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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.

Travel Trends: “Grandtravel” to Europe and on Luxury Cruises

April 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford Castle

These days, more and more grandparents are traveling with grandchildren. The statistics indicate that Grand-pere and Mamie have more discretionary income and the free time to spend it in, thus one in every five trips taken with children is with Gramps. Where are these families going? Family cruises of the Galapagos with Ocean Adventures, operator of the luxurious small ship The Eclipse, and luxurious European castles such as the Crillon in Paris, Ashford Castle in Ireland, and Beau Rivage Palace in Switzerland-- all offering plenty of fun activities for kids, and specialized amenities like children's bathrobes and delightful kid's menus.

Via Cullen International


Your Worst Holiday Ever

April 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

These real-life stories will have you both commiserating and rolling on the floor with laugher at the same time. The Times UK is publishing stories about the "most disastrous, most wake-up-screaming-in-the-night holiday ever" each week on their site-- and the "winner" of the most appalling, miserable story will be published in Sunday Travel, AND get the holiday of a lifetime: a spectacular two-week trip for two to Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar from the luxury travel specialists Cox & Kings and British Airways.


Loews Hotels Assumes Management of The Madison Hotel in Washington

April 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Madison Vintage Photo

One of our favorite DC establishments-- the landmark hotel The Madison-- has been acquired by Loews Hotels, and we're excitedly awaiting the refurbishment of the brand new Madison, A Loews Hotel. The Madison has long radiated classic, refined elegance-- its Georgian, Federal and American Empire furnishings and superb service symbols of a bygone era. After all, this is the hotel that has hosted every President since John F. Kennedy, as well as international heads of state and business leaders. And it's got a killer location. The Madison will no doubt be made even more lavish with Loews trademark touches. Plans are in the works for new flat screen TVs, luxurious terry products, and signature suites.

The Madison, A Loews Hotel, Official Site

The Madison, A Loews Hotel, Five Star Alliance


Tantalizing Turkey: the Ada Hotel in Bodrum

April 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ada Hotel

At the crossroads between East and West, built upon layers of history of ancient civilizations, Bodrum sits on Turkey's breathtaking Aegean coastline overlooking beaches framed by olive groves and the blue sea. Majestic ancient ruins, some dating from 5,000 years ago, imbue the city with culture and mythology. The Castle of St. Peter, built by the Knights of St. John in 1406, stands near remains of the Ottoman empire, and the grand Mausoleum of King Moussollos is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Sun-seekers, history buffs, and yacht owners alike flock to the gorgeous seaside port of Bodrum-- especially in the summer months. In this magical place, the Ada Hotel offers a luxurious respite cloaked in traditional culture and romance. The 14 guestrooms have balconies opening into the garden or overlooking the sea; the 90 sq-meter Executive Suite is equipped with a fireplace and separate Jacuzzi, and the Presidential Suite shares a private pool with the Penthouse Suite. The health center boasts an enormous Jacuzzi, luxurious Turkish Hammam, sauna and therapeutic treatment rooms.


Following the Da Vinci Code in France

April 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Da Vinci Code

It's official. The Da Vinci Code fever has swept across the Atlantic, infecting citizens on both sides of the pond. Translations, with that distinctive paperback cover, peek from purses and under raincoat-covered arms, in the French capital. And the commercialism has inevitably followed (not at all isolated to American borders); even French coffee bags are stamped with promotional contests with free tix to the May 19 movie opening. Day-um. I've written before about the Da Vinci Code Package at the Hotel Meurice, and now--with the official countdown begun before Tom Hanks and Audrey Tatou sweep the silver screen--Da Vinci Code tours are taking off. Now's your chance to become a maniacal sleuth on your summer holiday in France, exploring the churches, Parisian sidewalks, and chateaus so scintillatingly depicted in Dan Brown's mammoth bestseller. Forget the Mona Lisa; the new Da Vinci Code themed tours at the Louvre will have you experiencing the world's richest cultural heritage in a whole new way. Below-- some travel planning resources:

Fodor's Travel Wire, "The Da Vinci Code: Scenes of the Crime"

Fodor's Guide to the Da Vinci Code

Fodor's Travel Wire, "The Da Vinci Code: Facts Behind the Fiction"

Frommer's, "Where's Johnny Jet: In Paris Cracking the Da Vinci Code"


Off the Beaten Path in New York: the Charms of C.O. Bigelow

April 3, 2006
By: Guest Writer

CO Bigelow

By Alex Rose

The old-fashioned apothecary claims, "If you can't get it anywhere else, try C.O. Bigelow." How true. Shoppers boast: "This is the coolest drugstore on the planet-- a retro little shop in NYC's West Village, where Mark Twain once filled his prescriptions!" Again, how true. This local landmark has more than the usual fare you'll find on the shelf at the local chain drug store. It has an unparalleled selection of hard-to-find cosmetics and homeopathic remedies for everyone. The best thing about these items though is that they are hand-picked and road-tested by the store's owner, Ian Ginsberg. He travels the world over in search of unique products that really work for his customers. For example, specialty items include: a cinnamon-peppermint concentrated mouthwash from the London pharmacy D.R. Harris, Crystal Eye Gel with a witch hazel potion known to improve tired-looking eyes in ten minutes, a Proraso menthol shaving cream from Florence, Italy, a Propoline First-Aid Balsam from Apitiva, Greece (which contains calendula and aloe known to heal minor sunburns as well as blisters on feet), almost the entire line of Acqua di Parma products from Italy, and London's George F. Trumper brand of personal care products for gentlemen. And Bigelow's long list of distinguished names that have popped in to shop since its founding in 1838 include the Roosevelts and John Belushi as well as current celebrities. Next time you're in NYC, make time to visit this gem.


