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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.

20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Where to Stay in the European Capital of Cool

March 11, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski, BerlinArguably the most moving historic moment in the 20th century, the fall of the Berlin Wall-- 20 years ago this year-- was an unforgettable triumph. It's no surprise that Germany has scheduled a slew of exciting events to commemorate this momentous occasion. The country's cool capital-- a haven of creative design and hip cultural delights-- is throwing a year-long party. Here's the run-down: We may have missed the Berlin Film Festival in February, but May will see the launch of an open-air exhibit on Alexanderplatz (formerly in East Berlin) about the fall of East Germany's communist government. The three-day "Festival of Freedom" will take place at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin from November 7 to 9, "culminating in a multimedia recreation of the wall coming down."

Ritz-Carlton BerlinWhere to stay in the German capital? Here's a run-down of some of our favorites:

Hotel de Rome: Housed in a historic bank building (with the bank vault converted into a pool) and boasting panoramic views of the city's attractions, this hotel is a member of the prestigious Rocco Forte Collection. Enough said.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski: A fixture on the Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, this illustrious hotel is actually offering a special package to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall's demise, which includes a guided city tour of Berlin's historic sites.

Kempinski Hotel Bristol: The first five-star hotel to be rebuilt after the war and a symbol of Berlin.

Ritz-Carlton Berlin: The posh hotel's La Prairie Spa pool is pictured at right. Bathrooms in the guestrooms are just as sumptuous and spa-like.

Radisson SAS: Stocked with 2,500 exotic fish, the enormous lobby AquaDom is the world's largest cylindrical aquarium.

Hotel Concorde: The sleek hotel is all about design with stylish minimalist interiors with lots of contemporary art.


Goya’s Art Up Close and Personal: Explore the Prado Museum with Google Earth

March 10, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Armchair travelers will be thrilled to learn about the latest 3D tours accessible on Google Earth. You don't have to buy a ticket to Madrid to check out the treasures from the Prado Museum. Delve deeply into the Prado's collection with Google Earth technology:

In Google Earth, you can get close enough to examine a painter's brushstrokes or the craquelure on the varnish of a painting. The images of these works are about 14,000 million pixels, 1,400 times more detailled than the image a 10 megapixel digital camera would take. In addition, you'll be able to see a spectacular 3D reproduction of the museum.


Art Treasures of Rome with the Splendide Royal Palace Hotel

March 6, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Splendide Royal RomeThe dollar's rise from the abyss, coupled with dramatically falling airfares, means a jaunt to Europe could be in the cards this spring. Hit up the Eternal City in the springtime and you can experience Easter at St. Peter's. The sidewalk cafes come alive, and moreover, Rome is simply brimming with artistic treasures to be discovered-- from ancient Rome to the present. (For a "mini Grand Tour of Rome's art treasures," click here.) Check into the luxurious Hotel Splendide Royal-- an authentic 19th century palace morphed into five-star hotel-- and you'll be just a stroll away from the famed Via Veneto. If you can tear yourself away from your swanky digs (think Baroque decor, fine antiques, marble bathrooms, and terraces with sweeping views over the city and the gardens of Villa Borghese), you'll find the city's arts and culture at your doorstep. In fact, the hotel has put together a package so you can experience a fabulous exhibition at the Art Gallery "Complesso del Vittoriano" entitled "Giotto 1267-1337 La rinascita della pittura in Italia." With the Splendide Giotto package, you'll get two nights accommodation, free tickets to the gallery, buffet breakfast, and a panoramic dinner at the Mirabelle Restaurant.


Spend the Night with King Tut at Fairmont Dallas, Home to Lone Star Luxury

March 6, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King TutKing Tut is back. The global tour of Tutankhamun's golden artifacts has returned to the U.S. and will be in Dallas until May 17, 2009. Since Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon discovered the tomb of the boy Pharaoh in 1922, the artifacts have captivated the world. Now's your chance to see the 3,000-year-old treasures from the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, an amazing exhibition that first left the Cairo Museum three decades ago to dazzle millions of visitors worldwide. Just one block from the Dallas Museum of Art (Tut's home in North Texas), the legendary Fairmont Dallas wants you to get the most out of your King Tut experience. Leave it to the only hotel in the Dallas Arts District to put together some special packages so you can get a sense of life as a Pharaoh. Starting at $249 per night, the "Spend the Night with Tut" package includes a luxurious stay in a newly-redecorated Fairmont Room, 2 VIP Tickets to King Tut valid for any date/time (including sold out dates), expedited access line at the Exhibition, and complimentary overnight valet parking. Choose the "Dine with Tut" package and you'll also get a gourmet dinner thrown in-- for two in the elegant, four-star Pyramid Room.


