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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.

Sponsored Feature: The Orient Express's Casa de Sierra Nevada and Observatory Hotel

May 4, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

What follows are impressions of two of our favorite Orient Express properties, the Observatory Hotel in Sydney and the Casa de Sierra Nevada, in many ways very different hotels, and in more than just their geography.  

Observatory Hotel, Sydney, Australia

I'll confess a fair bit of ignorance about why the Observatory Hotel is actually called the Observatory. Perhaps it was the site of a revolutionary astronomical discovery or it used to house the local planetarium in a forgotten back room. Maybe it just has a habit of flowering the walls at a party in order to better watch the crowd. It's a mystery as enigmatic as the stars in the sky, and we may never know. Well, it probably has something to do with the adjacent Observatory Park, but why spoil the hyperbole?

What I do know is that the Observatory Hotel is a perfect luxury hotel to use as jumping off point for exploring Sydney, a city that thrums with the heartbeat of a constantly evolving culture. Not far from the Rocks and Circular Quay, not to mention the Sydney Opera House, you're right in the middle of the action. As a break from experiencing all the city has to offer, you can retreat back to the quiet inner sanctum of the Observatory to enjoy an afternoon tea at the Globe Bar & Brasserie. For more substantial fare, head to Galileo in the evening, and you'll experience their amazing interpretation of fine French cuisine (the mystery of the name is quickly unravelling faster than the flat earth theory). If you're looking to stay in the utmost of style, make sure to book their gorgeous presidential suite, a study in aesthetics that makes extensive use of objects d'Art and features a four-poster bed. The Observatory Hotel is an extra-classy place to stay for the discerning traveler who finds themselves in Sydney.

Casa de Sierra Nevada, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

Across the world from the Observatory Hotel, you'll find the Casa de Sierra Nevada in San Miguel de Allende. Built in 1580, the Sierra Nevada is one of the smallest hotels in our collection. With just 33 rooms, the hotel is a serene escape from the bustle of everyday life. An inner courtyard is the perfect enclosure to keep the busy noise of the outside world at bay while you relax and refresh in one of the most historic towns in Mexico. Importantly, the hotel allows no children under the age of 11, so you won't be disturbed while you crack open the novel you've never gotten to or just soak up the rays of the sun. The National Institute of Anthropology and History was so enamored with the hotel's repurposed homes that they are designated historical landmarks. The surrounding mountainous landscape seems to be a backdrop that could only be dreamed up in a movie studio, but you can experience the unparalleled quietude and incredible service of the Casa de Sierra Nevada in real life. It's just one trip away.


Don't Be Hasty: Stay at the Hastings House

April 30, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Salt Spring Island is one of the most iconic destinations in all of Canada, a small, exclusive natural island that promises an escape we'd all like to enjoy. Overlooking Ganges Harbor, Hastings House is a small manor house that's a perfectly self-contained destination. The folks there do dining right as well. They are clearly friends with one Peregrin Took because not only is muffin and coffee delivered right to your door, you can follow it up with a leisurely second, English breakfast. Lamb and local seafood are the figureheads of the Verandah's beautiful dinner options, and they are always complimented by fresh herbs and produce from the estate gardens. It couldn't be fresher if you picked it yourself. Top it off with a glass from their incredibly well-stocked and international wine cellar.

The small manor also offers its very own wellness treatments from massages to body wraps right next to the fireplace in your very own suite. It's a vacation experience you won't want to miss out on. The Hastings House even has some adorable pet lambs


Add a Little Spice to Your Life: Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino

April 24, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

 I love Reno, NV. There's something about the southwestern US that makes it give birth to organic growths of neon, and the sequined glamour comes with enough glitz to make lovers of earth tones run for the hills. And that's precisely the draw of it. People don't go to Reno or Las Vegas for an understated evening alone with nature. It's fast-paced, colorful, and exciting. One of the marks of a good Reno hotel is that it wholeheartedly embraces this action, and one of the marks of a great one is that it does it with its own personal style. It's not enough just to buy into the technicolor dream, you have to take it and make it your own, and the Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino's particular touch is to take the gaudy flair of the strip and apply a layer of pure class to it. 

That class begins as you walk down the front promenade. The sheer scale of the resort is what strikes you first. With 1,630 rooms, 9 restaurants, and 16 bars and lounges, the Peppermill is a self-contained city, a palatial enclave with everything you'll need for your stay.  The rooms are boundlessly luxurious and defined by their old world standards of service. The most recent Tuscan expansion has even expanded on those options, and by the name, you can tell that the hotel is even large enough to split itself into separate themed areas. Tour the world without even stepping outside.  The Peppermill Resort Spa and Casino is just what I expect when I stay at a 5-star resort in Reno: All the glitz and glamour of the commercial lifestyle with the high standards of service of an internationally renowned hotel.


