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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.

Marie Antoinette Offer at the Hotel de Crillon, Paris

March 19, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de CrillonNow showing at the glass-roofed Grand Palais in Paris: the Marie Antoinette exhibition. The public's obsession with the big-spender of a Queen continues to this day, and Sofia Coppola's film did a fine job dreaming up the Queen's world in all its excessive finery. Running through June 30, 2008, the exhibition showcases 300 works from all over Europe to illuminate the personality and destiny of Marie-Antoinette. While visiting the City of Light, book a stay at the city's exceptional address at the Place de la Concorde in the very heart of Paris. The world-famous Hotel de Crillon, the palace hotel that was designated a unique historical monument, is as good as it gets. Choose the Marie Antoinette offer and you'll enjoy breakfast served in the comfort of your own room or at the fine dining restaurant, 2 tickets for the exhibition, daily international newspaper, access to the fitness center, and free wireless internet. Starting from EUR 670 in a Superior Room. Available until June 16, 2008.

P.S. A meal at the Crillon's Michelin-starred Les Ambassadeurs is not to be missed.


Exclusive Amenity at the Hotel de Crillon in Paris - The Five Star Alliance Cocktail

March 17, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

Five Star Alliance Cocktail at Hotel de Crillon Paris Only a few steps away from the Champs-Elysees, the Faubourg Saint Honore shopping area and all major museums, the Hôtel de Crillon is the place to stay in Paris. Five Star Alliance clients making a reservation at the Hôtel de Crillon will receive a brand new, exclusive amenity. The Hotel de Crillon is now serving the "Five Star Cocktail" - and Five Star Alliance guests will get the opportunity to enjoy one per person, per stay, in the Crillon Bar. The voucher will be provided at the time of check-in.

    Five Star Alliance Cocktail

    In a cocktail shaker mix:

    1 cl of Jasmin syrup

    2 cl of Mirabelle spirit

    3 cl of Peach juice

    Shake

    As a final touch, add Champagne rosé

    Garnish with 1 redcurrant strand, 1 blackberry

Make your reservation, and enjoy a cocktail, at the Hotel de Crillon now >>


Hotel Ritz, Madrid: See the Goya Show at the Newly-Renovated Prado Museum

March 13, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel RitzMadrid's world-famous Prado Museum completed an incredible $208 million expansion project in 2007, incorporating various nearby buildings into the Prado in the creation of a Museo del Prado Campus. The old Cloister of the Jerónimos was restored and connected to the Prado, creating new exhibition space. Check out the newly-expanded Prado Museum while staying at Madrid's legendary luxury hotel situated just across the street from the museum. Since its opening in 1910 under the personal supervision of Cesar Ritz, the sumptuously-decorated Hotel Ritz has been a favorite of kings, heads of state, and film stars. The Hotel Ritz is offering the "Cultural Experience in Madrid" package just in time for the major Goya Show. Available from now until December 23, 2008, the two-night package for two persons starts at about $1,317 in low season and $1,476 in high season and includes:

*Two nights accommodation in a classic room

*Entrance to the Prado, Thyssen Bornemisza and Reina Sofía Museums

*One three-course dinner, excluding beverages, in the Goya Restaurant

*Daily buffet breakfast with Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) at the Goya Restaurant

*One bottle of Cava in your room

*Afternoon tea in the Lounge

*Roundtrip airport transfers in a private chauffeured car

*Complimentary Art Guide to the Prado

*Welcome amenities in room upon arrival

*Free access to the Wellness Center

Private guided visits to the Prado after hours and chauffeured tours of the city can be arranged by the hotel for additional charges.


Maintaining the Rich History of Les Trois Rois in Basel Switzerland

March 7, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Les Trois RoisAfter extensive renovations, Les Trois Rois has opened once again, maintaining its long-standing reputation as one of the finest luxury hotels in Europe. Located along the Rhine, the hotel offers exceptional views of the river and surrounding countryside from its rooms, and from the restaurant and bar. The renovations have given Les Trois Rois a more modern look while still retaining its age-old splendor. While each guest room is fully equipped with modern luxuries such as heating air conditioning, television, radios, all individually controlled by a touch panel, as well as high speed wireless Internet.

