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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.

Paradisus Palma Real Introduces a Royal Redesign

May 5, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Paradisus Palma Real

 

Paradisus Palma Real, the luxury all-inclusive Punta Cana resort, has completed its comprehensive redesign, adding 110 Royal Service Suites, as well a new Royal Service Lounge with its own private Italian restaurant, new juice bar, pool, ECO spa, and fitness areas. The resort’s service has also been upgraded, from pre-arrival to Punta Cana and resort arrival, as well as personalized and intuitive butler service throughout.

As part of the improvements to service, once guest books their stay at Paradisus Palma Resort, a staff member will contact them to discuss preferences, dietary restrictions, and their vacation desires. The resort will then make recommendations, pre-book reservations, and help create the perfect vacation.

Paradisus signature Royal Service Suites offer unparalleled all-inclusive luxury in an adults-only atmosphere. Each of the 220 Royal Service Suites comes complete with an in-suite Jacuzzi. Modern touches include 32-inch flat screen televisions, iPod docking stations, Expresso coffee machines and now customized mini-bars, bathrooms are stocked with Thierry Mugler bath amenities. The resort has also taken their service standards up a notch, now providing one modern certificated butler per every six Royal Service Suites.

The additional Royal Service ECO Spa is exclusively for Royal Service guests, featuring five massage treatment eco palapas. A water ritual area – comprised of two hot tubs, pool with hydrotherapy, cold plunge, pediluvio foot bath, showers, steam room and sauna – will be located adjacent to the new Royal Service pool.

Paradisus Palma Real

 The new Italian restaurant, Il Palazzo, will be exclusive for Royal Service Guests, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. This modern Italian experience is located within the new Royal Service lounge and offers unobstructed views of the Caribbean. The Royal Service white sand beach area will now boast a new Juice Bar. Guests will be able to order smoothies and freshly squeezed juices, including the signature passion fruit drink. The new Juice Bar is open daily, from morning to early evening. The resort’s main lagoon-style pool will now feature a designated and dedicated Royal Service area, which connects to the Royal Service Lounge.  Paradisus Palma Real’s new Fitness area, YHI Moves, will be over 2,000 sq. ft, boasting new Life Fitness equipment and a large cardio and weights area, attended by professional personal trainers, offering assistance and complimentary yoga, pilates and stretching classes. The resort’s new Red Lounge is an all-day lobby bar and after-dinner lounge, which changes ambiance to suit the mood and tempo of day and night-time entertainment.

View rates, details, and more photos of Paradisus Palma Real >>

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Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran Introduces Bamboo Chic

March 30, 2013
By: Five Star Alliance

 


Breakfast in Bali has never tasted so good! Bamboo Chic, Le Meridien Bali Jimbaran’s newest restaurant boasts its delicious take on Pan-Asian cuisine with a Balinese twist. Le Meridian Jimbaran Bali has gone through a total renovation that displays a beautiful mix of traditional Jimbaran heritage amidst global contemporary design. This mix of traditional Jimbaran culture with the styles of global contemporary can be seen within the flavors of the newly opened restaurant at Le Meridian Jimbaran Bali’s restaurant: Bamboo Chic.

Guests can enjoy their meals in their 3-story restaurant and bar, or can even dine on their roof-top terrace to enjoy a beautiful Bali sunset while eating next to the man-made salt water lagoon. Run by executive chef Paul Lewis, who keeps the Le Meridian farm-to-table food concept alive by using local fresh ingredients and fresh catch-of-the-days in the menu. Bamboo Chic provides food options for all ages, complete with a delicious buffet spread that caters to many taste preferences. The restaurant is well-known for its Pork Hock dish that has a very distinct Balinese twist. Always on the menu, but in different forms, the pork is definitely a must-try at Bamboo Chic!

