Oyster News

Did you know you can learn Chicago by segway, or tour and taste its chocolate shops, bakeries and cafes? Staycations are the perfect way to feel like you’re on vacation while staying local. Discovering your city like you’ve never seen before is fun, educational and inspiring. Let us help you plan your perfect Chicago staycation.

Where to stay: Hotel Palomar
For family-style trips, the Hotel Palomar delivers. They’ve got welcome gifts for kids, in-room child-safety kits (outlet covers, toilet latches, nightlights), and high chairs and booster seats in the hotel’s restaurant. And it doesn’t end there — kids can bundle up in child-size animal print bathrobes, drink “mocktails” during the hosted evening wine tasting, and parents can enjoy babysitting services. Plus, the hotel has an indoor pool, connecting rooms, and a 24-hour concierge service that can recommend kid-oriented activities. Rooms with pull-out sofas and larger suites that can sleep up to five guests make this a perfect pick for families.

Lobby at the Hotel Palomar Chicago

Lobby at the Hotel Palomar Chicago

What to do: Chocolate Tours
We’ve all got chocolate cravings. Treat yourself to a 2.5 or 3-hour walking and tasting tour of select Chicago chocolate shops, bakeries and cafe. Public tours are $40 per person, but private tours are also available upon request. You can purchase the tickets online, and there are tours daily, all year round. You can even choose the route: Downtown Loop, Magnificent Mile and Gold Coast, South Loop, etc.
Bonus: Is your craving more pastry-focused? Good news. There are also Cupcake Tours at $50 per person.

What to do: Bike Tour
You can choose from several different bike tours, a great way to explore your city without using gas and getting some exercise. The Lakefront Neighborhoods Tour takes you off the beaten path and onto the quiet neighborhood streets, city parks and beaches. The Night Tours have the same prices, duration and level. It visits the Millennium Park, the Buckingham Fountain, Museum Campus, and more. If you’re looking to include the whole family, the Kid’s Edition is for families with kids 10 and under.  The Historic Hyde Park Tour calls for moderate to advanced riders—it covers 24 miles in 4 hours. It’s the only tour allowed to ride past Obama’s former mansion!

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Some crave steep snowy peaks. Others bask in a bustling metropolis. And some want a labyrinth of reefs, streaked in bright blues, yellows, and reds, swarming with bizarrely beautiful undersea creatures. For those aqua-oriented souls, we’ve compiled a list of Oyster’s top scuba diving destinations (note: more to come in the near future!).

Costa Rica

Don’t let Costa Rica’s small size fool you. It’s packed with spectacular marine life and an abundance of diving spots. Its beaches boast some of the sea’s most colorful creatures, both big and small. With cooler, nutrient-rich waters, divers often see dolphins, whale sharks, and humpback whales. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, Cocos Island, an uninhabited island more than 300 miles off the coast, is one of the world’s most-treasured diving spots, with oodles of Hammerhead, ray, and dolphin sightings. It’s normal to see dozens or even hundreds of these animals on every dive. If you’re traveling between December and mid-April, make sure to pack some exposure protection, as water temps have been known to dip relatively low.

Playa Virador at Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

Where to stay:

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort & Spa

Hilton Papagayo Costa Rica Resort & Spa

 

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Want to dine, indulge, and bask in Giada’s favorite hotel restaurants? You got it.

We found out where Giada’s favorite hotel restaurants are in various cities across the USA, and now we’re salivating. Here are the best dishes from this star’s go-to hot spots.

Bonus: read on for a secret recipe from a top chef in one of Las Vegas’s best restaurants.

Restaurant: The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles
Giada’s take: “Jose Andres who has restaurants in Washington, D.C. Great traditional and modern Spanish tapas.”
Best dishes:

  • Mediterranean Mussels olive oil, vinegar, pimentón
  • King Crab raspberries, raspberry vinegar
  • Delta Farm Green Asparagus labneh, macadamia nuts
  • Sautéed wild mushrooms, hazelnut praline
  • Sautéed shrimp garlic, guindilla pepper
  • Seared scallops, romesco sauce
  • Seared Mary’s Farm chicken honey dates, mustard caviar, mustard greens
  • Baby beets salad, citrus, pistachio, olive oil goat cheese
The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

The Bazaar at SLS Hotel, Los Angeles

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Cold summertime cocktails. So hot right now. We’re visiting the best, trendiest hotel bars to find you the tastiest summer cocktails in NYC. Not only have we got the photos, we’ve got the recipes — directly from the bartenders — so you can make them at home. Grab your martini glass and hit the deck, you’re having a cocktail party.