Les Trois RoisYet the historic icons of the hotel, including the facade, the figures of the Three Kings, the Salle Belle Epoque ballroom, atrium and main staircase, and the Napoleon Suite, remain intact, preserving the rich history of the Basel area. Les Trois Rois continues to be a member of Swiss Deluxe Hotels, a collection of the finest five-star hotels in Switzerland. With the grandeur of the guest rooms, the gourmet food offered at the restaurant and the spectacular views from the hotel grounds, it is no wonder Les Trois Rois continues to be one of the finest hotels in Europe.


Hotel of La Scala Theatre at Carlton Hotel Baglioni Milan

March 6, 2008
By: Madelyn Giblin

Carlton Hotel Baglioni MilanFor lovers of classical music and Italian culture, the Carlton Hotel Baglioni Milan, recently named the "Hotel of La Scala Theatre", is the place to stay. From January through October 2008, Carlton Hotel Baglioni is offering an amazing package that allows guests to enjoy a private, guided experience of the world renowned theater and the Filarmonica Orchestra, as well as the many luxuries the hotel has to offer. With reservations under the package, guests are picked up in a private limousine at the airport and whisked away to the Hotel, where they will find their room supplied with fresh juices and sweets, and an in-room breakfast during each morning of the minimum two day stay. Carlton Hotel Baglioni Milan spaOn the second day, guests are taken by private limousine to the Theater, at which awaits a private guided tour of the legendary Theater and a chance to sit in on a private rehearsal by the Filarmonica Orchestra. After this, guests are then taken to view Da Vinci's "Last Supper" and treated to a two hour spa treatment at the luxurious Guerlain Spa. Guests may also enjoy a three course lunch or dinner at the Hotel's fantastic "Il Baretto al Baglioni" restaurant during their stay. Aside from the many attractions included in the package, Milan offers plenty of other activities, including shopping and sight- seeing. And should you desire to extend your stay an extra night, the Hotel is pleased to provide you with free tickets to attend the official performance at the Teatro alla Scala in the Hotel's private balcony. Rates begin at €3,700.00. Remaining Concert Schedule below- after the jump: March 9th Director: Valery Gergiev Music: Igor Stravinskij, Sergej Rachmaninov March 16th Director: Riccardo Chailly Music: I. Stravinskij, G. Rossini March 30th Director: Myung-Whun Chung Music: L. van Beethoven, P. Cajkovskij April 27th Director: Semyon Bychkov Music: D. Glanert, D. Sostakovi May 11th Director: Gustavo Dudamel Music: L. Bernstein, G. Mahler May 25th Director: Daniel Harding Music: A. Berg, S. Sciarrino, L. van Beethoven October 19th Director: Philippe Jordan Music: R. Strauss, G. Mahler, R. Strauss


An Interview with the General Manager: Andrea Luri of Castello del Nero

February 26, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Castello del Nero StaffCastello del Nero is a 12th century castle outside Florence, restructured and opened as a 5 star deluxe hotel in June 2006. Andrea Luri is the General Manager.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the Castello del Nero?

Andrea Luri: Following previous experiences as General Manager of 5 star properties in Italy and abroad, I took on this assignment with much enthusiasm and passion as I believed in the value of this project as well as finding in our President and CEO a person of integrity and broad vision and who made the opening of the hotel possible.

Five Star Alliance: Tell us what you feel is the most distinctive or unique feature of your hotel? What best describes the personality of the hotel?

Andrea Luri: The historic atmosphere and location combined with modern features and comforts. The estate of Castello del Nero collects the essence of Tuscan heritage in the unique location with views on the rolling hills as far as eyes can see. The hotel was brilliantly restored conserving the features of the XII century castle it is, such as frescoes and vault ceilings as well as adding services such as tennis courts, swimming pool, gym with state of the art equipment and most of all a 100 sqm spa with 10 treatment rooms. What really does set Castello del Nero apart, however, is our staff. A team completely devoted in creating an unforgettable experience for all our Guests.

Five Star Alliance: Who are your customers and where do they come from?

Andrea Luri: A high percentage of our guests come from U.S and Canada, which are followed closely by UK and Italy and other European countries.

Five Star Alliance: Can you share the names of any famous guests who have stayed in the hotel, or perhaps regulars that return on a periodic basis?

Andrea Luri: The Italian law on privacy doesn’t allow me to actually share the names, however our Guests include famous movie stars, film directors, Italian and American politicians, pop stars and fashion designers. Many of whom come back to enjoy the privacy of the estate allowing them to relax in a safe and cocooned environment.

Five Star Alliance: What is the best thing about the hotel's location? What is your favorite thing to do in the surrounding area?

