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.

In Charleston, A Place Like Home


By: Christopher Roney

Undoubtedly one of our most popular resorts in the Charleston area is none other than Charleston Place, a 17th century residence complete with open-arm staircase and crystal chandelier that make you feel as if you've stepped off the street into a high society ball. Outside the threshold of that entrance is Charleston's historic downtown, which is filled with classic southern homes with more historical significance than Lord Wellington. Golf is easy to find, with over 20 courses, ranging from the Arnold Palmer signature course at Rivertown to the Kiawah and Wild Dunes. Dine at the Charleston Grill, a recipient of both a Forbes four-star rating and the AAA Four Diamond Award, so you know you're getting possibly the best food in the entire state. If you like things a little more casual, the Palmetto Cafe should be your choice for breakfast and lunch as its open-air design takes advantage of a landscaped courtyard for a calming ambiance that only makes the food taste all the more delicious.

Special rates abound at Charleston Place. To see exactly what is available, simply enter your dates of travel here. Currently rates are available with a range of amenities, including a $75 spa, restaurant, or bar credit, so you can enjoy everything Charleston Place has to offer. Select the special Five Star Alliance rate for wine and breakfast, and for stays until August 23rd, you'll also get a free upgrade the next room category! Before booking, see here for more details. This summer is the perfect time to explore one of the South's most storied cities, and what better place to stay than its historic heart and soul, Charleston Place.

 


Ah, Gee, A Hotel! A'jia Is the Bosphorus Hotel of Choice


By: Christopher Roney

It's not possible to get any closer to the shores of the Bosphorus than the A'jia Hotel. It's just about literally on the water, and this jewel of the Mediterranean gleams with a particular lustre. The Ottoman mansion has only 16 rooms and you're basically guaranteed a wonderful view. The unique location of the property allows it to be both hidden away and easily accessible from the city of Istanbul, so you can tour the sites and head out on the town without skipping a beat. Of course, you might not want to head into the city for dinner, since the A'jia restaurant could go toe-to-toe with almost any in the world. And because the hotel is so small, you're sure to have an intimate dining experience. The A'jia hotel is a fusion of timeless elegance, maintaining the beauty of its original 1800s construction and merging it with all of the modern amenities. If you're looking to explore the beauty and wonder of the Mediterranean and have an experience of both an incredible luxury hotel and an amazing natural setting, the A'jia Hotel should be on your shortlist.


Born Again: Hotel Palomar Comes to Phoenix


By: Christopher Roney

I don't think anywhere in the dictionary of latin roots will you find the "-lomar" suffix as meaning awesome. But if two points make a line, then the Mallomars and the Hotel Palomar are definitely on to something here. With that in mind, every time I hear something about the new Hotel Palomar Phoenix, I can't help but imagine that one marshmallow that inevitably falls off the end of your stick straight into the flames sloughing off its charred exterior and rising again as a pure white, gooey mass, its new skin still tender with sugary goodness. Of course, my overactive imagination could turn even a normal day at the office into the epic of Gilgamesh, so it's probably best if you don't read into it too much.

In any case, the Hotel Palomar is one of the newest editions to our collection, and it builds on the prior iterations of the Palomar, found in DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and many southern cities. In the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Palomar is ideally located to reach all of the hot spots. The city's best shopping, dining, and entertainment are just a few blocks away. The hotel itself is designed to look and feel cosmopolitan. The rooms feature contemporary design that emphasizes the space while still managing to be a little quirky. You're more likely to end up with an abstract painting of a blue cow over your bed than generic landscape #34. And that's a good thing. It's a hard thing to walk the line between eccentricity and taste, and the Palomar manages to do it. The Hotel Palomar Phoenix is definitely a great addition to the Phoenician menagerie.


No Man Is an Island, But the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Is


By: Christopher Roney

Everyone loves a beach resort, and the shallow waters of the Maldives make it possible to find a truly singular experience. Because the oceans are uniquely calm, resorts like the Waldorf Astoria have built out entire bungalows just above the lapping waves. From your residence, you'll have a truly panoramic view of the surrounding waters. Among a series of already outstanding resorts, the Waldorf Astoria Maldives sets itself apart even from that distinguished crowd. I'd hate to turn this into an apotheosis of the Waldorf, but it's hard not to exalt the virtues of a resort that is its own island. The seclusion of having your own bungalow on a private island is truly unmatched.

