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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.

Hotel Star Ratings in the Caribbean, Courtesy of Mobil

June 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

It's about time. The Mobil Travel Guide--the illustrious bible which has provided comprehensive hotel ratings in the US and Canada since 1958 (using 750 criteria, no less)-- has announced plans to bring that expertise to evaluation of Caribbean hotels. Mobil bills itself as the "originator of the prestigious Five-Star ratings and certifications program for hotels, restaurants, and spas." The company's evaluation of Caribbean hotels, in of the most popular tourist regions in the world, is the beginning of an effort to bring their renowned rating system to properties worldwide.


Queen’s Birthday Offer at the Dukes Hotel, London

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dukes Hotel

The award-winning, classic Dukes Hotel, tucked in its own courtyard in a quiet corner on St. James's Place between Mayfair and Green Park, is offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see the special exhibition in honor of the Queen's 80th birthday. On display at the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace in honor of Her Majesty's birthday, the extensive exhibit showcases the Queen's evening dresses (80 of them! from the 1940's to the present) and personal jewelry, including private gifts and historic pieces, such as the Vladimir Tiara, the Cambridge Emerald Necklace, two brooches set with stones from the famous Cullinan Diamond, and a pair of Boucheron aquamarine and diamond clip brooches given to then Princess Elizabeth by her father, King George VI, for her 18th birthday. Visitors to the exhibition see the Palace's 39-acre garden, and appreciate rare views of the Palace's garden façade and the 19th-century lake. As part of Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration, Dukes Hotel is going over the top (try this for British pomp and pageantry) with a special package. "Her Majesty's Birthday Celebration" includes a two-night stay in a Classic Double room including daily breakfast and afternoon tea and two tickets to the "Special Exhibition" with entrance to Buckingham Palace. Priced at GBP 525, inclusive of VAT, available from July 26 to September 24, 2006.

(Guests will also enjoy Duke's luxurious spa and the world-famous Dukes Martini at the bar.)


The Latest Trends with Designer Boutique Hotels

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The New York Times dazzles with its savvy weekend piece "The Latest Splash? Baths and Pools." The next big thing for hip hotels includes "Peekaboo Baths" (where, in places like Madrid's Hotel Puerta América and the Hotel Rival in Stockholm, "bathers are exposed to their fellow guests" in an open-plan bathroom), "Pools with a View" (the rooftop bar and pool craze first started at The Standard in downtown LA), "Guest Galleries" (the trendy 21cMuseum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky is first and foremost an art gallery), and "Megasuites," like the EUR 30,000-a-night Penthouse suite at the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.


The Return of the Knickerbocker Hotel in Times Square, New York

June 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Knickerbocker Vintage

Hot off the press! The classic New York landmark that sits at 6 Times Square has just been sold to Istithmar Hotels, an investment arm of the royal family of Dubai, for $300 million-- to be restored to its former glory as a five-star hotel. The original Knickerbocker Hotel was built between 1901 and 1906 for John Jacob Astor IV, a luxurious hot spot for celebrities in the heart of Manhattan. As described by the Hartford Courant:

The one-time Knickerbocker hotel in Times Square has an illustrious history: Enrico Caruso sang from its balcony; Maxfield Parrish's 30-foot-long painting "Old King Cole" hung in its barroom; and the martini is believed to have been invented there. Now the beaux-arts-style Knickerbocker, long since converted into apartments and textile showrooms, may become a hotel again.

Once known as the Newsweek Building when it housed the magazine's offices, the Knickerbocker hotel's building is also known to be the place where the famous gang leader, Monk Eastman, was captured by police while having a shoot-out with a Pinkerton detective. In its heyday, the Knickerbocker hotel boasted 556 rooms, a phenomenal restaurant-bar, and its own subway entrance. (The mysterious locked door is still visible at the northern end of the platform at Times Square subway station.) No wonder the city's elite flocked there.

Related Articles:

The Morning News, "The Knickerbocker"

Forgotten NY, "Behind the Locked Door"


The Art of Celebrity Living at the Alexis Hotel, Seattle

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Alexis Hotel

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Alexis Hotel is a luxury boutique hotel as committed to its history as it is to the contemporary Seattle arts scene, displaying original pieces throughout the guestrooms and public spaces. The Alexis offers elegance mixed with a lot of whimsy smack dab in the middle of it all in downtown Seattle. Guestrooms also feature beautiful antiques, wood burning fireplaces, and two person tubs. The Library Bistro is known as one of the best restaurants in Seattle-- its ambience reminiscent of a 1940s supper club with faux lizard skin high back booths and dramatic lighting, and serving new American cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown vegetables and fresh seafood. Now at the Alexis Hotel, enjoy "The Art of Celebrity Living, Seattle Style," featuring a weekend of pampering and sampling of the city's hot art scene with the centerpiece, a chartered helicopter trip to a concert at The Gorge Ampitheatre, the top outdoor concert venue in the United States.

Here's the skinny:

Arrive via chauffeured limousine; accommodations for two in luxuriously appointed suite complete with a gorgeous floral arrangement, a pair of emerald earrings from Turgeon-Raine Jewellers, and a local eyewear boutique will pay you a visit with a selection of "rock star" designer sunglasses to choose from; following a scrumptious breakfast in bed, you will have your choice of "Seattle Style" experiences: a private glass blowing class, coupled with your choice of either a private art gallery tour led by Barbara Shaiman (the Alexis' own art curator) or a behind-the-scenes tour of the acclaimed DoubleTake fine art exhibit at the Experience Music Project (EMP); take a chartered chopper for a trip over the Cascade Mountains to attend a concert at The Gorge Amphitheater, arriving just in time for sunset; the Alexis' executive chef, Tim Ferguson will prepare a special "Cristal and caviar" picnic dinner for you to enjoy during the concert; finish off this rock-star weekend with a mimosa brunch at the Alexis' Library Bistro; as a special memento, the complete Alexis bedding set will be shipped to your home along with a CD collection of the artist you've just seen at The Gorge.

