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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.

Gramercy Park Hotel, New York: Sensational Special Offer


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gramercy Park HotelThe hottest "new" hotel in Manhattan, the most talked about hotel opening of 2006, Gramercy Park Hotel is Ian Shrager's latest masterpiece. With the bold redesign of the classic Manhattan icon, Gramercy Park Hotel has emerged as the luxurious hideway for the "new haute bohemian." Artist Julian Schnabel has created the gorgeous, sensual interior, which features art exhibits including works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Lucky guests can imbibe cocktails under the stars at the Private Roof Club and Landscaped Garden, opening this spring. But perhaps the best part of Gramercy Park Hotel: guests receive a key, upon check-in, to the exclusive, gated Gramercy Park. Take advantage of a fantastic offer at this gem in NYC. For a limited time, receive a complimentary room upgrade for stays from February 25-March 18. Available with online bookings only. Upgrade is not available for suites, and blackout dates may apply.


The Restaurant at the Setai, South Beach


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Setai At the Restaurant at the Setai, trans-ethnic cuisine is crafted from the finest, freshest ingredients in an impressive exhibition kitchen. This is the pinnacle of haute dining in South Beach, the new "Vegas by the Ocean," so called by NYT critic Mark Bittman. The article “Is South Beach Growing Up?" identifies The Setai's restaurant as "visually stunning," with "competent, and actually warm, service":

The sheer scale of the Restaurant at the Setai-- South Beach's most opulent dining spot, and perhaps one of the most interestingly and arguably perfectly designed restaurants in the world-- is astounding. An enormous courtyard is dominated by a huge reflecting pool, and there are 20-foot ceilings, domes of 500 tightly grouped roses and an elaborate array of materials used to build the minimalist but intricate walls and floors: pressed metal, carved wood, imported antique brick, slate, stone, tile and fabric. Down the hall is a strikingly long bar, whose top is mother-of-pearl.

The price tag? A mere $120 per person with the prix fixe tasting menu.


Dining in Vail, Colorado: The Wildflower at The Lodge at Vail


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Wildflower at The Lodge at Vail Rack of Venison (with sweet yams and foie gras) or Sautéed Northern Halibut with Dungeness crab ravioli? The choices are sensational at The Wildflower, Vail Valley's only restaurant to be awarded both the AAA Four Diamond Award and Wine Spectator's "Best of Award of Excellence." The Lodge at Vail's signature restaurant serves creative American cuisine, under the supervision of newly appointed Executive Chef Randy Belanger. Rated the #1 restaurant in Vail in the Zagat survey, The Wildflower boasts views of the snow-capped mountains from the dining room. Enjoy the epicurean delights from the area's only tasting menu, which changes daily-- depending on the availability of the finest quality seasonal fruits, vegetables, and meats.


Conrad Chicago Weekend Getaway Offer


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad Chicago A luxurious weekend in Chitown, plus a $100 credit (per night) for incidental spending at the Conrad Chicago? Bring it on! Escape for an exclusive weekend getaway at Conrad Chicago and enjoy the charm of the Windy City combined with the unparalleled luxury of the hotel. From one of the most prestigious addresses on the Magnificent Mile, take in incredible views over the city skyline. Within walking distance of The Loop, The Merchandise Mart, and Lake Michigan, the Conrad is a perfect urban oasis, with the best restaurants and shopping experiences at its doorstep. The 311 spacious, contemporary guest rooms are stacked with state-of-the-art technology, while the bar and restaurant offer a stylish respite at the very heart of the city. Take advantage of this special weekend offer, valid for Friday and Saturday nights only, with rates starting from $245 per night. With your $100 credit, dine at the excellent restaurant or indulge in the small luxuries that are often forgotten. Available until March 31, 2007.


Las Ventanas al Paraiso, Los Cabos: Post-Dinner Bath Menus


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Las Ventanas al ParaisoDinner and a... bath? Yep, that's right. Rosewood's world-renowned Las Ventanas al Paraiso, the only Five-Diamond property in Los Cabos, is once again leading the pack with peculiar innovative amenities. From the ultra-luxury resort that brought you pre-loaded poolside iPods, Mini Cooper S Convertibles and Porsche Boxsters on property, in-room telescopes for star-gazing and whale-watching, pool-side services like sunglass-cleaning, sewing kits personalized to each guest's wardrobe, and the Hot Type author program (whew!), comes another cutting-edge service. When guests sit down to dine at the upscale dining room for an unforgettable meal at The Restaurant, they are presented with the dinner menu and the after-dinner bath menu, which offers a choice of a "Stress Relieving," "Rejuvenating" or "Sensual & Romantic" bath experiences. Choose from the lists of Champagnes, premium tequilas and Cuban cigars, to enjoy in the bath. So while you gobble down your Baja-Mediterranean cuisine, overlooking the pool and the Sea of Cortez, your bath will be prepared for a luxurious experience en-suite.


