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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.

Four Seasons L.A. Launches ICE Technology, and It's Changing the Way We Stay

October 21, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles is the first Four Seasons to embrace ICE technology to digitally connect every room to all parts of the hotel. Before we dive into what that means for travelers, let’s explore what this Four Seasons has to offer. The Four Season Hotel L.A. has a tropically landscaped rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, and a pool grill, allowing you to indulge in seasonal specialties in full relaxation mode. Aside from rooftop fun, the Four Seasons L.A. also has a full-service spa where you can unwind in the steam sauna or pamper yourself with various spa treatments. After a day of exploring Hollywood and Rodeo Drive, enjoy a leisurely dinner at the award winning Gardens Restaurant.

With the launch of ICE Technology, all of the amenities available to guests remain the same, but the way you can access and utilize those amenities will change. All of the guestrooms and suites will have iPad2 devices, permitting guests to customize their stay with the push of a few buttons. Guests will be able to make restaurant reservations, order in-room dining, research nearby attractions, call valet parking, coordinate airport transportation, make beauty and spa appointments, make specific housekeeping requests, research transportation options, schedule wake up calls, check out of the hotel, and much more. Is this technology essentially eliminating the need for face-to-face customer service? Not necessarily. According to Mehdi Eftekari, the General Manger at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, “most of our guests travel with a smartphone, tablet, or both, so it made sense to provide access to the hotel’s services through the same intuitive touch interface.” How are guests reacting to this new technology? Mehdi Eftekari reports that “guests are very impressed. The interface is so intuitive and easy to use, they feel right at home.” What do you think about this new development? Check into the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles to experience it for yourself.

We encourage you to check out the article about ICE technology by Melanie Nayer here.


Give the Gift of Intellect from the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue

October 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

With the winter holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about gifts for your family members and friends. This year, however, we bet you want something different, something special, something extravagant, something over the top. Did we just read your mind? For the luxury seekers, the best gift givers, and the folks who always go above and beyond what is expected, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue may be just for you.

For an intellectual and mind-opening gift, consider the custom library, with its shelves filled with 250 books for $125,000. This atypical gift comes from the publishing house Assouline, and the library can be added anywhere you’d like. From a house to a boat to an airplane, the sky is the limit. This gift includes a full redesign of the space of your choice by adding custom carpets, art objects, and exquisitely framed prints. After the space redesign, 250 contemporary and vintage volumes are added to the beautiful shelves in the genre of your choice. Line the bookshelves with masterpieces from renowned writers, artists, photographers, architects, designers, and culinary and fashion virtuosos. This is a gift that keeps on giving because aside from an incredible library, Neiman Marcus will also donate $2,500 to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides children in need access to new books. For details, call 1-877-9NM-GIFT, or visit neimanmarcus.com

The Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue is for the thoughtful gift-givers, and while it offers truly lavish gifts, about half are under $250, so whatever your price range, the Neiman Marcus Holiday Catalogue has something to offer you.  Looking for something a little different?  Consider booking a trip for your family and friends and spending the holidays somewhere exotic, snowy, sunny, or simply somewhere relaxing

(Photo via Neiman Marcus)


Bazaar-o World: Extraordinary SLS Hotel/José Andrés Restaurant Is Going Global

October 19, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Being a Washington, DC, local, I can’t help but fall in love with the cuisine of José Andrés, the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur. He has pioneered the field of molecular gastronomy by cleverly manipulating texture to subvert our expectations. For instance, at his signature DC restaurant, Minibar, instead of a salt-lined margarita glass, you can expect an aerated salty sea-foam floating above your drink. His visionary view of food’s potential to surprise and entice has inspired a new direction in the culinary arts.

So when I heard that his SLS Hotel restaurant in Los Angeles, the Bazaar, is thinking of going global with its brand, I practically jumped out of my chair in anticipation. José Andrés is already slated to open another establishment at the upcoming SLS Hotel in South Beach, Florida, and Robbie McKay, Director of Communications for SBE, the luxury hospitality group who owns the Bazaar, says that they have their eye on the DC market as a possible next location. Keep an eye out on this one folks. This is a hotel restaurant that is far more than the standard luxury fare.