The Art of Celebrity Living package is priced at $10,000 and is valid until September 3, 2006.


Beau-Rivage Palace Summer Spa Retreat at the Cinq Mondes Spa

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Beau Rivage Palace

Switzerland's stunning Beau-Rivage Palace is easily one of the most beautiful palace hotels in the world. Overlooking Lake Geneva, the historic Beau-Rivage is a world-recognized landmark, renowned by leading travel magazines as one of the world's best places to stay. The hotel invested CHF 12 million in their new, cutting-edge Cinq Mondes Spa, where 15,000 sq feet are devoted to healing and harmony, with luxurious treatments from the world's greatest healing traditions: Japanese, Ayurvedic, North African, Taoist and Balinese. In addition to the nine treatment rooms, there is a private spa suite reserved for couples. Pamper yourself this summer with a unique package offered by the Beau-Rivage Palace. The "Summer at the Cinq Mondes Spa" package includes two nights accommodation, full buffet breakfast in "Salon Grammont" or Continental in-room breakfast, one Spa Ritual Sojourn of five treatments over two days per person, one healthy cocktail at the Spa per day, per person, one lunch at the terrace of the Spa per person and free access to the tennis courts, swimming pools and fully equipped gym. The package is priced from CHF 2000 per room double occupancy for the two nights (approximately U.S. $1,660).

Guests participating in the package can choose from the following Spa Ritual Sojourns:

Taoist Ritual From China:

20-minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Taoist Massage

80-minute Taoist Face Care Massage

20-minute Plantar Reflexology

Spa Ritual Experience:

20-minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Ayurvedic Massage

35-minute "Rituel Fleurs de Bali" Face Care Massage

50-minute Balinese Massage

Bliss for Two Ritual Sojourn:

20-minute Aromas and Colors Hammam

20-minute Aromatic Scrub with Spices

50-minute Ayurvedic Massage

20 minute Aromas and Flowers Japanese Bath in a double bath

Choice of 80-minute Taoist Massage or Taoist Face Care Massage


Chicago Hot Tables: Dine Overlooking the Skyscrapers at The Peninsula Chicago

June 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Outdoor Terrace at The Peninsula Chicago

The spot with the best Chinese food in the city--mouthwatering Shanghainese and Cantonese dishes--is also home to an exquisite (and unique) open-air terrace. Sit among the skyscrapers while experiencing the finest service for which the award-winning Peninsula Chicago is known. Voted number 1 hotel in the US by Travel and Leisure, the Peninsula Chicago is also a Mobil five star and AAA five diamond property. Located on the fourth floor of the hotel, the Shanghai Terrace is also known for its 1930's supper club atmosphere and elegant Asian decor.


Royal Festivities in Thailand

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula Bangkok Forget the full moon party. 2006 in Thailand is one year-long celebration, in honor of the King's 60th year on the throne. In early June, throngs took to the streets in parades and revelers enjoyed a week of work holidays, to commemorate the anniversary of his ascension to the throne on June 9, 1946. His Majesty King Bhumibol is the longest-reigning living monarch, and commands sincere loyalty and respect across the country, especially for his fight for the underprivileged classes. Now is the time to visit Thailand. Where to stay in Bangkok? Stake a suite at the riverside Peninsula Bangkok, and soak up the hotel's unparalleled luxury and panoramic views of the city and Chao Phraya River. At the hotel voted "World's Best Hotel" by Travel and Leisure readers, the service is legendary and the facilities-- three-tiered swimming pool, a Fitness Center with gymnasium, sauna, and steam rooms, tennis courts, and chic dining options-- are excellent. Related Articles, IHT, "Update: Royal Festivities Offset Seasonal Tourist Drop-Off"


French Bastille Day with Hotel Bel-Air and Champagne Mumm

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel Air

A Bastille celebration at the Hotel Bel-Air is a jackpot for foodies, promising sumptuous French eats and bubbly, of course. On Friday, July 14, 2006, join Madeleine Sophie de Jean, Champagne Ambassador of Mumm, for a lively evening at this elegant LA establishment. Learn about the history of Bastille Day and Champagne Mumm and indulge in such flavorful dishes as seared foie gras with sauteed yellow peaches and black pepper caramel, seared Turbot filet with Champagne caviar sauce and asparagus and sorrel medley, and filet of beef with Bordelaise, roasted shallots, and gratin Dauphinois. Fireplace Courtyard Reception at 6:30 pm followed by dinner at 7:30 pm in The Palm Room. $225 per person.


Summer Value Rates at the Langham Hotel, Hong Kong

June 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Hotel Hong Kong

Located in the center of Kowloon's lively Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district, just a hop from the Star Ferry terminal, the Langham Hotel is an elegant oasis in a popular location. The recent $35 million renovation has transformed the hotel into a stylish delight, with lavish, contemporary guestrooms oozing state-of-the-art amenities (including the signature "blissful bed") and distinguished as one of the World's Top 10 Hi Tech Hotel rooms by the Sunday Times. As to be expected, facilities are top-notch: a gorgeous rooftop swimming pool and sundeck, excellent business center, a spacious Health Club, and excellent fine dining and hip bar scene. This summer, through September 10, this five-star sanctuary is cutting their prices and promoting a Summer Value Rate that you just can't beat. Starting at just $200 a night, which is 35 percent less than rack rates, including breakfast at Sun's Cafe, complimentary local phone calls, access to the pool and gym, and discounts on all the hotel's enticing restaurants.

Via Travel and Leisure Hot Deals