Steamy Travel

Las Vegas is wild year round, but it reaches its highest peak of crazy when the cesspools outdoor pools reopen for the spring and summertime crowds. Known for their ever-flowing liquor, bikini bodies, and raucous behavior, Vegas pool parties are some of the most popular places to let it all hang out (literally and figuratively). Pools at hotels such as Cosmopolitan, the Luxor, and the Monte Carlo are all open, but here’s the list of our four favorite Vegas pools that are now open for a wild, warm-weather crowd.

Rehab Sundays at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino 

Reopened: April 21st

Sunday Rehab Pool Party at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

When people think of Las Vegas pool parties, the Hard Rock’s infamous Sunday Rehab often comes to mind. These parties show Vegas at its finest — or most terrifying, depending on your view. But even people who arrive terrified often feel just finnnnne a few cocktails in. Reopened a few days ago for its ninth season, Rehab features tons of booze, live DJs, and scantily-clad partiers you probably saw at Vanity the night before, who are taking the whole “hair of the dog” saying very seriously. Gents have to hand over $50 at the door (although we”d advise buying tickets in advance) while the ladies get in for just $30. But most claim that it’s worth the price; you just may find that special someone. For those who want to ensure they’ll have to spot to wind down if they need a reprieve from the partying, pricey daybeds and cabanas are available for rent.

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The Outlook Inn is one of the most romantic spots on the San Juan Islands.

Couples have a lot of reasons to be attracted to the Evergreen State. From sleek Seattle boutiques to secluded inns on the San Juan Islands, there’s a little something for every romantic in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. Outdoorsy couples will love hiking in the romantic Snoqualmie Valley, in the shadow of one of Washington’s many waterfalls, while city-slickers will fall in love with Seattle’s funky food scene and vibrant nightlife. So if you’re planning a romantic getaway with that special someone to Washington State, be sure to consider these hotels ready for romance.

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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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Love is in the air. After all, February is the month of love and Valentine’s Day is the day of love, so we can’t help but daydream about romantic getaways: Over-the-top luxury in Paris, quaint beachfront boutiques in Jamaica, sexy spots in New York City – they all mean romance to us. It may be a little late to be booking a romantic stay for this Valentine’s Day, but it’s never the wrong time to start planning your next romantic vacation  à deux (especially if you’re in the doghouse for forgetting about today — this should help you out). Get inspired by our picks for the 10 most romantic hotels in the world, below or at USA Today.

 Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

This Eiffel Tower view is the perfect backdrop to a romantic night in.

You can’t think of romantic getaways and not consider Paris. The City of Love is full of romantic hotels, big and small, but Hotel Plaza Athenee outshines the others in setting the mood for couples. Nothing says romance like a view of the Eiffel Tower from your luxurious suite, and that’s just what you get at this iconic hotel. The 146 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in classic Art Deco style — picture draped curtains, gilded wall panels, and crystal chandeliers — with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and marble baths. And the top-notch Dior Institute spa features tons of couples’ treatments. Finish the day with a romantic meal at one of the six distinct restaurants.

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Upper Pool at the Ventana Inn & Spa

Situated on more than 200 acres of picturesque land, the Ventana Inn & Spa looks like a rustic cabin nestled in the woods — yet it features 62 luxurious, streamlined rooms with wooden accents, refreshing pops of color, and modern amenities such as flat-screen TVsiPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Many rooms have fireplaces, creating a cozy vibe to fit with its surroundings — though glass doors and large windows keep the rooms feeling bright and airy. Not a place for families, the overall goal of the hotel is to create a zen, holistic retreat with such offerings as yoga classes, discovery walks, afternoon wine and cheese, and Japanese baths. But what we really love here are the gorgeous, pristine pools — one of which is clothing-optional. We’d remind you to pack your bathing suit, but you don’t have to! So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Ventana Inn & Spa.

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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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