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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.

Surf’s Up in San Diego, Music in Nashville: Teen Edu-cation Packages with Loews Hotels


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

NashvilleTraveling with a troubled teen? Parents will be thrilled about exclusive packages from Loews Hotels combining vacation time with educational experiences. Designed to please the tricky adolescent set, these one- and two-night packages are both fun and instructional. Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in Nashville offers a "Music and Lyrics by Loews" package that's perfect for the budding music star. Your teen(s) will enjoy a song-writing session with award-winning songwriter, Thom Shepherd, a one-hour guitar lesson, plus a voucher for an acoustic guitar. The whole fam can attend a performance at the famed Bluebird Café, where Garth Brooks, Kathy Mattea and Vince Gill got their starts. Priced at $1,200, the package includes luxurious accommodations for up to two adults and two teens.

Les ados also get psyched about "My Super Suite Vacation" at Loews Coronado Bay Resort in San Diego, where they get private surfing lessons on INT surfboards custom-designed for each teen to take home. (Followed by spa treatments in the resort's Teen Spa Room, no joke.) Or perhaps your teen is already on their way to Wall Street? Loews Regency Hotel in New York offers "Inside Financial Markets" to provide the inside scoop on this exciting, complex industry. Priced at $900, the one-night package includes Power Breakfast for two, with rotating speakers from the financial world, viewing of the Nasdaq Opening Bell and tour of NASDAQ's Marketsite, photo of the teen's image on the Nasdaq Tower, and a special turn-down amenity. Or head to South Beach to learn the secrets of party-planning! The two-night "Culinary Arts Experience" at Loews Miami Beach Hotel includes a one-on-one South Beach exclusive "food arts" lesson with Barton G. Wiess, dining experience for teen and parents at the Barton G. Restaurant, and a customized apron personalized by Barton.


Shangri-La Hotel, Xian: Check In to Luxury and Check Out China’s Terracotta Warriors


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Shangri-La Hotel, XianWith all the Olympic buzz, the world's gaze has shifted to China. You may not be heading to the games in Beijing this summer, but a trip to China, ranked one of the top international destinations by the World Tourism Organization, may be on the horizon. An absolute must is a visit to Xian, an ancient capital of China and the terminus of the legendary Silk Road, home to the Terracotta Warriors, one of China's most renowned archaeological discoveries. Described as a "Natural History Museum," Xian is simply brimming with relics and sites. The city is also an important part of the economic revival of interior China, a bustling modern city. The place to stay is the Shangri-La Hotel, Xian, situated within easy reach of the top tourist attractions and the city's business and entertainment districts. The only luxury hotel located in the Gaoxin hi-tech development zone, The Shangri-La has choice guest quarters and an impressive service team including IT butlers. Also on site: four trendy designer restaurants, the largest meeting and banqueting facilities in Xian, and a fully-equipped health club with heated pool.


Himalayan Adventure at Wildflower Hall, Simla, India


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Wildflower HallBritish colonials flocked to the hill towns of northern India for the cool climate and incredible scenery, and the region continues to lure folks looking for trekking, rafting, and pampering. In the midst of this mindblowing landscape of pine forests, terraced hillsides and snowcapped peaks, Wildflower Hall promises an unforgettable stay in alpine India. It's managed by Oberoi Hotels and Resorts (the company behind the No. 1 resort in the world)-- an indication of the level of luxury offered here in the mountains. Situated at an altitude of 8,250 feet, 45 minutes outside Simla, the resort boasts a teak-paneled lobby, spa by Banyan Tree, heated indoor pool with mosaic floors and chandeliers, and an outdoor deck where you can soak in the whirlpool while checking out the views.

Of course there are a slew of adventure sports on offer, and from now until June 30, 2008, you can take advantage of a "Himalayan Adventure" package, which includes a variety of activities: a three-hour rafting trip down the white-water rapids of the Sutlej River (with gourmet lunch on the riverbank included), mountain-biking the picturesque trails around the forests of Wildflower Hall with an experienced guide and all-terrain bikes, and full spa treatments to soothe the body and mind after a day of adventure. Starting from INR 61,000 (double occupancy), the offer includes: 4 nights stay for two in a Premier room, daily Breakfast, one 3 hour white water magic rafting trip, one 60-minute spa treatment, daily Yoga and meditation sessions, tennis or ice skating in the rink (weather permitting), complimentary use of indoor swimming pool and health club, and choose either 1-hour Mountain Biking trip or a 3-hour hike with a naturalist.

