offer is limited to 10 available trees. Here's what's included in the package, priced from 1428 euros in a Deluxe Room (with guaranteed upgrade to a Junior Suite):

* At Château de Versailles: Your own Tree (Value 1000 euros) only 10 trees available; Ownership certificate; Your name engraved at the Château de Versailles; Free access to the Château de Versailles for one year

* At the Plaza Athénée: Daily Continental breakfast for two and a bottle of organic Champagne with your luxurious accommodations

Rates are per night for a two nights stay minimum. Available until December 28, 2011.


Special Offers in London: Free Afternoon Tea at Hotel 41

October 24, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel 41, LondonLondon is buzzing with excitement this time of year, and almost impossibly festive when it comes time for Christmas. For those looking to experience the merriment, hop the pond for some holiday shopping, theatrical shows, and open-air ice skating on the huge rink outside the Natural History Museum (open from November 4, 2011- January 8, 2012). Shop til you drop, then tuck into a mountain of cakes, scones and pastries for Afternoon Tea. When you book a two-night stay at the Hotel 41-- a discreet five-star hotel directly opposite the Royal Mews and just behind Buckingham Palace-- you'll get an Afternoon Tea thrown in for free. The boutique hotel is known for its fine service; staff outnumber guests two-to-one, and the thoughtful touches really impress guests. At turndown, the staff puts floating candles in your bath and sprays lavender on your pillow, while the pet concierge makes sure that Fido is as pampered as you are.

The "Complimentary Afternoon Tea" offer is available on all room types and suites with a minimum two night stay. Available from now until December 23, 2011, and between January 2 and February 13, 2012. Black-out dates may apply.

Another tempting offer: Check into one of the Hotel 41's luxurious suites for two nights and stay a 3rd night free. Includes welcome drink on arrival, use of the Pantry and Butler service.


Take the Family to Rome: Homemade Gelato and More at Hotel Hassler

October 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Hassler RomaLeave it to the Hotel Hassler, recently voted the No. 1 hotel in Rome in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, to pull out all the stops to delight even its pint-size guests. A new "Family Escape Package," available from November 1, 2011- October 31, 2012, spoils the kids with homemade ice cream, milk and cookies before bedtime, and a special gift at check-in (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny). The Hassler's concierge can arrange all manner of family-friendly activities- like a private lunch in an ancient alley or Roman piazza, a trip to the Museo dei Bambini (Children's Museum of Rome), or a carriage or helicopter ride. Of course if you're in need of some alone time in the Eternal City, babysitters are on call to keep your kids happily entertained at the Hassler. Set atop the Spanish Steps in a postcard-perfect setting, the Hotel Hassler has dazzling views. These panoramas can also be gaped at from the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, Imàgo. Based on double occupancy for a family of four and priced from €614 - €934 per night (approximately US$845-US$1,285), the package includes:

* Three nights' accommodation in two Deluxe or Grand Deluxe rooms

* Private check-in for children with a special gift (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny)

* Daily buffet breakfast

* Milk and cookies before bedtime

* 'Ice Cream Pleasure' - a selection of the Hassler's home-made ice cream

* In-room movie for the entire family

* Optional babysitter for four hours per day