February 3, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
Mardi Gras is on February 21st this year, which is only a few short weeks away! From an incredible parade to mounds of beads and excitement, Mardi Gras is definitely an event worth attending at least once in your life. Check out the following luxury 5 star hotels that currently have availability during Mardi Gras to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun!
This hotel is located in the heart of New Orleans, on the edge of the French Quarter near the banks of Mississippi. It recently underwent a $22 million restoration, redefining 5 star luxury, and now offers 316 newly designed guestrooms and suites.
This hotel is next to Jackson square and boutique shops, and it’s a short walk from the Riverwalk and Harrah’s casino. It was remodeled in 2000 and has 98 rooms and 2 suites.
Located just 3 blocks from the French Quarter, across from Harrah’s casino, the Arts district, and Riverwalk, this luxury hotel has 285 rooms and 12 suites.
This hotel is located in the heart of the French Quarter surrounded by the bustling Bourbon Street, boutique shops, and live entertainment. It was remodeled in 2000 and has 98 rooms and 2 suites.
This luxury hotel is located on Canal Street and it has 487 rooms and 7 suites.
Located on Canal Street a short walk from the French Quarter, this hotel allows guest to experience the most uniquely European city in the United States.
This hotel is located in the central business district one block from the French Quarter. It was remodeled in 2009 and it offers 504 rooms and 135 suites.
February 2, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
We understand that no one aims to come in second place; there is no recognition for mediocrity. We at Five Star Alliance understand better than anyone the importance of offering the most luxurious resorts in the world, so we notice what’s going on in the industry, and it matters to us, because it matters to you. We work hard to offer you the best in the industry, and we’d like to welcome you to our second blog series where we feature the best and most luxurious resorts in the world. But don’t take our word for it. These resorts have been recognized as the best in the business and have made the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012.
The Condé Nast Traveler Gold List 2012 is the eighth of their annual lists, and the hotels chosen by their team of editors and experts are the best for service, food, location, rooms, leisure facilities, ambiance and design.
I have a question for the peanut gallery. Ladies and gentlemen, what could possibly be better than gold? Turning to the record industry for our answer, there is, of course, only one choice. Platinum. And the Gold List's gotten a silvery sheen, and like the American Express you may pay with to get in these places, the platinum club is just for the extra exclusive hotels who are more than just a flash-in-the-pan nouveau riche kind of hotel. They've proven consistently over the last five years that they're Gold List material, so they've gotten the VIP upgrade.
Today's platinum contender is none other than the Hotel Imperial, one of only two hotels in Vienna to get this distinction, and boy is it something else? The hypothetical boy, in this case, would have to answer with a resounding, "yes," because the Hotel Imperial does everything right. Vienna is a city that never quite got past its imperial heritage and still longs for the days of the empire, and the Hotel Imperial harkens back to that era with a purity of character that's unrivalled in other Austrian hotels. If you're looking for a stay where the Sacher torte is fresh and the after-dinner liquer subtle and full of flavor, then the Hotel Imperial is the one for you.
January 23, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
The National Hotel South Beach is playing a game of Keep-Up-with-the-Joneses with its neighboring hotels, and this can only turn out well for everyone. After getting approval in November, the National is beginning the redesign work that will change the interior and exterior of the hotel. As HotelChatter reports, the renovations include a new entrance canopy, a one-story building by the pool deck and most crucially a whole new addition to their backyard.
That addition? A definitely-not-a-food-truck (illegal by Florida law) that will be serving some kind of deliciousness. Bets on it? I'm thinking maybe some delicacies travelling northward from the caribbean, but it could also be the American classics. In any case, it's a welcome addition to one of South Beach's older and more charming boutique hotels. We're glad to see that the National Hotel is making an effort to revitalize the property to build on its already lustrous and historic past.
Valentine's Day is coming up, and, as such, it's time to think about where you'd like to spend the day with that special someone. Whether you're enjoying a cozy night in or an adventure on the town, a night in a luxury hotel can be the perfect gift to the both of you, a chance to escape to another world where no expense will be spared in giving you the night of a lifetime. What follows is just one in a series of our favorite romantic hotels, and, we think, a great place to take him or her this February the 14th.
