It’s hard to resist the complex flavors and rich history that comes with drinking a glass of vino. And heck, it’s hard to resist sipping on wine even without all that history…but it is noteworthy — and fascinating: In a process dating back to 6000 BC (well before the Romans epitomized the drink across the Mediterranean), the transformation from crushed grapes to delectable alcoholic beverage has been an important part of the human tradition — whether it be celebratory, religious, you name it.
From the Greek Isles to Australia’s Yarra Valley, from Chardonnay to Shiraz, some variation of the grape stuff can be found the world over. And for the discerning traveler looking to explore a region’s gustatory offerings, many wineries await with open arms (and free-flowing wine) to offer tours of their operation and — most importantly — samples of their best vintages. Picturesque backdrops set the scene across the globe for a truly delicious (and perhaps tipsy) experience. So whether you’re a wine aficionado or an eager wino student, pack your bags and make sure to bring a corkscrew, because these far flung locales have just the bottle of wine for you.
Napa Valley — home to some of the most charming cities in the U.S. — is also one of the world’s best wine-growing regions, with hundreds of wineries sprawling across the rolling hills. Wineries can occasionally feel a little touristy (it’s not uncommon to see a tour bus parked outside), but perhaps that’s inevitable in one of the world’s top wine-tasting destinations. The valley is actually divided into fourteen sub-regions, each suited to a particular grape, so you can map your tour based on your wine preferences.
Where to Stay: If you’re daydreaming of a luxury stay in the heart of wine country — complete with impressive views, rustic-luxe charm, and lavish amenities — you can’t do much better than the Harvest Inn. Each guest receives a bottle of wine upon arrival, and many rooms overlook the neighboring vineyards of St. Helena. Read More »
The perks of the megaresort experience are obvious: free-flowing drinks, lots of chances to socialize with your fellow guests, and a sweeping breadth of amenities. But with these advantages comes an obvious lack of peace and quiet. When all you want to do is escape the crowds, the best bet is to seek out the small, hidden properties dotting the Caribbean shores. From eco-centric boutiques to romantic enclaves, these laid-back properties promise the glorious sound of silence. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these crowdless Caribbean locales.
Anguilla, a small British territory in the Caribbean, spans fewer than 40 square miles. Less built up than other isles, it manages to exude both an upscale and happy-go-lucky vibe with its gorgeous white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. There are few attractions, so days will mostly be spent sipping on drinks beach-side and dining at one the island’s exclusive hotels. The 27-room Anacaona, for example, offers access to a stunning stretch of sand, rounds of golf at the nearby Greg Norman-designed course, dinner at a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach. The hotel is a great choice for rest and relaxation–and it’s an excellent value to boot. Read More »
A nice beach can make a vacation, and there really doesn’t have to be much more to it than soft sand, clean water, and plenty of space to spread a towel. But a truly special beach is harder to come by; it has to have that little something extra that makes it — and your vacation — one-of-a-kind. Here are seven beaches around the world that wowed us.
Bioluminescent Bay; Isla de Vieques, Puerto Rico
A national natural landmark, Bioluminescent Bay (also know, much less prettily, as Mosquito Bay) glows a breathtaking neon blue. A tiny micro-organism that sparkles when disturbed gives the bay its beautiful luminescence, and many tours take kayakers and divers out at night to watch the waters glow.
Where to Stay: W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island
This hotel has the modern, funky feel of the W brand with a tropical twist — it’s right on it’s own private beach, the lobby and rooms feature bright colors and concrete floors, and the infinity pool overlooking the ocean has a pool bar serving up poolside drinks and meals.
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Thanks to our friends at the Captivate Network, you can catch this story in your office elevator this week! And don’t miss Captivate’s Summer Fridays Sweepstakes!
Traveling green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on the quality of your hotel. If eco-friendly lodging makes you think of a tent in the woods, think again — these gorgeous properties are luxurious and LEED-certified.
H2 Hotel, Healdsburg, California
H2 Hotel, Healdsburg, California
This 36-room boutique hotel in the heart of Healdsburg in Sonoma County is a good pick for eco-conscious folks looking for something convenient to wineries with a modern, hip, relaxed vibe. With a LEED Gold certification, the H2 features green amenities such as loaner bicycles, lots of open spaces, and a green roof. Read More »
The term “hipster” has a lot of connotations these days, but we think we have a pretty good idea of what it means when it comes to travel. If you’re a hipster, you’re probably the type who won’t want to stay somewhere mainstream — and certainly not a major chain. You’re the type who appreciates what’s cool, yes, but in a way that is interesting and different. You love anything eco-friendly and organic.
