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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.

Top 5 Romantic Valentine's Day Hotels: #2 Fairmont Chicago

February 3, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone. Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime. What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th. 

#2 Fairmont Chicago

The Fairmont has to get a special nod on this list for the sheer effor they're putting into a singular Valentine's Day experience.  This may just be the most opulent display of romance and affection a person could receive on a day already known for total commitments to love and cutely involved marriage proposals.

They say money can't buy love, but in today's consumer market, it certainly can buy the trappings of it.  Plop down $100,000 for a two-night experience, and you'll be welcomed into cupid's diamond-studded embrace with open arms.  Not only will you be put up in the hotel's presidential suite, it will be ornamented with six doxen roses, included a trail of petals from the foyer to the bed.  Live out the dreams of the marketing departments of diamond companies everywhere as you gift her an 18-karat white diamond and sapphire necklace, showing her that every kiss begins with not one but 18 K's.  And from there, you can enjoy a $10,000 shopping credit which you can spend on a VIP trip to Sak's Fifth Avenue.

Of course, the night could not be complete without a Chef's Table at Aria, the asian and traditional American mainstay of the luxury dining scene in Chicago.  Top that off with a personal butler, breakfast for two in bed, 90-minute in-room massage and "Fairy Tale Moments," which refers, of course, to a candlelit lavender bath with Cristal champagne and strawberries.  If you believing that showing your love to someone means going the extra mile, taking off your shoes, then running a barefoot marathon, then the Fairmont Chicago might be just what you're looking for this Valentine's Day.


Stuck in a Snow Storm: Extend your Stay with Five Star Alliance

January 16, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

Traveling during the snowy, winter months can be extremely unpredictable. We understand that the weather is a powerful force causing flight delays and therefore last minute travel and accommodation changes. Whether you’re hoping to extend your stay at your current hotel or find a new hotel last minute, we at Five Star Alliance will do everything we can to help you find a hotel that has availability and that fits your needs.

With the Midwest currently experiencing heavy snowfall, here are a few of our favorite luxury hotels in Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis that have availability for the rest of the week.

Chicago: Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, The Peninsula Chicago, The James Chicago Hotel, Public Chicago

Detroit: The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, The Henry Autograph Collection, The Townsend Hotel

Milwaukee: Inn on Woodlake, The American Club, InterContinental Milwaukee, The Pfister Hotel Downtown

Minneapolis: W Hotel Minneapolis The Foshay, The Marquette Hotel Minneapolis


Public Displays of Affectation: Public Chicago's New Year's Party

December 21, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

A small avian recently alighted itself upon my desk and informed me of quite the New Year's party in the great city of Chicago.  If you're looking for the place to be while watching the ball drop, you might as well see it in one of Chicago's newest, and swankiest, hotels.  The Public Chicago has gotten a lot of buzz for its reimagining this year, and it's well deserved.  The sleek, modernized design hasn't forgotten its roots as a traditional Chicago hotel but has embraced everything great about modern convenience.

And its party is no slouch either.  For just $150/person, starting at 9pm, you get a 4-hour premium open bar in the Pump Room and Library, their signature dining options, hors d'oeuvres, desserts, and a midnight champagne toast.  Live DJs will be supplying the music all night long, and if dinner is your idea of a warm-up, the Pump Room is offering a four-course prix-fixe meal for just $65 on top of it.  Simply book a room at the Public Chicago for New Years and you'll be ready to check out one of the hottest new hotels getting its groove on.


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #18 The Peninsula Chicago

December 14, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #18 Spot we have The Peninsula Chicago, located on the Magnificent Mile, the heart and soul of Chicago.

Quick Facts about the The Peninsula Chicago:

-  Offers 339 rooms and suites that are decorated in a classical yet contemporary style which can be controlled using state-of-the-art interfaces located within the room.

- The Peninsula Spa was rated one of the top ten urban spas in the country, and houses an indoor pool and spa center that spans the top floors of the hotel, offering a breathtaking view of the city

- The Magnificent Mile is the shopping center of Chicago, with such amazing stores as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany and Co, and numerous other luxury brands.

- Three distinctive restaurants and a bar serve a variety of fine cuisine, including a chocolatier who concocts 25-40 different kinds of confectionary treats a night.

-The hotel offers children's packages that cater to the age of the child and the American Girl store next door.

- With a grand ballroom and six additional meeting spaces totaling over 14,000 sq. ft. of space, The Peninsula is a top-notch space for meetings and galas.

- The Peninsula has received the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award and Mobil Five Star awards as well as the Forbes 5-star Award for nearly every year since its opening in 2001.

View photos, read more, and check availability at The Peninsula Chicago >>


Good to be a Gangster: Toast the End of Prohibition at Chicago's Renaissance Blackstone

November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Renaissance Blackstone Chicago HotelRaise your glass to the days of Prohibition on Repeal Day, December 5. The Renaissance Blackstone Chicago Hotel-- the storied address where Charles "Lucky" Luciano gathered a group of gangsters for the first-ever "Crime Convention" in 1923-- is a fitting place to celebrate the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. (Al Capone was also a regular at the Blackstone's barbershop and "The Untouchables," documenting Scarface's rise to power in Chitown, was filmed at the Blackstone.) With the "Good to be a Gangster" package, you can snag a great hotel deal in Chicago along with all kinds of goodies. What's more, the Blackstone's restaurant will be serving up all kinds of special cocktails for Repeal Day 2011 (think Mint Julep and gin-based Snowballs). Starting from $189 per night and valid through March 2012 based on availability, the package includes:

* Overnight accommodations * Two tickets to the Gangster Tour where guides named "Al Dente" and "Shoulders" uncover the secrets of the city's most notorious sites * A copy of Get Capone signed by author Jonathan Eig * A copy of Ken Burns' Prohibition on DVD * A Prohibition Cocktail in the hotel's Mercat a la Planxa restaurant


The Elysian Hotel Chicago to Become Part of the Waldorf Astoria Brand?

