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LUXURY HOTEL INSIDER

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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.

| By: Five Star Alliance

Five-star hotels are properties that offer their guests the highest levels of luxury through personalized services, a vast range of amenities, and sophisticated accommodations. Though there is no standard rating system for hotels, properties earn five-star distinction by providing guests experiences that meet or exceed even the highest of expectations for comfort, décor, and luxury.

5 Star Hotel Criteria

Though a luxury hotel may share many five-star hotel characteristics, a true five-star hotel should satisfy all these criteria:

5-Star Service

Five-star hotel employees should be polite, attentive, discreet, and can anticipate guests’ needs. All-in-all, consistently flawless excellence is the expectation. 

  • A high staff-to-room ratio—ideally above 2.5
  • Multilingual staff
  • 24-hour reception, room service, valet parking, butler, doorman
  • Standalone concierge staff available at least 16 hours a day
  • Nightly turndown 
  • Daily housekeeping that is also available upon request at any time
  • Laundry, ironing, dry cleaning, and shoe polishing
  • Guest elevators separate from staff elevators.
  • Luggage storage in which bags are out of guest view
  • Fine dining restaurant(s) and a standalone lounge and/or bar
  • Transfers and executive or house car
  • Childcare

5-Star In-Room Amenities

  • Electric safe
  • Laundry bags
  • Full-length mirror with lighting
  • Flat-screen TV with international programming
  • Stocked mini bar
  • Selection of daily newspapers
  • Wifi
  • At least four types of spa treatments 

5-Star Comfort

  • Guest rooms must be plush and inviting—especially the bed. (Ideally, there is a memory foam bed with high thread count sheets)
  • Pillow menu
  • Blackout shades
  • Bathrobes, slippers, luxury toiletries, and large fluffy towels
  • Poolside daybeds, umbrellas, lotions, ice water, attendants, and food and beverage service

5-star hotel meaning

As more hotels aspire to five-star quality, we expect to see the very best hotels advance the standards of luxury. Here is what will become standard to all five-star hotels soon:

  • Communication with hotel staff via text
  • Remote access to room lighting, climate, and “do not disturb” 
  • Additional outlets for personal electronics, especially for USB plugs
  • Upgraded coffee machines
  • Smart TV features with access to streaming services
  • Bluetooth-enabled door locks

Who awards hotels 5 stars? 

There is no universal standard for hotel ratings. 

Terms such as Deluxe/Luxury, First Class/Superior, Tourist Class/Standard, and Budget Class/Economy are more widely accepted as hotel types, not hotel standards.

In North America, AAA rates hotels from 1 to 5 diamonds. The Forbes (Mobil) Travel Guide only ranks 4- and 5-star hotels. 

In Europe, the Hotelstars Union has standard hotel star ratings applicable to properties for more than 15 countries. Switzerland uses hotelleriesuisse which confirms a certain level of quality service, infrastructure, and equipment. The UK uses the Automobile Association's (AA) 1-to-5 star ratings.

Many other nations have laws to define hotel rating criteria.

In New Zealand, Qualmark, part of Tourism New Zealand, grades hotels from 1 to 5 stars.

In Australia, the Auto Clubs (NRMA, RACV, RACQ, RAC, RAA and RACT) have awarded hotels star ratings that incorporate guest feedback. The ratings are now managed by the Australian Tourism Industry Council (ATIC).

In the Philippines, the Department of Tourism maintains hotel rating standards with a system that grades properties between 1 and 5 stars.

The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) grades hotels based on strict criteria and conditions in six categories.

India's classifications are handled by the Ministry of Tourism's Hotel and Restaurant Association Classification Committee (HRACC). The categories are 1 to 5 Stars and 5 Star Deluxe as well as categories for heritage: Heritage Grand, Heritage Classic, and Heritage Basic.

While it might be great for marketing, there are no 7-star or 6-star hotels

In addition to meeting the criteria above, Five Star Alliance hotels must maintain a high degree of satisfaction from guests across review sites and via feedback provided directly to us.