When a resort is an island, it is doubly important that it has the luxurious facilities to accommodate your every desire. While fine dining and a top-notch spa are the unmistakable call signs of any luxury resort, the Waldorf Astoria has taken them to another level. Their world-class Modun Spa is organized around the concept of a winding journey towards self-discovery and holistic rejuvenation with the spa facilities laid out along a twisting path that leads you through a natural progression of treatment. Dine on incredibly sumptuous cuisine either at one of the many restaurants and bars or bring that very same experience to the comfort and privacy of your own villa. Children are cared for in the Kids' Club, leaving the adults free to experience the unmatched luxury. If I wanted the experience of the unmistakable Maldivian bungalow, I would be remiss if I didn't seriously consider the Waldorf Astoria Maldives as my destination of choice.


Impawsibly Luxurious: The Resort at Paws Up


By: Christopher Roney

If there was ever a hotel name that invited a pun, it's the Resort at Paws Up, and I'd like to pay proper tribute to that. Maybe your life has gotten a little hectic recently; things are moving a little too quickly, and it feels like everything is getting away from you. What you need is to take a step back and abandon the rat race; take a pause from your normal life. Or maybe you have a bunch of friends, and you're looking for a getaway to the Montana wilderness. Well, the Resort at Paws Up has room for your whole paws-e. Really, the pawsibilities are endless. Whew. That was exhausting. And I've even avoided making any pet jokes...

Now that we've gotten that out of our systems, we can move on to the business of describing exactly what makes the Resort at Paws Up unique besides the name. A lot of resort promise a wilderness experience, but you're really just two miles out of town and their wild forest is a five acre manicured lawn. Well, Montana is literally derived from the Spanish word for mountainous country, and the state animal is the grizzly bear. The wilderness in Montana doesn't mess around, and neither does Paws Up. The property has a number of different cabins avaiable from the meadow to the mountainside, and there's even an outdoor tent city if you want to really rough it. All this makes it sound like I'm describing something very different from the classic luxury resort, but don't let me fool you. The Resort at Paws Up constantly has luxury in mind; it just recognizes that even those who enjoy their five star dining and top-notch spa facility have come for the outdoors as much as the high thread count. In fact, I would argue that there's nothing lost on the luxury experience, but the surroundings are more real, highlighting the local freshness of cuisine homemade from local flora and fauna, like their unbelievable huckleberry toast. If you want your luxury to come with wilderness, or your wilderness to come with luxury, look no further than the Resort at Paws Up, where you'll get the best of both worlds.  


A Boutique Critique: Ballyfin


By: Christopher Roney

I have a special place in my heart for tiny boutique hotels. It may be a little smaller than some of the other chambers, and there aren't enough spots for everybody, but that just makes the few who do make their way into my good graces all the more special. I can give each and every one the loving care and attention they deserve. And thus began my new segment on boutique hotels that I just adore.

There are few places in the world as storied as Ireland, and people travel there specifically for the romance of the countryside. Why then would one stay in a large city hotel when your accommodations can be as magical as the views? Ballyfin, at the foot of the Slieve Bloom Mountains, was restored in an eight year process that just finished in 2011 to allow it to open as a 5-star country house hotel with the pure Gaelic soul of the rolling hills. 600 acres of land hold just fifteen rooms, so you'll experience the greenery in perfect quiet. 

Open to children 14 and over, the all-inclusive resort maintains the original 1820s design, full of antiques and gorgeous art. Row boats are available on a nearby lake, and you can even go ice skating in the wintertime. This small boutique hotel is the perfect destination for a wedding or retreat, and, listed as a Forbes Top Life Hotel, it has the accolades to back up its reputation. If you want to experience Ireland as she's meant to be, then you should think about staying at Ballyfin.


Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh Is A Sleek Retreat


By: Christopher Roney

Sharm El Sheikh is a name that's synonymous with alliteration. When you put it together with the Four Seasons to make a five-star luxury hotel, it loses some of its linguistic harmony but becomes synonymous with instead with affluence. The Four Seasons resort in Sharm El Sheikh takes the shows the best side of the seaside with breathtaking views of the Red Sea from its sandy shores. An outdoor pool with island bar serves the adults while the children have their very own pool with, presumably, fewer alcoholic drinks floating in the middle of it. Dining is split between two very fine restaurants that serve the flavors of the Mediterranean: Lebanese, Moroccan, and Italian. A spa facility with open massage areas, four tennis courts, and an underwater park complete the trifecta of outdoor amenities.

Indoors, the rooms and suites of the Four Seasons are exactly what you'd expect from one of the core brands of the luxury world. Many rooms have views of the Red Sea and its twelve suites even have private plunge pools. Just an hour from Cairo and only 15 minutes from the international airport, this resort may be a retreat, but that doesn't mean it's impossible to get to. Having a stress-free trip to the hotel is the first step on the journey of relaxation afforded you by a stay at the Four Seasons Sharm El Sheikh, and its importance should not be underestimated. This is a resort that comes highly recommended and still manages to live up to those expectations.


