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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.

Conrad Chicago’s Crafty Concepts

September 29, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May for the Conrad Chicago The Conrad Chicago These days all of the luxury hotels have packages or gimic to help attract new guests and market their property. In this case the Conrad Chicago (which just finished a major renovation) has 4 ongoing deals that aren't just gimics, but great add-ons to a Chicago visit. Halloween Package (through 10/31/06) this package includes orange cotton candy, gummy worms and spiders upon check-in for the children, 2 tickets to attend Navy FEAR at Navy Pier, and truffle pumpkin cookies for the entire family to enjoy. Business Retreat (through 12/31/06) includes complimentary coffee delivered to room following wake-up call , dry cleaning for 1 suite, executive services, a selection from our NY Times bestseller booklist, personal shopper to find a gift for your loved ones back home. Holidays on Magnificent Mile (through 12/31/06) includes shipping of shopping items within us up to $30.00, a $50.00 gift card, and a VIP savings passport for Westfield North Bridge, holiday Martini, gift wrapping, turndown, late check-out, and parking for 1 night. Tut at Twilight (through 12/31/06) includes 2 adult tickets to the King Tut exhibit at Chicago’s Field Museum. Extra tickets available for purchase. Reserve the Conrad Chicago


What’s New at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

August 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Guggenheim Bilbao

The Bilbao Guggenheim is nothing short of magnificent. Frank Gehry's incredible construction-- composed of glass walls, limestone, and titanium-- glimmers like a giant fish in the sunlight next to the Nervion river. Since it's opening in 1997, the former industrial city of Bilbao has become a showcase of art and culture. The Guggenheim is the most dynamic kind of architectural setting to contemplate and appreciate modern art. Current exhibitions include Russia!—the most comprehensive and significant collection of Russian art sent abroad since the end of the Cold War. From the 13th century religious icon painting to the present. Until September 3. Also on view: Max Beckmann, The Watercolors and Pastels, the first exhibition of its kind (a few watercolors have been displayed in surveys of his work, but never together.) Until September 17. Don't miss the permanent collection, including Richard Serra's groundbreaking The Matter of Time. Museum hours: Tuesday- Sunday, 10 am- 8 pm. EUR 12.50, adults.

Image Via Wikipedia


$50 F&B Credit at The Carlyle with Five Star Alliance

August 14, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

The Carlyle Hotel, New York City

The Carlyle Hotel New York City

Located in the heart of Manhattan, The Carlyle offers sweeping views of Central Park and easy access to the encircling Upper East Side galleries and boutiques, as well as the nearby "Museum Mile." And between now and the end of September 2006 - guests checking in at The Carlyle Hotel with Five Star Alliance will receive a $50 food and beverage credit (excluding alcohol) in addition to the special welcome gift upon check-in and complimentary buffet breakfast every morning that Five Star Alliance guests currently receive.

Package rate start as low as $495 per night and as of today you can still find availability for the Labor Day holiday, but act fast.



An Interview with the General Manager

August 8, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Jonathan Critchard is the General Manager of the five-star deluxe Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments in London. He has held the position since 1993 and has over 21 years experience heading some of the most prestigious hotels and residences in the United Kingdom and worldwide. He has left his professional imprint on Blakes Hotel, The Hempel, The Dorchester and 3A Palace Green (the world's most luxurious apartment complex located in Kensington Palace Gardens in London); Amberley Castle in West Sussex and The Regent in Hong Kong.

Jonathan Critchard

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

Mr. Critchard: By good fortune

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?

Mr. Critchard: We are family owned and have a warm, friendly and intimate persona.

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

Mr. Critchard: Our market is predominantly from the USA. We have a repeat guest factor of 45% which is split between corporate and leisure business.

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

Mr. Critchard: The best thing about our location is that it is incredibly central and situated right opposite Green Park. My favorite thing to do in the surrounding area is to enjoy the open spaces of London’s parks.

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?

Mr. Critchard: Unfortunately not, we are renowned for our discretion in the entertainment industry.

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?

