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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.

W Paris to open on Valentine’s Day

December 20, 2011
By: Oksana Balytsky

Located in the heart of the city of lights, the W Hotel Paris Opera is set to open on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2012. The W Paris will be the first W Hotel in France, and it will be more of a boutique hotel, offering only 91 guestrooms, including 22 suites. This luxury hotel is steps away from the Granier Opera House as well as a short walk from the Rue de la Paix and Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, two fashionable shopping streets.

The restaurant at the W Paris provides guests with a culinary experience unlike any other. The chef prepares the menu with extreme attention to detail, highlighting the best ingredients available each season. Be amongst the first to experience the W Paris, and prepare to get swept away by the beauty and romance that comes with the city of love and Valentine’s Day!


The Top 20 Hotels in 2011: #13 The Hotel de Crillon

December 19, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

In the final days of 2011, Five Star Alliance is counting down the Top 20 Luxury Hotels & Resorts One & Only Maldives at Reethi RahWorldwide, as decided by our guests.

In the #13 spot we have the Hotel de Crillon, the exclusive and historic Parisian icon.

Quick facts about the Hotel de Crillon:

- A historical monument in its own right, the luxury hotel is steeped in the culture of 18th century Paris.  Its Louis XV design believes strongly in gold filigree and ornamentation, but never crosses the line into gaudiness.  

- The gourmet restaurant Les Ambassadeurs fills the former ballroom of the Dukes de Crillon and dinner guests can enjoy the world class cuisine in a room that has entertained kings.  

- And speaking of entertaining kings, so many famous guests have called the Hotel de Crillon home, that it almost seems an affront to the others to single any out.  Theodore Roosevelt, King George, Andrew Carnegie, Cary Grant and many more have all called the hotel home, and they even flew the flag of Texas when Lance Armstrong celebrated his Tour de France victory inside their walls.

- Its suites are unparalleled, including the Leonard Bernstein suite, named for the famous composer who frequently called it home which offers a view of the Eiffel tower from your bubblebath.  The other famed American to reside there, Edith Wharton much preferred the Hotel de Crillon to the nearby Ritz, where "the newly rich but uncultivated Americans stayed."   

One & Only Maldives at Reethi Rah- One of only six palace hotels in Paris, you're guaranteed to get the royal treatment

- It houses seven palatial meeting and reception rooms that can house up to 350 people.  

View photos, learn more about the hotel, and check availability at the Hotel de Crillon >>

Be sure to keep up with our countdown! In case you missed it, here are our previously featured hotels:

#20 – The St. Regis Resort Aspen

#19 – The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

#18 – The Peninsula Chicago

#17 - The Tower Club at Lebua

#16 - Auberge du Soleil

#15 - The Mount Nelson Hotel

#14 - The One and Only Maldives at Reethi Rah


Suite Temptation: Mandarin Oriental Paris Opens Doors of New Suites

December 16, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

The Mandarin Oriental Paris is one of the hotels that's constantly driving things forward, looking to stay one step ahead of the competition.  And with the unveiling of 37 new suites, they're certainly prepared to bring hotel accommodations in Paris up a notch.  All of the suites offer the most modern technologies including 32"-40" LCD TVs, iPads, and even Playstation 3's, not to mention a mirror tv.  The top-floor Atelier suites overlook Paris for a romantic view of Montmartre that will be sure to inspire your love ballads.

The flagship suite is definitely the Royal Mandarin Suite, nearly 4,000 sq. ft. in size, occupying two different floors, and having a bathtub with a view of the Eiffel Tower.  I'm sure you could count on one hand the number of bathtubs in the world that could rival that vista.  

If you're in the market to try out some of the premiere new suites in Paris, make sure to check out the Mandarin Oriental.


