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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.

Party Like a Rock Star, Sleep Like a Baby: The Metropolitan, London


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Metropolitan London For ten years, The Metropolitan Hotel has served as a landmark contemporary address on London's Park Lane. And the hotel still embodies stylish, cutting-edge cool. The hopping Met Bar continues to be a favorite for urban hipsters and fashionistas. The lobby, filled with light and accented with red and fuchsia and a striking carpet from Kappa Lambda that incorporates the Met's rich chocolate browns, is a hotspot for casual meetings. In this high design hotel, floor-to-ceiling windows look out over a glittering skyline. To celebrate these ten years, The Met has unveiled ten new packages. Embrace your inner hedonist with the Met's most decadent package, Party Like a Rock Star, Sleep Like a Baby. The two-night weekend package is priced from GBP 555 for two sharing a City Room. Arrive to a welcome "Classic Martini," prepped in your in-room cocktail shaker with two chilled glasses. (You'll also get a shaker and a box of rubber coasters.) Get into the swing with a "Metropolitan Party Box" which includes a Hedkandi CD and a "Hangover from Hell" eye mask and Firefly "Sharpen-Up" Tonic for later. Check in with the well-connected concierge to plan your night's revelry, with priority reservations at Nobu or Nahm. Enjoy complimentary chauffer service to a Central London club followed by a Champagne Breakfast for two back at the hotel, and a late check-out at 4 p.m.


Fall Leaf Peeping in Vermont at The Equinox Resort and Spa


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Equinox Resort and Spa Celebrate autumn at The Equinox and enjoy spectacular fall foliage, luxurious accommodations, and a host of activities the whole family will enjoy. This resort has served as one of America's most historically significant lodgings; it predates America's independence (!) since its first opening in 1769. Situated on 2,300 acres between the Green and Taconic Mountains, this Manchester Village resort has hosted legends like Ulysses S. Grant and Teddy Roosevelt. The setting is truly captivating: colorful landscapes and pristine countryside within minutes of the quaint boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops of the village. The AAA Four-Diamond resort offers an abundance of recreational activities. Relax with the rejuvenating treatments at The Spa. Test your game on the world-class golf course. Discover the breathtaking scenery that surrounds the resort on a mountain bike, on a hike, or while fishing. There's even a British School of Falconry.


Masters of Food and Wine South America at Park Hyatt Washington DC


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Park Hyatt Washington DC You are invited to a fabulous gastronomic celebration of Argentina at the Park Hyatt Washington. Under the patronage of His Excellency, José Octavio Bordón, Ambassador of Argentina to the United States, the Park Hyatt Washington celebrates the Masters of Food & Wine USA Tour with a wine tasting from the vines of Mendoza. Beginning with a reception in the lounge on Wednesday, September 19th (6-8:30 pm), the event continues with a five-course wine dinner in the award-winning Blue Duck Tavern (7-8:30 pm) prepared by renowned Argentine chefs. The price is $250 per person, which includes the reception, dinner, wine, tax and gratuity. Call 202-419-6755 for reservations.


Autumn Treats in Paris at the Hotel Plaza Athenee


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee Fall is upon us. In Paris, blue skies, lots of sunshine, and cool autumn breezes make for delightful days strolling the city as a stylish flaneur. The city's chic and elegant Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the glamorous hideaway where the pleasure of luxury is celebrated, has launched an Autumn/Winter Pastry Collection. The hotel's Pasty Chef, Christophe Michalak, welcomes the season with truly drool-worthy pastries that are bound to blow the winter blues away. In a city known for its fabulous patisseries, these delicate creations will knock your socks off. For those who feel nostalgic for sultry summer days, the exotic flavors of citrus fruits will hit the right note. Of course the strong, rich chocolate aromas will appeal to those who prefer the winter season. Tempting treats include: Le Finger Pamplemousse Allégé (a light grapefruit delicacy), Le Vacherin Paradisiaque (a combination of pineapple cooked 'à l’étouffée, meringue and exotic fruit sorbet), Salambo façon pomme d'amour (roast apples, choux pastry, Calvados, chantilly and crunchy caramel) and Brownies à la Pistache (brownies with pistachio, creamy bitter chocolate and fine layers of crunchy chocolate.)

PS. These pastries are as pretty to look at as they are to taste.


Watch the Rugby World Cup at The Merrion Hotel’s Cellar Bar, Dublin


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Cellar Bar at The Merrion Hotel Rugby fans can have a ball in Dublin at The Merrion, the fine five-star hotel whose Cellar Bar is the perfect spot to cheer on your team with friends and fellow fans. The atmosphere couldn't be better: vaulted ceilings, cozy surroundings, and the fabulous big screen for all to view the Rugby World Cup. The full menu is available from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and the expert bartenders serve up plenty of celebratory cocktails along with creamy pints of Guinness and their signature Irish Coffee. (This is the spot where the entire French rugby team once camped out for an hour and a half and slurped down 150 of the tasty beverages.) Watch Ireland take on France on Friday, September 21.


