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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.

Afternoon Tea in Edinburgh at The Balmoral Hotel

August 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Balmoral

Located in the heart of the Scotland's capital overlooking Edinburgh Castle, Rocco Forte's Balmoral is a charming and historic luxury hotel. A fixture on the CNT Gold List for its superb spa, chic rooms and traditional Scottish hospitality, the hotel also boasts a Michelin star rated restaurant and delightful Afternoon Tea. The hotel only recently completed the refurbishment of its Drawing Room, featuring distinctive touches from Designer Olga Polizzi, who was inspired by the beautiful Scottish landscape, and included marled wools for the sofas and chairs, cushions with embossed velvet leaves, a collection of antique antlers, and paintings by contemporary Scottish artists. To celebrate this dazzling new Drawing Room, the hotel is introducing a range of innovative Afternoon Tea Concepts, including the Balmoral Tea, the Tartan Tea, and the Chocolate Dream. The Drawing Room provides the perfect setting for a world-class afternoon tea experience throughout the summer, between 2:30-6 pm. Indulge in the variety of finger sandwiches (from Scottish Smoked Salmon to Cucumber and Milled Pepper), French pastries, homemade scones and clotted cream, tea, and a glass of house Champagne.


Monday Night Chef’s Table at Cafe ZuZu, Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale

August 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cafe ZuZu

For those in the know, the Hotel Valley Ho is the place to be in Arizona's vibrant city of Scottsdale. The original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn has been made-over into a hip urban resort, and reopened to much fanfare in December 2005. (The classic mid-century design of the exterior belies the chic contemporary feel of the guest rooms, which feature all-glass walls opening onto private patios, flat-screen TVs, WiFi, terrazzo tile bathrooms, and feather-top beds with 300-thread-count linens.) The hotel's Cafe ZuZu is known for its contemporary American comfort food, handcrafted cocktails, and cool setting with soda fountain, classic counter, and courtyard dining.

Starting in September, the restaurant will launch its Monday Night Chef's Table, where each Monday is transformed into a gourmet extravaganza, featuring one supplier, regional American Cuisine, one particular ingredient, and a vineyard or a grape varietal. The diner, from 6:30-8 pm ($42 per person) will consist of three courses paired with appropriate beverages. Examples include the Tomato Fest on September 4 (the menu includes stewed tomatoes and dumplings, pan roasted wild striped bass with Abe Lincoln tomatoes and bacon, and warm cherry tomato and mango crumble for dessert), Alaskan Halibut on September 11, Sweet Corn on September 18, and Pinot Please on September 25.


Say Hello to the New Westin Boston Waterfront

August 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Westin Boston

It seems fair Boston is becoming inundated with new luxury hotels. The latest addition is the Westin Boston Waterfront, which is celebrating its grand opening with complimentary breakfast and rates from $239 a night until August 31, 2006. Like all Westins, this one is gung ho about its Heavenly brand beds and baths in each of the 793 guest rooms and suites. (And the WestinWORKOUT Powered by Reebok.) Located in south Boston, about three miles from Logan International, the new Westin is connected to the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. In addition to the Convention Center's 516,000 square feet of exhibit space, the Westin offers 32,000 square feet of meeting space including a Grand Ballroom.

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Take your Business to Boston at the New InterContinental Hotel


Destination Lyon, France and the Villa Florentine

August 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa Florentine

Located in the middle of the Cotes du Rhone wine-growing region, the historic city of Lyon is the gastronomic capital of France. An important artistic and cultural center, Lyon traces its roots back to the ancient Romans, when Lyon was the capital of the Roman territories of Gaul in 43 BC. The cobble-stoned streets, colorful Medieval buildings, and outdoor cafes of the Old City are all protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Looming above Vieux Lyon is the hill where the Romans built an exquisite amphitheater—still used today for summer concerts—and next door, the 19th century Basilique Notre Dame de Fourviere. The Villa Florentine is the place to stay in Lyon, offering panoramic views of the city from its perch above the Old Town, an unrivalled setting. With its elegant facade and Renaissance art and architecture, this Relais and Chateaux property exhibits a gorgeous Florentine style. Enjoy the region's famed gastronomy and a glass of Cote du Rhone at the terrace restaurant, while gazing out over the city. Rooms are sumptuous and modern, and the outdoor pool is breathtaking.


Planning a Caribbean Getaway for the Holidays: Think Jamaica

August 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jamaica Inn

Many Caribbean hot spots have been booked solid for months for the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays. Though a few luxurious resorts in Jamaica—including the Jamaica Inn, Ritz Carlton Rose Hall, and Half Moon—still have a few rooms available (some resorts require a minimum night stay of 4+ nights). Soft white sand beaches dotted with palms, lush forests and tropical nature reserves with waterfalls, orange sunsets over the turquoise sea… Jamaica is the stuff of postcards. And the third largest island in the Caribbean boasts the best golf. The courses—like the White Witch at Rose Hall-– are known worldwide for their awesome challenges and stunning natural beauty. To ensure a sunny Caribbean vacation over the holidays, act fast!