View rates, details, and more photos on Le Meridian Bali Jimbaran >>

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Ritz-Carlton Naples Renovates

March 20, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Twenty-seven might be a little young for human facelifts, but it's just about right for a luxury hotel to undergo some refurbishments. The Ritz-Carlton Naples just announced that that it will close for two months, starting July 24, 2013. while it undergoes renovations.  Refurbishments are planned for all of the 450 guest rooms and suites, the three dining options, the "Princess ballroom," as well as other structural and mechanical renovations.  The guest rooms renovations will be overseen by Interior designers Wimberly Interiors, which plans to have the rooms resemble a luxurious, residential beach home. The three restaurants will be re-done by the New York-based design agency Blue Plate. The Sushi Bar will be renamed The Bar and will be extending its balcony and reconfiguring to allow for more cozy areas. The Terrace will reopen as Terrazza, an Italian eatery open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Grill steakhouse will continue as a classic dining establishment with a terrific selection of dry-aged beef, fresh seafood and collection of international wines. Brides will want to take note taht the popular Artisans "princess ballroom" will be redesigned to resemble an elegant jewel box.  The 20,000 square feet of meeting space will also undergo some refreshing. 

During the renovation, nearby sister property The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort Naples will be open for business and will provide guests with a shuttle to the beach. 

The transformation will be unveiled on October 1, 2013.  

View rates, details, and more photos of Ritz-Carlton Naples and Ritz-Carlton Naples Golf Resort >>

 


Dukes Hotel London's Big Reveal

February 15, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Duke's Hotel London has revealed the final phase of its multi-year refresh, and it's a stunner! Led by interior designer Sandy Deane, all of the guestrooms and suites have been made over with curtains and throws in one of five "schemes": taupe and berry; copper and jet; zinc and grape; marine and port; or quail and plum. All re-designs utilize materials that combine tactile feel with classic vintage dimensional designs of sumptuous textures and gorgeous tones to create beautifully stylish surroundings. Additionally, wall coverings in gold and green tones  by the UK designer Shaun Clarkson have been added to all public areas.

This final phase of renovation follows the 2011 launching of the fine dining Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham and the PJ Lounge , and the 201 lauching of the Cognac and Cigar Garden, a lovely outdoor setting for enjoying an enticing selection of Cuban cigars from the UK's sole importer and distributor, Hunters and Frankau, and vintage cognacs from the world's oldest major brandy house, Martell.

Recent awards for the luxury hotel property have included the 2013 Conde Nast Traveler Gold List, Three AA Rosettes fyr Thirty Six by Nigel Mendham, and World's Leading Classic Boutique Hotel at the 2012 World Travel Awards.

View rates, details and more photos for Dukes Hotel London >>

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Sofitel So Singapore Gets a Lagerfield Label

February 1, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Sofitel So Singapore is getting a designer label.  The brand has commissioned legendary designer Karl Lagerfield to design the emblem of the upcoming Sofitel So Singapore. This isn't the first time the luxury brand has paired up with a designer.  The partnership is part of Sofitel's Art de Vivre,  which pairs the talent of leading designers and architects to create distinctive international hotels infused with French elegance, allure, and refinement. Previous pairings have included Kenzo Takada provided design direction for the Sofitel So Mauritius, and Christian Lacroix adding his touch to the Sofitel So Bangkok. We bet it will turn out just as gorgeous as Sofitel Macau at Ponte 16, pictured at left.

 

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Last Minute Inauguration Deals!

January 18, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

If you haven't booked your  room for the upcoming Presidential Inauguration, you are in luck!  As of this writing, there's still some availability at these Washington DC-area luxury hotels.  For a stay for two adults from Sunday January 20-Tuesday January 22, we found a range of great options. Keep in mind that the vast majority of these rates are either pre-paid, non-refundable and/or non-cancellable, so read the rate details carefully before booking. But book quickly, as these rates are sure to go fast.  All rates are in US dollars.