Image Via New York Times


Living La Dolce Vita: The Nijinsky Suite, Hotel de Russie, Rome


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de Russie, RomeSituated between the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo, Hotel de Russie is a stylish retreat in the very heart of Rome. Celebs flock to de Russie for its picturesque terraced gardens-- a true rarity in a bustling city-- and fine health club with hydropool, Jacuzzi, sauna, gym and Turkish steam bath. Don't miss the martinis served with caviar at the elegant Stravinskij Bar. For a truly unforgettable stay, book the Nijinsky Suite, the most exclusive Presidential Suite in the Eternal City. Sprawling over the sixth and top floor of the hotel, the Suite boasts a large terrace overlooking the butterfly garden and the rooftops of Rome. Lounge in the comfortable sitting area, surrounded by flowers. Too much sun? Adjust the electric movable canopy. Inside the Suite, you'll find a king bedroom, spacious dressing room, marble and mosaic bathroom with tub and separate shower, steam bath, living area with plasma TV, kitchen, and dining room with separate bar area.

Until April 30, 2008, take advantage of the "Living La Dolce Vita" offer-- a 2-night stay in the unparalleled Nijinsky Suite which also includes the following:

• Daily Buffet Breakfast

• Oysters and Louis Roederer Champagne in room upon arrival

• Transfer from and to the Airport by private sedan

• Early morning private tour of the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums

• 2 hour ride around the glamorous shopping district of Rome with the De Russie Mobile (electric car)

• Romantic Dinner for two at Le Jardin de Russie Restaurant (beverage not included)

• 50 minute "Colour Massage" for two in the exclusive "Double Room" of the De Russie Wellness Zone

Priced at EUR 6,900.


Chocolate Business Cards at the Conrad Bangkok


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Conrad BangkokLeave it to the innovative Conrad Bangkok-- the cutting-edge luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Thai capital at All Seasons Place-- to come up with this exciting amenity. Polish Executive Pasty Chef Slawek Golaszewski at Conrad Bangkok has created edible Chocolate Business Cards made from dark and white chocolates. Now available at Baht 30 (1 US$ = 32 Baht ) per piece at the Deli by Conrad. Within 24 hours, guests can have their details embossed in chocolate (actual business card size) to make a sweet impression on their business associates. To quote the Chef: "I simply combine two key points to produce this. Firstly, Conrad Bangkok is a business hotel and clients always find something unique to impress their clients. Secondly, we are famous in homemade chocolates and creativity is us."


Personal Butlers, Complimentary Internet, and More at the Market Pavilion Hotel, Charleston


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Market PavilionEven in a city known for its Southern hospitality, the Market Pavilion steps it up a notch with personalized service fit for a king. In the heart of charming, historic Charleston, the Market Pavilion provides every possible amenity. Fluffy bathrobes, luxurious bath products, and Frette linens are just the beginning. When you check in, you'll get your own private direct phone line, along with a fax number. Choose the Concierge Level rooms and you'll enjoy complimentary Continental breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktail hour with hors d'oeuvres, shoe-shine service, morning newspaper selection, and a cordless phone which works all over the Pavilion-- even at the rooftop cascading pool. So you can take care of business, or chat with your buddies, while lounging next to the pool and gazing out over the historic rooftops of Charleston. You'll also dig the AAA four diamond restaurant, Grill 225, Charleston's only 100 percent USDA Prime steak house, which also serves up some sophisticated Southern favorites (like Lowcountry Blue Crab Soup with Cornbread and Jumbo Shrimp with Carolina pineapple slaw). Did we mention the hotel is only a block from the waterfront?