Andrea Luri: The location in the countryside assures relaxing peace and incredible views on every side which change constantly with the light and time of day. At the same time we are at short distance from all major cities of interest in Tuscany such as Siena, San Gimignano and Florence which our Guests can easily reach through a complimentary shuttle bus. Guests can also enjoy a hot air balloon ride which we actually operate on property. Being blessed with a fantastic location which is Tuscany, the wine and gastronomy sector offers unparalleled experiences such as wine tastings in Chianti wineries or even Tuscan cooking classes held by our chef on property which start with picking vegetables in our organically grown vegetable patch and follow by cooking along the chef's side in our kitchens.

Five Star Alliance: Which do you consider to be the best rooms in the house? Not just the suites, but also any particular standard rooms that have great views or unusual advantages? If you were checking into a standard room at the hotel, which one would you request?

Andrea Luri: I would say that all frescoed suites and our Galway suite are simply incredible, thanks to the fact that you aren’t simply sleeping in a hotel room, but Guests actually undergo the experience of living in a castle like a king or queen surrounded by frescoes which date back centuries ago, or having a private dinner on a 100 sqm private terrace overlooking the Tuscan countryside. The historical charm which these rooms exude is magnificently combined with state of the art in room entertainment and high speed connectivity. Regarding our double rooms, they are all different and it is difficult to actually pin point one as I would be narrowing down to a single choice a multitude of experiences that the different rooms can offer. They are all large and comfortable and unique in layout or furnishing or view or simply in character.

Five Star Alliance: Can you mention any interesting miscellaneous trivia regarding the hotel? Perhaps a bit of history? Any special events that have taken place on property?

Andrea Luri: Of course, being a private noble residence since the XII century, close to the road that connects Florence to Rome, you can imagine that great men such as Michelangelo or Leonardo could pass by Castello del Nero . The last private owner was the noble Torrigiani family. One of the descendents, Carlo Torrigiani in the early 1900’s married a red cross nurse from Philadelphia, Anna Frey. This American lady was so affectionate with Castello del Nero that she requested her burial to be in the castle’s chapel where she rests ever since. Since the hotel opened we have had special events such as Sir James Galway perform with his golden flute and also the famous Jazz Saxophonist Scott Hamilton Quartet. Also one of the weddings which took place last season had reserved the hotel exclusively with a grand gala and fireworks – truly something that you will remember for ever.

Five Star Alliance: If you were considering staying at the hotel as a guest, what would you want to know about the hotel before checking in?

Andrea Luri: A guest would certainly appreciate to know that we have a courtesy shuttle to/from the center of Florence at scheduled times, this avoids having to worry about driving and parking in the city and makes visiting much more pleasant. For all other excursions our Front Office is at disposal for organizing all sorts of activities. At the hotel you have access to the state of the art gym, two tennis courts, the swimmingpool in the summer season. Our ESPA at Castello del Nero welcomes you in the relaxing atmosphere to enjoy the many holistic spa treatments.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager? If you could change one thing about the hotel, what would that be?

Andrea Luri: I have the same difficulty as most people do today: lack of time! Though, whatever happens, my first priority is taking the time to meet every Guest and get to know them. This job is incredible as it actually gives you the possibility of enjoying the company of extremely interesting people. If I had to change something about Castello del Nero it would probably be converting it from a hotel into my own home!

Five Star Alliance: Other than your own, can you share your choices of two or three of what you consider to be the greatest hotels in the world? And why you think they are special?

Andrea Luri: Villa d'Este is certainly at the top of my list. I was fortunate enough to start my career there and believe it to be THE great hotel. It has history, location beauty and an atmosphere of absolute magic. Another wonderful hotel is the Amansara in Siem Reap, Cambodia. A stunning property with wonderful service in a beautiful country. In my top three I also have to include the Faena hotel and Universe in Buenos Aires - staying there is a fascinating experience.

Five Star Alliance: Anything else you would like our readers to know about your property

Andrea Luri: We are now restructuring the various Villas which are located on the same estate as the hotel which will certainly turn out to be a great addendum to the property as they will also have access to the facilities of the hotel, other than having their own private pool and gardens.

Pictured From Left to Right: Restaurant Manager Giuliano Piscina, Spa Reception Maria Fanfani, Sales & PR Nathalie Beaugonin, Sales & PR Christina Ruettimann, General Manager Andrea Luri, Housekeeping Manager Sabrina Tonelli, Front Office Manager Alessio Nuzzi.


