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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.

Winter in Venice: $149 Rates at The Venetian and The Palazzo, Las Vegas

October 18, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The VenetianThis holiday season, how about winter in Venice? Not Italy, but the Las Vegas Strip! The Venetian and The Palazzo are putting on a one-of-a-kind celebration that they say will be the "most majestic winter wonderland Las Vegas has ever seen." The five-diamond resorts will transform into a winter wonderland with an ice skating rink above The Venetian's outdoor Grand Canal-- complete with snowflakes, strung holiday lights, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree perched atop the Doge's Palace fountain. While you stroll around, you'll be entertained by a colorful cast of characters: magicians, carolers, puppets, jugglers, and candy cane stilt walkers. Enjoy seasonal treats like eggnog cupcakes, warm apple cider, spiced cocktails, and hot chocolate. And to cap off each day, you’ll be in for a treat: a "spectacular light show performance beyond your wildest imagination." Winter in Venice will take place from November 21, 2011- January 8, 2012. Special package rates are available for $149 per night in a luxury suite, two-night minimum required, with a bunch of add-ons included (hot chocolate for two, skate rentals, $40 off seasonal spa treatments).


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.


MGM in Mumbai: Bellagio and MGM Grand Hotels Head to India

October 14, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Bellagio, Las VegasYou heard that right. MGM Hospitality is developing Bellagio, MGM Grand, and Skylofts hotels in Mumbai, India. They'll be located in the Maker Maxity mixed-use development complex in Bandra-Kurla Complex. As quoted in the official press release, the CEO of MGM Hospitality, Gamal Aziz, wants to blend Mumbai's culture and personality into the architecture and style of the properties. "The proximity to Bollywood and the affluent Bandra neighborhood provides a perfect setting for the confluence of energy, indulgence and luxury that the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts hotels will bring to the destination." They're promising all kinds of goodies for the international business traveler, along with world-class nightlife, restaurants, meeting venues, and entertainment. But what's the word on gambling? Will there be a Vegas-style casino for Mumbai's highrollers?

Pictured: The Bellagio in Las Vegas.


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.


New Indian-Inspired Spa Treatments at The Pierre, New York

October 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Pierre, A Taj Hotel in New YorkNirvana in New York? Yes please! The Pierre, A Taj Hotel on New York's Central Park, is bringing a piece of India to lucky guests who need a little R&R. The luxury hotel has introduced Jiva Spa in-room treatments, inspired by India's ancient wellness rituals. Beginning with a foot bath in flower petals and soothing oil, the head-to-toe treatments range from massages to facials and everything in between. Utilizing all-natural signature Jiva products, the therapies are designed to create a holistic path to harmony and balance, and can be personalized for each guest. Only have 30 minutes? No prob! Bihar Yoga sessions are also available. These services are arranged in the comfort of your own guest room, or in the private treatment room on the third floor next to the fitness center. (A new Jiva Spa space will open at The Pierre in 2012.) A few examples from the menu:

Vishram Relaxation Massage: A full-body massage designed to melt away stress using alternating palm and thumb strokes and fragrant signature oil blends of kewda, frankincense and brahmi with infusions of sandalwood and sesame to release tension and instill ease and tranquility; 60-minutes, $220; 90-minutes, $300

Champi Indian Head Massage: This invigorating hair treatment is believed to promote hair growth and restore the natural sheen and glossiness of the hair fiber using a signature blend of traditional ingredients (amla, brahmi, jatamansi, curry leaves and neem) to instill long-lasting, enriching benefits and relieve muscular tension from the head, neck and shoulders to create a deep sense of joy and clarity of thought; 45-minutes, $180

Indian Aroma Therapy Treatment: Aromatic oil blends from Ayurveda Pharmacopoeias have been carefully chosen for these treatments, which have powerful healing properties. All ingredients used for these treatments are native to India. Choose from the selection of specially prepared signature oil blends to meet your need of the day; priced according to desired duration, from $180 - $300 for 30 - 90 minutes. 

Anana Lepa Facial: Many Indian women use homemade recipes passed down from mother to daughter to nourish their families and their skin. Following this custom, Jiva uses fresh, all natural ingredients straight from the home. Your facial will also include a face massage that tones and nourishes the skin so that you emerge with a radiant natural glow; 60-minutes, $220.


Create a Christmas Vodka Flavor: Win a Stay at London's Montague on the Gardens

October 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Montague on the Gardens, LondonThe Montague on the Gardens, the lovely Georgian townhouse hotel in the heart of London's Bloomsbury, is getting in the Christmas spirit early this year. They're creating the "12 Vodkas of Christmas" and inviting you, dear reader, to help dream up one of the delicious Christmas-themed flavors. They've already got 10 flavors including Cinnamon, Spiced Apple and Candy Cane, and now they're looking for two more to add to the menu. If your flavor is chosen, you'll win a night's stay for two people at the Montague on the Gardens, including breakfast, a festive Afternoon Tea for two, plus a bottle of your very own flavored vodka to savor at home! To enter, email winterwonderland@rchmail.com, or leave a comment on their blog with your creative idea. From the judges: "Points will be awarded for originality of mouth-watering flavors that will help keep us warm while we’re in our Winter Wonderland this December!"

