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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.

Your Chance to Go Green: The Westin Dublin

February 27, 2009
By: Alison Victor

The Westin DublinMarch marks the annual celebration of St. Patrick's Day, and what better way to capture the spirit of the Irish then to plan a trip to Ireland? You won't find a more luxurious place to stay then The Westin Dublin, located in the heart of the city. The Westin Dublin, formerly the Allied Irish Bank, was recently renovated into a luxurious five star hotel. It sits across from the beautiful Trinity College, and is within walking distance to the Temple Bar District and Grafton Street. Each room and suite of The Westin Dublin comes equipped with a Heavenly Bed, which the hotel refers to as "10 layers of heaven." The bed has a custom-designed pillow mattress, plush down comforter, and 5 king and queen sized pillows. While staying at The Westin Dublin, don't forget to take advantage of the wonderful 24 hour concierge service. Use it to book an in-room spa treatment, or to plan a tour of the Guinness Factory, where you can enjoy a pint and breathtaking view of the city.


Destination Istanbul: Conquer the Grand Bazaar with the Ceylan InterContinental’s Private Guide

February 26, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ceylan InterContinental Hotel IstanbulStraddling two continents, where the East meets West, Istanbul is one of the world's most exciting and cosmopolitan cities. When you book a stay at the Ceylan InterContinental, you'll enjoy not only top-notch facilities (health and fitness center, spa with Turkish hammam), but also insider experiences crafted by the knowledgeable concierge staff. Accommodations are downright lavish-- with stunning views over the Bosphorous-- and are appropriate for both business and leisure travelers.

Ceylan InterContinental Hotel IstanbulThe hotel's concierge can arrange a "Sights of Istanbul" tour, taking in the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, one of the city's most incredible landmarks. Lined with over 20,000 handmade ceramic blue tiles, Istanbul's Blue Mosque boasts 200 stained glass windows. You can also "Conquer the Grand Bazaar"-- the world's oldest and largest covered shopping area-- with a personal guide at your side to lead you through the maze of shops. A private driver will take you there in comfort.


Explore Insider’s Tuscany with the Exclusive Villa La Massa in Florence

February 25, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Villa La Massa

Leave it to the Villa La Massa-- the darling of celebrities, and sister property to the celebrated Villa d'Este on Lake Como-- to provide guests with exclusive access to the cultural riches of Tuscany, the living expression of the Italian Renaissance. Florence is one of the world's most coveted destinations (for good eats, the best shopping, and Michelangelo's David, need we say more?), and Villa La Masa arguably has the town's best accommodations. Just a stone's throw from Florence, nestled in the Tuscan countryside along the famed Arno River, Villa La Massa dates from the 16th century: a marvel of ancient frescoes, gorgeous art, and the most luxurious furnishings. It's a given that the Villa La Massa can hook you up with guided tours of the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia di Belle Arti, or shopping excursions to pick up the best handicrafts and fashion. But what's more: Villa La Massa can arrange private tours of the countryside so that guests can discover Tuscany's secrets, delighting in authentic cuisine and gaining access to Florentine Palaces. Tip: The hotel opens for the season on March 26, 2009.


Four Seasons Hotel New York Fashion Offerings

February 23, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

Although NYC's fashion week has come to a close, Four Seasons Hotel New York, in partnership with Four Seasons magazine, is launching Couture & Cocktails-- six post-fashion week showcase events featuring three top-designer labels. Every Thursday from February 19 to March 26, fashionistas can view collections by Michael Kors, Anne Fontaine or MaxMara in the Hotel's TY Lounge. Foodies take Note: Delectable items and cocktails reflective of each designer's homeland will be on the menu (think Jet Setter cocktail, Truffle Mac 'n Cheese, Champagne, canapés, Bellinis and tiramisu). Upon departure, guests will receive a special promotional offer at the designer's retail locations. [Map]


The Plaza’s Shop-’til-u-Drop Package

February 17, 2009
By: Dave Eisen

The Plaza Hotel in New York was the fictional setting for Kay Thompson's Eloise character; now the hotel is reaching back into fiction with its "Shopaholic Weekend in New York" package, based on Sophie Kinsella's book, "Confessions of a Shopaholic," which has now been released as a film starring Isla Fisher. Here's the low-down: With the package, guests receive one night in a Plaza room or suite; a private consultation at the jewelry designer Kenneth Jay Lane's boutique; complimentary skincare consultation and brow shaping at Plaza Beauty; dinner for two at the Oak Room; and drinks for two at the Rose Club. Luckily, the package will last longer than the film is in theatres, through the end of 2009. Rates begin at $795 per night. [Map]


Get More From Your Stay in London: Special Amenities at Hotel “41″

February 16, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel

London luxury hotels are now cheaper than a Travelodge? Around the world, five-star hotels are slashing their rates and offering creative packages to entice guests. London's fashionable properties are no exception. One of our favorites, the boutique hotel "41" that's part of Red Carnation's esteemed hotel collection, overlooking the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, lets guests live London life to the full with value-added extras. When you stay for two nights or more, you'll get one of the following for free: champagne and flowers in your room, a Harrods shopping spree, a spin on the London Eye, a three-day travel card, a three-course meal, or a romantic turndown. The "Get More From Your Stay" package also includes daily breakfast.


