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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.

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.


An Early Checkout for the Flying Tomato

September 18, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson

Guests at Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Nashville got an unexpectedly early wake-up call, allegedly thanks to Olympic snowboarder Shaun White. It's been reported that White, the two-time Olympic Gold medalist nicknamed "The Flying Tomato," pulled a fire alarm at the luxury property which caused an early morning evacuation on Sunday.  White fell and hit his head in the ensuing commotion, and was transported and then released from a local hospital.  The evening ended for White with an arrest for vandalism and public intoxication. 

Let's hope the other guests requested a late check-out time.  

 


Lindsay Lohan Parties a Little Too Hard for the Chateau Marmont

August 29, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

After a 47 day stay in the Chateau Marmont in California, Lindsay Lohan racked up a $46,350.04 hotel bill that went unpaid. The hotel made several attempts to resolve this matter, but their efforts were unsuccessful, resulting in a stern letter addressed to Lindsay from the hotel’s General Manager and a banning from the entire property until her outstanding debt is paid. Lindsay was asked to remove her belongings by 12:00PM on August 1st, 2012. So what, you may ask, does a movie star buy to drop nearly $50,000 on a month and a half stay in a luxurious hotel? Why cigarettes and alcohol, of course! During her stay, minibar charges equaled $3,145.07, and her cigarette’s bill was $686 at a whopping $14 a pack. We certainly hope the Chateau Marmont receives its outstanding payment, but we’re doubtful that they'll be quick to forget and allow Miss Lohan to stay again.


Your Questions Answered: How to Change the Dates of My Reservation

August 21, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Question: We currently have a reservation for September 4th – 7th at the Four Seasons Florence, but need to check in a day earlier. How can I change the dates of my reservation?

Answer: We work within hotel systems where all modifications are accomplished through the process of re-bookingfor new dates and cancelling the existing reservation. We can either cancel your current reservation and make a new reservation, or simply make a new reservation for that new day (September 3rd – 4th) and request that you stay in the same room for the entirety of your stay. If the hotel is showing availability for September 3rd – 7th, and you are not within penalty period and can cancel your current reservation without any fees, then we can simply cancel your current reservation and make a new one. If the rate has gone up or if the hotel is no longer showing availability for September 3rd – 7th, but it does have availability for September 3rd – 4th, we can make a new reservation for the same room type of your current reservation and request that you stay in the same room for the entirety of your stay through the hotel. This request cannot be guaranteed but the hotel would do its best to honor this type of request. You can cancel and rebook your reservation online or over the phone, whatever is most convenient for you. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as the extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.

Image of the Four Seasons Hotel Florence