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The 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.


Destination Spotlight: Vienna

Known for classical music and a one-of-a-kind coffee culture, Vienna comes alive during the holiday season with a variety of Christmas Markets such as the Old Viennese Christmas Market on Freyung, the Cultural and Christmas Market in front of Schönbrunn Palace, the Art Advent on Karlsplatz, the Winter Market on Riesenradplatz, and the Christmas village on Maria Theresien Platz. These markets come alive with festive Advent concerts, Gospel evenings, and the star-studded "Christmas in Vienna" Gala at the Konzerthaus. After Christmas, these markets become New Year's Markets, and the Vienna Philharmonic hosts its New Year's Concert in the Musikverein's Golden Hall every New Year's Day.  While the city's annual Ball Season begins in January and runs through February, giving residents and visitors the opportunity to "Waltz in Vienna" at one of 450 imperial venues. 

Featuring a cuisine and coffee culture of its own, Vienna is an ideal destination for food, art, music, and history enthusiasts. From Viennese coffee houses (part of cultural heritage of UNESCO since 2011) where coffee drinks, pastries, and international newspapers can be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. There are traditional coffee houses in the Old City, Viennese Concert Cafes with live music, Viennese Ice Cream Parlours, and new modern interpretations of the traditional coffee house throughout the city.

In addition to the coffee culture, Viennese cuisine is the only cuisine in the world named after a city, making it the perfect place for foodies to explore. There are 10 restaurants with a shared 14 Michelin Stars, and 127 Viennese restaurants currently hold coveted Gault & Millau food critic awards. One of the pioneers in vegetable and herb cuisine, The Steirereck, is ranked tenth on the list of "World's 50 Best Restaurants". 

Visitors can explore a thriving gallery scene, schedule private access tours to the city's world-class museums for special insights, or book a personal tour in a limousine or VW Beetle Convertible. For those that love to shop for unique items, the city's list of "Wien Products" includes artistic crafts such as custom-made shoes and chandeliers from some of the most prestigious boutiques in Vienna. There's also an array of Austrian fashion designers, as well as a new service with select hotels offering guests the opportunity to rent fashions from Viennese designers. 

Here are Five Top Luxury Hotels in Vienna:

1. Hotel Sacher Wien

Hotel Sacher Wien

Recognized for luxury and high class service, Hotel Sacher Wien was founded in 1876 by Eduard Sacher, son of the creator of the Original Sacher-Torte. Directly opposite the State Opera House and next to the Albertina Gallery, the historica hotel offers exclusive amenities, guest rooms and suites with noble carpets and mulberry silk wall papers, as well as the recently renovated Anna Sacher restaurant with golden highlights. Sacher Eck services culinary creations in a dynamic atmosphere where guests can enjoy the Original Sacher-Torte, which is also available in the Cafe Sacher and Sacher Stube.

Check availability at Hotel Sacher Wien

2. Park Hyatt Vienna

Belle Epoque Suite at the Park Hyatt Vienna

Set within a 100-year-old building in Vienna's first district, Park Hyatt Vienna is within walking distance of important sights, monuments, museums, and shopping. The Arany Spa has a 15-meter indoor pool, wet area with a sauna, steam bath, vitality showers, and sanarium, plus a state-of-the-art fitness center, and an array of spa treatments. There's family- and pet-friendly amenities, as well as the Cafe Am Hof coffee house, Bank Brasserie & Bar for dining, and the Living Room with whisky, cognac, and cigars. 

Check availability at Park Hyatt Vienna

3. Palais Coburg Residenz

Palais Coburg Residenz

Featuring historically significant Renaissance fortifications from the 16th century, the Palais Coburg Residenz offers 34 individualized suites each dedicated to members of the Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha family dynasty that played a signifant role in the history of the property. The Silvio Nickol Gourmet Restaurant is a two Michelin Star recipient, and there are six wine cellars with a combined 60,000 bottles. There's also a garden and spa with unique spaces for guests to explore. 

Check availability at Palais Coburg Residenz

4. Hotel Bristol Vienna

Lounge at the Hotel Bristol Vienna

Built in 1892, the Hotel Bristol Vienna, A Luxury Hotel Collection is located in the heart of Vienna's cultural and business district. Offering Viennese charm with personalized service, rooms that face the Vienna State Opera are named after famous directors, and all accommodations have antiques mixed with modern comforts. The Bristol Lounge offers Art Deco ambiance, there's a winter garden with view on the Mahlerstrasses, and the Bristol Bar was the city's first American Bar. 

