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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.

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

Buzz in Paris: Mandarin Oriental Hotel Opens Soon

June 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mandarin Oriental ParisOne of the most talked-about hotel openings of the year is the Mandarin Oriental Paris, debuting on the fashionable Rue Saint-Honoré in a matter of days (June 28th). A high-profile team of architects and designers (including Jean-Michel Wilmotte, Sybille de Margerie, Patrick Jouin and Sanjit Manku) worked their magic on the building, which now offers an indoor garden, spa, and restaurants overseen by super chef Thierry Marx, the Michelin-starred "Bruce Willis lookalike" who champions molecular cuisine and is a judge on Top Chef. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the "J’aime Paris" opening offer is now available for stays between July 17 and August 28, with rates from $1,110 a night inclusive of a $435 credit per room and $725 credit per suite that can also be redeemed at the hotel’s spa or restaurants.

Paris Secrets and Insider Addresses with a Stay at Le Meurice

June 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisSometimes planning a trip to Paris can be overwhelming. With so many incredible restaurants and attractions, how to choose what to see and do? Le Meurice to the rescue. The iconic palace hotel facing the Jardin des Tuileries gives guests insider access to the City of Light with the "My Little Paris Passport"-- 24 hours of exploration of lesser known hot spots accessed by your Smart Phone. What's more, Le Meurice offers free Dutch-style bikes and scooters for guests, styled in the hotel's signature green. (You may find yourself so enamored with your cycle that you want to take it home with you. And you can! The bikes and scooters are available for purchase.) Book "The Parisian" package for a summer jaunt to Paris and get all kinds of goodies at Le Meurice:

* A VIP welcome toast with Champagne

* daily American breakfast

* Dinner for two by the three-Michelin star Chef Yannick Alléno at Le Dali (beverages excluded)

* Two "speedy mani" hand treatments at the Spa Valmont

* Use of a Le Meurice scooter or bicycle for touring the city

* A VIP kit from Printemps Paris, a leading luxury department store

* A garment bag for all of your purchases

* My Little Paris Passport to discover secret addresses

* Arrival airport transfer

Rates start from 805€ per night for two nights based on double occupancy. Two night minimum stay required. Package is available until December 31, 2011.

Summer in Paris: Free Museum Pass with a Stay at The Ritz

June 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz ParisWhat could be better than a summer in Paris? Sipping aperitifs at sidewalk cafes, shopping in the Marais, checking out the excellent new exhibits at the city's world famous museums... Best of all: The Ritz Paris is spoiling guests with a special treat when they book a two-night stay. You'll get a complimentary "museums pass" to visit as many museums as you like. And for the fashionistas: The Ritz Paris is collaborating with Galeries Lafayette (the landmark department store) to offer you a 10% discount on all your purchases, plus VIP services (like a bellboy who'll carry all your shopping bags back to the hotel). You'll also enjoy High Tea with scones and tasty treats for the ultimate pick-me-up after a day of sightseeing or shopping. Rates for the "Summer in Paris" offer start from 660 euros per night for two in a Superior Double room with Continental breakfast, the two-day "museums pass," Galeries Lafayette privilege card, and High Tea. Available July 15- September 15, 2011. News: The luxury hotel on the Place Vendôme recently opened its Terrasse Bar for the season, a wonderful spot for al fresco cocktails and conversation.

Learn How to Speak French in Paris: Special Package at the Pavillon de la Reine

May 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Pavillon de la Reine, ParisLooking for digs in the Marais for your next Paris jaunt? The Pavillon de la Reine is the only luxury hotel of its kind in this trendy neighborhood, tucked away off the Place des Vosges. With a recent makeover by interior designer Didier Benderli, a protégé of Jacques Garcia, the intimate hotel combines a contemporary style with beautiful historic touches. (It's a firm favorite of rock stars and fashion designers. Celeb sightings guaranteed.) The hotel recently unveiled a Saturday nail salon in its library, and now they're offering a special summer package for guests looking to brush up on their French during their Parisian sojourn. The "Learn How to Speak French" package includes breakfast, 20 minutes of French instruction daily, and a French-English dictionary, with rates starting at 350 euros per night.