The way we travel is always changing, and 2012 provided ample proof of that. To help you prep for your 2013 vacay, Oyster honed in on the top trends currently rocking the travel world, from the royal travel craze to the rise of the pod hotel. Here’s what’s hot — and what’s not!
The Trend: Celeb Hotel Designers
Lenny Kravitz, who designed two penthouses at the new SLS South Beach, was only one of many of this year's celeb hotel designers.
Celebrities and fashion icons — Kelly Wearstler, Oscar de La Renta, and Ralph Lauren, to name a few — have been designing hotel interiors for a while, but 2012 proved this trend certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. This year we’ve seen tennis star Venus Williams design two presidential suites for the Intercontinental Miami, Diane Von Furstenburg design a two-bedroom penthouse for the Australian Hayman Island Resort, and Lenny Kravitz contribute to yet another Miami hotel design project — the SLS Hotel South Beach, coming soon to Oyster.com!
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Legalization supporters in the U.S. have been abuzz (excuse the pun) in recent weeks, ever since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. So it’s safe to say that heading west is a good call these days if you’re planning on toking up. But heading east to our friends in Europe isn’t such a bad idea, either. For example, despite the recent tourist drug ban in the Netherlands, tourists and locals alike can continue to openly smoke in Amsterdam’s cafes. And numerous neighboring countries where weed is decriminalized have loose policies when it comes to the drug’s recreational use. So we’ve come up with a list — here are some of the best spots to smoke weed in Europe.
View from The Dylan Amsterdam
Though recent steps within government policies have made it seem like the Netherlands will become less tolerant towards marijuana use, Amsterdam’s mayor has promised that the city’s over 200 coffee shops will continue to serve locals and tourists. After all, many of the city’s 1.5 million tourists visit Amsterdam solely because of its lenient policies. Marijuana use is officially decriminalized in the Netherlands, and laws banning its use are rarely enforced.
Where to Stay: The Dylan Amsterdam
The Dylan is a stylish, upscale boutique centrally located in the Canal Ring. The 41 rooms are split into six different styles, ranging from lofts with cathedral ceilings to all-white rooms to Asian-inspired spaces. All rooms have high-end amenities including Bose sound systems, stocked minibars, and Zenology toiletries. A cozy lounge, two bars, a brasserie, and a lovely courtyard with heat lamps are all draws, but the real highlight here is the Michelin-star Vinkeles restaurant, which serves contemporary French cuisine in an exclusive space with just a handful of tables. Talk about a swanky spot to cure the munchies!
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We met the guys of Delta Spirit at Austin City Limits just a few weeks ago and were instantly hooked on the band’s modern take on rock music. Currently on tour (catch them in San Diego tonight), the band spends plenty of time on the road and share our love — and extensive knowledge of — travel. So we caught up with the group’s lead singer, Matt Vasquez, for a little Q&A to get his take on what makes (and breaks) a vacation. Check it out after the jump!
The band is on tour through January 2013.
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Skyfall comes out this Friday and to celebrate we’ve taken a walk down double-oh seven lane (which involved watching all 22 films, of course). And we’ve discovered that — just like us — Bond has a thing for traveling, and particularly, staying at ultra-luxe hotels. Whether it’s where the character was born or where the infamous “shaken, not stirred” line originated, the debonair crime fighter has left his mark on some of our favorite spots around the globe.
Today, the massive Fleming Villa remains intact, featuring its own private pool and even the writer’s original desk over which he slaved year after year.
Why 007 loves it: The GoldenEye Hotel is where it all started. Reopened in 2010 after a $50 million renovation, this Jamaican hotspot is the former residence of Ian Fleming, who came up with his famous character on the property’s lush grounds. Every year, the scribe spent several months in his ocean-side villa, writing all 14 of his famous tales of the sleek and sophisticated spy. When Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Chris Blackwell bought the property in the 1980s, he realized the appeal of the historic estate as well as its untouched surroundings and converted it into a resort.
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The election is only days away, but before you cast your ballot for Romney or Obama, we have an entirely different presidential face-off that requires your vote: Two of the world’s finest Presidential Suites are going head to head for your vacation dollars. These qualified candidates bring a different set of skills to the table, run on entirely different foundations, and boast excellent Junior Suite running mates for the job. And unlike the other election, nobody loses with one of these choices. To help you decide, we’ve asked each suite to give a final statement in its own words. (Yes, walls can talk.)
