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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.

Celebrate Halloween in New York City

October 3, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Halloween is fast approaching, and we hope you’re ready to embrace all the fun that comes with this superstitious holiday. Aside from watching scary movies and carving pumpkins, consider making a trip out to New York for the NYC Village Halloween Parade on October 31st. This is the largest parade in the country, and it brings more than 50,000 costumed marchers, puppeteers, and bands to the Big Apple. This parade strongly encourages public participation, so get your costume ready and book your trip to New York City today!

Consider staying at the Pierre Hotel New York for your Halloween escapade. This luxurious hotel was recently renovated, and is located on 5th Avenue overlooking Central Park. The Pierre’s incredibly central location and legendary history make it an exceptionally elegant hotel. All of the Pierre’s guestrooms and suites have been transformed to feature an inviting, residential-style décor. During your luxurious stay, don’t forget to check out the NYC Village Halloween Parade, going from 7pm-11pm on Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 23rd Street. A crazy night out for the parade isn’t in the cards for you this year? Then be sure to watch it live on WPIZ Channel from 7pm – 10pm and on NY1 from 8pm – 9:30pm on your flat panel television in the Pierre Hotel. Let us reemphasize that this parade strongly encourages public participation, and prizes will be awarded for the best costume, so start brainstorming your outfit now and book your stay at the Pierre Hotel today!


Pink Ribbon Pedicure at Waldorf-Astoria's Guerlain Spa for Breast Cancer Awareness

September 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria, New YorkOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual international health campaign to raise awareness of the disease and raise funds for research. Many will wear pink ribbons, volunteer at local charities, and participate in the National Race for the Cure. Hotels are also giving back and supporting the cause. Case in point: The Waldorf=Astoria in New York is offering the "Pink Ribbon Pedicure" at its swank Guerlain Spa during the entire month of October. $10 of the $90 treatment will be donated to help fund breast cancer awareness and research. What's in store for lucky ladies? While sipping on a sparkling pink champagne cocktail, they'll indulge with an ultra pampering luxury pedicure topped with P.Y.T. pink polish.


Restaurants in New York: Le Bernardin Unveils Makeover

September 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le BernardinOne of NYC's finest restaurants-- Chef Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin-- closed for a month in August to revamp the interiors. It's now much more contemporary and sleek in style. Architects Bentel & Bentel, who did up the Gramercy Tavern and the Modern, were behind the makeover. The New York Times has the skinny:

Twisted vertical strips of steel dominate one wall in the dining room. Some smaller floor-to-ceiling teak panels screen serving stations and separate the dining room from a redesigned bar. Where 32 tables had been there are now 28, many at curved banquettes, a first for the restaurant. Translucent silvery fabric covers the windows. The chairs are upholstered in brown leather, framed in steel, not wood... Textured carpeting has a circular design suggesting fossilized sea creatures. The pièce de résistance is a 24-foot triptych painting of a stormy sea, "Deep Water No. 1," by Ran Ortner of Brooklyn, covering the back wall.

There's now an expanded bar and lounge with a cocktail menu (new for the restaurant). It has a more casual vibe-- jackets aren't required like they are for the dining room, and they don't take reservations. Read: A happening new spot!

Image via Eater New York


Trends in Travel: Spas are Using Locally Grown Ingredients

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Miraval ResortLike the farm-to-table food movement, spas are sourcing locally grown ingredients like chamomile and lavender. This new trend was highlighted in the International Spa Association's annual trend showcase in New York on August 18. Another new direction that spas are taking? Treatments are focusing not just on beauty but also on remedying stress and pain. Lastly, as The Washington Post points out, spa treatments are embracing technology:

  • The Spa at Trump demonstrated a pulsating light treatment on hands at the ISPA event; the LED therapy is used in facials at Trump Hotel spas ($150 for 30 minutes at Trump Soho). The Trump team also showed off a sparkly new line of SpaRitual vegan nail polish (animal fat can be an ingredient in nail polish).

And the spa market is looking pretty healthy, too, with statistics showing that the industry is recovering from the recession. An annual study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that revenue was up to $12.8 billion in 2010, a 4% increase over 2009, with spa visits increasing from 143 million to 150 million.

Pictured: A spa treatment at Miraval Resort in Arizona.


A Peachy Recipe from the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue Pastry Chef

September 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz 5th AvenueSure, it's September, but we're still craving summer peaches. Lucky for us, New York Magazine has published a fabulous recipe, bringing together two of our favorites: Andaz 5th Avenue (the NYC hotel that's quite the crowd-pleaser) and that divine fruit of the gods. Try this sweet and spicy recipe from the pastry chef at the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue, and prolong your summer just a little bit more...