November 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elysian Hotel ChicagoWord on the street is that one of our fave hotels in the U.S., the Elysian in Chicago, will become part of the esteemed Waldorf-Astoria brand. Hilton's uber-luxury chain is rapidly expanding in all four corners of the globe, and now has properties in Rome, Shanghai, Orlando, and Park City. Sources have told Crain's Chicago and The USA Today Hotel Check-In that the swank Elysian will most likely become part of Waldorf Astoria because "billionaire financier Sam Zell is buying the hotel for about $95 million." If this is true, says Hotel Check-In, "the per-room price for the 188-room hotel would be $505,000 - the highest, Crain's says, for a Chicago hotel. Zell apparently expects to lift the hotel's value by bringing in Hilton to manage it and market it to its millions of customers." The Elysian has won acclaim for its extreme level of luxury: to-die-for rooms, a dazzling spa, an on-site Marc Jacobs store, and a restaurant adored by the blogging cognoscenti. (Psst. Gwyneth loves these digs.)


Four Seasons Chicago Offers Incredible Holiday Services and Events

November 8, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Chicago is adding a little holiday cheer to your visit to the windy city. Perfect for families and individuals of varying ages, the following events are sure to brighten your spirits and make your holidays even more enjoyable.

Starting November 25th, the Four Seasons Chicago will have a Hot Chocolate Doc available to deliver specially crafted hot chocolate drinks right to your room. He’ll be available from 4:00 – 6:00pm until December 30th, making a variety of drinks with marshmallow crème and caramel drizzle toppings for kids, and offering a selection of rums and schnapps for adults. The price for these delectable treats is $8 for kids and $14 for the adult varieties with spirits.

The Four Seasons Chicago is also offering a Holiday Movie Room, a Family Gingerbread House Decorating Class, and even personal touches from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Enjoy holiday classic films and take your kids down to meet Santa while enjoying luxurious accommodations at the Four Seasons Chicago. Don’t delay, and make your holiday reservations early and enjoy a relaxing and stress-free vacation.


The Reindeer are Coming Back to Play at Trump International Chicago

November 4, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Rudolph at the Trump International Hotel and Tower, ChicagoLast year Chicago got a kick out of the live reindeer imported to the Trump International Hotel & Tower to play on the River Walk. Now that's our kind of holiday party! We hear that the luxury hotel is at it again this year, organizing a special celebratory family event on Saturday, November 19 with two reindeer, holiday music, lots of good food, and a viewing of Chicago's annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival fireworks show. Straight from the horse's reindeer's mouth: "Rudolph has informed us of his master plan to escape the North Pole and join us for the magical Festival of Lights. Rudolph will be staying at Trump International Hotel & Tower with a few of his friends and is eager to meet you."

Book "Rudolph's Great Escape," starting from $465 per night, and enjoy accommodations in a Deluxe King Guestroom; assorted cookies and milk at turndown; a vintage Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer DVD; complimentary meals for children under 10 years-old from the in-room dining children's menu (only when accompanied with an adult entree); photos with the reindeer; and a plush stuffed reindoor toy.


Hotel News Round-Up: Sleep in Buckingham Palace; Virgin Hotels Heads to Chicago

October 26, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

lebua New DelhiThere's so much fun and excitement happening the hospitality world these days (beer-themed spa treatments? Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh?) that you can't possibly be expected to keep up with it all. So we're helping out with a wrap-up of some of our favorite tidbits (and gossip) this week. First up: Rumor has it that Buckingham Palace might open as a hotel for tourists when when Prince Charles moves his home to Windsor Castle upon taking the throne. If this does indeed come to pass, expect to pay a "princely sum" to sleep there, says The Boston Globe's Melanie Nayer. Another fun news item: Sir Richard Branson has signed the first deal for his highly anticipated Virgin Hotels brand... in Chicago. The 27-storey Dearborn Bank Building at 203 N. Wabash-- just a block off Michigan Avenue and the river-- will get a makeover and open as a hotel in fall 2013.

Pictured: Another newsworthy item, the lebua New Delhi, opening in December.


Remember, Remember, the Month of November at the Ritz Carlton Chicago

October 25, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Ritz Carlton Chicago, a Four Seasons Hotel, is offering a few incredible activities and memorable events in November that are fun for the whole family. Kick off the holidays by participating in the Magnificent Mile Festival of Lights parade on November 19, 2011. The Ritz Carlton Chicago is located on the Magnificent Mile, just steps away from the upcoming parade. Your family and friends will enjoy hot chocolate, chestnuts, and other delicious snacks right outside the hotel prior to the parade, courtesy of the Candy Man from Candyality. After nibbling on treats, check out the parade, which begins with the lighting procession by none other than Mickey and Minnie Mouse at 5:30 PM. Take in the magic of seeing various Disney characters, floats, huge balloons, celebrities, marching bands, music performers, and last but not least, Santa Claus. During the parade, over 1 million lights covering 200 trees are illuminated, enlivening the spirit of the holidays, leading up to stunning fireworks along the Chicago River to conclude the parade. After the exciting parade, head back to the Ritz Carlton for a toast to the holiday season with a complimentary glass of champagne for adults and a cup of hot chocolate for children and the lighting of the hotel’s 17-foot (5 meter) tree at 7:30PM.

November is just around the corner, so get excited for some family fun and make your travel plans to Chicago today!