Mr. Critchard: All our apartments are individual and unique, offering both contemporary and traditional styles of decor. 30% of our hotel rooms have stunning views overlooking Green Park.

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?

Mr. Critchard: AA Milne, author of Winnie the Pooh used to live in our apartments. During the war Winston Churchill spent a lot of time in the Down Street underground station, opposite the side of the hotel, and rumor has it, that we kept him supplied with his favorite drink of Pol Roger.

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?

Mr. Critchard: What is their service ethic, how warm is the welcome, and I focus on the quest for both comfort and service.

Five Star Alliance: What is the hardest part about being General Manager?

Mr. Critchard: To juggle a myriad of priorities and key issues to help determine what is best for the business, people and guest.

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?

Mr. Critchard: The Peninsula in Hong Kong which is the epitome of quality service. Gravetye Manor in Sussex which is a classic country house hotel in stunning surroundings, which offers a wonderful old world charm, hospitality and service.

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

Mr. Critchard: We have recently completed a major refurbishment of our ground floor public areas and dining facilities. This is part of an ongoing project desire to maintain our property to a high standard.

More info on the Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.


Conrad Chicago’s August Terrace Movie Nights Line Up

August 3, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

In case you missed "The Terrace Movie Nights" at the Conrad Chicago Hotel in July, you still have more chances to unwind in their chic outdoor setting this August. On Sunday and Monday nights you can enjoy watching one of the following movies while also having fantastic cityscape views. The Conrad Chicago Terrace August Line up: 6/6 – Lawrence of Arabia 6/7 – Oliver 6/13 – The Sting 6/14 – Amadaus 6/20 – Great Expectations 6/21 – All the President’s Men 6/27 – Tootsie 6/28 – Out of Africa ****** All movies subject to change ******


King Tut Has Arrived at the Field Museum, Chicago

July 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

King Tut

It's here. The spectacular, blockbuster exhibit-- Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs— has arrived in Chicago, to dazzle visitors until January 1, 2007. This exhibit marks the first time in 26 years that the treasures of the "boy king" and the Egyptian pharoahs have traveled to America. The exquisite artifacts—over 120 of them—reveal the splendors of the 18th Dynasty, some 3,000 years ago. And many of these have never before left Egypt.

Take a look at the breathtaking golden diadem of King Tutankhamun. Witness a tender scene between Tutankhamun and his young wife, engraved in silver and gold. And most poignant of all, see the child-sized throne of ebony, ivory, and gold, from which the boy king ruled all of Egypt.

A special section of the exhibition explores the mystery of Tutankhamun's death using the marvels of modern CT scanning technology. And a realistic, life-sized bust made using data from these scans lets us look into the face of the young pharaoh for the first time.

It's best to purchase tickets ahead.


Guggenheim to Open New Museum in Abu Dhabi

July 14, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Saadiyat Island

Another reason why Abu Dhabi is shaking things up: the Guggenheim Foundation has recently announced plans to open a museum in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates. The new museum will be the biggest and most ambitious yet: 300,000 square feet designed by super-star Frank Gehry, 25 percent bigger than the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain.

The museum, to be called the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, would house Modern and contemporary art and serve as the linchpin of a sprawling development in a new cultural district of Saadiyat (Arabic for "isle of happiness"), a 10-square-mile natural island just off Abu Dhabi.

The new museum is slated to open in 2011.

Related Articles:

New York Times, "Guggenheim Foundation and Abu Dhabi Plan Museum There"

CBS News, "Guggenheim to Build Museum in Abu Dhabi"

The Informed Traveler, "Move Over Dubai: the Marvelous Makeover of Abu Dhabi"


Musee du Quai Branly Opens in Paris

July 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Musee du Quai Branly

It took eleven years, and EUR 232 million, but at the June 20 inauguration of the new Musée du Quai Branly, the world's gaze settled on the hottest new museum in Paris. After all, the Musée du Quai Branly represents the crowning cultural achievement of Chirac's reign, who has sought to create a space honoring "the world's forgotten civilizations." Jean Nouvel's architectural masterpiece now houses the 270,000 items from the African, Oceanic and Asian artworks from the Musée de l'Homme and the Musée des Arts Africains et Océaniens (only 3,500 are on display.)