Free Fourth Night at Cap Juluca, Anguilla, Caribbean

August 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Cap Juluca

What could be better than a summer Caribbean getaway? The sugary white sand beaches are yours for the taking (hurricanes are not always on the forecast), the days are marked by cool ocean air breezes (as opposed to abundant East Coast humidity), and other-worldly resorts like Cap Juluca offer awesome discounts. Located on the island of Anguilla, just minutes from St. Maarten, Cap Juluca is an award-winning paradise of Moorish-style villas, five-star restaurants, tropical gardens, unparalleled service, and pristine beaches. The party doesn't stop there; Cap Juluca's got an amazing array of recreational facilities, including fitness center, bicycles and private golf carts, aqua golf driving range, putting green, croquet lawn, swimming pool, tennis courts, and endless water sports. The snorkeling and wind surfing are excellent. This luxurious resort is beloved by readers of Travel and Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler, who routinely rank it within the Caribbean's top three resorts. Until the end of August, pay for three nights at Cap Juluca and get a fourth for free! The offer includes continental breakfast served on your private terrace or full breakfast in the restaurant, use of the tennis courts and recreational facilities, afternoon tea and a bottle of rum.


Hot Spots in Paris: The Hotel Lancaster

August 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Lancaster

The best kept secret in Paris is the Hotel Lancaster. Tucked away in a small alley off the Champs Elysees, this luxurious hideaway is housed in a 19th century nobleman's mansion. It is an elegant and intimate place, with the feel of a private residence. The furniture in the house is part of an extensive and continuously evolving antique collection of over 1,000 pieces. And with impeccable service—the staff have truly perfected the art of hospitality—the Hotel Lancaster is still run like the private home of a connoisseur. Each of the 60 rooms, graced with traditional furniture and paintings by old masters, embody a style of Parisian chic, mixing the historical and the contemporary. The attention to detail and excellent standards have service have led the hotel to become a particular favorite with royalty and society figures. As featured recently in Forbes:

In the 1930s, Dietrich, the German screen idol, made it her home for months at a time. In the 1980s, Jagger often crashed there. Nowadays, it's the preferred Paris hostelry of Almodóvar, as well as director David Lynch, opera star Barbara Hendricks and a mix of discerning business and leisure clients, all of whom love the Lancaster's unique charm.

The Hotel Lancaster is currently offering a Special Weekend Promotion, valid for a minimum two-night stay on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The offer for a Standard room with queen bed, inclusive of continental or English Breakfast daily and a welcome amenity, is EUR 374 (excellent savings from the usual EUR 470 per night). Subject to availability.


Vail Resorts Goes Green with 100 Percent Wind Power

August 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Windpower

Ski with the wind! Vail Resorts announced on Tuesday that it is switching to wind power. By purchasing 152,000 megawatt-hours of wind energy, Vail Resorts will offset 100 percent of its company-wide energy use. According to the New York Times:

The announcement makes Vail the second-largest corporate buyer of wind energy in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, after Whole Foods Market Inc., the big supermarket chain that went to all wind power earlier this year.

Vail Resorts will buy their wind power credits from a Boulder company called Renewable Choice Energy. Vail is leading the pack in bringing alternative energy to the mainstream. Other resorts, like the Aspen Skiing Company, are following suit. And with global warming threatening to reduce much of the mountain snowpack in the West, this is excellent news.

More info


Get Your Own Digs at the Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles: The Fabulous $20 Million Renovations

August 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-Air

Ahhh, the Hotel Bel-Air. Discriminating Los Angeles hot spot, Mobil five-star award winner, the most prestigious address in the city, and the embodiment of Hollywood glamour and luxury. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Hotel Bel-Air has recently completed a $20 million, four-year renovation to several public areas and private guest suites. These upgrades include a new technology-equipped boardroom, state of the art equipment in the fitness center, new banquettes on The Restaurant's Terrace, new teak furniture at the pool, and in-room workstations for those workaholics who set up camp in their suites. The most interesting new feature? The customized suites for long-stay guests, who often stay at the hotel for several months of the year, and consider it their home away from home (lucky ducks). Specific examples include The Chalon Suite (150)—with hardwood flooring, custom-painted mural on the ceiling, new lighting, different color scheme for the bedding, drapery and upholstery, and a wet bar—and the Herb Garden Suite (264)—with reupholstered furniture, a new color scheme for paint, wallpaper and drapery, lighted make-up mirrors in the bathroom, new carpet in the living room, and hardwood flooring in the foyer. Fourteen of these rooms and suites were updated with suggestions by Hotel Bel-Air's long-stay guests.


Destination London: The Covent Garden Hotel

August 1, 2006
By: Guest Writer

Covent Garden Hotel

By Alex Rose

If you want a sexy weekend away in London, book Room 101, the Four Poster Suite, at the Covent Garden Hotel. Why the Four Poster Suite, you ask? Because it has the largest four-poster bed in London which measures 8-ft x 8-ft. The Covent Garden is recognized as one of London's finest boutique hotels. It belongs to the Firmdale Group, which is owned and operated by Kit and Tim Kemp. They've created a contemporary and eye-catching English feel throughout their hotel with antiques, richly textured tapestries and rugs, and oriental art. Each of the hotel's 58 rooms is individually different and each has an intimacy which makes you feel right at home. The staff is very accommodating and fantastic, and personally knows which plays to recommend in the theatreland district (which is within walking distance of the hotel).

For dinner, make reservations at the exquisite Yauatcha, on the corner of Broadwick and Berwick Streets. For the main course, try the delicacies such as native lobster in black bean sauce, and the cakes and pastries afterward. For the evening nightcap, try the bar at the hotel. The tables are arranged discreetly so you can talk without fear of being overheard as you share a drink together. In the morning, room service is a great way to start the day because it's quick and easy so you can enjoy breakfast in bed together.