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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.

The Hotel Rival: Stockholm’s Most Exciting Hotel

June 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Rival

Stockholm's Hotel Rival is the epitome of cool. Hip, lively, colorful, and chic, the city's first boutique hotel is a modern masterpiece of design. (As to be expected of one of Sweden's finest hotels.) On a recent visit to the Hotel Rival, I decided I could camp out there for quite a while. Whether it be in the lobby (swooning over the stylish furniture), on-site bakery (stuffing my face with homemade breads and tasty pastries), the gorgeous bar (pretty-people-watching), or the on-site cinema (oohing and ahing a little bit more), I found the Hotel Rival to be the kind of friendly and exciting boutique that every city should wish for.

On the way to the hotel, flying over the islands that make up Stockholm's archipelago, my taxi driver told me that Paris Hilton much prefers the Hotel Rival to her Daddy's Hilton, right next door. No surprise there. Paris isn't the only one who adores the Hotel Rival. From Pop stars to business-folk, the hotel's clientele keep coming back for the thoughtful service, cutting-edge technology, and careful attention to detail. Of course there's also the star factor. This crib belongs to Benny Andersson, the ABBA legend. The Swedish version of Mama Mia! has recently debuted in Stockholm, much to the city's delight, and CDs (along with ABBA memorabilia) are available for purchase in the lobby.

The Hotel Rival is a major gathering place in Stockholm. The gorgeous cinema--showcasing original historical touches after its lux renovation-- is now the scene of fashion shows, parties, concerts, and film screenings. Indeed, the cinema motif is dominant in the hotel's design: the comfortable bistro features wall paneling with a mosaic of 924 film star images, and each guestroom is adorned with a scene from a vintage Swedish film, the glass-covered canvas suspended above the beds.

Ahhh the rooms. Perfectly comfortable and highly sophisticated, the guestrooms embrace a sleek modern minimalism which hasn't abandoned function over form. The DUX beds are heavenly, with luscious linens, Egyptian cotton sheets, a special pillow menu, and the signature teddy bear from Debenhams. Some rooms feature a windowed wall between the bathroom and bedroom, allowing guests to soak in the tub while gazing out into the room. Of course the guestrooms and suites are loaded with technology, from 32" plasma screen TVs, DVD/CD players (and plenty of DVD rentals), PlayStation2, and wireless internet access.

The Hotel Rival is Stockholm at its finest.


Michelangelo Drawings at the British Museum, London

June 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Michelangelo

Now showing at the legendary British Museum in London: "Michelangelo Drawings: Closer to the Master." The exhibit showcases 90 works created over the 60 years of Michelangelo's life. These drawings-- from only 600 surviving works-- are extremely rare. As explained by the IHT:

Of Michelangelo (1475-1564), the 16th century art historian Giorgio Vasari wrote: "Just before his death, he burned a large number of his drawings, sketches and cartoons to prevent anyone from seeing the labors he endured… for fear that he might seem less than perfect." For Michelangelo, drawings were simple tools that could only be seen by his pupils.

Thus the importance of this exhibit. Museum open daily. Exhibit runs until June 25.


Hotel de la Paix Re-opens its Doors in Geneva

May 30, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel de la Paix

After a year long renovation, the five-star Hotel de la Paix has been restored to its former glory. With over two centuries of history, the landmark building is located in the heart of Geneva at one of the city's most prestigious addresses on the shores of Lake Geneva, overlooking the majestic fountain and backdrop of Mont-Blanc. The renovation reduced the number of guestrooms from 101 to 84, which significantly enhances the space within each room. These spacious guest rooms-- with elegant furniture and an abundance of natural light-- have been updated with cutting edge technology and contemporary touches. Since the March 13th reopening, guests can return again to the hotel that has pampered a long line of royalty, philosophers, and writers over the course of its distinguished history.


The Best of Ireland: Town and Country Experience at Ashford Castle and The Merrion

May 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ashford Castle

Visitors to Ireland who want to enjoy both the excitement of Dublin and the beauty of the countryside can now partake in the ultimate Irish vacation with the "Town and Country Experience" from Ashford Castle and The Merrion. Located on the country's west coast near Galway City, Ashford Castle is one of the most luxurious castle hotels in Ireland. Its setting is magical: the quintessential Irish pastoral of woods, lakes, rivers and mountains. Along with its delightful accommodations, Ashford Castle is renowned for its recreational activities and country sports, including fly fishing, equestrian center, nine-hole golf course, falconry and sporting clay shooting. The other participating luxury hotel is Dublin's finest five-star hotel. The Merrion is comprised of four restored Georgian townhouses, and now houses 123 guestrooms and 20 suites, the Tethra Spa, and Ireland's only two-star Michelin restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud.

The "Town and Country Experience" offers an exclusive stay at both beautiful properties, with transfers available via limousine, airplane or helicopter. There are three levels available. The Silver Experience is priced at EUR 1,550 per person, based on double occupancy and includes: 3 nights Deluxe accommodation at Ashford Castle, 3 nights Deluxe accommodation at The Merrion in the Garden Wing, full lrish breakfast daily, round-trip airport transfers, welcome cocktail at both hotels, tickets for the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin and The Merrion's Art Catalogue, a one-hour massage per person at both hotels, limousine transfer between both hotels, a picnic lunch for two during the transfer, choice of a one-hour Falconry lesson or golf for two with club rental at Ashford Castle. The Gold and Platinum Experiences include additional amenities, such as half-day fly fishing excursion and half-day Georgian Walking Tour in Dublin. This package is subject to availability and includes taxes.


