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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.

The World's Best Hotels: Announcing the Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-AirLooking to get inspired for your next getaway? The savvy editors at Fodor's have just released their first-ever list of the world's best hotels. After careful deliberation, the team of Fodor's editors and writers curated the "Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011" spanning eight hotel categories. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites that made the cut.

New & Noteworthy- The Year's Best New and Reinvented Hotels: Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Mondrian Soho in NYC, Hotel Bel-Air & The Redbury in Los Angeles

Grande Dame- Legendary Hotels with Superlative History and Service: The Carlyle in NYC, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel du Russie in Rome, The Savoy in London

Casual Chic- Effortlessly Stylish Hotels with Rustic-Modern Appeal: Cavo Tagoo in Mykonos, Bardessono in Napa, The Allison in Oregon

Design- Cutting-Edge Boutique Hotels at All Price Points: Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, Jia in Hong Kong

Cavo Tagoo, MykonosLocal Flavor- Go-To Hotels for a Truly Authentic Experience: Fairmont Chateau Montebello in Quebec, Evason Ma'in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa in Jordan

Clubby Atmosphere- Hip Urban Pied-à-Terres: 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, The Liberty in Boston, The Augustine in Prague

Luxurious Retreat- Top Choices for a Complete Escape: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in the Florida Keys, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, Inkaterra Machu Picchu

Trusted Brand- World-Class Examples of International Hotel Chains: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, The Peninsula Bangkok


Win a Pampering Spa Day at The Berkeley in London

November 7, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Berkeley, LondonBaby, it's cold outside! What you need to warm up: two hours of perfect pampering at The Berkeley Health Club and Spa. The stylish hotel in Knightsbridge has a sublime spa created with the expert guidance of Howard Consulting, the premier spa consultancy. A range of massages and therapies are available, and the rooftop pool and gym have knock-out views over Hyde Park. For a limited time only, the hotel is running a contest where you can win a five-star spa experience. Here's what's included in the "Perfect Retreat": Body Skin Preparation (25 mins), Comfort Touch Massage (25 mins) and Rebalance Facial (55 mins) for her; and Comfort Touch Massage (25 mins), Pure Performance Facial (55 mins) and Men’s Manicure (25 mins) for him. Guaranteed to restore lost energy and relax your body and mind! To enter, simply sign up to receive email updates from The Berkeley, and all entries will be entered into a prize draw. Closing date: November 30, 2011. The winner will be notified by email on December 7, 2011.


Hotel News Round-Up: Sleep in Buckingham Palace; Virgin Hotels Heads to Chicago

October 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

lebua New DelhiThere's so much fun and excitement happening the hospitality world these days (beer-themed spa treatments? Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh?) that you can't possibly be expected to keep up with it all. So we're helping out with a wrap-up of some of our favorite tidbits (and gossip) this week. First up: Rumor has it that Buckingham Palace might open as a hotel for tourists when when Prince Charles moves his home to Windsor Castle upon taking the throne. If this does indeed come to pass, expect to pay a "princely sum" to sleep there, says The Boston Globe's Melanie Nayer. Another fun news item: Sir Richard Branson has signed the first deal for his highly anticipated Virgin Hotels brand... in Chicago. The 27-storey Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash-- just a block off Michigan Avenue and the river-- will get a makeover and open as a hotel in fall 2013.

Pictured: Another newsworthy item, the lebua New Delhi, opening in December.


Special Offers in London: Free Afternoon Tea at Hotel 41

October 24, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel 41, LondonLondon is buzzing with excitement this time of year, and almost impossibly festive when it comes time for Christmas. For those looking to experience the merriment, hop the pond for some holiday shopping, theatrical shows, and open-air ice skating on the huge rink outside the Natural History Museum (open from November 4, 2011- January 8, 2012). Shop til you drop, then tuck into a mountain of cakes, scones and pastries for Afternoon Tea. When you book a two-night stay at the Hotel 41-- a discreet five-star hotel directly opposite the Royal Mews and just behind Buckingham Palace-- you'll get an Afternoon Tea thrown in for free. The boutique hotel is known for its fine service; staff outnumber guests two-to-one, and the thoughtful touches really impress guests. At turndown, the staff puts floating candles in your bath and sprays lavender on your pillow, while the pet concierge makes sure that Fido is as pampered as you are.

