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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.

Franco-American Relations Redeemed: the Reconstruction of La Fayette’s Ship in Rochefort, France

February 9, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hermione ship

The French are supersizing it. In the small, historic seaside port of Rochefort, near La Rochelle on the country's Atlantic coast, expert craftsmen have undertaken an enorme project: the reconstruction of the 65 meter ship that carried the legendary General La Fayette to join General Washington and the American leaders in their fight for independence in 1780. When it was first constructed, the Hermione required 11 months of work by hundreds of skilled workers; its reconstruction will take 10 years, and cost $10 million. This is the ultimate symbol of Franco-American fraternity, and an emblem of France's past naval strength. And a brilliant museum to visit, off the beaten path in France.


Say Hello to the New Getty Villa Malibu

January 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Getty Villa

At long last, the new, fabulously improved Getty Villa Malibu opens on Saturday. After extensive renovations—this was the original home of the Getty Museum—the Villa will reopen as an educational center and museum dedicated to ancient Greek and Roman art and culture. How to score tix? The process for free admission is the same as the stupendous Getty Center that we know and love (I admit it: I've lured friends and family to the top of that hill just to walk the grounds and gape at the architecture, gardens and view. Forget the art, this is the best vista in all of LA!) Advance, timed tickets are required for each individual and can be obtained online or by calling (310) 440-7300. Parking is 7 dollars a car. (Take note: the Villa is closed on both Tuesdays and Wednesdays.)


It’s a Museum, a Gallery, a Hotel(!): Madrid’s Marvelous Hotel Puerta America

January 10, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Puerta America

Imagine this. An all-star team of 19 architects comes together to create a sophisticated hotel masterpiece, each designing his/her own floor. This vision becomes a reality at the Hotel Puerta America, easily one of the top hotels in Madrid. Seductive, diverse, luxurious, this is a hotel with personality. Lots of them. It may be a little outside the city center, but who cares—the hotel itself is a destination. Opened since mid-last year, the hotel has great rates for standard rooms, starting at $250.


Lovin the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco

January 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Thinker

This is by far San Fran's most gorgeous museum. The setting alone is well worth a gape. On view from its perch above the Pacific: the GG bridge, the Marin headlands, and the dazzling white cityscape. And standing guard in front: the huge statue of Rodin's Thinker, musing from his seat inside the museum's courtyard. And of course, if you can tear yourself from the view, the museum's permanent collection is pretty fantastic: over 4,000 pieces of ancient and European art. On view now is a fascinating exhibit titled "After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire," containing over 75 paired photographs of then and now.


Benjamin Franklin’s Tercentenary

December 6, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ben Franklin

2006 marks another big birthday; this time on our side of the big pond. January 17, 2006 is the 300th birthday of Benjamin Franklin—the first founding father to reach this milestone. In honor of this extraordinary man (what career and hobby didn't he pursue?), Philadelphia is hosting year-long celebrations. The most noteworthy is the major international traveling exhibition: Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, which opens in Philly on December 15, and then travels around to four other museums nationwide, before its final showing in Paris in 2008.


Mozart 2006 in Austria

November 30, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mozart

2006 marks Wolfgang's 250th birthday, and Austria is celebrating in style with an extensive calendar of events. The musical genius will be honored with new museums, operatic performances, extraordinary concert series, festivals and galas, expos and special exhibitions, all across the country. In Vienna--for example-- Mozart's big day will be marked by an open party for the whole city on January 27-29. He will be celebrated all over the city with music, films and readings on a variety of themes-- arranged in to five different tours (Mozart. Friends and Enemies; Mozart. Viennese and Cosmopolitan; Mozart. Art and Love; Mozart. Life and Death; and Mozart. Yesterday and Today). On each tour, visitors experience four different events and a special children's program. My favorite event? The Vienna Boys' Choir will give a concert in St. Stephen's Cathedral on January 27, featuring Mozart's most beautiful works of sacred music.


Remembering Rembrandt: Holland’s 2006 Birthday Bash

November 28, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rembrandt's Mother

After all, the guy turns 400 next year. And the country is going nuts in celebration. Rembrandt 400 is a yearlong party for the artist's 400th birthday. Unique exhibitions and events are scheduled, and travel agents are jumping on the bandwagon with special packages galore. The first of the spectacular exhibitions-- Rembrandt's Mother, Myth and Reality-- opens on December 16 in the Municipal Museum De Lakenhal, Leiden (the artist’s birthplace). In Amsterdam, The Masterpieces opens on January 2, exhibiting 400 exceptional paintings. Why not stake out a room at The Dylan Amsterdam, situated in a 17th century landmark on one of the city's most famous canals? Smack in the city center, but the essence of tranquil.

The Dylan Amsterdam, Official Site

The Dylan Amsterdam, Five Star Alliance


Art from the Louvre on its way to Atlanta’s High Museum

November 25, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Louvre

Starting next year, art and sculpture from one of the world's finest collections will be on view at Atlanta's High Museum. This seems truly unprecedented: that Paris' cultural gem has agreed to share part of its collection with another museum for an extended period. The "Louvre in Atlanta Project" is to be launched in January, with an exchange of French and American high school students, followed by the appearance of Louvre exhibits at Atlanta's High Museum in the fall. So much for botched Franco-American relations!

Via CNN


Good Stuff at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid

November 24, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Thyssen gallery

Through January 8, 2006, check out the exhibit: Mimesis. Modern Realism. 1918- 45 at the Thyssen-Bornemisza. It focuses on the spread of realism between the World Wars. The whole museum is pretty mind-blowing; a stroll through the permanent collections is like a walk through the best kind of art history class. (Hint: Start on the second floor with the oldest paintings, and work your way down to the 20th century on the ground floor.)


Say Hello to the New de Young Museum, San Francisco

October 25, 2005
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

de Young Museum SF

After five years renovation, San Francisco’s de Young Museum reopened on October 15. The transformation is dramatic; the Pritzer Prize winning architects Herzog & de Meuron (along with SF-based Fong & Chan Architects) have created a state-of-the-art facility out of this landmark cultural institution. (The nifty facade is comprised of dozens of unique copper panels!) The de Young has occupied the same beautiful space of Golden Gate Park since 1895. Collections include American art from the 17th through the 20th centuries, and art of the native Americas, Africa and the Pacific.