The building itself is extraordinary: a piece of contemporary art beneath the Eiffel Tower, situated on 19 acres of green, sprawling along the Seine. It is disjointed: a colorful mass of metal, with curved glass walls and no sense of symmetry. It is distinctly modern. Standing within the gardens, or in the ticket line beneath the building's metal overhang, you catch glimpses of the Eiffel Tower, which seems to rise directly from the museum itself.

And though the lines of tourists assemble outside the Louvre and the Musée d'Orsay in the summertime, the Musée du Quai Branly is a breeze. Upon entrance, visitors follow a long white ramp where a kaleidoscope of images is projected. Once you enter the Collections area, the light is dim, and the museum experience is an interactive one. You walk through a corridor lined with soft walls that are meant to be touched, called La Riviere, where indigenous stories and folklore are narrated for handicapped visitors. The museum is meant to be a place of ongoing exploration of anthropology and non-Western civilizations.

Hours: 10 am-6:30 pm, closed on Mondays. Tickets are EUR 8.50.

Related Articles,

New York Times, For a New Paris Museum, Jean Nouvel Creates His Own Rules


Check Out Monet’s Waterlilies at the Musee de l’Orangerie, Paris

July 7, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waterlilies

After an impressive six-year renovation, and a $36 million investment, the Musee de l'Orangerie has reopened at long last. Monet's series of waterlilies are perhaps the most monumental work of his lifetime: the artist spent 30 years captivated by the light on the waterlily pond at his home in Giverny, and managed to capture this mysterious light, and the changing seasons, in his large Abstract canvases that wrap around the walls of the museum. These eight paintings are enormous: over six feet high and one is over 50 feet long. The artist donated them to France, and they were hung at l'Orangerie in 1927, a year after his death. In the 1960's, the government attempted a renovation of the museum that holds the paintings, which failed miserably, and so for years, the nymphéas (as they are called) sat forgotten and neglected.

No longer. The museum re-opened in mid-May, and presents the paintings as Monet initially intended them to be viewed. Natural light floods through the ceiling; the white walls curve and bend to accommodate the canvases. The architecture is as stunning as the paintings. The water lilies are housed on the ground floor, while the downstairs showcases the Jean Walter and Paul Guillaume collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist works, including a corridor of Renoir, Matisse, Derain, and Modigliani.

Tickets are EUR 6.50, and individuals are only allowed in the museum from 12:30-7 pm, as groups tour the museum in the mornings. The museum is closed on Tuesdays. A warning: the lines assembled outside can snake around the building. Reserve your tickets ahead, and you'll skip the wait entirely. Though there are worse things than standing in the sunshine in the Jardin des Tuileries.

Related Articles,

New York Times, Paris's Jewel-like Orangerie, Home to Monet's Waterlilies, Reopens, Polished and Renovated


The Grand Reopening of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC

June 13, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

National Portrait Gallery

After an extensive renovation, the National Portrait Gallery celebrates its grand reopening July 1 with fourteen new exhibitions. The National Landmark Historic Building that houses the National Portrait Gallery and the Smithsonian American Art Museum now has 30 percent more exhibition space, redesigned galleries, a conservation lab, and an enclosed courtyard. The gallery's 20,000 paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings portray the individuals who have made signature contributions to the history and culture of the US. All exhibitions will open July 1, and include "Americans Now," which showcases individuals prominent in sports, entertainment and other fields in the last 25 years, and "Eye Contact," which will feature masterpieces of 20th century portraiture from the National Portrait Gallery's drawing collections. Folks can even "Adopt-A-Portrait" in celebration of the reopening.

Where to stay in Washington DC? The Hay Adams, of course! Enter our luxury hotel Giveaway for a chance to win two free nights in a Junior Suite in this fabulous DC establishment.