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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.

Trends at Luxury Hotels: Canine Concierges and Resident Dog Ambassadors


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Doggie Happy Hour, Hotel Monaco

Pet-friendly facilities are certainly de rigueur at luxury hotels these days. From the Doggie Happy Hour at the Hotel Monaco in Alexandria to the Pumped-Up Pet Program at Loews Hotels, the pet-friendly phenomenon has spread like wildfire. Not to mention the launch of Pet Airways. But taking it up a notch: the growing trend of canine concierges or canine ambassadors in residence at five-star hotels across the country. First, we tipped you off about the resident "top dog" at the Loews Annapolis Hotel: Luke, the Labrador retriever who helps check in guests (and is available for walking when traveling guests get pet-sick). Then we told you about Catie Copley, the black lab who offers canine companionship for pet-deprived guests of the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston. Now we've learned from Gridskipper about the teacup pomeranian named Ginger who serves as Director of Pet Relations at the Muse Hotel in New York. Here's the skinny from the hotel's website: Ginger "prefers Prada, visits to the spa and ahi tuna, and would be delighted to share where to go and what to see in NYC with our four-legged guests."


Get in Shape with Fido: The Pumped-Up Pet Program at Loews Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Hotel Vogue, MontrealAfter too much feasting and merry-making over the holiday season, you might be looking to turn over a new leaf with a get-in-shape mantra topping your New Year's resolutions. And Fido is looking a little porky, too. Loews Hotels to the rescue! The luxury hotel chain has created a package to get you and your pet in shape in 2010. Studies have shown that people who exercise with their pet stick to the regimen; research conducted by Northwestern Memorial Hospital revealed that more than 60 percent of people who began an eating and exercise program with their pets stuck to the program for a year. Hence the Pumped-Up Pets package, which includes a deluxe room, workout tips for both the guest and their pet, a Zisc dog Frisbee, and a specially-created and veterinarian-approved "Scratch My Flat Belly" meal for pets. This offer is valid at 17 Loews Hotels, including the Loews New Orleans, Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, and Loews Hotel Vogue (pictured), the centrally-located Montreal gem that channels the city's joie de vivre. Rates vary by hotel.


Top Family Resorts: Get a $200 Credit at South Seas Island Resort, Captiva Island


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

South Seas Island Resort, CaptivaPlan a winter escape the whole family will enjoy to South Seas Island Resort on Florida's Captiva Island. Named No. 3 of the "10 Best Family Beach Resorts" by Parents Magazine, this refuge offers endless family recreation and a unique island experience (think guided shell walks and kayak excursions through the mangroves). Surrounded by the natural beauty of the Florida Gulf Coast, this 330-acre family haven has something for guests of all ages. Book the Winter Escapes package and receive a $50 resort credit per room for every two nights stayed, to be used towards dining, golf, or other resort activities. Stay 2-3 nights, get a $50 credit; stay 4-5 nights, get $100... (You get the picture.) Winter rates start from $229 per night.


Eco-Friendly Hotels: Go Green in Oregon at the Hotel Monaco Portland


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monaco PortlandJust another reason to love the Hotel Monaco Portland: it's Green Seal Silver Certified! What this means is that the Hotel Monaco Portland is one of just a few hotels nationwide that have met a rigorous set of environmental standards determined by Green Seal, a national nonprofit that created an unbiased environmental standard for the lodging industry with requirements for recycling, energy conservation, water conservation, and socially responsible purchasing. Props to Kimpton Hotels for its EarthCare program and eco-friendly initiatives. Some examples at the Hotel Monaco Portland: Cleaning Supplies (all rooms cleaned with environmentally friendly cleaning products), Soy Inks (all corporate collateral is printed on recycled paper using soy based ink), Organic Beverages (all complimentary lobby coffee is organic, shade grown and/or fair trade), Energy and Water Conservation (energy efficient bulbs are in place, along with low flow systems for faucets, toilets, and showers).


Don’t Leave Fido at Home: Houndly Holidays with Loews Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Annapolis HotelDon't want to leave your pet at home this holiday season? Loews Hotels to the rescue. Not only will you score a great room rate, but you'll also get Loews Loves Pets amenities, a festive red Bow Wowzer Ball, and a special in-room holiday meal for your pet (like Turkey Rolls a la Pug or Spaniel Stuffing, recipes featured below) with "Houndly Holidays." This one-night package starts at just $119 per night and is valid October 19, 2009 - January 10, 2010. Available at 17 Loews hotels across the U.S. and Canada, including the Loews Lake Las Vegas, Loews Annapolis (pictured), and Loews Vanderbilt in Nashville.

Turkey Rolls a la Pug

1 loaf uncooked bread dough or pizza dough

¼ cup turkey broth

1 to 2 teaspoons flour

¾ cup cooked turkey, cut up small

½ cup cooked vegetables

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

grated cheese

Roll out the dough and cut into 3 inch circles with cookie cutter. In a saucepan, combine the broth and flour, stirring until flour is dissolved and mixture thickens. Add the turkey, veggies, and garlic powder. Cook until mixture is heated through. Let cook a bit. Spoon 1 to 2 teaspoons of the turkey mixture onto each circle. Fold up the sides and pinch shut. Roll into a ball shape. Sprinkle or roll each ball with grated cheese. Arrange the balls on a cookie sheet. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until they are golden brown. Let cool.

