Oyster News

Oyster in The New York Times

by Hilary on September 7, 2011

Oyster Shots, which launched in June, was featured in the New York Times travel section today!

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Just after marrying NBA star Kris Humphries in Montecito, CA, Kim Kardashian basks in her post-wedding glory with sister Kourtney as they move into their new crib: a $7000-a-night penthouse suite at the chic Gansevoort Park Avenue in New York City. Upgraded from last season’s $3,000-a-night penthouse suite at The Smyth, the Kardashians certainly know how to shack up in style.

Entrance at The Gansevoort Park Avenue, New York

Entrance at The Gansevoort Park Ave, New York

The suite will lavishly flaunt Kim’s style, as she has already decked out the place with matching K&K monogrammed towels, sheets, pillow cases, and even Champagne bottles. This 249-room hotel with flashy decor, an outdoor pool, lots of bars, an Italian trattoria — Asellina, a salon and spa, 24-hour fitness center, and a Porsche Panamer (not that the Kardashians will need this service) will be also be the host to Kim’s nephew, Mason. All-in-all, not a bad deal for this family.

Plunge Bar, Gansevoort Park Ave, New York City

Plunge Bar, Gansevoort Park Ave, New York City

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Best Date Hotels

by Hilary on August 22, 2011

If every Friday is set aside for the same ho-hum dinner-and-a-movie, “date night” will repeat like Groundhog Day and eventually become a grind. That kind of drudgery can derail even the most starry-eyed-in-love couple (think Prince William and Kate Middleton).

The good news: It’s not that difficult to turn up the heat. The trick, experts say, is finding new and exciting ways to bond with your honey — and trying to be a little spontaneous about it.

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

Fairmont Heritage Place, Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco

Our friends from SELF asked Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. (aka “Dr. Romance”), psychotherapist and author of The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again, for five ways to bring back the spark. Oyster experts picked the best places and environments to rejuvenate your relationship, whether you’re on vacation or it’s just another night.

Get nostalgic. Think back to when you were first dating. Go back to the place where you first met, watch a DVD (complete with popcorn) of the first movie you saw together, hit Happy Hour at the bar near your old job or wander through the park with a picnic lunch.
Where to do it: Picnicking in New York’s Central Park is something special, anyone who has done it will tell you. The beautiful escape in the middle of a bustling metropolitan city has a unique and exciting feel; the setting ignited an appreciation for life’s simple things. Perfect for surfacing old memories that make you both smile, Central Park has got it all. The Excelsior Hotel on the city’s Upper West Side is just a block from the park, located in a quiet, residential neighborhood.

Central Park, New York

Central Park, New York

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Vacation Splurges and Saves

by Hilary on August 11, 2011

While vacation is a time to relax and let loose, keep your healthy goals in mind without throwing them in the gutter. A simple morning walk, leisurely bike ride, or a personal trainer are all fair game when it comes to getting away. Remember, exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins make us happy (as said by the Elle Woods — for all you Legally Blonde fans), so come on, let’s get happy!

Destination: Miami
Save: Viceroy fitness classes
From Zumba to yoga flow to boot camp, the Viceroy offers a huge range of ways to burn some calories during your stay. If you want something more hardcore, head on over to Canyon Ranch Miami, where your entire experience will be about health and wellness. If you’re looking for more of a combination of healthy fun, Viceroy is your pick. With a plethora of classes and a convenient schedule, this hotel makes staying fit fun. For only $15, hotel guests can enjoy some great workouts.

The Viceroy Miami

The Viceroy Miami

 

Splurge: Canyon Ranch Miami Beach
The Wellness Spa features a number of innovative treatments, from Chinese medicine consultations to prenatal massages to Turkish body rituals. Such treatments must be scheduled in advance, and don’t come cheap. Frustratingly, the voluminous treatment book in my room didn’t list prices. But the spa does feature a number of complimentary offerings. The most amazing one is Aquavana, a European thermal suite with a Finnish sauna, a crystal steam room, a foot spa, an herbal laconium, an igloo, and Experiential Rains treatments. The Experiential Rains, are like special effects showers — guests press buttons to choose from Atlantic Storm, Caribbean Monsoon, or Polar Mist, each a choreographed shower with sound effects, changing lights, and different water textures and temperatures. The huge fitness center is equally impressive. Floor-to-ceiling windows offer ocean views from dozens of cardio machines. There’s also a rock-climbing wall. Every day, some 40 free fitness classes are offered throughout the property, from Sunrise Yoga to Beach Conditioning.

Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

Canyon Ranch Miami Beach

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It’s beach season! Who doesn’t love a day in the sun, lying out in the sand and playing in the ocean waves? The only thing that makes it better is getting lost in a juicy page-turner. And new research finds that reading makes us happier. Reason is, we get attached to the characters and feel a genuine connection to them. A book is no replacement for real-life friends, of course, but it can expand your horizons and let you get lost into a rich fantasy world. And that’s exactly the kind of escape you want on a lazy beach day.

To make your beach reading experience a social one, try what my family does and read as a group. Bring a few novels on vacation, then pass them around so you can all be on the same page and discuss them together. Instant book group! I’m currently loving Piper Kerman’s gripping memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in Women’s Prison and Jennifer Egan’s gorgeous Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, A Visit from the Good Squad.

Don’t know which book to stash in your beach bag? Our Facebook friends from SELF couldn’t put down these hot picks. Oyster helps you pick where to read them.

To really embrace the summer feeling
Read:

  • Summer Sisters, by Judy Blume
  • Summer Rental, by Mary Kay Andrews
  • The Island, by Erin Hilderbrand
Where: The Setai, Miami
Miami is the perfect destination for a getaway without going too far. These light summer reads don’t require complete seclusion, as you’ll want to share some stories with your girlfriends or dip your feet in the waves every now and then. The Setai’s clean, quiet patch of beach is as posh as it gets in South Beach. If you’re feeling a bit too hot, attendants deliver luxurious loungers and spritz guests with Evian on request. How’s that for a summer read?
The Setai, Miami

The Setai, Miami

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Back for its twentieth year in a row, Lollapalooza is bringing in crowds like we’ve never seen. From Kanye West to Arcade Fire, Grant Park will be the place to see and be seen in Chi-Town come August 5th. If you’re looking for a good time with great friends and rockin’ accommodations, these hotels are calling your name. You’ll be able to party all day and night, and walk a few steps to a heavenly bed.

Essex Inn
3 pearls, $157/ avg. per night

This 254-room Essex Inn is a decent value pick across the street from Grant Park, near the Museum Campus. Some of the bright, comfortable (if chain-like) rooms have great views of the lake, and the huge indoor pool and state-of-the-art fitness center are both pluses. It’s true that leisure travelers can usually find comparable hotels farther north for similar rates, but the free Michigan Avenue shuttle to popular sites helps compensate for the South Loop location.

Essex Inn, Chicago

Essex Inn, Chicago

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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.

Last week it was Jimmy at The James, New York. This week, we’ve got Rare View Rooftop at Hilton New York Fashion District Hotel.

 

DRINK #1: Melon Mash

Melon Mash

Melon Mash

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Bacardi Rum
  • ½ oz Triple Sec
  • ¾ oz Watermelon Juice
  • Splash of each Fresh Lime Juice & Simple Syrup

To make
Shake and strain serve in a martini glass.

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It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes, put on a bikini and jump in the pool. Even if you’re not a swimmer, you can still get a full-body workout with these water exercises from Mark Hendricks, Group Fitness Manager at Greenwich Equinox in New York City. Plus, working out in the pool is so much fun, you’ll forget all about the scorching temps. Just don’t forget your sunblock!

So grab a noodle (floaties if necessary) and jump in! Our friends at Self.com helped us pick the most effective pool workouts to look your best in that new, stylish bikini.

Bonus: Find the most flattering swimsuit for your figure here.

Cross Country Ski

  1. Mimic the cross country skiing action: while one leg moves to the back the other moves to the front with opposing arms (if your right leg is back, your left arm is forward), allowing your spine to rotate.
  2. Do 16 reps touching the bottom and 16 suspended (feet not touching the pool floor) for a total of 3 sets.

Muscles used: Total body with focus on lower body and spinal rotation
Best hotel pool:  The Beverly Hills Hotel, LA
The huge, beautifully landscaped, full-service pool is one of Beverly Hills’ best. Attendants seat guests around the serene pool (no traffic noise here) and bring free water and menus for poolside dining from the Cabana Club Cafe.

Bevery Hill Hotel, LA

Bevery Hill Hotel, LA

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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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