Trust us, we here at Oyster get it more than most people — going on vacation is freakin’ awesome. Vacations are all about fun, relaxation, and the “what happens here stays here” vibe, and when you’re on a vacay, it feels like nothing can get ya down. But some hotel websites go a little too far and market their properties by showing “guests” in absolutely euphoric (and unrealistic) states. To the point where we’re pretty sure that that kind of happy can only be reached if you’ve been dabbling in some recreational, er, “fun.” And depending on the destination, maybe you have been. But still, when we’re deciding where to stay for our winter getaway, we usually don’t base it on how happy the “guests” on the website seem to be. Nonetheless, those photos can be pretty entertaining so we rounded up some of our favorites — check ‘em out!
1. Happiest Feet on Earth
“We’re on vacation, it’s 6:30 A.M., and the kids are up and full of energy — fabulous! Sleep is overrated.” (Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta)
Photo from the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta website.
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The Jefferson in D.C. plays homage to its namesake throughout the hotel.
It’s almost Election Day! Given how much time presidents spend on the road, it’s no surprise how many noteworthy events — famous and infamous both — have taken place at hotels. We’ve come up with a list of hotels that not only come with the presidential seal of approval, but also are rich with presidential history–secret entrances, assassination attempts, and the occasional scandal. After all, you can never be sure what’s going on in the room next door…
Check out our list of presidential hotels and the events that went down in them here.
What we would give to be snuggled up in one of those velvet chairs!
Gone are the days of summer. And while we look back with nostalgia (it’s easy to forget how brutal the heat was once it’s gone, right?), we here at Oyster are already looking forward to fall: Pumpkin bread, hot apple cider, a good book…and the best way to round out this autumnal trifecta is with a crackling fire, of course. It’s time to get cozy: Warm up with a peak at our favorite hotel fireplaces across the country.
The times, oh they are a-changing. Credit: iStockPhoto
Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most celebrated cultural centers thanks to dozens of museums, picturesque canals, and an overall friendly atmosphere. But the city is also known for its Red Light district — filled with XXX-type entertainment — and its lax stance on marijuana. With more than 200 legal dispensaries, Amsterdam uses these laid-back laws as a means of subduing the black market drug trade and keeping crime rates low – keeping things soooo mellow, if you will. But this coming January, The Netherlands will vote on whether or not non-natives can buy pot at their infamous “brown cafes.” To locals, the initiative would mean residents would have to register as “users,” which would then be verified by a dispensary owner. But since we’re not Dutch, we figured we needed to pack our bags ASAP while we can still get legally stoned. After scrounging the city, we found some of the best cafes — plus hotels where you can rest your head — in Europe’s Hemp Heaven.
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At Oyster, we’re constantly trying to innovate with our customers in mind. We want to make sure we’re always delivering the best experience and best product possible to you, because without you, there’d be no us. So we’re constantly examining how people are using our site and considering things we can do to make the experience that much better for you.
During the last 18 months we’ve noticed one very important trend: People’s monitors are getting bigger. Much bigger! So when we thought about what we could do to give you a better experience, one obvious thing popped into our minds – give you even bigger photos!
We know that you love our photos. So what we do now is simple: We detect the resolution of your monitor, and then we deliver a photo that’s as big as possible. When looking at our maps, the same technology applies: The bigger your monitor, the more map you’ll see. Over the coming weeks and months we plan to extend this to other parts of the site as well.
The image above gives you some idea of the change, but just go ahead and trust us: It’s bigger, better, and badder (in a good way)!
Please send us feedback on what you think!
‘Tis the season for lots of feastin’! With turkeys, sweets, fatty trimmings, and sugary cocktails in your face all winter long, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to bump fitness center offerings up closer to the top of your priority list when you’re searching for a place to stay. To offset your festive calorie bombs during your holiday travel, you best be hitting those hotel gyms — and here are our selections for the finest hotel fitness centers in Los Angeles.
Fitness Center, Terranea Resort
With floor-to-ceiling windows and top-of-the-line equipment (as well as a separate exercise studio with spinner bikes), the Terranea’s large fitness center feels more like a full-service club than a typical hotel gym. On the less-rigorous side, the resort offers boccie ball and croquet terrain with free equipment rental, and three pools with great views of the ocean.