Spaniel Stuffing

2 ¼ cups chicken stock

¼ cup wild rice

4 tablespoons butter

2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms

2 cups diced celery

1 cup chopped onion

4 cups corn bread stuffing mix

1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

In a medium sized saucepan combine the chicken stock and the wild rice. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer until rice is tender. In a large skillet melt the butter. add the mushrooms, celery and onion. Cook until vegetables are soft. In a large bowl mix the cornbread stuffing and poultry seasoning. Add the rice and the vegetables and mix well. More chicken stock can be added if stuffing is dry.


Posh Pet Amenities at the Sunset Tower Hotel


By: Christina Vasquez

Sunset Tower HotelThe Sunset Tower Hotel loves pets and to show just how much they appreciate all guests, including the furry four-legged ones, they're giving away a truly adorable take-home amenity. Just for dogs, the Sunset Tower Hotel will provide a bone-shaped ceramic dog bowl for your pet to enjoy long after your stay at this hip hotel on the Sunset Strip. Who says man's best friend can't enjoy the benefits of swag!?

Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Guests making reservations at the Sunset Tower Hotel through Five Star Alliance will receive a complimentary $25 credit in the spa or salon good for any service or product, in addition to a room upgrade based upon availability, and 2pm late check-out.


From Car Detailing to Pet Walking: Five-Star Service at The Hazelton, Toronto


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Hazelton, TorontoSince it opened a few years ago, the Hazelton Hotel has taken Toronto by storm. Sure, the Presidential Suite has been called out as one of the best luxury suites in Canada, but you don't have to be a paparazzi-hounded celeb to hit up at this Hollywood hotspot. Bedding down at this sexy joint-- complete with its own private screening room and swanky spa-- you'll notice the five-star difference. Above all, it's the service. The concierge, valet, and guest services team can handle any kind of request; indeed the concierge can "open the doors to Toronto for you" with restaurant reservations, insider tips on shopping in Yorkville, the sky's the limit. Here's a smattering of the services available to you:

*24 hour luggage and large parcel delivery to residence

*Ten percent off Dry cleaning, laundry services, button replacement mending, minor alterations and delivery

*Fifteen percent off Spa treatments

*24 hour Room Service and Priority reservations at ONE, Mark McEwan's latest hit

*Daily, to door newspaper delivery of the Globe & Mail and/or National Post

*Personal chef services

*Pet walking, grooming and sitting services

*Automobile detailing

*Technological equipment rental (wireless laptops, MP3 players, facsimile machines, mobile phones and audio-visual equipment)

*Chauffeured limousine service to any destination

*Outdoor running companions

*Movie/music/videogame rental, including delivery and return

*Messenger service for local pick ups, deliveries and dry cleaning

And butler service, of course.


Luxury Pet Hotels: Pet Pampering at Paradise 4 Paws, Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Paradise 4 PawsFans of Chicago's Paradise 4 Paws will be thrilled to learn that the pet resort is expanding to other locations. The current spot outside O'Hare Airport gets high marks for its lavish facilities: splashing pool, indoor grassy play area, and Webcam access so fretful parents can keep on eye on their pets, breathing easy when they see Fido lounging in such fancy digs. The doggie suites are cage-less, of course, and come with flat-screened TVs; cat bungalows are equipped with live fish aquariums (fun!) Paradise 4 Paws will soon open a branch outside Midway airport, reports the Chicago Tribune, and hopes to add 10 more locations with the next 5 years.

Image Via Peter Greenberg.com


Tips for Traveling with Pets


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Loews Hotels Pet ProgramFor tips and tricks as you plan a vacation with Fido, check out this special guide courtesy of The Washington Post. The paper's got the scoop on all kinds of fun travel gear (including Doggles to protect the eyes of your four-legged friend). You can also check out the photo gallery of pets on vacay.


Something For Everyone at W Hotel Atlanta Midtown


By: Alison Victor

W Hotel Atlanta Midtown It's hard to find a luxury hotel that caters to all types of travelers, but the W Hotel Atlanta Midtown does just that. Surrounded by world class shopping, nightlife, and museums, this luxury haven offers top notch service and accommodations to anyone visiting Atlanta. For the business traveler, W Hotel Atlanta Midtown offers a high tech business center with high-speed Internet. The Whatever/Whenever Service, a unique 24/7 feature of W Hotels, will take care of anything that you need or want, including a complimentary ride in a luxury SUV with a personal driver. For the family traveling together, W Hotel Atlanta Midtown offers connecting rooms and cribs upon request, as well as beautifully spacious suites. The hotel also welcomes cats and dogs 40 pounds or less, offering them custom pet beds, turndown treats, and food and water bowls.