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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.

Good to be a Gangster: Toast the End of Prohibition at Chicago's Renaissance Blackstone

November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance Blackstone Chicago HotelRaise your glass to the days of Prohibition on Repeal Day, December 5. The Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel-- the storied address where Charles "Lucky" Luciano gathered a group of gangsters for the first-ever "Crime Convention" in 1923-- is a fitting place to celebrate the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. (Al Capone was also a regular at the Blackstone's barbershop and "The Untouchables," documenting Scarface's rise to power in Chitown, was filmed at the Blackstone.) With the "Good to be a Gangster" package, you can snag a great hotel deal in Chicago along with all kinds of goodies. What's more, the Blackstone's restaurant will be serving up all kinds of special cocktails for Repeal Day 2011 (think Mint Julep and gin-based Snowballs). Starting from $189 per night and valid through March 2012 based on availability, the package includes:

* Overnight accommodations * Two tickets to the Gangster Tour where guides named "Al Dente" and "Shoulders" uncover the secrets of the city's most notorious sites * A copy of Get Capone signed by author Jonathan Eig * A copy of Ken Burns' Prohibition on DVD * A Prohibition Cocktail in the hotel's Mercat a la Planxa restaurant


Betsey Johnson Designs "Eloise"-Themed Christmas Tree for The Plaza, New York

November 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Eloise Christmas Tree at The PlazaIn other festive news: We hear that fashion designer Betsey Johnson has partnered with The Plaza in New York to design the hotel’s first official Christmas Tree this holiday season. And guess her inspiration? Eloise, of course! The fictional heroine of Kay Thompson’s 1955 classic book already has her own suite at The Plaza, but now she'll be honored with her very own tree- prominently displayed in the Fifth Avenue foyer. See Betsey Johnson's sketch for the tree here, but if you want to take a gander at the Christmas tree with your very own eyes, book a table for the special ‘Tree Lighting Tea’ in The Palm Court on November 28 at 5pm, hosted by The Plaza and Betsey Johnson. The iconic New York City hotel-- recently honored as a member of Historic Hotels of America-- is excited to welcome the designer’s first holiday ‘popup’ shop, which opened its doors on November 14th and offers an exciting collection of giftable items.


The Best of New England: Mandarin Oriental Boston and Blantyre Resort Team Up

November 15, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Mandarin Oriental BostonThe Mandarin Oriental Boston has partnered with Blantyre Resort to offer guests an unforgettable taste of New England in both the city and the countryside. Not only will you get a dose of Boston's history and culture, but you'll also get to relax in the heart of the Berkshires on Blantyre's sprawling 117-acre estate. The "East Meets West" package-- connecting Eastern and Western Massachusetts via the MA turnpike-- offers exclusive rates and services at these two stylish properties. Starting from $595 and valid until December 20, 2011, the package includes the following:

At Mandarin Oriental, Boston: * Upgrade to next available room type at time of check-in, based on availability * Daily full American breakfast for two at Asana restaurant * Two welcome signature cocktails in M Bar & Lounge overlooking bustling Boylston Street * $50 credit towards a treatment at the five-star spa * Two tickets to Top of the Hub's Skywalk Observatory atop The Prudential Building, located steps from the hotel * Minimum two-night stay

At Blantyre: * Upgrade to next available room type at time of check-in, based on availability * Daily Breakfast for two at the Main House restaurant * $200 resort credit * Complimentary tickets to Edith Wharton’s The Mount Estate & Gardens and Norman Rockwell Museum * Minimum two-night stay


Countdown to Christmas: Santa, Spice and Everything Nice at Le Meurice, Paris

November 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisWant to spice things up for Christmas this year? Hop the pond to the most visited city on earth for some raucous merrymaking-- French-style. The Champs-Élysées will be sparkling with lights, the street markets fragrant with hot mulled wine, the department stores dazzling with over-the-top window displays. What are you waiting for? Paris awaits you with open arms. Bed down at Le Meurice- the majestic palace hotel facing the Jardin des Tuileries- and you'll be privy to some fun festivities, as the hotel decks the halls with colorful decorations and goes all out in the food department. Best part of all: Santa will be pulling up his sleigh at Le Meurice for three Wednesdays in December, starting December 7, to give gifts to the kids at teatime.