For now, you can only dine at the Bazaar at the SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills.  It's well worth the trip.

Via Tim Carman (@timcarman) at the Washington Post.


Mandarin Oriental Hits the Suite Spot: Best Suites for Families and Groups

October 19, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, reunion with old friends, or an unforgettable bachelor/bachelorette party, the Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas has the best and most luxurious suites to fit your specific needs. This luxury hotel is running a November special, so make your plans now, and get ready for an incredible weekend getaway to Sin City.

One of the most coveted suites the Mandarin Oriental has to offer is the Apex Suite, and it’s located on the highest floors and at the apex point of the building. If you’re looking for an unforgettable night on the town, consider the Apex Suite overlooking the Strip. If you’re more interested in exploring the unique culture Las Vegas has to offer, consider choosing the Apex Suite overlooking the architecture of CityCenter. The bedroom in the Apex Suites has two glass walls converging, giving two contrasting views of the room, while the private dining area is equipped with a bar and a separate entrance so you will not be disturbed by dinner preparations. Aside from an incredible view and incredible layout, the Apex Suite also comes equipped with plug and play iPod/video docking station, a DVD player and stereo bar with subwoofer system, a large screen TV, a valet closet for delivery without disruption, and so much more. With 1,625 – 2,125 square feet of space and $1,984 per night, for weekend nights in November, you’ll be ready for whatever Las Vegas throws your way!


Christmas in New Orleans: Papa Noel Rates of $99 at Hotel Monteleone

October 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel MonteleoneExperience the magic of Christmas in New Orleans with discounted rates at the Hotel Monteleone, a landmark in the French Quarter since 1886. Celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2011, the AAA Four-Diamond hotel has a jam-packed calendar of festive Yuletide events-- from choir performances to Children's Holiday Teas, where Monte the Lion (the hotel's official mascot) will join Santa, Rudolph, Frosty the Snowman and Santa's elves in singing carols and reading classic Christmas tales. Take advantage of the special Papa Noel rates from November 20- December 29, 2011 and you'll be basking in luxury for just $99 per night! (Weekend rates are slightly higher, starting at $119 per night, and some blackout dates may apply.) The Hotel Monteleone decks the halls for the season- with a beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby and festive white lights decorating its exterior. For the full calendar of events during the holiday season, click here.

Related Articles:

Win a Trip to New Orleans with the Hotel Monteleone

Scary Good Cocktails in London: Halloween at The Langham


Conrad Celebrates 25 Years by Giving You Hotel Credits

October 14, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Conrad Rangali Island MaldivesHilton's Conrad brand of luxury hotels has been around for a quarter century. And to celebrate that milestone, they're giving away hotel credits to guests who check into their hotels around the world- from Indianapolis to the Maldives (pictured)- this fall. So whether you're craving chocolate in Brussels, doing business in Tokyo, or shopping Chicago's Magnificent Mile, choose Conrad and you'll get a nice little birthday present. Simply book the "Conrad 25th Anniversary Promotion" rate for stays through November 30th, 2011, and receive a $25 hotel credit for each night of your stay.


A Fresh Redesign: Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles Reopens

October 13, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Now this is the story all about how

my life got flipped, turned upside down

And I’d like to take a minute just sit right there

I’ll tell you how I went on vacation to a hotel called Bel-Air.

Now here’s news: The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles is reopening this month, and the property has turned things upside-down with its renovation. With a fresh new look, they’re positioning themselves to be the prince of spa services. The revitalized property offers a 4,000 sq. ft. spa by La Prairie and is the first US hotel to launch a line of in-room amenities by the same luxury Swiss company. The familiar swans still glide across the serene lake they call home, and their habitat is now maintained by an updated circulation system that saves over 1.5 million gallons of water. It’s great to see more and more hotels incorporate green engineering into their modernized design plans. Alongside the familiar Grace Kelly suite, the new presidential suite even offers a private courtyard and private pool where can guests can relax after enjoying dinner for up to ten people from their private chef’s kitchen. The main buildings preserve some of the original colonial Spanish aesthetic, while also being ‘modernized’ to include retro themes from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. This is hotel the Dorchester Collection is clearly proud to be reopening, and as well they should be.

