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.
There's a new wine tasting venue in the Eternal City. The award-winning Westin Excelsior Rome, situated in the celebrated Via Veneto district, has introduced a new spot dedicated to fine wines paired with a selection of Italian cheeses and gastronomic specialties. VIN-ORVM was designed by Michael Stelea HDC architecture studio and thereby recalls the hotel's ORVM BAR. The 60-square-meter space is distinguished by oversized pots with orange branches and parquet and walls designed with warm wood accents. An enormous wrought-iron gate separates the tasting room from the cellar, boasting over 150 different labels of red and white wines. This is the ideal spot for an exclusive wine tasting, and the VIN-ORVM is open as well to external guests, with parties of a minimum of ten people for lunch or for dinner.
Experience Cork, Ireland in the fast lane, and book Capella Castlemartyr's Dream Car Getaway. A two night stay in one of the exquisite Capella Rooms includes the breakfast buffet, a bottle of Roedere Christal Champagne in the room upon arrival and a picnic basket for two prepared by Executive Chef Roger Olson. But guests also receive an Aston Martin DB 9, Bentley GT, Bentley Flying Spur or Porshe 911 C4 for the duration of their stay to drive around Cork. The car is available for take over upon arrival at the airport, and you can speed off into the sunset in a plush ride-- to the elegant resort located in close proximity to a 1000 year old Irish castle. This heavenly getaway at Capella Castlemartyr is available for Euro 1,950 during high season, and Euro 1,500 during low season.
We can barely contain our excitement about the appointment of Hélène Darroze, one of France's most distinguished chefs, as the Executive Chef at The Connaught. For the last 18 months, The Connaught has benefitted from a finely-tuned, GBP 60 million renovation and now Phase 1 is complete-- after skilled artisans have labored to restore original features and added a whole bunch of contemporary art and technology. The hotel's priceless London location and coveted legacy have lured connoisseurs of luxury for over a century, and now The Connaught can continue to offer this grand hotel experience to its clients. The hotel's long love affair with gastronomy will continue with Hélène Darroze at the helm in the hotel's kitchen. Trained by Alain Ducasse, awarded with two Michelin stars, Darroze is considered one of the top-ranking female chefs in the world. Slated to open in the third week of June, "Hélène Darroze at the Connaught" will wow diners with Darroze's innovative dishes, inspired by authentic regional and seasonal flavours, with roots in her native Landes region of South West France. To quote the Guardian: "At the Connaught, she follows in the footsteps of Angela Hartnett, Gordon Ramsay's protégée who won a Michelin star there before the tenancy expired last September."
The only thing more magnificent than the legendary Grand Hotel Wien is its location on the Ringstrasse, just a stone's throw from the Opera and St. Stephen's Cathedral. At the turn of the century, the Grand Hotel Wien opened its doors in all its Belle-Epoque splendor and the hotel's been at the epicenter of Viennese social life ever since. The Grand Hotel Wien embodies all the plush decadence of the Austro-Hungarian Empire; the rooms are styled for those with the very highest standards of taste. Now you can enjoy a little taste of the good life with guaranteed dollar rates at the Grand Hotel Wien. A big thank you to the hotel for using a fixed conversion rate of 1.4894 which works in the favor of Americans traveling abroad. Prices start at $380 per night in a Superior Room (double occupancy) including tax and service.
Belfast has been getting a makeover, thanks in part to the opening of its first truly decadent, five-star hotel: The Merchant, housed in the Italianate-style, former headquarters of the Ulster Bank. Besides the swankiest of guest rooms, this place also happens to offer the world's priciest cocktail. As described by the New York Times:
Nothing symbolizes the recent transformation of Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, better than the Merchant Hotel. Besides one-upping the old Europa-- once "Europe's most bombed hotel"-- the Merchant sells the world's most expensive cocktail, a mai tai made with hand-cut Fijian ice and rare Wray & Nephew rum, for GBP 750.
Enjoy the beautiful Irish summer with exclusive summer deals on rooms at Hayfield Manor. A stunning five star hotel in Cork, Ireland, Hayfield Manor charms guests with the beautiful surrounding countryside and multitude of activities in Cork itself. Guests who book rooms for May 23rd, 24th, and 25th are treated to a complimentary upgrade in room upon availability, and guests who book rooms during the June Bank Holiday receive a complimentary picnic basket with their room, and upgrade upon availability. Offer applies for May 31st and June 1st and 2nd.
Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: All guests of Hayfield Manor who make reservations with Five Star Alliance will receive complimentary afternoon tea for two - once during their stay valued at 25 Euro per person.
Paris may be the capital of haute cuisine, but at Les Ambassadeurs-- the fine dining restaurant at the Hotel de Crillon-- food is elevated to an art form. Master Chef Jean-François Piège was only 34 when he came to Les Ambassadeurs in February 2004 to take over the reins as Head Chef. Diners have been dazzled ever since. Hailing from the Drome region of Southeastern France, known for the quality of its fresh produce, Piège first yearned to be a gardener: "As a boy I used to look after the garden with my uncle. I was passionate about growing food; I loved being able to say: "I grew this myself and now I'm eating it." Armed with this knowledge of plants, Piège has enjoyed a glowing career in cuisine-- with stints at Chabichou in Courchevel, the French Riviera's Chateau Eza, and in the kitchens of the French presidential palace. He's worked under the tutelage of Bruno Cirino and Alain Ducasse, who chose Piège to take over for him at the Plaza Athenee in 2000. To quote Ducasse: "He embodies French savoir-faire and French savoir-vivre."
Now Piège has updated the Crillon's grand gastronomic restaurant with innovation and flair. Just check out that beauteous creation pictured at right, called "Bar tapioca d'huître" (have you ever seen oysters look so pretty?) And the desserts? Pinch me now. Though it's hard to believe, Les Ambassadeurs itself is just as gorgeous as the platters. Surrounded by marble and crystal chandeliers, you'll sink into your seat and be presented a unique menu designed by the chef himself with the rods used to hold newspapers for hotel guests. Piège's fans are thrilled about his new book Côté Crillon Côté Maison (Preface by Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller) which includes 41 dishes from the chef's Crillon kitchen, and 41 dishes from cooking at home.
Looking for a charming, intimate hotel in the heart of London, replete with grand interiors and a discreet, professional staff? The Draycott, situated between Chelsea and Knightsbridge, will satisfy your every whim. The 35 rooms are beautifully, individually appointed, each theatrically themed and filled with Victorian antiques. Enjoy the delights of summer with a stay at the award-winning Draycott Hotel with London's finest shopping and restaurants just minutes away. Allow the Draycott to spoil you with an indulgent Traditional Afternoon Tea on arrival and all the other luxurious trimmings you would expect from a 5-star townhouse. This "Summer Special" includes Traditional Afternoon Tea on the day of arrival, an early evening glass of Champagne, a mug of hot chocolate before bedtime, and daily English breakfast. Deluxe Double priced at GBP 255, valid from July 26 to September 7, 2008.
Fans of "The Sound of Music"-- and there are many, as the flick is the third most successful of all time, bested only by "Gone With the Wind" and "Star Wars"-- will be happy to learn that the von Trapp family's house in Salzburg, Austria will open on July 25, 2008 as a 14-room hotel. As reported by Goldarths Review, "For 100 euros (or US$155) a night, visitors will have a chance to relive scenes from the movie. Sip coffee at the gazebo where Liesl, eldest daughter of the von Trapp family and her boyfriend Rolf had a secret rendezvous or dine at the von Trapp family table."
We aren't the only ones who can't stop talking about Capella Hotels and Resorts, the six-star hospitality group launched by Horst Schulze, the guy behind Ritz-Carlton's success and "whose name is synonymous with visionary hotel-building" (to quote Travel + Leisure). Guest service is truly an art form at these new luxury hotels. Travel + Leisure loves 'em just as much as we do:
Before leaving New York for Schloss Velden, in southern Austria, and Capella Castlemartyr in County Cork, Ireland... Benjamin and Iona called, identifying themselves as my private assistants. Was there anything they could do for me or needed to know about me before my arrival-- dietary don'ts, transfers, reservations, specific things I wanted to see or do? Wow, I thought. Lots of hotels send "thank you for staying with us!" notes after you check-out, but such exhaustive pre-calls are rare.
At Castlemartyr, the 100-room, ultra-luxe hotel situated on 220 lush acres in County Cork, Capella's team of private assistants, "defined as proactive concierges" can handle any request. (Macrobiotic meals? No prob.) This summer, experience this already-legendary service with a fantastic "Dollars for Euro" promotion for stays booked through July 31, 2008. U.S. residents will be allowed to pay the room rate with dollars (even though it's listed in Euros). Considering the exchange rate is hovering around $1.55, this is a deal.