The Cake is Not a Lie: Queen Cake at Hotel Le Meurice

December 14, 2011
By: Christopher Roney

It's cake time! The Hotel Le Meurice in Paris is offering a special cake to bring in 2012 with style.  The Galette des Reines, as the cake is called, is a rich and decadent chocolate cake with a special surprise in it.  Evoking the spirit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, one of the slices hides a Tiffany & Co charm in the shape of a golden key.  The charm is further incentive to savor ever bite of your dessert, which comes in it an exclusive 14 euros a slice.  Only ten cakes will be made over a 20-day period, so it's worth jumping on this one early, since they could easily run out.  In our mind, it's certainly worth it after a meal by three-star Michelin Chef Yannick Alleno.

And staying in the hotel itself, opposite the Teuleries garden, is an experience in itself.  With a storied history back to 1835, the hotel has been called home by a number of greats, including Salvador Dali, whom the new restaurant, Le Dali, is named for.  If you're looking to stay in Paris this January, the Le Meurice is certainly one to look at, with its signature Queen's Cake and chance at a Tiffany Charm.  

Tip via HotelChatter


Countdown to Christmas: Santa, Spice and Everything Nice at Le Meurice, Paris

November 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Meurice, ParisWant to spice things up for Christmas this year? Hop the pond to the most visited city on earth for some raucous merrymaking-- French-style. The Champs-Élysées will be sparkling with lights, the street markets fragrant with hot mulled wine, the department stores dazzling with over-the-top window displays. What are you waiting for? Paris awaits you with open arms. Bed down at Le Meurice- the majestic palace hotel facing the Jardin des Tuileries- and you'll be privy to some fun festivities, as the hotel decks the halls with colorful decorations and goes all out in the food department. Best part of all: Santa will be pulling up his sleigh at Le Meurice for three Wednesdays in December, starting December 7, to give gifts to the kids at teatime.

The hotel is offering a special package for Christmas, available from December 1- December 28, 2011, starting from 560 euros, which includes accommodations (upgrade guaranteed at booking time) and American breakfast for two guests, Champagne and petits fours amenities, a Christmas gift for children, and free access to the wellness centre, Sauna, Turkish bath and Jacuzzi.


Christmas at Plaza Athénée, Paris: Plant Your Own Tree at the Palace of Versailles

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisHere's your chance to "plant your roots in French History" at the Château de Versailles. Talk about cool Christmas gifts! The Hotel Plaza Athénée, the luxurious Parisian palace hotel, is offering you a special limited-time special offer to buy a Christmas tree and plant it at the legendary Château, where you'll have your name engraved, and get free access to the Château de Versailles for one year. Not only that, you'll also receive your very own ownership certificate to show off to friends back home. The sprawling palace-- a symbol of royal opulence-- is surrounded by an important forest, currently being replanted by local governmental organizations. To be part of the legend, you must act fast! The Plaza Athénée's "My Private Tree" offer is limited to 10 available trees. Here's what's included in the package, priced from 1428 euros in a Deluxe Room (with guaranteed upgrade to a Junior Suite):

* At Château de Versailles: Your own Tree (Value 1000 euros) only 10 trees available; Ownership certificate; Your name engraved at the Château de Versailles; Free access to the Château de Versailles for one year

* At the Plaza Athénée: Daily Continental breakfast for two and a bottle of organic Champagne with your luxurious accommodations

Rates are per night for a two nights stay minimum. Available until December 28, 2011.


The World's Best Hotels: Announcing the Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011

November 10, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Bel-AirLooking to get inspired for your next getaway? The savvy editors at Fodor's have just released their first-ever list of the world's best hotels. After careful deliberation, the team of Fodor's editors and writers curated the "Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards 2011" spanning eight hotel categories. Here's a sampling of some of our favorites that made the cut.

