October 2010

Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place

The newly refurbished Santa Monica Place is to-die-for. After three years and half a billion dollars (yes, you read that correctly), this old mall feels like a new mall.

It’s the only place in the Los Angeles area where you can shop by the beach (with the ocean breezes), dance to famous KCRW DJs under the stars at night, eat at rooftop restaurants helmed by famous chefs, and drink cocktails prepared by trained mixologists at any of the dozen bars.  All this with a view of the Santa Monica Pier, too. Read More »

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Fenway Park, Boston

Fenway Park in Boston is just two blocks from Hotel Commonwealth

There’s no denying that Boston has some of the most diehard sports fans around, which means it should be no surprise that people flock from all over the region to attend Red Sox games, Celtics games, and Bruins games (Patriots’ games, too, but Foxboro, Mass. is outside of our realm of expertise). Below we’ll tell you about the most convenient hotels for getting to your favorite Boston sporting event, when you’re watching your kids row in the Head of the Charles or just hoping to see your fave baseball team hit it out of the park.

Fenway Park: Hotel Commonwealth

  • Location: Back Bay, Boston
  • Pearl rating: 4 of 5

Hotel Commonwealth is two blocks from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. The 148-room Hotel Commonwealth is one of the most well-rounded boutique hotels in Boston. With its classical (if slightly dowdy) furnishings, large rooms, and impressive array of services, it captures the spirit of the city like few other hotels can. Read the full Hotel Commonwealth review.

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Lake Eola

Take a walk around Lake Eola and feed the swans

If you’re visiting and staying at a resort like the recently revamped Peabody Orlando, take a break from the theme parks to check out part of the local culture. Here are three things that an Orlando native enjoys to do downtown on a Sunday afternoon!

Hue in Orlando

Hue in Orlando

1. First, have brunch at Hue. I’ve been a fan of this restaurant for quite some time. And it’s not just because they have an awesome Bloody Mary bar. It’s a great place to people watch and I’ve always had fantastic service. The brunch menu has a great variety of options ranging from traditional sandwiches (my favorite is the Turkey Brie and Brandy Poached Pear Croissant) to fun breakfast items like the three different scramble platters (go for number 2: ham, spinach and cheddar with the sweet potato mash). But I think my favorite brunch pairing with the Bloody Mary Bar is the Steak and Eggs: Petite Filets, Scrambled Eggs and Tater Tots.

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Sea World Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular

Sea World Orlando's Halloween Spooktacular

Sea World’s Halloween Spooktacular is a fun Halloween event geared towards young children. Special candy stands are set up throughout the park, and children are given a map to help find all of the Treasure Stations, each offering a different type of goody. Read More »

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Most of us have showered, at one time or another, in a hotel shower-bath combo. Usually with shower sandals on. But we’re willing to bet that not too many people are brave enough to actually take baths in one — especially when it’s not perfectly clean. And when it’s really, really not clean — we’re talking soap scum, grime, mold, rust, or even unwelcome critters — the thought of even showering in it makes us shudder. Below, take a look at the hotel tubs you couldn’t pay us to bathe in.

Cockroach in the bathrub at the Richmond Hotel

We might be willing to share our bath with a rubber duck on occasion. Cockroaches, like this one in the bathrub at the Richmond Hotel, are quite another matter.

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Tamo Bar at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is the first stop on the Halloween on the Harbor event.

Tamo Bar at the Seaport Hotel & World Trade Center is the first stop on the Halloween on the Harbor event.

Are you looking for Halloween-themed activities in Boston?  October weekends in Boston are generally crisp, sunny, and cool — perfect for Halloween festivities!  If you’re visiting this October, don’t miss out on these two great events.

For the kids, HalloweenFest, supporting the kids’ fund at Boston Medical Center, is taking place at the Prudential Center on October 23 and 24.  The event includes face painting, pumpkin decorating, coloring contests, a bouncy house, and performances by kid-friendly musicians and magicians.  On Sunday, kids are invited to trick-or-treat through the Prudential Center  from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The event is $4 per child (adults are free) and tickets can be purchased online.

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Golf at Terranea Resort

Golf at Terranea Resort

It’s getting to be that time of year: the time to pull out your heavy jackets and prepare for the winter months ahead. For those who love to golf, this is always a sad time of the year –  but then again, it’s also your last chance to plan your perfect golf getaway, before the weather turns too cold. Oyster features over 50 hotels with golf courses, and the hotels below feature some of the best of the best.

Orlando

The Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes Read More »

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A Hawaiian Shave Ice!

A Hawaiian shave ice!

Don’t call it a snow cone. Sure, it has a base of ice topped with circus-bright colors, but the similarity ends there. Where snow cones are made from tiny, crunchy chunks of ice, Hawaii’s favorite treat is made of finer stuff. It’s fluffy and airy, much like freshly fallen snow. While most of the island residents refer to these as ‘shave ice’ or ‘shaved ice,’ folks from the eastern side of the Big Island may confuse you when they call it ‘ice shave.’ No worries; it’s all the same stuff. Order yours with azuki beans or li hing mui for real island flavor!

Check out these favorite island spots for shave ice:

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Entrance to Petit Ermitage

Entrance to Petit Ermitage

Los Angeles has plenty of famous, historic hotels that everyone knows by name: Beverly Hills Hotel, Chateau Marmont, and the Beverly Wilshire, to name a few. And sure, if you want to drop a lot of money and hob nob with celebrities, these are some of the best haunts around. But as we visited hotels all around the city, we found that some of the most charming hotels to be ones that fly under the radar. So if you’re looking for something a little more unique or off the beaten path, consider one of these six hidden gems.

Petit Ermitage

  • Location: Hollywood & West Hollywood, Los Angeles
  • Pearls: 4 of 5

It’s true that the bohemianism and purposely-distressed furniture won’t appeal to everyone, but we dig it. For half the price of some of its competitors, you get a newly renovated, truly unique boutique with large suites (many with kitchens) and a lovely rooftop pool. If you’re not up for a dip, you can have breakfast in a rooftop garden or read by the fireplace in Masters’ Lounge,  Read the full Petit Ermitage hotel review.

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The term “Hawaiian bedspread” conjures up images of scratchy, thin, floral monstrosities straight from the ’80s. For a reason. Sure, you’ll find many Hawaiian examples of sleek, stylish 21st century hotel design — but certainly not everywhere. We’re sorry to tell you, but the notoriously ugly Hawaiian bedspreads that first inspired the stereotype are still alive and well in the Aloha state. Below, see 11 of the worst offenders.

Diamond Head View Hotel Room at the Queen Kapiolani Hotel

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