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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.

Discover the French Wine Regions with a Wine-Tasting at the Hotel Meurice, Paris


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel MeuriceSee France through rosé-colored glasses at the Hotel Meurice, the legendary hotel across from the Tuileries Gardens. Enjoy an incomparable wine-tasting experience, priced at EUR 90 per person, where Head Sommelier, Nicolas Rebut, takes you on a journey through the famous wine-growing regions of France. Starting at 7 pm in Bar 228, each delicious wine is accompanied by a canapé created by award-winning chef Yannick Alléno. (The next event will take place Thursday, October 2, 2008.) Showcasing deep leather armchairs and dark woodwork, the cozy Bar 228 has become quite the rendez-vous of Parisians. While you're there, be sure to sample the Starcky cocktail, named for the star designer who reinterpreted the space in December 2007 with an evening sky mural and three restored Lavalley paintings hanging on the walls.


Buzzworthy: Langham Hotels Will Open Vineyard Resort and Spa, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Place Vineyard Resort and Spa, New ZealandFans of Langham Place, a sister brand of The Langham, will be thrilled about this piece of news. The luxury hotel operator, Langham Hotels International, has just signed a management agreement with Isola Estate for a five-star boutique hotel on Waiheke Island, an exclusive enclave 30 minutes off the coast of Auckland. (Just 8 minutes away by helicopter.) Opening in 2010, the Langham Place Vineyard Resort and Spa will be designed by CDA Architecture, one of the leading hotel architects in NZ, as a Tuscan-style property nestled among 26 vineyards. Talk about the ultimate wine-lover’s paradise in the South Seas! In addition to the 76 condo-style rooms and suites, the wine-based resort will have a Chuan Spa, gym, tennis courts, gastronomic restaurant, and meeting and banquet facilities to accommodate 300. The idea? To create a Martha’s Vineyard of the South Pacific.


Las Vegas on Sale: The Lowest Room Rates in Five Years


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianTravelers smitten with Las Vegas, take heed. The good folks at the Los Angeles Times have brought it to our attention that there are some pretty good deals up for grabs in Sin City. In fact, the city's hotels are offering the lowest room prices in five years. Countless Internet deals and special offers means that even the ultra-luxury spots are a steal. Try $110 for Caesars Palace, $159 for the Bellagio and the Palazzo, and $199 at the Venetian and Wynn. Now's your chance to save some cash on a summer getaway on the Vegas strip (just stay away from the blackjack tables).


Babymoons and More: Complimentary Fourth Night at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Beaver Creek


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton Bachelor GulchWinter is certainly not the only time to visit this Rocky Mountain luxury destination. Situated next to Beaver Creek Mountain and surrounded by vast, sublime wilderness, the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch exudes the pioneering spirit of the American West. A year-round destination resort, guests can enjoy Colorado's highest rated golf courses, with preferred tee times courtesy of the private Red Sky Golf Club, countless outdoor adventures, Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant, and the unrivaled luxury of The Bachelor Gulch Spa, the Vail Valley's only Mobil Four-Star Spa. And of course this AAA Five-Diamond resort offers the finest service, in the Ritz-Carlton tradition, with a Guest Relations team who will help custom-design your Vail Valley experience even before your arrival. Here's a special for American-Express Cardholders: Book 3 consecutive nights at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch and the fourth night is on the house! (Payment must be made by American Express card. Valid through September 30.) Plus, parents-to-be can enjoy a Babymoon Spa Experience at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulf, recently highlighted as a Deal of the Week by the New York Daily News. Start off with a 30-minute prenatal yoga class for moms-to-be while dads get personal training tips with a certified fitness instructor. Next, the couple will enjoy side-by-side massages (the women get the Mellow Mama Maternity Massage, while les hommes get the Bachelor Gulf Signature Massage.) You’ll also get a picnic for two. Available through October, with rates starting at $420.


What’s Hot: Edible Cocktails at the World’s Best Hotel Bars


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beverly Hills HotelEdible cocktails are all the rage. The barman at the Plaza Athenee in Paris makes a mean ice-cream cocktail. And Bar Nineteen 12 at the Beverly Hills Hotel serves solid gourmet shots like the blueberry martini, pear martini, and B-52 (made with Kahlúa, Baileys and Grand Marnier.) Let's not forget the three different types of sorbet cocktails: pomegranate mojito, grapefruit margarita, and lavender pear martini-- best eaten with a spoon. Now the brand new Regent Bal Harbour has introduced cocktails for dessert. Executive Chef Gerdy Rodriguez of 1Bleu has created some delightful concoctions like the Pina Colada of dark rum gelée, pineapple granite and coconut foam, and the Cosmopolitan of vodka gelée, orange sorbet, cranberry cloud and lime zest. Mmmm.

