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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.

Tips from the Concierge at the New York Palace Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

New York Palace HotelLooking for the best insights on the Big Apple? Gunter Kleemann-- concierge at the opulent New York Palace Hotel-- "holds the key to the city," as reported in a fabulous interview by The New York Times. He is also the President of New York's Association of Hotel Concierges, so he knows a thing or two about Manhattan. Guests at the New York Palace Hotel are in luck; he can score "tables at prime restaurants and seats at sold-out Broadway hits." The full NYT interview is below:

How he knows what he knows: At first you think you can do it with a Zagat’s and a computer. There’s nothing that beats personal experience. My wife and I are always going out. You’ll always find me someplace.

Proudest of: My golden keys, the universal standard of service excellence.

Most-asked question: Where to eat.

How he answers: Are you looking to dine or just to eat? It’s a big difference.

Weird requests: One guy asked, “Can you get me six brunettes, six blondes and six black-haireds?” Of course, we don’t do that. Some guy asked me, “Can you find me the gross income of this company for a year?” How bizarre is that? I had to tell the guy nicely, that’s not the kind of thing we pursue. I get people asking for a stock certificate from 1865, a cork from a 1980 Chianti, a 6-by-9-foot painting with a hunting dog, a shotgun and a pheasant. We try to track it down.

The German accent: I was born in Kottweiler-Schwanden, near a big American Army base. I used to see the tanks come through. I’d find old Lugers in the field. My mother lived through the firebombing of Dresden. I came here with my parents when I was 10 years old.

Résumé: I went to the New School for graduate work in film and got a job with a top fashion photographer as an assistant. After a few years, I worked with a commercial filmmaker. I got cast in acting roles. You ever hear of “I Spit on Your Grave”? It was one of the biggest cult films ever. It’s about revenge, in a nutshell. A female writer goes from the city to the country and is accosted. She gets her revenge. It’s a piece of dreck, but for some reason I got a fan club.”

Fondest New York moment: In ’74 I was living in the Village, across from the Caffe Dante, where Bob Dylan used to go. I’d see Joni Mitchell and Ginsberg. They were all hanging out together.

On becoming a concierge: I wanted to work for Gray Line as a tour guide. They weren’t hiring, but still they had a couple of desks in hotels. I started at the Roosevelt in ’99, manning a Gray Line desk for a few months. At the end of the year they were giving up the desk and I took a job with Continental Guest Services, which rents desks in hotels and operates on commissions. Then I was hired at the Lucerne Hotel on Amsterdam Avenue as a real concierge.

The money thing: There isn’t any charge, but I tell people at the end of their stay if they feel I did something special for them, gratuities are allowed.

On taking freebies: Once they know you’re a concierge, you get a lot of offers, but a lot of times I pay on my own. I want to go incognito.

Best advice he ever got: If you don’t make mistakes, you’re not working.


Grand Hotel Wein Honors Austria’s Most Acclaimed Classical Composer


By: Christina Vasquez

The Grand Hotel WeinCelebrate the 200th anniversary of one of the most prolific and prominent composers of the classical period as Austria commemorates the death of one if its most celebrated composers: (Franz) Joseph Haydn-- revered as the "Father of the Symphony." The Grand Hotel Wein is offering a package that honors Haydn's work and achievements. Book the Haydn Package at The Grand Hotel , and receive two night's accommodations, extensive buffet breakfast in the restaurant Grand Café, an exclusive 3-course menu in the gourmet-restaurant Le Ciel, and two tickets for the famous Haydn-house. A special farewell gift will be presented by the hotel to help you remember Joseph Haydn and your exciting trip to Vienna!

Package offer is valid until December 28th 2009. Package rates vary according to availability and room category, certain terms and restrictions may apply.


The Iron Gate Hotel and Suites Gives Prague the Royal Treatment


By: K. Clare Johnson

Iron Gate Hotel and SuitesAlways wanted to visit Prague? Now's your chance. The Iron Gate Hotel and Suites is offering a delightful "Royal Prague" package, which will show you the town in style without breaking the budget. The luxury hotel, which is housed in a carefully renovated 14th Century building, is situated in the heart of Prague's Old Town, in a picturesque, cobbled side street just steps from the famous Astronomical Clock in the Old Town Square. You'll be transferred to and from the hotel in a Mercedes. Then, spend two nights in one of the luxurious Junior Suites or Royal Suites decorated with frescoes or wooden ceilings from the 14th-18th century. The package includes a 20 minute horse carriage ride through Old Town for 2 persons, a 3-course dinner in Iron Gate Cafe & Restaurant, welcome drink, full buffet breakfast in restaurant or breakfast served to the room, bottle of Bohemian sparkling wine, water and fruits upon arrival, and All taxes & VAT included. Rates start at 495 Euros per night, and the package is valid until December 27, 2009. Certain terms and restrictions apply, and this offer is subject to availability.


Be Treated Like a Queen at Tharroe of Mykonos


By: K. Clare Johnson

Tharroe of MykonosLonging for bright blue skies, sun-drenched beaches, luxury accommodations and a sense of history? Look no further. Tharroe of Mykonos is a blend of sophisticated luxury influences and modern facilities. Spotted on the top of a small hill, offering panoramic view of the Aegean Sea, Mykonos old town center and magical sunsets, Tharroe of Mykonos is close to the town center but away from the crowds. And whichever of the 26 rooms you stay in (all were renovated in 2008), you'll be staying in a space fit for a queen. During the Mycenaean period (1600-1400 B.C.), a King ordered the construction of a Thule tomb for his Queen. This tomb was discovered while the hotel was under construction and is now on display. Many amphorae, cylices, various pots and two golden necklaces were found during the excavation; some of them are now on exhibit at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos.


