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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.

Attention Scuba Divers: The World’s Largest Man-made Reef

March 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

A ship is to sunk-- intentionally-- off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. As CNN reports:

If all goes according to plan, explosives will be placed throughout the largely hollowed-out shell of the USS Oriskany in May and it will plummet 210 feet to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.
The ship that starred in films like "The Bridges of Toko Ri" and "The Men of the Fighting Lady," will play a new role as bait to lure serious divers and sport fishermen worldwide and help boost tourism to the hurricane-ravished local economy.


Arizona Spring Training: Scottsdale’s Hip Hotel Valley Ho

March 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Hotel Valley Ho Cabana Room

Heading to Scottsdale for the best kind of Spring entertainment? Take yourself out to the ballgame! Arizona Spring Training is a favorite tradition not to be missed, and with a perfect location near the ballpark, the Hotel Valley Ho is the place to stay. The original hide-away for Bogart, Bing and Marilyn has been made-over into a hip urban resort, and reopened to much fanfare in December 2005. The chic rooms feature all-glass walls opening onto private patios, flat-screen TVs, WiFi, terrazzo tile bathrooms, and feather-top beds with 300-thread-count linens. As pictured, the cabana rooms are full of whimsy and flair—overlooking the pool. Post-game, head poolside to Cafe ZuZu for some classic American comfort food. Or pamper yourself with a massage at the VH Spa, then indulge in a little personal training of your own at the fitness center overlooking the perfect circle pool.


Announcing the Tides Playa Del Carmen, Mayan Riviera, Mexico

March 3, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Tides Playa del Carmen

From the same chic LA hotelier that brought you the Viceroy Santa Monica, comes a new luxury residential property in the marvelous Mayan Riviera. The sister property to the new Viceroy Riviera Maya Resort—one of five exquisite luxury hotels built within the eco-sensitive Mayakoba Resort on the beautiful beaches south of Cancun— the Tides Playa del Carmen is a luxurious residential resort. The stretch of Yucatan coastline near Playa del Carmen has long been the hideaway for an international, travel-savvy crowd of cultured travelers. Now Kor brings "one-of-a-kind chic by the shore" with its new eight-acre retreat, reminiscent of the sophisticated Tides in South Beach. Construction is scheduled to begin this year and be completed in early 2008. The resort will include 190 luxury ocean-front residences with all the upscale amenities of the most exclusive resort: pool with destination bar-lounge, private Beach Club, fine dining, 10,000 square foot spa and fitness center.


Go Green at Fairmont Hotels and Resorts

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Fairmont San Francisco

Welcome to Fairmont, where new check-in desk computers are powered by the wind. For its hotels across North America, Fairmont has recently purchased Eco-Logo certified wind power for 249 computers. This translates to greenhouse gas reduction of almost 100 tonnes for the year! We applaud Fairmont for leading the pack with environmental initiatives and sustainable energy technology launched by its Green Partnership program.


Pet Pampering at Loews Hotels

March 2, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

Gary Stram, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Regency, A Loews Hotel

Loews Loves Pets Program

If you were watching the NBC Today Show on Wednesday morning, March 1st, you may have seen Mike Leonard's report on Loews Hotels and pet vacations titled "Pamper your pooch with a trip fit for a king". The packages they focused on - "The Hound of Music", "Su'ruff Camp", and "Outward Hound" - aren't available at all of the Loews Hotels, but the "Loews Loves Pets" program has been in place at each and every Loews Hotel since 2000.

As part of the program at the 18 Loews Hotels, each visiting VIP (Very Important Pet) can travel in first-class comfort with gourmet room service, specialized bedding, a pet amenity, and guest services designed to make pets and their owners feel right at home.

Each pet is welcomed with a personal note from the hotel's general manager which includes a listing of pet services available at the hotel including a map of the area with dog-walking routes highlighted, and information on veterinarians, pet shops, groomers, pet attractions, pet-friendly restaurants, and other resources. In the guestroom is a special ...