Sheraton Addis: A Taste of Real Luxury in Africa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Sheraton AddisBy far the best hotel in Ethiopia, if not the entire continent, the Sheraton Addis was the first hotel in Africa to join Starwood's Luxury Collection. It's the hotel of choice for business travelers, with an impressive 1,500 square meters of meeting space, the largest banquet and conference facilities in the country. There's a state-of-the-art business center and a professional staff on-hand to help with even the most menial of requests. Computer rental, translation services-- no sweat. And the Sheraton Addis is centrally located: opposite the National Palace on a hilltop overlooking the city.

Sheraton AddisLeisure travelers are likewise thrilled with the facilities at the Sheraton Addis: the Aqva Club with massage services, sauna and jacuzzi, outdoor swimming pools with underwater music, and an array of dining establishments serving International, Italian and French cuisine. Guests can take advantage of great rates on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting from just $200 per night with a hearty buffet breakfast and late 4 p.m. check-out included.


SPA V at Hotel Victor


By: Madelyn Giblin

Hotel Victor Spa VTake advantage of the powerful restorative effects of gold at Spa V at the Hotel Victor. The Gold Bubble Jelly Pedicure combines the cleansing effects of gold with a relaxing jelly pedicure procedure that leaves your tired feet relaxed and refreshed and glowing from the Maica Gold. A Hotel Victor exclusive, the Gold Bubble Jelly Pedicure is the best way to give your hard working feet the reward they deserve.

Also offered is the Gold Facial, fit for a queen, literally! The treatment is based on Ayurveda, an ancient treatment that dates back to Queen Cleopatra of Egypt. Proven by research to help remove toxins and tighten skin, the 24-karat gold used is easily absorbed into the skin leaving you looking young and fresh.


Andrea Robinson’s Weekend Immersion Wine and Food coming to the Mandarin Oriental, New York


By: Madelyn Giblin

Andrea RobinsonWhether you consider yourself to be a long-time connoisseur, or just someone looking to learn more about wine, you'll enjoy Andrea Robinson's Weekend Immersion Wine and Food course coming to the Mandarin Oriental, New York May 16th and 17th, 2008. One of only sixteen women in the world to earn the prestigious title of Master Sommelier, Andrea Robinson offers a wealth of knowledge on the topic of wine. And her two-night course offers a comprehensive study of various wines and what foods to pair them with. On Friday night, the course provides an introduction to tasting and pairing, while Saturday features a variety of foreign and domestic wines-- worth over USD 1500.

Mandarin Oriental New York Guest RoomGuests attending Ms. Robinson's Weekend Immersion program can also take advantage of the Mandarin Oriental, New York's Weekend Immersion Wine and Food Course Package. The package includes a stay in one of the hotel's spectacular rooms and participation for two guests in Andrea Robinson's Weekend Immersion program. Rates vary from USD 2420 for a Deluxe Room to USD 3,195 for the extraordinary Central Park View Suite.

    About: Andrea Robinson is one of only 16 women in the world to hold the title of Master Sommelier from the prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers. Through her best-selling books, wine course DVD, award-winning television shows, andreawine.com Web site and Health and Eating Well magazine columns, Andrea talks and teaches about wine with hundreds of thousands of wine consumers and professionals each year.


Spring Break in Paris at Hotel La Tremoille


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La TremoilleNothing beats Paris in the springtime. La Trémoille offers a quiet, indulgent sanctuary in the heart of the Golden Triangle, tucked in a quiet street between Montaigne Avenue, George V, and the Champs-Elysées. Talk about a killer location in the City of Light! Behind the Hausmann-style façade you'll find 93 comfortable, contemporary guest rooms and the hip Le Louis² restaurant and bar. This Paris gem has slashed their spring rates with a special offer. You can book a Standard Room for EUR 335 (as opposed to EUR 531), a Superior Room for EUR 390 (instead of EUR 616), a Deluxe Room for EUR 430 (instead of EUR 676), Junior Suite for EUR 465 (usually EUR 736), and a Suite for EUR 710. Continental breakfast is included for two people, and the offer is valid until May 11, 2008. Note: If you book with Five Star Alliance, you'll also get a box of scrumptious Laduree macaroons in-room upon arrival.