LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
The 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.
Just yesterday the Mobil Travel Guide came out with 2008's list of Four- and Five-star hotels, restaurants and spas. And they've been at it for 50 years! (Bon anniversaire.) Notable winners include: The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs (the longest running property on the Five-Star list with some 48 years!), The Tower at Wynn Las Vegas (the only casino-hotel in the world with this badge), and Deer Valley's Stein Eriksen Lodge (the first ever Utah hotel to garner this award). The other Mobil Five-Star virgins are the Boston Harbor Hotel, The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island, and the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole.
Beat the winter blues and bring your valentine to the beach! Book the Seaside Serenity package at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel and you have a $200 resort credit to play with. Choose a candle-lit dinner for two, indulgent massages from the Ocean Spa & Fitness Center, a personalized consultation or yoga classes... The sky's the limit at this Santa Monica favorite, just a block from the soft sandy beach. Custom-designed rooms are so fabulous, you'll be content to just lounge around in your "Ultimate Doeskin" robes by Chadsworth & Haig, and smother yourself with the sumptuous 300 thread-count sheets, while checking out the Pacific views. The package includes one night's stay in a premium ocean view room, a special romance welcome amenity, and the $200 credit to be used towards meals, spa, fitness and/or retail. Priced from $499 per night, available February 11- February 21, 2008.
Pssst. You can bring your pup; Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is pet-friendly!
Scottsdale's hip mid-century landmark-- the original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn-- just got a new addition. Hotel Valley Ho recently opened The Tower, an elite boutique hotel soaring above this urban resort. The ultimate luxury experience, complete with personal shopper and private chef service, can be yours at The Tower. In the guest rooms, floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide sweeping panoramic views. Other room highlights include a custom-swivel plasma-screen TV, 1950s-design chairs, stainless steel hardware, a fully-equipped kitchen, and dazzling bright-yellow cabinets. Plus there's an entertainment system with an iPod satellite and free Wifi. Every guest is afforded VIP status; you'll get a management escort to your room for check-in without ever stopping at the front desk.
It's summer in South Africa and the perfect time to visit the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa in Cape Town. Not just because the views are amazing and the weather is awesome, but because the fantastic golden sand beaches are just minutes away. They are also perfect locations to enjoy a picnic lunch. Guests who visit the Twelve Apostles making reservations through Five Star Alliance will receive an extensive "Fynbos Picnic Hamper" with food, treats, and drinks once during their stay. Whether you are traveling with a significant other, family, pet, or friends - Twelve Apostles can accommodate everyone and is barely ten minutes from the bustling heart of Cape Town, with nearby attractions including prime diving spots, nature trails, and seals, dolphins, whales and penguins.
It all started back in 1963 with The Madison in Washington D.C., when the capital's landmark hotel decided to introduce a novelty: the in-room mini-bar! Fabulously convenient, stocked full of helpful items, the mini-bar is now universally appreciated (late-night snack binging!) and abhorred (scandalous overpricing!). Since its debut, the mini-bar has come a long way. In an era of truly over-the-top hotel amenities (baby butler service, pet pampering, unpacking and bath service), the mini-bar has been completely made over and sexed up.
Hotel Victor in Miami offers all kinds of decadent treats. A hotel this cool-- furnished by celebrity designer Jacques Garcia with retro furniture and an illuminated moon jellyfish tank in the lobby-- has gone one step further by introducing full-size in-room bars, stocked with a large range of liquor and "South Beach life-style essentials" like chilled eye masks.
The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta caters to female guests with practical items like stockings and nail-polish remover. Gentlemen, don't despair when you forget socks at home! The mini-bar is stocked with fresh pairs of black socks to match your dark suits.
Omni Hotels created Sensation Bars in cities like New York, Chicago, Houston and San Francisco with all sorts of items to create soothing mini-spa treatments in-room. Think sleep inducing CDs, lavender pillow sprays, eucalyptus bath salts and mini Zen gardens.
But the biggest trend of late is sex kits in the mini-bar. NY's 60 Thompson and Miami's Sagamore may have "Shag Bags," and the Montalembert in Paris has a "petite love box," but the Hotel Gansevoort has ticklers!
On a recent trip to New York, we snapped these shots of the goodies on-hand at the Hotel Mela and Gramercy Park Hotel. The mini-bar at Hotel Mela isn't refrigerated; instead you'll find a basket spilling delicious snacks, drinks, and an "Intimacy Kit." What's inside? Lifestyles, lubricant, and individually wrapped life savers. (We just couldn't resist buying one. As a *cough* souvenir...)
The mini-bar at Gramercy Park is nothing short of awesome (check out the pix). T-shirts, sweet treats... They've also got an Intimacy Kit, of course, but it's as classy as they come. And if things get too rowdy, there's a first-aid kit, to boot.
Curious? Be careful when you take that item from the mini-bar! Most of today's "smart" minibars have infra-red sensors (or wireless technology, found at the sophisticated Willard Intercontinental in Washington D.C.) that automatically records your purchase on your bill when you reach for, say, a bag of M&M's or something equally as tempting...
Photos Via Courtney May (top to bottom: mini-bar of Gramercy Park, Gramercy Park, Hotel Mela)
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