November 2010

Corner King Studio at The James New York

Corner King Studio at The James New York

Yesterday, Oyster headed over to The James New York, the chic new boutique that opened in SoHo in September, to snap a few (hundred) photos. From what we saw, it looks like the hotel’s swanky neighbors have got some much-needed competition. SoHo has had far too few hotels for far too long, and we’re happy to see that it was infused with some more variety this year.  (The Trump SoHo New York opened up shop in the spring.) We’re excited to show you even more of The James, so check back on our main site soon for more photos and the full review. For now, here’s a sample to whet your appetite. Read More »

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Duck confit taco at Papito in San Francisco

Duck confit taco at Papito in San Francisco

It isn’t exactly France meets Mexico at the new Papito in San Francisco. But you will find a thoroughly wonderful duck confit taco at this tiny restaurant in Portrero Hill, which was opened in August by the restaurateur behind the popular, Francophile Chez Papa and Chez Maman, both in San Francisco. Read More »

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Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel, New York

Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel, New York

The weather’s getting colder, at least here in New York, which means it’s time to start thinking about all things winter: itchy turtlenecks, the scent of pine, Aunt Edna’s eggnog, and crackling fires that warm your heart and toes. We’re big fans of fireplaces (honestly, we really, really love them), whether for cuddling with your sweetie and a cup of cocoa, or just for cozying up with the gals while catching up on gossip.

In case you love fireplaces as much as we do — and ’tis the season! — we’ve rounded up our favorite hotel fireplaces on Oyster. Some are inside the guest rooms, others are in drawing rooms or reading libraries, but all get the job done. Below we’ll show you photos of our favorite fireplaces, from Boston to Los Angeles.

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Mojito

The Volstead has nightly drink specials, like Mojito Mondays

Although Midtown East may seem like a pretty convenient place to visitors (read: tourists), it’s never been considered a wonderful nightlife area for those who are young, hip, and in the know. Fortunately, The Volstead offers up nice digs — and an even nicer happy hour to go along with them —  for when you find yourself in Fanny Pack land (no offense, dear tourists).

In addition to Happy Hour from 4-8 PM offering $6 specialty cocktails ($7 for Absolut), The Volstead offers a special almost every night of the week: Mojito Mondays ($6), Happy Hour all night on Wednesdays, Margarita specials all night on Thursdays ($6), and more. Plus, $15 will get you a plate of sliders and a beer of your choice, which looked like the hot deal of choice last time I went.

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Crowne Plaza Beverly Hills Marketing Photo

Hotel's photo

Crowne Plaza Hotel Beverly Hills Oyster Photo

Oyster's photo

As we’ve seen before with the pools at Aqua Aloha Surf and The Equus, photographers like to get and down dirty with hotel pools. By crouching low and pushing right up against a pool (like the one seen here at Crowne Plaza Hotel Beverly Hills), a photographer can get a wide-angle shot that makes the pool look larger than it is. When part of the pool is out of sight, it’s hard to tell where it truly ends and begins. By showing the pool in its entirety, Oyster gives a realistic view.

See all of our hotel Photo Fakeouts.

See the full Crowne Plaza Hotel Beverly Hills, Los Angeles hotel review, or see all of our photos of the hotel.

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Burger Bar probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a lunch destination, but the hubby likes a good burger, and I love Hubert Keller. Not to mention that the Burger Bar was within view of our hotel room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, San Francisco, in the beautiful, Christmas-decorated Union Square Macy’s.

We were seated promptly for our 1:00 reservation and had a great view of Union Square and the Christmas tree setup, not to mention great food photography lighting!

Burger Bar

Since burgers and beer go so well together, I started with an Eel River Organic Porter. It was yummy!

For lunch, I had the veggie burger with lettuce, tomato, onion, avocado, jalapenos, and garlic aioli. Burger Bar’s veggie burger is no frozen patty out of a box. It is made of caramelized onions, lentils, mushrooms, peas, brown and white rice, potatoes, and pumpkin! I immediately wanted to recreate it at home.