Luxury Air Travel: Special Last-Minute Promotion to London on Maxjet

May 25, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maxjet Airlines

With airfares to Europe skyrocketing, this promotion is almost too good to be true. Maxjet Airways-- all business class and low airfares too-- flies luxurious transatlantic service between London Stansted and New York and Washington. The service is sensational: gorgeous pre-departure lounges, signature gourmet meals, on-demand entertainment, and deep-recline, all-leather seats onboard. From now until June 2, you can fly the luxury airline with discounted fares of just $1,000 roundtrip. Now that's a steal.

Via MSNBC


Hot Tables: Thierry Marx’s Chateau Cordeillan-Bages, Pauillac, France

May 23, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Thierry Marx's Chateau

Surrounded by the finest wine-making chateaux in the world, this converted 17th century monastery is now home to a small hotel and Thierry Marx's inspired restaurant. (Of course the star chef's creative cuisine is paired with the best Bordeaux grand crus from the Medoc region.) Named "Chef of the Year" by GaultMillau, Thierry Marx is one of the finest, cutting-edge chefs of the day. A recent review in the International Herald Tribune describes his food as intensely creative, and thus "not for everyone":

Look at the titles of some of his dishes and you simply may want to run the other way. Liquid quiche Lorraine? Virtual sausage? Bean sprout risotto? Sweetbread spaghetti? Wacky, yes. But Marx is not taking food to another level of perfection or enjoyment, but to a different level. Food such as his makes us look at taste in a new way.

In my book, none of this would be any good if the food did not offer pleasure as well as amusement, shock as well as satisfaction. And it does. Most of the time.

For me, the most satisfying, surprising and enjoyable dish of some 15 little tastes was his smoked Aquitaine beef. Marx sears the filet quickly, slices it, then sets the beef on a miniature hibachi set above burning Merlot vine clippings. All of that is wrapped in clear thick plastic, tied with ribbon and paraded to the table. As the wait staff unwraps your dinner gift, light, delicate, pleasing smoky aromas waft through the room. The end result is a meat that is juicy, delicate, sweet and oh-so-gently smoked, a dish created with a stroke of genius.

Bring it on.


Spotlight On: Blakes Hotel London

May 23, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Blakes Hotel

By Alex Rose

One of the most enticing hotels you'll find in London where you can spend a sexy weekend that will indulge your senses in the most extravagant ways. Blakes is the creation of former Bond girl Anouska Hempel who has taken luxury and couture to a new level with her hotel. Each of the 52 rooms are a veritable feast for the eyes with all the decor and furnishings providing a feel of sumptuous luxury. If you value your privacy, no worries here; this is one of the very few hotels where celebrities from all walks of life can check-in and not worry about paparazzi. Jack Nicholson, Robert DeNiro, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Gisele Bundchen, and other well-known celebs have stayed here. What rooms are recommended? All are extremely luxurious and chic, but request the White Suite or Room 309. There's a wonderful bar and restaurant downstairs, but room service is all you'll need at Blakes. Quite spectacular by any standard for those sophisticated travelers who appreciate a superb quality of service.


Cruise the Riviera Package at the Palais de la Mediterranee, Nice, France

May 22, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Palais

Cruising the Med this Summer? Enjoy a Pre- or Post-Cruise Package at the most fashionable palace in Nice. Situated on the Promenade Des Anglais, the legendary Palais de la Mediterranee is a sophisticated jewel on the Cote d'Azur, offering the ultimate Riviera experience. For those planning a Mediterranean cruise, the Palais has designed a fabulous Pre- or Post-Cruise package at a guaranteed U.S. dollar rate. This is savings up to 35 percent off the regular rack rates! Packed with value-added amenities, the Cruise the Riviera package includes full American breakfast, upgrade upon availability, VIP treatment including fresh fruit and sweets in room upon arrival, early arrival and late checkout, welcome drink at the Pingala Bar. $300 per night, Superior Room.


The Perfect Honeymoon

May 19, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Banyan Tree Seychelles

From the Eternal City to Bali beaches, from the Hawaiian islands to the Seychelles, we've scoured the earth for special honeymoon offers.

But choosing-- (you see Kenyan safari, s/he sees tequila and tanning in Mexico)-- and planning a honeymoon can be more taxing than the actual wedding planning. Just ask The Post. This Sunday, The Washington Post Travel section is devoted to the honeymoon: top 10 destinations; tips on making it a trip to remember; tales from readers (honeymoons worth telling the grandkids about), and the best of all: 5 Couples, 5 Budgets, 5 Honeymoons, a case study of five DC area couples who honeymooned in different ways (Disney World, anyone?)

And now we're looking to our readers for planning tips, packing advice, ideas on memorable locations and luxury hotels worldwide. Just how do you go about picking and planning the perfect honeymoon?


Want To Sleep in Ronaldinho’s Bed? (Park Hotel, Weggis, Switzerland)

May 18, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ronaldinho

This is not a joke. And I quote:

The Park Hotel in Weggis, Switzerland, which is hosting the Brazilian national soccer team during training for the FIFA World Cup, is auctioning off a chance to spend a night in rooms once occupied by the team. As of last night, the high bid for Ronaldinho's double room was $415. The hotel is offering fans the chance to stay in the rooms as well as getting signed shirts. (how about signed bed-sheets?) "We just hit on the idea by chatting among ourselves in the hotel management," assistant manager Philipp Musshafen revealed. Normally, the rooms at the luxury hotel go for around 480-780 Swiss Francs. And no, Ronaldinho does not come with the room. Check out the auction on Ebay.