Temptations of Turkey: Ciragan Palace Kempinski in Istanbul


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ciragan Palace Discover the cosmopolitan city of Istanbul (not Constantinople!), where modern meets ancient and East meets West in a vibrant cultural collision. As capital of the Ottoman Empire, the city was the center of it all. And to this day, Istanbul remains a lively and exciting city, enticing travelers with spice markets, excellent restaurants and nightlife, and the signature minarets and domes of numerous architectural wonders. Stake your claim to a room at the glamorous Ciragan Palace Kempinski, formerly a grand palace for the sultan, now lovingly restored with marvelous historical details intact. Right on the banks of the Bosphorus, the Ciragan Palace offers the pinnacle of Turkish elegance. (Make sure to choose a room with a waterfront view.) Luxurious facilities are matched by impeccable service, including a personal butler for all guests. After a day exploring the mystical city, enjoy a swim in the infinity pool and feel like you're floating on the Bosphorus. Relax in the authentic Hammam, as the sultans once did, before indulging in the hotel's award-winning cuisine.


Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort: Experience the Old West in Style


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort Escape to Santa Barbara wine country and the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, where the Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort welcomes you to the romance and majesty of the old west. Set on a 10,000 acre working cattle ranch, California's premier guest ranch transports you to a bygone era. Surrounded by wide open spaces and unspoiled natural beauty, Alisal has served as a hideaway for generations. Leave behind your cell phone (guest cottages are telephone and TV-free!), and hit the 50 miles of horseback riding trails which surround the ranch. Or play a round on one of the two eighteen-hole championship golf courses. There's also tennis, and lots of water sports on the 100-acre spring-fed lake (like fly fishing, canoeing and kayaking.)

And coming soon (May 2008): a spectacular new fitness center, with weight/cardio room, five massage therapy rooms, group fitness room (with yoga and Pilates classes), and locker rooms with steam saunas, and a spacious lobby with a fireplace and fresh juice bar.


Luxury for Less: Telluride Ski Packages from Inn at Lost Creek


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Inn at Lost Creek Enjoy the Inn's extraordinary hospitality while savoring some serious savings with the Early Season Bonanza package at the Inn at Lost Creek. Frequently featured in travel magazines across the country, the luxury boutique hotel is situated on the slopes of Telluride Ski Resort in Southwest Colorado, just 100 yards from the gondola system. What's so special about this three-night package? Complimentary ski services include on-slope ski valet, nightly ski or snowboard waxing and de-burring, boot drying and ski storage. With rates starting from just $135 per adult per night, guests also get lift tickets and a 30 percent discount off rental packages at Christy Sports. In your Studio, enjoy a deluxe kitchenette, HDTV flat panel TV, jetted tub, and balcony with French doors. (The one-bedroom residence is yours for $153 per person, per night.) Plus, when you reserve this ski package at Inn at Lost Creek, you'll get pre-arrival vacation itineraries, Telluride airport transfers, private use of the Inn's new roof-top spa, and nightly turn-down service. Available November 21- December 14, 2007.


The Best of Buenos Aires at La Cabana Steakhouse


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

La Cabana Steakhouse, Buenos Aires Taste the very best Argentinian beef at one of the country's most celebrated restaurants. Smack dab in the heart of Buenos Aires, La Cabaña steakhouse serves up the tastiest regional cuisine in a convivial atmosphere. Truly a dining experience not to be missed, the famous restaurant's degustation menu is a seven-course delight, offering a sampler of the various cuts renowned around the world. The Parilla Menu of Discovery starts with three cuts (sweetbread, chorizo, and rib strip) complemented with a glass of wine, followed by a small lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate. The main course showcases three additional cuts of beef (rib eye, rumpsteak, and a tenderloin medallion), also paired with an exquisite glass of wine. To finish, enjoy a tasty dessert with a glass of champagne.


Buzzworthy: Philippe Starck and Adrian Zecha Design Cape Yamu in Phuket


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cape Yamu, Phuket Overlooking the limestone islands of the Andaman Sea, Cape Yamu is a new luxury development slated for Thailand's popular Phuket island. This elegant private community will be composed of beautiful villas with private access to a world-class spa, restaurant, and hotel services by GHM, the hotel management company operated by Amanresort's legendary founder, Adrian Zecha. Designed by Philippe Starck of YOO by Starck and Jean-Michel Gathy, celebrated for his work with Amanresorts, the development promises stunning design and architecture in an unrivaled setting. Construction has begun for the on-site five-star hotel called The Yamu. Set to open in 2008, the boutique hotel will have 61 guest rooms and two duplex suites, one of which will be attached to a state-of-the-art recording studio. Expect an 100-meter swimming pool, gorgeous spa, and restaurant and bar destined to be a Phuket hotspot.