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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 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.


New Hotel Amenities: Order Room Service on an iPad

June 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Pavillon des Lettres, ParisWhen we toured the new Pavillon des Lettres in Paris-- a new hotel with a literary theme-- we were thrilled to see that each of the 26 rooms, named for a different writer, comes with an iPad. This fine hotel isn't alone in the industry in offering this coveted new amenity. According to the USA Today Hotel Check-In blog, more and more hotels are distributing iPads to guests for ordering room service:

Hoping to generate more food and beverage sales and reduce the need for staffers, a growing number of hotels are providing the popular tablet computer to guests in their rooms. An app, developed by Orlando-based Intelity and downloaded on the device, allows guests to order food, browse hotel amenities and local attractions, request wake-up calls, schedule housekeeping, message hotel staffers or other guests, and arrange car service. Flight information and 5-day weather are also shown, as are targeted ads based on guests' rates and preferences information.

Upscale hotels providing iPads include The Plaza, Mondrian SoHo, and Royalton Hotel in New York.


The James New York Celebrates Inclusion on Hot List 2011 with Special Offer

June 15, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The James New YorkWe weren't surprised to see The James New York-- the bastion of cool in New York's Soho-- nab a spot on Conde Nast Traveler's 2011 Hot List, the acclaimed travel magazine's annual list of the world's best new hotels. It's one of our favorite hotels, and, in fact, we just gave away a 3-night stay at The James as part of our luxury hotel giveaway! (Read about the winner of the contest here.) The James New York is celebrating the award by offering a $50 hotel credit for each night you stay- to be used on dining at the David Burke Garden, drinks at rooftop bar Jimmy, or in-room services. Must reserve by July 31 for stays through December 30, 2011. More details:

"Don’t forget to enjoy a secret rooftop retreat in Soho. Our plunge pool is now open and is perfect for basking in the summer sun. It's The James New York's sexiest and most coveted feature. Surrounded by inspiring views of the city skyline, the rooftop boasts a concrete “halo” roof that frames the pool deck, teak decking, an outdoor shower and plush chaise lounges."


Get More NYC This Summer at Andaz Wall Street

June 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Andaz Wall StreetCheck into the Andaz Wall Street, the boutique, lifestyle hotel from Hyatt, and experience Lower Manhattan's renaissance in style. Since the Andaz Wall Street opened in early 2010, it's had groupies flocking for a taste of the thoughtful amenities (like free Internet, nonalcoholic mini-bar drinks, and espresso in the lobby)-- wishing for more global Andaz locations to open up stat! You'll swoon over the cutting-edge guest rooms, relaxed check-in process, and farm-to-table cuisine. Take advantage of the "Get More NYC" package this summer and you'll get a 3 pm late check-out plus two downtown Cultural passes featuring three days admission to attractions like The 9/11 Memorial Preview Site, The Museum of American Finance, and the Skyscraper Museum. Valid until September 6, 2011, subject to availability. Black-out dates may apply.


Sponsored Article: Family Time in New York with a Special at The Surrey

June 10, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

The Surrey, New YorkSpend family time in luxury this summer with a stay at The Surrey, nestled in Manhattan's Upper East Side. Built in 1926 as a residence hotel, the original Surrey was home to many of New York's most famous celebrities over the years (think JFK, Bette Davis, Claudette Colbert) who loved the hotel for its exceptional, discreet service. The recreated Surrey captures today's imaginations as well. A magnificent rooftop garden on the 17th floor, spa, and dynamite cuisine by Chef Daniel Boulud make The Surrey an exceptional Manhattan address.

With the "Family Time" special offer, you'll get a complimentary guest salon for your children or nanny when you book a one-bedroom suite with a king bed. (The guest room connects to the suite.) The kids will adore The Surrey- both for its location steps from Central Park, and also for the fun amenities provided with your stay: a coloring book of New York City's best attractions, along with two complimentary passes to experience a family program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The "Family Time" offer is based upon availability and is valid through March 31, 2012.


