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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.

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.


Washington D.C.’s Madison, A Loews Hotel, Offers Lincoln Bedroom to Guests

January 29, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lincoln BedroomYou can stay in a replica of Lincoln's bedroom in Washington D.C., and even take home a nifty t-shirt towel set to show to all your friends. (The keepsake towels are personalized with "I slept in The Lincoln Bedroom" with the Loews Madison hotel logo.) The Madison has decided to commemorate Lincoln's bicentennial by styling a version of the Lincoln Bedroom, replete with a rocking chair, bed with decorative headboard, and other nods to the prez's illustrious past. One of the capital's most distinguished hotels, The Madison has hosted its share of presidents. And with the country just getting over inauguration fever, your family may feel inspired to explore Washington D.C. and celebrate presidents past and present with a stay in the Madison's Lincoln bedroom. The package includes luxurious accommodations, the keepsake towels (mentioned above), a copy of the Gettysburg Address, Doris Kearns Goodwin's "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," breakfast in bed for two, and two passes to Madame Tussauds DC to see President Lincoln sitting in his box at Fords Theatre.

Image Via White House Museum


Get Cultured with Hotel Palace Praha

January 26, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Hotel Palace PrahaArt and culture lovers will adore the latest deal from Hotel Palace Praha. The package includes free entrance to the following exhibitions: Sternberg Palace (European Art from the Classical Era to the close of the Baroque), Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia (medieval art in Bohemia and Central Europe), Veletrzni Palace (art of the 19th, 20th and the 21st centuries), Kinsky Palace (landscape in Czech art), Zbraslav Chateau (Asian art) and the House of the Black Madonna (museum of Czech cubism). Plus, you'll stay in luxury accommodation for a minimum of 2 nights in one of the Deluxe or Executive rooms. Enjoy a daily full buffet breakfast in the restaurant L'Epoque, home-made chocolate pralines in the room, welcome treat served in your room, complimentary coffee & tea making facilities in the room, 3-course dinner in awarded Gourmet Club Restaurant, free access to the hotel sauna and business center, and a voucher to a nearby fitness centre (use of fitness area, swimming pool, whirlpool and steam bath). Offer is available until December 22, 2009. A minimum stay of two nights is required, and other terms and conditions apply.

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance:. Five Star Alliance guests at the Hotel Palace Praha will receive a welcome drink and welcome VIP treatment.


The Curtain Rises at Dubai’s Mina A’Salam at Madinat Jumeirah

January 23, 2009
By: K. Clare Johnson

Theatre...in Dubai? Yep, live performances are no longer just for Broadway. Mina A' Salam at Madinat Jumeirah has in-house theatre, and the offerings are diverse. Currently playing is mystery "The Woman in Black." Next up is children's favorite "The Gruffalos Child," and everyone's favorite orphan "Annie" pays a visit in April. Mina A'Salam at Madinat Jumeirah In-House guests receive a special discount on selected shows (subject to availability). Present your room key when buying your ticket at the Box Office to redeem this special offer.

The Madinat Theatre is the first purpose-built theatre in Dubai. Since opening in September 2004, a broad range of events including drama, opera, film screenings, magic and musicals have been staged. The seating capacity is 442 in total comprising 358 in the stalls and 84 in the gallery, including 6 wheelchair spaces. There are two foyers (both lobby level and gallery), housing bars for guests to enjoy pre-show and interval drinks. There is also a private Majilis on the gallery level with a private entrance via elevator and waiter service for VIP parties.


Presidential Perks Package at the InterContinental Chicago

January 14, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental ChicagoWe couldn't resist writing up one more Inauguration Package (last one, we promise). After all, this one is in Obama's own Chitown, and the Windy City beckons with lots of fun to do on a winter getaway (even with the current Arctic temperatures). Check into the InterContinental Chicago, billed as the only hotel with a front entrance on the famous Magnificent Mile, and "salute the good old U.S. of A." The patriotic Presidential weekend is priced at $209 per night, per couple, and is available January 1 through March 31, 2009:

In addition to luxury accommodations for two, you and your "VP" will get a front row seat to learn about our nation's history with two tickets to the fun and educational Freedom Museum. Sate your presidential appetite with a full American breakfast buffet for two, and enjoy complimentary valet parking for your motorcade and free access to the fitness club and the hotel's historic indoor swimming pool. That's change you can believe in.


