All-inclusive resorts are not created equally. While some offer the penultimate in luxury, others rely on quantity over quality. There are spa-centric getaways, family-friendly stays, and party-hearty atmospheres to be visited across the wide world of all-inclusives. With so many options, choosing the right resort for you and your posse can be a hassle. Luckily, Oyster has experienced all of the above and can point you toward the best of the best, no matter your style. Looking for a raucous pool scene? We’ve got it. Craving a secluded hideaway? We’ve unplugged there, too. So sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for some fun in the sun — all while using our guide to select the all-inclusive that is right for your style:
If You Want: To Travel Like a Queen
Stay: Half Moon, Jamaica
The luxurious Half Moon resort in Montego Bay has been a favorite of royals for decades.
Drawing everyone from Queen Elizabeth to 50 Cent, Half Moon strives for timeless, understated luxury in Jamaica’s Montego Bay. Stretching over 400 acres (including 2 miles of beach), the 230-room resort offers attentive service, quality cuisine, and seemingly limitless activities, such as golfing and horseback riding. A variety of all-inclusive packages can be purchased in advance which may include lodging, meals, alcohol, airport transfers, golf fees, and sports activities. With several levels to choose from, just about everyone can be happy. Read More »
We’re super excited about next Tuesday’s boozy, beaded party known as Mardi Gras. Multiple parades make their way through the Central Business District and up until the French Quarter, with hundreds of revelers lining the streets to peek at the eye-catching costumes, floats, and borderline insanity. But before you can let your hair down — or lift your shirt up — you’ll need to find some primo digs to stay and play at. Just remember that the parades don’t go on Bourbon Street, even if the majority of the partying does. Check out our fave Fat Tuesday hotels — we promise that at least a few of them will let you catch some shut-eye.
The entrance to Hotel Monteleone; New Orleans, LA
The Draw: A true Southern Gem, the Monteleone is a block from Bourbon Street and has a rich in New Orleans history — with all the Creole stylings to prove it. Most notable is its Carousel Bar, which is a veritable, well, carousel, that features kitchsy decor and a chill vibe that’s all its own. Hop on one of the rotating chairs and order up a Ramos Gin Fizz, a drink that actually originated in the city itself.
Best Feature: Aside from the obviously posh accommodations, its location on Royal Street is ideal for watching the parade and reveling with the Bourbon Street partiers.
Find out more about our fave Fat Tuesday hotels after the jump!
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Awards season continues this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the biggest names in the music industry strut their stuff at the 55th Grammy Awards. And as we dream about jamming on stage with the likes of Elton John, The Lumineers, Jack White, and Justin Timberlake (who’s making his return to the Grammy stage after a four-year hiatus from the music scene, swoon), we can’t help but be a little jealous of those who get to do so. Thankfully, some of our favorite hotels understand our musical plight. From on-site recording studios to guitar rental services, these hotels may not promise celeb-studded jam sessions but they’re definitely rocker-approved. And we mean that literally: Everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Stevie Wonder has visited these music meccas of the hotel world. So if you want to drop a beat before the awards or just pick up the vibes left behind by some of your favorite musicians, check out these rock-ready hotels.
The Nightbird Sound Studio at the Sunset Marquis has hosted A-list recording artists for decades.
The Sunset Marquis cost guests just $8 a night when it first opened in 1963 as a motel for musicians playing at the nearby House of Blues, Roxy, and Viper Room, all located within a few minutes’ walk. Today, there are so many celebrities that continue to traipse through the hotel that the staff doesn’t get starstruck anymore. During Oyster’s two-night stay, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, and Roger Daltrey of The Who were all spotted at the hotel, validating the hotel’s “paparazzi diversion tactics” that are offered for a nominal fee.
In addition to its innate rocker vibe, the hotel also offers a state-of-the-art recording studio on-site — Nightbird Sound Studios — designed by renowned acoustician George Auspurger. Accessed via a hidden entrance in the underground garage, the space features (in addition to the usual trappings) a Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier piano, one of only two in America, on which Stevie Wonder has been recorded. Every A-list musician has passed through the studio, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Justin Timberlake, and Lil Wayne and Green Day both recorded here within days of Oyster’s visit. High rollers can rent out the studio for personal use, including karaoke birthday parties.
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Lights, camera, action: The Golden Globes take place Sunday in The Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom.
Roll out the red carpet: The 70th annual Golden Globes is kicking off this years’ awards season with a bang this Sunday, January 13th, at one of Oyster’s favorite hotels. The Beverly Hilton has played host to Hollywood’s favorite awards night since 1961 — and with good reason. This 569-room bastion of Hollywood glamour oozes luxury, but at prices that won’t bust the budgets of fans looking to sneak a peak at their favorite nominees (if they can snag a room, of course). And this year’s crop of acclaimed actors and actresses is seriously stalker-worthy. Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck, Meryl Streep (obviously — the woman is still the leader in number of Golden Globes ever won), Steve Buscemi, and Zoey Deshanel are just a handful of the lucky few to garner praise from the Hollywood Foreign Press this time around. And the show’s new hosts, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, seem ready to lead all of them through a night of celeb-studded hilarity — something tells us even the Dowager Countess won’t be able to suppress a smile at their antics.