Here's what we found:

 The Jefferson-Want to splurge? The Jefferson, one of our favorite small luxury hotels,  is offering a 2013 Inaguaration pre-paid package starting at $1435 per night. You'll get a King bed, walk-in shower, and other room amenities. Located at the corner of 16th and M Streets NW, the hotel is just four blocks from The White House.

The Mayflower

 -The Mayflower, one of the largest luxury hotels in the District, is offering a AAA rate to qualifying members. For $299 per night, a deluxe room can be yours. It is also located near The White House.

-The fun Donovan House, located on Thomas Circle, has non-refundable Inaguration rates available from $425 a night for a k. The rate includes a King-bedded room and the complimentary Wine Hour held every evening.

-Hotel Palomar Washington DC, located in the vibrant Dupont Circle area, it also offers a King-bedded room and the complimentary Wine Hour, but with nightly rates starting at $573.75.

-The elegant Fairfax at Embassy Row has King-bedded room starting at $329 per night. The hotel is nestled among the stately mansions of Massachusetts Avenue, right near Dupont Circle.

-Park Hyatt Washington has King-bedded rooms with free wireless internet starting at $699 per night. While there, you can enjoy a meal at the highly-rated Blue Duck Tavern.

-Located in Washington's fashionable West End, Fairmont Washington DC offers a King-bedded 400 square foot uxury room starting at $599 per night. Internet access is also included in the rate.

-The recently renovated Dupont Circle Hotel fittingly overlooks the actual Dupont Circle. Their Best Unrestricted Daily Rate has King-bedded rooms from $399 per night.

-The Omni Shoreham Washington DC is a renovated Art Deco/Renaissance hybrid building set on a hill overlooking Rock Creek Park. It's Best Available Rate for a Deluxe Room with 1 King Bed is $579 per night.

-The Hotel George Washington DC is just one block from Union Station and near a lot of the Inaugural festivities. Nightly room rates for a Queen Deluxe Room include the Wine Hour and start at $634.

These are just some of the great rates we found. Check out Five Star Alliance for more rates and Inaugural hotel options.

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The Goring is Royally Warranted

January 17, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

A Royal Warrant has been issued for The Goring Hotel.  For those not familiar with it, a Royal Warrant is a mark of recognition that tradesmen are regular suppliers of goods and services to the royal households. Royal Warrant holders may display the relevant Royal Arms with the words "By Appointment" on their product, stationery, buildings, vehicles, advertising, and packaging. 

Fans of The Goring will remember it as the hotel where Kate Middleton spent her last night as a single lady. The Family-owned and run five-star deluxe hotel is located in Belgravia, adjacent to Buckingham Palace.

 


See What's New at Ritz-Carlton Montreal

January 10, 2013
By: K. Clare Johnson

Ritz-Carlton Montreal has recently undergone an extensive $200 million dollar restoration. The result is a hotel that offers its guests the perfect mixture of old and new.  The building’s facade was preserved and restored, public spaces were renovated and redecorated, and rooms were redesigned with the utmost in luxury and comfort in mind.

Here are just a few details of the restoration:

 

-Part of the historic building was expanded and converted to accommodate a new residential wing, the Ritz-Carlton Residences. If you've always wanted to live at the Ritz, now you can! These 45 exclusive residences provide the opportunity to live at a renowned Montreal address while enjoying the comforts and services of a luxury hotel.
 

-Guests can shop without leaving the building. Renowned and revered jeweler Tiffany & Co. opened a  2000 sq. ft. boutique just below the Ritz-Carlton Residences.


-Corporate clients were a top priority in the restoration. The hotel’s 12,000 sq. ft. of meeting space are incredibly flexible, able to  host formal board meetings for 12 people, larger meetings for 35 to 75 or a gala dinner for up to 350. Perhaps the grandest space at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, the Oval Room meeting space was restored by artisans who hand painted the finishes.
 

