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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.

Live La Dolce Vita like a Medici at Villa La Massa, Florence


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa La Massa, FlorenceIf you could imagine savoring the artistic and cultural riches of Florence without the crowds, what comes to mind? A 16th century Medici-style villa in a tiny village in the gorgeous Tuscan countryside, just a few miles outside of Florence? On the banks of the Arno River, no less? With a guest list that includes celebs like Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton? This little piece of paradise does in fact exist. Indeed David Bowie and Iman took over the Villa La Massa for their wedding. Owned by the same folks who run the magnificent Villa d'Este on Lake Como, the Villa La Massa is brimming with ancient frescoes and luxurious touches. After its major spruce-up in 1998, the New York Times raved:

Beyond the iron gates of the buttercream villa with sage window shutters, there is a four-story atrium in the main building decorated with the flags of Tuscan nobles, dark antique furniture and pots of white flowers. All 34 guest rooms are furnished with antiques, silks and brocades, and linen sheets. Many feature oversize bathrooms of a pale green Iranian marble called Verde Atlantide.

There is a majestic 22-acre park surrounding the villa, and the seasonal produce from the chef's garden is served in Il Verrocchio restaurant on a terrace overlooking the Arno River and famous Rufina hills. The breakfast buffet is sumptuous: fruit juices, fruit, cheeses, Tuscan cured meats, cereals, yogurt, organic jams and marmalade, prosecco, and fresh eggs straight from the hotel's hen-house, cooked to the clients requests.


Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport: Rejuvenate in Style when Traveling to Malaysia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International AirportFlying into or out of Kuala Lumpur? Or maybe you have a long lay-over between flights? Travel-weary guests nest at the Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport, easily the best airport hotel in Asia. Conveniently located next to the main terminal building (connected via a sky-bridge), this award-winning hotel provides a slew of five-star services and amenities to make your travel experience as stress-free and painless as possible. Can't even handle the five minutes walk to the hotel? No worries- there's a complimentary buggy shuttle service between the airport and the hotel. The Pan Pacific understands that time is valuable, so the hotel has introduced a hotel check-in counter at the airport so that you can check into your room while waiting for your baggage. With lush tropical landscaping, a sparkling pool, and fully-equipped 24-hour fitness center, the Pan Pacific Kuala Lumpur International Airport provides the ultimate rejuvenating break for jet-lagged travelers. Plus, the hotel is honoring Malaysia's 50th birthday with a special "Visit Malaysia 2008" package- where you get buffet breakfast and late check-out starting from just $137 per room.


Win a Free Island Hotel Stay with HotelChatter and Michael Kinsley


By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Layover Contest HotelChatterOur friends over at HotelChatter have a fun contest running through Thursday, July 31st that we suggest you mull over (your suggestion is important) and enter.

"Pick a Layover Stop for Michael Kinsley and Win a Free Island Hotel Stay"

From HotelChatter:

That's right. We said "A Free Island Hotel Stay" and all you have to do is enter a comment on HotelChatter. For realz! Ok so we're slightly getting ahead of ourselves here but this is the 411.

Not all of us can enjoy a cushy layover in an airport hotel like the Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth, but Condé Nast Traveler's Michael Kinsley is determined to find the best layover cities around the world in case we do get stranded somewhere with hours of nothing to do on our hands.

Kinsley actually completed this challenge back in 1988 but since that was before the internet, before boutique hotels became lodging staples and before low-cost-carriers took off, he's decided to make the trip again in September.

This time he wants suggestions from you readers about which airports he should check out in which cities and what he should do while he's there.

So we're teaming up with the Perrin Post and Jaunted to bring you this fun contest. If your layover suggestion gets picked for Kinsley's itinerary you could win a Palm Centro Smartphone. And if Kinsley finds your tip to be his absolute favorite, you could win a killer stay at The Regent Palms Turks and Caicos.

Keep reading to learn how to win these goodies and to enter >>

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Third Night’s Charm: Free Night at The Langham, Huntington Hotel and Spa, Pasadena


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington Hotel, PasadenaEscape to Pasadena this summer and discover the popular Southern Cali retreat with perfect weather and magnificent mountain views just nine miles from LA. Formerly a Ritz-Carlton, Pasadena's original grand hotel is now The Langham, Huntington Hotel and Spa. Pasadena's famed landmark now offers up Langham signature service and excellent amenities. Situated throughout the 23-acre property, the tastefully appointed guest rooms are enhanced with all the latest technology. You'll be delighted by the outdoor pool, lighted tennis courts, and nearby golf. After a day spent soaking up the California sunshine, relax at the spa and then indulge in the hotel's award-winning dining. Experience a summer of enchantment at The Langham, Huntington Hotel and Spa and you'll get a third night free when staying for two or more consecutive nights until September 1, 2008. Summer rates start at $199 per night.