Five Star Alliances Announces Winner of Luxury Hotel Giveaway

June 8, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

The James New YorkAnd we have a winner! For the last few months, we ran a luxury hotel giveaway contest with a sweet prize: a three-night stay at The James Hotel New York, situated at the corner of Manhattan's Soho and Tribeca neighborhoods. Entry to the contest was easy; folks just had to sign up to receive our exclusive (and free!) monthly newsletter by May 31, 2011. The hotel's rooftop deck and pool is one of the hottest spots in town- with glorious views of the city skyline and river.

Without further ado... drumroll please... Helaine H. from Scottsdale, Arizona nabbed the prize! A Corporate Meeting Planner who greatly enjoys researching and visiting travel destinations, Helaine says "the Five Star Alliance site is an excellent, easy-to-read resource for familarizing myself with the "Best of the Best" properties of the world!" Helaine is excitedly anticipating her trip to NYC's The James Hotel this fall.


Art in New York: The Gramercy Park Hotel Has a Cool Blog

June 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Gramercy Park HotelJust one more reason to love the Gramercy Park Hotel: a fabulous blog which gives all kinds of insider tips for exploring Manhattan (and the city's dynamic art scene). Recently posted: the latest exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; an introduction to personalized skincare from French cosmetics company Codage; the video of the interview at the Gramercy Park Hotel with Lady Gaga, Forbes Magazine’s newly named most powerful celebrity. The hotel itself-- a bastion of cool created by Ian Schrager-- has an impressive art collection of Warhols, Hirsts, Twomblys and Basquiats. A stay at the Gramercy Park Hotel puts you in close proximity to the hotel's happening Rose Bar, along with the Gramercy Terrace, a unique indoor and outdoor space with a retractable roof 16 stories above the city. It also means exclusive access to Gramercy Park, the city's only private park. Special offer: Book a Deluxe Loft for 3 nights or more and receive a guaranteed upgrade to a luxurious suite. Subject to availability and blackout dates for stays through September 5, 2011, when booking best available rate.


Explore Tribeca with New York's Duane Street Hotel

May 24, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Duane Street HotelBed down in one of the 45 loft-inspired guest rooms at the Duane Street Hotel, and all of Tribeca is at your doorstep. The happening neighborhood in lower Manhattan-- named for the triangle below Canal Street-- is chock full of cutting-edge galleries, hot restos, and exciting cultural delights (ie. the Tribeca Film Festival, founded by Robert DeNiro to revitalize the area after 9/11). Duane Street is a cool, contemporary boutique hotel that provides an intimate hideaway for both business and leisure guests. (Families appreciate the Scholastic Bedtime Library available at the front desk for kids.) What we love about this place: the bountiful free amenities included in the room rates. Think internet access, use of an iPad, access to Tribeca Health & Fitness, newspaper delivery, and off-site overnight parking. Now that's what we like to see in a hotel! The 24-hour concierge service can put together your entire trip for you- whether you want to take in aerial views of Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building on a Big Apple helicopter tour, savor a romantic dinner at one of the finest restaurants in Manhattan, catch a live Broadway musical, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park. The Duane Street Hotel is also home to a fabulous restaurant called Mehtaphor, helmed by celebrity chef Jehangir Mehta.


Talk of the Town: The Oak Room is Closing at The Plaza Hotel New York

May 9, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Plaza Hotel, New YorkFolks visiting Manhattan often stop by The Plaza to check out the fabled digs of Eloise (Kay Thompson's fictional heroine who lived at the hotel). They also check out the Oak Room restaurant, "long a symbol of grandeur that evoked Edith Wharton’s opulent turn-of-the-century New York"-- to quote The New York Times. Now an ugly brawl over rent is closing the famous restaurant. The Oak Room's operators and the hotel's owners have been sparring about both the lease and the rowdy events hosted at the bar. According to The New York Times: "At the heart of the dispute, Mr. Gindi [an owner of the Oak Room] said, were the Oak Room’s “Day and Night” Saturday afternoon parties, which drew hundreds of young revelers with fat wallets to the restaurant, and reportedly annoyed the Plaza’s year-round tenants. Mr. Gindi said the parties, which began in October, were the restaurant’s one consistent moneymaker, bringing in as much as $180,000 in an afternoon, much of it in sales of top-shelf libations like Cristal and Dom Pérignon Champagne." The Plaza's owners didn't like the noise, nor the corrosive effect on the brand image. So the Oak Room will be shuttered by July 31, though there are ongoing discussions with potential new operators.