... amenity that includes special pet place mats with food and water bowls, toys and treats, and a "Do Not Disturb" sign that let housekeeping know that a pet is in the room. Pet walking and pet sitting services are available through the hotels' concierge desks. The latest addition to the Loews Loves Pets program is the "Puppy Pager" service. For the duration of their stay, pet owners are asked for a cell phone number or provided with a pager that enables the hotel staff to contact them immediately in case of emergency.

Don CeSar Pet Program

Finicky felines and hungry canines can choose from their own special room service menu that was designed to provide proper nutrition to help pets deal with travel stress including jet lag and altitude adjustments. The pet room service varies at each hotel and most include items such as roasted salmon and tuna delight for cats and bow wow burgers, chicken and rice and grilled filet for dogs. All menu items and preparations for the room service menu were developed and approved by a licensed veterinarian.

The newest item on the menu is "HERO STARS," gourmet dog biscuits which benefit the American Kennel Club's "DOGNY" Canine Support and Relief Fund for Police Search and Rescue Dog Teams across the country. A tasty and healthy new addition to the Loews Loves Pets offerings, HERO STARS are available for $10 at Loews Hotels in-room mini bars. Beverages include bottled water and milk. Additionally, selections of dry and canned pet foods are available for in-room delivery.

Loews Hotels also loans its guests pet necessities such as dog and cat beds in different sizes, leashes and collars, and pet videos. Kitty litter boxes and litter, pooper-scoopers, and a selection of pet toys (such as rawhide bones, catnip, and scratch poles) are also available for purchase.

Each hotel has established special cleaning procedures for pet stays including the use of HEPA-filtered vacuums so that all traces of pet allergens are removed in preparation for the next guest. Some of the Loews Hotels charge a one-time pet fee, guests should check with the individual properties to determine their policy.

Charlotte St. Martin, executive vice president for marketing for Loews Hotels says - "Pets provide unconditional love and people love their pets unconditionally. At Loews we've found that taking care of pets is one of the best ways to build customer loyalty and give our guests—and their companions—a good night's sleep."

She's right.

Loews Hotels, Official Site

Loews Hotels, Five Star Alliance


Miami Seaquarium Re-opens

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Dolphin Swim Miami Seaquarium

Southern Florida's premier tourist attraction is back. After a large clean-up and renovation in the wake of Hurricane Wilma's wrath, the marine park opened its doors again on February 11. Located in a picture-perfect spot on Biscayne Bay, the Seaquarium offers a host of marine-life shows and exhibits. Sharks and Dolphins and Sea Lions, Oh My!


Upscale Shopping in Dubai: the BurJuman Centre

March 2, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

BurJuman

In a city of superlatives, it's not hard to be deemed "the world's most luxurious shopping destination." Dubai's BurJuman Centre-- located in the very heart of the city-- is the residence of high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Dior, Hermes, Valentino, Emanel Ungaro, Loewe, Etro, Cartier, Van Cleef and Arpels, Christian Lacroix, Salvatore Ferragamo... Its 800,000 square feet of retail space (300 leading stores) is centered around an enormous atrium courtyard, filled with sunlight.


Hotel Majestic Barcelona’s Penthouse - Paseo de Gracia

March 2, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Marcel Horande, Assistant Director of Sales & Marketing, Majestic Hotel Group

Paseo de Gracia Hotel Majestic Terrace

As Intelliguide says about Barcelona, "Since the city hosted the Summer Olympics in 1992, has been on the hot list of European destinations. Such popularity may make it harder to land a hotel room, but it has only added to the sense that Barcelona is a place to be, as much for its energetic, cosmopolitan character as for its unusual attractions." And now is the best time to visit too, since Barcelona is coming out of its coldest period of the year which runs from November to February (although even during that period locals will swim and sunbathe). Average March and April temperatures? 15C and 59F.