Team of Four Hook Up On Barbados Bridal Bonanza

February 13, 2009
By: Dave Eisen

If you are planning a wedding or honeymoon, you'll want to make a beeline for Saks Fifth Avenue in New York on February 19. The Barbados Tourism Authority is partnering with the venerable department store, Modern Bride and Valerie Wilson Travel on the Barbados Bridal Suite, an invitation-only, one-stop event for brides, which will be set up at the Fifth Avenue store on the 19th. Brides-to-be can plan their dream honeymoon or destination wedding on Barbados and will have the expertise of Valerie Wilson travel to guide them. A highlight of the event will be a series of prize drawings, which includes a four-night trip to the Crane Resort in Barbados, a bridal gown from designer Melissa Sweet and a headpiece by Tia Mazza Veils. [Map]


NYC Fashion Week and Alternatives for Savvy Shoppers

February 13, 2009
By: Mackenzie Allison

There are some things that are constant. Fashion Week is one of them. The extravagant event, which brings together New York's elite, as well as tons of designers and fashionistas, is a mainstay for the Big Apple. However, as could be said for most things these days, the economy has taken its toll on the affair, which kicks off today. Buzz has been circulating for a while-- who's in, who's out, who has scaled back and which designers are opting for modest showings at alternative venues.

New York Fashion Week

According to an article from Crain's New York Business, published in late December, several designers were determining whether or not to participate in Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in Bryant Park. Noteworthy names that have checked the "no" box are Betsey Johnson and Vera Wang. Other designers, like Carmen Marc Valvo, are seeking alternative ways of showing their apparel, such as renting space in galleries or events venues and letting people come and go throughout the day.

NY Fashion Week

Not just impacting the industry side of things, those trendy onlookers better hold on tight to their golden tickets. Word is some top designers are being uber selective with their guest lists. Marc Jacobs, for example, is cutting his for the Fall 2009 show on February 16 at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. The numbers: The company will reduce invites from 2,000 to 700. Ok, as pathetic as all of this might sound, let me try to offer some kind of reassurance. Those in the know, or at least those who are smart with their Google searches, are probably quite familiar with these two magical words: Sample Sale. As hard-pressed as designers are to get the word out about their upcoming collections-- but in an economical way, so too are those designers who need to get rid of trendy duds that have been piling up due to the lack of shopping sprees by consumers.

New York Fashion Week

Travelers bound for New York City take note: Sample sales aren't a new thing, but this year's markdowns are quite phenomenal if you know where to look. My go-to source is the New York Sales & Bargains section of nymag.com. Tangible Example: Now through February 20, savvy shoppers can find clothes and accessories by Erickson Beamon, Orla Kiely and Charlotte Ronson marked down at Showroom Seven. A Tony Cohen dress that normally retails for $600 at Barneys is on sale for $200. Just remember, Fashion Week will always be there in some form or another. If you are one of the lucky few going, have fun. The rest of us will brag about our tremendous finds with less intimidating price tags.

All Images Via The New York Times (Fashion Slideshow)


Pret-A-Portea at Bergdorf Goodman: Fashionista’s Afternoon Tea from The Berkeley Arrives in NY

February 10, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Pret-a-Portea at The Berkeley

Insiders know that the best afternoon tea in London is served at The Berkeley, the stylish hotel that's home to Marcus Wareing's Michelin-starred restaurant and the Blue Bar. This fashionable hotel serves high tea in high style with Prêt-à-Portea, where dainty cakes and nibbles take their inspiration from the latest fashion season's catwalk designs. New Yorkers: You no longer have to jet across the pond to indulge in this fashionista's afternoon tea, because Prêt-à-Portea is traveling across the Atlantic for New York fashion week, where it will be co-hosted by Bergdorf Goodman. Prêt-à-Portea's first New York collection will debut at BG, the eatery at Bergdorf Goodman, from February 13-20, 2009:

The Berkeley afternoon tea

Enjoy the season's latest fashions in delectable bite-sized goodies including Christian Louboutin's Pigalle silver glitter shoe biscuit with renowned red sole, Michael Kors' striped polka dot dress almond sponge cake and this season's must-have, pale yellow, Chanel clutch with banana Madeira flavours.

Served daily from 3 pm to 5:30 pm; priced from $45-$60 per person.


Cutting Back on Your Travel Budget? Bring Luxury Products Home with the Ritz-Carlton Online Store

February 9, 2009
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Shops at Ritz-CarltonYou just checked out of the Ritz-Carlton Ft. Lauderdale and you're already missing that plush bedding, coveting if for your own home. Or maybe-- like most folks trimming their budgets in this down economy-- you've cut back on travel and don't foresee a stay at the Ritz-Carlton anytime soon. Now you can bring the luxurious comforts of the Ritz-Carlton home with you, and replicate the experience chez vous with hundreds of exclusive items now made available at the online retail store. Recently launched, The Shops at Ritz-Carlton features sumptuous sleepwear, spa products and toiletries, bathrobes, and even a mattress, with the Ritz-Carlton Sleep Experience.

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