New & Noteworthy- The Year's Best New and Reinvented Hotels: Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Mondrian Soho in NYC, Hotel Bel-Air & The Redbury in Los Angeles

Grande Dame- Legendary Hotels with Superlative History and Service: The Carlyle in NYC, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris, Hotel du Russie in Rome, The Savoy in London

Casual Chic- Effortlessly Stylish Hotels with Rustic-Modern Appeal: Cavo Tagoo in Mykonos, Bardessono in Napa, The Allison in Oregon

Design- Cutting-Edge Boutique Hotels at All Price Points: Hotel Missoni in Edinburgh, Jia in Hong Kong

Cavo Tagoo, MykonosLocal Flavor- Go-To Hotels for a Truly Authentic Experience: Fairmont Chateau Montebello in Quebec, Evason Ma'in Hot Springs and Six Senses Spa in Jordan

Clubby Atmosphere- Hip Urban Pied-à-Terres: 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, The Liberty in Boston, The Augustine in Prague

Luxurious Retreat- Top Choices for a Complete Escape: Little Palm Island Resort and Spa in the Florida Keys, Blackberry Farm in Tennessee, Inkaterra Machu Picchu

Trusted Brand- World-Class Examples of International Hotel Chains: Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong, Park Hyatt Paris Vendome, The Peninsula Bangkok


Get Royally Pampered at Le Royal Monceau in Paris

November 1, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Le Royal MonceauLe Royal Monceau knows luxury. The palace hotel reopened in October 2010 after a two-year, top-to-bottom makeover by design guru Philippe Starck, and every single aspect of it-- from the private cinema to the brand spanking new spa-- is fabulously opulent. So you know you're in good hands when you choose Le Royal Monceau for a lavish Parisian getaway. Better yet, for an over-the-top experience you'll never forget, book the hotel's new "Be Royal" offer. After getting whisked from the airport in a Mercedes Class S, you'll be ushered as a VIP into your Junior Suite, where you'll find a Clarins welcome gift along with Pierre Hermé macarons and a bottle of Champagne. Wake up to an extravagant American breakfast at La Cuisine restaurant, then have a private Art Tour of Le Royal Monceau with the Art Concierge. During your stay, you'll also enjoy a private appointment at a famous French fashion house, fine dining for two at La Cuisine (drinks excluded), a "Royal Indulgence" treatment at the dazzling new spa, a late check-out at 4 pm, and an upgrade upon availability. Priced at 1450 euros per night, available until December 30, 2011 with a three-night minimum stay required.


Who Won the 2011 Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize?

October 31, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Plaza Athenee, ParisWe've been waiting with bated breath to find out which talented designer would nab the prestigious Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. The luxury hotel group-- celebrated for iconic hotels in urban centers in Europe and the U.S.-- launched the Fashion Prize to honor the work of young designers- and it's gotten some serious buzz in the press. Just this past weekend, the prize was bestowed in The Rodeo Ballroom at The Beverly Hills Hotel after a runway presentation featuring models from cycle 18 of America's Next Top Model. (The event was filmed for an upcoming episode to be aired in spring 2012.) After much deliberation, the judges chose the collection by Anndra Neen as best representing “the spirit of individuality, luxury, style and craftsmanship" of The Dorchester Collection's hotels. Anndra Neen received $40,000 and will have the opportunity to display their work at the fabulous Hôtel Plaza Athénée (pictured) during Paris Fashion Week in 2012.


Winter in Paris: Pop-Up Champagne Bar at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe

October 20, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hilton Arc de Triomphe ParisThe "Snow Bar" is coming back to the City of Light! Every year the Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris-- designed in a nautical Art Deco style by architects Jacques Garcia and Alexandre Danan-- gets in the holiday spirit by transforming its outdoor Andalusian Patio into a wintry wonderland. Last year there were snow-covered fir trees, a chalet bar, and cocktail waitresses wearing Santa outfits. This year the hotel has teamed up with Taittinger Champagne to create a unique concept called "Bubble in Paris"-- an exclusive all-white lounge decked out in fur and frosted glass inside an actual bubble. From December 1, 2011- January 2, 2012, the hotel welcomes guests to the "Bubble in Paris" bar with a special "Festive Period" package. Starting from 280 euros per night, the package includes luxurious accommodation, a complimentary upgrade to next room category (subject to availability), a VIP gift in room and a glass of Champagne for two in the “Bubble in Paris” bar, English breakfast served in the Safran restaurant, and access to the beautiful Mosaïc Spa.