-The 98 guest rooms and 31 suites include the Royal Suite, which at 4,700 sq. ft is the largest hotel suite in Montreal. The guest rooms feature high-tech amenities, such as intuitively remembering a guest’s temperature preferences upon check-in, and motion sensors that activate lights to guide guests in a darkened room. The marble fireplaces in many suites are original to the 1912 hotel, while the luxurious and modern finishes were added during the recent restoration.


 

-The rooftop saltwater pool is heated with reclaimed energy from the hotel’s kitchen. Stunning views of the Montreal skyline can be seen from inside or on the terrace and guests can also relax inside the sauna.



-During the restoration of the hotel, enormous energy and resources went into creating the most advanced, HACCP-certified kitchen in the city. The new kitchen, which prepares meals for in-room dining as well as banquets, is able to feed 1,000 diners at a time, and includes the first dedicated fully-kosher kitchen in a large hotel in Montreal.
 
 

-As with all of famed Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurants around the world, Maison Boulud, located inside the Ritz-Carlton Montreal is unique to its setting. Traditional French culinary roots meet high standards of hospitality to reflect the culture, tastes and lifestyle of the city, with a particular focus on local produce and artisanal Quebecois products. An outdoor dining area overlooks the garden in the summer months, and a 46-seat glass greenhouse is open off of the main dining room during the winter. Maison Boulud welcome diners for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on Sundays.

 

-Ritz-Carlton Montreal, just four months after re-opening, has been awarded the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award®, recognizing its status as one of North America's most luxurious hotels. The property joins just three other Five Diamond-rated hotels in Canada, and is the only one in Quebec.
 

Explore rates, details, photos and more at Ritz-Carlton Montreal>>
 

 

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Hurricane Sandy Hits Le Parker Meridien Hard

October 30, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Le Parker Meridien New York was one of a number of hotels severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. This hotel was one of the buildings in the area that had to be evacuated last night because of the crane that was hanging from the top of the Park Hyatt New York. Although there are a number of hotels in the area, Le Parker Meridien was the only one to get evacuated by the New York Police Department. The hotel is currently empty and is expected to remain that way for the rest of the day until all damages can be properly accessed.

Our hearts certainly go out to everyone affected and we are certainly happy and available to help our travelers find last minute arrangements around the world.


Would You Care for Some Elephant Poo with Your Cup of Joe?

October 11, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson

 

Tired of the mundane macchiatos at your local Starbucks? Got some cash burning a hole in your pocket?  
Anantara Resorts
has what you need to feel caffeinated and lighter in wallet. The luxury hotel group has
introduced Black Ivory Coffee (affectionately dubbed Elephant Poo Coffee for reasons that will become clear
in a moment) to its resorts in the Maldives and in Thailand's Golden Triangle. While picking coffee beans out of
animal poop isn't new (civets, those hipsters of the animal world, have been pooping out coffee beans since
before it was cool), coffee beans via elephant dung is.

How is this rare and precious coffee made? The process begins with selecting choice Thai Arabica beans that
have been picked from an altitude of 1,500 meters. Said beans are fed to the rescued street elephants that live
at Anantara's Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF). Enzymes found in the elephant's digestive
system break down the protein in the coffee bean. Since protein is one of the main factors responsible for bitterness
in coffee, the resulting bean has almost no bitterness.

Beans expelled by the elephant are handpicked out of the dung by mahouts (elephant trainer and carer) and their
spouses. After some time drying in the sun, the coffee is refined at the GTAEF. The roasted beans sell for around
$1,100 a kilogram with eight percent of all sales are donated to the GTAEF to help with veterinary care for rescued
street elephants. Approximately 10,000 beans are needed to produce one kilogramme of roasted coffee.

When it is served to guests at Anantara's Golden Triangle, the coffee is hand-ground and brewed tableside using
technology developed in 1840's Austria. Now all this coffee needs is a fun nickname. Dumbochino? Elephalatte?
Pachyspresso? We'll keep working on it.