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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.

VIP Access to the Shedd Aquarium with The Blackstone, A Chicago Renaissance Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Blackstone, a Chicago Renaissance HotelThe Shedd opened on May 30, 1930 as Chicago's first stand-alone aquarium, launched by the retired president of Marshall Field & Company, John G. Shedd. Today the popular attraction houses nearly 22,000 aquatic animals representing some 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters all over the world. Experience the historic Shedd Aquarium, a.k.a., "The World's Aquarium," with a special package from The Blackstone Hotel. Priced from $179 per night, the Aquarium Escape! includes two VIP non-timed/non-dated tickets to the Shedd Aquarium (read: no waiting in lines!) along with your overnight accommodations at The Blackstone. What's more, you'll be given a complimentary upgrade to a "View Room." Based on availability Thursday - Sunday only; valid through December 31, 2011.


Trump Chicago Celebrates Ivanka's New Baby with Facebook Contest


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump ChicagoTo celebrate the arrival of Arabella Rose, Ivanka Trump's new baby girl, the Trump Chicago is running a fab Facebook contest. One lucky mom-to-be will win a luxe babymoon! All you have to do is "like" the Trump Chicago on Facebook and, in 50 words or less, "tell them why someone in your life deserves a little pampering before Baby arrives." Hurry, you must enter by Thursday, July 21! The Trump Chicago team will then select their favorite story on Friday, July 22 to win a Babymoon Package on the future date of her choosing, based on availability, which includes:

* One-night stay in a deluxe suite

* 60-minute prenatal massage for Mom

* 60-minute Trump Classic massage for Dad

* One breakfast for two in Sixteen

* Daily selection of special teas/smoothies/mock-tails

* A prenatal pillow for use during the stay

* Special gift


Langham Hotels Heads to Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, PasadenaBig fans of Langham Hotels, we've been keeping a keen eye on the development of a brand spanking new hotel in Chicago. Set to open in May 2013, the 320-room hotel will occupy floors 2-13 in the former IBM Building downtown, an architectural icon designed by Mies van der Rohe. This will be the third U.S. hotel for the Langham chain, joining the Boston and Pasadena properties (not to mention the gorgeous London flagship and acclaimed Hong Kong hotel). A recent article on Katie Benson, regional vice-president for Europe and North America for Langham Hotels International, gave us a few more deets about this hotly-anticipated debut. Straight from the horse's mouth:

"...I think it will have the best rooms product in town, but that's the advantage of being new, and also the advantage of having floor-to-ceiling windows. I think the service style is a bit different. We will have a club lounge with spectacular views. This hotel will have our signature brand Chuan spa, which is our own spa brand built on traditional Chinese practices, and that will be I think a first in Chicago."

Related Article: Open Today: The Chuan Spa at The Langham, London

Pictured: The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California


PUBLIC: Ian Schrager's New Hotel Brand


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

PUBLIC ChicagoThis week Ian Schrager revealed plans for his new hotel brand and the press is going wild. The hotelier who pioneered the concept of the boutique hotel will debut PUBLIC, focused on "accessible luxury," on September 12. Last year we reported that Schrager had snatched up a prime piece of Chitown real estate: the Ambassador East hotel and its famous Pump Room. Now the property has been transformed into the PUBLIC Chicago and the legendary restaurant will be helmed by none other than Jean-Georges Vongerichten. In an interview with Chicago Magazine, Schrager had this to say:

"This whole hotel is really different from what I’ve done in the past. In the past, people might have labeled what I had done as being exclusive. Everything we are trying to do here is meant to be inclusive. We are trying to attract everybody and anybody who likes what we’ve done. Whether celebrities or young people or older people, we want everybody to enjoy it."

One of the details we're already swooning over: guests will be able to customize their own mini-bars.

Image via USA Today Hotel Check-In blog


From $175: A Stay at Affinia Chicago with Lots of Free Extras


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Affinia ChicagoHeading to Chicago this summer? Here's an enticing bargain. Affinia Chicago, just steps away from Magnificent Mile, is welcoming guests with a boatload of freebies to get out and enjoy Navy Pier, Chitown's lakefront playground. After all, the Affinia *is* the official hotel of Navy Pier! The best part? Rates from just $175 per night. With the "Navy Pier Getaway," you get four tickets to Pier Park, complimentary overnight parking at the hotel (a $49 value), trolley rides to and from the attraction on Saturdays, a children’s digital camera to capture vacation memories, and a value book of savings including discounts and special offers valid at shops and restaurants at Navy Pier. Guests staying Sunday through Thursday also enjoy four complimentary passes to the Chicago Children's Museum (a $40 value). Available for travel through September 7, 2011. Subject to availability.


