Carly

Lobby at C/O The Maidstone

Look at all the color!

Summer Fridays here in New York City mean one thing and one thing only: everyone is headed to the Hamptons. Many city slickers rent houses and the lucky ones know someone who did. But we’d argue that the even luckier ones stay at the C/O The Maidstone, a quirky, cool spot that is personable enough to be a home away from home, but much more chic than your average weekend renter. With cowhide rugs offering a mellow contrast to the rainbow-bright pillow collection in the lobby, and lots of floral printed chairs and cozy fabrics, you’ll feel inspired to put on your summer best just to measure up to your surroundings. If you feel like exploring, the center of town it is just a short walk away – or you can opt to hop on one of the hotel’s free bikes. Free yoga in the Buddha garden ensures you’ll look toned when you hit the beach, and the fine dining restaurant and lounge means you won’t have to worry about venturing out to find a gourmet meal. Now that’s what we call a chic Hamptons weekend.

 

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Sure, a week holed up in a beach bungalow or a romantic jaunt to the City of Lights is a nice way to spend one’s honeymoon. But we’d argue it can be a bit cliché, and you’re not just any other couple, right? If you and your significant other identify more with the less-than-traditional set of newlyweds, why not jet off to some exotic, unexpected locale instead? Taking the road less traveled for a honeymoon can be all the more romantic, now that you have someone else to protect you, natch. So before you book that all-inclusive in the Caribbean, give our five alternative honeymoon destinations a look — you never know where they will take you!

1. Go on an African Safari in Botswana

&Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

&Beyond Xaranna Okavango Delta Camp

The &Beyond Xaranna Okavanga Delta Camp is an all-inclusive resort in Botswana– but not like one you’ve ever been to before. (Read: you’re not going to be carrying around that same old plastic cup all week.) Set on an island that’s home to a 62,000-acre nature preserve, this unique getaway combines natural beauty and a far-away feel that’ll be sure to create a sexy atmosphere — for an adrenaline-junkie couples happy. Couples can go on game drives, bush walks, and river cruises, or simply enjoy cocktails on the hotel grounds, waiting for lions, hippos, or monkeys to mosey by. The tented suites are a study in glamping (that’s glamorous camping for the uninformed), complete with soaking tubs, indoor and outdoor showers, and four poster beds. A holiday on safari is the perfect way to begin the adventure that is marriage, don’t you think?

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The U.S. is known for being ahead of the curve in a lot of things (we’re still feeling a bit patriotic after all of Wednesday’s activities), and that includes making music. Paving the way for the rest of the world – from bluegrass to hip-hop, country to surf rock – cities around the country are famous for putting new music on the map. If you’re music junkies like we are, visit our five favorite U.S. spots to hear live music in a variety of venues — and of course, we’ve included our picks for hotels to stay in once the music’s over.

The City: Los Angeles

L.A. has long been a hub for musicians and mainstay venues on the musical scene are still hot destinations for touring bands, especially those looking to be discovered. In recent years, an influx of young creatives has brought on a whole new age of music that’s less starry-eyed and more visceral.

Hollywood Bowl; Credit: Flickr by Margaret Napier

Hollywood Bowl; Credit: Flickr by Margaret Napier

Where To Hear It:

Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, The Hollywood Bowl is an iconic music venue known for its large outdoor amphitheater and BYOB wine and food policy, which creates a one-of-a-kind atmosphere for viewing big ticket acts such as Animal Collective and The National. On the other side of the spectrum, Hotel Cafe is a dimly lit, intimate space showcasing up-and-coming talent, leaning towards promoting female singer-songwriters like Meiko.

The Pool at The Orlando

The Pool at The Orlando

Where to Sleep: The Orlando – West Hollywood

Nobody walks in L.A. – except on the rare stretch of street where this cheap but chic hotel is located. Besides prime location, The Orlando offers free Wi-Fi (helpful in planning your nightly outings), two saunas and a pool for post-music show recharging. Plus, it’s pet-friendly for those divas who won’t leave home without their dog. A short drive from Sunset Boulevard, where many of L.A.’s famous venues reside, and well placed for offshoots to hip neighborhoods such as Silver Lake and Echo Park, this hotel is a music lover’s dream.

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There are few cities in the world as photogenic as Venice. In this fairytale setting it’s easy to let the sights become your reality, especially at the Hotel Al Sole. Entry to your room right off of your own personal canal, check. A cozy little bar, check. A courtyard with lots of patio seating and a lovely little garden, check — shall we go on? We think this postcard-worthy Oyster shot is reason enough to get there on the double; after all, the city is sinking.

Hotel Al Sole, Venice

Hotel Al Sole, Venice

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Look at that view: Who would’ve guessed that a Canadian city-scape could rival one of our own stellar NYC lookouts? [Ed. note: Sorry, we're biased.] At the Thompson Toronto, the rooftop bar offers gorgeous views and is furnished with sexy, striped loungers. Plus, the walls of glass surrounding the area lend an open, airy feel to the space and the rooftop’s infinity pool speaks for itself. But the hotel’s cool amenities don’t end there; down below there is a state-of-the-art screening room, the renowned Scarpetta restaurant, and a yoga studio to ground you – in case all of that open air gets to your head.

Thompson Hotel

View from the Rooftop Bar at the Thompson Toronto

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It’s the first official summer Friday, and while temperatures outside are soaring above the 90s, here at Oyster HQ we’re using the power of our imaginations (and our Oyster Shots!) to transport ourselves to some cooler beach-side glamour. In particular, the exclusive La Samanna resort on the French side of St. Maarten has captured our eye with it’s fabulous beach and bohemian bar, Baie Long. Offering a sophisticated setting for cooling off on a hot day, this Moroccan-themed bar is even celeb-approved: Famed guests such as Jackie O (could you find ANYONE chicer?) have sipped cocktails in this bright, airy lounge. So what are you waiting for? Order up a strong one and start your weekend off right!

Baie Long Bar at the La Samanna

Baie Long Bar at the La Samanna

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Credit: Duncan Walker/iStockPhoto.com

Come on, you know it: We all have a secret soft spot for those kitschy red, white and blue decorations folks tend to resurface during the summer — especially around July 4th. But while we give a wink to plastic flags, what we truly love is some rustic, genuine American décor; from pieces that look straight out of Betsy Ross’s Philadelphia home to more desert-inspired styles reminiscent of the Westward Expansion. And hotels across the country are happy to oblige to these decor styles year round. Since Independence day is on the horizon, enjoy our favorite spots for all the plaid, wood and warmth that typical American décor is so famous for.

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