The "Complimentary Afternoon Tea" offer is available on all room types and suites with a minimum two night stay. Available from now until December 23, 2011, and between January 2 and February 13, 2012. Black-out dates may apply.

Another tempting offer: Check into one of the Hotel 41's luxurious suites for two nights and stay a 3rd night free. Includes welcome drink on arrival, use of the Pantry and Butler service.


Create a Christmas Vodka Flavor: Win a Stay at London's Montague on the Gardens

October 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Montague on the Gardens, LondonThe Montague on the Gardens, the lovely Georgian townhouse hotel in the heart of London's Bloomsbury, is getting in the Christmas spirit early this year. They're creating the "12 Vodkas of Christmas" and inviting you, dear reader, to help dream up one of the delicious Christmas-themed flavors. They've already got 10 flavors including Cinnamon, Spiced Apple and Candy Cane, and now they're looking for two more to add to the menu. If your flavor is chosen, you'll win a night's stay for two people at the Montague on the Gardens, including breakfast, a festive Afternoon Tea for two, plus a bottle of your very own flavored vodka to savor at home! To enter, email winterwonderland@rchmail.com, or leave a comment on their blog with your creative idea. From the judges: "Points will be awarded for originality of mouth-watering flavors that will help keep us warm while we’re in our Winter Wonderland this December!"

Closing date for entry is November 11, 2011. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Prize valid until end of March 2012, subject to availability and terms and conditions apply. Festive Afternoon Tea will be replaced with Traditional Afternoon Tea from January 2012."

PS. Don't miss the hotel's "alpine lodge"-- as they transform their deck into a winter wonderland with pine trees, reindeer, even falling snow. The perfect spot to sample one of those 12 Christmas vodkas.


Race to the Top: 51 Buckingham Gate Opens New Luxury Jaguar Suite

October 12, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

51 Buckingham Gate, Taj Suites and Residences, in London has opened up its newest suite, inspired by the design of one of the finest luxury vehicles, the Jaguar. Though it’s not a Mustang, the new Jaguar suite is bucking trends: It’s sleek, modern, and one of (if not the first), rooms to bring a sports car aesthetic into the lap of luxury. Buckingham Gate is bringing the cool Jaguar vibe indoors with sleek wood paneling and custom wallpaper. Minimalistic design choices hint at the unique curves of the vehicle itself, and they go so far as to shape the fireplace in the form of the iconic rear window. The devil is in the details, and Buckingham Gate has gotten it all right. From the dark leather to the custom wallpaper, the room evokes Jaguar’s design choices without ever approaching gaudiness. It’s well-crafted, timeless, and minimalistic, and I wish I were staying there right now.

If you have even a passing appreciation for the artistry that goes into a fine luxury car, you are guaranteed to fall in love with the space the Buckingham Gate has crafted in its new Jaguar suite.


A Simple Sip of Bijoux Tea: The Langham London's Luxurious Liquid

October 11, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

I’ve been around the world in eighty brews, to see the place it takes me to

To make a brew that tastes like the cream cakes made by angels do

-Professor Elemental, "Cup of Brown Joy"

It may be that we’ve finally found the elusive brew the Professor sought: The Langham London offers a classic tea time that will take you places you’ve never dreamed of. We recently posted about the signature Halloween drinks their bartender is whipping up, but if you’re in the mood for more traditional fare, The Langham's Stephen Webster limited edition Bijoux tea is the best money can buy.  For those less familiar with the British tea tradition, tea is more than a drink; it’s a three-course afternoon adventure including sandwiches, cakes and scones. Eschewing the standard cucumber sandwiches in favor of smoked salmon and cream cheese with cucumber pearls and a poached quail breast, the tea’s best feature is actually its standard scones, whose melt-in-your-mouth texture tastes suspiciously of ambrosia. I entreat even teetotalers to try this total tea experience. So throw on your tea-shirt and sashay scone-wards, because the Bijoux brew is not just Britney’s favorite, it’s the best Cup of Brown Joy your taste buds can touch.