Check availability at Hotel Bristol Vienna

5. The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

Situated within four 19th century palaces, The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna is located on the iconic Ringstrasse, adjacent to the Stadtpark. Offering unique dining experiences, Dstrikt Steakhouse serves farm-to-table cuisine, and the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar provides skyline views and signature cocktails. The Ritz-Carlton Spa has six treatment rooms and personalized services, there's a state-of-the-art fitness center, and the 18-meter indoor pool has underwater music. 

Check availability at The Ritz-Carlton, Vienna

Explore all Vienna luxury hotels


Perched on the hillside of Fiesole, Hotel Il Salviatino provides a grand setting with views of Florence. Amidst the rolling Tuscan hills, the property is 15 minutes from the city center. Providing panoramic views of the surrounding area as well as  the Duomo, the hotel is set within a hand-restored 15th century villa with original frescoes that originally belonged to the Baldesi family. There are lush organic gardens, a terrace with Florence panoramas, private winery tours, and truffle hunting on the property grounds. Continue reading below the photo. 

Exterior of Hotel Il Salviatino

The hotel offers 44 guest rooms and suites, each with local artisianship and modern technology, including Nespresso coffee machines, WiFi, rain showers, and 24-hour Service Ambassadors. Read more below the guest room photo.

Green House Suite at Hotel Il Salviatino

During the summer months (May to October), the Il Salviatino has a two-tiered outdoor pool with incomparable views of the surrounding area. There's also a fully-equipped fitness center, and the spa has four treatment rooms, steam shower, and a variety of of aromatic and anti-agingin treatments. Read more below the pool photo.

Pool at Hotel Il Salviatino

For dining, La Cucina serves a seasonal menu highlighting organic fruits and vegetables grown on-site. Please note, the property is open seasonally from March to November.

Check rates and availability at Hotel Il Salviatino

 


Situated in the ancient city of Verona, Palazzo Victoria provides a quintessential Veronese setting infused with contemporary design and modern amenities. Located directly on the main street of Corso di Porta Borsari, the luxury hotel is steps from the Arena. There are a variety of elegant shops and restaurants to explore nearby, as well as the Piazza delle Erbe. Continue reading below the photo.

Exterior of Palazzo Victoria

Designed in typical Veronese style, the hotel has an inner courtyard and an original Zen garden. Throughout the property there are social spaces designed for guests to gather, such as an area with a pool table and the large contemporary lobby. There are ancient Roman remains that can be seen under the hotel, and within the building there are medieval frescoes and furnishings by renowned Italian designer Gaetano Pesce. Read more below the photo.

Lobby of Palazzo Victoria

The hotel's 74 guest rooms and suites combine modern conveniences with the refined atmosphere of the city's palaces of Verona. Age-old remains, marble, warm colors, and ancient techniques combine with incomparable views of the historic city. Continue reading below the photo.

Guest room at the Palazzo Victoria

For dining, Borsari 36 provides a gastronomic journey with a show kitchen, a window in the floor featuring views of Roman remains below, and air filled with the aromas of olive trees, fresh flowers, rosemary, sage, and basil. The chef-prepared cuisine is a modern interpretation of classic Italian traditions, including fresh grilled meats off an open barbeque, and either homemade pastas or artisinal dried pasta by Verrigna. 

Just outside of Verona begins the Valpolicella wine region which stretches west to Lake Garda. Renowned for classic reds that pair well with the region's hearty cuisine, the area offers a variety of vineyards to visit, as well as rustic osterie and family-run agriturismi. 

Learn more about Palazzo Victoria


Featuring an idyllic setting El Dorado Royale, by Karisma, is an adults-only all-inclusive resort designed to help guests relax and unwind while on vacation. There are world-class restaurants serving cuisine by renowned chefs, as well as personal concierges and bars pouring top shelf cocktails. Twice a month there are culinary series showcasing visiting chefs from around the world, as well as fitness classes, dance lessons, and wine tastings. The beachfront property offers a wide array of services and activities, discover 5 of our favorite activity options below the resort photo.

Jacuzzi Suite at El Dorado Royale

5 Top Activities at El Dorado Royale

1. 5K Races

Every Friday morning the resort hosts a casual 5K Race through the property's mangroves, jungles, and beachfront. 

2. Greenhouse Tours

Greenhouse at El Dorado Royale

Guests can tour the resort's 76,000 square-foot hydroponic greenhouse to see how the resort's fruits and vegetables are grown sustainably on-site. 