Things to See and Do in Israel

March 5, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

For a different take on the dining experience, those heading to Israel this year can enjoy a meal with friends in, of all places, a crane plunging out into the sky. No joke. The Dinner in the Sky attraction allows thrill-seekers the opportunity to book private parties for the adrenaline rush of being lifted 164 feet in the air by a large crane. What's on the Menu: A gourmet meal of foie gras rolls, lamb ribs and cherry pie prepared by Israeli chef Frank Azulay. Art-lovers might enjoy the modern ceramics display at the Haaretz Museum in Tel Aviv. The Fifth Israeli Ceramics Biennale presents the works of 57 ceramic artists influenced by new-age Israeli ceramics. The exhibition will be open to the public throughout May.


Explore Insider’s Tuscany with the Exclusive Villa La Massa in Florence

February 25, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa La Massa

Leave it to the Villa La Massa-- the darling of celebrities, and sister property to the celebrated Villa d'Este on Lake Como-- to provide guests with exclusive access to the cultural riches of Tuscany, the living expression of the Italian Renaissance. Florence is one of the world's most coveted destinations (for good eats, the best shopping, and Michelangelo's David, need we say more?), and Villa La Masa arguably has the town's best accommodations. Just a stone's throw from Florence, nestled in the Tuscan countryside along the famed Arno River, Villa La Massa dates from the 16th century: a marvel of ancient frescoes, gorgeous art, and the most luxurious furnishings. It's a given that the Villa La Massa can hook you up with guided tours of the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia di Belle Arti, or shopping excursions to pick up the best handicrafts and fashion. But what's more: Villa La Massa can arrange private tours of the countryside so that guests can discover Tuscany's secrets, delighting in authentic cuisine and gaining access to Florentine Palaces. Tip: The hotel opens for the season on March 26, 2009.


Hotel Molina Lario Offers a Date with Picasso

February 23, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Hotel Molina LarioHotel Molina Lario, located in Malaga, the capital city of Costa del Sol, wants to get you up close and personal with Pablo Picasso. The luxury hotel's "Picasso Package" includes a 2 night stay, buffet breakfast, welcome gift, and tickets to the nearby Picasso Museum. The hotel, inaugurated in August 2006, has two completely refurbished buildings, keeping the original 19th Century façade, and the third absolutely new, together comprising a unique hotel set in the heart of the city.


Celebrate Easter at The Duke Hotel Rome

February 16, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Duke Hotel RomeValentine's Day is thankfully over, St. Patrick's Day is on the horizon, but don't forget about Easter! Make it a holiday to remember by spending it in Rome. From April 10-13, 2009, spend your holiday in the Eternal City for a great price. The Duke Hotel Rome is offering a two-night stay package starting from € 360. The package includes fruit upon arrival, two tickets for the Giotto exhibition at Vittoriano Museum, American breakfast in room, Mercedes van to and from Via Veneto, daily newspaper, parking, Wi-Fi, and taxes. Certain terms and restrictions apply, subject to availability.


Destination Milan: Exclusive City Secrets at the Carlton Hotel Baglioni

February 13, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Carlton Hotel BaglioniWhen traveling to Milan, fashionistas, business execs, and world leaders check into the Carlton Baglioni, the creme de la creme of luxury hotels in this cosmopolitan city. Situated in the heart of Milan's fashion area, a stone's throw from Via Senato and Via della Spiga, the classy hotel is a five-star favorite not only because of its opulent ambience (extraordinary art and antiques galore), but also because of the exclusive treats it offers its refined clientele. Case in point: With the "La Scala Theatre- Private Rehearsal" package, lucky guests can sit in on a private rehearsal of the philharmonic orchestra behind closed doors. Experience the thrill of sitting solo in the audience, as the orchestra plays exclusively for your enjoyment, and then meet the director and his musicians, before learning the secrets of the most famous theatre in the world on a tour of La Scala with a private guide. The package also includes a 1-hour beauty treatment at the spa, and a culinary extravaganza at the famous restaurant, Il Baretto al Baglioni. What's more? The Carlton Baglioni arranges private limousines to greet guests at the Milan airport, and private viewings of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper." After a stay at the Carlton Baglioni, you'll see why Baglioni Hotels are famous around the world for their service and high style.


Opera, Museums, and Sushi Cooking Classes in Vienna at the Grand Hotel Wien

February 11, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hotel WienOne of the best spots to experience the historic spendor of Vienna and the majestic age of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is the Grand Hotel Wien. Its rooms are positively decadent, and the service is fit for a king. From the hotel's perfect location on the Ringstrasse, just minutes from the Opera and St. Stephen's Cathedral, guests have the city at their doorstep. And the Grand Hotel Wien makes it easy to take in an opera performance, waltz the night away, and check out the city's many museums. Indulge in award-winning Viennese cuisine at Le Ciel, located on the 7th floor, or take a cooking class at the hotel's authentic Japanese restaurant, Unkai. Back by popular command, the hands-on courses teach the preparation of sushi, maki, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes under the direction of Chef de cuisine Hiroshi Sakai. You'll also get tips on ingredients and where to shop. Classes take place once a month, starting February 16, 2009.