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"Hyatt Regency Washington is steps away from the U.S. Capitol," they say.
Lots of steps, though.
Proximity to power is valuable currency in Washington, D.C. So it won’t surprise folks inside the Beltway that the city’s prominent players occasionally exaggerate their standing. But we’re from New York City, and we couldn’t help but notice that this photo, which appears on the website of the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, gives the false impression that the hotel practically stands in the shadows of the U.S. Capitol.
It doesn’t. Take a look at this photo that we snapped last week during a hotel-reviewing trip to the city and that, we think, more accurately reflects the distance from the hotel to the Capitol — which is, in fact, about a third of a mile. That’s close, just not reach-out-and-touch-it close.
True, as hotel-related D.C. scandals go, this one doesn’t exactly rank up there with Watergate. The hotel’s marketing photo is probably the well-intentioned work of a skillful photographer using a telephoto lens, not a more devious case of digital manipulation. Still, you don’t have to be too great a cynic to see this as evidence that, in Washington, things aren’t always what they seem.
Los Angeles is a pricey place to stay. If you’re not careful, a night in the land of the rich and famous might cost you a pretty penny (unless you find a Vinny Chase-like gentleman to foot the bills for you). But you don’t necessarily have to forgo location, comfort, and trendiness to score a decent hotel deal. We’ve rounded up our picks for the best value hotels in Los Angeles; the spots that give you the most bang for your buck — and even some luxury hotels at impressively reasonable prices.
- Lobby, the Standard Hollywood
This 137-room hip boutique offers stylish lodgings and a prime Sunset Strip location. The hallways and elevators are scuffed, but you won’t get this much (stylish rooms with good bedding, a cool pool, a cheap 24-hour restaurant, and great nightlife) for this little elsewhere on the Strip. Read More »
L.A. is a bit of a celebrity-spotting safari. And even though plenty of celebs call the City of Angels home, the area’s hotels are still teeming with famous faces (sometimes drunken, messy faces). For the glitziest, go-home-and-brag-to-your-friends celeb stalkage, we’d like you to know that there’s quite a bit more to the Los Angeles star-studded hotel scene than the ol’ Lindsay Lohan standby, the Chateau Marmont.
We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to who’s been seen where — and where you may have the best shot at an A-list sighting. Here are our picks for the best celebrity hot spot hotels in Los Angeles.
The seldom-seen lobby of the Chateau Marmont
Chateau Marmont, a discreet movie star hideaway since it opened in 1929, attracts celebrities to its popular Bar Marmont, see-and-be-seen restaurant, and private guest bungalows (John Belushi overdosed in one in 1982). An Oyster reporter spotted both Stevie Wonder and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke at coveted patio tables. Jennifer Aniston, John Mayer, and Billy Crudup have been spotted together in the courtyard, Eva Longoria and Christina Applegate were seen on the patio, and Sienna Miller and Josh Hartnett cozied up in the restaurant’s living room. And Lindsay Lohan, Charlize Theron, Mary-Kate Olsen graced Chateau’s halls on a single night.
We came, we saw, we slept there. And we’ve rounded up our findings into a sort of Oscars of LA hotels — the “Oyscars,” if you will — to make it easy to find the best hotel to suit your needs. Whether you’re seeking a party hotel or a place where you can maintain your fitness regimen while on the road, here are our picks for the best hotels in L.A.
Lobby, the Beverly Wilshire
Best Luxury Hotel
Remember where Richard Gere and Julia Roberts stayed in Pretty Woman? This is the place. At the glittery corner of Rodeo Drive and Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, the iconic 395-room Italian Renaissance-style tower hotel underwent a renovation in 2006 and 2007 that added a spa and a Wolfgang Puck steakhouse, CUT, designed by Richard Meier. Rooms are classically luxurious, with Italian marble bathrooms and 400-thread-count sheets. The hotel’s best asset, though, might be its utter lack of stuffiness: Everybody gets treated like a friend here, not only the celebs and royalty. Just like in the movie.
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