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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.

New Restaurants in London: Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham at Dukes Hotel

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel LondonThere's a new signature restaurant at Dukes London and it's guaranteed to get foodies drooling. The restaurant's name-- Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham-- is derived from the number symbolizing good luck in Chinese astrology, the symbol of the magic square of the sun, as well as the hotel's address on Little St. James. Michelin-starred chef Nigel Mendham cooks up traditional British dishes in a "classic contemporary style" highlighting superb local produce. Here's a sampling:

Starters

Dry aged beef carpaccio, beetroot, horseradish; Rare breed pork of braised cheek with Waldorf salad; Scallops, cauliflower, smoked eel, red sorrel

Main Courses

Highland venison, butternut fondant, ossobucco; Lemon sole, langoustine tortellini, carrot puree, hazelnut crumb; Brill rib of beef with watercress and native oysters;

Desserts

Carrot cake, liquid carrot, iced cream cheese, spiced walnuts; Apples and brambles crumble, brulee, sorbet; Dark chocolate delice, crunchy pears and cardamon

All menu selections are offered prix fixe at Thirty-Six by Nigel Mendham: dinner is £49 for two courses and £60 for three courses; and lunch is £26 for two courses and £36 for three courses. The restaurant's nine-course tasting menu - which includes a Margarita right before the dessert courses - runs £95 or £150 with matching wines.


Trends in Travel: Spas are Using Locally Grown Ingredients

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Miraval ResortLike the farm-to-table food movement, spas are sourcing locally grown ingredients like chamomile and lavender. This new trend was highlighted in the International Spa Association's annual trend showcase in New York on August 18. Another new direction that spas are taking? Treatments are focusing not just on beauty but also on remedying stress and pain. Lastly, as The Washington Post points out, spa treatments are embracing technology:

  • The Spa at Trump demonstrated a pulsating light treatment on hands at the ISPA event; the LED therapy is used in facials at Trump Hotel spas ($150 for 30 minutes at Trump Soho). The Trump team also showed off a sparkly new line of SpaRitual vegan nail polish (animal fat can be an ingredient in nail polish).

And the spa market is looking pretty healthy, too, with statistics showing that the industry is recovering from the recession. An annual study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that revenue was up to $12.8 billion in 2010, a 4% increase over 2009, with spa visits increasing from 143 million to 150 million.

Pictured: A spa treatment at Miraval Resort in Arizona.


Win a Trip to New Orleans with the Hotel Monteleone

September 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monteleone, New OrleansWant to go on a trip to the Big Easy? The Hotel Monteleone has launched its second and final social media-based trip giveaway to New Orleans in conjunction with its 125th Anniversary. The contest, “History, Holidays and the Hotel Monteleone,” is running through the Hotel’s Facebook page and will end on November 4 at 11:59 p.m. (CST). The prize includes round-trip airfare to New Orleans from any location in the continental United States, a two-night stay in one of the hotel’s luxury suites, a signed copy of the Hotel’s 125th Anniversary history book, "Hotel Monteleone: More Than a Landmark, The Heart of New Orleans Since 1886," and a set of limited edition 125th Anniversary Mignon Faget cocktail glasses.

How to enter? It couldn't be easier. Simply visit the Hotel Monteleone’s Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/hotelmonteleone and click “Like” if you're not already a fan. Next, click "Contest" on the Left sidebar. Contestants must enter their first and last names, state and email address. That’s it. The Hotel Monteleone will randomly select a winner at the end of the contest period on November 4 and will announce the winner on November 9 through Facebook.


Last Summer Blast: 3rd Night Free at Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

September 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gansevoort Turks and CaicosTake a hip New York City hotel, transplant it to a beautiful beach setting, sprinkle a sensual island vibe, and you get the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos. "Caribbean cool meets urban chic" at this beachfront retreat on Grace Bay...where you can soak up the rays by the 7,000 square foot infinity pool, relax and take a breath at the exhale spa, and wine and dine at some of the best restaurants on the island. Special offer: The Gansevoort Turks and Caicos is currently inviting guests to have a "last summer blast." They're giving away every third night free until October 31, 2011, subject to availability. Another hot offer: Arrive on Sunday for a four-night stay, and get a free night along with your choice of a three-course dinner for two OR one signature 50-minute Provo Deep Flow massage. Available until December 23, 2011, black-out dates apply.

PS. The hotel has a neat blog. Check it out.


