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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.

Swing Music by the Olaf Olsen Quartet: Teatime at Le Meurice in Paris

March 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La Dali at Le Meurice, ParisLe Meurice is celebrating the arrival of spring in Paris with some music-filled afternoons. The Olaf Olsen quartet-- comprised of a bass player, drummer, pianist and the famous singer-- will be jazzing up Le Dali, the Philippe Starck-designed restaurant and lounge, on April 15th, 16th, and 17th from 4- 7 pm. Perfectly located between the Place de la Concorde and the Louvre museum, opposite the Tuilleries Gardens, the palace hotel is the ideal place to stop to recharge with a cup of tea after shopping on the Rue Saint Honoré or gazing at the Mona Lisa. The Afternoons called "Swing in Meurice" consist of three sets of about 35 minutes each. The quartet play old jazz and swing classics, and also delight guests with songs from Broadway musicals and films. The Dali-inspired setting alone is worth the trip. Beneath a giant canvas painted by Ara Starck (the famous designer's daughter), the restaurant is filled with whimsical designer pieces like Dali-esque chairs with feet in the form of ladies shoes, lamps with drawers, and lobster-shaped telephones.


Normady Celebrates 1100 Years: Stay at the Chateau La Cheneviere near Omaha Beach

March 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau La Cheneviere, NormandyHappy birthday, Normandy! (1,100 years isn't exactly small potatoes.) Eleven centuries after the signing of the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte which created the regional dukedom, Normandy is fêting the occasion with celebratory events and festivals galore in 2011. Plan a jaunt to France to mark the anniversary and revel in Normandy's Viking past. While you're there, make a pilgrimage to the D-Day landing beaches; explore Mont St Michel; marvel at the charming seaport of Honfleur, adored by the Impressionists; and gasp at the incredible Bayeux tapestry, a UNESCO-listed treasure. Looking for accommodations? A stay at the Château La Chenevière-- a veritable 18th-century castle nestled in beautiful gardens-- is an experience in itself. Not far from Omaha Beach and the historic town of Bayeux, the chateau-hotel has 29 charming guest rooms, recently renovated with new beds, sumptuous fabrics, and carpets. In the grand dining room, tuck into classic French cuisine highlighting Normandy's flavors. The heated outdoor pool and terrace are ideal for soaking up the chateau ambiance after exploring the nearby touristic sites.

Hot deal: Book with Five Star Alliance and you'll get a bountiful buffet breakfast when you choose the exclusive "Five Star Alliance" rate. You'll also enjoy a special in-room gift: a bottle of Pommeau and caramels.


Suite Escapes: The Rome Cavalieri Offers VIP Access to Karl Lagerfeld Exhibit

March 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Rome CavalieriWhen you shack up in a suite at The Rome Cavalieri, the super-swank hotel that's a member of the Waldorf Astoria Collection, you'll get the five-star treatment all the way-- from truly opulent surroundings (a dazzling art collection and a private balcony) to special VIP services. Case in point: The Rome Cavalieri has recently announced that guests of the four super suites get VIP access to the Chiostro del Bramante’s latest photography exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: Working Path.” This new offering is fitting for the hotel who has a strong affinity for Lagerfeld. After all, the Penthouse and Planetarium Suites are appointed with sofas designed by the acclaimed fashion designer, photographer and artist, bought at auction through Sotheby’s in Monte Carlo. The hotel itself is decked out with a talked-about art collection of masterpieces. The Rome Cavalieri is also home to the Michelin three-starred restaurant, La Pergola.

Available until April 10, 2011, the offer also includes complimentary transportation to/from Chiostro del Bramante and two complimentary cocktails from Rome Cavalieri’s Art Cocktail Menu. Rates for the super suites, which include breakfast, VAT and access to the Imperial Lounge and Grand Spa Club, start at 4,920 euros for the Napoleon suite. (The Penthouse is just a wee bit more, at 9,920 euros.)


ArtScience Museum Debuts at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

March 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Marina Bay SandsIt's little wonder that Singapore's Marina Bay Sands was one of the most buzzed about hotel openings of 2010. A sky-high infinity pool, restaurants by celebrity chef Guy Savoy, a plant-filled SkyPark set on top of the world's largest public cantilevered platform... What more could you ask for? Well, "Asia's ultimate resort experience" has just upped the ante with yet another exciting amenity: the ArtScience Museum, recently opened in a fanfare celebration. Here's how Malaysia Asia describes the lotus-inspired museum:

Designed by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie, it has been called “The Welcoming Hand of Singapore” by Mr. Sheldon Adelson, the visionary chairman of Las Vegas Sands Corp. The curved roof of the museum harvests rainwater, sending it to a reflecting pool. There are a total of 21 gallery spaces that will embrace achievements in both art and science in a total of 4,800 square meters of space here. Traveling exhibitions will change every three to six months.

