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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 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


Travel and Leisure Next Great Beach Resorts

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

From Zanzibar to St. Lucia, the March issue of Travel and Leisure has found some incredible beach hot spots, including the DR's Sivory Punta Cana, which I've waxed poetic about before. In their words:

How do you know when a destination hasn't been trammeled by Americans? When it's a challenge to find locals who speak English. Such is the charm of the Dominican Republic, which has long been on the radar of A-listers (Oscar de la Renta, the Clintons); now, with low fares on JetBlue, it's even easier (and less expensive) to get to. The Sivory Punta Cana, a 55-suite property open since December and situated on a long expanse of untouched beach, offers visitors a low-key hideaway.


“Smart” Hotels are the Wave of the Future

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Your favorite tunes on the stereo. Room at exactly the right temp. The minibar stocked with your daily dose of wheat grass shots. As the IHT reports:

At the Mandarin and other high-end hotels, new computer systems which connect individual rooms to network servers can now keep track of guests' preferences and change the room conditions automatically.
Big brother profiling or the perks of refined technology?


South Beach Spring Special at the Setai, Miami

March 1, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

The Setai

The art deco landmark and oceanfront South Beach destination is surrounded by tropical gardens and turquoise pools overlooking the Atlantic. Originally built in the 1930's as the Dempsey Vanderbilt Hotel, Adrian Zecha's Setai opened to much fanfare in 2005. In the hot South Beach scene, The Setai stands out for its intimacy, impeccable service, and elegant Asian touches. 75 guestrooms and 50 suites are detailed with exquisite amenities: espresso machines, in-room bars, Bose surround-sound DVD/CD systems, deep soaking tubs and rain showers, luxurious bath amenities, and flat screen LCD and plasma TVs. Enjoy a deep therapeutic massage at the luxurious spa overlooking the sand and sea, and then savor the gastronomic delights at the Crustacean restaurant. With the South Beach Spring Special, take advantage of special rates starting at $675.

The Setai, Official Site

The Setai, Five Star Alliance


The Skinny on Space Travel Tourism and Space Adventures, Ltd.

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Space Adventures

This is for private citizens we're talking about. No joke. Space Adventures, Ltd. is a privately owned company in Arlington, VA working hard to open the space frontier for (rich) people from all over the world.

Their mission statement doesn't exactly lack ambition:

Space Adventures will fly tens of thousands of people in space over the next 10-15 years and beyond, both orbital and suborbital, around the moon, and back, from spaceports both on Earth and in space, to and from private space stations, and aboard dozens of different vehicles; and by continually providing newly available space experiences and improving existing space experiences.

An Orbital starts at just $20,000,000—one week at the International Space Station orbiting the Earth. Includes six months of intense training, roundtrip transportation to the ISS, and a weeks lodging in space. Sounds like a steal to me.

You can make a reservation by calling the toll-free number at 1-888-85-SPACE. Easy as pie. Don't know about you—but I've flown an aging Russian jet (a Moscow-born friend confided that though Pulkovo's planes are aging and rickety, the pilots are all ex-fighter-pilots, so if the plane goes down, you're in good hands), and the idea of boarding a jet at Zhukovsky Air Base outside of Moscow, Russia isn't exactly appealing.


Welcoming Maui’s Newest Luxury Addition: Wailea Beach Villas

February 28, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Maui

With white sand beaches, crystal clear waters and lush, green landscapes, Maui has always appealed as a picture-perfect paradise and renowned destination for honeymooners and families alike. Thus we've been eagerly anticipating the April opening of the Wailea Beach Villas: its elegant private residences offering the intimacy of private homes, but with all the facilities and amenities of a grand resort. Daily housekeeping, concierge assistance, swimming pools, and a spectacular beachfront location overlooking the West Maui mountains. The villas are stocked with fine linens, signature bath amenities, and fabulous gourmet kitchens. And of course the island paradise offers a bounty of activities: scuba diving, snorkeling, sailing, boating, kayaking, surfing, fishing, horseback riding, jeep and helicopter tours.

The only complaint? In a tropical island paradise like Maui, is a gated community-- touting serious 24 hour security and surveillance-- absolutely necessary?


