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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.

Did You Know? Hamilton Turner Inn

March 6, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Hamilton Turner InnHamilton Turner Inn was built  in 1873 for Savannah alderman Samuel Pugh Hamilton and his family. In 1883, the Hamilton mansion was the first residence in Savannah  to have electricity installed.  The entire house was fitted with electric lights by 1886, around the time Hamilton became president of the Brush Electric Light & Power Company.

Dr. Francis Turner purchased the house from the Hamilton estate in 1915 and lived there with his family until 1926. The mansion was opened for boarding and became a home for the Marine Hospital nurses in 1928. The Turner family moved back into the home in the 1940s, and the courtyard level was Turner's medical office.

The Turner family sold the house in 1965 to the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. The plan was to knock the building down and turn the lot into a school playground. The Historic Savannah Foundation intervened, and the mansion was spared from the wrecking ball.

Over the next 30 years, the Hamilton-Turner house changed hands several times, at one point even being converted into apartments. The Inn even appears in John Berendt’s best-selling book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

In 1997, The Hamilton-Turner mansion was converted into an inn.

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Did You Know? Hotel El Convento

March 5, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel El Convento
A landmark monument to the Conquistador Age, Hotel El Convento in San Juan, Puerto Rico showcases a timeless aura of Old World charm and splendor. As the first Carmelite Convent in the Americas, it housed nuns for 252 years until closing a few days before Christmas in 1903. Vacant for a decade, the abandoned building served as a retail store, a dance hall, and, for the next 40 years, a flophouse without running water, sanitary facilities, or electricity.

Opened on Jan. 27, 1962 as El Convento Hotel, it offered a tranquil, European-style alternative to the glitzy hotels lining the Condado strip. 

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It's Fat Tuesday at Hotel Monteleone!

March 4, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Hotel Monteleon


Happy Fat Tuesday everyone! Hotel Monteleone is the perfect Mardi Gras hotel in New Orleans, just steps from the Uptown parade route on Canal Street. This New Orleans hotel that has been a French Quarter icon for more than a century. Hotel Monteleone boasts 600 luxurious guest rooms, including 55 luxury suites and literary author suites. The new Criollo Restaurant and famous Carousel Bar & Lounge offer our guests the best in New Orleans dining and nightlife. Hotel Monteleone provides the best luxury hotel amenities, including a heated rooftop pool, 24/7 fitness center, and valet parking. Hotel Monteleone also offers 24/7 In-Room Dining and a Grab-n-Go Breakfast in the Lobby Lounge.

 

After catching the parade and merriment on Canal Street, retreat to the world-famous Carousel Bar for a Sazerac, Vieux Carre, De La Louisane, or other historic Big Easy libations. 

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Did You Know? Grand Hotel Eden

March 3, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Grand Hotel Eden was originally called hotel Panorama, and was built by Domenico Lombardi in 1870. It was purchased in 1883 by Carlo Augusto Reichmann,  a famous German hotelier.

In 1907, to make the most of the hotel's wonderful location, Reichmann hired architect Paolito Somazzi to construct a new larger building directly on the lake's shores. The two buildings were linked with a tunnel, acting as a particularly luxurious underground passage, entirely tiled in white, with painted garlands of flowers and furnished with shops and fitness centres for the hotel's guests.

The two buildings were called Reichmanns’ Hotels till 1919, when the name Hotel Eden was first adopted with the new owner - Adolfo Michel di Bonigen from the Canton Bern.

Grand Hotel Eden 

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New to Five Star Alliance: Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa

March 1, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Meet Casa Madrona Hotel and SpaThe story of this historic boutique hotel dates back to 1885, when William Barrett, Secretary-Treasurer for the San Francisco Gas and Electric Company and his wife Clara built a lavish "casa" on a hillside overlooking Sausalito. The location provided a wide-angle view of San Francisco Bay Area, teeming with powerful freight ships, elegant yachts and side-wheeler ferryboats. In 1980 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a treasured landmark. In November 2003, the historic hotel saw the addition of Poggio, an increase in the number of hotel rooms from 34 to 63, and the addition of a spectacular, 3,000-square-foot spa, a boardroom, a private dining room, and three new function rooms.

Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa 

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Did You Know? Balbirnie House

March 1, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Balbirnie House
Balbirnie House
dates back to 1777, having been commissioned by The Balfour family who were a very influential agricultural and coal mining family at the time.

The house was originally designed by the architect John Nisbet in 1777 and was then extended by Robert Crichton in 1815, and is now listed as Grade A of architectural and historical importance, most probably built as one of the largest and earliest Grecian style houses in Scotland.

The park surrounding Balbirnie extends to 416 acres of undulating scenery, and is landscaped in the style of Capability Brown, including many specimen trees and a collection of magnificent rhododendrons which is unrivalled in the East of Scotland. Views from the house extend over flowering garden lawns and trimmed yew hedges to woodland walks around the park. The first tee off for Balbirnie Park’s 18 hole golf course is a short amble from the hotel.

Also within the park is The Balbirnie Craft Centre, housed in the original old stable block just a few minutes walk away. Crafts sold include hand made jewelry, pottery, glassworks, and leather goods.

