Steamy Travel

Sex hotels, it turns out, don’t have to be seedy. Some high-class establishments are offering day rates of late, and there’s even a website — dayuse-hotels.com — that keeps track of day rate hotels of every stripe. Which is perfectly innocent in and of itself, because businesspeople (or anyone, for that matter) may just want a quiet spot to get some work done or take a nap. And if another category of guest  – the well-heeled man or woman looking for a little afternoon delight – might take advantage…well, that’s not really our business, is it? Roadside motels aren’t for everyone, after all, and not every person looking for some daytime nooky is conducting a sleazy affair. So go ahead — take a look at our five favorite places in the international business capitals of New York City, Paris, and London for your next, er, power nap.

[Ed. note: If sleazy is more your style, dig in to our undercover reviews of the Kew Motor Inn, La Semana Inn, and the Liberty Inn. No judgement here!]

Hotel Indigo Chelsea New York, New York City

Day Rate: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., from $129

Hotel Indigo Chelsea New York

Hotel Indigo Chelsea New York

Opened in October 2009, this 122-room boutique in midtown Manhattan is a full-service hotel in miniature, with plush rooms, excellent views of midtown, a gym, a business center, an elegant restaurant and lounge, and a 19th-floor rooftop bar. Comfortable and well-equipped rooms are hard to beat, for the price — only those at the nearby Fashion 26 can compare.

 

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In our Oyster Stats series, we’re sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we’ve accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.

New Yorkers have a rep for not being the friendliest people around. After all, in a destination teeming with tourists, locals often turn up their noses at outsiders, and just a grunt in your general direction is considered a kind greeting. But as New Yorkers ourselves, we wanted legitimate proof that this stereotype is true — and alas, it is. In fact, our research (not surprisingly) found that New Yorkers are not only considerably less friendly and romantically-inclined — especially when compared to their laid-back, West Coast counterparts in California — but also show much less love for the Earth than Californians. So here’s the cold, hard truth — and proof!

Finding: New Yorkers don’t love the Earth

California has always been a leader in creating eco-friendly legislation and practicing green initiatives. But New York as a state has actually shown more love for the Earth than we’d expect. It has a surprisingly low carbon footprint, and though New York City’s air quality is pretty atrocious, commuters relying on public transportation save the Earth a lot of heartache. Nonetheless, New Yorkers seem to care a whole lot less about the Earth than Californians, according to our research. While Californians spent an average of 88.2 seconds per visit on our eco-friendly pages — such as a list of LEED-certified hotels and our slideshow of eco-friendly spots in Jamaica — New Yorkers spent a mere 11.46 seconds per visit. Go green, New York!

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Are you on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this year? We’ve seen a lot of good and bad behaviors during our travels over the last year — and maybe dabbled in both as well! So we know every dirty little secret, or shiny gold star, that you’ve been part-and-parcel to on vacation. But if you’re not sure where you stand in Santa’s twinkling eyes, we’re here to help. You can find out whether your favorite hotel amenities will get your stockings stuffed full of goodies or weighed down by coal this holiday season with our quiz. So check out which list you’re on!

The Naughty List: 

1. Have you stripped down?

Clothing optional resorts like the Desire Riviera Maya can see some X-rated action.

For some travelers, itsy bitsy bikinis or revealing Speedos just don’t cut it — a vacation isn’t a vacation without a little nudity. Luckily for them, some hotels are redefining casual dress with policies that let guests bare it all (or almost all), like the couples-only, clothing-optional Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya. A little voyeurism never hurt anyone — but don’t be surprised if your nude antics land you on the naughty list this winter.

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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

 Amsterdam, Netherlands

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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"Single studmuffin" wants to hang with lots of ladies -- and who can blame him!
“Single studmuffin” wants to hang with lots of ladies — and who can blame him!

With our Ask Oyster series, we highlight some of the most interesting questions we receive so that all of our fans can benefit from our expert advice. Have a burning travel question you’d like answered? Contact us and put “Ask Oyster” in the subject line.

Dear Oyster,

I’m planning trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic, and would love your suggestions for adult-friendly, all-inclusive resorts. I’m looking for high-end resorts with an abundance of single ladies.