The best reason to go? The 75 square meter (800 sqft) private terrace and Convertible Smart Roadster with GPS in 10 languages availble complimentary for your full stay at The Hotel Majestic in Barcelona when you stay in the Penthouse - Paseo de Gracia.

Read the details below ...

This is the ultimate and most exclusive Penthouse in the center of Barcelona. Inaugurated in 2004, it offers 300 m2 (3230 sqft) of luxury accomodation and exclusive comfort as well as the most impressive panoramic views of the city.

Paseo de Gracia Hotel Majestic

The Penthouse "Paseo de Gracia"

Details and features:

- Suite with King Size bed

- Living room with sofas

- Dining room

- Kitchen (Vitro-ceramic, blender, dishwasher, refrigerator/freezer, oven, chinery)

- Courtesy marble bathroom

- 8 m2 (86 sqft) dressing room

- Bathroom: Round hydro-massage bathtub, separate "Powershower", Philip Starck designed bathroom fittings, hairdryer, magnifying mirror, flat TV, ETRO amenities, etc.

- 75 m2 (800 sqft) private terrace with spectacular views of the Passeig de Gracia, the cradle of Modernism in Barcelona, with 4 remote-controlled awnings and 3 different ambiances (dining room, living room, solarium with deck chairs). Teak, aluminum, and synthetic-fiber furniture.

- 3 Plasma-Screen TVs (Living Room 42" + Bedroom 32" + Bathroom 15"’)

- Bang & Olufssen High-Tech, HI-FI Music System and cordless telephone

It also includes:

- Private check-in and personalized VIP treatment.

- FREE courtesy car for the entire stay: Convertible Smart Roadster with GPS in 10 languages.

- Free high-speed Internet connection in the apartment (with cable)

- Free access to the Business Center.

- 24-hour butler service

- Complimentary Open bar

- Daily champagne and canapes

- Daily turn-down service

- Prioritary and restricted lift access

The pictures speak for themselves, this is the best possible place to experience Barcelona.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona, Official Page

Hotel Majestic Barcelona, Five Star Alliance


W Hotels Reopens New Orleans Hotels

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

W New Orleans French Quarter

You may have missed Mardi Gras, but Jazz Fest is on the horizon. And both W hotels—which had sustained serious wind and water damage from Hurricane Katrina—have recently reopened in time for the best of spring festivals. W French Quarter is contemporary and full of sleek technology—as all W Hotels are—yet plenty romantic and old-world European at the same time. Plus, as its name suggests, it's in the heart of it all in the French Quarter. Its restaurant Bacco is considered one of the best in the city. Hot and hip, the other W New Orleans is equally well-located, a trendy and fashionable hotel that is the home of Rande Gerber's happening bar Whiskey Blue.

W New Orleans, Official Site

W New Orleans, Five Star Alliance

W French Quarter, Official Site

W French Quarter, Five Star Alliance


A New York Landmark - The Carlyle

March 1, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From James McBride, General Manager, The Carlyle

The Carlyle Hotel

The Carlyle Hotel in New York City has a long (by US standards) and varied history - dating back to 1930 where it was considered the "home away from home" for discerning luxury travelers in Manhattan.

Mr. McBride showed us where deep within the hotel's website they offer up 10 Fast (and ultra interesting) Facts. Then at the bottom we've added even more facts that you might be interested in about the Carlyle.

Check them out ...

Fast Facts

- Presidents Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter and Reagan have called The Carlyle their “unofficial” New York home.

- Each guest room has a direct telephone line to Sotheby’s, for those who don’t feel like venturing out or wish to place their bids in privacy.

- During the Kennedy administration, owner Robert Dowling always kept the “Kennedy duplex” empty just in case the President decided to come to New York.

- Composer Richard Rodgers was The Carlyle’s first tenant back in 1930.

