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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.

Steve Wynn Decorates His Macau Casino Resort with $12.8 Million Chinese Vases

July 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wynn MacauIn 2006 Las Vegas was eclipsed by Macau as the gaming capital of the world. Not far from Hong Kong, the former Portuguese colony of Macau attracts millions of visitors from mainland China keen to wager their bets at legal casinos. In fact, The Wall Street Journal reports that gambling revenue in Macau just hit an all-time record high- at $3 billion in the month of May. Little wonder then that casino mogul Steve Wynn has been investing heavily in his resorts there. (Wynn Macau looks hauntingly similar to its Vegas predecessor.) The latest? Wynn shelled out $12.8 million at a London auction recently for a set of four 18th-century Chinese porcelain vases that will adorn his new Cotai Resort Hotel, scheduled to open in 2015 in Macau. Bloomberg has the skinny on the vases:

The 4-foot (1.2 meter) vases, painted with Buddhist and Taoist emblems and embellished with 19th-century gilded metal mounts, were the most expensive of 50 lots at Christie’s International’s “Exceptional’’ sale in the U.K. capital. Sold by a private collector, the Jiaqing period (1796-1821) vases had formerly been in the collection of the Scottish aristocrats, the Dukes of Buccleuch, and had been estimated at 600,000 pounds to 1 million pounds.


Langham Hotels Heads to Chicago

July 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, PasadenaBig fans of Langham Hotels, we've been keeping a keen eye on the development of a brand spanking new hotel in Chicago. Set to open in May 2013, the 320-room hotel will occupy floors 2-13 in the former IBM Building downtown, an architectural icon designed by Mies van der Rohe. This will be the third U.S. hotel for the Langham chain, joining the Boston and Pasadena properties (not to mention the gorgeous London flagship and acclaimed Hong Kong hotel). A recent article on Katie Benson, regional vice-president for Europe and North America for Langham Hotels International, gave us a few more deets about this hotly-anticipated debut. Straight from the horse's mouth:

"...I think it will have the best rooms product in town, but that's the advantage of being new, and also the advantage of having floor-to-ceiling windows. I think the service style is a bit different. We will have a club lounge with spectacular views. This hotel will have our signature brand Chuan spa, which is our own spa brand built on traditional Chinese practices, and that will be I think a first in Chicago."

Related Article: Open Today: The Chuan Spa at The Langham, London

Pictured: The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California


Sailing the Chesapeake Bay from The Tides Inn

July 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Tides Inn, Irvington, VALong a favorite stopover for yachts sailing the Chesapeake Bay, The Tides Inn is a destination resort located on Carters Creek in Irvington, Virginia an hour outside of Richmond. Locals adore the farm-to-table cuisine featuring veggies plucked ripe from the garden (and paired with local Mid-Atlantic wines), and visitors from farther afield appreciate the inn's sublime Chesapeake setting. News: The Tides Inn recently installed a state-of-the-art Floating Dock to its marina, adding 24 new boat slips that can harbor weekend cruisers and charter vessels up to 150 feet. The dock features include electric, water, cable, TV and a pump out. Sail into the Tides Inn and order up a signature Lancaster Lemonade made with vodka, limoncello, fresh lemon juice and ginger ale served over ice and garnished with herbs from the Inn's own garden. Guests may decide to extend their stay longer than a weekend; the inn's rooms have recently been refurbished with new carpeting, and the beds are wrapped with 300-thread-count sheets by Frette and sumptuous down duvets. Book a massage at the spa, or play a round of golf. Now that's a blissful break! Summer rates at The Tides Inn start at $210 per night.


Calling All Bachelorettes: Win a Trip to Taiwan!

July 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Hotel TaipeiCelebrating its 100-year anniversary in 2011, Taiwan's in the spotlight. Not only that, faithful Bachelorette viewers will get to check out the country's wonders on the next episode of the show. Ashley Herbert will have all kinds of romantic adventures in Taiwain- from riding scooters through the mist-covered mountains to living it up in luxury at The Regent Taipei. The Taiwan Tourism Bureau sponsored the episode scheduled to air on July 11 in order to promote "Asia's best-kept secret." And they've also joined forces with a few other sponsors for a fabulous giveaway contest: fans of the show can win a 5-day trip for two "to live out their own romantic adventures in Taiwan" including two nights in the TaiPan Elite suite at The Regent Taipei. For more details on"The Bachelorette Ultimate Getaway Sweepstakes," check out the website.

Pictured: The W Hotel in Taipei.


Sponsored Article: A Real Luxury Experience in Rome in Hotel Hassler's Renovated Penthouse Suite

July 6, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel Hassler RomaPerched atop the Spanish Steps in Rome, the Hotel Hassler has long been a favorite destination for visiting dignitaries and A-list celebrities for its glorious views over the Eternal City. The Hassler Roma is indeed one of the best hotels in all of Europe. From the third-floor spa, you can marvel at the historic sites across the city, while also reveling in the luxurious touches found inside the hotel itself: original paintings by Titian and Tintoretto Schools, bathrooms finished in precious Italian marble and 23-carat gold plated faucets, walls covered in frescoes.

As if that's not enough, guests looking for an incredibly luxurious hotel experience (think Roman holiday-style honeymoon!) can now check into the hotel's Presidential Suite Penthouse, entirely renovated and reopened in May 2011. Located on the 7th floor of the hotel, the Penthouse offers breathtaking views from its private 160-square-meter terrace. The new interiors reflect a modern style embued with Classical accents. The sitting room features a large plasma-screen TV and a lovely alcove looking out to the terrace. The dining room has mirrored walls and a floor-to-ceiling window.

