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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 Hotel Baku Open June 15

April 19, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The wonderful new Four Seasons property in Baku is a little bit off the beaten path, but we're certainly looking forward to its opening. Coming up on June 15, 2012, Four Seasons is bringing its signature style to the Caucasus region. The Beaux-Arts hotel is the perfect stop for the business traveler or tourist looking to experience the vibrant social scene.  The Penthouse Spa is the ultimate destination for relaxation. Take a load off after a rough day of business by loosening your muscles through proven Turkish and Persian treatments. A two-story atrium with heated swimming pool is your spot for a relaxing float. Book now for the summertime at the Four Seasons Baku.

Photo via Four Seasons Baku.


Upping the Tempo: Tempo Miami Rechristened Casa Moderna

April 9, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

In the spirit of the holiday, the Tempo Miami has rechristened itself as the Casa Moderna Miami. The new hotel is celebrating the name change in style, and there's not been a better time to stay in one of its 56 rooms and suites on gorgeous Biscayne Bay. Enjoy the view from its 14th-floor sky pool deck or lounge in its 8,000 sq ft spa.  The boutique resort is perfect for someone who wants to get out to the beaches of Miami without the bustle of the larger hotels.  

Casa Moderna is making a concerted effort to upgrade its dining experience as well. For the month of April, you can even text 'fresh' to 84700 in order to receive a coupon for a free Tea Forte cocktail at their delicious restaurant, Amuse. They are celebrating the addition of the new Executive Chef, Kenneth Williams, to their team, and I'm looking forward to the great things he'll be up to.  He was wonderful at the Fisher Island Club and Gotham Steak.  It will be great to see if the rebranding efforts will run deeper than the new website and new name to the essence of the hotel. At the very least, the new leadership for Amuse should provide an interesting change of pace.  Learn more about the Casa Moderna here.


Hostile Takeover, Literally: Lehman Bros Busts into Setai with Armed Guards

April 2, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

It's not often that the hotel industry gets good drama.  In a move that I imagine happening a little something like this, the Setai was invaded by armed enforcers, who physically removed managing hotel group, General Hotel Management, from the premises.  The enforcers were controlled by the Setai owners, affiliates of Lehman Brothers Holdings, who were clearly unsatisfied with the way their property was being managed.  GHM President Hans R. Jenni claimed they were completely blind-sided by this maneuver, even noting that they had posted the second highest profits of any year immediately prior to their displacement.  This in answer to the allegations that the management group was overspending.  The staff is reported to be filing an injunction against Lehman Brothers, but in the past such moves have been met with little success.

Executives from all sides are claiming that this should have no effect on your stay at the hotel, but we can bet that at the very least, you'll be hearing some good gossip from the staff.  It's not every day that an armed posse of off-duty cops and private security storms into your place of work to eject your boss from the building.  My favorite part of this story is that the folks doing the accusations of money mismanagement are most well-known for their 2008 Chapter 11 bankruptcy that catalyzed a national recession.  So at least we know they're in good hands.  Head on over to the Setai in Miami Beach to see for yourself.

 Read more about the two sides at HotelChatter.


Service with a Paddle: The Banyan Tree Kerala

March 15, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

As our friends at Luxury Travel Advisor report, something big is afoot at the upcoming Banyan Tree Kerala.  Set to open on the 1st of December this year, the hotel is redefining what to expect of a secluded resort.  In a scene that I imagine belonging more in the Lord of the Rings than anywhere in real life, arrival to the Banyan Tree Kerala will be heralded by your approach. An approach in a boat, sailed through the tranquil waters and right into the hotel lobby, thus giving them the best boat-to-lobby distance ration (BTL) of any hotel in the world.  We all have to be great at something, right?  Seriously, it's such a novel concept for a resort brand that prides itself on its exclusivity, and I'm a huge fan of non-traditional lobbies.  And what could be more non-traditional than the potent lobby-harbor combination?  As their PR Rep told me, "I heard you like boats, so I put a boat in your lobby, so you can check-in while you boat."*

This is certainly a hotel property to be on the lookout for.  Banyan Tree always seems to deliver on their particular brand of luxury, and they're clearly looking to innovate on their already successful concept.  While you're waiting for the Banyan Tree Kerala to open, check out our other Banyan Tree resorts.

*Not Intended To Be a Factual Statement 


The Ritz Paris Did Not Burn Down in a Fiery Conflagration

March 12, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

Last week, we reported that the Ritz Paris suffered the incredible misfortune of a nearby garage catching fire, and we now know a little bit more of the story.  As HotelChatter reports, despite the quite imposing pictures, the hotel itself was fortunately largely unaffected. The fire was contained mostly to a single level of the parking garage, gutting some 30 vehicles parked there, but only one person was harmed, and only from smoke inhalation, and nearby buildings were only exposed to the billowing smoke clouds.  There may be a little bit of exterior discoloration from the blackened soot, but the fire itself stayed away, and there are no reports of any smoke getting inside to damage rooms at the Ritz or any nearby establishments.  We are happy to hear that the effects of this tragedy were relatively minor, given the possible damage.  

All that's to say that the fire is no reason to shy away from one of Paris's iconic properties before their August closing.  

It still looks like this, we promise.


A Burning Ritz of Fire: Ritz Paris Suffers the Smoke of Nearby Garage Fire

March 8, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

If any of the iconic hotels in Paris were going to suffer the collateral damage of a nearby underground garage going up in flames, it's probably just as well that it was the Ritz Paris.  While unfortunate for anyone in the hotel industry, the Ritz is fortuitously scheduled to undergo an extensive two-year renovation coming up in August, so if anything was damaged by the smoke billowing out from the garage, you can be rest assured that the hotel was looking to replace it.  No news yet on whether the interior of the hotel was affected in any way, and no one appears to have been injured in the fire, so as flaming conflagrations go, this might not be so bad.  In any case, our hearts go out to the hotel, the nearby Place du Vendome, and to anyone whose things were caught in the blaze.  Hopefully, we'll hear more soon.  As of now, the hotel is still slated to be open up through its August closing, and unless we hear otherwise, with no reports of damage yet, future guests need not fear for the quality of their stay.

Photo via Le Parisien.


Change in Management: Trump Takes Over the Marriott Doral Golf Resort

February 27, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The big boss and his bold hair are coming to Doral Miami. The deal on the Marriott Doral Golf Resort and Spa has been signed, sealed, and delivered, and that means that Mr. Trump will be overseeing an extensive summertime renovation to herald the change in management.  The property's facelift will ensure that it equals and then surpasses the luxury of the currently 4-star resort, and we can't wait to see what he'll do with the place.  Large-scale investment is just what a property like the Doral Golf Resort needs, and that means we'll be following closely as the restoration begins in June.  The hotel will remain open during its low season, but the updated property should be fully ready as things start to pick up in the fall.

With the renovation and refurbishment, the property should see rates rising as high as the increased expectations.  Expect to seem increase to be commensurate with rates you'll see at other Trump properties.  Be sure to keep on the lookout for updated rates and availability for the Doral Golf Resort and Spa.


Trump Comes to DC, but Maybe Not Like He Imagined

February 8, 2012
By: Christopher Roney

The news broke at the Washington Post yesterday that ex-presidential hopeful Donald Trump has turned the long-reaching tendrils of his well-coiffed hair towards the Old Post Office in Washington, DC, by buying it up as a hotel property. While he may be moving in next door to his dream house like an overzealous ex-boyfriend, this is undeniably good news for the hotel industry and for DC as well. The Old Post Office, while home to a few government offices, is also well-known for being a just a little bit abandoned and run down. And since it's on prime real estate in the middle of the city, hearing that Trump and investors are willing to put down a cold $200 million to renovate and revitalize the building should put a spring in the step of anyone looking to stay near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. or even just walk by on the way to work.

The hotel will likely open its doors to more than 250 rooms for guests in 2016. Importantly, the Vice-Trump, daughter Ivanka, who headed the acquisition, said that the reconstruction is committed to preserving the historic facade of the original 1890s post office. Making way for the hotel will be National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, which probably holds some kind of metaphorical significance, but maybe they'll get swankier offices elsewhere. The hotel itself should be an interesting take on an unorthodox space. The pavilion in the interior makes for a central space that itself has a lot of aesthetic possibility but also limits the floor design. I'm intrigued to see what Mr. Trump's team will do with the place. In the meantime, there are plenty of other Washington hotels within a stone's throw of the White House. [Editor's note: Do not throw that stone.]

Photo via Old Post Office DC Pavilion


New Hotel Openings in 2012: The Capella Georgetown

January 2, 2012
By: Courtney W. May

The Capella Georgetown Artist RenderingCapella Hotels & Resorts recently announced plans to convert a former five-story office building into The Capella Georgetown alongside the historic C&O Canal and cobblestone sidewalks of Georgetown, in the capital city of Washington, D.C.. Soon to begin construction, the property is slated to be opened in December 2012 at 1050 31st Street, NW.

The Capella Georgetown will feature 48 guest rooms and suites, an elegant restaurant and lounge, featuring seasonal dining overlooking the Canal, highlights amenities that include an executive boardroom, a rooftop pool and bar and exclusive spa. The hotel's premier location will offer dramatic views of the city's iconic landmarks.

According to the press release: "The Capella Georgetown interiors are being designed by renowned interiors architect Peter Silling & Associates and will include an intimate signature restaurant & bar with outdoor seating along the historic C&O Canal, a modern and elegant private rooftop lounge, a rooftop indoor-outdoor pool overlooking the Potomac River and several Washington landmarks, a guest only spa and fitness center, the pre-arrival services of personal assistants, luxury car service, 24 hr room service and unique wine cellar for private dining."

We'll update you with more information as construction progresses.


Buzzworthy: Special Intro Rates at the Saguaro Hotel, Scottsdale

November 29, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Saguaro

There's a new hotel on the Scottsdale scene and it's causing quite the stir. Inspired by the contemporary architecture of Mexico and the Arizona desert, The Saguaro is the place to go to "stay cool in the desert." Awash in vivid color, the hotel is the first property for a new brand developed by Sydell Group, and Joie de Vivre-- famed for fun hotels across Cali (like Hotel Vitale in San Francisco)-- has been tapped to manage it. To quote the Los Angeles Times: "So what does this new translation of the desert look like in a hotel motif? Forget cool beiges and browns; the Saguaro Hotel in Scottsdale takes its cue from bright yellows, oranges and pinks derived from the flowers that bloom there." Smack dab in the heart of Old Town Scottsdale, the hotel has a spa featuring indigenous treatments; two outdoor, heated pools with cabanas; and a large fitness center. Snag the "Centennial Rate" to celebrate Arizona's 100th year of statehood, and you'll be living large for just $100 per night. That's a savings of 50 percent. This rate is available for the first 100 rooms booked each week, ending March 1, 2012.