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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.

Miami Seaquarium Re-opens

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dolphin Swim Miami Seaquarium

Southern Florida's premier tourist attraction is back. After a large clean-up and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Wilma's wrath, the marine park opened its doors again on February 11. Located in a picture-perfect spot on Biscayne Bay, the Seaquarium offers a host of marine-life shows and exhibits. Sharks and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!


Upscale Shopping in Dubai: the BurJuman Centre

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BurJuman

In a city of superlatives, it's not hard to be deemed "the world's most luxurious shopping destination." Dubai's BurJuman Centre-- located in the very heart of the city-- is the residence of high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Valentino, Emanel Ungaro, Loewe, Etro, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Lacroix, Salvatore Ferragamo... Its 800,000 square feet of retail space (300 leading stores) is centered around an enormous atrium courtyard, filled with sunlight.


Hotel Majestic Barcelona’s Penthouse - Paseo de Gracia

March 2, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Marcel Horande, Assistant Director of Sales & Marketing, Majestic Hotel Group

Paseo de Gracia Hotel Majestic Terrace

As Intelliguide says about Barcelona, "Since the city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1992, has been on the hot list of European destinations. Such popularity may make it harder to land a hotel room, but it has only added to the sense that Barcelona is a place to be, as much for its energetic, cosmopolitan character as for its unusual attractions." And now is the best time to visit too, since Barcelona is coming out of its coldest period of the year which runs from November to February (although even during that period locals will swim and sunbathe). Average March and April temperatures? 15C and 59F.

The best reason to go? The 75 square meter (800 sqft) private terrace and Convertible Smart Roadster with GPS in 10 languages availble complimentary for your full stay at The Hotel Majestic in Barcelona when you stay in the Penthouse - Paseo de Gracia.

Read the details below ...

This is the ultimate and most exclusive Penthouse in the center of Barcelona. Inaugurated in 2004, it offers 300 m2 (3230 sqft) of luxury accomodation and exclusive comfort as well as the most impressive panoramic views of the city.

Paseo de Gracia Hotel Majestic

The Penthouse "Paseo de Gracia"

Details and features:

- Suite with King Size bed

- Living room with sofas

- Dining room

- Kitchen (Vitro-ceramic, blender, dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, oven, chinery)

- Courtesy marble bathroom

- 8 m2 (86 sqft) dressing room

- Bathroom: Round hydro-massage bathtub, separate "Powershower", Philip Starck designed bathroom fittings, hairdryer, magnifying mirror, flat TV, ETRO amenities, etc.

- 75 m2 (800 sqft) private terrace with spectacular views of the Passeig de Gracia, the cradle of Modernism in Barcelona, with 4 remote-controlled awnings and 3 different ambiances (dining room, living room, solarium with deck chairs). Teak, aluminum, and synthetic-fiber furniture.

- 3 Plasma-Screen TVs (Living Room 42" + Bedroom 32" + Bathroom 15"’)

- Bang & Olufssen High-Tech, HI-FI Music System and cordless telephone

It also includes:

- Private check-in and personalized VIP treatment.

- FREE courtesy car for the entire stay: Convertible Smart Roadster with GPS in 10 languages.

- Free high-speed Internet connection in the apartment (with cable)

- Free access to the Business Center.

- 24-hour butler service

- Complimentary Open bar

- Daily champagne and canapes

- Daily turn-down service

- Prioritary and restricted lift access

The pictures speak for themselves, this is the best possible place to experience Barcelona.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona, Official Page

Hotel Majestic Barcelona, Five Star Alliance


W Hotels Reopens New Orleans Hotels

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W New Orleans French Quarter

You may have missed Mardi Gras, but Jazz Fest is on the horizon. And both W hotels—which had sustained serious wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina—have recently reopened in time for the best of spring festivals. W French Quarter is contemporary and full of sleek technology—as all W Hotels are—yet plenty romantic and old-world European at the same time. Plus, as its name suggests, it's in the heart of it all in the French Quarter. Its restaurant Bacco is considered one of the best in the city. Hot and hip, the other W New Orleans is equally well-located, a trendy and fashionable hotel that is the home of Rande Gerber's happening bar Whiskey Blue.

