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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.

Take the Family to Rome: Homemade Gelato and More at Hotel Hassler


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Hassler RomaLeave it to the Hotel Hassler, recently voted the No. 1 hotel in Rome in the 2011 Condé Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards, to pull out all the stops to delight even its pint-size guests. A new "Family Escape Package," available from November 1, 2011- October 31, 2012, spoils the kids with homemade ice cream, milk and cookies before bedtime, and a special gift at check-in (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny). The Hassler's concierge can arrange all manner of family-friendly activities- like a private lunch in an ancient alley or Roman piazza, a trip to the Museo dei Bambini (Children's Museum of Rome), or a carriage or helicopter ride. Of course if you're in need of some alone time in the Eternal City, babysitters are on call to keep your kids happily entertained at the Hassler. Set atop the Spanish Steps in a postcard-perfect setting, the Hotel Hassler has dazzling views. These panoramas can also be gaped at from the hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant, Imàgo. Based on double occupancy for a family of four and priced from €614 - €934 per night (approximately US$845-US$1,285), the package includes:

* Three nights' accommodation in two Deluxe or Grand Deluxe rooms

* Private check-in for children with a special gift (a Bukowsky stuffed bunny)

* Daily buffet breakfast

* Milk and cookies before bedtime

* 'Ice Cream Pleasure' - a selection of the Hassler's home-made ice cream

* In-room movie for the entire family

* Optional babysitter for four hours per day


Four Seasons L.A. Launches ICE Technology, and It's Changing the Way We Stay


By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is the first Four Seasons to embrace ICE technology to digitally connect every room to all parts of the hotel. Before we dive into what that means for travelers, let’s explore what this Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Season Hotel L.A. has a tropically landscaped rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and a pool grill, allowing you to indulge in seasonal specialties in full relaxation mode. Aside from rooftop fun, the Four Seasons L.A. also has a full-service spa where you can unwind in the steam sauna or pamper yourself with various spa treatments. After a day of exploring Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning Gardens Restaurant.

With the launch of ICE Technology, all of the amenities available to guests remain the same, but the way you can access and utilize those amenities will change. All of the guestrooms and suites will have iPad2 devices, permitting guests to customize their stay with the push of a few buttons. Guests will be able to make restaurant reservations, order in-room dining, research nearby attractions, call valet parking, coordinate airport transportation, make beauty and spa appointments, make specific housekeeping requests, research transportation options, schedule wake up calls, check out of the hotel, and much more. Is this technology essentially eliminating the need for face-to-face customer service? Not necessarily. According to Mehdi Eftekari, the General Manger at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, “most of our guests travel with a smartphone, tablet, or both, so it made sense to provide access to the hotel’s services through the same intuitive touch interface.” How are guests reacting to this new technology? Mehdi Eftekari reports that “guests are very impressed. The interface is so intuitive and easy to use, they feel right at home.” What do you think about this new development? Check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles to experience it for yourself.

We encourage you to check out the article about ICE technology by Melanie Nayer here.


Book Now: Lebua New Delhi, with $109 Introductory Rates


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Lebua New DelhiWe're terribly excited about the Lebua New Delhi, the brand spanking new hotel from the folks behind the State Tower in Bangkok and the Lake Okareka Lodge in New Zealand. The Lebua blog explains that "Khun Deepak Ohri, CEO of Lebua Thailand aspires to bring the success of The Dome to the shores of India" with some six restaurants. Big expansion plans are in the works. After the property in New Delhi, the brand aims to set up shop in Mumbai and Punjab as well. From the official press release: "The first property by lebua in India will come with its patent luxury model offering the Indian market an array of restaurants and bars. A spectacular roof top restaurant and bar, a traditional Indian restaurant with a renowned Indian Michelin Star awarded chef, and an open terraced fine dining venue." The best news of all? A special introductory rate of $109 per night!


Omni Dallas Hotel Readies for 11/11/11 Debut with $111 Rates


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dallas, Texas11/11/11 is fast approaching... Will we see a record number of weddings like we did on 8/8/2008? Apparently this date is the most auspicious date of the 21st century, and hotels like The Peninsula Shanghai are feting this once-in-a-lifetime occasion with special 11-themed offers. Not only that, but a number of hotels have chosen 11/11/11 as their opening date. Case in point: The Omni Hotel Dallas which opens its doors in Dallas, Texas on November 11. The Los Angeles Times notes that the "Definitely Dallas Package," with room rates of $111, translates to a 15% discount. Connected to the Dallas Convention Center, the hotel has 1,001 rooms, a heated pool, sauna, and spa. The offer is available through December 30, 2011, subject to availability and some black-out dates.


Winter in Paris: Pop-Up Champagne Bar at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hilton Arc de Triomphe ParisThe "Snow Bar" is coming back to the City of Light! Every year the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris-- designed in a nautical Art Deco style by architects Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan-- gets in the holiday spirit by transforming its outdoor Andalusian Patio into a wintry wonderland. Last year there were snow-covered fir trees, a chalet bar, and cocktail waitresses wearing Santa outfits. This year the hotel has teamed up with Taittinger Champagne to create a unique concept called "Bubble in Paris"-- an exclusive all-white lounge decked out in fur and frosted glass inside an actual bubble. From December 1, 2011- January 2, 2012, the hotel welcomes guests to the "Bubble in Paris" bar with a special "Festive Period" package. Starting from 280 euros per night, the package includes luxurious accommodation, a complimentary upgrade to next room category (subject to availability), a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the “Bubble in Paris” bar, English breakfast served in the Safran restaurant, and access to the beautiful Mosaïc Spa.