Image of Bar Nineteen 12 at the Beverly Hills Hotel Via LA Times


Groove with the Grapes: Summer Concerts, Spa and Golf Specials at Chateau Elan, Georgia


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Chateau ElanJust 40 minutes north of Atlanta, the Chateau Elan is a winery and resort that has it all- golf, a spa, and 3,500 acres of blissful quiet. There's a devoted clientele that continues to flock here (just check out the rave reviews on Five Star Alliance)- and it's easy to understand why: guests experience a little piece of the French countryside and five-star Southern hospitality not far from home. This summer, Chateau Elan will play host to a summer concert series where live bands will play your favorite beach music from the 50s, 60s, and 70s under the twinkling lights of the Winery Pavilion on select weekends through September. Enjoy a picnic with friends and dance lessons before grooving to the tunes. The upcoming show schedule:

July 26 - The Tams (a.k.a. Joe Pope Tams)

August 2 - Holiday Band

August 9 - The Embers

August 31 - Swingin' Medallion

In addition, Chateau Elan is offering a Summer Spa Special for a heavenly day at the spa. The Spa Day Package includes one 80-minute Ultimate Spa Massage followed by a 25-minute minute Château Refresher Facial, full use of all the Spa Facilities (locker room, sauna, whirlpool, fitness classes), and Afternoon Tea at the Spa. Priced at $199, from Monday-Thursday only. You can also take advantage of the Summer Golf Special and enjoy a Deluxe Overnight Stay for Two with unlimited golf play for two on the Chateau, Woodlands, and Par 3 Courses, for only $199. Must tee off after 3 pm on arrival day, and before Noon on the day of departure. Available Monday-Thursday, through August 28.


Toronto’s Buzzing: The Rooftop Bees at the Fairmont Royal York


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont Royal YorkThe cat's out of the bag about the roof of the Paris Opera House, literally abuzz with bees producing gallons of gourmet honey for the city's urban beekeepers. But did you know that the rooftop of Toronto's grand landmark, The Fairmont Royal York, is also being used for that purpose? Hotelchatter reports that the hotel has added three beehives to its rooftop terrace where it will produce lots of honey for the hotel kitchen in addition to the vegetables and herbs grown there. The names of the hives? The Honey Moon Suite, The Royal Sweet and the V.I. Bee Suite. Smack dab in the center of the city, just steps from all the top sites in Canada's largest metropolis, the Fairmont Royal York has created a green, rooftop oasis buzzing with 40,000 bees. Take advantage of the hotel's B&B & Bee Package, and you can enjoy a daily tour to check out the beehives- Plus you'll get breakfast for two, valet parking, a $1 donation to the Toronto Beekeepers' Cooperative, and souvenir bee soap, along with your accommodations. Starting from $224.


Free Room, Food and Spa Treatments at Hotel Esencia, Playa del Carmen, Mexico


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

EsenciaTo honor the birthday of its founder (an actual Italian Duchess), the Hotel Esencia is going wild and giving guests a free night of lodging, dining, and spa treatments galore on August 24, 2008. This chic, 29-room hotel is nestled on the sugar-white beaches of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula just south of Playa del Carmen, and once served as the exclusive beach-side retreat of the Duchess D'Ferrari. The atmosphere is positively indulgent: luxurious accommodations with the finest linens and Molton Brown amenities, gorgeous pools, organic spa, exquisite Meso-american-style cuisine, and a beautifully manicured estate. Book the Duchess's Birthday Party Package and you'll get the free night's lodging, food, and spa treatments on August 24. Priced from $525 per night; four night minimum stay required. Via Washington Post


The Qasr Al Sharq: True Arabian Splendor with VIP Arrival at the Jeddah Airport, Penthouse Women’s Spa, and Personal Butlers


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Qasr Al SharqWe told you this place was swanky. The Qasr Al Sharq, otherwise known as the "Palace of the Orient," was recently written up as a "boutique hotel for the billionaire."

There are 130 pounds of gold leaf applied throughout the hotel, 600-thread-count sheets with gold embroidery on all the beds, and 220 staff – including a butler for each suite.

Situated on the Red Sea in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Qasr Al Sharq hosts both business travelers and guests interested in making pilgrimages to Mecca and Medina. (The hotel can arrange religious guides to escort guests.) Managed by the Waldorf-Astoria Collection, the hotel is known for its extravagant Palace Suite which goes for $13,500 a night, and the breathtaking lobby that houses a Swarovski chandelier with 600,000 crystals hanging over the three-story circular staircase. Considering that many guests are Saudi families who come to Jeddah on royal court business, the facilities and business amenities are second-to-none: laptop computers and personal fax lines supplied to each guest.


St. Regis Hotel Planned for the Rapidly Growing City of Dubai


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

DubaiThis just in: St. Regis is planning to enter the hotel craze in Dubai with a hotel and branded residences to open in 2012. As if the Middle East's hot spot needed any more uber-luxurious hotels. To quote the official press release:

Following in the tradition of the legendary The St. Regis New York, The St. Regis Dubai will feature the famed hallmarks of St. Regis hotels including the iconic St. Regis Butler Service, bespoke guest experiences and luxury accommodations tailored to global travelers. Trained in the English tradition, the butlers provide ever-present, yet unobtrusive service while anticipating guest and resident needs and customizing each stay according to his or her specific tastes and preferences.

Overlooking Dubai Creek, The St. Regis Dubai and The Residences will feature 220 guest rooms, including 44 Junior Suites, and 80 branded residences as well as three top-notch restaurants, two bars, a fitness center, swimming pool, shops and more than 4,500 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and banquet space.