It's Business Time: Claridges Best Business Hotel London


By: Christopher Roney

There's a very interesting split in the travel industry between business and leisure travelers. And if you're one of the business types, you know well that you're on the road constantly and the things that matter to you, travel convenience, efficiency, and connectivity, are almost the opposite of what a leisure traveler might want. If the word 'secluded' ever appeared in a hotel description, you'd cross it off the list immediately. So I'm here to use some adjectives you might appreciate hearing in describing some of the world's best business hotels. Today? London.

London is a very unique city when it comes to business travel. It has such an established infrastructure compared to some of the eastern centers of business and finance that hotels are in no short supply. Whereas somewhere like Hong Kong or Singapore has a much younger financial sector that was all fabricated at the same time, London is more distributed. It makes selecting great business hotels a little more depedent upon the needs of the individual than in other cities. For general purposes, Claridges is certainly one of the top business hotels in London. Rooms and suites are properly jacked into the information age, and an impressive ballroom can play host to large conferences and receptions, up to 400 people. A full-service business center will also make sure you have everything you need to put the finishing touches on your project. Meet with clients in the renowned Gordon Ramsay and unwind at the spa facilities within the Olympus Suite. If you need to be anywhere near Mayfair for your next business trip to London, check out Claridges.


Sponsored Feature: Why the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's Small Size Is Just What You Want


By: Christopher Roney

When the national title association was handing out the allotment of letters to the Villa Spalletti Trivelli, there must've been a 2-for-1 deal on ls. Either that or it is secretly run by a pack of llamas. In any case, the Villa Spalletti could certainly be described as lilliputian. The tiny hotel rests in the heart of Rome and has but 12 rooms and suites to its name. Many hotels champion their large inventories as a great strength, singing the praises of the customizability that the options deliver. I find that such an experience doesn't necessarily guarantee my perfect satisfaction though. By the same token, size can lead to a kind of standardization, where while you can pick between a number of five-star restaurants all the on the property, you still succumb to a feeling of sameness. You lose a sense of the specific charm of the city you've come to see.

In this regard, the Villa Spalletti Trivelli's small stature is precisely its strength. The hotel simply feels like Rome. You're nestled downtown, just moments from the Fontana di Trevi, Quirinale, and the Spanish Steps, and the rooms and public spaces are filled with genuine antiques. Private gardens allow for you to experience a genuine moment of quietude away from the bustle of the city; and, with only a few other guests, that silence won't be interrupted. The on-site Health Center is a source of rejuvenating and relaxing wellness therapies. Elegant dining is available at the Papier Peint Dining Room, and it is just that, an intimate experience closer to a private meal than a night out, only with the freshest traditional Italian ingredients that you could only get at the finest restaurants. The next time you're headed to Rome, think about foregoing some of the bigger brand names for the authentic experience at the Villa Spalletti Trivelli.


Deals and Steals at the Hotel Plaza Athenee New York


By: Christopher Roney

We at Five Star Alliance know that our travelers are in search of luxurious accommodations at the best prices available, so we go above and beyond to find the best promotional packages and specials to ensure you get the most from your hotel experience. We’re thrilled to introduce our newest blog series where we’ll be featuring luxury hotels that offer you more than just room-only rates. Whether you’re traveling on business or pleasure, we certainly have something for you. Be sure to check in with us often to get the inside scoop on the best deals and packages available at luxury hotels all over the world!

The Hotel Plaza Athenee is one of the iconic hotels of Paris, and its sister property in the other capital of the world, New York, matches it stride for stride. This week's deals focus on the American transplant, which brings a brand of Parisian romance and style to a city with its own particular character. With these specials, now is the perfect time to experience the unique blend of Paris and New York at the Hotel Plaza Athenee.

Classic Families

The classic families package is a great way to guarantee that your family has enough space for everyone and doesn't have to take the elevator to stay together. The Plaza Athenee can guarantee two connecting king-bedded rooms for the price of just $1120 in the low seasons or $1220 in the high (from April 1-June 30). Similarly a two bedroom suite is available for $1720 or $2125. The cost of the interconnecting rooms is a 50% discount on the second king bed for the low season. Additionally, it includes up to four tickets to the Central Park Zoo and milk and cookies at turndown.

Leading Celebrations

Book leading celebrations for a great flat discount on your rate, with Executive King rooms available for under $500 with rates varying depending on your dates of travel.

Spa Package

If you want to make use of the Plaza Athenee's wonderful spa, book a spa package which comes with a 50-minute signature massage at the Plaza Athenee Spa.

Simply enter your dates of travel here to see what great deals are available at the Hotel Plaza Athenee when you'll be there!