Taste of Tuscany: Truffle Foraging and Wine Tasting at Il Salviatino


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Il SalviatinoAutumn could be the best season to visit Tuscany. The sun is shining, the tourist crowds have dispersed, and truffle foraging is in full swing. Not to mention the brilliant hues of the fall foliage. Just outside of Florence, Il Salviatino invites guests for a "Taste of Tuscany" until November 30, 2011. You'll tour a vineyard, taste local wines, go hunting for truffles, and sample the region's best seasonal delights while staying in luxury at the hotel named "Hideaway of the Year" in the 2011 Andrew Harper Grand Award Winners. Nestled in the rolling Tuscan hills, Il Salviatino is housed in a 15th century villa with original frescoes and Italian gardens-- and offers spectacular views of Florence. Starting from 1,920 euros, the "Taste of Tuscany" package includes:

* Two nights accommodation in a Deluxe Room * Breakfast for two daily * A seasonal dinner at Le Serre with a bottle of Tuscan wine * Truffle foraging for half a day * A vineyard tour and wine tasting * A spa treatment each in the award-winning Thai Devarana spa * Service and tax


Take Your Turkey to Trunk Bay: Thanksgiving at Westin St. John Resort


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin St. JohnAlready getting stressed out about Thanksgiving? Why not ditch the in-laws (or take them with you!) on a relaxing tropical getaway to the palm-lined shores of St. John. With a year-round temperature of 85 degrees and a wealth of recreational activities, the smallest of the US Virgin Islands makes for a tempting getaway. Plus, the Westin St. John Resort & Villas is making some Turkey Coolers for a Thanksgiving feast on St. John's Trunk Bay, one of the prettiest beaches in the world. The resort’s “Take Your Turkey to Trunk Bay” packages offer a 20 percent discount on room rates and a decadent menu to enjoy in paradise. Minimum two-night stay required, available through November 30, 2011, with room rates starting at $389, based on double occupancy. Here are the Thanksgiving feasting options, which must be ordered by November 10, 2011.

Dream Package: Starting at $75 for two, the "Dream Package" features a Turkey lunch equipped with a feast that even the pickiest taste buds can get excited about. (Think roast turkey and stuffing sandwiches and mini pumpkin pies!)

Extreme Package: Beginning at $125 for two, the “Extreme Package” offers the same extensive menu that is available in the “Dream Package,” but also includes two plush, brightly colored Westin St. John beach towels, two durable water bottles and an exploratory St. John guidebook.

Supreme Package: The “Supreme Package” starts at $525 for two and boasts the offerings of the “Extreme Package” with a side of luxury including personalized transportation to Trunk Bay, umbrella and chairs for dining on the sandy shores of Trunk Bay and a beach butler to set everything up prior to guests’ arrival.


Winter in Venice: $149 Rates at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Las Vegas


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianThis holiday season, how about winter in Venice? Not Italy, but the Las Vegas Strip! The Venetian and The Palazzo are putting on a one-of-a-kind celebration that they say will be the "most majestic winter wonderland Las Vegas has ever seen." The five-diamond resorts will transform into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink above The Venetian's outdoor Grand Canal-- complete with snowflakes, strung holiday lights, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree perched atop the Doge's Palace fountain. While you stroll around, you'll be entertained by a colorful cast of characters: magicians, carolers, puppets, jugglers, and candy cane stilt walkers. Enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider, spiced cocktails, and hot chocolate. And to cap off each day, you’ll be in for a treat: a "spectacular light show performance beyond your wildest imagination." Winter in Venice will take place from November 21, 2011- January 8, 2012. Special package rates are available for $149 per night in a luxury suite, two-night minimum required, with a bunch of add-ons included (hot chocolate for two, skate rentals, $40 off seasonal spa treatments).


A Free Night at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Casa de Campo, Dominican RepublicCraving a little sunshine in the DR this fall? Casa de Campo-- one of the most searched for resorts on Five Star Alliance-- has a tempting special that may prompt you to book that flight stat. When you reserve a five-night stay in one of the new Elite Patio or Elite Balcony rooms by October 31, you'll get your fifth night for free. (Valid for stays through December 20, 2011, and for new bookings only, not combined with any other offers.) You'll bliss out on the 7,000 acres of rolling hills, flowering gardens, and championship golf courses overlooking the Caribbean Sea. A veritable tropical playground, Casa de Campo has it all-- from tennis to polo.

Read a recent review of the resort in Luxury Travel Advisor.


Christmas Market and Skating Rink at Trianon Palace Versailles


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trianon Palace, VersaillesThe Christmas market is back at The Trianon Palace Versailles! Part of the Waldorf Astoria collection of hotels, the Trianon Palace knows how to get in the Christmas spirit. What could be better than sipping hot chocolate or mulled wine while browsing the artisanal crafts and gourmet treats on display outside one of the world's most opulent palaces? (The Trianon Palace is actually located in the heart of the Royal domain of the Chateau de Versailles.) The hotel's annual Christmas market promises good times for one and all. There's also an on-site ice skating rink- what could be merrier? The Trianon Palace Versailles has put together a "Festive Period Package" for stays between December 3, 2011 and January 2, 2012, that includes a host of amenities. Along with your luxe accommodations, you'll get a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the Gallery Bar; English breakfast served in La Veranda restaurant; free entrance to the ice rink; free access to the Guerlain Spa. Rates from 269 euros per room per night.