No list of romantic hotels would be complete without an entry from perhaps the most romantic city in the world (although Paris would certainly like to dispute that fact). The Bauer Il Palazzo is everything you'd imagine from Venice's most intimate boutique hotel. Overlooking the Grand Canal and just steps from St. Mark's, the Palazzo is the perfect staging point to explore the winding streets and canals.
Its 76 rooms and suites make liberal use of the finest in Venetian workmanship, including iconic Murano glass chandeliers. A word of advice: If you're looking to pick up a piece of this truly unique artwork, it's worth a trip on the ferry to the island of Murano itself, where the glass is made behind the very shop from which you're purchasing it. When you're ready for a waterfront meal, make sure to return to the Palazzo's very own Settimo Cielo, where you can enjoy views as stunning as the fresh Italian cuisine. The Conde Nast and Travel & Leisure Award-winning Bauer Il Palazzo represents the pinnacle of the opulent Venetian lifestyle, and there is, in my opinion, no better way to see one of the most romantic and cultured cities in the world.
Starting on January 25th, if you're going to be in the New Orleans area, make sure to check out the newly reopened Carousel Bar at Hotel Monteleone. Hotel Monteleone is maybe the iconic hotel of the Bourbon Street area, and the reopened bar is being celebrated with quiet the kickoff event. Starting the six month countdown to the Tales of the Cocktail festival, the reopening will feature special previews of the coming 10th anniversary event, including the festival's first book, Tales of the Cocktail from A to Z. Not only that, the world-record centerpiece by bead artist Stephan Wanger will be on display and you can view the fine artwork while sipping from your very own complimentary Old Fashioned. Continue the festivities with a performance by Robin Barnes.
Alongside the reopening, Hotel Monteleone has announced the coming year's regular performers, always free at the Carousel Bar whether you're staying at the hotel or just in the area. Joining Robin Barnes will be the Luther Kent Quartet, Eudora Evans & Band, the George French Jazz Quartet, and legacy showing Lena Prima, daughter of the Monteleone regular, Louis Prima, in the sixties. While other hotels might give you similar luxury, none will be closer to the Jazz culture at the heart of New Orleans than the Hotel Monteleone.
January 17, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
Built in 1924 by John Sprunt Hill, a successful businessman and alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Carolina Inn was constructed “to provide for the special wants and comforts of the University alumni and University visitors.” In 1935, John Sprunt Hill donated the Inn to the University under the condition that all profits to go towards “the maintenance and support of the University library, and especially for the support of the collection of books and papers known as the North Carolina Collection,” and his wish is still carried out today.
The Carolina Inn is centrally located in downtown Chapel Hill within walking distance of shopping, art galleries, and the historic Franklin Street district, and it architecturally embraces the rich history of the south. The Inn was originally designed after the Potomac River front of George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, and it has elements of Southern plantation houses as well as Georgian neoclassical attributes. The Carolina Inn is a member of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America, and it is beautifully furnished with antiques and historical images. The history, culture, and warm story behind it make the Carolina Inn a luxury property worth exploring.
January 17, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
As inevitably as salmon swimming upstream or the coming of the next political scandal, lovers of Rock 'n' Roll are sure to jump at the opportunity to see the ancestral home of arguably the greatest band of all time. Courtesy of HotelChatter, we're happy to report that Fairmont-owned properties, including the famed Savoy, are allowing guests to reserve behind-the-scenes tours of the iconic Abbey Road studios.
Not only that, if you fancy shredding some chords between the same panelled walls as Lennon and McCartney, they're also giving you the opportunity to set up a recording session in selfsame studio. All this is due to the fact that the Savoy's in-house design team is heading the restoration project of the 80-year-old studio. So come together with Sgt. Pepper and make a club band, and, with a little help from your friends, you'll be ready to put together your own album in the very place the Beatles launched their fame. Just steer clear of Yoko, and your stay at the Savoy in London could be one of the coolest vacations in history.
January 13, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
We are extremely excited to offer a Five Star Alliance Giveaway! We are always looking for ways to give back to our loyal clients, and we couldn’t think of a better way to say ‘thank you’ then by giving away free nights at a few of our favorite luxury hotels. Simply ‘like’ Five Star Alliance on Facebook before March 1st and automatically be entered to win. To make it a bit more of a challenge, we’ve decided to try to hit 5,000 likes by March 1st, 2012, and the sooner we hit that target, the sooner we’ll pick our lucky winner. And the perks of getting involved with Five Star Alliance on Facebook and Twitter certainly won’t end with this contest. We will be offering special offers and promotions, more giveaways, advice from our expert agents, the latest luxury travel news, and much more!