3. Bonanza Ranch Horseback Riding

Explore the property's jungles, fruit orchards, cenote caves, and crystal pools while saddled up for a chance to see monkeys and tropical birds. 

4. Tequila Tastings

Sip house-infused tequilas as well as expertly selected premium tequilas ideal for sipping. 

5. Snorkeling

See rare coral and tropical fish while snorkeling through the waters just off the resort's beaches. Read more about the resort below the photo.

La Isla at El Dorado Royale Spa Resort

In addiition to the activities listed above, the property has an aqua gym, archery, rifle shooting, cigar rolling lessons, ranch tours, and cooking classes. The Gourmet-inclusive resort has 15 restaurants on-site, as well as six pools and two full-service spas. Ideal for couples, honeymooners, and weddings, the all Jacuzzi-suite resort is set along the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Riviera Maya. 

Check availability at El Dorado Royale


Introduced in 2017, the new Pool Premium Overwater Villas at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa are an ultra-romantic addition to the property's collection of luxury overwater bungalows. The recently unveiled one-bedroom villas have sundecks with shaded terraces, sun loungers, freshwater showers, private plunge pools, and direct lagoon access. Featuring contemporary design infused with Polynesian accents, the villas offer 1,507 square feet of space, which is able to accommodate up to three adults or two adults and two children using the sofa bed as bedding. Within the luxurious bathrooms there are showers, double washbasins, and a range of complimentary amenities. Plus, there are soaking tubs with picture windows providing idyllic views for guests as they soak in the tub. While the living rooms have large picture windows overlooking the beach, as well as glass coffee tables that reveal views of the colorful tropical fish below. Continue reading below the photo of the Pool Premium Overwater Villa.

Pool Premium Overwater Villa

The InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation, adding the Pool Premium Overwater Villas and Two-Bedroom overwater villas, as well as refreshing amenities and accommodations throughout the property. The Deep Ocean Spa was the South Pacific's first thalassotherapy center, which incorporates seawater into wellness treatment, along with a fitness center, and relaxation lounge. Continue reading below the spa photo.

Deep Water Thalasso Spa

For dining, the Sands Restaurant offers beachfront casual dining, the Reef Restaurant has authentic Polynesian and Mediterranean cuisine, and Le Corail (pictured below) provides a sophisticated setting for romantic dinners. While the Bubbles Bar mixes contemporary style with Polynesian materials for a stylish cocktail destination. 

Check rates and availability at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa

Le Corail Restaurant at InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa


Featured Journeys: Canadian Ski Adventure

As the leaves begin to fall in the Northern Hemisphere, we're starting to think about winter vacation plans. In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're going on a Canadian Ski Adventure. Our expedition begins in the chic city of Vancouver, where visitors can go from the heart of the city to the slopes of Cypress and Grouse Mountains in 30 minutes or less. Then it's off to Whistler-Blackcomb with quintessential mountain charm and more than 200 marked runs. Finally, we end our experience in Banff & Lake Louise with opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, hockey, and ice skating. 

Vancouver
Whistler
Banff

 

Vancouver

Home of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, the city of Vancouver is 15 minutes from Grouse Mountain with four seasons of outdoor activities, including a wildlife habitat and the Grouse Mountain Super Skyride providing panoramic views of the city and beyond. While Cypress Mountain is about 30 minutes from downtown and was the Official Freestyle Skiing and Snowboard venue for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Offering 52 downhill winter skiing and riding runs, a magic carpet surface for the kids camp, a snowtubing park, 19 kilometers of Cross Country Ski trails, and snowshoeing tours around the historic Hollyburn Lodge, Cypress Mountain offers a range of activities. 

Four Seasons Vancouver

Four Seasons Vancouver

Offering a relaxed urban luxury experience, Four Seasons Vancouver towers 30 storeys above the Pacific Centre. The hotel's Health Club has the city's only resort-style indoor/outdoor pool, which also features men's and women's saunas and hot tubs. For dining, YEW seafood + bar serves sustainable Pacific Northwest seafood, wines, and innovative cocktails. Plus, guests can schedule massage services in the Red Cedar Massage Suite.