Sound at all familiar? Fess up. We at Oyster have a special spot in our heart for hipster travelers. After all, they, like us, have high standards when it comes to choosing a hotel. They’ll often gravitate toward spots that are uber-trendy, quirky, or extremely green, and with that in mind, we unearthed some of the best hotel options in the world for the hipster set.
Wythe Hotel, New York City
The Wythe Hotel is a hub for hipster travelers and locals alike. With a hopping rooftop bar boasting jaw-dropping views of Manhattan, a wonderful restaurant, and cutting-edge industrial design, the Wythe is a destination unto itself. It’s located near the subway as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops in the heart of trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a neighborhood boasting one of the highest concentrations of hipsters in the country. Rooms are spacious and have high pine ceilings, reclaimed wood furnishings, and great amenities, including flat-screen TVs; local, hand-made toiletries; free Wi-Fi, and radiant floor heating. Read More »
Did you spend all your time in your tree house as a kid? Or were you brokenhearted because you never had one? Well, these nine gorgeous hotels can turn your childish tree house fantasies into grown-up realities. These rustic-luxe (or just luxe) tree-house-style bungalows will let you live among the birds (and, in some cases, monkeys). Who says you have to give up on your childhood dreams?
Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur
The Post Ranch Inn’s organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel’s surrounding redwoods, and the spacious, eco-sensitive rooms have ocean or mountain views, as well as wood-burning fireplaces and private decks. The Tree House rooms, are, as the name implies, elevated into the trees. Read More »
For many of us, long days at the office, stress, and errands can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. So we often look at our vacations not as a chance for a calorie binge (well, not always), but as a chance to hit the reset button and get back to our exercise and fitness regimens. And those who do manage to stay fit year-round may not want to part with their healthy lifestyle choices when they go away for a week or two. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the mind-body connection, so we found 13 stunning holistic retreats that can help you take your relaxation and well-being to new heights on your next getaway.
Aqua Wellness Resort, Nicaragua
Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe, wellness-focused retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), healthy cuisine (almost every dish comes with a hearty side of vegetables), and an excellent ocean-view yoga platform where group classes are held. Plus, the spa uses local materials, treatments, and techniques. Rooms are adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, and guests can get in an extra workout climbing up the hill from the beach to reception.
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Lobby at The Jade Hotel, New York City
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The boutique Jade Hotel may only be a few months old, but it has already has some pretty famous visitors. Last week, Cameron Diaz was spotted getting drinks at the bar and flirting with strangers.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin St. John is one of three Starwood properties that make up the first shift towards the brand reducing its carbon footprint worldwide. The new green initiative will include the installation of high-tech water savers that will reduce wasted water at the hotel by 50 percent.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Wyndham Hotel Group added Singapore to its destination list this week with the opening of a Days Inn and a Ramada.
4. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The general manager of the Lancaster London, along with numerous other volunteers, scaled up the side of the hotel in order to raise money for Kickstart Programme.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Room service is pricey no matter where you go, but in a recent study, TripAdvisor found that Denver and Dallas offer the best value as far as room service. Not surprisingly, New York City and Honolulu offered the worst.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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The Brentwood Bay Resort & Spa is just one of our favorite eco stays!
For eco-minded couples, choosing the right getaway means finding a spot that pleases both your partner and Mother Earth. Some couples opt for an au natural vibe on their trips, while others just want to practice a clean-conscience approach to travel. For those who love tree-hugging just as much as they snuggling up with that special someone, we’ve found the best hotels for environmentally-friendly duos who don’t want to skimp on the romance.
We had a hard time saying "goodbye" to this view!
Lapa Rios, located in the remote coastal rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, is Costa Rica’s original luxury eco lodge. This is the opposite of a Cancun-style beach resort — guests come to the upscale Lapa Rios to enjoy the spectacular surroundings, learn about sustainable tourism, and re-connect with nature. The 16-bungalow lodge sits amid 1,000 acres of rainforest filled with wildlife, but it’s far from a no-frills jungle camp. There are many comforts here, including a pool overlooking the ocean, a splendid restaurant serving sumptuous cuisine, and rustic-luxe rooms with private decks. This is a place to get in touch with nature without roughing it. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve.