Party Hotels

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.

Sunset Marquis Hotel & Villas, Los Angeles 

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 be the center stage of the party at the Stay.

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.

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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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Marijuana Legal or Illegal?

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?

See more pool shots »

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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

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.

See more pool shots »

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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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Visiting London for the Olympics is all about watching in awe as the world’s top athletes compete — and simultaneously zoning out the crowds, because you certainly won’t be the only person hopping across the pond to cheer for your country. Over half a million spectators are expected at the games this summer, and you know what that means: There’s bound to be a celebrity or two in the crowd. So if you don’t mind having your eye wander off the events just a bit, you may have a star sighting. How do you increase your chances of running into a celeb in the flesh? Stay at a hotel frequented by them, of course. We’ve found four of the best London hotels for the best chance of gawking at your favorite stars. And even if you don’t spot one on your visit, you can at least say you’ve stayed at a hotel with a celebrity’s stamp of approval.

The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel

Previous Celebrity Guests: Madonna, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jim Carrey, Kanye West

The Lanesborough Suite at The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel

The Lanesborough Suite at The Lanesborough, a St. Regis Hotel

Why They Love It: The Lanesborough is a luxurious property overlooking Hyde Park in Knightsbridge. The 93 rooms have palatial bathrooms, big flat-screen TVs, and free butler service. Stately decor is inspired by the early 19th century, and free Wi-Fi and laptops are available in every room. Hotel highlights include fine dining at the Michelin-rated restaurant Apsleys, a ground floor piano bar, and traditional afternoon tea, but celebs really love this spot’s discretion: Stars are often put up in the Royal Suite, which has an undisclosed location within the hotel. Even very few Lanesborough employees know where to find it in order to ensure the utmost privacy.

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Deluxe Room at the Shutters On The Beach; Santa Monica, CA

Deluxe Room at the Shutters On The Beach; Santa Monica, CA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The beach bags designed by Kate Spade for the Shutters On The Beach costs the same as spending a night in a Deluxe Room in the hotel.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The building that now houses the W New York Times Square used to be a popular nightclub in the 90s, especially for its Sunday drag parties.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT?  The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has decided to stop offering valet parking after receiving hundreds of complaints about long waits.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Palais Namaskar in Morocco has a private jet that can be rented to fly from any airport in the world directly to Marrakech, where the hotel is located.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? All Hyatt hotels in North America will introduce a healthy kids’ menu designed by children ages 5 to 12.

Check out the answers now!

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