Crazy about Caribbean Coral: Anse Chastenet in St. Lucia

April 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Anse Chastanet

Of Islands Magazine recent picks of the Best Snorkeling Spots Worldwide, Anse Chastanet in St. Lucia shines as an unspoiled natural paradise with awesome snorkeling right out the front door. Overshadowed by the landmark green peaks--the Gros and Petit Pitons--that provide the lush and dramatic backdrop for this island nation, the resort sits on 600 acres of rolling hills and tropical gardens overlooking the soft sparkling sand of the Caribbean's best beaches. The resort's rooms are each individualized: white-washed cottages with wrap-around-balconies, deluxe suites with enormous interiors and walls opening to extraordinary vistas, other rooms boasting verandahs framed by flowering blossoms, while the premium suites offer sublime showers-with-a-view. Besides the snorkeling on the pristine coral reef just offshore, the resort offers a world-renowned, first class SSI Platinum Pro/PADI dive facility. And after a day on the water (or playing tennis or mountain biking), the therapeutic delights of the Kai Belte Spa await.

Anse Chastanet, Official Site

Anse Chastanet, Five Star Alliance


The Skinny on Flexjet and Fractional Jet Ownership

April 3, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Lance Armstrong Flexjet

By Courtney W. May

When I first saw the Flexjet advertisement with Lance Armstrong, I was mostly confused because I had no idea what a Bombardier was or what fractional jet ownership would be. (I was also confused because I thought the images of Lance didn't do him justice-- see right-- and wasn't sure what advertiser would want to do such a thing.)

Lance Armstrong Flexjet

I did a little bit of research to figure out what Fractional Ownership was and why someone would want to do it. I got most of my information from the F.A.Q. section on the Flexjet website. So is Fractional Jet Ownership like a timeshare? Yes, although a little different since you get access and availability 24 hours a day, every day. And yes, your pet is welcome to travel with you as a member of your family: "A pet safety belt will be provided for pets weighing over 25 pounds. Pets smaller than 25 pounds may ride in a pet carrier or on your lap."

The part I really wanted to know about was price (not that I could afford it). For Flexjet, there are 4 variables as well as financing options which I won't get into here but you can find on the F.A.Q page I mentioned. And of course they aren't going to tell you outright what it's going to cost you-- they want you to contact their 'experienced sales team.' So instead I found an example within a press release from 2004:

"'Jet Rich Quick' The monthly payment ranges from approximately $4,600 for a 1/16th share of a Learjet 45 over a four-year term, to $12,000 for a 1/16th share of a Challenger 604 over a two-year term."

So is it worth it? I'm not sure, but I would be willing to try a couple complimentary flights to find out...


La Grande Residences for Extended Stays

April 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

from Courtney W. May and The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver

La Grande Residences Vancouver Extended Stay America is not luxury. Your not going to find it at Candelwoods Suites either. And, from experience, I know that those short-term 'Corporate' apartment and condo rentals are way overpriced. Never again will I pay for a 'luxury business apartment' where I have to supply the toilet paper and the carpets are orange. Now I just have to find a reason to go to Vancouver for an extended period of time on the company dime to stay at my new favorite option. Wikipedia suggests that if I want to do business in Vancouver, I should try forest products, mining, and import/export. No thanks.

Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver Pool

Why La Grande Residence is so great for extended stays:

It's luxury. I'm not kidding - it is 18 stories of fully furnished apartments designed by the people at Sutton Place Vancouver for the discerning traveler. There are 164 terraced residences - 18 small 550 sq. ft one-bedrooms, 116 large 700 sq. ft. one-bedrooms, and 30 800 sq. ft. two-bedrooms. Residences include kitchen facilities, valet parking for that rental car, concierge, business center, and laundry and room service. And instead of those orange carpets, you get traditional European furniture, balcony patio furniture, sun drapes in the living room and black-out drapes in the bedroom. Unlike a corporate apartment or condo (or my house), La Grande Residences offers twice weekly full maid service, daily towel service, grocery shopping service, and all of the connecting Sutton Place Hotel services. Convenient? They are located in the heart of Vancouver's business, theatre and arts districts - within walking distance of almost everything.

Anyone out there willing to fund a trip for me to the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 so I can stay at the La Grande Residences?

The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver

The Sutton Place Hotel, Five Star Alliance


London Boutique Hotels: Rocco Forte’s Brown’s Hotel

March 31, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Brown's Hotel

After a GBP 20 million renovation, Brown's Hotel re-opened in December as one of London's most stylish boutique hotels. (Baroness Thatcher, accompanied by Sir Rocco Forte, did the honors at the traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony.) The charming historic hotel is composed of 11 Georgian town houses, its 117 bedrooms individually designed with style and sophistication. Located in the heart of Mayfair just a few minutes from Bond Street shopping, Brown's has long boasted a reputation of exclusivity and elegant refinement. The notable features of the renovation include three spa treatment rooms, a fully-equipped gym, and six private meeting rooms. And of course The Grill serves up some pretty tasty cuisine, and the English Tea Room is considered a London institution.