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Did You Know? Hotel Captain Cook

February 20, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Anchorage's Hotel Captain Cook is named for British explorer and cartographer whose three major voyages took him around the southern tips of Africa and South America, to Easter Island and, on his final voyage, along Alaska’s majestic coastline. Cook helped define Alaska in the 18th century by mapping its jagged coastline for the first time. In June of 1778, while looking for a Northwest Passage to Hudson Bay, he and his crew on the HMS Resolution dropped anchor in Turnagain Arm—within sight of the spot where the Hotel Captain Cook stands today.

Hotel Captain Cook

An earthquake in 1964 leveled much of downtown Anchorage. Businessman Walter J. Hickel, who was also Alaska's mayor, had already been investing in Alaska’s future for decades, building hotels and business centers as well as serving as Alaska’s governor, all with an eye to making Alaska the American gateway to the Pacific Rim. The Hotel has prospered and expanded with the times: the first Tower opened in 1965, followed by Tower II in 1972 and Tower III in 1978. Today, the 547-room hotel plays host to dignitaries, celebrities and people from all walks who love the grandeur of Alaska.


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Sleeping with the Presidents

February 17, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

The Willard InterContinental
In honor of President's Day, we wanted to showcase some luxury hotels that are favorites of POTUS.

The Willard InterContinental - Washington, DC
Every president since Franklin Pierce has stayed or attended an event here. President Lincoln even lived here with his family before his inaguration. Just in case more than one Commander-in-Chief is in residence, the historic hotel has four presidential suites, named after Presidents Jefferson, Adams, Washington, and Lincoln. 

The Kahala Hotel and Resort - Honolulu, HI
This hotel has put to bed every president since Lyndon B. Johnson. Presidents and other VIPs stay in either the Imperial and Presidential Suite. Both 2,200-square-foot suites are on the top two floors, with views of Kahala Bay. 

The Jefferson Hotel Richmond - Richmond, VA
Named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, the historic Richmond hotel has checked in 12 presidents, from Harrison and McKinley to both Bushes and Obama. Commanders-in-chief usually stay in the 1,400-square foot Presidential Suite, complete with a baby grand piano, dining room, and a marble balcony overlooking Franklin Street. 

Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa - Phoenix, AZArizona Biltmore
The one-bedroom Presidential Suite has hosted every president since Hoover, except Obama—though he stayed at the hotel on the campaign trail. Arizona Biltmore was also the honeymoon spot of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. 

Loews Madison Hotel - Washington, DC
President John F. Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy were hosts at the original opening of this hotel in 1963, and it has hosted every President since.

The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel - New York, NY
The Carlyle has hosted every American president since Harry Truman. Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan stayed at The Carlyle so often, it became their home away from home.

Presidents haven't only stayed at hotels. According to legend, The Equinox in Vermont is thought to be haunted by the ghost of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln. She and her sons spent summers there, although their last vacation was cancelled due to President Lincoln's assassination. The Mayflower Renaissance Washington DC was to play host to President Coolidge's Inagural Ball, but his son's death changed those plans. Consequently, he is said to haunt the hotel. 

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New to Five Star Alliance: Zero George

February 14, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Guests staying at Zero George are greeted upon arrival in the heart of the house, the original kitchen carriage house on the courtyard. This 1805 Carriage House has been transformed into the guest reception for the concierge desk, adjacent to the custom designed professional show kitchen, with a signature French enamel cooking range. Juxtaposing Charleston's period architecture, the hotel's decor is southern sophistication with a contemporary twist – reminiscent of a spacious, well appointed and comfortably furnished private home. The residences' private piazzas are furnished with wicker and wrought iron furnishings, allowing guests to casually lounge or breakfast while overlooking the Garden Courtyard.

Zero George 

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Did You Know? Raffles Hotel Singapore

February 12, 2014
By: Five Star Alliance

Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles Hotel Singapore
has claimed itself to be the home of the Singapore Sling. The down to earth decor of the two-story Long Bar where the drink was said to originate was inspired by the Malayan plantations of the 1920s. The bar has the safe where Sling creator, bartender Ngiam Tong Boon, locked away his recipe books. You can also see a version of the recipe from 1936, which a curious patron jotted down on a receipt. In addition to almost every alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoction imaginable, the bar also serves traditional pub favourites that are available as a meal or snacks. In the evening, a band performs a selection of contemporary and popular hits.

The recipe for the Singapore Sling varies widely, but here's one to try, courtesy of Imbibe Magazine

1 oz. London dry gin
1 oz. Bols Cherry brandy or Cherry Heering
1 oz. Benedictine
1 oz. fresh lime juice
2 oz. soda water
1 dash Angostura bitters
Tools: barspoon
Glass: Collins

Combine all ingredients except soda water and bitters in an ice-filled glass. Top with soda water, stir briefly and dash with Angostura bitters. Note: The original Singapore Sling appears to have been ungarnished. By the mid-1920s, they were adding the peel of a lime, cut in a thick spiral. By the late ’30s, they were also omitting the Benedictine and bitters and floating Sloe Gin on top.

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