Charmaine Mcfarlane’s Peaches With Chiles, Sugar, Salt, and Lime

6 tbs. sugar, 2 tbs. salt, 2 Thai chiles (chopped), 2 limes, 6 peaches

Combine the sugar, salt, and chopped chiles in a mortar and pestle and grind to a consistency like wet sand. Zest the limes and reserve the fruit for another use. Stir zest into the sugar-salt-and-chile mixture. Halve the peaches by (1) slicing them along their seams and cutting through to the pits and around the fruits. (2) Gently twist until the halves separate. Remove pits. Blanch the peach halves for 45 seconds and remove to an ice bath for a minute. (3) Peel off the skins. Sprinkle peaches with the sugar-and-salt mixture and let macerate for half an hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


3rd Night Free at The Carlyle in New York

August 19, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Carlyle, New YorkLive it up in Manhattan with a stay at The Carlyle, a timeless classic in the Upper East Side overlooking Central Park. Part of the Rosewood Hotels collection, this ultra-luxurious hotel emanates New York luxury-- from the legendary Bemelmans Bar to the jewel-like Sense Spa. (Even the tiniest guests are spoiled rotten at The Carlyle; the Rose Buds Kids program means Baby Primrose skincare products, the Madeleine tea, and lush velour terry child-sized bath robes and slippers.) Bed down in this refined residence, called home by leaders in business and society, and get a special rate this summer. Take advantage of the "MORE Rosewood" offer and get one more night on the house. Stay two nights and get the third night for free, valid through August 31, 2011.


Private Tours of the MoMA with The Setai Fifth Avenue

August 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Setai Fifth AvenueGet a load of this. The Setai Fifth Avenue-- the luxurious, Capella managed hotel in Midtown-- now offers guests private tours of the MoMA. Before New York's world-famous Museum of Modern Art opens its doors to the daily hordes of tourists and art enthusiasts, hotel guests can get a private viewing of "the greatest collection of modern art in the world" (to quote The New York Times).

This distinctive offering is part of "The Connoisseur" package, which also includes swank overnight accommodations and a complimentary breakfast delivered to the room. "The Connoisseur" is available at a starting rate of $1,046. All guests of The Setai Fifth Avenue also enjoy signature Capella Hotels and Resorts amenities such as the attention of personal assistants; complimentary snacks, water and soft drinks stocked and replenished in-room daily.


Spa Retreat in New York: Spend the Day at the Plaza Athénée

August 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee New YorkDid you know you can get a room at Manhattan's Hotel Plaza Athénée just for the day? Yup, the Upper East Side hotel, located just one block from Central Park, is the ideal spa retreat for New Yorkers looking to disconnect from their blackberries and unwind in luxury. Get ready for some head-to-toe pampering. The package includes a 50 Minute Signature Plaza Athénée Massage, a 50 Minute Valmont Signature Facial or Detoxifying Body Treatment, and a manicure and pedicure. After blissing out in the spa, relax in your guest room for the day, as the "Spa Retreat" package comes complete with day use in a Classic guest room from 10 am - 7 pm. Rates are $700 for the first guest, $500 for each additional guest. Subject to availability. Gift certificates are also available.

Additional articles about the Hotel Plaza Athénée:

An Insider's View of Central Park

Hotel Plaza Athenee, New York: Pillows and Penguins Children’s Package

Thanksgiving at the Hotel Plaza Athenee New York (and Hot Rates Post-Fete)


Watch the U.S. Open: Game.Set.Match at the Westin New York at Times Square

August 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin New York at Times SquarePlanning to take in all the action at the U.S. Open this year? Tennis fans who bed down at The Westin New York at Times Square, the official NYC hotel sponsor of the U.S. Open, will get get spoiled with extra treats. Starting at $269 per night and available August 29- September 11, 2011, the Game.Set.Match package includes round-trip MetroCard transportation for two to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center via subway, and a gift bag with a signature US Open item (a $30 value). A two-night minimum stay is required.


Bump It Up Bliss: The Pre-Natal Spa Package at The Peninsula New York

August 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Pensinsula New YorkThe Peninsula New York knows what to expect when you're expecting: lots of backaches and muscle pain! So the ultra-luxury hotel is pampering mothers-to-be with pre-natal massages, personal training sessions, cravings-based snacks and more. In designing the "Bump It Up Bliss" spa package, The Peninsula Spa by ESPA has partnered with Amy Tara Koch, style expert and author of “Bump It Up: Transforming Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement”. Manhattanites will want to splurge on this one! Here's what's included in the $660 package:

* Three 60-minute Maternity Massages

* Three 30-minute Pre-natal Personal Training sessions

* Cravings-based welcome snack and “preggo-tini” by the pool

* Copy of “Bump it Up: Transforming Your Pregnancy into the Ultimate Style Statement”

* Complimentary day use of the swimming pool, fitness centre and all yoga and core classes