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.

Hopper and Homer at the Art Institute of Chicago with The Conrad Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad ChicagoNow's the time to check out the Hopper and Homer exhibits at the Art Institute of Chicago-- running until May 10, 2008. Check into the Conrad Hotel, a bastion of contemporary luxury smack dab on the Magnificent Mile and within walking distance to the Art Institute, and you'll be spoiled rotten by the cool amenities on offer. Unleash your inner artist and book the special "Homer and Hopper" package. Starting from $420 per night and available for a limited time, the package includes accommodations, an in-room interpretation of the works of Homer and Hopper amenity prepared by the hotel's Executive Chef, two tickets to the Homer and Hopper Exhibit at The Art Institute of Chicago, audio tour for two for the exhibit, and a gift certificate for $25.00 to Blick Art Supply. [Map]


Historic Views at the InterContinental Sydney


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Historic Views at the InterContinental SydneyHistoric Views at the InterContinental SydneyPerhaps no other address offers the prestige, historic significance and convenience you'll enjoy at InterContinental Sydney. Renovated in 2004, the hotel features a heated indoor pool and onsite health and fitness facility.

Five Star Alliance client Christine N., of Perth, Scotland said the following about her stay at the InterContinental Sydney:

    "The view of Sydney Opera House and Watson's Bay was fantastic - enhanced by the huge windows and very comfortable window seats (I didn't want to leave). The room itself was tremendous with many little touches that were much appreciated. Hotel staff very helpful with restaurant reservations - would recommend the Cafe Opera for the buffet."

Click on the images above or below to watch a video and tour the spaces of the InterContinental Sydney Hotel >>

Historic Views at the InterContinental SydneyHistoric Views at the InterContinental Sydney

Make reservations for the InterContinental Sydney here >>


Suite Luxury: Fabulous Faena’s 3 New Lavish Suites in Buenos Aires


By: Courtney W. May

Faena Hotel + UniverseThe opulent and gorgeous Faena Hotel + Universe in Buenos Aires is just one distinctive part of the Faena Art District in BA, Argentina. With lavish restaurants and bars, authentic theater spaces, an exceptional wine cellar, world-class spa, and top-tier accommodations, the hotel has topped itself once again. At the end of 2007, 3 over-the-top, extremely lavish suites were introduced to the property – F Suite, Tower Suite, and Imperial Suite (click on the images below for the bigger pictures).

F Suite Living Room The F Suite, the most exclusive suite in Latin America, is a wholly private and impeccably appointed 1,291 square foot residence located on the 6th floor of Faena Hotel + Universe featuring two bedrooms (1 pictured), three bathrooms, living (pictured) and dining rooms, a kitchen, a library and outstanding panoramic views of the Faena Art District, embankment and city center of Buenos Aires. Additional amenities include a marble bathroom with rain forest shower and Jacuzzi and a state of the art in-room entertainment center with three 42-inch plasma screens.

Atop Faena Hotel + Universe is the Tower Suite, a triplex suite with exceptional views of Rio de la Plata and the MicaelaBastidas Park. The centerpiece of the suite is a fiber optic teardrop crystal lamp that shifts from amber to blue to green to purple, located at the foot of the stairway and specially created for the suite. Imperial Suite terrace The two bedroom, two bathroom suite also includes living and dining rooms, marble bathroom with jacuzzi and relaxation area, an outdoor terrace and flat screen home theaters in the living room and bedroom.

Imperial Suite living room.jpgWith two outdoor terraces, offering double 180-degree views that face east and west, supplying idyllic panoramic views of city and river, sunrise and sunset is the Imperial Suite. Inside, a spacious living/dining room with sliding glass windows, kitchen, cloakroom and one super king-sized bedroom and bathroom make the Imperial Suite perfect for honeymooners or any other romantic escape.  Imperial Suite bathroom The marble-floored bathroom features a Philippe-Starck designed jacuzzi and separate shower, while the living room and bedroom each boast home theaters with flat screens and surround sound.

All suites include one of Faena Hotel + Universe's famous personal Experience Managers, high-speed wireless internet connections and automatic red velvet curtains with Venetian blinds.

Faena Hotel + Universe is known for ultimate luxury and the F Suite, Tower Suite and Imperial Suite continue the tradition of welcoming guests with exceptional service and luxe comforts.


An Interview with the General Manager: Marco Novella of Hotel Gritti Palace


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Prior to the Hotel Gritti Palace, Mr. Marco Novella was most recently at the St. Regis Grand Hotel in Rome. Before that, he worked at the Hotel de Paris Monte Carlo and the Four Seasons Hotel Milano. He took some time to answer a few of our questions about Venice, the hotel, and what visitors should know.

Marco Novello Gritti PalaceFive Star Alliance: How did you come to be General Manager of the hotel?

Marco Novella: After a 4 year experience including being involved in the re-opening of the St. Regis Grand Hotel in Rome.

Five Star Alliance: What best describes the personality of the Hotel Gritti Palace?

Marco Novella: A residential Palace with a true Venetian feeling to it.

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

Marco Novella: The history of its 16th century building and its fine art collection. The hotel’s superb location on the Grand Canal and its beautiful views from the hotel terrace.

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?

Marco Novella: During the opening week of the last three editions of Venice’s Biennale of Art exhibition, Christie's has invited its most important guests to our hotel ballroom for a preview of its most prestigious auction of the year. Hotel Gritti Palace's terrace is the most sought after place to be, to see and be seen both during this prestigious event and during the Venice Film Festival in September.

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?

Marco Novella: Our guests’ favorite rooms are those with the incomparable views of the Grand Canal and the S.M della Salute Church.

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?

Marco Novella: From the time it was built, the Gritti Palace has been the residence of Doge Andrea Gritti’s family, and of many noble Venetian families and prominent authorities.

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?

Marco Novella: That the hotel fully reflects the atmosphere of the city which I am visiting and that the size of the hotel would make me feel more like I am a guest in a private home (or Palace) rather than in a hotel.

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

Marco Novella: Our guests come from all over the world, in particulare from Europe, USA, Middle East, India and China.

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

Marco Novella: Hotel Gritti Palace faces onto the waters of the Grand Canal, with breathtaking views to S.M. della Salute Church. It is in a very peaceful corner of Venice, with some of the best shopping in the city just a few steps away. Walking in the area is interesting because of the many historical attractions, the numerous museums, and the beautiful views of the Grand Canal from the Accademia Bridge. It is a very safe area.

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?

Marco Novella: I am very satisfied with the associates of Hotel Gritti Palace and its guests are among the best I have encountered in my professional life.

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?

Marco Novella: The St. Regis Grand Hotel in Rome is special because of its history and of its present state. It was created by the legendary hotelier Cesar Ritz. Today, after its refurbishment completed in 2000, it offers an extremely high level of service and an excellent sense of hospitality.

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

Marco Novella: Hotel Gritti Palace is the most sought after hotel for art collectors during the Biennale. Its terrace is the best place in Venice for enjoying a tasteful Venetian meal or a cocktail. It is an excellent place for socializing and encountering interesting people.


Marie Antoinette Offer at the Hotel de Crillon, Paris


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


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 >>

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


    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


    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


    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


    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.