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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.

Mandarin Oriental Redesigns, Relaunches YouTube Channel; Still No Cat Videos

October 20, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

This will be a quick one because I like to let the talking pictures speak for themselves. Mandarin Oriental has relaunched its YouTube channel, and it’s gotten a full makeover and is chock full of pretty pictures and promotional interviews, like a piñata filled with the dreams of an overworked marketing executive. Go check out their new content here.


Bazaar-o World: Extraordinary SLS Hotel/José Andrés Restaurant Is Going Global

October 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Being a Washington, DC, local, I can’t help but fall in love with the cuisine of José Andrés, the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur. He has pioneered the field of molecular gastronomy by cleverly manipulating texture to subvert our expectations. For instance, at his signature DC restaurant, Minibar, instead of a salt-lined margarita glass, you can expect an aerated salty sea-foam floating above your drink. His visionary view of food’s potential to surprise and entice has inspired a new direction in the culinary arts.

So when I heard that his SLS Hotel restaurant in Los Angeles, the Bazaar, is thinking of going global with its brand, I practically jumped out of my chair in anticipation. José Andrés is already slated to open another establishment at the upcoming SLS Hotel in South Beach, Florida, and Robbie McKay, Director of Communications for SBE, the luxury hospitality group who owns the Bazaar, says that they have their eye on the DC market as a possible next location. Keep an eye out on this one folks. This is a hotel restaurant that is far more than the standard luxury fare.

For now, you can only dine at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.  It's well worth the trip.

Via Tim Carman (@timcarman) at the Washington Post.


Haunted Halloween: Get Spooked at Hotel Monaco Alexandria

October 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Monaco AlexandriaEveryone's favorite holiday is just around the corner, and for little ghouls and ghosts, historic Old Town, Alexandria makes for some excellent trick or treating just outside the nation's capital. Some of the cobblestone streets are shut down to traffic, residents don their best costumes, and fantastic Jack-o'-lanterns decorate the Federalist houses. For out-of-town visitors, book the "Ghosts of Alexandria Family Package" at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria, starting at just $150 per room, and you'll get spooked on a "Ghosts and Graveyards" tour of Old Town by lantern light-- led by a guide in period costume who tells ghost stories and local lore. Available through November 20, 2011, the package includes two tickets for this tour (additional tix can be purchased for $12 per person and $6 per kids aged 7- 17). You'll stay on the hotel's "haunted 6th floor" and get free valet parking, a copy of the book "Ghosts of Alexandria," and the "Alexandria Key to the City Pass" with discounts on historic sights. Note: Kids under 17 stay for free at the Hotel Monaco Alexandria.


What's Hot in D.C.: Capella Georgetown to Open in January 2012

October 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella GeorgetownCome January 2012, Washington D.C. will have a swell addition to its luxury hotel scene. Capella is coming to town! (The ultra-luxury brand has established a reputation in the hospitality world for its service standards. Read: Personal assistants for each and every guest.) Located at 1050 31st Street, NW alongside the historic C&O Canal, the Capella Georgetown will be intimate in size. Just 48 guest rooms and suites will cater to "a sophisticated and discerning clientele including global industry leaders, heads of state and other visitors." What else is in store? An elegant restaurant and lounge serving seasonal cuisine overlooking the Canal, a rooftop pool and bar, and exclusive spa.

Related Articles: Design Dream: Capella Singapore Features Objets d’Art from Lamont Design

Announcing the Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas

The World’s Hottest Hotels: Capella Ixtapa (Special Introductory Rates Available)


New Fahrenheit Ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

October 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton GeorgetownThrowing a ball or getting hitched in D.C.? A new ballroom is turning heads in town, located- where else?- in the swank Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. The official press release cited "greater guest demand" as the reason why the hotel is transforming Fahrenheit restaurant into permanent banquet rental space, and the hotel's bar and lounge into a three-meal restaurant and bar called Degrees Bistro. Slated to open in a matter of weeks on November 1, 2011, the Fahrenheit Ballroom has already been picked by Daily Candy D.C. as a prime wedding venue:

Turn up the heat at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s new event space, the Fahrenheit Ballroom. Located on the top floor of the brick factory-turned-hotel, the grand dance hall wows with huge windows, steel beams, and a loftlike feel.

Related Article: Ritzy the Nesting Duck Checks in to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown


Champagne and Chocolate: The Madison Washington DC Offers Romantic Getaway

September 13, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Madison Hotel Washington DC

The Madison Washington DC is offering a romantic getaway escape that's perfect for enjoying the capital's sophisticated dining and historic landmarks with that special someone. Whether you want to explore the sights of D.C. or spend an intimate evening rekindling the flame, The Madison is prepared to accommodate your every wish. Clichés exist for a reason, and the Madison realizes that they come together to make the recipe for a perfect evening. What could be more indulgent than beginning your romantic stay with a bottle of champagne and some heavenly strawberries smothered in the finest chocolate? It may be a feature of every romantic dinner scene in the last ten years, but who wouldn’t want the movie-star treatment?