Not only does the Hotel Bel-Air feel completely renewed, until December 29th, Hotel Bel Air will include a $100 dining credit with your reservation, so you can enjoy fresh cuisine imagined by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck the next time you stay at this lovely hotel.


A 3-Day Weekend in New York: 30% Off at The Mark

October 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Mark, New YorkThe Mark is inviting you to make it a three-day weekend in Manhattan this Fall with a tempting 30% off when you arrive on Friday and stay for three nights. That's the equivalent of one complimentary night! So why not linger longer for less? From The Mark's address on one of the best blocks in the Upper East Side, Central Park is at your doorstep. With that extra savings, why not hit up the neighborhood's fine boutiques then splurge on an extra dessert (or two) at The Mark Restaurant by Jean-Georges? Housed in a 1927 landmark building from 1927, The Mark was completely reimagined by designer Jacques Granges and now offers one of the finest hotel experiences in New York.

Here's the fine print on the "3-Day Weekend" offer at The Mark: Valid on all room categories. Available for Friday arrivals only until December 31, 2011, subject to availability, and some blackout dates may apply. Additional nights offered at the Best Available Rate.

Related Article: The Mark Hotel New York Now Offers a Private Courtesy Car for Suite Guests


Adventurous Skiers, Check Out the Inn at Lost Creek

October 12, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Are you tired of skiing/snowboarding down your town’s proclaimed black diamonds and looking for a real mountain this winter? Then explore our list of the best ski resorts and get ready for not only some of the most incredible slopes and breath-taking views, but also luxurious accommodations that will revitalize your adventurous spirit, leaving you ready to fly down the mountain and do it all again the next day!

Consider checking into the Inn at Lost Creek in Telluride, Colorado, one of the most unique and personal luxury resorts. We truly believe that you’ve never stayed at a place this charming and genuine. The Inn at Lost Creek is located in the Mountain Village, and it provides access to some of the most beautiful mountains. This resort offers fully equipped suites and provides all the comforts of home such as a balcony, kitchen, fireplace, in-suite laundry, jetted tub, and steam shower. Aside from these comforts, guests have the opportunity to unwind and relax in two roof top hot tubs and indulge at the Inn’s Southwest inspired restaurant and bar. And with only 32 rooms, this small, luxurious hotel has some of the best folks on staff who are truly dedicated and delighted to ensure you have a magnificent stay. From finishing your laundy to pre-stocking your fridge with groceries, they happily do it all. With ski season fast approaching, make your reservation today and be well on your way to an incredible ski resort!


Candy and Kitties: Kimpton Does Customer Service Right

October 10, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

Sometimes hotel news is awesome.  HotelChatter reports that a guest of the Hotel Monaco Portland wrote to jokingly request a “a bed full of puppies” and “a bathtub full of Reese’s Pieces” two weeks before his stay.  On top of this, he wished to be treated like a man “just acquitted of quintuple homicide charges.” Two weeks later he had completely forgotten, but arrived to discover a bowl of reese’s pieces atop his dresser and a hand-written note congratulating him for exonerating himself.  The Kimpton concierge wrote, "there weren't any spare puppies, but this kitten looked lonely and needed some love.  We've been calling him "Whiskers," and even threw in a $10 coupon for the minibar.

In my mind, this is what customer service should be. There’s so much effort put into standardizing across brands so people are comfortable and know what to expect, but it’s the unique experiences that really create a memorable trip. We would never go to a McDonald’s or a Subway for a gourmet meal and it’s just so with the hotel world. I’d rather have an experience tailored specifically to me than even the most luxurious industry standards. If a hotel’s staff is having fun, the guests will be, too.  So next time you book your stay at the Hotel Monaco Portland, or anywhere else, try cracking a few jokes, and who knows? You might just be rewarded for it.