First up, Jimmy at The James, New York.

DRINK #1: The Cartel

The Cartel, Jimmy at The James, New York

The Cartel, Jimmy at The James, New York

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Herradura Silver Tequila
  • 1 oz  Canton Ginger Liqueur
  • 2 oz Pineapple JUICE
  • ½ Honey Syrup
  • 4 dash Peruvian Bitters

To make
Build in tin, shake with ice, strain into rocks glass, garnish with pineapple wedge.

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With New York’s recent legalization of gay marriage, same-sex couples from all over are flocking to tie that much-anticipated knot. Ironically, one of the most important aspects of getting married is what comes the week or so after you say “I do” – the honeymoon. Here are some of our top honeymoon destinations and hotels, LGBT style.

San Francisco

San Francisco just happens to be one of the most romantic cities in the U.S. and one of the country’s leaders in equal rights. The pastel houses sprinkled on the hills lead to a breathtaking view of the Bay, which is encased in steep mountain crests. This foggy city has long been famous for its liberalism and political activism, as it’s the epicenter of gay rights movements. With a multiplicity of gay-owned businesses and households, it’s difficult to find a street without a rainbow flag being proudly displayed.

Where to stay:

Clift

Also:

Hotel Rex

The Huntington Hotel

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Stay Cool

by Hilary on July 22, 2011

Let’s just accept that it’s impossible to stay cool lately. Here are 5 ways to try to chill off.

Pool Day
Gansevoort Park Ave, New York City
Plunge, a bar at the Gansevoort, has an outdoor heated pool with views of Empire State Building.

Gansevoort Park Ave South, NYC

Gansevoort Park Ave South, NYC

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We just returned from Toronto, where we explored the largest city in Canada and discovered the ins and outs of the best hotels. We gazed at the CN Tower from our window in The Fairmont Royal York and walked steps to the hip area of Bloor Street at the luxurious Hazelton Hotel. At The Drake Hotel, a nightlife and dining hot spot, we sipped cocktails at the rooftop patio bar. And, because we’re Oyster, we’ve got photos of it all.

We’re excited to help you plan your own Toronto adventure, and look forward to sharing many more beautiful places with you in the coming year.

Go ahead — get inspired!

Toronto

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Work Out Like a Local

by Hilary on July 21, 2011

Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you need to give up everything you’ve worked for. Leading a healthy lifestyle takes commitment, and showing it off on your next vacation is the cherry on top of your fit sundae. Find out which areas to work on according to which travel itch you’re having.

Traveling to: South Beach
Focus on: Belly
Where to stay: The Setai

South Beach is all about the bikinis, so having a toned tummy is ideal when strolling on the beach. The Setai, one of Miami’s most luxurious beach hotels, has three pools — each a different temperature — and a prime beachside location. To get those toned abs that’ll turn heads, try planking, side crunching, The Hundred (an amazing Pilates move), and bicycle abs. Watch your 6-pack form in no time!

The Setai, Miami

The Setai, Miami

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Let’s tackle a problem we all face: the travel lull. Airports, busses, taxis, subways… everyone knows that travelling can be taxing – especially on your waistline. In all our angst over arranging the big trip, sometimes we forget to schedule time for ourselves and our bodies. Well for those of you travelling to New York, problem solved! With the help of SELF, we’ve found the top five hotels with fantastic gyms in New York City. Read on to find out where to book your next stay!

Affinia Dumont, Gramercy and Murray Hill
Want to be sure to work out while away? Well, this motivational atmosphere won’t take no for an answer! This hotel is completely fitness themed, with fitness tips on the TV sets in the elevator, a complementary “Experience Kit” in every room, equipped with a yoga mat and videos, and a concierge who is also a personal trainer! The gym has LifeFitness equipment, weight machines, cardio machines with personal televisions – the whole nine yards.

Affinia Dumont New York

Affinia Dumont New York

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Chicago Timelapse

by Hilary on July 7, 2011

Could this timelapse video release be more perfect for Oyster’s launch of Chicago? This was filmed on a boat on Lake Michigan through the Chicago Canals. It takes place over 3 and a half hours.

On the same note, Oyster just returned from boat rides on the river as well, along with mouth-watering deep-dish pizza, and stunning illuminated skylines. Chicago, where The Bears and The Cubs are essentially a religion, the serene Lake Michigan shores are a short drive away, and museum culture is uniquely diverse, is the perfect city for both personal vacation and business travel alike. The Windy City gave us breathtaking photos we can’t wait to share with you.

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