- Single Studmuffin

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Ski resorts know that it’s not just the active traveler who frequents lodges these days. Couples looking to rekindle some romance in an outdoorsy setting — whether rustic or luxe or both — flock to these cold-weather enclaves for some indulgent private time. So skiing spots across North America have begun to focus more and more on charming features designed to help inspire some romance. Here are some of our favorites:

The Couple-Friendly Feature: Cozy Outdoor Firepit

The Hotel: Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa 

Cuddle up in front of the fire at the Rusty Parrot, or take a late night dip in the whirlpool.

This boutique hotel in Jackson Hole is decidedly upscale, featuring rustic chic decor in super spacious, bright rooms (many of which have their own fireplaces). It includes all of the requisite apres-ski offerings: an ornate reading room with heavy leather chairs, a stylish bar manned by knowledgeable mixologists, and a delicious on-site restaurant, Wild Sage. This outdoor lounge deck with a whirlpool and fire pits, however, is our favorite feature for some couple’s canoodling.

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In our new series, Oyster Stats, we’re sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we’ve accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.

The presidential debates have everyone all hot and bothered, and understandably so. As Election Day nears, voters are left questioning their parties and searching for proof that the person they plan on voting for will be the best suited for the job. Well, we here at Oyster.com can’t guarantee that, but we have collected some interesting evidence that may have you looking at the election — and particularly your fellow voters — in a new light. Check out our findings below.

Finding: Swing state residents are swingers.

 

It may come as a surprise to you that those who live in the most indecisive states are also the most likely to decide to dabble in a swing-tastic lifestyle — or it may not. After all, the more options, the better! In our research, we found that a significantly larger percentage of Oyster.com viewers residing in the swing states were checking out hotels on our site that encourage open relationships — such as Desire Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, and Temptation Resort & Spa Cancun – than viewers in the red and blue states. So okay fine, we understand that this may not mean that swing state residents are actually more likely to be swingers. But it at least means that they’re more likely to have it on their minds!

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Planning a vacation can be a stressful endeavor — and it gets even trickier when you throw a new guy into the mix. For many, the first vacation together is an important step in the relationship — and an important test. It’s hard to know in advance whether you’ll cohabit blissfully or be at each other’s throats, but smart planning can help prevent catastrophe for your romantic rendezvous. Nothing kills the mood like a bad hotel stay, and the following information will help you make a shrewd choice for your couples getaway.

Here’s what to know:

1. Peek-a-boo bathrooms aren’t always sexy.

Bathroom in the Medium Room at The Standard, Downtown LA

Bathroom in the Medium Room at The Standard, Downtown LA

 Glass-walled bathrooms, open bathrooms, and so-called “peek-a-boo” bathrooms — where there’s an open window between the bathroom and the rest of the room — are increasingly popular, especially at hotels geared toward couples. The name certainly sounds sexy, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to give your guy a peek while you’re in the bath or shower. But here’s the rub: You may end up sharing more than you’d planned. If there’s an opening between the bathroom and the room — well, let’s put it this way: noise carries. And in some glass-walled bathrooms, such as the Standard Downtown in LA, it’s possible to see your guy on the toilet (and vice versa).

If you’re already comfortable peeing with the door open, this may not present an issue for you, but if you’re still at the phase where you’d like to preserve a little mystery, you might prefer a bathroom with solid walls. Or at least a privacy screen.

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Ask Oyster: Get Nude

Credit: iStock Photo

Welcome to our new series, Ask Oyster! Have a burning travel question you’d like answered? Contact us and put “Ask Oyster” in the subject line.

Dear Oyster,

My husband and I have always wondered what it would be like to try the nude lifestyle on vacation, but I have no idea what kind of resorts might offer this. (And I would be a bit embarrassed to call up a hotel and ask!) What are my options?

–Uses Lots of Sunscreen

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Earlier this year, the Kew Motor Inn was shut down in a massive prostitution sting operation carried out by police. I wasn’t surprised: I’d been to the hotel a week before, as part of an assignment to report on the seedy sex hotels of New York City for Oyster.com…and met a pimp within an hour of being there.

Entrance at the Kew Motor Inn; New York, NY

NEVER LOOK A PIMP IN THE EYE

When I first saw him, I mistook the gigantic gold medallion he was wearing as a badge. When he began angrily pounding on the door of a room, yelling “Open up!,” I thought I was witnessing a prostitution sting operation going down. I soon realized my error: He wasn’t a police officer, but a full-blown pimp about to shake down a John. I could hear the voices of a nervous man and an excited woman from the other side of the door. I could barely make her out as saying “Just open it, just OPEN it!” over and over. Read More »

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