A sliding door separates the dining area from the bedroom. The room is done up in soft white, beige, and grey hues, accented with red decor, and the floors are made of beige-toned Botticino marble, which also lines the walls of the master and guest bathrooms. Not forgetting the walk-in closet and master bathroom with a Jacuzzi and Amorvero bath products!

A fireplace with a large TV placed above it in the gazebo dining-area provides an ideal space for relaxing and al-fresco dining.

The starting price of the Penthouse Suite is 3,800 euros per night. Enjoy a real experience of elegance, style, at the highest level of service and hospitality.


The Waldorf Astoria New York is Getting a Makeover

July 5, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Waldorf Astoria New YorkIn other news out of New York, one of the city's most famous Grande Dame hotels is rumored to be getting a renovation-- "to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars." Celebrated designer Alexandra Champalimaud will redo the interiors of The Waldorf Astoria, restaurants included. (Champalimaud is also responsible for the gorgeous design at The Pierre and The St. Regis Beijing, along with the penthouses at The Dorchester.) We can't wait to see what she'll do with the Bull and Bear Steakhouse. The legendary hotel is the flagship for the eponymous hotel collection, encompassing global properties like the Casa Marina Resort in Key West and the Trianon Palace Versailles outside Paris.


Celebrate New York's Historic Marriage Decision at The Pierre Hotel

July 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Pierre Hotel New YorkThere's been much rejoicing in the wake of New York's decision to legalize same-sex marriage. And for those newly betrothed who want to live large in the Big Apple, The Pierre, A Taj Hotel has announced the "Modern Marriage Package." Spend your wedding weekend in the privacy of a sumptuous suite high above Central Park and get treated to a variety of delights. Priced from $2,095 per night in a City View Suite ($3,500 per night in a Luxury Grand Suite), the package includes:

* All the festive wedding trimmings: A welcome cocktail, personalized wedding cake by The Pierre's expert pastry chef and a luscious floral arrangement designed by L'Olivier Atelier

* Indulgences: Relax with breakfast in bed, an in-room couple's massage and a late night aphrodisiac menu with selections that include oysters, chocolate and Champagne

* A special gift for your wedding celebration: A memorable carriage ride through Central Park, followed by a specialty picnic basket for lunch in the world's most romantic park

Valid through September 11, 2011. Subject to availability, blackout dates apply.


Sofitel The Grand: A "Legendary" Hotel in Amsterdam

June 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sofitel The Grand AmsterdamSofitel's iconic Amsterdam hotel has been reincarnated after a two-year, top-to-bottom renovation. Located between two canals in the heart of the city, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is the brand's second Legend property in the world (along with the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi), and the first in Europe. Housed in registered buildings with at least 100 years of history, Legend properties "highlight iconic, historical properties throughout the world, blending the French roots with the local culture of each property." French interior designer Sybille de Margerie did up the 125 rooms and 52 suites with inspiration from the colors in Dutch artist Karel Appel's famous mural. Students of the Eindhoven Design Academy also collaborated. The Imperial Suites sound positively swanky (think butler service and a private hammam). Oh, and the spa uses Carita and Cinq Mondes products... Swoon.


Grand Opening Special Rate at Rosewood Hotel Georgia in Vancouver

June 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rosewood Hotel Georgia in VancouverCome celebrate the reopening of the Rosewood Hotel Georgia! After a lavish restoration, the Vancouver hotel is welcoming guests to experience "a return to the golden age of hotel travel." The Hotel Georgia made a splash when it first opened in the Roaring '20s, bringing all kinds of luxuries to the young city. Since that day, a star-studded roster of guests- including Elvis Presley, Nat "King" Cole, Katharine Hepburn- have made the Hotel Georgia their Vancouver home. Now- with Rosewood managing the property- it's home to Sense, A Rosewood Spa, a fitness center, indoor swimming pool, a nightclub and Hawksworth Restaurant. In honor of its 1927 debut, the Rosewood Hotel Georgia is offering a grand opening rate of $192.70 for a Superior Room as well as 50% off other select rooms and suites for a limited time. Advance purchase and two-night minimum stay required. Offer is non-refundable and not applicable to groups.


Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to Manage Al Bustan Palace in Muscat

June 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Al Bustan Palace, MuscatIt’s safe to say the Sultanate of Oman is on the traveler’s radar screen. An oasis of stability in the Middle East, Oman is appreciated for its hospitality and breathtaking landscapes: fjords and mountainous peaks abutting the pristine beaches on the Arabian Sea. Tourism infrastructure is sound, and luxury hotels abound. (The government has embarked on a campaign to expand the tourism sector and diversify the oil-dependent economy; the goal is to attract 12 million upscale visitors annually by 2020.)

Big news out of Oman: The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company just announced that it will assume management of the legendary Al Bustan Palace in the country’s capital city of Muscat starting this Friday, July 1, 2011. All the current employees will be retained by The Ritz-Carlton under the new management. Set against a dramatic mountainous backdrop overlooking the Gulf of Oman, the luxury hotel recently underwent a multi-million dollar refurbishment. The “Jewel of the Sultanate” isn’t lacking when it comes to recreational facilities; we’re talking five pools, a spa, water sports center, and a Tennis Village. The hotel—surrounded by 200 acres of landscaped gardens—also has seven restaurants and bars.