The Best Rooftop Bars: The Lounge at the Thompson Toronto

September 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Thompson Toronto Rooftop LoungeRooftop bars continue to be all the rage, especially when there's an infinity pool to be gawked at. One of the finest in the Americas? The sultry lounge at the Thompson Toronto, where 360 views of Toronto's skyline and Lake Ontario are yours for the ogling. Since opening in June 2010, the Thompson Toronto has gotten rave reviews for its ultra-sleek aesthetic, trendy location "in the diverse and artistically driven King West Village," and-- you guessed it-- otherworldly rooftop lounge, the first in the city. By day, guests can take a dip in the pool, and by night, they can lounge in the poolside cabanas and get intoxicated by the cityscape. An exclusive retreat for hotel guests and lounge members, the bar was singled out by Frommer's as one of the "10 Best New Hotel Rooftop Bars Around the World."

Image via HotelChatter


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...


A Peachy Recipe from the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue Pastry Chef

September 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz 5th AvenueSure, it's September, but we're still craving summer peaches. Lucky for us, New York Magazine has published a fabulous recipe, bringing together two of our favorites: Andaz 5th Avenue (the NYC hotel that's quite the crowd-pleaser) and that divine fruit of the gods. Try this sweet and spicy recipe from the pastry chef at the Shop at Andaz 5th Avenue, and prolong your summer just a little bit more...

Charmaine Mcfarlane’s Peaches With Chiles, Sugar, Salt, and Lime

6 tbs. sugar, 2 tbs. salt, 2 Thai chiles (chopped), 2 limes, 6 peaches

Combine the sugar, salt, and chopped chiles in a mortar and pestle and grind to a consistency like wet sand. Zest the limes and reserve the fruit for another use. Stir zest into the sugar-salt-and-chile mixture. Halve the peaches by (1) slicing them along their seams and cutting through to the pits and around the fruits. (2) Gently twist until the halves separate. Remove pits. Blanch the peach halves for 45 seconds and remove to an ice bath for a minute. (3) Peel off the skins. Sprinkle peaches with the sugar-and-salt mixture and let macerate for half an hour. Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Announcing the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden

September 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Marrakech

As if you needed further proof of Marrakech's status as a global capital of hotel cool: Park Hyatt is opening a property there in 2012. (This is the hotel brand that scored top honors with Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme- recently named by the French government as one of just eight "palace" hotels in France.) Located within the within the Al Maaden Golf Resort, the Park Hyatt Marrakech Al Maaden will have rooms with views of both the Atlas Mountains and the 18-hole golf course, created by award-winning golf course designer Kyle Phillips in the style of a classic Moroccan garden. Top digs: Each of the 45 villas will have a living room, dining room, fireplace and pool. Ooh la la!


Explore London on a Bike: New Cycling Package at InterContinental London Park Lane

September 2, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental London at Park LaneRide around London on a bike, exploring the capital's famous parks and landmarks. The InterContinental London Park Lane has just launched a new package, available on request in September and October, giving cycling enthusiasts an exclusive opportunity to ride with bike expert Rob Penn. The "B-Spoke" experience includes a two-hour hosted bike ride with Penn, who authored the book "It's All About the Bike: The Pursuit of Happiness on Two Wheels." Guests can choose their own tour route and ride around London on "Boris bikes"- available for everyone as part of London's public bicycle lending program launched last year after the success of the Velib program in Paris. The B-Spoke package at InterContinental London Park Lane is available from £359 per room plus VAT for two people sharing, and includes one night accommodation and breakfast at the Cookbook Cafe.


Say Hello to Chef Michel Richard's 24-Hour Restaurant at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

September 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Caesars PalaceDiners in Sin City will soon be able to chow down on chef Michel Richard's celebrated cuisine 24 hours a day. Based in Washington D.C., the renowned French chef will be opening Central Las Vegas inside the Caesars Palace hotel. The Vegas outpost of his famous D.C. brasserie will have an outdoor patio and a cigar bar. And in the biggest news of all, Richard is planning to keep Central Las Vegas open 24 hours a day, seven days a week-- in what The USA Today says is a "first among the Strip's many celebrity chef restaurants." After all, no-one sleeps in Las Vegas; folks "eat and they play!"

Richard is also behind D.C.'s famous Citronelle restaurant. Here's how Robert Parker of the Wine Advocate describes him: "A great chef, who is cooking at a level that far exceeds any Michelin three-star chef in France."