 

Click here to explore all of our five-star hotels >>

5-star luxury hotel meaning

 

 


| By: Rachael Weir

Vienna Christmas Market

As the festive season is underway, Europe's Christmas Markets provide an array of local products created by artisans, sweet specialties, and plenty to explore. In this edition of Featured Journeys, we're embarking on a multi-destination trip along the Danube to visit Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest.

Vienna, Austria

Get in the Christmas spirit perusing stalls with handcrafted goods, while the aroma of punch and roasted chestnuts fills the air. Dating back to 1298 when Albrecht I granted the city's citizens the privilege to hold the first Krippenmarkt, Vienna is now home to an array of Christmas markets including the Viennese Dream Christmas Market in front of City Hall (shown in the photo above), Christmas Village Belvedere Palace with the backdrop of the palace, Christmas and New Year's Market at Schönbrunn Palace, and Christmas Market at Spittelberg. 

In addition to the Christmas Markets, Vienna is a destination for culture and art lovers. From palaces and regal parks, to chandier-lit coffee houses, the city offers much to explore. The Riesenrad Ferris wheel provides a birds-eye view above the Prater. 

Park Hyatt Vienna

Park Hyatt Vienna

Set within a 100-year-old building, Park Hyatt Vienna is located within the city's most exclusive shopping district. Once the Austrian Hungarian Monarchy Bank, the Park Hyatt Vienna is part of the city's First District, listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Offering some of the city's largest guest rooms and suites, travelers can rejuvenate at the tranquil Arany Spa with treatments and facials, workout in the fitness center, or swim in the indoor pool. Plus, visitors can enjoy brasserie classics and cocktails at the historic The Bank Brasserie & Bar, a drink at the whisky and cigar lounge Living Room, sip a typical Viennese coffee specialty at the Café Am Hof, or schedule afternoon tea at the Lounge.

SUITE DEAL: Book 3 nights, get the 4th Night Free! Plus, enjoy exclusive Five Star Alliance Perks.
Book and travel by December 17, 2020. Based on availability, blackout dates apply. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Guests making reservations with Five Star Alliance receive breakfast daily at The Bank Brasserie, also available with Room Service, a $100 USD hotel credit per room/per stay (valid at all food and beverage outlets, Room Service, Minibar, Spa treatments, and laundry) along with in-room fresh fruits and water daily.

Book a stay at Park Hyatt Vienna

Explore more Vienna Luxury Hotels

Bratislava, Slovakia

From stands with local goodies and craft products to glowing streets, Bratislava is a festive destination with multiple Christmas Markets spread throughout the city. The Main Christmas Market is located at the Main Square with a variety of local delicacies including potato pancakes, Lokša​, and Mead, and the Old Town Christmas Market is home to thematic workshops for children, a wooden Bethlehem, and a traditional ice rink. There's also a Vegan Christmas Market and Advent at the Castle.

Along with the Christmas Markets, Bratislava is a green city and the capital of Slovakia. The Bratislava Castle features views of the neighboring countries, and plenty of history to explore in the castle's museum. The three-nave St. Martin's Cathedral is a Gothic Church and former coronation church, the Old Town Hall is the seat of the Bratislava City Museum and a 45-meter tower with panoramic views, and Michael's Gate offers travelers the opportunity to see the only preserved gate remaining of the city's fortification system. 

Hotel Chateau Amade

Hotel Chateau Amade

Set in the middle of Rye Island, Hotel Chateau Amade is an idyllic destination about 50 km/31 miles from Bratislava. The eco-chic boutique hotel offers a unique and historic destination between Vienna and Budapest. The sanctuary of peace and quiet has 30 guest rooms and suites, along with a gourmet restaurant, wellness center, and hammam. 