Celebrate April at the Westin Paris


By: K. Clare Johnson

The Westin ParisThere's still a few weeks left for celebrating April in Paris. One of the newest luxury hotel additions to the City of Lights is The Westin Paris. The hotel's stunning location overlooks the magnificent Tuileries Gardens and the Eiffel Tower-- just a few steps away from the Louvre Museum, Place de la Concorde, the renowned Place Vendome and the elegant shopping of Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. You can even relax in a signature Heavenly Bed. The Westin Paris also offers Westin's Best Rate Guarantee, so you can be sure you are getting the best rate on your room. Bon Voyage!


Learn About Chinese Culture with The Peninsula Beijing


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Palace BeijingLeave it to the super-lux Peninsula Beijing to create special programs for its guests to get insights into Chinese culture and traditions while staying in sumptuous style. Just a short stroll away from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City, The Peninsula offers the crème de la crème of Beijing's room accommodations, showcasing sprawling marble bathrooms, supremely comfortable beds, and room controls at your fingertips. It's a delightfully decadent hotel experience, but The Peninsula understands that its guests want to take advantage of the hotel's proximity to the capital's key business and leisure landmarks. So they've designed The Peninsula Academy Programme so you can immerse yourself in Chinese culture and glean insights into this ancient civilization. With this personalized program, you can learn about Chinese antiques or furniture restoration, the Wild Great Wall, or Beijing's old embassy area. A range of exclusive cultural activities-- from culinary experiences to lifestyle and nature immersion-- are led by experts for one or two people.


Cleveland Rocks: The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony


By: Alison Victor

Ritz Carlton ClevelandThousands of rock fans descended upon Cleveland, Ohio this past weekend to pay tribute to the newest inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. With over 500 rock experts voting, this year saw such legends as Metallica and Bobby Womack take their spot in rock history. With a celebration that started early in the week, it culminated with the live broadcast of the Induction Ceremony on Saturday night. Opened since 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is a great place to visit year round. A must for the rock enthusiast, it features exhibits and collections from artists past and present. If you are planning a visit, the Ritz Carlton Cleveland is the perfect place to stay. As Cleveland's only Four Diamond Property, this luxury hotel offers beautiful accommodations and is only a mile from the Rock and Roll Museum. Book now, and you can stay for less than 250 USD a night.


A Room with a View in Venice at Londra Palace


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Londra Palace

You can't beat this setting in Venice, the sybaratic "Queen of the Adriatic." Looking out onto St. Mark's Basin, just a few steps away from the Doges' Palace-- the magnificent residence of the city's one-time rulers-- and the Bridge of Sighs, Londra Palace is smack dab in the middle of the Riva waterfront. Boasting no fewer than a hundred windows looking out on the lagoon of Venice, Londra Palace offers unparalleled views from the Salute Basilica to the island of Giudecca. The urban landscape here is dotted with Gothic spires, Renaissance palaces, and galleries brimming with works by Bellini, Titian, Tintoretto and Canaletto. Like the sensual city where it makes its home, Londra Palace is full of aesthetic delights.

Londra Palace

The bar is full of Murano glass, the award-winning restaurant has beautiful views of the Lagoon, and the floors throughout the hotel feature Venetian mosaics. The 53 guest rooms blend the best of the past and present: Biedermeier furniture and antiques juxtaposed with all the latest technology. Be sure to book a Deluxe Room or Junior Suite for the water views. You may have missed the annual Carnevale in February (what a bacchanal!), but Venice has a plethora of permanent attractions and seasonal festivals, like the Biennale modern art festival in June and film festival in August.


Get a Piece of the Original Berlin Wall: Ritz-Carlton Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Wall’s Fall


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton BerlinIt's a big year in the hip German capital. We recently reported on Berlin's swanky hotel offerings and their packages commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Another special offer to add to the list-- and one of the coolest we've seen-- is the Ritz-Carlton's "Remember the Wall" package. Good for travel through Dec. 29th and priced at about $385, the package includes one night in a superior room, breakfast, a ticket to the Berlin Wall Museum, a DVD of the film "Goodbye Lenin," welcome Gorbachev cocktails, chocolates and Rotkaeppchen sparkling wine  -- as well as a souvenir piece of the toppled wall. Guests can book special city tours separately, such as the "Trabi-Safari," in which visitors can go sightseeing in a Trabant, a car produced in what was formerly East Germany. There is also a guided tour along the traces of the former border, either on foot or by bike.

Image Via LA Times Daily Travel & Deal Blog


Experience Pop Art in True Parisian Fashion from the Hotel Du Louvre


By: Christina Vasquez

Hotel Du LouvreBeginning March 18th and running through July 13th, the Grand Palais in Paris invites you to view a timeless collection created by world renowned avant-garde artist, Andy Warhol. Featuring impressions by the founder of the "pop art" movement, the exhibition will showcase over 250 of Andy Warhol's creations. Immerse yourself in the full artistic experience by staying at the Hotel Du Louvre, and book the Timeless Warhol Package which includes two priority tickets to "The Great World of Andy Warhol" exhibit, and also receive a Warhol special candy box in your room, as well as daily breakfast for two.

Package rates vary according to availability, and certain terms and restrictions apply.