Scary Good Cocktails in London: Halloween at The Langham

October 6, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Artesian's Vieux Carre at the Langham LondonRemember the “Tarantula and Scorpion Cocktail" we told you about? You know- the one infused with oven-baked tarantula and scorpion to add woodsy notes to the Courvoisier punch? Well it doesn't stop there. Alex Kratena, the award-winning mixologist at the Langham London's Artesian bar, keeps outdoing himself. His latest concoction for Halloween? Kratena took the classic Vieux Carré Cocktail, originally created in 1938 by bartender Walter Bergeron at NOLA's legendary Monteleone Hotel, and added something positively ghoulish: a side of toasted Colombian giant ants and Mopani worms. Artesian’s creepy-crawly Vieux Carré is made with the finest cognac and rye whiskey aged with infused vermouth, bitters and herbal liqueur, served over a crystal clear ice ball. Available at the Langham London through the entire month of October 2011 for £16.50.


Book Your London Hotel for the Olympics & Queen's Jubilee

October 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Athenauem Hotel and Apartments, London2012 will be a big year for Britain, says Travel Agent Magazine. London is prepping for a series of blockbuster events, starting with the Queen's Jubilee in June, honoring Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s 60 years on the throne (can we say gigantic flotilla on the Thames?) If you're eager to get in on the action, and also partake in Olympic fever, it's best to book your hotel room ASAP. The USA Today reports that "hotels are expected to fill about 92% of their rooms, which will mean many sold-out nights"-- according to a new forecast from Pricewaterhouse Coopers. "And that's despite a number of new hotels that have opened, including Dorchester Collection's tony 45 Park Lane in Mayfair and Starwood's trendy W in the heart of Leicester Square."

Looking for a hotel in London or the surrounding area? Five Star Alliance has a number of recommendations- whether you want a family-friendly boutique hotel or an opulent palace on the Thames. There are also a slew of four-star hotels available.

Pictured: The Athenaeum Hotel and Apartments.


Eco-Friendly Travel to London: Organic Meals and a "Green" Butler with The Savoy Hotel

September 30, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Savoy, LondonWhen The Savoy opened its gilded gates in London last year after a staggering £220 million restoration project, London couldn't stop talking about it. (And when we dropped by for a visit earlier this year, there was an impressive line of visitors gawking at the famous bars and lobby.) A lot of ink has been spilled about the "most ambitious hotel restoration in British history"-- but did you know that it was also an eco-friendly one? (Fairmont-- who manages the hotel-- gets serious props for its green programs.) The Savoy is all about sustainable luxury, having installed the latest in green technology in the hotel, and having launched various sustainable initiatives. To show guests the green side of London, the hotel has launched "The Savoy Elements Package." Here's what it includes:

* Overnight accommodation

* Return transfers in a luxury hybrid vehicle from a London airport or station

* A “Savoy Green Butler” to assist with requests such as packing and making travel arrangements as well as advising on green initiatives within the hotel and places of interest around London

* Welcome green gift on arrival

* Choice of inspirational 3-hour walking green tour of London

* Complimentary valet car parking if arriving by hybrid vehicle

* Complimentary use of a BMW bicycle with helmet provided

* An organic, 3-course dinner in either the River Restaurant with a pre-dinner, biodynamic cocktail

* Organic breakfast with selected organic juices

* A one-day travelcard allowing free use of London's public transport network

* A donation of £10 to London charity Thames 21, on behalf of the guest

* An organic, gourmet picnic hamper and blanket can be arranged at an additional cost

* Details of outdoor activities, including heritage sites, nature walks, cycle and jogging routes, wildlife centres, conservation programmes and community projects for volunteering are available through the Concierge

Rates from £825 per night, based on double occupancy and subject to availability.