J.W. Marriott Essex House, New York City
The Essex House Presidential Suite is conservatively luxurious
“My fellow Americans, I speak to today from this beautiful Central Park location in the great city of New York to tell you why I at the J.W. Marriott Essex House should be voted the best Presidential Suite in the United States. Read More »
With only 140 characters to spare (and that includes the requisite hashtags and handles), shaping the conversation about travel isn’t always easy. Luckily for us, Twitter has tons of accounts that influence, amuse, and inspire us in all of our worldly adventures. Here are ten of our favorite tweeters — and their hilarious tweets — who have given us new insights (and a whole lotta laughs) on our traveling journey. #ReadOn
Most Enviable Tweeter: Anthony Bourdain
Travel Channel's Anthony Bordain gives the people what they want
As the Travel Channel’s rebellious alternative to Samantha Brown, No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain tweets read exactly how we want them to: Food porn, booze, cultural insight, restaurant recommendations, more booze, and nostalgic druggie flashbacks. Whether he’s recounting last night’s whiskey binge in Philly, or posting pictures of his beef noodle entree in Taiwan, Bourdain’s tweets make for a great nightcap on our feeds. Read More »
The world has been abuzz since Apple introduced the new Apple Maps — and the chatter has not been positive. As we’re sure you’ve heard, this map app won’t be too helpful if you need, well, an accurate map. Instead, flubs such as roundabout directions, museums pinned in the middle of the ocean, and a whole list of destinations that can’t be found add up to making Apple Maps a real flop. But hey – it certainly can be entertaining (that is, if you’re not in a rush to actually arrive at a certain location). We had some fun finding just where Apple Maps would send you if you were trying to get to some of our favorite hotels. Enjoy!
The Hotel: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
Heading to the luxurious Casa de Campo on the coast of La Romana? Apple Maps will only get you as far as the La Romana airport, so that 10+ mile drive to the resort is up to you to figure out!
Look at what you’re missing!
The Beach at Casa de Campo
See more gorgeous photos (and an accurate map) of Casa de Campo here.
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Rose City may best be known for its lush natural surroundings and eco-centric personality, but that doesn’t mean fashion-forward visitors should stow their credit cards for a rainy day (although, this is the Pacific Northwest we’re talking about, so I suppose you could do so). Along with our friends at Lucky Magazine, we’ve found all the best places to shop (and sleep) in Portland, no matter what your personal style. From hipsters to socialites, we’ve got you covered on the chicest boutiques both to rest your head and shop ’til you drop.
If your style is avant-garde…
Shop: The underground scene in Portland is alive and well. Having grown up from its days of grunge and grit, the avant-garde Portlander is now a sophisticated (but still off-beat) animal. Machus, for example, features unisex staples for those daring enough to sport the androgynous look. Ensembles are completed by Solestruck’s sky-high platforms, which are often embellished with spikes or sparkles.
Hotel Monaco Portland
Stay: If you’re style exudes the artistic quirk and over-the-top charm of the avant-garde, you’ll fit right in at the Hotel Monaco Portland. Set in a historic 1912 building, this top-notch downtown locale has a bevy of (off-beat) freebies for guests to enjoy, including an evening cocktail hour where guests can actually paint their dream ensemble for free with brushes, canvases, and easels that the hotel sets up in the lobby. Hotel Monaco also showcases local art, has bright, whimsical decor, and even loans out the house goldfish for the lonely traveler. Shopping for him (or her) will most likely prove more difficult.
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When New York Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow, the city will be teeming with fashionistas from around the globe. Not that it isn’t already, of course, but even more models, designers, and socialites will be packing the streets, restaurants, and front-row seats of New York City. While designers show off their Spring 2013 collections, fashion-lovers will be rockin’ their Fall 2012 duds in all the hottest spots around town — and you may just be one of them! We’re sure a fashionista like you already has a good feel for what’s hot and what’s not, but trust us — we’ve got some insider info — and we know just where you’ll want to be spending your time this NYFW. Whether you’re looking to fit in a spa treatment or party the night away with the coolest kids in town, our ten tips on hotel hot spots for NYFW will keep you stylin’.
Hang outside the Carlyle's entrance this NYFW and you're (almost) guaranteed a celeb sighting.
The Carlyle is a favorite of Victoria Beckham’s when in town for Fashion Week festivities, and in happier times (at least happier for him), Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes hosted a tea party for Suri at the hotel. But even though The Carlyle is a known celebrity hangout and paps may be waiting outside, the staff will never whisper a peep on which famous guests may be staying in the rooms (employees follow a strict discretion policy). After all, the hotel has been the secret host to artists, presidents, and local and international celebrities since 1930: Even JFK and Marilyn Monroe trusted their trysts to its strict security. So if you want a chance of spotting some of the most private of celebs (LiLo — if she’s even invited to any NYFW fetes — will probably be staying somewhere much more flashy, like The Standard), book a room or casually hang in the lobby of The Carlyle — you’ve got good odds for catching a glimpse of a famous face.
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Ummm....yeah. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Channel
Ugh, you guys: Hotel Impossible Season 1 is officially over. (Tear.) It’s been a great season for Anthony, Blanche and the HI team as they’ve renovated, retched, and then righted thirteen properties along the way. And while each property had its own unique challenges, no hotel proved to be more in need of a straight up redesign and internal restructuring than the Dream Inn in Daytona, Florida. Owned by two Southern families attempting to “live the dream,” the Dream Inn was far from celestial — even the hotel’s GM, the owner’s son Jody, was unable to make any decisions due to the family drama. But when Anthony comes in, we know he’s going to save the day. And for the Dream Inn, the HI team pulled out all the stops to fix the delapidated rooms, disgusting yellow exterior, and the over accessorizing with dolphins. Wanna know what we loved the most? Read on for more.