W New Orleans, Official Site

W New Orleans, Five Star Alliance

W French Quarter, Official Site

W French Quarter, Five Star Alliance


A New York Landmark - The Carlyle

March 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From James McBride, General Manager, The Carlyle

The Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel in New York City has a long (by US standards) and varied history - dating back to 1930 where it was considered the "home away from home" for discerning luxury travelers in Manhattan.

Mr. McBride showed us where deep within the hotel's website they offer up 10 Fast (and ultra interesting) Facts. Then at the bottom we've added even more facts that you might be interested in about the Carlyle.

Check them out ...

Fast Facts

- Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan have called The Carlyle their “unofficial” New York home.

- Each guest room has a direct telephone line to Sotheby’s, for those who don’t feel like venturing out or wish to place their bids in privacy.

- During the Kennedy administration, owner Robert Dowling always kept the “Kennedy duplex” empty just in case the President decided to come to New York.

- Composer Richard Rodgers was The Carlyle’s first tenant back in 1930.

- The Carlyle is a showcase of great art. Bemelmans bar contains the only surviving public murals of artist/author Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the famed Madeline children’s book series. Additional works by Audubon, Kips, Redoute and Vertes adorn the hotel’s walls creating a veritable gallery environment.

- Diane Ginsberg Jaffe, the daughter of the hotel’s founder, named The Carlyle after British writer Thomas Carlyle.

- The two Jan Weenix murals in the lobby were originally owned by William Randolph Hearst.

- The Carlyle is a virtual catalog of design history, home to the work of some of the world’s most legendary decorators including: Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, and Renzo Mongiardino.

- The Carlyle is alive with music; 23 suites have Steinway or Baldwin baby-grand pianos tuned twice a week.

- The Carlyle has been the hotel of choice for Hollywood’s elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo.

Some additional Fun Facts we found ...

- The hotel designed by the architectural firm of Bien & Prince, was completed in 1930. A newspaper account of the time described the design as a "diversified setback style," which provides private terraces for some guest rooms and suites.

- The hotel's first decorator was Dorothy Draper, a mid-20th-century feminist who decorated in the "Empire manner."

- One of the country's foremost decorators, the late Mark Hampton, updated many of the guest rooms with a contemporary interpretation of the understated elegance achieved by Dorothy Draper 70 years ago.

- In 2002, interior designer Thierry Despont restored Bemelmans Bar and the lobby.

- Each room is characteristically unique with such color schemes as Chinese red, burnt orange and celadon. The walls are decorated with Audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi or the English country scenes by Kips.

- The hotel was created by Moses Ginsburg, a Russian emigrant whose wealth was in real estate, the hotel was intended to secure Ginsberg’s position in society.

- Two elegant banquet rooms, decorated by Mark Hampton, are the venues for private parties and functions.

- There have only been five ownerships in its history - currently Philip F. Maritz, President of Maritz-Wolff & Company

- During the hotel's 13-month construction, Wall Street crashed. Knowing he would lose millions, Ginsberg forged on. When the banks foreclosed in 1930, the Carlyle was off to a less than auspicious start, but of course survived.

- Bellman Michael O'Connell, who joined the Carlyle in 1949 fresh out of college and is still on the staff, remembers John Kennedy bidding him farewell the night before the President’s assassination in Dallas in 1963.

- In 1940s, the wealthy tycoon Robert Dowling purchased the Carlyle and, like Ginsberg, saw an opportunity to set the highest standards of innkeeping and establish his own place in New York society. Run like a private club, social references were required to obtain a room or an apartment in the 1950s.

- In 1967, the Carlyle was purchased by real estate entrepreneur Peter Sharp. A native New Yorker whose family owned and operated the Ritz Tower, the Delmonico and the Stanhope (all residential hotels). When Peter Sharp died in 1992, the hotel was run by a board of directors until an appropriate owner could be found.

- Each guest room features an armchair designed by Mark Hampton which is named after his daughter Alexa.

- The Gallery, also known as 'The Living Room', is a favorite among East Side residents, foreign diplomats, politicians and celebrities, it was there that Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, arriving together by chance, introduced themselves and sat down for a chat.

- The afternoon tea is enhanced by real Devonshire cream flown in from England.

- The 2005 Oscar Goody Bag for celebs included a voucher for the Carlyle.