Now Open: The Terrace at Trump Chicago Goes Polynesian Chic for the Summer


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Trump International Hotel and Tower ChicagoOne of the best al fresco views of Chicago is yours at The Terrace at Trump. Open tomorrow (May 18) for the summer season, the terrace lounge is perched on the hotel's 16th floor from where you can see the Wrigley Clock Tower, Lake Michigan and Chicago River. (Imagine watching the Wednesday and Saturday fireworks over Navy Pier from that vantage point!) On the menu: hand-crafted cocktails and Chef Frank Brunacci's fine American fare. This summer The Terrace is decked out in a "Polynesian chic" theme; think tiki torches, lush landscaping, even South Pacific beats. Some of the cocktails are also inspired by the theme-- like the Coconut Castaway and The Tahiti Traveler (served in a hollowed out pineapple).

Related Article: Diamonds, Emeralds, Black Pearls: Jewel-Themed Spa Treatments at Trump International Chicago


Gwyneth Paltrow Hearts The Elysian Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Elysian ChicagoIt's easy to fall for The Elysian-- the Chicago hot spot-- so we weren't surprised to see GP's rapturous description of the hotel in her latest GOOP newsletter. (Which, by the way, really made us want to dig into some delicious Chitown grub.) Here's what she loves about the hotel that's made such a stir on the Gold Coast since it opened in 2009. To quote:

I stayed at the newly opened Elysian hotel and I loved it. I love a new hotel and they have really done it right. I loved its pared down aesthetic and its many shades of grey. It was chic and comfortable, and I also loved being in the heart of everything but not right on Michigan Avenue. The restaurant was delicious and the spa was lovely—I treated myself to a great massage before an overnight flight. Great service—elegant yet cool. I will definitely be back. The hotel has two restaurants and I stopped at Balsan for some great American bistro-style food, with oysters on the menu and flatbreads made in a wood burning stove.

Related Article: Hot in the City: The Lexus Fleet at the Elysian Hotel Chicago


A Film Tour of Chicago, and Behind the Scenes at the Art Institute, with The Peninsula Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Peninsula ChicagoJust one more reason why we love The Peninsula Chicago? They've organized a cool film tour around the city where over 50 movies have been filmed. Guests can sign up for this special offering with The Peninsula Academy and relive favorites like Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Blues Brothers. Another fun option: "The Art of Hospitality" tour which goes behind the scenes at The Art Institute of Chicago, showcasing the world of the museum's curators, together with a private tour of the Institute's most notable collections. What's more- The Peninsula Chicago's celebrating a milestone anniversary in June (10 years!) and is giving guests all kinds of goodies. Treat yourself to anniversary specials at the spa (including $10 add-ons!), or indulge in a special 10th Anniversary Royal Tea or Pen Ten cocktail. The best part of all: A special offer on accommodations. When you book the "Celebrate 10 Years" promotion, you'll get your second night for just $10. Subject to availability; two-night stay required.


Hot in Chicago: Michael Jordan's New Restaurant to Open at the InterContinental Hotel


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent MileMichael Jordan is back. Twelve years after closing his self-named resto in Chicago, the basketball legend is gearing up to open the Michael Jordan Steakhouse this summer. Located at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile, the 160-seat restaurant will open in August. This latest epicurean venture includes two private dining rooms and a bar. The eatery will replace Zest restaurant, currently on the second floor of the luxury hotel. No word yet about the menu items but here's hoping they bring back the famous mac n' cheese that everyone loved at the first Chicago steakhouse! (Considering it's Jordan's favorite meal, how could it not be served?)


Hot in the City: The Lexus Fleet at the Elysian Hotel Chicago


By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Elysian Hotel ChicagoFancy a spin around Chitown? How about the keys to a Lexus convertible for the length of your stay? The pampered guests of The Elysian Chicago- the Gold Coast hot spot that we tend to swoon over- have another luxe amenity to add to the list. HotelChatter reports that The Elysian just parked a bunch of swank cars- from the LS 460L and LS 600h L hybrid sedans to the LX 570 sport utility vehicle- in their courtyard, available for free rides around town. Plus- if you book the Lexus package, starting at $485 per night, you get the keys to the Lexus convertible, American breakfast for two, and a welcome amenity along with your swanky digs.

Related Article: Bed, Breakfast, and Marc Jacobs at the Elysian Hotel Chicago