Closing date for entry is November 11, 2011. Entrants must be 18 years or older. Prize valid until end of March 2012, subject to availability and terms and conditions apply. Festive Afternoon Tea will be replaced with Traditional Afternoon Tea from January 2012."

PS. Don't miss the hotel's "alpine lodge"-- as they transform their deck into a winter wonderland with pine trees, reindeer, even falling snow. The perfect spot to sample one of those 12 Christmas vodkas.


What's Hot in D.C.: Capella Georgetown to Open in January 2012

October 13, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Capella GeorgetownCome January 2012, Washington D.C. will have a swell addition to its luxury hotel scene. Capella is coming to town! (The ultra-luxury brand has established a reputation in the hospitality world for its service standards. Read: Personal assistants for each and every guest.) Located at 1050 31st Street, NW alongside the historic C&O Canal, the Capella Georgetown will be intimate in size. Just 48 guest rooms and suites will cater to "a sophisticated and discerning clientele including global industry leaders, heads of state and other visitors." What else is in store? An elegant restaurant and lounge serving seasonal cuisine overlooking the Canal, a rooftop pool and bar, and exclusive spa.

Related Articles: Design Dream: Capella Singapore Features Objets d’Art from Lamont Design

Announcing the Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas

The World’s Hottest Hotels: Capella Ixtapa (Special Introductory Rates Available)


The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong Voted "Best Hotel in the World"

October 12, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong

The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong set the bar high when it opened on June 21, 2010. Literally, the hotel caps off Cesar Pelli’s IFC Shanghai building with an incredible rooftop bar on the 58th floor that's the tallest in Shanghai. Gadling buzzed about the hotel as "luxury in a modern Mandarin-style shell." Travel + Leisure said: "The 285-room hotel places you in a cloud-level fantasy." And now the readers of Condé Nast Traveler magazine (U.S. edition)-- besotted with all the hotel's superlatives-- have voted it the 'Best Hotel In The World' in the magazine's 24th annual Readers Choice Awards. Two top awards were bestowed upon the hotel in one evening, Best Hotel in Asia Pacific, and then Overall Best Hotel in the World. Collecting the award on behalf of the hotel was The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company President, Herve Humler.


New Fahrenheit Ballroom at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown

October 11, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Ritz-Carlton GeorgetownThrowing a ball or getting hitched in D.C.? A new ballroom is turning heads in town, located- where else?- in the swank Ritz-Carlton Georgetown. The official press release cited "greater guest demand" as the reason why the hotel is transforming Fahrenheit restaurant into permanent banquet rental space, and the hotel's bar and lounge into a three-meal restaurant and bar called Degrees Bistro. Slated to open in a matter of weeks on November 1, 2011, the Fahrenheit Ballroom has already been picked by Daily Candy D.C. as a prime wedding venue:

Turn up the heat at The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown’s new event space, the Fahrenheit Ballroom. Located on the top floor of the brick factory-turned-hotel, the grand dance hall wows with huge windows, steel beams, and a loftlike feel.

Related Article: Ritzy the Nesting Duck Checks in to the Ritz-Carlton Georgetown


Mouthwatering Desserts and Sky-High Views at lebua, Bangkok

October 11, 2011
By: Five Star Alliance

Black Forest Cake at lebua hotel, BangkokOur friends at lebua Hotels & Resorts have a cool blog where they share what's on at their hotels, and all the latest news from Bangkok and beyond. (For example: get deets on the Hanovertini, the cocktail created in honor of The Hangover II, filmed at the Sky Bar at Lebua State Tower.) We were so taken with the hotel's mouthwatering desserts, shared on their blog and Flickr page, that we're republishing the "Sweetest Thing in Life" blog post here. Bon Appetit!

“For those with business to conduct, lebua provides the perfect opportunity to transcend the boardroom and innovate your meeting plans. Whether you plan to host a large conference, an intimate meeting or conduct your business one-on-one, lebua offers unparalleled possibilities for ideas to flourish and flow freely”

I’ve always been told the above, and over the past few months, want it or not, I find myself in lebua at least thrice a month. For meetings, or to have some alone time to catch up with my writing assignments; with a slice of cake or some tea, my ideas do flourish – mainly because of the great view in the many restaurants.

Meeting a prospective client, writing, closing a deal, or snacking with friends or stopping to say hello to Chef Frank, I’ve made lebua a regular fixture in my schedule.

Dinner at Mezzaluna, checked!

Drinks at Skybar, checked!

Have their famous Mixologist make me a drink at Distil, checked.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Mozu, also done and off the list

Dine in style in Breeze, mission accomplished!

Okay, I’ve INDEED been in and out of the hotel and I love it. And knowingly, their cakes and dessert stand out. I loved their intricate look and feel, and the beautiful presentation – just so artistic!

And today, I was there yet again – and I ordered a slice of heaven Black Forest cake. It sure was different, and so out-of-this-world, that I so regret not snapping a photo before I fork it all down.

To share with you, here’s a photo I’ve taken from their Flickr site.