The summertime beach vacation is a much-awaited annual tradition for many. As soon as the weather turns warm, families, couples, and singles alike, flock to shorelines near and far. Don’t get us wrong — the beach will always hold a special place in our hearts. But when sandy toes and sunburn get to be too much, here are ten great alternatives to the typical beach getaway.
Situated along the May River and bursting with Southern charm, Bluffton might make you feel as though you’ve been transported into a Nicholas Sparks novel. It’s part of a peaceful, beautiful region along the South Carolina coast known as Carolina Lowcountry, where salty marshes meet mossy forests. The Palmetto Bluff real estate development features a small, picturesque village, private homes, an 18-hole golf course, numerous recreation facilities, and a beautiful hotel.
Where to Stay: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff
Stay at the beautiful hotel, of course! The Inn at Palmetto Bluff provides the ultimate Coastal Carolina retreat with all the trimmings…think wrap around porches, rocking chairs, and tons of Spanish moss. After your first leisurely stroll along historic River Road, you’ll think a quiet winding river really may be better than a packed sandy beach.
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When you’re on vacation, you want to feel pampered. But some hotels — especially those that are uber-crowded or on the budget end — can make you feel like just another faceless visitor. Fortunately, we’ve had the luxury of staying at some spots where they really roll out the red carpet for all guests. In fact, it can be so wonderful — and yet, unexpected — that we’ve wondered if they thought we were members of the royal family! Here’s a roundup of majestic hotels that aim to make guests feel as noble as the Duchess of Cambridge. After a visit, we swear you’ll be one step closer to becoming a newly minted monarch. Or at least, you’ll feel like it.
The luxurious Fairmont hotel is located in the heart of San Francisco and is a top choice among politicians and rock stars. Sure, many US Presidents have stayed here — but you don’t need a 1600 Pennsylvania Ave address to join the hotel’s prestigious President’s Club. Hotel guests can request a free membership and, in turn, get their royal hindness kissed from the moment of arrival. Members gain access to a private reception desk, the hotel fitness club, use of TaylorMade golf clubs, and other free services.
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Even in the world of luxury travel, some hotels offer pretty average amenities. But then there are others with extravagant extras that amp up the wow factor till it’s totally over-the-top (and if you know us at Oyster, you know we love a little over-the-top-ness). So here we’ve rounded up nine of the most luxurious, over-the-top hotel amenities EVER. Get ready to splurge…
The Ritz-Carlton chain is known for luxury, but it’s South Beach outpost has upped the ante with the tanning butler.The hotel’s signature tanning butler patrols the pool deck to help guests apply sunscreen (even those hard-to-reach areas) and offer a buffet of tanning products, sunglasses and other sun necessities.
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Dogs love chillin' during vacay as much as humans do!
The dog days of summer are here, and you know what that means — pictures of adorable dogs on vacation, of course! (What did you think we meant?) Even a man’s best friend has got to chill out during the hottest part of the summer. So if you’ve been working like a dog, follow the lead of these cute pups and indulge in some much-needed R&R. Just don’t forget to bring Fido on your getaway.
Pups deserve a little pampering too.
The Westminster Dog Show kicks off on Monday and even though our pooch may not be in the show, it’s a good enough excuse to pamper our ‘lil pup! Anyone who’s seen the Christopher Guest classic Best in Show knows that some people really love their pets, and will go to any lengths to keep them happy. And the current pet-friendly hotel trend means that it’s never been easier to spoil your dog rotten on the road.
Check out five of the most extravagant pet services we’ve encountered here »
Dogs love chillin' during vacay as much as humans do!
Dogs are man’s best friend, so it can be hard to part with our pooches when it’s time to go on vacation. But some find it literally impossible, so instead choose to bring Fido along — and we fully support this. After all, you may have been working like a dog but so have they! So it’s time to let them enjoy some fun in the sun, too. Here are some of our favorite pics of dogs enjoying a little getaway.
Pet psychic Catherine Ferguson at home with one of her cats.
Hotels are offering some pretty creative services these days to attract guests’ attention, from surf butlers to in-house tattoo artists to pet psychics. Many of these offerings may be gimmicks, but we couldn’t help but wonder — what do these specialty jobs actually involve? We wanted to hear from the tanning butlers and soap concierges of the world in their own words, so we decided to launch a Q&A series to get the inside scoop.
To kick off the series, we interviewed Catherine Ferguson Ph.D., the pet psychic patronized by the New York City Affinia hotels. For Affinia, a pet psychic service may be a shtick to prove its pet-friendliness (though its Jet Set Pets program should be lauded for its many amenities geared toward four-legged friends). But our interview showed us that those who believe in Dr. Ferguson’s abilities seem to get real insight and comfort from her pet communications. Below, find out what a pet psychic really does — from talking to pets in spirit form to chatting with kimono dragons (who, by the by, don’t have a whole lot to say.) Read More »
Just paw "47" to talk to our concierge!
It’s just not a “home away from home” unless we have our four-legged friends by our side. But luckily for us, the staff at the Tradewinds Carmel in Monterey County is about as pet-friendly as they come. In fact, Furball and Foofers consider the boutique more of a human-friendly spot where they can bring their owners along if they so choose. At check-in, you’ll have to make sure the front-desk puts room keys into the right paws!
Read our caption after the jump, then enter your own in the comments section below! Read More »
We love when hotels feature one-of-kind amenities — many of which tread the line between amazing and ridiculous (not that they can’t be both). While W hotels are known for their Whatever/Whenever service – which promises to accommodate any (legal) guest requests at any time, and the Sound Your Stay rock star treatment at Hard Rock Hotels — complete with free Fender guitars rentals — is pretty awesome, it’s the wildly decadent, completely over-the-top amenities we love best when visiting our favorite hotels. Here’s just a taste of some of the creative ways hotels are keeping guests happy with some unnecessary [Ed. note: Or are they?] but incredible hotel indulgences.
What: Surf Butler
Why carry your surf board when the St. Regis surf butler can?
Where: The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Orange County
St. Regis hotels are known for their top-notch butler service, which even uses eButlers to receive requests via e-mail. With such attentive service throughout the luxury chain, it’s no wonder that oceanfront St. Regis hotels, like the Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County, offer surf butlers. Before your lesson in hanging ten, the surf butler will take your measurements for your wetsuit and bring all necessary equipment right down to the sand so you won’t have to lift a finger — your focus should be on catching some gnarly waves anyways, dude! Read More »
Admit it: You love your dog or cat as much as your partner/mother/brother. [Ed. note: Y'all have no idea how much we talk about ours.] And sometimes you may wanna just get away from home, but can’t bear to leave your little bear at home? No worries — our animal-obsessed editors curated a list of amazing hotels that offer up massages, custom-cooked goodies and more for the furry creature in your life. Watch our very own Robin dish on her fave spots now, and then tell us in the comments section below: Where would you want to stay with your pet?