August 2011

Foto Friday: An Artsy Retreat

by Hilary on August 19, 2011

The Gallery Inn, Puerto Rico

The Gallery Inn, Puerto Rico

Owned by the same couple for decades, the historic Gallery Inn is run like an informal B&B — guests are greeted by name, much of what the restaurant serves is grown in the garden, and no two rooms are the same (though they do share lots of Spanish-style charm). Also like a B&B, the hotel lacks amenities such as TVs and a fitness center. The property’s main draws include the convenient Old San Juan location, ocean views from the wine deck, and the artsy, laid-back feel. The innkeepers are both artists, and it’s evident they put thought into every detail of the restoration — expect beautiful old-world details like brick floors, wood beam ceilings, rich rugs, sculptures, and antique knickknacks.

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Lounge poolside. In Los Angeles. At a stunning hotel. FOR FREE.

We’re giving away two nights at the JW Marriott Los Angeles at L.A. LIVE!

Enter here for your chance to win. What are you waiting for? It’s worth the trip, trust us — we were there.

The Pool at The JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles LIVE

The Pool at The JW Marriott Hotel Los Angeles LIVE

 

 

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It’s not impossible to squeeze in a last-minute family trip before the kids are back at school. We’ve rounded up the most affordable, family-friendly vacations filled with some extra bonding moments for the end-of-summer-blues.

Orlando

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge, Orlando

Average Price: $226/avg. night
Pearls: Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Location: Disney World, Orlando
From the gazelles and giraffes freely roaming the grounds to the enormous pool with a waterslide, the safari-themed Disney Animal Kingdom Lodge was designed to amaze and delight children. Throughout the day, staff members lead (free) educational activities for children like craft-making, African drumming, or mini-lessons about the where giraffes come from. Here, even the learning is captivating.

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Labor Day Sale!

by Hilary on August 17, 2011

Our friend Summer is almost over. But don’t worry, we’ve got some good news. If you’ve waited until the last minute to make your Labor Day plans, Oyster to the rescue. Get $50 off any hotel until September 5th at midnight. Just book $500 worth of hotel stays and use code LaborDay2011 at checkout. Enjoy and get inspired >>

Use code LaborDay2011 at checkout.

Riu Paradise Island, Bahamas

Riu Paradise Island, Bahamas

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Cold summertime cocktails. So hot right now. We’re visiting the best, trendiest hotel bars to find you the tastiest summer cocktails in NYC. Not only have we got the photos, we’ve got the recipes — directly from the bartenders — so you can make them at home. Grab your martini glass and hit the deck, you’re having a cocktail party.

This week we’ve got The Standard Hotel. Previously, we’ve taste-tested The James Hotel and Hilton New York Fashion District.

The Standard, New York

The Standard, New York

DRINK #1: Whiskey Punch

Whiskey Punch

Whiskey Punch

Ingredients

  • 2 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 oz lemon juice
  • ½ oz orange juice
  • 1 oz simple syrup
  • Prosecco

To make
Pour all ingredients except Prosecco into mixing glass with ice. Shake and strain into tall glass with crushed ice. Add Prosecco.
Garnish with an orange twist.
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Oyster on TV

by Hilary on August 17, 2011

ABC Live

Oyster.com tracks down hotels that dupe their customers with fake reviews. CEO Elie Seidman shows us how.

WCIU

Showcasing hot hotels and top-notch activities to do during a Chicago staycation, Jennifer Garfinkel of Oyster.com visits WCIU’s ‘You & Me.’

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Travel Tuesday: What’s New?

by Hilary on August 16, 2011

Lobby at The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey

Lobby at The Ritz-Carlton Marina Del Rey

  • RESCUE
    A stolen $250,000 Rembrandt etching known as “The Judgment” that disappeared from an exhibit in the Ritz Carlton Marina Del Rey lobby on Saturday was found this morning in Encino, California. Someone’s got The-Thomas-Crown-Affair-syndrome. [ABC]

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A Sweet, Budget-Friendly Treat

by Hilary on August 15, 2011

Craving something sweet but don’t want to break the bank? Whether we’re talking food or hotels, we’ve got the perfect solution for you.

Our friends from SELF found the treat: satisfy your sweet tooth without guilt with these Plush Puffs fat-free marshmallows from DylansCandyBar. No fat, just flavors: Vanilla or caramel-swirl marshmallows step up s’mores; lemon meringue enhances tea. Or enjoy them plain for about 70 calories. (And you get five per serving.)

And as for hotels, the list is endless. But, we’ve picked our favorite budget-friendly hotels that will make you feel like a million bucks.

Hotel: Grano De Oro, San Jose, Costa Rica
Price: $130/avg. night
Pearls: Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This former Victorian mansion turned intimate, 40-room hotel features large, homey rooms, a rooftop Jacuzzi, and a renowned fine dining restaurant. Antiques, tinkling fountains, wood floors and artful flower arrangements make it feel like you might be staying in the home of a wealthy colonial-era plantation owner. But it lacks the features a larger hotel — there’s no business center, fitness center, pool or spa.

Grano De Oro, Costa Rica

Grano De Oro, Costa Rica

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We visited New York City’s best, trendiest hotel bars. We taste-tested. We photographed. We rated. And we got the recipes — directly from the bartenders — so you can make them at home.

Hotel bars we went to:

Here are our favorites of Summer 2011, but don’t worry — we’re going to keep drinking straight into fall, and winter, and… spring. Stay tuned for more cocktail recipes!

#1 Peach Fuzz

Hotel: The Maritime
Why we loved it: The refreshingly sweet flavor with the chunky peach surprises in each sip hit the spot on a hot summer day.

Peach Fuzz, The Maritime, New York

Peach Fuzz, La Bottega at The Maritime, New York

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 oz Russian Standard Vodka
  • 1.5 oz peach syrup
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Splash of peach vodka
  • Peach chunks

To make:
Shake ingredients together and serve in a highball glass. Garnish with mint and dollop of peach puree.

Scene at The Maritime

Scene at La Bottega at The Maritime

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Foto Friday: Stare At This

by Hilary on August 12, 2011

At the Royal Sonesta Hotel in Boston, you can spend an afternoon entranced in the psychedelic art. Get lost.

Royal Sonesta Hotel, Boston

Royal Sonesta Hotel, Boston

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