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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.

Fantasy Meets Reality: I'm Dreaming of Paris

September 23, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

We return now to our series of fantastical destinations as well known for their stories as their reality. [For previous installments, read about New Zealand and Crete.] Today, we visit another kind of fantasy: Paris, the city of love and home to the dreams of many.

Part 3 - Paris

So famous for being the romantic capital of the world that an entire movie was made about it as a setting for love stories, Paris is a city of wine and of cafes. But love is not all that happens in the cafes of Paris. Two locations stand out today as sites of some of the most famous movie scenes of our time.

The Café des Deux Moulins is famous for its art deco style and fine food, but it’s even more well-known for the fantasy character who once worked there. Located in Montmartre, the small café played home to Amélie, and it was here that she dreamt of happiness and set out to find it for others.  The Crème Brulée is now named for this sweet girl who helped so many, and many flock to the Café to see her .

The Café Debussy, on the other hand, doesn’t exist either in real life or in the fantasy world where it featured prominently. Actually a deli called Da Stuzzi that was repurposed for the Christopher Nolan film, the Café Debussy explodes in a shower of rubble as Inception’s dream-world destabilizes around it. This quiet deli located on a side street hasn’t been overwhelmed by the crowds of Inception-lovers, and it is a lovely place for lunch, run by a true local who only wants her shop to do well. In that sense, Da Stuzzi is the perfect fantasy location. The humble reality of the spot is almost bigger in your mind than the stars who once sat there.

So next time you’re in Paris, it’s worth making a trip out of your way to see these gems.

Le Meurice in Paris Bestows 4th Annual Prize for Contemporary Art

September 22, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisIn just a few short weeks, Le Meurice in Paris will announce the winner of its 4th Annual Prize for Contemporary Art. The luxury palace hotel-- decorated with beautiful artwork and designer furniture by Philippe Starck-- created this annual art prize to highlight its commitment to young, up-and-coming artists who are shaking up the French art scene. Chosen from an exclusive group of 50 artists by a panel of acclaimed arts professionals, the winner will get to exhibit their work at Le Meurice, and they'll receive an endowment of 20,000 euros. There are now six finalists in the running, and we wish them luck!

* Nicolas Moulin (Galerie Chez Valentin), who will be exhibiting in Bratislava 2012

* Louidgi Beltrame (Galerie Jousse Entreprise), who will be exhibiting in Sao Paulo and Rio in 2010 and will also show at Zona Maco Contemporary Art Fair in Mexico in 2012

* Emilie Pitoiset (Galerie Lucile Corty), who will be exhibiting at Galerie Klemm in Berlin in 2012

* Didier Faustino (Galerie Michel Rein), who will be exhibiting at the Fine Arts Museum in Taipei in 2012

* Mathieu Kleyebe Abonnenc (Galerie Marcelle Alix), who will be exhibiting at The Serralves Foundation in Porto in 2012

* Fabien Giraud and Raphaël Siboni (Galerie Loevenbruck), who will be exhibiting at the International Contemporary Art Fair "Art 43" in Basel in 2012

Recipes from the Ritz Paris: New Book Divulges Secrets of Haute Cuisine

September 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz Paris bookThe Ritz Paris isn't just one of the prettiest hotels in the City of Light (with a killer location on the Place Vendôme), it's also one of the best places to eat. The culinary tradition here goes way back to the days of Cesar Ritz, who-- as a young sommelier at the age of 13-- was dismissed by his employer for lacking the talent needed to succeed in the hospitality business. Joke's on him! Ritz went on to become one of the world's great hoteliers, and his hotel in Paris became legendary for L'Espadon restaurant, helmed by renowned chef Auguste Escoffier. Today Michael Roth is in charge in the kitchen, where he's been awarded the Prix Taittinger, the Prix Escoffier, Meilleur Ouvrier de France, the Bocuse d’Or, and two Michelin stars for the Ritz’s L’Espadon restaurant. His hot-off-the-presses book features 60 recipes which pay tribute to the Escoffier tradition. Lots of photos make this coffee-table book a visual feast. "Ritz Paris, Haute Cuisine: Recipes by Michael Roth" will be available in October 2011.

The Biggest Hotel Pool in Paris at Le Royal Monceau's Swank New Spa

September 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau, Raffles ParisWe're giddy over the news: Le Royal Monceau, the gorgeous Raffles hotel in Paris, has opened a spa designed exclusively by Philippe Starck. (Read: Some serious eye candy is in store!) It's a sprawling, contemporary space-- 16,000 square feet all in white-- with custom furnishings and delightful amenities. The best part of all? The 92-foot swimming pool that's the largest hotel pool in Paris! There are seven treatment rooms including a VIP suite, a gym with all the latest equipment, and private fitness classes and training sessions. You could be content to hang out all day in the spa. The separate men's and women's relaxation areas come with hammams, saunas, ice fountains, and more. But The Spa My Blend by Clarins offers some revolutionary facial treatments, too...

