January 2012

Welcome to WTF Wednesday, wherein we highlight some of the strangest, funniest, most bizarre, or downright disturbing photos we come across while we’re out in the field. We’ll be asking you to contribute your own captions for these pictures, too, so lets get started!

This week’s photo comes from the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, CA. Just like an adult on a water slide or using a kid’s playground, getting involved in children’s activities doesn’t always bode well for parents. Our caption attempt: “Chill out! I’ve never started a forest fire!”

"Chill out! I've never started a forest fire!" (Kids Activities at the Bacara Resort & Spa; Santa Barbara, CA)

{ 1 comment }

Lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Park City; Park City, UT

Lobby at the Waldorf Astoria Park City; Park City, UT

The fourth episode of this season of The Bachelor, which aired Monday night on ABC, brought fan-favorite Ben and the contestants to Park City, Utah. It may have been a new location, but it was the same story: There was backstabbing, cat fights, a lot of tears, and plenty of “I think I’m falling in love with being on TV Ben.” And, per usual, it all went down in super-luxe digs — Ben and the women were put up in the Waldorf Astoria Park City, an upscale hotel at The Canyons resort. Check out photos of where the drama unfolded at the hotel  after the jump.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Courtyard at The Setai; Miami, FL

Courtyard at The Setai; Miami, FL

  • A $230,000 brand new 2012 McLaren MP4-12C sports car was airlifted into the middle of The Setai’s courtyard pool as a surprise gift for Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade’s 30th birthday. It was given to him for free by the owner of a local luxury car dealership. Jealous? We are. [TMZ]
  • A 34-year-old man has been charged with criminal sex act, sexual abuse, forcible touching and unlawful imprisonment after he allegedly assaulted a woman at Le Bain, The Standard New York’s rooftop bar. The 23-year-old said he molested her in a restroom and forced her to perform oral sex. [New York Post]
  • Music fans, take note. Fairmont Hotels guests will be offered studio time at Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded most of their songs. Selected Fairmont’s President’s Club loyalty program members will be allocated a producer and session musicians, and will “get a CD of their recording as a souvenir”.  [Hotel Chatter]
  • Starting in 2014 you won’t have to go all the way to Japan to experience sleeping in a capsule hotelyou’ll only have to jet to London. With a pull-out table, a tiny bathroom, and a single, low-ceiling bed, the 107-square-feet niches will be more spacious and… errr… luxurious? than those in Tokyo. But, don’t expect windows or room to walk around. [The Economist]
  • Country singer Dolly Parton announced plans to open a new theme park in Nashville as soon as summer 2014. It would be a water-snow park, and is expected to attract 500,000 visitors in its first full season. [Huffington Post]
  • The local forestry authority in Poland’s remote northeaster woodlands is looking for an investor to turn the site where Hitler and other top Nazi officials hid during airstrikes into a tourist attraction. The fortress, now partially destroyed, would be restored and would feature a museum. [USA Today]

{ 0 comments }

Bizarre Foods Host Andrew Zimmern

Bizarre Foods Host Andrew Zimmern

Andrew Zimmern is a chef, food writer, the host and producer of Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods. Andrew, a recipient of the prestigious James Beard Award, has traveled the world, and understands the importance of a hotel and its amenities.

Andrew browsed around Oyster and chose his favorite kid-friendly hotels exclusively for us. Find out which hotels he loves and why.

{ 1 comment }

The Super Bowl is so close we can hardly contain ourselves, but there’s still one last round to go before the AFC and NFC can duke it out for ultimate supremacy — and that fabled trip to Disney World. Check out the best places to stay if you’re going to the game (or just looking to watch with like-minded fans). We couldn’t help but make our own predictions, too. But if you need us for anything Sunday, you can find us glued to our TV.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS VS. BALTIMORE RAVENS at Foxboro Stadium, 3 PM EST Sunday

Where to stay: The Liberty Hotel; Boston, MA

The Lobby at the Liberty Hotel; Boston, MA

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Foto Friday: Your Screaming Fans

by Zach on January 20, 2012

There’s design, then there’s aggressive design…And then there’s really aggressive, trippy design that makes us think someone slipped something in our drink. The Room Mate Grace in New York City has some of the headiest themes we’ve ever come across: think vertigo-inducing hallways and a pool that redefines the term “mood-lighting.” We may not love the Times Square area, but this hotel is a sight to see all on its own.