- The Carlyle is a showcase of great art. Bemelmans bar contains the only surviving public murals of artist/author Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the famed Madeline children’s book series. Additional works by Audubon, Kips, Redoute and Vertes adorn the hotel’s walls creating a veritable gallery environment.

- Diane Ginsberg Jaffe, the daughter of the hotel’s founder, named The Carlyle after British writer Thomas Carlyle.

- The two Jan Weenix murals in the lobby were originally owned by William Randolph Hearst.

- The Carlyle is a virtual catalog of design history, home to the work of some of the world’s most legendary decorators including: Dorothy Draper, Mark Hampton, and Renzo Mongiardino.

- The Carlyle is alive with music; 23 suites have Steinway or Baldwin baby-grand pianos tuned twice a week.

- The Carlyle has been the hotel of choice for Hollywood’s elite since Ingrid Bergman checked in after completing Intermezzo.

Some additional Fun Facts we found ...

- The hotel designed by the architectural firm of Bien & Prince, was completed in 1930. A newspaper account of the time described the design as a "diversified setback style," which provides private terraces for some guest rooms and suites.

- The hotel's first decorator was Dorothy Draper, a mid-20th-century feminist who decorated in the "Empire manner."

- One of the country's foremost decorators, the late Mark Hampton, updated many of the guest rooms with a contemporary interpretation of the understated elegance achieved by Dorothy Draper 70 years ago.

- In 2002, interior designer Thierry Despont restored Bemelmans Bar and the lobby.

- Each room is characteristically unique with such color schemes as Chinese red, burnt orange and celadon. The walls are decorated with Audubon prints, architectural renderings by Piranesi or the English country scenes by Kips.

- The hotel was created by Moses Ginsburg, a Russian emigrant whose wealth was in real estate, the hotel was intended to secure Ginsberg’s position in society.

- Two elegant banquet rooms, decorated by Mark Hampton, are the venues for private parties and functions.

- There have only been five ownerships in its history - currently Philip F. Maritz, President of Maritz-Wolff & Company

- During the hotel's 13-month construction, Wall Street crashed. Knowing he would lose millions, Ginsberg forged on. When the banks foreclosed in 1930, the Carlyle was off to a less than auspicious start, but of course survived.

- Bellman Michael O'Connell, who joined the Carlyle in 1949 fresh out of college and is still on the staff, remembers John Kennedy bidding him farewell the night before the President’s assassination in Dallas in 1963.

- In 1940s, the wealthy tycoon Robert Dowling purchased the Carlyle and, like Ginsberg, saw an opportunity to set the highest standards of innkeeping and establish his own place in New York society. Run like a private club, social references were required to obtain a room or an apartment in the 1950s.

- In 1967, the Carlyle was purchased by real estate entrepreneur Peter Sharp. A native New Yorker whose family owned and operated the Ritz Tower, the Delmonico and the Stanhope (all residential hotels). When Peter Sharp died in 1992, the hotel was run by a board of directors until an appropriate owner could be found.

- Each guest room features an armchair designed by Mark Hampton which is named after his daughter Alexa.

- The Gallery, also known as 'The Living Room', is a favorite among East Side residents, foreign diplomats, politicians and celebrities, it was there that Jacqueline Kennedy and Audrey Hepburn, arriving together by chance, introduced themselves and sat down for a chat.

- The afternoon tea is enhanced by real Devonshire cream flown in from England.

- The 2005 Oscar Goody Bag for celebs included a voucher for the Carlyle.

- In February 2006, the Carlyle announced the opening of the Royal Suite after a redesign.

- In 2006, All Madelines are invited to go to the Manager at Bemelmans Bar and say "Bonjour. My name is Madeline" and they will receive a three-tiered tea, served among the renowned Madeline murals, on fabulous Madeline-inspired linen and china. (more details)

We're sure to be missing even more fun, fast facts about The Carlyle, so visit New York and the hotel to learn even more and then let us know.

The Carlyle, Official Site

The Carlyle, Five Star Alliance