Capella Ixtapa to Open in November 2008 on Mexico’s Pacific Coast


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella IxtapaCapella Hotels and Resorts is bringing its brand new vision of luxury hospitality to the idyllic Pacific coast of Mexico at Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, a region blessed with 300 days of sunshine and world-class scuba diving and sport fishing. Founder Horst Schulze has created a brand focused on customer choice, with unmatched amenities, architecture, and individualized service. Top-tier travelers are delighted by the brand's first resorts in Velden, Austria and Cork, Ireland, and the Ixtapa property will surely dazzle. Built into a cliffside with staggering ocean views, the resort will feature 59 ultra-luxurious suites with indoor/outdoor living rooms, terraces, and personal plunge pools. What to expect? A pampering cliffside spa with treatments inspired by the local flora, complimentary bicycles to explore the village, fitness center, private beach, freshwater and saltwater pools, and exceptional dining. Set to debut on November 15, 2008, the Capella Ixtapa will complement the other Capella properties soon to open in Mexico: Capella Pedregal in Cabo and Capella Bahia Maroma in the Riviera Maya.


Fashionable Florida: Sun and Sand for the Whole Family at Acqualina Resort, Sunny Isles


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Acqualina ResortThere's a lot to love at Acqualina, Rosewood's Mediterranean villa-style resort situated on the sand between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, including off-season rates that are friendly on the wallet. Since its opening in 2006, this dazzling resort has pampered guests with the 20,000 square-foot ESPA oceanfront spa, the acclaimed Il Mulino New York restaurant, three oceanfront swimming pools and an innovative marine biology-based AcquaMarine children's program. Parents can enjoy world-class service and the ultimate relaxation, while kids are well taken care of (services on offer include arts and crafts classes, 24-hour babysitting, dinner-and-movie nights, and more.) Steal away for some r and r close to home and you'll be treated to some discounted rates starting at $350 for 3-4 night stays. During peak seasons, room rates top $850...


Pudong Shangri-La’s “Love Your Suite” Package


By: Madelyn Giblin

Pudong Shangri-LaSuites are special with the Pudong Shangri-La's "Love Your Suite" package available from now until February 28, 2009. Enjoy a stay in one of the Hotel’s fantastic Premier suites with complimentary access to the Horizon Club lounge and its host of benefits including complimentary broadband Internet access. Guests also receive a buffet dinner for two at Yi Café, the hotel's restaurant featuring 10 show kitchens offering a wide variety of international cuisine. The package also includes a signature "Chi Balance" treatment at CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La, and use of a hotel limousine for four hours in downtown Shanghai. Rates start at RMB5,888 per night.


Vienna’s Arts and Delights at the Hotel Ambassador


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ambassador Hotel ViennaFor more than 100 years, the Hotel Ambassador has been an integral part of Vienna's cultural life. Musicians have found their inspiration at this beautiful hotel, and masters like Mozart, Hadyn, and Beethoven have chosen this setting to present new compositions to the music-loving Viennese pubic. The Ambassador strives to combine arts and music, pleasure and relaxation in creating a luxurious atmosphere for its guests. And of course good food and wine are celebrated in this philosophy! The hotel's gourmet restaurant, "Mörwald im Ambassador", has an integrated open view kitchen and a winter garden overlooking the fountain by Raphael Donner, and the hotel's open-air café on the famous street Kärntner Straße is delightful in the summertime. The location can't be beat- with the State Opera, St. Stephen's Cathedral, and the Imperial Palace all within the vicinity. You can take advantage of last minute rates (within seven days of your check-in when the hotel has availability) at the Ambassador (starting at EUR 210 with Five Star Alliance), and the "Arts and Delights" package is another winner, with three nights of pure pleasure in this cosmopolitan Austrian destination. Priced from EUR 275, the package includes buffet breakfast, fresh fruit in-room upon arrival, late check-out, and admission to the Liechtenstein Museum and the Albertina. Plus, you'll enjoy complimentary champagne and finger food at the bar on the evening of your choice.


Kempinski Hotel Bristol: Celebrate 111 Years with EUR 111 Room Rates in Berlin


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Hotel BristolJump on this offer-- while it lasts! Berlin's glamorous Kempinski Hotel Bristol, the first five-star hotel to be rebuilt after the war and a symbol of the city itself, is celebrating a big birthday for the Kempinski Hotel Group. The Kempinski Bristol is the grande dame of the hotel group, the very reason for its name, and so it's marking the hotel company's major milestone with a fantastic offer. Enjoy accommodations in an elegant standard room and use of the Kempinski spa with pool, sauna, steam bath and fitness room-- for just EUR 111 per night! (The generous buffet breakfast can be purchased for EUR 25.) Valid until August 28, 2008, based on availability. Situated in the center of it all on Berlin's popular Kurfuerstendamm Boulevard, the Kempinski Hotel Bristol has hosted a slew of high-ranking guests over its distinguished history.

Via Halogen Guides Travel


Castello del Nero August Breeze Offer


By: Betsy LeTourneau

Castello del NeroHaven't you ever wanted to stay in a 12th century castle? Castello del Nero, is a fully restored castle with modern luxuries is located in Tuscany between Florence and Sienna. With many unique features such as a beautiful frescoed chapel and garden, Castello del Nero has 50 rooms and suites with breathtaking views of the estate olive groves and vineyards that are inhabited by peasant, deer and wild boar. The August Breeze package offers a minimum 2 night stay with complimentary buffet breakfast, sweet in room and mineral water, welcome 4 course dinner for 2 (excluding beverages), courtesy shuttle to and from the center of Florence, use of the gym, tennis and outdoor swimming pool (summer months) and daily newspaper. With this as a base you can explore the vineyards or take a cooking class or visit the many fine museums and art galleries of Florence.