Book a stay at Hotel Chateau Amade

Explore more Bratislava Luxury Hotels

Budapest, Hungary

With more than 10 markets in the center of the city alone, Budapest is a festive destination for travelers. The scent of cinnamon and roast chestnuts fills the air as shoppers shop authentic Hungarian wares on display in wooden huts. In addition to the markets, the Balna Budapest ice cooridor is the largest free ice rink in the city, with a panoramic backdrop of Budapest while gliding over the frozen water. Illuminated by thousands of fairy lights, the City Park Rink has the Vajdahunyad Castle for a backdrop, and the grand cafes provide an idyllic post-shopping or skating retreat. 

Beyond the festive attractions, Budapest offers much for foodies including six Michelin Star Restaurants, and the old Jewish quarter is home to a variety of Ruin Bars. Ready for some down time? Discover some of the city's many thermal baths fed by natural hot springs. 

The Ritz-Carlton Budapest

The Ritz-Carlton Budapest Suite

Set within the city's fashionable 5th District, The Ritz-Carlton Budapest, the property is within walking distance of the main pedestrian shopping street, river Danube, and the Opera house. Amidst the rich historical heritage of the Castle District and Old Town, the property offers a tranquil setting with an indoor pool, Jacuzzi, and massage treatments. 

FIVE STAR ALLIANCE PERK: Reservations booked under the "5 Star Signature Package" rate will also include full breakfast for two daily, a $100 USD food and beverage credit per room/per stay to be used in Kupola Lounge, Kupola Bar, Dean St. Kitchen, or via room service, and one bottle of mineral water daily per person.

Book a stay at The Ritz-Carlton Budapest

Explore more Budapest Luxury Hotels


| By: Rachael Weir

Looking to travel green and help the bees? Fairmont Hotels has partnered with the Pollinator Partnership to create habitats at various hotels and resorts for bee nesting and reproduction. To date, Fairmont now has more than 40 honeybee apiaries and pollinator bee hotels around the world, helping to combat declining pollinator habitats. 

Of particular note, the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver has a "Bee and Bee" Pollinator Hotel set within the property's 2,400 square foot rooftop garden. As part of The Pollinator Partnership Canada and Fairmont Hotels & Resorts WILD FOR BEES national program, the hotel's Bee Butler Michael King, Executive Chef Dana Hauser, PR Manager Kristyna Vogel, and Hives for Humanity's Sarah Common worked together to create the bee hotel. Every piece of the habitat tells a story: fire bricks are from Downtown Eastside, logs were sourced from fallen trees in Stanley Park, East Van Roasters provided burlap, wood is from the Haida nation, and branches, nests, twigs, and leaves were collected from around the city. Read more below the photo.

Bee and Bee at the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver

Set on the third floor of the hotel along with 2,100 square-foot herb garden--which is the source of sustainable herbs, vegetables, and edible blossoms used in culinary creations throughout the hotel, the apiary contains five beehives with more than 250,000 honeybees that have produced 125 pounds of honey since 2015. From May to September, guests can experience a beehive tour with the hotel's Bee Butler.

Honey from the hotel's rooftop beehives is used throughout the property to create seasonal dishes in the ARC restaurant, chocolate, pastries, salad dressings, and signature cocktails. Plus, the local Whistler Brewing Company incorporates the honey into the "Fairmont Stinger Honey Lager", served on-site. 

Learn more about the Fairmont Waterfront Vancouver


| By: Five Star Alliance

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
celebrates its 30th Anniversary in 2014. Traditionally, a 30th anniversary is celebrated with a gift of pearls, so in honor of its Pearl Anniversary, the resort has joined with luxury pearl jeweler Mikimoto to provide guests with The Pearls of Inspiration Experience.

