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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.

An Interview with the General Manager: Cliff Atkinson of Gramercy Park Hotel

January 15, 2008
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Gramercy Park HotelCliff Atkinson was promoted to General Manager of the Gramercy Park Hotel in July 2007 after joining as the Hotel Manager in October of 2006 with more than 15 years of experience in the hospitality industry.

Five Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Cliff Atkinson: I was recruited by Ian Schrager to be the Gramercy Park Hotel Manager in September 2006 and I assumed the General Manager position in July 2007. I was very excited to incorporate my traditional luxury hotel background with the modern luxury that Gramercy Park Hotel introduced to the market.

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

Cliff Atkinson: The best thing about our hotel's location is the access to Gramercy Park. My favorite thing to do on a Sunday is to grab a New York Times, with a morning coffee and sit in the park and read my paper all year round. It is so quiet and peaceful, right in the middle of New York City!

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?

Cliff Atkinson: My favorite rooms are our Loft rooms. They really feel like an artist’s loft from the 1920's… very Bohemian. I recommend our "05" rooms, which have fantastic bathrooms and a large open feel.

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?

Cliff Atkinson: The Private Roof Club access and the weekend Dim Sum brunch in Wakiya.

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?

Cliff Atkinson: I think there are five distinctive points about our hotel:

1. The unique design of the rooms. – They are different than anything in the market today, with a design created by Ian Schrager, the patriarch of the modern hotel industry and Julian Schnabel, a world renowned artist. The rooms set themselves apart from the usual homogeneous look of the majority of hotel rooms.

2. Our location – The Gramercy Park area is becoming the “new midtown”. It is close to both the traditional Midtown Manhattan shopping and the exciting dining and night life of downtown Manhattan. Plus, our location directly on Gramercy Park provides our hotel guests with an experience like no other by allowing exclusive access to New York’s only private park.

3. Our Food and Beverage – Our options for dining and entertaining are truly world class from our Chinese restaurant, Wakiya, to the exciting nightlife of our Rose Bar, to the comfortable, laid back garden atmosphere of our Private Roof Club. Guests don’t feel like they are in a hotel but rather a private mansion with an incredible selection of personal chefs!

4. Private Roof Club – There is simply nothing like our Private Roof Club anywhere in New York City. It is accessible to hotel guests only, it provides a private retreat with incredible artwork and is covered and temperature controlled 365 days a year. It is truly special.

5. Our Service – Our approach to service is the same approach I used at former Mobil Five Star and AAA Five Diamond Hotels and Resorts. Ian Schrager has the eye for the design and can create a hotel space like no other. It is my job to ensure the service is at the level you would experience at the World’s top luxury hotels packaged in this unique hotel casing.

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

Cliff Atkinson: Our hotel guests are the global luxury traveler, with over 40% international. The demographic spans all ages from young 20’s to mid 60’s – anyone who wants a luxury experience that is special, unique and personal.

More About Mr. Atkinson:

Prior to joining the Gramercy Park Hotel, Cliff worked for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group for seven years and held various positions within the company, most recently as the Executive Assistant Manager for Mandarin Oriental, New York. Before Mandarin Oriental, New York, Cliff was the director of Revenue Management for the Group’s properties in North America and Europe from 2000 – 2003. Cliff began his career in the hospitality industry with Hilton Hotels in Revenue Management and as Director of Front Office Operations and other various management positions in Rooms Division.

Cliff attended City College of San Francisco with a degree in Hospitality Management as well as the University of San Francisco and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. Cliff resides in Manhattan with his wife Jennifer and is currently pursuing his MBA.


Serious Savings in Washington D.C. at The Madison, A Loews Hotel

December 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Madison, A Loews HotelCelebrate the season in the nation's capital. Ogle the pretty lights (the National Zoo's even got ZooLights featuring larger-than-life exhibits of their most popular animals!) and check out the glittering National Christmas Tree with the large scale model train running around it. Shop at the downtown Holiday Market on F Street, where local artisans have set up a fabulous marketplace. The place to stay is The Madison, A Loews Hotel, where elegant accommodations boast miles of spectacular views and in-room amenities recreate the comforts of home. You'll find spacious bathrooms with heated towel racks, luxurious terry towels, the "Ultimate Doeskin" robes by Chadsworth & Haig, and Bloom toiletries. There's a 24-hour fitness center, spa with massage services, sauna and steam room. Plus, The Madison is pet friendly. For a limited time, you can enjoy holiday rates starting from just $149 a night. Valid between December 19, 2007- January 4, 2008.


