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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.

Mother’s Day Brunch at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco

May 5, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Terrace at the Ritz Carlton SF

This Nob Hill historic landmark has recently completed a $12.5 million renovation, and the stately hotel has been renewed with modern elegance. The city's highest-rated hotel-- the only Mobil five star and AAA five diamond winner-- boasts remarkable views of the bay and city skyline, and the perfect location on a stop for the Cable Car line. This is a delightful setting to dazzle Mom on Mother's Day, whether in The Dining Room (one of only four Mobil five-star restaurants in Cali) for dinner, the elegant Ballroom for an elaborate Buffet Brunch, on The Terrace in the sunshine for a delicious three-course lunch, or for Mother's Day Tea in The Lobby Lounge. Enjoy extraordinary cuisine, listen to a superb jazz trio, and rest assured that Mom will be showered with attentive, respectful service, flowers and a more-than-memorable meal.


Jumeirah’s Luxury Hotel Expansion and the Jumeirah Essex House, New York

May 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Jumeirah Essex House

Jumeirah, the luxury hospitality group and member of Dubai Holding, is growing by leaps and bounds. Perhaps the most significant development for 2005 was Jumeirah's entry into the US market, with the acquisition of one of Manhattan's most prestigious and historic luxury hotels: The Essex House. Renamed the Jumeirah Essex House, the hotel is an elegant city landmark, perfectly located off Central Park. Since its debut in 1931, this luxurious property has been the New York refuge for international leaders, dignitaries, and celebs. Most importantly, the hotel houses the superlative Mobil Five-Star restaurant, Alain Ducasse at Jumeirah Essex House-- easily the best restaurant in New York City.

After the acquisition of this gorgeous property, Jumeirah continues to anticipate awesome growth for 2006. Let us count the ways. Management of Shanghai's most prestigious new hotel development in the Luwan District (HanTang Jumeirah Shanghai will open in 2008). Management of Jumeirah Dubai Towers, a five-star hotel in Doha, Qatar. Management of the luxury hotels and theme park at the beachfront town of Aqaba, Jordan. And in Dubai, Jumeirah will operate Aqua Dunya, a theme park resort in Dubailand that aims to become the world's largest leisure and tourism attraction. (With a whopping 8 million sq. ft.) And let's not forget the management of Jumeirah Al Khor in Dubai Healthcare City, and lastly, the Jumeirah Business Bay Hotel, in Dubai's new business district (Business Bay, Dubailand, Healthcare City.... the names are clever, aren't they?) Whew.

Jumeirah Essex House, Five Star Alliance


A Casino for Nemacolin Woodlands?

May 4, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Nemacolin Woodlands

You heard that right. The AAA four diamond resort-- in quest of the ever elusive five-diamond rating-- may construct an Old West-style casino with 500 slot machines. Just how that will up the rating is beyond me. Currently, Nemacolin Woodlands is a popular luxury destination outside Pittsburgh, with world-class golf course, excellent restaurants, internationally acclaimed Spa, Equestrian Center, Kids Club, shooting academy, tennis, and endless other activities.

Nemacolin Woodlands, Five Star Alliance


Golf, Spa and the Best Wines in France: Relais De Margaux

May 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Relais de Margaux

Northwest of Bordeaux, bordered by the Atlantic and the Gironde Estuary, lies the world-renowned Medoc region, celebrated for producing the world's most prestigious red wines. Meaning the "middle territory," the Medoc is situated on the 45th parallel, benefiting from an ideal temperate climate and a unique gravelly terroir. These beautiful vineyards produce high-quality grapes of many varieties: Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet-Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot.

Situated in the midst of these splendid vineyards on a 135-acre property, the Relais De Margaux is an elegant hotel, graced with the traditions of a rich past but with all the comforts and facilities of the present. Originally the chateau of one of the premier wine-producing families of France, Relais de Margaux has been transformed into a comfortable, contemporary resort destination. From your room, enjoy spectacular views of the new 18-hole golf course situated between the Estuary and the vineyards. (The course opened in 2005 with driving range and putting green.)

Rooms are the essence of comfort-- furnished in a traditional French style, and with all the modern amenities of a world-class hotel: flat screen TVs, spacious bathrooms with heated towel racks, large French windows, luxurious linens. Relax in your room or immerse yourself in luxury at the new Spa Harmonia with a treatment a la carte, or full day cares package, to enjoy the Jacuzzi, hammam, sauna, swimming pool, and fitness room.

After a day spent tasting the divine wines of the nearby Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, and Chateau Margaux-- all renowned for their premier grand cru classe-- indulge in gastronomic cuisine that will likewise knock your socks off. At both the gourmet restaurant (Ile Vincent is situated in one of the ancient wine cellars) or the Brasserie du Lac, Chef Laurent Costes creates exceptional dishes to match the region's exceptional wines. For dessert, you must order the chocolate pizza: rich melted chocolate over a thick, round crust of brioche. And breakfast is a sheer delight: bountiful baskets of piping hot crossaints, meats, thick yogurt, fruit, and rich coffee.