The hotel is offering a special package for Christmas, available from December 1- December 28, 2011, starting from 560 euros, which includes accommodations (upgrade guaranteed at booking time) and American breakfast for two guests, Champagne and petits fours amenities, a Christmas gift for children, and free access to the wellness centre, Sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi.


Peak Season Savings in the Caribbean at Nisbet Plantation on Nevis

November 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nisbit Plantation Beach Club, NevisThaw out this winter with a warm-weather getaway to a top-rated resort on Nevis. Nisbet Plantation Beach Club-- an intimate hideaway with 36 cottage-style accommodations dotted among 30 palm-filled acres-- is offering high-season savings this January with a 6th night free, daily breakfast, dinner for two, and roundtrip airport transfers. Situated on a pristine white sand shore, Nisbet Plantation is the Caribbean's only historic plantation inn on the beach. A number of amenities are included (like wifi, flip digital video cameras to capture vacation memories, and kayaks and snorkel gear to explore the coral reefs offshore).

The "January Thaw" offer is available from January 3- January 31, 2012 and includes: * A free night on a six-night stay in a spacious cottage-style accommodation for two * Full daily breakfast served ocean side at Coconuts * Daily afternoon tea * Nightly three-course gourmet dinner at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Great House, c. 1778 * Airport transfers from Nevis (NEV) or sister island St. Kitts (SKB).

Package rates begin at $3,350 per couple and are subject to a service charge and government tax. The offer is not combinable with other promotions.


Sponsored Article: A New Season and a New Look at La Samanna in St. Martin

November 11, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

La SamannaSituated along the exclusive beach of Baie Longue, La Samanna is a boutique resort bathed in St. Martin’s lush mangroves, tropical flora and simple Caribbean luxury. Over the past four decades, the privacy, tranquility and panoramic views of Baie Longue have enticed guests from around the world to visit La Samanna – one of the Caribbean’s most luxurious resorts. Since purchasing the hotel from its original owners in 1997, Orient-Express has made continuous enhancements to maintain the resort’s position as a legendary getaway while preserving the property’s connection to St. Martin’s history and culture.

When guests arrive this fall, they will discover La Samanna has embarked on an extensive renovation project of guest rooms and suites. Inspired by the hotel’s original guest rooms from 1972, which were influenced by Mediterranean architecture, the new design is graceful, light and clean. There is generous use of the color white, in the flooring, countertops, walls and furnishings, and accents of color introduced with accessories, decorative pillows and lamps.

La SamannaGuests will find original etchings from Sir Roland Richardson, depicting scenes or locations of old St. Martin. Often referred to as the “Father of Caribbean Impressionism,” Richardson has been the resident artist at La Samanna for the past decade. Rooms will also feature watercolor prints from Antoine Chapon, a French painter who settled on St. Martin in 1981. Chapon’s work is a serene reflection of the Caribbean atmosphere and culture.

This fall, La Samanna invites you to see their newly renovated suites with the Suite Dreams Package. For a limited time only, you can experience the luxury of the one-bedroom suites at a 30% discount. The "Suite Dreams Package" includes accommodation, daily buffet breakfast, access to the state-of-the-art fitness center, and unlimited usage of non motorized water sports. Rates are from $555 per suite, per night. Please Note: five night minimum stay required. Offer applicable to one-bedroom suites only. All taxes and gratuities are not included. This package is valid now through December 21, 2011, is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offers or packages


Thanksgiving in New York at The Mark Hotel

November 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Mark Hotel, Thanksgiving

The holidays are fast approaching... Does this illustrate your Thanksgiving predicament? We feel your pain. Forget the turkey. Head to The Mark and let Jean-Georges take care of your Thanksgiving feast. What could be better than a tastebud-tickling gourmet extravaganza by a renowned culinary talent? Catch a glimpse of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, get a head-start on your Christmas shopping in NYC, and relax in luxury at The Mark. Who needs bickering with the in-laws when The Mark makes it so easy? "Thanksgiving at The Mark" can be booked for two people in a Mark Premier one-bedroom suite (including Thanksgiving dinner for two at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges), or for four people in a Mark Two-Bedroom Suite or Mark Premier Two-Bedroom Suite with Thanksgiving dinner for four.