A celebrated icon along the California coast, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is perched atop a 150 foot bluff,  and set against cascading views of the Pacific Ocean. This surfside retreat has a unique beachfront setting and remarkable service heritage, and is located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, along the coast of Dana Point. The resort boasts amazing dining options and all 396 guestrooms have been redesigned with decor that reflects the sparkle of the Pacific Ocean. Outdoor fireplaces have been added to the patios of first floor oceanfront guestrooms. Additional enhancements to the luxury property include major changes to the resort's gardens and grounds, and an Eco-Adventure Center. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel


The Pearls of Inspiration Experience
is exclusive to The Ritz-Carlton Club Level and includes:

• The opportunity to discover a His and Hers Mikimoto cultured pearl jewelry gift on your pillow in your guestroom
• Overnight accommodation on The Ritz-Carlton Club Level or Suite
• Pearls of Inspiration White Chocolate amenity
• Breakfast for two either through In Room Dining or in Raya
• Round trip transportation to and from South Coast Plaza
• Lunch for two at South Coast Plaza and visit to Mikimoto.
The package is available January 1 through April 30, 2014 and starts at $750 per night.

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Additional rules, regulations, and restrictions may apply. 

In conjunction with the Pearls of Inspiration Experience, the hotel has created three events that explore the genius of Kochi Mikimoto, and an exclusive look at the jewelry company and how it uses a blend of talent, discipline and artistry within their craft.

 Events include:

The Pearl King - January 23, 2014; 4-8pm
The skill of a scientist and the soul of an artist combined to create the genius of Kokichi Mikimoto, the inventor of cultured pearls. A visionary on a quest for beauty, it was his dream to "adorn the necks of all women around the world with pearls."

The Romance of Pearls - March 6, 2014; 4-8pm
The pearl's iridescent luminosity has bewitched men and women alike for thousands of years. Whether offered in romance or taken in victory, worn as a symbol of chastity or a mystical aphrodisiac, pearls have been and continue to be among the most coveted gems in the world.

Birth of a Pearl - May 8, 2014; 4-8pm
In 1893, after years of painstaking efforts, Kokichi Mikimoto succeeded in creating the world’s first cultured pearl. The method he developed is still used by Mikimoto today to form beautiful, lustrous pearls.

View rates, details, and more images of The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel >>

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| By: Five Star Alliance

Melbourne Marriott Hotel Location, location, location! For those travelers looking to explore what Melbourne has to offer, look no further than the Melbourne Marriott Hotel. This hotel property is known for its prime time location, as it is centrally located near many of Melbourne’s tourist activities. The Marriott Melbourne Hotel is steps away from Melbourne’s central business district, and the central shopping centers on Collins Street are filled with different shops to buy trinkets and souvenirs. Dine at popular restaurants in Melbourne's Chinatown after visiting the Melbourne Museum, and enjoy a show at the popular theatre district. The area is home to famous Melbourne landmarks such as The Regent Theatre, which hosts world renowned theatre productions the entire family can enjoy. The daily activities to do outside of the hotel can be overwhelming to most, but not to worry! The property has its own newspaper, keeping guests informed with events and activities close to the the hotel.

 

 

View rates, details and more images of The Melbourne Marriott Hotel>> 

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| By: Betsy LeTourneau

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that's why we're here. Be sure to explore our new blog series 'Your Questions Answered' to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

The Dolder Grand ZurichQUESTION: What rooms are available at the Dolder Grand in Zurich Switzerland for a family of 4?

ANSWER: All of the rooms at The Dolder Grand have a maximum occupancy of 2 adults and 1 child. However, for families or groups with more than 3 occupants, connecting rooms can easily be arranged between varieties of room types. Examples would be as follows:

- Double Room Superior can connect to the Double Room Deluxe

- Junior Suite connecting to Double Room Deluxe

- Junior Room Supreme can connect to the Double Room Supreme

- The Suites Grand can be connected with double rooms superior

- The Suites Superior can be connected with double rooms superior

- The Suites Deluxe can be connected with up to three double rooms deluxe

All rooms at the Dolder Grand are equipped with luxurious white-marble bathrooms with separate bath and shower areas. The historic balconies give the rooms a turn-of-the-century zeitgeist. Double rooms and suites are furnished with king-size beds, single rooms with queen-size beds.

All rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges may apply. Please be advised that the rates, availability, as well as any extra person charges are subject to change depending on the hotel's policies.

View more details, photos, and check rates and availability at The Dolder Grand Hotel in Zurich >>


| By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Question: We’d like to stay at the Miramonte Resort and Spa, but we’re traveling with a large group of 4 adults and 2 seven year old kids. We’d like to get 2 interconnecting rooms. What room types should we book?