Book the "Museum Premiere Package" to mark the opening of the ArtScience Museum and spend the night in luxury while delighting in the cultural experience that's the talk of the town. Book by March 10 and enjoy rates from $339++ (per night for select weekdays) or S$359++ (per night for select weekends) and receive 2 adult tickets to the ArtScience Museum. Available for select dates through April 2011.


Art in Paris: Check in to Le Royal Monceau, the Philippe Starck-designed Masterpiece

February 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau, ParisArt lovers traveling to Paris won't want to miss a stay at Le Royal Monceau, the legendary palace hotel that recently got a top-to-bottom makeover by design guru Philippe Starck. The hotel itself resembles a contemporary art gallery with fantastic pieces on display in the garden and public areas, and custom-designed decor and artwork in the guest rooms. There's also an in-house cinema and a contemporary art bookstore, soon featuring screens broadcasting live feeds of international art auctions. But Le Royal Monceau goes one step further for art aficionados. The hotel also offers an Art Concierge to arrange personalized art-themed itineraries to Paris museums and galleries. And the hotel itself morphs into a gallery to showcase cutting-edge artists. Check out the hotel's Art for Breakfast blog for the skinny on the latest happenings around town, plus interviews with leading artists.


The Mark Hotel Offers Exclusive Access to the Neue Galerie New York

February 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Mark New YorkArt lovers visiting Manhattan will want to reserve a room at The Mark. Steps from Central Park, the award-winning hotel has recently partnered with the Neue Galerie New York to provide exclusive tours off the tourist track. Located on the historic Museum Mile – just a few blocks from the hotel – the Neue Galerie is a museum of German and Austrian art founded by philanthropist Ronald S. Lauder and art dealer and curator Serge Sabarsky. A former Vanderbilt townhouse is now home to their impressive collection of early 20th Century Austrian and German art. Not only can guests visit the Neue Galerie on closed days and after business hours, but they also get benefits usually reserved for museum membership: advance reservations at Café Sabarsky plus access to Neue Galerie members’ programs including special lectures, gallery talks, exclusive breakfasts and Members’ Thursdays which provides extended viewing hours.

The Mark New YorkBook the "In the Art of New York" package, starting at $800 in a Superior Courtyard King Room, and get daily continental breakfast for two; a private tour for two people outside of business hours or on closed days (Tuesday and Wednesday); a reservation at the exclusive Café Sabarsky; a complimentary copy of the book “Portrait of Adele Block-Bauer"; access to Members’ lectures, gallery talks, breakfasts and monthly Members’ Thursday which provides for extended viewing hours; a 10% discount in both the Design Shop and the Book Shop; a welcome package in your hotel room from the Neue Galerie. This package at The Mark New York is valid until April 24, 2011.


Easter in Greece at Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas

February 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nafplia Palace Hotel, GreeceNafplion could be the most beautiful town on the Greek mainland (or so the locals like to think). It's chock full of historic sites (and loads of charm): Ottoman buildings, Venetian fortresses, twisting labyrinthine streets and white-washed houses adorned with colorful bougainvillea blossoms. And it feels a million miles away from the tourist crowds. Jet to Greece in April to experience Greek Easter,* the country's most important religious holiday, and discover the only hotel in Europe built within an archeological site. Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas is located in an acropolis dating from the 3rd Century BC. All 33 villas are individually designed with heartstopping views of the bay and old city. While bedding down in style at Nafplia Palace Hotel & Villas, partake in the hotel's traditional Easter lunch with live music. Outside the town will be witness to numerous processions on Good Friday, where epitaphs- symbolizing the coffin of Jesus- are draped in flowers and carried from the town's churches to Syntagma Square.

*This year Catholic and Orthodox Easter share the same dates, so the Catholic Church of Transfiguration will be open for the entire week: Resurrection night and Easter Sunday. The church has a small museum and an underground crypt in which can be found sculptural work commemorating the defeat of the Turks at the hands of the Greeks and philhellenes.


Big Apple Artistry: SCOPE New York to Offer Contemporary Art

February 14, 2011
By: Katie Tandy

Art lovers start your engine: SCOPE has launched its 2011 season with its flagship fair, SCOPE New York, greeting the balmy spring breezes with a slew of artistic offerings poised to shock, seduce and surprise.

SCOPE New York has expanded its offerings to a 60,000- square-foot hall on the West Side Highway, minutes from The Armory Show, running from March 2 – March 6, representing more than 50 galleries from four continents and sixteen countries including China, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Italy, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, UK, Spain, and Canada.

SCOPE New York will gather collectors, curators, artists, critics and art lovers together to view solo and thematic group shows offering an impressive slice of the contemporary art market. 2011 will also find expanded programming in partnership with local and international cultural organizations featuring film, music, installation and performance.