Discover Stunning European Destinations with InterContinental’s Insider Experiences

February 21, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ceylan InterContinentalPlan a getaway to Europe this spring and enjoy authentic and enriching experiences with InterContinental Hotels & Resorts. We've gushed before about the "In the Know" concierge program-- destination videos and local tips galore-- and the "Insider Experience" program takes this attentive service to another level. InterContinental has designed special packages for its guests to experience what is truly special about a city or region-- local food and wine, art and music, sightseeing, local markets-- and discover the nuanced secrets of each destination.

Case in point: "Insider Experiences" at Ceylan InterContinental Istanbul (pictured), where you can "Conquer the Grand Bazaar" with a personal guide at your side to lead you through the maze of shops in the world's oldest and largest covered shopping area, or discover the "Sights of Istanbul" with a personalized tour and private driver. At Amsterdam's InterContinental Amstel, you can enjoy "Canals and Canapés," a two-hour tour of Amsterdam's historic canals aboard a private salon boat for two. As you watch the city drift by, indulge in champagne and canapés followed by a six-course dinner with wine at La Rive. The "Amsterdam Amour" experience includes private limousine service, glasses of champagne and chocolate Traditionamstel Pure in-room, and a pair of choice seats at a classical concert.

Fly to Athens and discover marvelous "Insider Experiences" at the Athenaeum InterContinental, including "City Shopper," where a personal guide will escort you in a private car to Athens' jewelry stores, designer showrooms and shops where artisans create sandals and other handmade items, and "Cultural Treasure Hunt," a private guided tour that includes a visit to a Greek artist's studio, a stop in the Central Market of Athens to sample taverna food and an introduction to ancient and contemporary architecture, composers and literature.


Easter for Art Lovers at the Hotel Astoria, St. Petersburg, Russia

February 13, 2008
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel AstoriaDestination: St. Pete's, the Venice of the North, Russia's cultural capital, where internationally-praised opera, ballet and concert performances delight visitors, and the Hermitage Museum dazzles with its art collection. After decades of oblivion, the holy day of Easter has been revived in St. Petersburg with church services and processions, colorful Easter eggs, and art festivals. Perfectly located near St. Isaacs Cathedral in the heart of the city (just a block from the Hermitage), Rocco Forte's Hotel Astoria is one of the most sought-after hotels in St. Pete's. Scrupulously designed to reflect the noble history of the city, the Hotel Astoria has a spa, 24-hour gym, and Davidov restaurant serving authentic Russian cuisine. (Be sure to request a room with views over St. Isaac's Square.) Book the "Easter Dreams for Art Lovers" package to experience the festive atmosphere of Russian Easter and the city's abundant cultural treasures. Priced from RUB 64 050 (approx. EUR 1,830), the package includes three nights accommodation, buffet breakfast, champagne, fruit and flowers in-room, private tour of the Hermitage, private tour of the Imperial Palaces, Russian Table buffet at Davidov restaurant, Russian classical massage at the Spa (30 minutes), and airport transfers. Valid from March 20- 25, 2008.


Starwood’s Luxury Collection - Pulitzer is a Prize

January 31, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

With 70 properties worldwide, Starwood's Luxury Collection is a group of unique hotels and resorts offering exceptional service to an ultra-elite clientèle. Hotel PulitzerOne of those classic luxury properties is the Hotel Pulitzer. Overlooking two of the city's most picturesque canals, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, Hotel Pulitzer is ideally located in the middle of the old city center of Amsterdam. This unique property is comprised of 25 restored 17th and 18th century canal houses. Each of the 230 distinctive guest rooms represents a small piece of Dutch history and culture. And although the hotel does have the historical feel and look, it also offers all the upgraded facilities and services of today - like wifi Internet, air conditioning, and full fitness facilities.

PS - I know the above title is cheesy - I had to do it - give me a break.


Fifteen (XV) Beacon Growing in Boston, MA

January 22, 2008
By: Courtney W. May

XV Beacon RooftopThe Fifteen (XV) Beacon Hotel in Boston, MA has finally acquired the parking garage next door after years of trying! In 2 years, the hotel will be expanding from 60 rooms to 100 - after construction begins in the winter of 2008. They hope to have 30-40 new rooms available in the winter of 2009 - some with kitchenettes to accommodate longer stay guests. Currently, XV Beacon features a rooftop terrace with hot tub - after finishing construction on the new addition, the hotel will expand their outdoor space to include a roofdeck pool.