Jane Reynolds

grounds-tortuga-bay-v26940-1025Renowned designer Oscar de la Renta died last night, and he will be forever remembered as one of women’s fashion’s top designers; he created gorgeous pieces for the likes of Jacqueline Kennedy, Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey. But the designer’s skills went beyond just haute couture. The Dominican Republic native also had an eye for interior design, and was the decor guru behind the luxurious Tortuga Bay in the D.R.’s Punta Cana.

Take a look after the jump at the gorgeous resort that he designed and decorated >>

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Reported cases of Ebola have now been documented not only in West Africa, but also Dallas and Madrid — and now potentially Belize. A Texas healthcare worker, who may have been in contact with clinical specimens of patient Thomas Duncan’s (who succumbed to the disease last week), has been placed in isolation aboard a cruise ship in Belize. A passenger evacuation has been refused by authorities.

We’ll continue to update you on travel precautions and restrictions in regards to the Ebola crisis.

Read more at The New York Times >>

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st-lucia-view-from-the-island-v1681702-1024Following in Colombia’s footsteps, St. Lucia has officially barred entry to visitors from West African countries affected by Ebola, including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Those traveling from Nigeria will only be granted entry after presenting a recent medical certificate. The tiny island nation’s prime minister cited the country’s inability “to manage any crisis that lands on our doorstep, any crisis of that kind” as the reasoning behind the ban.

Read more at AP >>

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Perhaps because they serve as the venues for raucous parties, maybe because people are more likely to be up to no good while away from home, or possibly because checking in under an alias can make you feel invincible, but no matter the reason, hotels are often the scene of the crime for numerous scandals. Chief among them? The celebrity cheating scandals that fill the tabloids…and often ultimately end marriages. Just last week, Paula Patton filed for divorce from singer Robin Thicke, whom she had dated since she was 14, and Thicke admitted it was because he finally “told her the truth” about his drug use and infidelity — much of which took place while on the road. So while it’s sad to see, we did some research and found the hotels where celebrities have allegedly cheated on their significant others. Maybe this will serve as a precautionary tale (or maybe it’ll just give you the scoop on hot celebrity-sighting hotels), but either way, here are five hotels where famous celebs holed up to hook up.

Robin Thicke at The Greenwich Hotel

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Although “Blurred Lines” singer Robin Thicke and wife Paula Patton have been separated for months, Patton just filed for divorce last week, allegedly because she decided her longtime partner’s infidelity was unforgivable. The cheating scandal broke last summer, when socialite Lana Scolaro claimed that she and Thicke hooked up at a VMAs after-party at The Greenwich Hotel. Although the couple’s publicist downplayed the accusation, it didn’t help that pretty telling photos of Thicke with Scolaro were released online.

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Stomp season may have commenced in September, but it’s still prime harvest time in Napa. Despite the recent earthquake that rocked area hotels and wineries, most are up-and-running once again and where there’s wine, there will be people (friendly ones, at that). This weekend in particular will be packed with wine tastings and tours, ghost walks, farmers’ markets, live music, stomping sessions, and even a PGA golf tournament. Now, Napa is certainly not known for being cheap — and if you’re booking some last minute flights to get away for Columbus Day, well, better stick to bread and water for dinner tonight (or the rest of the month, really). But at least we can help you out with finding some value-packed hotels that have some lovely rooms and nice amenities, to boot. Better to save your cash for some delicious wine! And since we’re always traveling around the world and discovering hidden gems, many of these properties are NEW on Oyster.com.

River Terrace Inn

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The three-story River Terrace Inn is a 106-room property located along a tree-lined river path. It’s an upper-middle-range hotel with a range of features and services, but it nonetheless packs a terrific value for the price. Rooms are tastefully furnished and comfortably designed to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers. It’s also romantic enough for couples, honeymooners, and those celebrating a special event. A path along the riverfront leads to the Oxbow Public Market in downtown Napa. The inn has an outdoorsy feel yet it’s within a minute’s walk to dozens of restaurants and tasting rooms. Bonus: This property is NEW on Oyster!

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napa lead image-001It’s been over two months since the 6.o earthquake that rocked Napa Valley caused hundreds of millions of dollars of damage. With the help of federal aid, various fundraisers, and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears, the popular California destination is nearly back to business as usual, just in time for the harvest season. Almost all wineries are fully operational once again, and hotels that had to temporarily close — such as Andaz Napa and the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel — have since reopened. The Westin Verasa, which sustained significant damage — mostly due to burst pipes and leaks — has also reopened, but at a much smaller capacity. All facilities — such as the pool and restaurants — are available to guests, but only about 60 of the total 180 rooms are available for occupancy. Therefore, the hotel is taking no new reservations for October and November, and the staff is happy to assist guests with current reservations for those months to reschedule or book at another Westin property. We will continue to keep you updated on its progress!

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Owning and operating a hotel is a full-time job, and many of those who devote their lives to the hospitality industry specialize in all things hotel — and that’s it. But there are some unlikely faces in the exclusive “hotel owners of the world” club (hey, it probably exists) that got their starts in other industries; in fact, most of them have their hands in many pots and own their hotels while simultaneously acting, directing, cooking, designing, singing, running a country….you name it! So here we bring you nine surprising hotel owners, from chefs to sultans.

The Greenwich Hotel, owned by Robert De Niro

Greenwich Hotel

The Greenwich Hotel is the hub of Robert De Niro’s personal TriBeCa monopoly: he’s co-owner of the hotel, and also owns its direct neighbors, Locanda Verde restaurant and the Tribeca Film Center. Other owners include developers Ira Druker and Richard Born, of the Mercer and Bowery hotels — both of which are celebrity magnets. The Greenwich also attracts its fair share of stars with its gorgeous, homey rooms and sexy underground spa.

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This property is NEW on Oyster! With 25 freestanding cottages along a 20-acre bird sanctuary, this hilly resort is one of just a handful of hotels on Harbour Island. Understated sophistication is the vibe here; the grounds are peaceful (except for the roaming roosters), and the occasional celeb, such as Paul McCartney and his family, can be found bunkering down in the Banyan Tree Estate Home (shown above). Most guests seem happy to spend their days simply soaking up the sun at Pink Sands Beach — a beautiful and unspoiled three-mile stretch of sand from which the resort takes its name. Ocean view cottages offer outstanding panoramas from the patios and private walking paths to the beach, but cost almost twice as much as garden view cottages. Room decor mixes modern and tradition, with sleek wooden bed frames, romantic open-style showers, and screened-in windows that allow breezes to float in from all sides, for a truly tranquil stay in the Bahamas

Click through the jump to see even more beautiful pics of what makes this spot a celebrity favorite >>

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Staying in a New England inn during foliage season is the quintessential fall vacation. If you’re conjuring up images of historic mansions, elegant antiques, thick oriental rugs, and cozy fireplaces for those crisp fall nights – well, you’re right on the money. These ten inns all have charm to spare.

Ale House Inn, New Hampshire

Ale House Inn

The cozy 10-room Ale House Inn — more suited to adults than families — is housed in a historic 130-year-old former brewery warehouse a block from downtown Portsmouth. Room decor is minimalist, hip, and chic, but there isn’t much to this boutique hotel other than a small lobby and common area with free snacks. There is no on-site restaurant or bar, but the Market Square District location means shops and dining are nearby. The hotel gives free tickets to the Seacoast Rep Theater, which is located on the ground floor, and a free local beer upon arrival. Each room is equipped with a pre-loaded iPad that includes a ton of information about Portsmouth.

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Today is the first official day of fall, and while saying goodbye to the summertime is no easy feat…well, we don’t really have a choice. But to be honest, we’re looking forward to the days of football and beer, leaves crunching under our boots, and crackling fireplaces. And nowhere in the country does the fall season better than New England. So whether you’re planning a getaway to Massachusetts or Rhode Island, Vermont or New Hampshire, or Connecticut or Maine, we have a fun fall activity to get you in the seasonal spirit!

Go: Pumpkin Picking in Vermont

VT pumpkin picking

New England is replete with pumpkin-picking patches and Vermont has some of the best. While Stowe is often associated with winter skiing, it’s also prime for fall picking. With tons of open space and rolling hills, it is home to numerous farms where visitors can pick apples, pumpkins, and other produce.

Stay: Stowe Mountain Lodge

Stowe Mountain Lodge is one of the top luxury properties in Vermont, and offers rustic elegance throughout — from the impressive lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows to the bright, contemporary rooms. This property has a lot in the way of amenities, particularly for the area: an inviting spa, big outdoor pool with mountain views, acclaimed restaurant, state-of-the-art fitness center, 18-hole golf course, and great children’s program. 

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