Taste of Luxury in Venice with Starwood Hotels

October 23, 2007
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Venetian culture comes alive when your US Dollar buys up to 40% more this Fall and Winter in Venice, Italy.

Westin Europe and ReginaVisit Venice before 31 December 2007 with one of Starwood's Taste of Luxury or Taste of Venice USD packages and take advantage of the special One US Dollar = One Euro* exchange rate parity deal. Valid for a minimum stay of 3 nights at Hotel Danieli, Hotel Gritti Palace, or The Westin Europa & Regina, Venice. Stay in characteristic accommodations from USD 350 (instead of Euro 350) per room per night for two, inclusive of American buffet breakfast, tax and service. Don't delay. Book by 29 December for stays until 31 December 2007.

*Rates confirmed in USD are guaranteed in US dollars when paid in US cash or traveler's checks. Payments made by credit cards at the hotel will be charged in the local currency equivalent based on the exchange rate used by the hotel on the day of arrival. Currency conversions by bank or credit card companies in processing payments are not within the control of the hotel and are subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Please consult the Terms & Conditions for full details of this promotion.


Nuit Blanche Returns to Paris this Weekend

October 3, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paris This Saturday, October 6, 2007 Paris will remain open all night for its annual cultural extravaganza. What a way to pull an all-nighter! From sun-down to sunrise, the grand museums, churches, historical sites (and even swimming pools) of Paris will remain open and free to the public. Visitors can even enjoy the palace of Versailles under moonlight. The city obliges with free transport (shuttle buses, and there's always the cool, free bike service). Night owls will go gaga over the nocturnal contemporary art exhibitions and music concerts in these exciting venues. This year's Nuit Blanche is dedicated to Ingrid Betancourt, the politician and activist held hostage by the FARC in the Colombian jungle since 2002.


Special Offer at Conrad Brussels: Rubens, A Genius at Work

September 19, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Brussels Take a jaunt to the European capital to check out an extraordinary new exhibition, "Rubens-- A Genius at Work" which opened on September 14, 2007. After a four year research project by the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, the exhibition brings together 120 works of Belgium's best known Old Master. This is one of the most important retrospectives of Rubens' work ever to be staged and also shows works by the great Antwerp master produced with fellow artists including Jan Brueghel the Elder, Antoon van Dyck and Cornelis de Vos. Take advantage of a special overnight offer at the luxurious Conrad Brussels-- home to the largest, most sophisticated guest rooms in the city-- which includes breakfast at the hotel's Café Wiltcher, limousine transport to/from the exhibition and one two-day entrance ticket. Plus, earn 1,000 Hilton HHonors bonus points per stay. Rates starting from EUR 293.


Last Chance to See King Tut in Philadelphia: Special with the Westin Hotel

September 18, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King Tut exhibit At the beginning of October, this spellbinding blockbuster exhibit will head back across the ocean. (Next stop: London, where the exhibit opens on November 15, 2007 at the O2, Europe's newest and most advanced entertainment destination, the former Millennium Dome.) The 3,000-year old treasures of Tutankhamun's tomb were discovered in Egypt in 1922; this is the first time in 26 years that the treasures of the Boy King-- over 120 precious artifacts-- have traveled to America. This is your only opportunity to see King Tut at the last stop in the States. The Westin Philadelphia, in partnership with the Franklin Institute, has put together an exclusive package for the King Tut exhibit. You'll receive two VIP passes to the exhibit, shuttle service to the Franklin Institute, and great weekend rates starting from just $223. Conveniently located just two blocks from the museum in the heart of this historical city, the Westin Philadelphia boasts 290 beautifully-appointed guest rooms with the signature Heavenly Bed. Book now for stays through September 30, 2007.


