LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER
June 21, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
Hotel Castello di Casole is 4,200-acre five-star resort and private residence club in Tuscany, Italy, 45 minutes from Florence.
Situated among rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves and a game preserve, this all-suite boutique hotel opens July 1, 2012.
June 21, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance
There is a new luxury hotel development in the works in Curacao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea, off the Venezuelan coast. Set to open in 2016, the future Pen Resort Hotel will be developed on 23,000 square meters of oceanfront property in a unique beachfront location not far from the capital Willemstad near the four star Avila Beach Hotel.
The Pen Resort Hotel will be a luxury all-inclusive resort:
- 5 restaurants and 3 bars
- Contemporary Dutch Caribbean architecture
- 313 rooms featuring the amenities of a AAA 4 Diamond rated resort hotel
- A full service spa and gym, plus many other activities and amenties for adults and children
- 30 minutes away from Curaçao’s International Airport but steps away from the capital
- The resort will include a restoration of Curaçao’s 19th century landmark Cerro Bonito Mansion which will be used as a casino and restaurant
- The resort will restore the historical Kas di Pueblo into suites that are complimented by butler service and where meeting and banquet facilities will be located
Pictured is the Avila Beach Hotel >>
June 19, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
Gran Melia Rome Villa Agrippina is one of the latest addition to Five Star Alliance.
The villa once belonged to the Roman Empress, mother of the Emperor Nero.
A 5-minute walk from the Vatican, the hotel has impressive pools and gardens, a complete YHI Wellness area, a
select range of fine dining options and a Business and Convention Center with 3 meeting rooms.
Quiet. Secluded. Peaceful. All these words describe one of the latest hotels to join our collection, Las Alamandas.
This Mexican hideaway is cheerfully quiet. We're guessing the loudest thing here is the sound of the surf.
On June 15, Orient-Express threw open the doors of Palacio Nazarenas.
Palacio Nazarenas is an all-suite boutique hotel located in a former monastery. It boasts Cuzco's first outdoor
infinity pool, Hypnoze spa, and the gourmet restaurant Senzo.
Located in Cuzco, Peru, Palacio Nazarenas' 55 rooms use state-of-the art oxygenation and have private butlers.
June 17, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
We've recently added Dunton Hot Springs to Five Star Alliance. This Colorado resort is one of the coolest spots we've ever seen.
It's as if summer camp grew up and got luxurious.
June 16, 2012
By: K. Clare Johnson
At Five Star Alliance, we are constantly adding new luxury hotels to our site. We are delighted to have recently added Lux* Belle Mare and Lux* Maldives to our collection. LUX* Island Resorts is a collection of premium hotels in the Indian Ocean offering guests the opportunity to celebrate island life and enjoy light living.
Lux* Belle Mare is located in quaint seaside village of Belle Mare on the east coast of Mauritius. This luxury beach hotel on the Indian Ocean features traditionally thatched huts, sparkling white sand beaches, and the Lux* Me spa. Take a dip in one of the island’s largest swimming pools and finish out your day with supper at Indouchine, where you can watch the moon shimmer over the ocean. Sounds like paradise to us!
Lux* Maldives is the only settlement on the island of Dhidhoofinolhu in South Ari Atoll, and offers real insight into unspoiled island living. Snorkel or whale shark spot in the lagoon, or take a break from the beach at one of two pools or at the spa. Whether suspended over the water or scattered along the beach, every room, suite and villa is designed to make the most of its surroundings.
The hard part is deciding whether to head to Mauritius or the Maldives. We have a feeling you'll be happy no matter which Lux* property you stay at.
June 15, 2012
By: Five Star Alliance
Five Star Alliance's sister publication, Luxury Travel Advisor recently had the pleasure of touring the brand new Palace Hotel Tokyo. Travel Guru Joe Pike (you can read more from Joe here: http://www.thejoepikeblog.com/) offers the following details about his recent stay:
Demolishing an iconic hotel isn't always a smart decision for a tourism-entrenched city to make, but when you replace it with a new, luxurious, $1.2 billion, modern chic hotel bearing the same name, it quickly turns into one of the best business decisions a destination can make.
Luxury Travel Advisor toured Wednesday the new Palace Hotel Tokyo, which officially reopened on May 17. It replaced the previous Palace Hotel Tokyo, which opened in 1961, was located at the same site and knocked down in 2009.
Here's what you need to know to pitch one of Japan's hottest new hotels.
All of the rooms face one direction, meaning every VIP, no matter what category they are staying in, gets view of the city.
Luxury Travel Advisor stayed in room no. 2207, a Club Deluxe Room W/ Balcony. Note: not all of these rooms have balconies, so be sure to request a balcony. Without a balcony, the room simply lacks one of our favorite features. There is nothing like seeing the city lit up at night, while enjoying a beverage on the terrace.
The best room here is the Palace Suite, which is the hotel's version of a Presidential Suite. The room is roughly 2,200 square feet. It comes with one bedroom with double beds, but can also connect. There are a lot of powerful colors in this room, including a lot of black and gold throughout the bedroom. Note: This room is a traditional Japanese style room and it's typical for Japanese couples to sleep in separate beds. There is also a very large balcony, 60-inch televisions in both the bedroom and the living and a separate kitchen and dining area. Tip: The dining area can be used for private dinners, including wine and sake pairings.
Restaurants and Bars
All of the restaurants are open to locals, which is why it is very important for advisors to book reservations for VIPs at least two weeks in advance since there is a huge local contingent of businessmen who frequent the hotel's restaurants.
