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.
November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Here'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.
October 24, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance
London 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.
October 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
Leave 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
October 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In typical New York Times fashion, Sunday's Travel section was a whopper. A fantastic piece on Paris by Matt Gross, Fall Foliage Deals in the "Practical Traveler" column, and "Caves and Kayaks in a Quiet Corner of Thailand." We were also pleased to see an in-depth review of one of our fave hotels, The James in New York. From its location at the edge of SoHo to its rooftop pool and art collection, it's hard to pinpoint what we love most about this place. Here's a memorable quote from the most venerable of papers:
...The hotel’s striking lobby offers free use of Apple computers, alongside free happy-hour wine with snacks. Each floor features work by a different contemporary artist, with explanatory texts and mobile tagging. There’s also a small rooftop bar and heated pool; a well-equipped gym; the Treetop terrace bar; and a restaurant, David Burke Kitchen, serving modern American fare. The mini-bar was chockfull of healthy organic snacks, as well as an “intimacy kit.”...
Bottom line: If you picture life as a magazine spread-- where the architecture is modern, the art cutting-edge and everything else organic or free-range — then the James New York may fit you to a T.
Interested in seeing photos or booking the hotel? Click here.
October 4, 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’d like to welcome you to our new blog series, Best of the Best, where we’ll be featuring the best and most luxurious resorts in various categories. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business by the prestigious World Luxury Hotel Awards, so you can relax and stop worrying about your upcoming trip, knowing that it truly will be the best of the best.
Today’s featured luxury hotel is the King George Palace, recipient of the Best Scenic View award in 2011. Located on Constitution Square, just steps from the Greek Parliament, this luxurious resort offers the best of Athens. Not only has the King George Palace received the prestigious award for hotel offering the best scenic view by the World Luxury Hotel Awards, but it has also been distinguished as one of the best hotels in Greece. This luxury boutique hotel has been home to Kings, Princes, and Presidents since the 1930s, and it will surely be your best home away from home. Be sure to visit the Acropolis, see the Parthenon, and stroll through the Agora, Athens’ central market. As your day draws to an end and as the sun is setting, dine at the rooftop restaurant of the King George Palace, and prepare to have your breath taken away by the incredible view of this phenomenal city.
September 29, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky
Tired of your typical vacation spots and looking to spice up your plans with a visit away from the norm? Then you’ll love our new blog series, Emerging Destinations! We’ll be featuring an exciting hotspot with every post that’s not your typical resort. So whether you’re looking for an exciting adventure or simply an escape to a new world, we guarantee to awaken the intrepid spirit in you, encouraging you to take a leap of faith and check out a new location for your next vacation!
Today’s featured destination is New Delhi, India. New Delhi is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, and according to the National Geographic’s Traveler Magazine, it’s one of the most incredible cities of a lifetime to visit and explore. For your trip to this emerging destination, consider staying at the Taj Mahal Hotel. New Delhi has gorgeous ancient monuments including Humayn’s Tomb and the Akshardam, a jaw-dropping Hindu temple, as well as a lively performing arts scene. Check into the Taj Mahal Hotel for a truly unique and eye opening experience. This luxury hotel has a warm, pristine lobby with details reminiscent of Mughal architecture. The Taj Mahal Hotel is an authentic showcase of artifacts, and the domes and panels perfectly compliment the marble fountain streams. Sound like the perfect escape from the hectic and an opportunity to see and view the tranquil beauty of a new destination? Then take the leap and connect with your inner self by booking your trip to India today!
September 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin
In just a few short weeks, Le Meurice in Paris will announce the winner of its 4th Annual Prize for Contemporary Art. The luxury palace hotel-- decorated with beautiful artwork and designer furniture by Philippe Starck-- created this annual art prize to highlight its commitment to young, up-and-coming artists who are shaking up the French art scene. Chosen from an exclusive group of 50 artists by a panel of acclaimed arts professionals, the winner will get to exhibit their work at Le Meurice, and they'll receive an endowment of 20,000 euros. There are now six finalists in the running, and we wish them luck!
* Nicolas Moulin (Galerie Chez Valentin), who will be exhibiting in Bratislava 2012
* Louidgi Beltrame (Galerie Jousse Entreprise), who will be exhibiting in Sao Paulo and Rio in 2010 and will also show at Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair in Mexico in 2012
* Emilie Pitoiset (Galerie Lucile Corty), who will be exhibiting at Galerie Klemm in Berlin in 2012
* Didier Faustino (Galerie Michel Rein), who will be exhibiting at the Fine Arts Museum in Taipei in 2012
* Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (Galerie Marcelle Alix), who will be exhibiting at The Serralves Foundation in Porto in 2012
* Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni (Galerie Loevenbruck), who will be exhibiting at the International Contemporary Art Fair "Art 43" in Basel in 2012
The Shedd opened on May 30, 1930 as Chicago's first stand-alone aquarium, launched by the retired president of Marshall Field & Company, John G. Shedd. Today the popular attraction houses nearly 22,000 aquatic animals representing some 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters all over the world. Experience the historic Shedd Aquarium, a.k.a., "The World's Aquarium," with a special package from The Blackstone Hotel. Priced from $179 per night, the Aquarium Escape! includes two VIP non-timed/non-dated tickets to the Shedd Aquarium (read: no waiting in lines!) along with your overnight accommodations at The Blackstone. What's more, you'll be given a complimentary upgrade to a "View Room." Based on availability Thursday - Sunday only; valid through December 31, 2011.
Thomas Crown strikes again... This time at a five-star hotel. Last Saturday, a Rembrandt drawing valued at more than $250,000 was stolen from a private exhibition at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Marina Del Ray. Called "The Judgment" the pen and ink etching was made in 1655, one of 700 drawings by the Old Master. The police say the heist was carefully orchestrated; an accomplice distracted the curator while the thief made off with the drawing in a matter of minutes. Rembrandts are favored by art thieves, says The Telegraph, recalling the 1972 theft of three paintings from Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardiner museum.