Sipping Bordeaux Wine in Saint-Emilion, France: the Grand Barrail Chateau Resort and Spa

May 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Grand Barrail Chateau

How's this for a perfect day. A leisurely lunch savored in the sunshine gazing up at the immense ruins of a 9th century church carved from sheer limestone walls. A stroll through winding cobble-stoned streets with panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards. A tour through a local wine-grower's chateau, its wine cave built deep into the hill's rock cliffs. A late afternoon glass of pink sparkling wine, accompanied with almond flavored macaroons, in the ruins of an ancient monastery. As the afternoon light fades orange against the city's ramparts and Roman stone archways, you can't help but think… This is the life.

Welcome to Saint-Emilion, 30 minutes from Bordeaux in the midst of the world's most famous wine-growing region. The town is steeped in history-- its name derived from the Benedictine monk hermit who resided in a cave here between 750 and 767-- and the luxurious traditions of art de vivre. The vineyards and township of St. Emilion are UNESCO-heritage protected sites because they've endured-- virtually untouched-- since the Roman poets extolled the virtues of the rich wines.

In such an extraordinary setting, the Grand Barrail Chateau Resort and Spa is the gem to choose for its unrivaled accommodations. Just outside the township of Saint-Emilion, the castle's towers and turrets emerge in splendor from the rolling hills of meticulously planted vines. Even the basic accommodations (Superior) are comfortable, spacious, and tastefully appointed. But the suites are extraordinary, with lavish bathrooms, light-filled rooms, and sweeping views over the lawn and countryside; one even boasts an enormous stone balcony and terrace that comprises most of the castle's second floor.

The new full-service Spa features hammam, Scottish bath, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and a tantalizing menu of treatments with Ligne St Barth cosmetics. For example: the St. Barth Softness is a nourishing body peeling massage with coconut oil, fresh papaya and an extra-fine sea sand polish complex. (The sand is imported from the Caribbean island, and the Ligne St Barth cosmetics are enhanced with additional fresh fruit.)

Dining is a gastronomic experience, with plates as beautifully presented as the cuisine is rich and delicious. The chef's got quite a few awards under his belt. Compared to your nightly feast, breakfast isn't half bad. It's served in an elegant breakfast room filled with light through stained glass windows; dainty crossaints are served hot from the oven, accompanied with fine fruit jams and other delights from a generous buffet display.

Here in Saint-Emilion at the Grand Barrail Chateau, it's easy to see how the French have mastered the joie de vivre.


Plaza Athenee New York Penthouse Suite

May 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

by Courtney W. May and Karen Goldberg, Director of Sales & Marketing, Hotel Plaza Athenee New York

Hotel Plaza Athenee NY Penthouse Balcony

The Hotel Plaza Athenee is a small, charming European boutique-style hotel located on 64th Street at Madison Avenue. In 2006, Conde Nast Traveler featured the Hotel Plaza Athenee as “One of the Top Hotels in the World” on the Gold List. For those looking for a 'discreet location' in Manhattan, ecspecially on the fashionable Upper East Side, they need look no further then the Hotel Plaza Athenee's Penthouse Suite. Yes, that's right - we are once again writing about a luxury, high-level, freakishly huge and overdone suite at a five-star hotel in New York City.

In Hotel Plaza Athenee's Penthouse, free time not spent in the solarium, on the balcony, or their office alcove, can be spent indulging in the finest shops of the neighborhood. Also nearby is the Whitney, Frick or Museum of Modern Art. Not to mention all of the noteworthy restaurants where our the concierge staff will gladly secure your reservation.

Hotel Plaza Athenee NY Penthouse Atrium

Hotel Plaza Athenee New York Penthouse Suite

Location: The hotel is on the Upper East Side of New York City - on 64th between Madison and Park Avenue, one block from Central Park. The pale yellow decorated suite is a two-story duplex apartment located on the top two floors of the hotel - the 16th & 17th.

Size: 1972 square feet or 184 square meters.

Living Room: On the Suite's first floor, the 16th, the living room includes a decorative marble fireplace. The lower level also contains a pantry, formal dining room that seats 12, a ½ bathroom and an office alcove off the living room and the connecting second bedroom.

Master Bedroom: Spiral staircase leads to the second floor of the penthouse with full master bedroom, full bath and walk in closet, wrap around terrace and atrium.

Balcony & Atrium: Connected to the Master Bedroom, the balcony has a planted private terrace which runs half the length of the hotel. The atrium is a sun-drenched indoor space with rattan furniture.

Rate: Currently, the one-bedroom Penthouse Suite will run you about $3,900 per night, plus tax.

Fun Fact: The hotel's exterior is shaped somewhat like a pyramid - the higher up you go, the less space you have and the less numbers of rooms you get on each floor.