Edgar Alan Poe Bicentennial in Richmond; January Getaway at The Jefferson Hotel

January 9, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Jefferson Hotel, Richmond2009 is the bicentennial of the birth of one of America's most popular writers. Edgar Allan Poe spent more than a third of his life in Richmond, and the city's Edgar Allan Poe Museum has the world's finest collection of letters, first editions, and personal items. Though exhibitions and performances will be happening across the East Coast (Baltimore competes with Richmond to claim this literary great as its own), Richmond is the place to go this year. Book a room at the city's grandest hotel, the AAA-Five-Diamond Jefferson, and you'll delight in the elegant décor and flawless service. Take advantage of the January Getaway Package and you'll get full American buffet breakfast and valet parking included in your room rates. Starting from $195 in a Superior Room; available Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through the end of the month.


2009 Art Basel Dates Set for Switzerland

January 5, 2009
By: Ruthanne Terrero

If you're just aching to build up your already-extensive collection of contemporary art, we say you need to plan to be in Switzerland for Art 40 Basel, which takes place June 10 – 14, 2009. Considered the world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary works, Art Basel annually presents works from nearly 300 galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia and Africa. More than 2,000 artists, ranging from the masters of Modern art to the latest generation of emerging stars, are represented in the show's multiple sections. To give you a sense of its importance amongst art lovers,
 60,000 people attended Art 39 Basel; The New York Times has even called the annual confab "the Olympics of the Art World." We say Basel itself is worth the trip for culture junkies; this stellar Swiss city is filled with world-class museums, outdoor sculptures, theaters and concert halls. For touring, there's even an idyllic medieval old town. Set on the banks of the Rhine, at the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, Basel is easily navigated by foot and trams. If you're going, arrange to fly into EuroAirport. For more information, visit www.artbasel.com.


Hot Destinations for 2009: Visit Vilnius, Lithuania and the Hotel Stikliai

December 30, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel StikliaiVilnius has been designated a European Capital of Culture for the year 2009, which means a slew of arts and culture events. Lithuania's capital has lined up some 120 major projects and 900 events. And it gets even better than that. Lithuania will also be celebrating its millennial in 2009. (1,000 years since the first written record of the country!) Don't miss Street Musician Day on May 2, or "Culture Night: Let There Be Light" on June 20, when the city parties all night long with concerts, open-air movies, fashion shows, museum exhibitions, and more. Another reason to check out this beautiful city in 2009? Lithuania doesn't use the euro, so traveling is wholly affordable. Check into the luxurious Stikliai Hotel, housed in an elegant 17th century residence, and you'll be in the heart of historic Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. You'll love dining in the atmospheric Tavern (the hotel's restored vaulted cellar) where you can taste traditional dishes while enjoying a live folk music show.


In Case of Nuclear War, Check-In at West Virginia’s Greenbrier

November 28, 2008
By: K. Clare Johnson

Just in case the House and Senate have to flee Washington, it's good to know they won't have to bunk at a local no-tell motel. No, nothing short of the luxurious retreat to the stars The Greenbrier in WVA will do for the elder statesmen and women of this country. The Greenbrier See, in 1958, at the height of the cold war, the U.S. government secretly began building what they dubbed U.S. Government Relocation Facility at the recently renovated resort. Finished in 1961, the 112,544-square-foot bunker was built 720 feet into the hillside under The Greenbrier's West Virginia Wing.

The bunker was a secret for thirty years, but trust The Washington Post, those Watergate exposers, to spill the beans, which they did in 1992. The government gave up its lease on the space in 1995, and since then, The Greenbrier has led tours of the super-secret area. You can see the 25-ton blast door, decontamination chambers, clinic with 12 hospital beds, cafeteria, power plant, and 18 dormitories designed to accommodate over 1,100 people. The Greenbrier worked with Dr. Jim Kelly and the Virginia Historical Society on an exhibition gallery. This area features artifacts and reproductions, as well as numerous photos of the facility, a video on the history of the Cold War and other materials relevant to the bunker. You can even host a James Bond or spy-themed party at the bunker.


Art in Florence, Italy at the Villa Olmi Resort

November 12, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Olmi ResortThe best way to experience the art mecca of Firenze is with a private guide (forget standing in line to see the David!) Villa Olmi Resort, the Renaissance villa situated on six hectares of perfectly manicured gardens outside the city, is itself an artist's dream come true. The property features original murals and beautiful artwork, and with their "Morning of Art" package, art lovers can visit the Academie of Fine Arts (and ogle David) with a professional guide. The package also includes accommodation for three nights (in either a Classic Room or Junior Suite), buffet breakfast daily, a bottle of Tuscan wine upon arrival, a three-hour walking tour of Florence with a private guide, two tix to the Academie, and a wine tasting with cured hams and cheese in the hotel's cantina.