The winner will have the option to choose either 2 free nights at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel in New York City or 3 free nights at the 41 Hotel in London. The Carlyle prize will entitle the winner and 1 guest to 1 complimentary Deluxe Room for 2 nights. The prize expires on July 31st, 2012, and it is subject to availability. It may be used between January 1, 2012 to April 30, 2012 and July 1, 2012 to July 31, 2012. Please be aware that the expiration date regrettably cannot be extended. All other expenses (food, beverages, service charges) to be settled upon departure. Other terms and conditions may apply. The 41 Hotel prize will entitle the winner and 1 guest to a 3 night stay in a luxurious King Bedded Room, including full English Breakfast. (Any additional charges to be settled on departure). The voucher is valid until June 30th 2012, it’s subject to availability, and some black-out dates may apply. Other terms and conditions may apply. For further contest details, please click here.
To view hotel photos, descriptions, availability, and more, we encourage you to visit the following sites!
January 10, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
A beautiful boutique hotel in a cluster of historic buildings at the heart of San Miguel de Allende, the Casa de Sierra Nevada is the paragon of the small hotel experience in Central America. The charm of the 33-room Orient-Express property is practically dripping from the stone arches lining its courtyard space. To preserve the interior serenity, the Casa de Sierra Nevada doesn't allow children 11 or under, so you'll never have to worry about a little tyke with a toy airplane distracting from the last chapter in that novel you've been trying to finish for the last three months.
Each of the hotel's 33 rooms had to be carefully adapted to hotel rooms as they are designated historical homes by the National Instititute of Anthropology and History. Meticulously restored using period furniture alongside the more modern amenities of classic luxury, there is a very homely feel to the luxury at Casa de Sierra Nevada. While larger chain hotels can seem somewhat impersonal even as they offer the best service, in San Miguel de Allende, you'll feel as at home as you would in your own living room, only with the five-star luxury you've come to expect from an attentive and accommodating staff.
Not only that, reserve a room now to take advantage of special Five Star Alliance rates at the Casa de Sierra Nevada. Reserving through us grants a free room upgrade if available on arrival and a welcome margherita. I can't think of a better way to start a vacation than reclining in an extra-spacious room with a tropical cocktail.
January 4, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky
We’ve all made New Year’s resolutions and managed to stop going to the gym or taking those cooking classes come February. This year, make a commitment to a simpler, more fulfilling resolution: travel more. Take in what the world has to offer, and do it in style. Be sure to keep up with our new blog series where we’ll be featuring an incredible destination everyone should visit in his/her lifetime. Consider this list a tool to give you a few ideas and inspiration on exciting places to go, where to stay, and what to see!
Prague, the beautiful capital of the Czech Republic has a rich history and culture running through its narrow, cobblestone streets. Prague is a city of resilience, persevering through floods, fires, and invasions, making it extremely unique and captivating. This city’s breathtaking churches, Gothic-style architecture, the castle, and the Charles Bridge all make this one of the most incredible cities in Europe.
The most famous landmark is the Prague Castle, which is the largest castle complex in the world. It is open daily and is home to the Czech Crown Jewels. Witness the changing of the guard at the top of every hour and opt in for a guided tour to take in the history and beauty of the castle. Another must-see attraction is the Charles Bridge, which is the oldest bridge in Prague. Both ends of the bridge are reinforced by towers, and the entrance gate is beautifully adorned with Gothic sculptures. For other must-see attractions, we encourage you to explore the list of the Top 10 Prague Monuments, put together by PragueWelcome.com
Be sure to try the pork or beef dumplings called ‘Knedliky,’ fried cheese, and their onion and garlic soup. And of course, be sure to try traditional, Czech beer as well!
Prague has 26 luxurious hotels. A few worth checking out are the Augustine and the Boscolo Carlo IV. The Augstine has been created from several buildings, including the 13th century Augustinian St. Thomas Monastery. The hotel’s beautiful rooms all have stunning views of the courtyards, the monastery chapel, or Prague Castle. The Boscolo Carlo IV is another incredible hotel, and it offers unique amenities such as a Cigar Bar and an indoor pool with a striking Mosaic floor. This hotel encompasses a magical blend of the past and future in its architectural design and room décor.