And after a long night, nothing says relaxing like waking up to a fresh and delicious breakfast, right at the foot of your bed.  The Madison is prepared to make your romantic getaway as relaxing or adventurous as you like.  Don’t move an inch except to don your bathrobe and wander down to the 24-hour Spa, or put on your traveling boots and head out to explore the history of a nation.  And regardless of whether you’re stretching your legs for the first time or winding down from an exciting day, there’s no better cap to a wonderful evening than a stroll through a gorgeous twilight cityscape – complimentary, of course. 

The package includes

• Two night stay in a guest room, with complimentary upgrade to a suite based on availability 
• Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries on arrival
• Breakfast in bed each morning
• An unforgettable experience in one of the most storied, and historic, cities in America


The Dog Days of Summer: Hot Dogs and Beer at Four Seasons Washington DC

August 8, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Washington DC, sightseeingHanging out in Washington D.C. this month? Here's a tip: you can order an off-menu hot dog and pint of beer at BOURBON STEAK at Four Seasons Hotel Washington DC. Michael Mina's resto is well known on the D.C. dining scene, and welcomes it share of power breakfasts and stylish business lunches. It's also appreciated for its commitment to serving local fare. Even the "Dog Days of Summer" special is locally sourced: Enjoy a Red Apron Butchery hot dog paired with a pint of The Public, DC Brau’s American pale ale for just 7 bucks. Available Sunday through Thursday during regular dining hours at the bar and lounge until August 31, 2011. Red Apron is based in Northern Virginia and makes artisanal hot dogs with a blend of dry-aged beef and pork and spiced with smoked paprika and coriander. DC Brau is behind the capital's first locally-brewed beer in more than 50 years.


The Cool Pool Scene at D.C.'s Liaison Capitol Hill, An Affinia Hotel

August 3, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Liaison Capitol Hill, Washington DCBeat the heat with cool drinks and a soak in the pool on the rooftop of the Liaison Capitol Hill, An Affinia Hotel. "No matter the temps," says Washington Flyer, "the rooftop at the Liaison Capitol Hill is one of the best spots in town." They've got the requisite cabanas, DJ, delicious bites (from Art and Soul) and shimmering pool for guaranteed fun and the sun. For early risers, rooftop yoga takes place at 7:30 am for sun salutations overlooking the nation's capital. (Reservations required.) Enjoy this cool retreat with the "Dive In, Chill Out" package, starting from $169 per night. Here's what you get:

* Access to the rooftop pool

* Breakfast for two at Art and Soul

* Complimentary Yoga on the Roof classes daily

* A "Sun Yourself" kit with sunscreen, lip balm and bottled water

* A comfortable Affinia room personalized to your preferences

Available until September 4, 2011.


Trump Could Transform Washington's Old Post Office Pavilion into a Hotel

August 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Old Post Office in Washington DCThe Old Post Office has gone through some hard times. Identified as "under-utilized" by the government, the iconic building-- listed on the National Register of Historic Places-- will be redeveloped and given a second lease on life. The Washington Post reports that the General Services Administration has begun soliciting proposals, and none other than Trump has leapt to the rescue.

"Trump Hotel Collection, the luxury lodging brand that bears the name of the New York real estate magnate, has proposed transforming the historic Old Post Office Pavilion into a nearly 300-room luxury hotel complete with conference meeting space, a spa and museum."

No doubt the D.C. property would be as swank as sister properties in Chicago, New York, Vegas, Waikiki, and Panama, where the new sail-shaped Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower is the tallest skyscraper in Latin America. Possible competition for Trump for this prime piece of D.C. real estate? Park Hyatt...


Free Stuff at Washington's Fairfax at Embassy Row

July 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Fairfax at Embassy RowThe Fairfax at Embassy Row-- the AAA Four Diamond hotel nestled among the mansions of Massachusetts Avenue near Washington's Dupont Circle-- is handing out the freebies this summer! Book the "Spring into Summer" package, available through September 5, 2011, and you'll get a $50 food and beverage credit, free overnight parking and Internet access along with your luxury accommodations. Recently renovated, the rooms resemble private retreats and come with pillow top beds wrapped with 300 thread count Fili D'oro linens. While you're blissing out in a Luxury Collection hotel, make sure to hit up the Jockey Club, the hotel's storied restaurant. This special offer is available for arrivals all days of the week, now through September 5, 2011. Subject to availability, and blackout dates may apply.

Booking tips: Arrive at The Fairfax on any Thursday-Sunday in July for the best rates.