Check availability at the Four Seasons Vancouver

 

Fairmont Pacific Rim

Fairmont Pacific Rim

Providing panoramic views of the North Shore Mountains, Stanley Park, and Coal Harbor, the Fairmont Pacific Rim has a recently unveiled collection of Owner's Suites that incorporate the city's sense of fashion, art, and music. The Willow Stream Spa provides an urban oasis with meditation pods, fitness center, and outdoor terrace. Botanist is a new restaurant concept with four diverse spaces: Cocktail Bar and Lab, Garden, Dining Room, and Champagne Lounge, all inspired by the Pacific Northwest. There's also the giovane cafe + eatery + market with Italian fare, and the Lobby Lounge with sushi and cocktails.

Check availability at Fairmont Pacific Rim

 

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Rosewood Hotel Georgia

Within walking distance of Stanley Park as well as Robson Street's high fashion boutiques, Rosewood Hotel Georgia first opened in 1927. Set within a Georgian Revival building, the iconic property has welcomed celebrities and dignitaries for decades. Following a major renovation in 2011, the property combines 1920s glamour with contemporary design. There's a Rosewood Spa with an indoor pool, Hawksworth Restaurant with contemporary Canadian cuisine, Bel Cafe Patisserie, and Prohibition Cocktail Bar for on-site dining.

Check availability at Rosewood Hotel Georgia

 

Explore more Vancouver hotels

 

Whistler

Located less than two hours via car from Vancouver via the Sea-to-Sky Highway, the world-class Whistler-Blackcomb Resort area consists of Whistler and Blackcomb, two side-by-side mountains, with Whistler Village set in the middle of the two mountains. Offering a range of activities for all seasons including lift accessed alpine hiking and mountain biking, Whistler Blackcomb has one of North America's longest ski and ride seasons. Receiving an average of 458 inches of snow annually, there are three glaciers, 16 alpine bowls, and more than 200 marked runs. As one of North America's most varied terrains, there's vertical runs and lifts for downhill skiing and snowboarding, plus backcountry, heli-skiing, sleigh rides, and snoeshoeing. Whistler Village is home to a community of hotels, boutiques, and restaurants, providing a walkable town to explore. 

 

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Featuring a modern alpine setting, Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a ski-in/ski-out hotel and golf resort with a par 72, 18-hole Audubon-certified championship course. The property has Whistler Experience Guides to provide guests with exclusive excursions and scheduled tours, as well as special events like the Women's Weekend Retreat and Holiday festivities. There are multiple on-site dining options including The Chalet--a winter dining destination with fondue and alpine cuisine, plus the Grille Room with exceptional chops, steaks, and seafood, as well as the Wildflower restaurant for gourmands. The Vida Spa provides treatments focused on health and healing, and the Health Club has an indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor 60-foot heated lap pool, tennis courts, saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools. 

Check availability at Fairmont Chateau Whistler

 

Four Seasons Whistler

Four Seasons Whistler

Set in the heart of Whistler Village, the Four Seasons Whistler has a Ski Concierge that can assist with everything from lessons to equipment needs. Guests can partake in Wilderness Wellness programs including helicopter flights over ice caps to tour the areas ice caves (or Glacier Golf during warmer months), and the heated outdoor pool and whirlpools are open year round, ideal for post-ski or hiking relaxation. There are daily wine tastings, and the SIDECUT Modern Steak + Bar provides a modern alpine setting with views of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. 

Check availability at Four Seasons Whistler

 

The Westin Resort and Spa Whistler

The Westin Resort and Spa Whistler

Offering 400 residentially-styled suites, The Westin Resort & Spa Whistler has an elevated, slopeside location that served as the host resort for downhill events during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Accommodations feature fireplaces, soaking tubs, kitchenettes, mountain views and indigenous materials. The acclaimed Grill & Vine Restaurant serves regionally-inspired Canadian cuisine with an innovative twist and a modern atmosphere inspired by the surrounding landscape. Plus, the Avello Spa & Health Club provides rejuvenating treatments design to sooth after a day on the slopes.

Check availability at The Westin Resort & Spa Whistler

 

Explore more Whistler hotels

 

Banff

Set within Banff National Park (Canada's oldest national Park), Banff offers a dramatic setting with high moraine lakes, flowing rivers, and mountain landscapes. There's plenty of professional guides and outfitters to help guests explore the great outdoors via raft, bicycle or horse during the warmer months, or visitors during the winter can explore the landscape while cross country skiing, snowshoeing, or via the slopes. Banff townsite has a historic main street with quaint buildings, and it is also home to the Banff Springs Hotel, which was built by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1888. While Lake Louise offers a picturesque lakeside location with a variety of year round activities. 