Fairmont San Francisco Celebrates Centennial


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont San FranciscoPerched on top of Nob Hill, the glorious Fairmont, where Tony Bennett premiered "I Left My Heart In San Francisco," is celebrating its centennial come April 18. The landmark hotel is beloved by visitors and locals alike for its views (you'll gasp at the panorama of the city and bay), spacious guestrooms (that epitomize elegance), and the wonderfully kitschy bar, The Tonga Room. As recently featured in the San Francisco Chronicle:

The United Nations charter was written there. Mick Jagger partied in the penthouse there... It's all in 100 years' work for the Fairmont Hotel... Although the Fairmont's birthday isn't until April 18, the hotel isn't waiting for formalities. It's rolling out a yearlong series of events: public tours, special teas and centennial cocktails, and a penthouse centennial package that goes for a mere $100,000 to mark the hotel's first century in business.

The world-renowned hotel first opened on April 18, 1907, exactly a year after the earthquake and fire ravaged the city. Standing proud on top of the city, the Fairmont became "a symbol of the city's rebirth," the favored haven for "the rich, the royal, and roaming heads of state."


Loews Regency Hotel, New York: A Wicked Night Out On Broadway


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Regency In the fast-paced City that Never Sleeps, Loews Regency provides an enclave of quiet elegance and indulgence. Here, it's the exceptional service, luxurious amenities, and attention-to-detail which distinguish this refined Park Avenue address among the plethora of NYC hotels. (Though the devoted regulars, head-over-heels for their preferred hotel in Manhattan, would rather keep it a closely guarded secret getaway). Leave it to the award-winning Loews Regency to devise the perfect night out on the town. You are invited to a "Wicked” night out to hit Broadway and take in the fabulous musical, "Wicked," winner of fifteen major awards, including a Grammy, three Tonys, and six Drama Desk Awards. Available until March 31, 2007, the "Wicked" package at Loews Regency includes luxurious accommodations in a magnificent one bedroom-suite (you'll swoon at the Park Avenue views from your balcony), two tickets to "Wicked," a welcome amenity of an autographed Charles Palmer cookbook and "Wicked" CD, car service to/from the Gershwin Theater, and three course pre-theater dinner at Charlie Palmer's Aureole. Total package cost is $1,399. To book, call 1-800-233-2356, and press 2.


Soniat House, New Orleans: Thousand Dollar Escape Package


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Soniat HouseWhat will $1,000 buy you? A pretty fantastic deal at New Orleans' most luxurious boutique hotel. Situated in the heart of the romantic Old Quarter, Soniat House exudes Old World elegance. Here, there are honor bars stocked with premium liquors, and daily breakfast is a favorite tradition: Creole café au lait and hot southern biscuits slathered with homemade strawberry preserves. The historical hotel, comprised of three large and gracious townhouses, is filled with striking antiques and the warm hospitality of an excellent staff. Imagine: spiral stairs, balconies, patios, and lush courtyards filled with olive, magnolia, guava, and ginger. Not just one of the best hotels in New Orleans, the award-winning Soniat House is considered one of the best in the world. After all, this spot is listed in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die, which describes the hotel as quintessential New Orleans, the most beautiful hotel in town. The Thousand Dollar Escape package at Soniat House includes three nights accommodation in a premier room, complimentary breakfast each day, dinner for two at a famous New Orleans restaurant and champagne on arrival. Minimum three nights stay required; the $1,000 rate does not include tax.


Valentine’s Day Bubbly with Omni Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Omni Romance Package

Slackers rejoice. It's not too late to plan a special something to celebrate Saint Valentine. Omni Hotels to the rescue, with the excellent Sparkling Encounters package designed for couples to indulge in romance for Valentine's Day. Escape to any of Omni's 40 hotels in February-- like Houston's high-tech, AAA Five-Diamond hotel or San Francisco's perfectly-located hotel-- and enjoy a bottle of Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne, delectable champagne truffles from Teuscher Chocolates from Switzerland, and luxurious champagne-scented Bubbling Bath Salts, Massage and Body Oil and Body Cream from Bath Bloomers. As an added perk, guests will also have the option of upgrading their room for as little as $20. Available from February 1-25, 2007.


Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead: High Tea at Georgia’s Best Business Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Hyatt Atlanta Buckhead

What's so special about the Grand Hyatt Atlanta? The largest guest rooms in Atlanta's fashionable neighborhood of Buckhead, for one. A convenient location near many of Atlanta's top attractions (try the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Zoo Atlanta, and Atlanta History museum). A tranquil Japanese Garden setting. The top meeting facilities in the city, awarded the Best of the South Award and named "Georgia's Leading Business Hotel" by the World Travel Awards. (There's a whopping 30,000 square feet of function space, including 17 meeting rooms and three outdoor terraces). A successful kosher kitchen (the city's best). And, drum roll please... HY Tea every Saturday from 2 to 6pm. Here, guests can indulge in the memorable Atlanta tradition, replete with dainty finger sandwiches, scrumptious tarts, tea, and signature Grantinis. The menu includes such delights as pomegranate-blueberry cream on date nut bread, smoked duck prosciutto wrapped caramelized green apple, warm molten chocolate cake, and caramel-raspberry crème brulee. Served in the elegant Onyx Bar overlooking the garden waterfall, priced at $29.95 per person. Now that's a hotel.