January 2012

If Las Vegas is known for anything, it would have to be its party scene. And if there’s one great American party we can think of, it’d have to be Super Bowl Sunday — it seems that the entire country stops what they’re doing to tune into the NFL Championship game. But why watch on your couch with delivery pizza when you can hit up a sick party on (or off) the The Strip? Since we can’t answer that question, we found the top five hotel super bowl parties to check out in Sin City this weekend.

THE HOTEL: The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino

THE PARTY SPOT: LAVO

LAVO at the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino; Las Vegas, NV

THE PARTY DEAL: Usually a trendy restaurant-nightclub combo, Lavo is opening its doors for a Sunday afternoon of football — at a relatively hefty price tag. Throw down $175 to gain admission to the space — which has over 20 HD TVs set up for the event — as well as access to an open bar and unlimited Italian buffet. You can call ahead for table reservations, but we’re betting that comes at an even higher amount than just a ticket itself.

THE HOTEL’S DEAL: Big, elaborate, and packed with the kind of luxuries you see at the top Vegas resorts, the Palazzo has some of the best and biggest standard rooms on The Strip. Its world-class spa, seven pools, busy casino, and name-brand fine dining all connect to its sister property, the Venetian, via an haute couture mall. Less theme-y than many Vegas hotels, but right at the top of the list in terms of glitz and extravagance.

Check out our other favorite Las Vegas Super Bowl Parties after the jump.

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Here at Oyster we appreciate the art of a fine bath — and how it fits into a hotel room, too, considering it’s our No. 1 way to relax when we’re not at work. We scoured the 2,000+ hotels we cover to find the five most incredible tubs for you to dive into (no pun intended).

The Hotel: Grand Luxxe; Puerto Vallara, Mexico

The bathroom in a one-bedroom suite at the Grand Luxxe; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Tale Behind the Tub: Grand Luxxe is the most posh of a group of Mayan timeshare resorts located in the Puerto Vallarta area. The huge rooms and suites (complete with gigantic private terraces) are designed with some serious flair — including each of the bathrooms, natch. Check out the tub, above, in a 1-bedroom suite: The free-standing unit comes equipped with a little wooden stand for all your bath-time essentials, and should it get a little stuffy, open the folding French doors to take a peek into what’s going on in the other part of your suite.

CHECK OUT MORE OF OUR FAVORITE TUBS >>

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Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odon. Mark Savage/startraksphoto.com

Credit: Mark Savage/startraksphoto.com

  •  Momma Kris Kardashian spent the weekend with her ducklings Kim, Kourtney and Robert at the W Dallas, where Khloe and hubby Lamar Odom (above) are renting a suite. [HotelChatter.com]
  • Starting on January 26, all airlines are required to include “all mandatory taxes and fees in the advertised fare” in order to comply with a new U.S. Department of Transportation rule. Plus, passengers can now put a reservation on hold for 24 hours without having to pay for it. [FoxNews.com]
  • To fight the “TSA regulations limiting liquids in carry-ons”, Rosewood Hotels is introducing the 24-hour fragrance butlers, who will offer guests a wide range of perfumes to choose from. [USAToday.com]
  • Alaska Airlines is putting an end to 30 years of prayer-card distribution among its first class passengers.  But  Sarah Palin isn’t too happy about it.  [LATimes.com]
  • Downton Abbey fans, start packing: Highclere Castle, featured in the Emmy-award series, has opened its doors. You and three others can explore and dine at the estate for $12,000. [Vagabondish.com]

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There’s nothing like a classic New York versus Boston sports game: There’s the always-dueling Red Sox and Yankees; the formidable Celtics and decent (?) New York Knicks; and of course, the new rivalry of the New England Patriots and New York Giants. This year’s Super Bowl also marks a rematch of 2008′s Big Game . But if you couldn’t afford to jet out to Indianapolis to catch your favorite football team in play (and who could, with hotel rates in the city hovering around $450/night), hole up a hotel bar local to your team. Not only will you have the camaraderie of fellow fans, but you’ll also be able to watch in style, too. Bonus? If you get too drunk, you can stay in one of the hotel’s available rooms. Just saying.

The Hotel: Boston Marriott Copley Place; Boston, MA

The Bar: Champions

Champions Bar at the Boston Marriott Copley Place; Boston, MA

Champions Bar at the Boston Marriott Copley Place; Boston, MA

With 44 HD TVs strategically positioned throughout the bar, a 12’X24’ viewing screen, 36 beers on tap (we recommend one of the Dogfish brews) and a long list of cocktails, the Champions Sports Bar at the Marriott is one of the best places to catch the game. Whether you sit at the bar over a drink and a small bite, or at one of the tables enjoying a full meal — order the Boston Lobster sliders — you’re sure to get a good view of the screens. Plus, you’re within a stone’s throw of Fenway Park and the TD Garden — two venues that’ll make any sports afficionado feel right at home. (At least a Boston fan.)