Fairmont Banff Springs

Fairmont Banff Springs

Referred to as Canada's "Castle in the Rockies", the Fairmont Banff Springs was built in 1888 as one of the grand Canadian Railroad Hotels. Set where the Bow and Spray Rivers converge, the hotel is located within Banff National Park, and offers year-round luxury with a championship golf course for the summer months and world-class skiing during the winter. There's the European-style Willow Stream Spa for rejuvenating treatments, as well as multiple dining options including the 1888 Chop House with a classic menu, and the Waldhaus Restaurant with authentic alpine cuisine.

Check availability at Fairmont Banff Springs

 

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

In the midst of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is surrounded by soaring mountains, with views of the Victoria Glacier, and the emerald-hued Lake Louise. Recognized for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism, the resort offers an array of outdoor recreational activities including ice skating, snowshoeing, snowboarding, downhill and cross-country skiing, plus horse drawn sleigh rides. There are wellness retreats held throughout the year, as well as a kid's camp, and luxury spa. 

Check availability at Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

 

The Post Hotel 

The Post Hotel

Featuring one of Canada's most extensive wine cellars, with more than 25,000 bottles and over 2,200 labels, the Post Hotel serves award-winning chef-prepared cuisine at the Post Hotel Dining Room, plus fondue at the adjacent Fondue Stubli. Opened in the 1940s, the hotel is nestled in the Bow River Valley, offering suites with wood-burning fireplaces, and views of the surrounding wilderness teaming with wildlife. Five minutes from the Lake Louise Ski Resort with downhill skiing and snowboarding, guests can enjoy an array of winter activities, including cross country ski lessons and heli-skiing. 

Check availability at the Post Hotel

 

Explore more Banff hotels

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Providing an ultra-luxe and secluded setting down the cliff from Agios Giorgios Church, the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini offers a sumptuous experience. Featuring a cliffside location down the hill from the Agios Giorgios Church, the chic property accepts guests age 12 and older. Offering just four villas, the exclusive retreats have Cycladic-style architecture, private pools, kitchens, and living areas with flat-screen TVs and satellite channels. Continue reading about each of the four villas below the photos. 

Private pool at Elite Luxury Suites Santorini

Featuring a pampering and romantic retreat, the Elite Suite is a 60 square meter (645 square feet) one bedroom cave house. The outdoor terrace has a private pool, there's a spacious living room with a full kitchen, and the intimate bedroom has a walk-in closet and two private bathrooms. Read more below the photo of the Elite Suite's master bedroom. 

Elite Suite Bedroom at the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini

Offering a tranquil setting for up to four people, the Premier Suite has 100 square meters (1,076 square feet) of space. There are two bedrooms, each with walk-in closets, king size beds, and private bathrooms. Plus, there's a living area with a full kitchen, and a private terrace with panoramic views and a private pool. Continue reading below the photo of the Premier Suite's kitchen. 

Premier Suite Kitchen at the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini

Built into a cliff, the Grand Suite is 130 square meters (1,399 square feet), and offers one master bedroom with two private bathrooms, two additional bedrooms each with their own bathroom, and walk-in closets in each room. The open-concept living room has a furnished kitchen, and there is a fully-equipped gym (shown below) within the suite. Capable of accommodating up to 6 people, there's a private terrace with a pool, as well as Caldera and Aegean Sea views. Continue reading below the photo of the Grand Suite's fitness room. 

Grand Suite Fitness Center at the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini

Providing unrivalled views to the Caldera and Aegean Sea, the Presidential Suite is set within a tradtional Cycladic cave offering 140 square meters (1,507 square feet) of space. Within the suite there is a fully-equipped kitchen, spacious living room, private gym, and an outdoor terrace with a pool. Providing space for up to four people, the suite has a master bedroom with a king size bed and bathroom, plus an additional bedroom with a smaller private bath and walk-in closets. Read more below the photo of the Presidential Suite. 

 Presidential Suite at the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini

Within walking distance of shops and attractions along the island's main road, the Elite Luxury Suites Santorini has four villas with modern styling, providing guests with a unique and private setting.