Escape Overnight in the NEW Premium Guestroom at the Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, Home of the 2010 Winter Olympics

February 28, 2006
By: Editorial AdvisoryBoard

From Kostas Christopoulos and Don MacCorquodale, Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

Sutton Place Guest Room

So you just finished watching the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy and you are thinking forward four years to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games (good for you thinking ahead). The Vancouver Organizing Committee announced that "in association with the regional tourism associations and hotel associations, thay are in the early stages of an accommodation plan for spectators that will be traveling to Vancouver and Whistler for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. More information on how and when reservations can be booked will be available in late 2006." So before then, we recommend you take a trip to Vancouver and visit the luxury hotels that will be the first to fill up and experience the awesome city of Vancouver to understand why it was chosen for the Games. Our favorite? The Sutton Place Hotel with 46 Executive and Grand bedroom suites in addition to the luxurious 350 guestrooms.

Check out the detals of the Sutton Place five million dollar renovation and new premium guestrooms from Mr. Christopoulos and Mr. MacCorquodale at the hotel below ...

Don't just "stay" overnight ...

Escape overnight in the NEW Premium Guestroom

Guests that reserve a Premium Guestroom at The Sutton Place Hotel, experience a stay unlike any other. Located at the top of the world, the 21st floor at The AAA Five Diamond rated Sutton Place Hotel - Premium Guestrooms offer a combination of luxury and European style, all set against a majestic backdrop of one of the world’s most beautiful cities.

In addition to the already stunning five million dollar renovation on all guestroom floors, our "Premium" guestrooms offer travellers breathtaking cityscape or mountain views and the total body experience in our new signature Serenity Sleeper Bed which has a delicate feather and cotton down comforter, twill weaved, 250 thread count, and the finest natural cotton sheets. Each Premium Guestroom also features a full Entertainment Center with Flat Screen Television, our Rain Showerhead for a shower that will invigorate your senses and Gilchrist & Soames London Collection amenities.

The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver, Official Site

The Sutton Place Hotel, Vancouver, Five Star Alliance


Your Favorite (or Worst) Luxury Hotel Experience

February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Thrilled by your last tropical getaway? Found the perfect romantic inn? Or sleek and stylish business hotel in Asia? Terribly disappointed (God forbid!) by a stay at a luxury-hotel-chain? Let the world know! Send us your stories, recommendations, critiques and complaints...


Announcing the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

Opening in April of this year, Kempinski's first hotel in Dubai has an extraordinary location: overlooking the much-hyped Ski Dubai Alpine themed indoor snow resort, and attached to the biggest shopping mall outside of North America. The luxurious and spacious guestrooms (some of the country's largest) include 15 Ski Chalets with superb views of the indoor ski resort. All are equipped with cutting-edge technology: large flat plasma screen TVs with 40 international satellite channels, in addition to DVD and multi media player. The hotel also features a health club, Ayurveda wellness center, swimming pool and tennis court. The ultimate Alpine experience in the heart of Dubai, Kempinski's five-star hotel is set to become a central landmark in the hottest destination on the planet.


Taj Royal Escapes, India: Stay for Six Nights, Pay for Three!

February 27, 2006
By: Mary Winston Nicklin

Taj Lake Palace

Now is the time to plan a holiday to India: to discover the colorful culture and mythical history of the desert-state of Rajasthan, the pulsing nightlife of New Delhi, and get pampered like a maharaja staying at the glorious Taj Hotels. It doesn't get much better than this with Taj Royal Escapes. From May 1- September 30, stay at any participating Taj luxury hotel, in any combination, and the benefits are extraordinary. Stay for 6 nights, pay for 3; stay for 10 nights, pay for 5; stay for 14 nights, pay for 7. Hotels include Taj Mahal Palace and Tower (Mumbai), Taj Mahal Hotel (New Delhi), Rambagh Palace (Jaipur), Umaid Bhawan Palace (Jodhpur), and the most romantic and magical hotel in the world: the Taj Lake Palace, which appears like a brightly lit castle floating on water in Udaipur.