The Buzz in Paris: Rooftop Beehives at the Westin-Paris Vendôme

August 25, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Paris VendomeIn the very heart of the City of Light, the buzzing of urban bees makes for a particularly magical sight. The Westin-Paris Vendôme has installed six beehives on its rooftop, from where bees dart over to the nearby Jardin des Tuileries and pollinate the trees and flowers. With no pesticides and a diverse flora, Paris sets the perfect scene for bees and honey production. Executive Chef Gilles Grasteau uses the honey produced at the hotel for his own culinary creations; plus, guests get a local alternative when it comes to choosing a little souvenir from Paris to take home. Rich in minerals and vitamins, honey is a natural antibiotic also known for its therapeutic and food values, and is the ideal ingredient for a healthy pause in the heart of buzzing paris. The Westin Paris-Vendôme offers a honey menu at the restaurant Le First, as well a honey facial treatment in its Six Senses Spa. Check out the video of the first honey harvest!

Paris Restaurants: Shang Palace Opening at the Shangri-La Hotel

August 23, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shang Palace at Shangri-La ParisFoodies, hold on to your hats. A fabulous new haute cuisine dining experience will be available in Paris in September when Shang Palace opens its doors at the gorgeous Shangri-La Hotel. This will be the first gourmet Cantonese restaurant in the city, and foodies are chomping at the bit to get a taste of the made-to-order dim sum and the Whole Peking Duck, served in two-courses. The beautiful eatery is comprised of three private dining rooms named for the Tang, Ming and Qing dynasties. Open Thursday to Monday for lunch and dinner. For reservations or more info, call (33 1) 5367 1998 or e-mail

August in Paris: Restaurant Credit at Hotel de Crillon

July 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Crillon, ParisTake a bucolic break on the patio at Hotel de Crillon this summer. The grand palace hotel on the Place de la Concorde (the best spot to watch the Tour de France finish every year) has opened a grass-covered patio where you can enjoy delicious food by Chef Christopher Hache. Not only that, when you stay at the Hotel de Crillon in August, you'll get a 50 euro hotel credit to use for your restaurant and bar expenses each day. Summer is a grand time to take a jaunt to the City of Light; you can hit the artificial beach set up on the River Seine for "Paris Plages"-- complete with oversized beach lounges, ice cream shops, and a giant sand castle by Disney.

Celebrate Bastille Day with a Trip to France

July 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal Monceau ParisIn honor of Bastille Day, we're taking a look at some of our favorite hotels in Paris. (If you happen to be celebrating the French National Holiday in Washington D.C., Zagat has some great suggestions- like French wines at BLT Steak and crêpes and live music at Willard InterContinental's Café du Parc.) Woody Allen's latest film may have you jonesing for a trip to the City of Light, and the summer is a grand time to do it. There's jazz in the park, outdoor movie screenings, and the 10th edition of Paris Plages means sun-bathing on a splendid manmade beach on the Seine (complete with ice cream stands and sprinklers).

The Mandarin Oriental just opened on the Rue Saint-Honoré and it's causing quite the stir for its gorgeous spa and food by uber chef Thierry Marx. Le Royal Monceau- a glorious palace designed by Philippe Starck- is *the* place for cocktails and pastries. Meanwhile Mon Hotel-- a designer boutique hotel not far from the Champs-Élysées-- is offering a special summer deal. And the Hilton Arc de Triomphe has put together a three-night break that includes a Paris Museum pass, a Champagne cruise on the Seine, a specially prepared picnic to enjoy by an iconic landmark, and city tour in a vintage style Citreon 2CV car. For more Paris accommodations recommodations, check out Five Star Alliance's directory of four-star and five-star hotels.

Hotel Deals in Paris: Summer Specials at Mon Hotel

June 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mon Hotel, ParisWe're always on the look-out for good hotel deals in Paris, one of the most visited cities on the planet. Here's one to consider on your next getaway to the City of Light: Mon Hotel, a designer boutique hotel with comfortable guest rooms and a trendy restaurant that's just a short walk from the Arc de Triomphe, has two summer specials: "Pay 2, Stay 3" which also comes with free breakfast and a 1/2 bottle of Champagne, or "Get 50% Off on Sunday night" if you stay two nights over the weekend. When looking for availability in August on Five Star Alliance, we found an Advance Booking Rate (requiring pre-payment) for just 179 euros. Time for a dose of urban cool at Mon Hotel!

Pampered Pooches: Luxury Pet Products from Puppy de Paris

June 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Puppy de Paris, luxury pet goodsFrom opulent pet hotels to pet-dedicated airlines and pampering day spas, we often report on the trends in luxury pet travel. Folks sure love spoiling their four-legged friends! Now Luxury Insider has spilled the beans about a new luxury line for canines, and it's positively swanky. We're talking a doghouse inspired by the regal facades of the Place Vendome in Paris. Here's the skinny about the doghouse from Puppy de Paris:

Ex-fine jeweler Karin Fainas’ "Appartement de Place Vendome" features gilded doors crafted from a House founded in 1885, with an archive of fancy doorknobs and elaborate closures that stretch back to the epoch of Louis XIV. Other French artisans are in charge of the kennel’s plush upholstery, stretching and folding the canine couches' fabric coverings just so. Other offerings in the line include "Le Canape Place de la Madeleine," a velvet bed hand painted with scenes from Parisian bakeries and fitted with lion's paw feet in hand-cast silver, and a baroque doggy bowl in gold-dipped bronze. Such extravagances come with a hefty price tag: about US$14,000 for the dog bowl to about $21,000 for the Haussmannian master apartment house. Chew on that!

Posted in: Paris, Travel with Pets