Answer: The Estate room with 2 queen beds or the Luxury room with 2 queen beds can accommodate a family of 2 adults and 2 kids age 7 at no extra charge. The difference between the Estate and Luxury room type is that the Luxury room type has access to a patio or balcony while the Estate room does not. The Estate king can interconnect to a Luxury Queen or to an Estate Queen. Although these interconnecting room types are currently available, interconnecting rooms would not be guaranteed and based on availability which fluctuates frequently. To view rates, availability, and to make your reservations, simply visit this website and enter your dates of travel. 

Rates and availability are subject to change depending on the hotel’s policies.


| By: Oksana Balytsky

We love having another reason to eat a cheeseburger aside from it being delicious, and today being National Cheeseburger Day marks the perfect occasion to order some juicy goodness with a side of fries. Be sure to check out these hotels that are serving up the best burgers in town!

Conrad New York’s restaurant Atrio is serving up half-price cheeseburgers topped with Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and roasted onion mayonnaise.

Hotel Zaza in Dallas, Texas has a complimentary slider bar in the lobby from 5-7pm for guests, and La Posada de Santa Fe is serving a Kobe beef burger with green chili strips, cheddar cheese, and Apple wood smoked bacon.

How will you be celebrating National Cheeseburger Day? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter!


| By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Question: We’re planning a trip to Mumbai, India for December 26th – January 1st, 2013. What hotels have availability and how far are they from the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport?

Answer: We have nine 5-star hotels and three 4-star hotels in Mumbai, of which 10 are currently showing availability for your dates of travel. To compare their rates and view hotel photos, simply visit this website, click on the ‘Find a Hotel’ tab, select ‘Asia’ as the region, ‘India’ as the country, and ‘Mumbai’ as the city. Below this put in your dates, and then click ‘Go’. This will pull up all of the hotels on our site and show you the starting, lowest rate at each hotel. To view room descriptions and room types, click the ‘Available’ box for the specific hotel. To view photos and hotel descriptions, click on the hotel name link. Once you choose a hotel and specific room type, select that option and fill in the booking form. Your reservation is automatically confirmed with the hotel, and you receive a confirmation email. To view the location of the hotel, simply click the hotel name and then the ‘Location & Map’ tab to view where the property is located. Please be advised that all rates are based on double occupancy and extra person charges for more than two people in a room may apply. Please also be advised that certain rooms have a maximum occupancy of two. Rates and availability are subject to change prior to making a reservation.

Photo of the Oberoi, Mumbai


| By: Oksana Balytsky

We at Five Star Alliance work tirelessly to ensure we bring you the best luxury hotels selection and information regarding amenities, location, and highlights so you are confident that the hotel you choose will exceed your expectations and serve your needs. Sometimes, however, you are left with a few questions that go unanswered, and that’s why we’re here. Be sure to explore our new blog series ‘Your Questions Answered’ to find answers to real questions submitted to us by our clients regarding traveling with kids, pets, the best beach hotels, and much more.

Question: I was looking to stay at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa in San Diego with my family with check in 12/26/2012 and check out 12/30/2012 and would like to know if you have an offer for 2 rooms with bay view with breakfast included? Also, can the rooms be interconnecting? One room will have 1 king bed and the other room will have 2 double beds.

Answer: The Loews Coronado Bay Resort and Spa does not have breakfast inclusive rates for your dates of travel, but it does have interconnecting room options available. A Luxury King can interconnect with a Luxury 2 Double beds room. These room types are 450 square feet and have a partial bay view. A Deluxe King can interconnect with a Deluxe 2 double beds room, and this room type has a pool/marina view. To view rates, simply visit this website and enter your dates of travel. To make a reservation for two rooms, complete one after the other, filling in the Special Request field for each stating 'request this room to interconnect with other reservation.' Please be advised that interconnecting rooms cannot be guaranteed and are based on availability.


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