Learn more about Elite Luxury Suites Santorini


Featured Journey: Luxury Vineyard Tour Through France Travel Blog

In this edition of Featured Journeys, we'd like to raise a toast to French wines!  As the fall season begins in the Northern Hemisphere, the harvest season starts in France, when the finest grapes are picked and the wine making process begins. We start our journey with a glass of bubbly, in France's Champagne Region. From there, we make our way to the Loire Valley, onto Bordeaux, and complete our experience in the Burgundy or Bourgogne Region. From castles to chateaux, boutique properties and former monasteries, we've pulled together an itinerary featuring the best luxury hotels in each region, which make excellent destinations in their own right, or can be perfectly paired for a grand tour through the wine regions of France -- à votre santé!


Champagne
Loire Valley
Bordeaux
Burgundy

Champagne

Famous for the sparkling wine that bears its name, the Champagne Region is located in the northeast of France. Long associated with French monarchs, this historic area's terroir is ideal for growing three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier. The champagne houses have different philosophies and formulas for mixing the various grapes and the aging process, resulting in distinctively unique flavors. Resilient through World War I, parts of the region, including some champagne houses and cellars were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2015.

Domaine Les Crayeres

Domaine Les Crayeres

Guests can discover more than 600 champagne labels while dining at Chef Phillippe Mille's gourmet restaurant, situated within Domaine Les Crayeres. This Relais & Chateaux property is nestled amidst seven acres of lush vegetation. Formerly the home of the de Polignac family, the property provides reminagined chateau style accommodations with classical French style. Ideal for exploring the Champagne region, the elegant property is located in the heart of Reims. 

Check rates and availability at Domaine Les Crayeres

 

Chateau De Fere

Chateau De Fere

Situated about one hour and 15 minutes from Paris, Chateau De Fere offers a historically rich setting in the village of Fere-en-Tardenois. Combining contemporary styling with Old World charm, guest rooms and suites are housed within a 16th century castle and feature wood floors, intricate woodwork, exposed beams, and old stones. The restaurant is divided into three private rooms and furnished with representations of the Fables of Jean de la Fontaine. There's the ruins of a Chateau de Fere-en-Tardenois on-site, as well as an outdoor swimming pool, tennis, ping pong, and bicycles. 
 

 

Loire Valley

Following the Loire River, this region is widely known for its white wines, but also offers premium reds. Divided into three regions: Upper Loire which is just south of Paris and known for Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines that showcase the area's Sauvignon Blanc grapes, the Central Loire Valley is recognized for both white and red wines including the dry Chenin Blanc, the Coulée de Serrant dessert wine, and Vouvray wines, and Pays Nantais which is located close to the Atlantic Ocean and recognized for Muscadet wines that pair well with clams, oysters, mussels, and seafood. In addition to wines, the Loire Valley is known for its castles, as well as Monet's Home and the village of Giverny. 

 

Domaine des Hauts de Loire

Domaine des Hauts de Loire

Built in 1860 by Panckoucke, the famous publisher, Domaine des Hauts de Loire is located in the heart of the castles of Loire Valley, about two hours from Paris. The former hunting lodge has been transformed into a luxury Relais & Chateaux destination with a cooking school, outdoor pool, tennis, and pétanque play area. Set along the Loire Valley Wine Route, guests can explore the area's vineyards by car, foot, or bicycle, and the property's gourmet restaurant is a two Michelin Star recipient. 

Learn more about Domaine des Hauts de Loire

 

Chateau D'Artigny
Chateau D'Artigny

In the heart of the Loire Valley, about 15 km (9 miles) outside of Tours, Chateau D'Artigny was built by the famous perfumer F. Coty. Completed in 1929, the castle hotel offers the L'Origan restaurant, serving chef-prepared French cuisine made with local ingredients in a sophisticated setting with high windows, woodwork reliefs accented with gold-leaf gilding, and fluted columns. There's also a spa with an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, Duo Cabin, meditation room, and a fitness center. 

Check rates and availability at Chateau D'Artigny

 

 

Bordeaux

Known around the world for the finest red wines, the Bordeaux Region is located in the southern part of France along the Atlantic Coast. The Dordogne and Garonne Rivers run through the region, with most of the  wine estates set along the Gironde or one of the river's tributaries. Bordeaux is the country's fourth largest city, and is located in the center of the region. Most of the area is flat, which combined with the landscape, unique soil and maritime climate, make the region an ideal area for wine production. The native Bordelais have been producing wine for about 2,000 years, and the historic town of St.-Emilion is an idyllic stop while visiting Bordeaux.