Ca’ Sagredo: The Newest Five Star Hotel in Venice, Italy

August 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ca Sagredo Say hello to the newest luxury hotel on the block, your own private palazzo in the heart of Venice. Smack dab on the Grand Canal, Ca' Sagredo has a spectacular location just a short walk from the Rialto Bridge and St. Mark's Square. Dating back to the 15th century, classified as a National Monument, the building has retained its magnificent frescoed wall and gracious architecture. Indeed, the hotel is more like a museum, housing precious artwork from the most important Venetian painters of the 17th and 18th century: Giambattista Tiepolo, Pietro Sebastiano Ricci, Pietro Longhi, among others. The restaurant is no less luxurious. Overlooking the Grand Canal from a grand panoramic terrace, L'Alcova serves the finest Mediterranean cuisine in a trendy atmosphere.


Hotel Arts Barcelona: The Allure of a One-of-a-Kind City

August 9, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Arts Barcelona Discover the best of Barcelona on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. From museum hopping to boat trips, from Gaudi's architecture to gothic cathedrals, from reflexology massages by the pool to personal shopping tours, Hotel Arts Barcelona understands the art of enjoying summer. A member of the Ritz-Carlton family of hotels, Hotel Arts Barcelona overlooks miles of Barcelona beachfront and the grand vista of Port Olimpic. The view may be nice, but the hotel's striking contemporary architecture is really what turns heads. In addition, there is a spectacular collection of Spanish contemporary art housed in the hotel. Sit down for an al fresco meal, fanned by a mild summer breeze, at the Restaurante Marina. Sink into a soft sofa on Arola's chill-out terrace, sipping a cocktail and sharing tapas. This is what summer's all about. The hotel also boasts a stunning Spa by Six Senses on the 43rd floor, outdoor pool, open-air Jacuzzi in terraced gardens, and a fitness center with personal fitness consultations.


Satchmo Summer Fest and Museums of New Orleans with the Windsor Court Hotel

July 31, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Windsor Court Hotel The weekend of August 2-5 honors New Orleans' native son, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, with entertainment, Sizzlin' Satchmo dinners, and educational programs in the French Quarter. Stay at the Windsor Court Hotel, the city's finest hotel, and luxuriate in the tranquility of the Garden District after partaking in the weekend's excitement. For chilled cocktails and cool music, head to the hotel's Polo Club Lounge, its overstuffed chairs and tobacco color scheme evoking the aura of an 18th century "gentlemen's withdrawing room." Take tea at Le Salon. And dine at the innovative, award-winning New Orleans Grill Room, where the new Executive Chef Greg Sonnier, James Beard Award nominee for Best Chef of the South, concocts delightful Louisiana dishes in the city's best restaurant.

With Windsor Court's Museum Package, get incredible savings (suites from $179 and Club Suites from $279 until September 30, 2007!) in the most luxurious hotel in the city, along with two complimentary tickets for one of the following museums: The National World War II Museum (formerly the National D-Day Museum), the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, home to the most comprehensive collection of Southern art in the world, or the New Orleans Museum of Art, located in New Orleans' acclaimed City Park. The Museum features 40,000 objects valued in excess of $200 million. The hotel itself features its own dazzling $8 million art collection, with masterpieces by Reynolds and Van Dyck.


Sizzling Specials at The Venetian, Las Vegas

July 20, 2007
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Venetian From the captivating entertainment of the Blue Man Group to authentic gondola rides along the quarter-mile Grand Canal, from the fabulous new Venetian Poker Room to the on-site Guggenheim Hermitage Museum, The Venetian has got it all. Smack dab in the middle of the action on the Las Vegas Strip, the all-suite luxury resort offers the romance of Italy and the pinnacle of luxury in a city known for mind-boggling excitement. Experience the "Suite Life" from just $179 per night! Even the standard rooms at The Venetian are twice the size of the typical Vegas room. (With 700 square feet of pure indulgence, there's nothing standard about them.) Book this special package at The Venetian, the world's largest four-star resort, and you'll also receive two Canyon Ranch SpaClub Passports, ten percent discount off spa treatments, twenty percent off fine dining at Postrio or Pinot Brasserie, and two complimentary drinks at the Blue Man Bar with purchase of performance tickets. Two night minimum stay required. Valid through December 30, 2007.