Hotel Plaza Athenee New York, Five Star Alliance

Hotel Plaza Athenee NY Penthouse Master Bedroom

Related Articles: "Park Avenue Suite at The Regency in New York City", "The Carlyle Hotel in New York City (Re)Opens The Royal Suite", "The Triplex Penthouse at the Time", and "Suite Escapes: the Mandarin Oriental New York Celebrates its Taipan Suite".

Don't forget, if you make your reservation with Five Star Alliance for the Hotel Plaza Athenee, you get the "Special Offer from Five Star Alliance: Afternoon Tea for two (2) with pastries and tea sandwiches once during your stay."


For Sale: The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas, Texas

May 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Mansion on Turtle Creek

The rumors are flying. The sophisticated and palatial Dallas landmark-- stacked with awards and with a devoted international following-- is on the market. And this posh icon shouldn't have any trouble attracting a buyer. The Mobil five-star and AAA five-diamond award winner has been distinguished as the top U.S. hotel by Zagat and the world's best hotel service by Travel and Leisure. Rosewood's Mansion on Turtle Creek is the only five-star hotel in Texas, and the management intends to keep it that way: continuing its role operating the property after the new buyer is found. Besides this stellar service and other-worldly cuisine, the hotel features a world-class spa, fitness center and pool.


Spring Drinks and Cool Cocktails at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago

April 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Four Seasons Chicago restaurant

Make a toast to Spring's arrival with some tasty new offerings at the Four Seasons. The brand new Spring Drinks menu-- available until June 30-- mixes up some fresh fruit puree in their enticing new drinks. Shake things up with the English Lemon (2 oz Hendricks Gin, 2 oz Lemon puree, splash of 7-Up), Orange et Mandarine (2 oz Grey Goose Orange, 1 oz Cointreau, splash of Mandarine Puree) or the Spring Margarita (1 oz Don Julio Reposado, 1/2 oz Peach Schnapps, Splash of Sour Mix). How refreshing.

(Want more stylin' recipes from the Four Seaons? Here ya go. The Blue Horizon is 2 oz Bacardi Limon, 1 oz Blue Curacao, Splash of Cranberry Juice. Care for a Caribbean Chat? That's 1 oz Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, 1/2 oz White Creme de Cacao, Splash of Orange Juice, Splash of Club Soda. And the Brazilian Paradise is 2 oz Cachaca, 1 oz Malibu Rum, Splash of Pineapple Juice, Splash of Raspberry Puree. Enjoy.)


The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering and Monterey Classic Car Week at the Quail Lodge, Carmel

April 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Quail Lodge

Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club is a Carmel legend, the beautifully renovated resort property of The Peninsula Hotels, from where guests experience the charm of Carmel-by-the-sea, the magical Monterey Peninsula, and Pebble Beach. Situated on 850 scenic acres, the resort offers spectacular vistas from its guestrooms overlooking the fairways. But beyond the championship golf and luxurious spa, the Lodge further enhances its elegant reputation as the host of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, celebrating the luxury motorsports lifestyle. The August 16 event showcases the world's rarest automobiles, fine wines and cuisine in a garden party setting. This year's event commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Targa Florio (one of the world's oldest open-road endurance races) and the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Seca Raceway. Additionally, the event honors the Italian car designer Zagato. This is one of the classic events of the Monterey Peninsula's Classic Car Week, where guests can view 100 legendary sports and racing cars, test drive some Bentleys, and head off-road at the Land Rover Experience Driving School. Tickets are $150 per person, including wine tasting, cuisine, a collectible poster, and access to the Bonhams and Butterfields auction of historic cars, fine jewelry and art.


You’re Invited to the Calera Wine Company Dinner at the Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles

April 26, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-Air Possibly the most prestigious address in Beverly Hills, the Hotel Bel-Air is a 12-acre oasis of gardens and fountain courtyards. The Mobil five star award winner is the pinnacle of luxury, its elegant guestrooms and suites each featuring fireplaces, French doors, and tiled courtyards with private outdoor spas. But perhaps the best things about the Hotel Bel-Air are its culinary events and wine maker dinners. For five years, the hotel has been inviting wine connoisseurs to enjoy lavish multi-course meals paired with rare tastings of exquisite wines. The dinners are intimate affairs, with only 30 guests gathered to taste, learn about, and discuss the featured winery. The next dinner, with the Calera Wine Company and Winemaker Josh Jensen takes place on May 17 at 6:30 pm, $175 per person. What's on the menu? Seared Diver Scallops, Tomato Fondue and Northern Morel Mushrooms paired with 2003 Viognier "Mt. Harlan", Country Pate, Truffles and Cherry Chutney paired with 2002 and 1996 Pinot Noir "Reed", Lavender-Honey Lacquered Duck, Vegetable Bayaldi and Sweet Peas paired with 2002 and 1996 Pinot Noir "Jensen", Grilled California Peach Melba paired with 2005 Dessert Viognier "Mt. Harlan". Delish. Hotel Bel-Air, Five Star Alliance