Chateau des Vigiers

Chateau des Vigiers

Nestled amidst world-famous vineyards, Chateau des Vigiers is located within a 16th century chateau in Dordogne, between Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion. Known as the "Petit Versailles" the luxury property offers Michelin Star dining at Les Fresques, and accommodations accented by authentic period furniture, hand-woven tapestries, and carved marble fireplaces. There's a 27-hole golf course on-site, as well as the Maria Galland Beauty Spa. Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests that book through Five Star Alliance receive a bottle of the property's Bergerac Red Wine, as well as a wine tasting with the hotel's sommelier in the wine cellar. 

Learn more about Chateau des Vigiers

 

Les Sources de Caudalie

Le Sources de Caudalie

Nestled amidst the vineyards of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, Les Sources de Caudalie was inspired by the French Paradox, a study from 20 years ago that proved the diet and lifestyle in the Southwest France is conducive to good health. Amidst vineyards and forests, the architect crafted the retreat from recycled local materials that are in tune with the surroundings. The hotel has 40 guest rooms, 21 suites, and five cottages, each with antiques and elements inspired by the region's heritage. For dining, the hotel's La Grand'Vigne Restaurant is located withing a former orangery, and offers chef-created cuisine prepared using local ingredients. 

Check rates and availability at Les Sources de Caudalie

 

Burgundy

Our vineyard tour of France wraps up in Burgundy. Southeast of Paris, the Burgundy (Bourgogne in France) Wine Region is recognized around the world for its fine red wines. Somewhat fragmented,  the area consists of four contiguous districts: Chablis, Côte d’Or, Côte Chalonnaise, and Mâconnais, and the disconnected Beaujolais Region about 70 miles south. Some of the region's cities include Dijon, the capital of Burgundy, as well as Beaune, Cluny, Macon, and Vézelay. Burgundy's vineyards tend to be smaller than those in Bordeaux, resulting in a limited production of a particular wine causing higher prices, and multiple brands of any one wine. This area is best known for Pinot Noir due to the climate and soil, as well as Chardonnay wines that can age for decades. 

 

Chateau De Gilly

Guest Room at Chateau De Gilly

Transformed into a luxury hotel in 1988, the Chateau De Gilly was originally built at a castle for relaxation in the 16th century. Specializing in French cuisine, the chateau's Clos Prieur restaurant is nestled within a rib-vaulted room that was once the cellar for the Cistercian monks of Gilly. Midway between Dijon and Beune, the property is opposite the prestigious Clos Vougeot Castle vineyard, and about 25 km (15.5 miles) from the Beaune Hospices wine cellar and vineyard. 

Check rates and availability at Chateau De Gilly 

 

Hotel Le Cep

Hotel Le Cep Exterior

Originally built as a private residence in 1442, Hotel Le Cep is located in Beaune's town center, close to the Basilique Notre Dame church and the famous Hospices de Beaune. Guest rooms and suites are set within two historic mansions with traditional French courtyards, and each room is named after a Burgundian village or Grand Cru wine. The hotel's Michelin-starred Loiseau des Vignes restaurant offers a gastronomic experience, and there is the Spa Marie de Bourgogne with 14 sensorial experiences. 

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Exploring a city during Christmas and New Years provides visitors with a new perspective on traditions, flavors, and holiday celebrations. At the Hotel Brunelleschi Florence, guests can experience traditional Italian holiday flavors at the property's on-site restaurants. From Friday, December 8, 2017 to Saturday, January 6, 2018, the hotel's Osteria della Pagliazza in addition to its regular menu, will offer traditional Christmas dishes like Stuffed Pig's Trotter with Lentils, Ricotta and Spinach Gnudi, Meat-filled Pasta Parcels in Capon Broth, Traditional Panforte Vin Santo Sauce, Beef Wellington with Sauteed Vegetables, and Beef Cheek Braised in Chianti with Black Cabbage Sauce. Continue reading below the photo of Osteria della Pagliazza. 

Osteria della Pagliazza

The hotel's Christmas Eve Dinner will be prepared by chef Rocco de Santis and served the evening of Sunday, December 24 in the Byzantine Pagliazza Tower. The dinner will feature a welcome toast with the chef, Crisp Octopus with Guacamole, Garlic, and Almond Mousse, traditional Sardinian Fregola Pasta, Roast Salmon with Parsnip and Capers, as well as a slice of Panettone with Orange Sauce, and Cinnamon-flavored Meringue with Coffee Sauce, plus wine and coffee pairings.