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If you haven’t found “the one” yet, but are planning on taking out someone new (and maybe special) this Valentine’s Day, some serious impressing is in order. Hotels exude sexiness on any given day, and these bars don’t disappoint: Each of them has its very own get-into-his-or-her-pants kind of charm.

The Hotel: 60 Thompson; New York City, NY

The Bar: Kittichai

Kittichai at 60 Thompson; New York City, NY

Why We Love It: The trendy NYC ambiance simply rules. Although the food — which is thai — is only so-so on a good day at this combo bar/restaurant, the romantic atmosphere makes up for its over salted fare. Eclectic music (think French renditions of silly American nursery rhymes) adds to the quirky-chic vibe,  just be prepared to shell out a few bucks: Everything’s more expensive in Manhattan.

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Even though Hawaii is known for its breathtaking beaches, the 50th state actually offers much more than just a swim in crystalline waters and great waves to surf. Discover the archipelago’s wonders — away from its sandy stretches — with this selection of activities we’ve come up with for you. From the soaring cliffs of the Waimea Canyon in Kauai to the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Oahu, Hawaii will win the hearts even of those who are allergic to relaxing on lounge chairs under the sun. Check out the best sun-safe activities to do while visiting any of the islands — just make sure to slather on some SPF first.

Road to Hana, Maui

Road to Hana, Maui; Maui, HI

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Foto Friday: Dinner With a View

by Zach on January 27, 2012

Say what you will about Rome, but there are few cities that blend the modern world with the ancient quite the way they can. The Palazzo Manfredi is a perfect example of this: most of their rooms have views of the Colosseum and a large part of the old Roman Forum. The structure itself may be almost two thousand years old, but enjoying a meal while basking in the glow of the Roman Empire’s most celebrated architectural gem will never get old.

Aroma Restaurant at the Palazzo Manfredi; Rome, Italy

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Every so often, us Oyster editors get lucky enough to chat with industry tastemakers and traveling superstars. Most recently, we were lucky enough to grab the Kleier women (Michele, Sabrina and Samantha) in between promoting their new novel, Hot Property, and filming HGTV‘s “Selling New York” to ask them how they travel in style. Read on to find out how New York City’s real estate elite (and top reality stars!) answered our burning questions.

Credit: Bill Brioux

Occupation: Real estate brokers, TV personalities, authors and mothers!
Favorite Destination: Anywhere with each other, but we can usually be found in New York City
Travel Soundtrack: Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind,” because when we’re not in New York, we’re still thinking about it!
Ideal Vacation in Three Words: Sun, sand, and family.
Favorite Hotel: Villa D’Este in Lake Como, Italy, especially if George Clooney is there.
Ideal Travel Partner: Each other and each of our (matching!) dogs, Roxy, Lola, Dolly and Dixie.
Airport Food Is: Never our first choice.
We Never Travel Without: Our dogs.
Poolside or Oceanside: Oceanside.
Carry-On or Checked: Carry-on if possible (which is rare) or FedEx ahead. [Ed. note: Smart move, ladies!]
Big Resort or Boutique Hotel: Generally boutique, but it mostly depends on the destination.
Room Service or Dining Out: Dining out, unless it’s an early morning after a late night!

Check out the Kleiers and the rest of the “Selling New York” cast on Thursday nights at 9:30 PM EST on HGTV. Their first novel, “Hot Property,” is available on Amazon.com.

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The Wine Cave at Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort

Napa Valley is a seriously romantic place — and with all that delicious wine to set the mood, it’s no surprise that our first pre-Valentine’s Day highlight is Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort. Royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury spot for one simple reason: It’s in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, and wine tasting seminars. Want some privacy? Head back to your very own lodge, which features super-sexy amenities like an outdoor rain shower and your very own Jacuzzi. The hotel’s only downside? Luxury comes at a price — but at a price that’s worth every penny. Check out more amazing photos of the resort after the jump or read our full review >>

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The adult pool at the Marriot Harbor Beach Resort and Spa; Fort Lauderdale, FL

Our friends at SELF.com like to remind us how important being active is — and how important it is to eat healthy, too — even when you’re on the road. So when they let us know about their new Jump Start Diet Plan, created by uber-trainer (and former Biggest Loser star) Jillian Michaels, we were happy to jump on board (pun intended). The plan features some kick-ass workout moves that mesh toning and cardio to save time while burning mega-calories, plus easy-to-follow diet tips that making shaping up a cinch. But what we loved the most about the plan is, that if you join SELF and sign up to Jump Start online, you’ll be entered for a grand prize trip to the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa in super-sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Not only is the total package worth over three grand, but the hotel also has a well-earned, 4-pearl rating from us here at Oyster.com.

If we won, we’d start our day with a killer yoga class — or just a great workout at the sleek 24-hour fitness center — and then lounge on the beach or poolside in the quiet adults-only area. To cap the day off, we’d stop by the spa for a luxurious treatment. We recommend the Harbor Beach Signature Tropical Tiki Bliss massage (80 minutes for $225), designed to soothe even the achiest of muscles while still Zen-ing you out. Check out more photos of the hotel after the jump, or read the full review now to see why we love this spot.

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