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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.

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.


Where to Get a Fab Facial (with Jade Stones!) in London

November 28, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham London, Chuan SpaNeed to get cleaned up for your company's annual holiday party? Hot-foot it to The Langham London, where you'll get a serious pick-me-up at the swank Chuan Spa.* They've just launched a revolutionary new spa treatment... and jade stones are involved. Long prized in China by the Imperial Court (and crafted into objets d'art by skilled artisans), jade is celebrated for its healing and restorative properties. The 75-minute Chuan Yu Facial is designed for the ultimate in skin rejuvenation, using jade to stimulate and massage facial acupoints with the Ancient Gua Sha technique-- one of China’s traditional national therapies used by Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors for relieving blocked meridians. The facial eliminates toxins and improves blood circulation- meaning you'll look and free great. Starting off with a short breathing ritual to aid relaxation, the treatment also includes a nourishing face mask, a full facial hydrating ritual and ear auricular therapy to help stimulate internal organs. The Chuan Yu facial costs £100.

*The Langham's Chuan Spa opened earlier this year to much fanfare.


Hotel Buzz: Radisson Blu Park Hotel, Athens Opens in December

November 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Radisson Blu Park Hotel, Athens

It's official. The Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the fastest growing hotel companies worldwide. The latest property to join their expansive portfolio? The Radisson Blu Park Hotel, Athens- which will open in a matter of weeks in the Greek capital. Formerly called the Athens Park Hotel, the 152-room property is located opposite the "Pedion Areos," Athens' largest park, and is next to the National Archaeological Museum. This address in the northern part of the city center is convenient to museums, shops, and restaurants, with the Acropolis just a short walk away. Guests of the Radisson Blu can enjoy a rooftop swimming pool with staggering views over Athens. The hotel also has the Gallo Nero restaurant, the Oak Room bar, St'Astra rooftop restaurant, and two conference rooms. This is the first Radisson Blu in Greece, and Rezidor now has properties in 65 countries across Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Up next: the Radisson Blu Grand Canaria Resort, Spain and Radisson Blu Uppsala, Sweden in 2012.


Spot The Langham's Pink Taxi in Boston; Win a Trip to London!

November 21, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Langham Boston, pink taxiHere's your chance to win a getaway to London! The Langham, Boston has rolled out a cool, new Facebook sweepstakes where one lucky winner will have a chance to jet off to London in luxury with Premium Economy airfare for two courtesy of Virgin Atlantic Airways and stay three nights at The Langham, London-- originally opened in 1865 as Europe’s first 'Grand Hotel.' (Don't miss Afternoon Tea in Palm Court!) All you have to do to enter the contest is spot The Langham, Boston's Pink Taxi around Beantown, snap a photo, and upload it to The Langham, Boston's Facebook page. Submissions will be accepted on Facebook from now until January 12, 2012 with the winner to be picked at random and announced on or about January 31, 2012.

We're loving this authentic English taxi in Langham's signature pink!


Look out, Jakarta: W Hotels is Coming to Town

November 17, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W Retreat and Spa BaliWhen W planted its flag in Indonesia earlier this year, the W Retreat & Spa Bali – Seminyak (pictured) immediately became *the* place to see and be seen. (The resort manages to be both a tranquil hideaway and a happening hot spot at the same time.) Now the brand is looking to make a splash in the buzzing capital city of Jakarta, with the opening of a brand new hotel in 2015. Located in Jakarta's Central Business District, the 300-room property will import W's signature Whatever/Whenever service philosophy along with the W Living Room experience. To quote the official press release: "W Jakarta will offer escape, extravaganza and innovative design in the heart of one of the city's most vibrant districts, redefining the contemporary lifestyle and bringing a completely new and distinctive experience to the hotel market in Jakarta." The W Jakarta will be the brand's twelfth property in the Asia Pacific region, following the 2014 openings of W Beijing and W Shanghai.


Get a Golden Glow with the New 24-Karat Gold Facial at Four Seasons Mauritius

November 16, 2011
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

gold facial at Four Seasons Resort MauritiusWe've seen our fair share of over-the-top spa treatments (diamond, rubies, oh my!), but this one might just take the cake. The Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita has just announced a lavish spa treatment for the festive season: the new UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial. Apparently gold has natural youth-enhancing properties (who knew?) that helps beautify the skin and defy the natural ageing process. The facial uses 100% natural ingredients to give you a golden glow while you're hanging out in paradise. (Just check out the photos of the island resort.) Here's the skinny on the facial:

Derived from an ancient Japanese soybean health food, the Gamma PGA ingredient used by the UMO facial is ten times more hydrating than the skin’s own natural acids, while also having far more elasticity than collagen. The Gamma PGA absorbs the gold and when applied to the face using UMO’s ultrasonic nano mist technology – several times smaller than water droplets – both the Gamma PGA and the gold are able to pass through the surface of the skin to restore youthful benefits to the deepest layers.

Needless to say, the UMO 24 Karat Gold Facial doesn't come cheap; it costs 250 euros a pop. Available from December 15, 2011.