April 2010

Lava rocks at Lydgate Beach Park create kid-friendly swimming areas

Picture it now, the swaying palm trees and crystalline sand along the United States’ most clandestine stretch of the Pacific. The sun beats on your back, the water beckons. Then CRASH. An epic swell crushes your hopes of letting your tot (or even yourself) touch more than a toe in the warm seas.

But don’t scratch Kauai off your safe swimming vacation lists just yet. The locals here have a long held respect for the ocean, so in order to give their little keikis a way to cool off, they’ve constructed enclosed swimming areas using that oh-so-useful lava rock. Although some beaches still need to be admired from afar, here are three kid-friendly beaches for you and the kids to enjoy.

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Aaah, the sand squishes between your toes, the calm water laps at the shore, and the sun beats on your shoulders. You must be in… Las Vegas?! That’s right. There’s no amenity too crazy for Las Vegas hotels (rollercoaster anyone?), and “beaches” are no exception — even in the middle of the desert with the nearest ocean 375 miles away. But what happens when these so-called beaches are in the backyard of the biggest, most popular resorts in Sin City? As we showed you with our last busy beach fakeout, sometimes a beach is anything but a peaceful oasis.

Want proof? Compare the below photos: a marketing photo of the Mandalay Bay beach that conveys serenity, and our photo that shows the reality of the crowded sand.

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Marketing photo of Mandalay Bay Beach

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Oyster's photo of Mandalay Bay Beach

Below you’ll find more photos that show just how crowded “the beach” at Mandalay Bay can be.

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The Japan Pavilion at Epcot has some of the best sushi in Disney

There’s no doubt that the number of sushi lovers is growing all the time, and the trend is as true in Orlando as it is anywhere else. So if you’re headed to Disney World for vacation and can’t live without your raw fish fix, here’s a guide to hooking Disney’s best sushi.

1) Japan Pavilion in Epcot Center

Not too surprisingly, the best place for sushi in all of Disney World is the Japan Pavilion at Epcot Center, where all of the eateries serve at least some sushi. The contemporary Japanese menu at Tokyo Dining includes sushi, sashimi, and maki rolls, which is made by chefs stationed at a bar in the dining room. Teppan Edo, known for stir-frying meals on tabletop grills right in front of guests, also serves sushi, as does Yakatori House, a casual eatery overlooking the Japanese gardens.

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Washington, D.C. makes for a picture-perfect family vacation

Washington, D.C. makes for a picture-perfect family vacation

Memorial Day weekend is a month away, and then it’s not long until summer vacation arrives. The kids will be hanging around, which means you’ll need a vacation even more than you do now. So if you want to plan a family getaway but don’t know where to go, our slideshow of educational vacations can help you get inspired. We’ll walk you through educationl trips in different cities, each trip planned around one of our favorite kid-friendly hotels.

Check out our slideshow of the best hotels for an educational family vacation.

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Boombox

For many people, the words “New York” conjure images of a Technicolor riot of graffiti: elaborate murals, eye-popping bubble letters, and subway trains dazzling their way through tunnels like motorized rainbows. Though graffiti styles have changed over time—and the subways have been scrubbed clean—New York remains the essential city for street artists, who journey from around the globe to tag, stencil, paste, and paint on the biggest canvas in the world. While street art can be found all over town, some neighborhoods are especially rewarding for the graffiti connoisseur. Here’s a guide.

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Radegast Hall & Biergarten in Brooklyn is a great spot for warm-weather drinking.

With the temperatures rising, now is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a drink (or twelve). And there’s no place better to mix booze and sunshine than at one of the Big Apple’s many excellent outdoor beer gardens. These fun spots will have you raising an oversized stein to good times with good friends — over (one too many) good beers.

Lorely Restaurant & Biergarten: It doesn’t get any more German than Lorely. Located on the Lower East Side, this truly authentic old-school beer garden looks like a piece of Bavaria landed in the Big Apple. From the frosty imported German brew to the delicious German grub, Lorely is legit. This brewhouse even had its tables made by a designer in Cologne. 7 Rivington Street. Stay nearby at the GEM Hotel SoHo.

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Beach at the Fairmont Kea Lani, one of the best destination wedding hotels in Maui

Beach at the Fairmont Kea Lani, one of the best destination wedding hotels in Maui

There are a lot of upsides to a destination wedding: You get to say “I do” in a stunning setting, you can start your honeymoon right away, and some of your, ahem, least favorite family members might not make the long trip to attend. But planning a wedding is no easy task, and it’s even harder when you’re planning it far away. Luckily, Oyster can help you plan more than your honeymoon; our expertise in Hawaii and Caribbean hotels has allowed us to take some of the legwork out of the wedding planning process. Take a look at our new destination weddings page to start planning — or start dreaming about — your special day.

To give you a taste of our new content, we’re going to show you the top nine hotels for destination weddings in Hawaii. (Want to see more photos of these hotels? Click here for the full slideshow.) Read More »

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Candy Counter at Miette's in San Francisco

I can’t resist a wonderful French macaron.

Nor a fabulous cupcake, salted caramels, gingersnap cookies or imported European chocolates.

That’s why I have no willpower whenever I step inside one of San Francisco’s most delightful candy shops, Miette, a short drive from the Holiday Inn Civic Center. The three-year-old candy shop, sister to the Miette bake shop in San Francisco’s bustling Ferry Building, is filled with all of that, plus everything else a sweet tooth could want.

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Siena Suite bathroom at the Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino

Siena Suite bathroom at the Palazzo Resort Hotel & Casino

If a luxurious soaking tub, a television in the mirror, a rainfall shower head, and floor-to-ceiling marble in the bathroom can make or break your Las Vegas vacation, you are not alone. We’ve scouted out dozens of hotel bathrooms in Sin City; the following are the most, well, sinful. Check out the photos after the jump.

See our full slideshow of the best hotel bathrooms in Las Vegas.

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Sweetbreads Picatta with artichokes at Osteria Mozza

Created by celebrity chefs Nancy Silverton, Mario Batali, and Joseph Bastianich, Mozza is the biggest hit restaurant Los Angeles has seen in recent years. Located close to most Hollywood hotels, on famous Melrose Avenue, it makes for a meal you will never forget.

Nancy Silverton can be seen on site at the Pizzeria Mozza (pronounced MAHT-SO), manning the unique mozzarella bar. All the antipasti is based on Italian fresh cheeses.  Silverton serves what’s available, whether mozzarella or burrata, and always presents dishes in a unique fashion — on a bed of stewed leeks, for example. Pizzas are topped with such items as Ipswich clams, fried egg, and white anchovy, but even the traditional Margarita Pizza is amazing. Note that you can also order from the regular menu at the L-shaped bar (a great place to chat with fellow foodies).

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