With over 40 fairs spanning a decade of avant-garde offerings in Miami, Basel, New York, London, and the Hamptons, SCOPE Art Show’s garners critical acclaim, with sales of over $150 million and attendance of over 400,000 visitors.

Photo courtesy of: Spinello Gallery | TYPOE | Confetti Death, 2010


Love on the Banks of the Seine

February 10, 2011
By: Daniel L. Moses

The Eiffel Tower from the balcony of the Hotel Plaza AtheneeThere are two things I value above all else: Luxury and Romance. Finding each individually is hard enough, but finding them together is nearly impossible. So I did what most people do when they are looking for something. I googled it. I entered simply, “Romantic Luxury Getaways”, and let the computer do the work for me. And I implore you to do the same. Go ahead, I’ll wait right here until you return. Don’t worry, it won’t spoil the ending…

Back yet? Okay, what did we both find? First, it was some of the great hotels of the world. And amongst them, of course, the city that appeared again and again: Paris, France. Not Paris, Texas, nor Paris, Arkansas, both of which I’ve visited and can say are truly unromantic. Paris, France, on the other hand, is, cliché or not, simply the most romantic city in the world. Luckily for us, it also offers some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.

Before I get into that, and therefore before I list which of Paris’ finest are my favorites, I want to tell you why Paris is romantic. You may now be grumbling about your last visit, or maybe your last 5 visits, and how you know very well what is and is not true about la belle ville. I’ve been several times myself in the last few years, and in fact lived two years in Paris on the Left Bank in my marauding early-20s. And yes, while I have the advantage of ordering a Domaine Romanée-Conti in heavily accented French, I’ve learned that in Paris anyone can find romance.

Where? I found it on the terrace of a café in an alley at a hole-in-the-wall Moroccan restaurant that no longer exists. The place was run down, the couscous overcooked, and yet when I raised a glass of Burgundy and toasted with the sweet, brown-eyed girl underneath a canopy of stars illuminating the French summer night, I didn’t want to be anywhere else in the world. Months later, a ring tucked deep in my pocket, I strolled down to the banks of the Seine, heard the muted stir of the river below, and found myself on one knee asking her to be with me forever. We returned for our honeymoon, and several trips thereafter, and Paris never let us down. The gray hair on my temples has never kept the romance at bay, and I still raise a toast with the brown-eyed girl on the other side of the table.

Now, though, when I go to the world’s most romantic city, I stay at the world’s most luxurious hotels. And why not? Luxury and romance go hand in hand, just as my hand goes with hers each and every morning when I wake up, and just as our lips come together each evening to say goodnight.

Hotel de CrillonSo make romance yours at L’Hotel de Crillon. This hotel is not for the overnight traveler. In fact, the pre-revolutionary construction is in classic Louis XV style, and will tantalize patrons with a stunning location only steps from Les Champs-Elysees, and make a stay of any length too short.

If you’re looking for a taste of the Belle Époque, seek out the Ritz Paris. Erected in 1898, the Ritz underwent a stunning renovation in 2010, and is known for its famous guests, more recently (Elton John) and a few years ago (Marcel Proust).

Finally, if you prefer views of the Eiffel tower from your flower-filled balcony, charm your loved one with a stay at the Hotel Plaza Athenee. Luxury is a given, romance an absolute, and with four restaurants on site overseen by the eminent Alain Ducasse, you’ll have the best of Parisian dining just steps away.

One final note: If you’re thinking of buying her that ring, or perhaps telling him that you love him all the more after all these years, don’t wait! Seize the moment! Paris may endure and always be waiting, but perhaps he or she won’t. Bon voyage!


Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s Camelot Presidency at Ritz-Carlton Washington DC

February 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Washington DCPolitical junkies visiting Washington D.C. should consider checking into the Ritz-Carlton in Foggy Bottom. The hotel just released a special package to celebrate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's inauguration. Available January 20, 2011 for 1,000 days (the length of JFK’s “Camelot Presidency”) and starting from $329 per night, the package highlights the tenure of the 35th President. Here's what's included:

  * Deluxe guest room accommodations

* Copy of best selling book Portrait of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House (with DVD)

* Two tickets to the Newseum, a 250,000-square-foot museum of news, with exclusive brochure highlighting the wide array of fascinating photos, artifacts, videos and stories that depict JFK’s biggest news-making moments

* Copy of historic Life magazine, JFK: The Run for the White House

Washington's second Ritz-Carlton, located in Georgetown, is also honoring JFK with the "Camelot at Dawn" package, starting from $399 per night. The package includes:

* Overnight guest room accommodations

* Walking tour of homes JFK and Jackie lived in before moving into the White House

* VIP reservation at Billy Martin’s Tavern in the booth where JFK proposed to Jackie

* Camelot at Dawn: Jacqueline and John Kennedy in Georgetown, May 1954