The Grand Kitchen is located on the first level and where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Nice Touch: There is a small garden area outside that seats roughly 25 guests while another outdoor terrace area can seat up to 40 guests. Tip: Both outdoor areas can be rented out for small groups. The Grand Kitchen serves a number of cuisines from pasta to pizza to paelle. We ordered the "Hirata Farm" Pork Loin with mash potatoes, mushrooms and sage.
The Palace Lounge is a great place to have a cocktail. It has a very living room type feel and feels very homey. The lounge also has a piano with live performances nighty. Afternoon tea is served here from 2 - 4p.m. with more than 45 different teas offered.
The Royal Bar, located on the first floor is a very sophisticated bar with an impressive piece of abstract art occupying an entire wall. Fun Fact: The piece of an abstract dragon is meant to be an ode to the year the hotel reopened.
Wadakura is the hotel's signature restaurant, serving such Japanese favorites as sushi and tempora. It seats up to 118 people but is so scattered that it doesn't feel so large. In fact, there is a separate Tempora bar, called Tatsumi, located within Wadakura. Nice Touch: The restaurant offers nine private rooms, serving anywhere from four to 10 people. Note: We were told these are usually the first rooms to be reserved so be sure to book this at least two weeks in advance as well. Also, located within Wasakura is a separately managed sushi bar as well as Go, an area dedicated to teppanyaki.
The Crown restaurant is the hotel's French dining option. This restaurant has a strong art deco feel with floor-to-ceiling windows, offering an incredible view of the city.
Prive is another impressive lounge. It's very similar to the Palace Lounge except its a bit sexier, a bit more modern chic. Like the Palace Lounge, it also offers tea, but with a more French inspiration. The ambience of this lounge is designed to give VIPs a forest-like feel. Its basically a really chill, relaxed environment. Nice Touch: There is also a small outdoor lounge area with black leather seats and couches.
Amber Palace is the hotel's Chinese restaurant. There are a lot of amber hues throughout the restaurants, hence the name.
The hotel is home to the Evian Spa, which takes the name of the famous brand of bottled of water. In fact, Evian water is handed to VIPs along with a fresh towel as they workout in the fitness center, which is open 24 hours a day and offers city views from all of its treadmills. The spa is made up of just five treatment rooms and one spa suite. VIPs who pay for a treatment can use all of the spa's facilities. There is a modest fee to use the pool, however, if VIPs don't have a spa treatment. The fitness center is free for everyone. Note: Club Members, those staying on floors 18-23 and also in some select rooms on the 16th and 17th floors, have free access to the pool regardless of whether they have a spa treatment or not.
The hotel is home to a Western-style chapel, which can have up to 12 weddings a day. There is also a Japanese shrine for more traditional weddings, but we were told roughly 80-90 percent of the guests use the Western-style chapel.
Who to Book For
Roughy 60 percent of the VIPs here are business travelers while the remaining 40 percent are leisure travelers. There are roughly 15-20 percent Americans here. We would suggest the hotel for business travelers or couples and families looking for a hotel just 20 minutes away from the famous Ginza shopping district.
June 14, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
I don't think anywhere in the dictionary of latin roots will you find the "-lomar" suffix as meaning awesome. But if two points make a line, then the Mallomars and the Hotel Palomar are definitely on to something here. With that in mind, every time I hear something about the new Hotel Palomar Phoenix, I can't help but imagine that one marshmallow that inevitably falls off the end of your stick straight into the flames sloughing off its charred exterior and rising again as a pure white, gooey mass, its new skin still tender with sugary goodness. Of course, my overactive imagination could turn even a normal day at the office into the epic of Gilgamesh, so it's probably best if you don't read into it too much.
In any case, the Hotel Palomar is one of the newest editions to our collection, and it builds on the prior iterations of the Palomar, found in DC, Chicago, San Francisco, and many southern cities. In the heart of downtown Phoenix, the Palomar is ideally located to reach all of the hot spots. The city's best shopping, dining, and entertainment are just a few blocks away. The hotel itself is designed to look and feel cosmopolitan. The rooms feature contemporary design that emphasizes the space while still managing to be a little quirky. You're more likely to end up with an abstract painting of a blue cow over your bed than generic landscape #34. And that's a good thing. It's a hard thing to walk the line between eccentricity and taste, and the Palomar manages to do it. The Hotel Palomar Phoenix is definitely a great addition to the Phoenician menagerie.
June 1, 2012
By: Christopher Roney
When the James Royal Palm introduces itself at cocktail parties, I imagine it sidles up coolly, shaken martini in hand. "Palm, James Palm," it says, and then promptly films a movie set in its own hotel. The James Royal Palm could very well be the set for the most British of secret agents, though he will have to wait until the fall of this year to park his Aston Martin when the hotel opens to much fanfare. Miami beach is the perfect setting for the kind of adventure in high society that Bond inevitably finds himself in although, despite having Royal in the name, there's no casino at the James Royal Palm. You will find everything else there, from two swimming pools with a poolside bar to a full-service spa and gym. The James Royal Palm reimagines the original Royal Palm Hotel, paying tribute by preserving some of the original architecture, including the lobby compass rose and green glass front desk. Lil' James, who is releasing his debut rap album this year (not really), provides great children's amenities for the younger folks in your party. Reservations are currently available starting in the fall at the James' own website, and keep an eye for them on Five Star Alliance soon.
Photo via WSJ/Rottet Studio