- In February 2006, the Carlyle announced the opening of the Royal Suite after a redesign.

- In 2006, All Madelines are invited to go to the Manager at Bemelmans Bar and say "Bonjour. My name is Madeline" and they will receive a three-tiered tea, served among the renowned Madeline murals, on fabulous Madeline-inspired linen and china. (more details)

We're sure to be missing even more fun, fast facts about The Carlyle, so visit New York and the hotel to learn even more and then let us know.

The Carlyle, Official Site

The Carlyle, Five Star Alliance


Travel and Leisure Next Great Beach Resorts

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

From Zanzibar to St. Lucia, the March issue of Travel and Leisure has found some incredible beach hot spots, including the DR's Sivory Punta Cana, which I've waxed poetic about before. In their words:

How do you know when a destination hasn't been trammeled by Americans? When it's a challenge to find locals who speak English. Such is the charm of the Dominican Republic, which has long been on the radar of A-listers (Oscar de la Renta, the Clintons); now, with low fares on JetBlue, it's even easier (and less expensive) to get to. The Sivory Punta Cana, a 55-suite property open since December and situated on a long expanse of untouched beach, offers visitors a low-key hideaway.


“Smart” Hotels are the Wave of the Future

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Your favorite tunes on the stereo. Room at exactly the right temp. The minibar stocked with your daily dose of wheat grass shots. As the IHT reports:

At the Mandarin and other high-end hotels, new computer systems which connect individual rooms to network servers can now keep track of guests' preferences and change the room conditions automatically.
Big brother profiling or the perks of refined technology?


South Beach Spring Special at the Setai, Miami

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Setai

The art deco landmark and oceanfront South Beach destination is surrounded by tropical gardens and turquoise pools overlooking the Atlantic. Originally built in the 1930's as the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, Adrian Zecha's Setai opened to much fanfare in 2005. In the hot South Beach scene, The Setai stands out for its intimacy, impeccable service, and elegant Asian touches. 75 guestrooms and 50 suites are detailed with exquisite amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath amenities, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. Enjoy a deep therapeutic massage at the luxurious spa overlooking the sand and sea, and then savor the gastronomic delights at the Crustacean restaurant. With the South Beach Spring Special, take advantage of special rates starting at $675.

The Setai, Official Site

The Setai, Five Star Alliance


The Skinny on Space Travel Tourism and Space Adventures, Ltd.

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Space Adventures

This is for private citizens we're talking about. No joke. Space Adventures, Ltd. is a privately owned company in Arlington, VA working hard to open the space frontier for (rich) people from all over the world.

Their mission statement doesn't exactly lack ambition:

Space Adventures will fly tens of thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years and beyond, both orbital and suborbital, around the moon, and back, from spaceports both on Earth and in space, to and from private space stations, and aboard dozens of different vehicles; and by continually providing newly available space experiences and improving existing space experiences.

An Orbital starts at just $20,000,000—one week at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Includes six months of intense training, roundtrip transportation to the ISS, and a weeks lodging in space. Sounds like a steal to me.

You can make a reservation by calling the toll-free number at 1-888-85-SPACE. Easy as pie. Don't know about you—but I've flown an aging Russian jet (a Moscow-born friend confided that though Pulkovo's planes are aging and rickety, the pilots are all ex-fighter-pilots, so if the plane goes down, you're in good hands), and the idea of boarding a jet at Zhukovsky Air Base outside of Moscow, Russia isn't exactly appealing.


Welcoming Maui’s Newest Luxury Addition: Wailea Beach Villas

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maui

With white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush, green landscapes, Maui has always appealed as a picture-perfect paradise and renowned destination for honeymooners and families alike. Thus we've been eagerly anticipating the April opening of the Wailea Beach Villas: its elegant private residences offering the intimacy of private homes, but with all the facilities and amenities of a grand resort. Daily housekeeping, concierge assistance, swimming pools, and a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the West Maui mountains. The villas are stocked with fine linens, signature bath amenities, and fabulous gourmet kitchens. And of course the island paradise offers a bounty of activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours.

The only complaint? In a tropical island paradise like Maui, is a gated community-- touting serious 24 hour security and surveillance-- absolutely necessary?