On the side, we shared the jalapeno fried pickles. If fried pickles are on the menu, I have to have them! Read More »

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If you’ve ever wanted a taste of the celebrity lifestyle, here’s your chance: Stay at one of these five popular celebrity hideaways on your next vacation, and you’ll know what it’s like to travel like a star. If these posh digs aren’t quite in the budget, not to worry — just explore Oyster’s extensive photo galleries for a voyeuristic peek into the hotels of your favorite A-listers.

Gramercy Park Hotel

Gramercy Park Hotel

Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City

The Gramercy Park Hotel is a choice hangout for the hip, beautiful, and famous, and its velvet-heavy Rose Bar is currently the epicenter of the New York bar scene. Our reporter glimpsed Sting during his stay. Within a single week, Janet Jackson was spotted admiring the artwork in the Rose Bar; Kid Rock was seen outside smoking a cigarette; and Chace Crawford was there having a business meeting. One would expect no less from Ian Schrager, the architect of culture who brought the world Studio 54 in the ’70s and practically invented the hipster boutique hotel in the ’80s and ’90s. But the hotel, built in 1925, even attracted celebrities before Schrager reopened it in 2006: Humphrey Bogart got married here, and the bar was a favorite haunt of Babe Ruth. See more photos of the Gramercy Park Hotel Read More »

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Full Review Coming Soon!

Front desk at The Chatwal

Front desk at The Chatwal, a new luxury hotel in Times Square

A new hotel has come to New York, hoping to to be the first 5-star luxury hotel in Times Square. The Chatwal, the first hotel in a new luxury brand from the owners of the Stay and Dream hotels, is housed in an historic building and harkens back to an era when Art Deco ruled America. Stanford White built this building in 1905 for The Lambs, the prestigious theatrical society that was founded in 1874 and has included the likes of Fred Astaire, John Barrymore, and Irving Berlin (the second half of the building was added in 1915 in the same style, as an extension). Several parts of the hotel are considered landmarks, including the facade, a few fireplaces, and the Stanford Suite (shown in the photos below), all from the original 1905 building.

Below we’ll show you 14 more photos and will tell you more about this hotel than you could ever hope to know. So read on, or…  just look at the pretty photos.

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Chef Gopinathan

Chef Gopinathan

Campton Place the restaurant at Campton Place Taj Hotel San Francisco has an illustrious history in San Francisco. Many celebrated chefs have passed through the kitchen, including Laurent Manrique, Jan Birnbaum, Bradley Ogden, Daniel Humm, Todd Humphries and Peter Rudolph. The restaurant added an Indian flair to the menu when the Taj took over the hotel and Executive Chef Sri Gopinathan took the helm. The restaurant has flown a bit under the radar for the last few years, but now it’s back in the spotlight. Michelin just awarded Campton Place a star in their 2011 guide.

Chef Sri Gopinathan, who hails from Southern India, trained at the CIA Hyde Park and apprenticed in the kitchen of Raymond Blanc and Gary Jones at the famed Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, in Oxford, England, a Michelin 2 star restaurant.

Since Campton Place is sure to be on the list for local and visiting foodies, I checked in with the chef to learn more about him and his cooking.

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Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

Adult-type museums can often seem off-limits to those with children, but if you are visiting the Boston area with your little ones, the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in the Seaport District has you covered.  Not only do they offer free admission to all children under the age of 17, they also offer a special family “Play Date” on the last Saturday of every month.

The Family Play Date at the ICA offers special activities especially for families, and adults can get in free with a child (who are also free).  Each Play Date is different, but expect to see a range of activities that families can do together, such as movies, special performances, art activities, and tours of the galleries. You don’t have to register in advance for the Family Play Dates.  The ICA also offers baby changing stations, allows the use of strollers throughout the museum, and has children’s food available at its cafe.

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