Bacon Goes Well With Everything: W New York's Breakfast Cocktails

April 17, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The W New York is going out on a bold limb (that's the one on Lexington Ave). We've heard of breakfast for lunch and breakfast for dinner, but breakfast for cocktail hour is a new one on us. The Whiskey Blue lounge is featuring breakfast-themed cocktails off of their Comfort Food menu. And nothing could be more comfortable than a glass full of alcoholic bacon, a holy union of my two favorite things. Throw in some whipped egg white and a lemon rind, and you've got yourself a complete breakfast. Tony the Tiger would be proud. And maybe you're more of a sweet breakfast kind of guy. In that case, the waffle cocktail is your go-to nighttime breakfast-in-a-glass concoction. Orange juice in a maple syrup coated glass is all the sweet you can handle, and there's more than enough fine liquor in there to keep the stomach settled. Finally, you'll Whiskey Blue is offering a blueberry scone cocktail, and you can probably guess what's in there: flour, baking soda, and a bit of salt. No, wait, I mean blueberry, cinnamon, and vanilla. It's so delicious, it's sinful. Head to the W New York to try out the cocktails that get you out of the bed in the morning.

Via Luxury Travel Advisor.

 


It's Business Time: Taj Palace Best Business Hotel New Delhi

April 12, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

There's a very interesting split in the travel industry between business and leisure travelers. And if you're one of the business types, you know well that you're on the road constantly and the things that matter to you, travel convenience, efficiency, and connectivity, are almost the opposite of what a leisure traveler might want. If the word 'secluded' ever appeared in a hotel description, you'd cross it off the list immediately. So I'm here to use some adjectives you might appreciate hearing in describing some of the world's best business hotels. Today? New Delhi.

There's one hotel in New Delhi that has historic pedigree to play host to the most influential businessmen and foreign dignitaries, and that's the Taj Palace Hotel. On six acres of the Diplomatic Enclave, which is itself just a stone's throw from the business district, you're right in the center of the action, whether it's financial or political. Thirteen meeting rooms across the property can accommodate up to 1,000 people, so you'll never be lacking for space in the hotel itself, and a short 10 minute drive to the airport eliminates any hassle that comes with travel. Go right from your flight to your room with no fuss at all. Stay connected with state-of-the-art electronics and all the business facilities you need. Four restaurants on site provide Mediterranean, Indian, and Chinese cuisine, and there's a nearby private club for a golf or tennis break, as well as a nine hole putting course at the hotel.  The Taj Palace Hotel is just what our more entrepreneurial travelers are looking for in New Delhi.


Hotel Metropole Embarks on an Odyssey: Renovations and a Mural by the Summer

March 29, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The extremely talented designer Karl Lagerfeld is coming to Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo to lead the efforts of an extensive external redesign, and it's going to look great.  The centerpiece of the design: a fresco-style installation that depicts the stages of Ulysses's journey in 15 etched glass panels.  The Hotel Metropole's journey will be significantly shorter than the Odyssey, however. They hope to unveil it this very summer.

Alongside the fresco, Lagerfeld will be designing and opening a third Joel Robuchon restaurant on the premises as well as revamping the pool, terrace, and gardens.  The restaurant joins its one- and two-Michelin-star cousins, so you can expect great things from this one as well.  We're excited to see the fresh look of the hotel that won "Best Hotel in the World" at the Leading Hotels of the World convention in 2010. To see what the hotel has on offer and be prepared for the unveiling of the gorgeous outdoor areas, check out more on the Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo here.


Condé Nast Traveler Platinum Circle 2012: Swissotel the Bosphorus

March 26, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

We've been spotlighting a list of Conde Nast's award-winning Gold List Hotels for 2012, and each one is amazing in its own right. In a clear case of never enough of a good thing, Conde Nast has yet an additional level to their awards, the meta-prestigious Platinum Circle Hotels, distinguished for being consistent Gold List winners for the last five years. Perhaps it could have been more aptly named the Conde Nast Award for Continued Excellence in the Having of Conde Nast Awards, but that's probably just my jealousy talking. It takes a certain level of cachet to be able to recognize someone for being recognized by you, and the Conde Nast Awards carry that weight. Regardless, the Platinum Circle hotels are undoubtedly some of the best of the best and have the mark of consistency that other hotels can only aspire to.

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.

Today, the hotel on showcase the Swissotel the Bosphorus in Istanbul.  Turkey's capital is a place of so much history that you can barely take a step for fear of crunching some historic relic of civilizations past and present.  And to explore such a storied city, you need a storied location. The Bosphorus has unparalleled views of the old city and the Bosphorus from its perch on a wooded hilltop.  Sixteen restaurants, bars, and lounges provide every possible permutation of fine dining you could hope for, and you can look forward to relaxing in their heated indoor and outdoor pools. Modern amenities meet turkish tradition in a hotel with both a traditional Turkish wellness center and perfect connectivity.  Swissotel the Bosphorus is everything you'd want on the Mediterranean coast, packaged up nicely just waiting for your visit.