On Christmas Day, the hotel will offer a Florentine Christmas Lunch. Set in the Salone delle Feste, the chef-created lunch by Rocco de Santis will feature a traditional menu with Rolled Roast Rabbit and a Parmesan Mousse with a hint of Truffle Gravy with Wild Herbs, Homemade Pasta Stuffed with Lampredotto, Capon Broth, and Orange Zest, plus the Slow-cooked Saddle of Suckling Pig, Cream of Chickpeas and Carmelized Apples, as well as Mille-feuille with Ricotta and Candied Fruite Mousse, Pears with Moscato and Red Berry Sauce, and traditional Panettone and Pandoro with sauces. Complimented by paired wines and coffee options.

In addition to special Christmas dining options, the Hotel Brunelleschi Florence is offering a variety of New Years options, including special packages with accommodations and gourmet meals. As well as two New Year's Eve Dinner choices, one dinner will be held in the Saloni delle Feste with Salted Beef Roll, Red Cow Parmesan Risotto, Handmade Pasta, Beef Tenderloin, and Panettone Semifreddo. While the New Year's Dinner Luxury Edition will feature wine pairings by the maitre and a menu with Blinis with Asetra Iranian Caviar, White Prawns with Parsley, Baby Squid filled with Provola Cheese and Lime Bechamel, Breaded Scampi, Burrata and Green Olive Sauce, Lobster Marinated in Citrus Fruit, San Miniato White Truffle, Porcini Mushrooms and Almonds, Ravioli Stuffed with Turnip Tops and Red Shrimp, Baked Wild Sea Bass with Chestnuts, Venus Clams, and Lemon Sauce, and completed with Nougat Semifreddo, Clementine Sauce, Cinnamon Crumble, Panettone by Master Baker Alfonso Pepe with traditional Pandoro with Vanilla Cream and Hot Chocolate Sauce, as well as dried fruit, Petits Fours, mineral water, and espresso. Read more below the photo of Saloni delle Feste. 

Saloni delle Feste

On New Years Day, the hotel will host a brunch in the Saloni delle Feste, featuring dishes like Marinated Salmon, Quiches, Tuscan Cold Cuts and Cheeses, Recco-style Focaccia, Warm Seafood Salad with Vegetables and Saffron Potatoes, Marinated Meat Rolls, and traditional Pandoro and Panettone with Vanilla Sauce. Continue reading below the photo of the Bargello Suite. 

Bargello Suite at Hotel Brunelleschi Hotel Florence

The Hotel Brunelleschi Florence is situated in the heart of the city, in the shadows of Il Duomo. Steps from Signoria Square, major attractions, shops, and restaurants, the boutique hotel occupies two historic buildings, with an upscale Italian restaurant and traditional trattoria. 

Five Star Alliance Perk: Guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a $50 food and beverage credit per room, per stay, a bottle of Prosecco, welcome amenity, and VIP Status.

Learn more about the Hotel Brunelleschi Florence


While many Caribbean islands have been heavily damaged by hurricanes in 2017, Barbados has thankfully been spared of major damage. The Little Arches Boutique Hotel offers an all-suite, adults-only retreat in Christ Church. Perched on a cliff, the romantic property has a certified wedding planner on-site and a cliffside wedding garden, as well as the internationally acclaimed Café Luna, with a rooftop setting and farm-to-table pan tropical cuisine. Continue reading below the Cafe Luna photo for additional details and a special offer.

Cafe Luna at the Little Arches Boutique Hotel

7-NIGHT MINIMUM STAY SPECIAL: Guests booking stays for at least 7 nights receive the best available rate, plus a sunset wine and cheese perk per stay, a la carte breakfast daily, arrival gift, manager's cocktail reception, and use of tandem bicycle. Read more below the Suite photo for an additional Five Star Alliance perk. 

Suite at the Little Arches Boutique Hotel

Five Star Alliance Perk: All guests booking through Five Star Alliance receive a welcome bottle of Mount Gay Rum, VIP Status, and based on availability at check-in/departure: a room upgrade, early check-in, and late check-out. Continue reading below the photo.

Pool at the Little Arches Boutique Hotel

The Little Arches Boutique Hotel provides a romantic setting on the south coast of the island. The property's 10 rooms and suites have tropically-inspired furnishings with artist-commissioned watercolor paintings, and bathrooms with custom coral stone vanities and handmade pottery basins. There's also a mini-spa with a garden-inspired suite providing signature services like the Sensational Surrender treatment, and the beach is a short stroll from the hotel. 

Check rates and availability at Little Arches Boutique Hotel


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