And, thanks to Oyster, you might be able to get in on the laughs as well. Whether you’re looking to crash a pre-party awards campaign à la Weinstein & Co. or are dreaming about after-party shenanigans, we’ve got the low down on the best Beverly Hills hotels to rub shoulders with the stars. Check out the details here »
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We’re so excited — Halloween is just a couple of weeks away! And we here at Oyster love celebrating the holiday. Creepy costume stores have begun to pop up on every corner, and pumpkins and spine-chilling decorations are starting to appear on stairways, doors and windows.
We Most people already know what they will be wearing, but where they will be showing off their costumes may be more of a last-minute decision (and with so many options, it’s never an easy one). So here’s some advice: With tons of space and on-site party planners, hotels often host some of the most devilish (in a good way!) Halloween parties around. Check out some of the coolest ones scheduled for Halloween 2012 and buy your tickets before they’re sold out!
Stay, New York City
The Aspen Social Club Lounge will take center stage at the hotel's party.
The Stay’s Lodge of Horror Halloween Bash is not only one of the most entertaining parties in the city, but at $10 for general admission, it’s also a steal. Tickets include a one-hour vodka open bar from 10 to 11 p.m., and a DJ performance from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Those looking to splurge can get bottle packages ranging from $315 for four general admission tickets plus a bottle of Grey Goose vodka, to $1,745, which includes 15 tickets, five bottles of Grey Goose and two bottles of Moet Champagne.
The rooftop lounge at The Drake Hotel is an ideal wedding venue for a rock & roll couple.
Rocker brides and grooms, get ready: We’ve found just the venue for your upcoming nuptials. Located in Toronto’s funky Art and Design District, The Drake Hotel is known for its edgy vibe befitting the neighborhood. Its 19 rooms each have their own hip style with modern touches — including Malin + Goetz toiletries, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks — and each comes with a “pleasure menu” that adventurous newlyweds (or “lucky” bridesmaids) might enjoy. And perhaps the biggest draw for hard-partying couples and their entourage is the hotel’s popular nightclub, The Drake Underground, where a flash of your room key lets you skip the line, and the bass pumps into the wee hours: Beauty rest before the big day is better gotten elsewhere…but that’s overrated, right?
At The Drake, you will also be in walking distance of parks, museums, and shopping, so anything you might need for the big day is close at hand. Not that you’ll have to worry about much. The staff at The Drake is known as much for their attentive service as for their partyin’ lifestyle. And they’re not all about Rock & Roll receptions (though those hosted in the Underground are known to be legendary). The rooftop lounge, Sky Yard, has seen its fair share of classic outdoor ceremonies, for those looking for a more traditional wedding with just a hint of edge (perhaps to satisfy a certain overbearing mother-in-law — not that we’re naming any names). And the hotel will gladly take care of all décor and catering details, offering custom bake sale options and fresh flowers. So if you like to party and want a non-traditional locale, The Drake Hotel is a rockin’ choice. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the hotel here »
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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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Yesterday we showed off six bumping-but-kinda-gross pool parties that are ripe for participation — and today, we’ve got six more. While we may not be sweating as much as yesterday, we’re still thinking about putting on our bikini, grabbing a frozen drink, and letting loose at one of these raunchy fests. Pick your favorite hotel, then tell us in the comments section below why you wanna get wet and wild there now!
Moorea Beach Club Pool at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas
Moore Pool at the Mandalay Bay's sexy sister property, THEHotel, offers a raucous good time.
Although we just heard from our friends at HotelChatter that THEHotel at Mandalay Bay will be converted into a Delano property, for now it remains the sleek, urban sophisticate sister to its giant Vegas sibling, the Mandalay Bay. And even though you’ll have access to the Mandalay Bay’s pools at THEHotel, we recommend staying on-site for a raging good time at the Moorea Beach Pool. Rent a sexy daybed, lay topless, and even have poolside spa services upon request. While entry prices are steeper — $10 for women; $50 for men — you can’t really put a price on nudity, can you?
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You guys, it is hot outside. I’m talking seriously steaming. (Has anyone tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk yet?) And nothing cools us off quite like a dip in the pool, amirite? And even though swimming means your hair may look subpar, your cohorts will likely forget if you’re attending one of these wet and wild hotel pool parties. So before summer slips through your fingers, take an end-of-the-season vacay and get your party hats on — and perhaps your top off.
Rehab Sundays at the Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas
Sunday Rehab Pool Party at Hard Rock Hotel, Las Vegas
If there were only one infamous pool party, it would have to be the Sunday Rehab affair held at the Hard Rock Hotel — nine years in the making, this wet fest features oil-slathered tan bodies, a scantily-clad waitstaff and what we imagine are tons of bodily fluids floating around those waters. (TMI? But we’ve seen them exchanged.) The grotto pool features two sandy beaches and will cost you a pretty penny for entrance alone: $100 for the boys, $50 for the girls. Staying at the Hard Rock? You’re in for free — but don’t think that doesn’t mean you won’t have to wait in the (oftentimes quite long) entrance line. But once you’re in, the party is known to bring in renowned DJs from across the globe including Tiesto (who kicked off the party’s 2012 season), Paul Oakenfold, and Bad Boy Bill.
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Are you tuning in to the opening ceremonies?
It may seem like all they do is train, train, and train some more, but Olympians have to sleep at some point. And when they do, they often crash at some of the nicest hotels around the world. We here at Oyster have found out where some of our favorite (and one of our not-so-favorite) Olympians — past and present — have rested their heads when on the road. In honor of the games’ opening ceremony, beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m. EDT on NBC (check your local listings for stations), get inspired by photos of the incredible hotels where Olympians have slept, celebrated, and even thrown a few punches!
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