Nothing Evil about the Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives

March 20, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The Maldives are well-known for being one of the few places in the world you can find overwater bungalows, largely because the water is calm and pristine enough to support the fragile construction they require.  But in the land of floating villas, the Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa Maldives is looking to make a name for itself in another way.  Rather than send their villas out into the water, they've taken to the foliage, their tree house villas nestled in the beachfront palm fronds that every child learns to draw at the age of 5 as foreshadowing of their future desire to stay at a place like this.  

The resort plays home to all the features that the luxury traveler has come to expect.  Khazaanaaga, a divided, on-site restaurants give you options from the South China Sea, Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean, and Javvu gives you the more Western choice and cafe-style dining during the day.  CHI, the Spa at Shangri-La offers every treatment you could ever want while relaxing on a sandy beachfront and is inspired by traditional Chinese and Himalayan spiritual and physical wellness.  A children's adventure zone, two tennis courts, and an Eco centre that allows you to explore the local flora and fauna even after you've come back from any of 25 dive sites, including a British shipwreck.  The Shangri-La Villingili Resort and Spa is just about everything I'm looking for in a beachfront property. 

 

 


It's Business Time: The Hay-Adams Best Business Hotel Washington DC

March 16, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

There's a very interesting split in the travel industry between business and leisure travelers. And if you're one of the business types, you know well that you're on the road constantly and the things that matter to you, travel convenience, efficiency, and connectivity, are almost the opposite of what a leisure traveler might want. If the word 'secluded' ever appeared in a hotel description, you'd cross it off the list immediately. So I'm here to use some adjectives you might appreciate hearing in describing some of the world's best business hotels. Today? Washington, DC.

"Hey, Adam, where would you stay on a business trip to DC?" a hypothetical man might ask.  And Adam, being a good sort and lover of wordplay, would most definitely tell him, "The Hay-Adams Hotel, my good sir."  Well, clearly this Adam guy knows the hotel scene in DC pretty well because the Hay-Adams is the iconic DC residence for visiting dignitaries.  With almost a hundred years of a history studded with the politically influential, the Hay-Adams does it right.  Emulating a distinguished private mansion on Lafayette square, you would have to actually be in the White House to get any closer to the president.  And I'm pretty sure there's a few german shepherds who might have something to say about that.  8,000 ft of meeting space ensures that you can have your meetings nearby if need be, and the rooftop terrace can accommodate parties of up to 225.  The Hay-Adams Hotel gets my recommendation for the DC business traveler.  It's central, connected, dignified, and luxurious, and that's everything I want on a business trip.


How to Use the Five Star Alliance Site to its Fullest Potential

March 6, 2012
By: Oksana Balytsky

We get a number of inquiries about rates, availability, and amenities, and we thought it would be an excellent idea to quickly run through how our site works so you can gather all of the information you need to make your luxury hotel reservation!

To start, Five Star Alliance is a luxury online travel agency serving over 3,000 of the world’s finest hotels. We are not directly associated with, nor owners of any of the hotels on our site, so it’s easy to compare various properties at the same time without a biased slant. The information available on our site is exactly what our agents see. You’re certainly encouraged and quite able to look up the various details important to you and make your reservation through us on your own! We encourage you to read below to gain familiarity and confidence on using our website to its fullest potential.

If you're just exploring options and not sure where exactly you’d like to go, then we encourage you to click on the ‘World’s Best Hotels’ tab and explore our list of the top ski resorts, top spa resorts, top honeymoon hotels, most romantic hotels, and much more. If you are set on visiting a specific area like the Caribbean or Europe but not quite sure on the specifics, then click on the ‘Find a Hotel’ tab and enter the region you’ll be visiting and click ‘Go’ to view hotels in various cities in that region. If you are pretty set on visiting a specific island or city, then we suggest simply typing it into the search bar and clicking that city or island link to compare the various hotels in that area. Once you are on the appropriate page, ready to compare your options, simply enter your dates of travel and click ‘Go.’ You’ll easily be able to scan the list of the hotels and view their availability and rates. Once you find a hotel that interests you, click on the hotel name to view its location, highlights and amenities. If everything fits and that is the hotel you choose, simply click ‘Go’ and explore the various room types available. Select the option that best fits your needs, fill out the booking form with your personal information, and voila! Your reservation will automatically be confirmed and you’ll soon be on your way to an incredible luxury hotel!

Photo of Wheatleigh in Lenox, Massachusetts