Bathroom in the Pool Bar at the Room Mate Grace; New York, NY

{ 0 comments }

So, you scored tickets to Coachella? Sweet. Even if the festival is on the verge of becoming overpriced and over-exposed, this year’s lineup is practically too good to pass up. There are your requisite superstars (the Black Keys, Radiohead, and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg), your high-profile band reunions (Mazzy Star and At The Drive In), indie buzzbands (the Weeknd and Neon Indian), and everything in between. And while tickets and flights may have set you back a fortune alone, the idea of pitching a tent in the desert for a weekend doesn’t appeal to everyone — especially if you’re not 18 anymore. Thankfully, the resort town of Palm Springs is only a 30-minute drive away with more hip hotels than you’d expect from a once sleepy golf town. As die-hard music fans and hotel experts, we’ve rounded up the best hotels and matched them to the fans that fit them best.

The music you love: Radiohead, the Black Keys, Pulp, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog
The right hotel for you: The Movie Colony Hotel

Pool at the Movie Colony Hotel; Palm Springs, CA

For all the indie and underground music buzz it generates, Coachella still snags a handful of top-tier verified rock stars. This year certainly doesn’t disappoint: we’re some of the biggest Radiohead and Black Keys fans here at Oyster.com. But a huge aspect of the music experience is taking part in the legacy, to be able to say you were there when history was made. For fans like these, we recommend the storied Movie Colony Hotel. The property has played host to some of the greats, including Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra, and sports a ’60s-inspired decor that celebrates its history. The pool is open 24-hours (albeit a little tiny), so you can feel free to take a dip after a day in the desert. Hitting up Coachella with your fan club in tow? Check out the townhouses, whose living rooms open directly into the pool area. Just don’t pull any old-school-rock “I’m a golden god!” moments and jump in from the roof.
Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Yesterday marked the kick-off of the wildly popular London Art Fair. A four-day event, the art show features pieces from Britain’s hottest new artists, and everyone from gallery owners to over-eager Art History majors crowd the city’s Business Design Centre to get a peek at the avant-garde display. We know it’s a little last minute, but it’ll be worth it: grab your non-ADD friend (you know, the one who can spend more than 20 minutes in a museum), pack a suitcase, and hop across the pond to check out some of the world’s up-and-coming artists.

The St. James's Hotel and Club; London, England

The St. James's Hotel and Club; London, England

To get inspired, try: The St. James’s Hotel and Club

Previously owned by Sirs Michael Caine and Sean Connery — and frequented by Winston Churchill and Gregory Peck — this striking building, located on a quiet cul-de-sac in Mayfair, now houses lavish accommodations. A recent multi-million renovation brought in bespoke furnishings, and rooms offer high-tech perks such as iPod docks and free Wi-Fi. An outstanding feature here is the Michelin-star restaurant directed by executive chef William Drabble. Plus, the hotel is filled with notable cubist paintings so you can get inspired before you head to the art show.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

With the Year of the Dragon fast approaching, Chinese communities across the U.S. (and everyone who likes a good party) are gearing up for the host of events that will take place starting on January 23 as part of the New Years’ celebration.  San Francisco, New York and LA all have a long list of parades, traditional performances and balls — but it’s where you’re kicking up your heels at night that matters. Several of our favorite hotels have created special packages for you to enjoy — and partake in — the Chinese New Year celebration.

Dragon Gate in Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

Dragon Gate in Chinatown; San Francisco, CA

SAN FRANCISCO

Boasting the largest Chinatown in the country, it’s no wonder San Francisco has some of the best festivities.  You might have missed the Flower Market Fair, but you can still get tickets here for the traditional concert given by the San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Community on February 11; take part in the 34th annual Chinese New Year Run rolling through Chinatown on February 19; enjoy the parade on February 11, and head to the zoo on January 29 to catch some acrobatic performances, tricks and more specialized family fun.

Where to Stay: Omni San Francisco Hotel
The 362-room Omni has spacious, quiet rooms and terrific service that’s on par with some of San Francisco’s best (and most expensive) hotels. Décor is tasteful and classic, the on-site steakhouse is outstanding, and the property is just steps from Chinatown and public transportation.

Lobby at the Omni San Francisco Hotel; San Francisco, CA

Lobby at the Omni San Francisco Hotel; San Francisco, CA

Chinese New Year Package: Accommodation in a Deluxe Room, two tickets for bleacher seating on the parade route, fortune cookie amenity and free valet parking for one vehicle, for $385 per night.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }