Megan Wood

6893409889_62f149a0a6_b

Photo by Ed Schipul

Superstition is a touchy subject. Even the most rational traveler might take a pause before booking a flight on Friday the 13th — although he or she may never actually admit it to friends and family. While researching the most haunted hotels in the world, we ran into a number of travel superstitions in Asia, a continent with a culture that can take dealing with ghosts pretty seriously. While not everyone in Asia believes in ghosts, there is a general consensus among the believers that hotel rooms in particular can attract the departed as a kind of way station between this life and the next. Curious, we asked self-proclaimed “modern-day nomad” Nellie Huang –  who grew up in Singapore and now writes about her travel adventures for the likes of Food & Travel and CNN Go – for her take on ghost culture in Asia. She also gave us some tips on what to look for — and then we did some in-depth research to ensure we know how to avoid ghosts while traveling!

Get her tips and takes after the jump >>

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

With a Monday holiday (at least in the Oyster offices!) and low off-season rates at romantic hotels across the United States and Mexico, Columbus Day Weekend just might be the ideal time to run off and elope with your sweetie.  We rounded up six diverse destinations that make it easy for couples to combine their private “I dos” with a romantic weekend hotel stay. All you have to provide is the getaway car, rings, and happily ever after.

Rendezvous spot: Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is a traditional honeymoon destination, but lots of brides and grooms let this somewhat kitschy spot serve double duty by “taking the plunge” here as well. Heavenlee Weddings can arrange nuptials for two anywhere from on board the Maiden of the Mist to in a helicopter hovering over the falls. Of course, if you want a quiet chapel ceremony and then an epic photo shoot in your wedding duds alongside the thundering waters, that can be arranged too. We recommend getting married on the New York side of the falls for legal reasons, then driving the short distance over the border to a Canadian boutique hotel for an international wedding night.

Romantic hotel pick: Sterling Inn & Spa

This upper-middle-range intimate boutique doesn’t have a traditional honeymoon suite, but Deluxe King Rooms include fireplaces and enormous whirlpool bathtubs. Splurge on a couple’s massage at the on-site spa and cuddle up behind a curtained-off table for two at the red rose-colored (and chandelier-studded) AG Restaurant. The falls are within hand-in-hand walking distance from the inn.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Here at Oyster, we love a good book anytime of year – but there’s something about the fall that encourages us to curl up with a new read. Maybe it’s the shorter days and roaring fireplaces… And since travel and reading often go hand-in-hand (how many times have you gotten through an insanely long layover with a good book?!), we put together a list of worthy titles for your next trip — and paired them with a perfectly suited hotel, of course.  Let us know which books you’re loving this fall in the comments section below. Happy reading!

Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” by Lena Dunham

Wythe

Ms. Dunham’s hotly anticipated collection of personal essays has been tauted by some of the best in the business, including David Sedaris and Judy Blume.  Fans of HBO’s Girls are sure to love, and laugh at, Lena’s written take on everything from traveling in Israel to her childhood therapy sessions to dating at a liberal arts college in Ohio. The book is aimed to give Millennials life advice, but readers of all ages will recognize parts of themselves in this occasionally cringeworthy tell-all. The book hits stores on September 30th.

Read it here: Wythe Hotel, New York City

We suggest reading Not That Kind of Girl at the Wythe Hotel in cool-kid mecca Williamsburg for a taste of Girls favorite borough.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

_DSC3521-001

 Jacob Tomsky is a hotel expert, but don’t ask him for advice on where to stay the night. Sure, he’s spent 10 years in hotels — but most of that time was racked up behind the front desk. He saw plenty from that vantage point, though, and in 2013, he published his laugh-out-loud memoir, Heads in Beds, which many have compared to Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential. Through the memoir, readers get a glimpse into the inner workings of a luxury hotel…and some of the late-night antics Tomsky witnessed – plus tips and tricks for scoring free minibar snacks and upgrades, and just how much to tip the bellman. Today, he’s busy working on the follow-up to his New York Times bestselling book. We caught up with the author in the lobby of the Trump SoHo New York to get his take on hotel reviews, robot bellmen (why not?), and more.

Get all his insider deets after the jump >>

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

openerStarwood’s Aloft brand prides itself on offering modern, fresh, and fun properties, so it’s not much of a surprise that their latest project involves a…futuristic robot?! (Well, maybe it’s a little bit of a surprise.) The “Boltr” — named A.L.O. — is designed to step in when human staff gets backed up at the reception desk. A.L.O also performs basic tasks like moving towels and linens throughout the hotel. It may even deliver your breakfast-in-bed room service order! In lieu of cash, guests are encouraged to tip the bot with reviews and tweets. Positive reviews are rewarded with a little robot dance. It’s hard to tell if this is one more step towards the inhuman direction the hospitality industry is taking (other examples include iPad ordering and express checkout), or just a great way to get the Aloft some publicity. Starwood global brand leader Brian McGuiness has described the robot as having “the work ethic of Wall-E, the humor of Rosey from The Jetsons and [it] reminds me of my favorite childhood robot, R2-D2. We are excited to have it join our team.” There’s no word yet on just how many robots Aloft will roll out or where. [Skift]

Check out some of our favorite Aloft properties after the jump. We’ll be sure to update you on any future robot run-ins >>

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

FourSeasonsSelfieSMiles24Jul2014Picture this: You’re on a dream vacation in Maui with your significant other. The sun is setting over the Pacific Ocean and the light is just right for a photo that will inspire hundreds of likes on your Instagram feed. (By the way, check out ours!!) Sure, you could take 10 awkward selfies and hope that in at least one of them you both look naturally relaxed and happy — with the sunset actually in the frame. Or, if you’re staying at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, you can simply rely on photo ambassador Scott Miles (or SMiles as his name tag reads). His job is to take free photos of guests using their cameras or smartphones — #nofilter. So we picked Scott’s brain about beach photo tips, celebrity encounters, and the golden rule.

See what we discovered after the jump >>

Read More »

{ 0 comments }