Christmas at Plaza Athénée, Paris: Plant Your Own Tree at the Palace of Versailles

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisHere's your chance to "plant your roots in French History" at the Château de Versailles. Talk about cool Christmas gifts! The Hotel Plaza Athénée, the luxurious Parisian palace hotel, is offering you a special limited-time special offer to buy a Christmas tree and plant it at the legendary Château, where you'll have your name engraved, and get free access to the Château de Versailles for one year. Not only that, you'll also receive your very own ownership certificate to show off to friends back home. The sprawling palace-- a symbol of royal opulence-- is surrounded by an important forest, currently being replanted by local governmental organizations. To be part of the legend, you must act fast! The Plaza Athénée's "My Private Tree" offer is limited to 10 available trees. Here's what's included in the package, priced from 1428 euros in a Deluxe Room (with guaranteed upgrade to a Junior Suite):

* At Château de Versailles: Your own Tree (Value 1000 euros) only 10 trees available; Ownership certificate; Your name engraved at the Château de Versailles; Free access to the Château de Versailles for one year

* At the Plaza Athénée: Daily Continental breakfast for two and a bottle of organic Champagne with your luxurious accommodations

Rates are per night for a two nights stay minimum. Available until December 28, 2011.


Caribbean Winter Deals: A Free Night and Resort Credit with Starwood Hotels

November 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto RicoThe epic snowfall in October gave us a taste of what's in store this winter, and you can bet your bottom dollar that we'll be trading in our snow boots for a pair of flipflops when the arctic cold gets to be too much to handle. Lucky for us, Starwood Caribbean Hotels & Resorts are making it easy-- with a swell "Retreat to the Heat" offer that hands out a free night, a resort credit (ranging from $75 to $250), and a room upgrade (based on availability). Take a peek at some of the participating hotels below and start dreaming about your winter getaway. (Psst. What a great Christmas gift!) The offer is available for booking now through December 15, 2011 for travel through January 31, 2012, and blackout dates do apply.

* Aruba: The Westin Resort & Casino, Aruba

* Grand Cayman:The Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa, Grand Cayman

* Puerto Rico: The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, W Retreat & Spa - Vieques Island

* St. Maarten: The Westin Dawn Beach Resort & Spa, St. Maarten

* U.S. Virgin Islands: The Westin St. John Resort & Villas


Frosty Fridays at Boston's Colonnade Hotel: The Temperature Sets Your Room Rate

November 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Colonnade Hotel, BostonThe Colonnade Hotel in Boston's Back Bay had an extreme makeover this year- we're talking $25 million worth- and now it has all the press gabbing about its "clean, modern look" and "fab high-tech coffee makers." Within walking distance to Fenway Park, the Museum of Fine Arts, and Newbury Street, this Four Diamond hotel is eager to show guests that the winter season is just as fabulous in Boston, showing off New England's snow-covered splendor. So they're rolling out their popular two-night "Frosty Fridays" package- which affords guests a first-night rate according to the temperature at 5 p.m. on Friday as measured by the National Weather Service. For example: If the thermometer reads 17 degrees, guests will pay $17 for their Friday night stay and a special rate of $295 for Saturday night. "Frosty Fridays" is valid from November 15, 2011 through March 31, 2012 and includes a double occupancy luxe room; the choice of two tickets to either the Old Town Trolley Tour or admission and skating rentals at The Boston Common Frog Pond Skating Rink; hot chocolate for two at Brasserie JO; and overnight parking. Rates are based on a two-night stay and subject to applicable taxes and availability.