May 2012

The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.

If you’re lucky enough to live in San Francisco or its outer-lying suburbs, you know one thing for sure: There are plenty of vacations that are just a short car ride away. And while SF has plenty to offer on its own — hello, Union Square shopping — sometimes it’s a bit more fun to take a drive. Especially in a convertible. With the top down. So get your bags packed, slather on some sunscreen and hop in the whip — we’ve got some miles to cover.

Road Trip #1: San Francisco to Napa Valley

  • Total Driving Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes
  • Distance Covered: 49 miles
  • Take This Trip If: You’ve had a long week, and desperately need a glass of wine.

A private outdoor living room at Calistoga Ranch.

The pool at EuroSpa & Inn.

Wine is steeped in Napa County’s history, with vineyards popping up in the area by the mid-19th century. Known to produce some of the top American vintages, Napa also has more to offer than delicious drinks, including romantic scenery, top-notch spas, and incredible dining — including arguably the country’s top restaurant, French Laundry by famed chef Thomas Keller. If you’re aiming for a luxurious experience, look no further than the 5-pearl Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort. The romantic property has killer rooms complete with working fireplaces, private Jacuzzis, and outdoor rain showers. For a more budget-conscious option, check out the EuroSpa & Inn, which has free Wi-Fi, amazing views from the pool and hot tub, as well as spacious units furnished with wet bars and microwaves. Plus, breakfast is on the house.

  • Top Driving Tip: When leaving from San Francisco, you have two options when heading north to Napa — the Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate. Go with the latter; it’s a far more scenic drive and will get you to Calistoga in approximately the same amount of time.

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We’re loving this recent heat wave, but it just makes us want to kick back and relax (preferably with a cocktail in hand). So it may be a bit ironic, but we decided to do an intensive search on the laziest spots we could find — starting in Florida. After all, it is the Sunshine State. From spas with plush lounge chairs to pools where you don’t have to lift a finger, we found five Floridian hotels that are prime for lounging. Relax and unwind; it’s time to take it easy.

Lazy Spot #1: The Beach at the W South Beach

Beach at the W South Beach

Beach at the W South Beach

Why we love it: Though many hotels in South Beach have direct beach access, the W offers an unparalleled experience on the sand. Cushy white-and-black-striped lounge chairs are spread out along the hotel’s 100-yard-deep stretch of beach, which is considerably removed from the crowds in order to create a relaxing vibe. While guests bask in the sun, on-call attendants are quick to bring towels, food, beverages, or even iPod shuffles.

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View from the Westward Look Resort -- Tucson

View from the Westward Look Resort -- Tucson

The Westward Look is Tucson’s oldest resort and one of its most popular. Occupying 80 acres in the desert foothills of north Tucson, the resort features stunning panoramas of the Santa Catalina Mountains. The grounds include a hummingbird and butterfly garden, nature path, and a meditation labyrinth, but perhaps most popular are the resort’s three pools, which use saline water instead of chlorine. The horseback rides, hiking trails, eight tennis courts, and basketball and volleyball courts are also big draws, with the one thing missing here being a golf course. A focus on nature is apparent, from the native plants that are incorporated into treatments at the Sonoran Spa to the chef’s garden that provides fresh ingredients for the resort’s GOLD restaurant. Couples and families will love this peaceful oasis, where they can relax in the large rooms, bask in the sun, and explore the surrounding area. Check out more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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When we travel, we like to let loose — after all, isn’t a vacation all about leisure? Whether you like dancing on a nightclub’s tables or swimming in a pool full of….errr…bodily fluids, we’ve got a hotel for the party animal in every single one of you. Get ready to rage!

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Florida can get pretty hot. With its insane humidity and intense sunlight, it’s easy for tourists to get a little too toasty for comfort. While sweating through our daily workout in the (thankfully) air-conditioned fitness center at the Holiday Inn Express Pensacola Beach, we noticed this overheated couple looking a little lost. We’re not sure what they were searching for out there in the Gulf of Mexico, but we hope they don’t get too dehydrated before they find it!

Read our caption after the jump, then enter your own in the comments section below!

View from the Fitness Center at the Holiday Inn Express Pensacola Beach

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Pool at the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

Pool at the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos

It may not be summer officially, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t dreaming about it. And of course when we think of summer, we picture gorgeous pools (to swim in, lie out near, fill in the blank here.) So here’s some eye candy for all of you dreamers. We found 12 beautiful pools — with drool-worthy features to boot. Check ‘em out!

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So you said you wanted a drink, eh?

So you said you wanted a drink, eh?

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The most expensive drink on the menu at Montage Beverly Hills’s £10 bar is a $64,000 whiskey.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hyatt Regency Chicago is the smallest Hyatt in the world, with just 29 rooms and no restaurant service.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Four Seasons San Francisco is now offering “Mother Earth Rooms”, which feature stationary bikes with which guests can produce energy to power the lights and heat water.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Signature at MGM Grand in Las Vegas has installed a photo booth in the lobby that allows you to instantly post your photos on Facebook and Twitter.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The barman at the Country Club Lima Hotel’s Bar Ingles has been awarded three times the title of “Champion of the Pisco Sour”.

 Check out the answers after the jump! Read More »

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Although we’re a day late on the Monday morning goodness (sorry, we were relaxing on our very own staycation), we figured we had to share a beach shot to keep us in the summer mindset — not that we need any help — it’s almost 90 degrees at 10 AM here at Oyster HQ in NYC. This morning we’re dreaming of the white sands at the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes — more specifically, kicking our sandals off and walking down that wooden bridge to sink our feet into that white sand. But alas, we’re here to work people! So as we say every week, sit back, relax and soak in the goodness that is the Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort & Spa at Grand Dunes.

Myrtle Beach Marriott Resort and Spa at Grand Dunes

I can see for miles and miles and miles...

 

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We love home decor, interior design, and architecture here at Oyster — after all, aren’t they all huge parts of a hotel stay experience? Our staffer Jen sought out the six most beautiful spots to soak in some gorgeous interior design. Check it out below, then tell us: Where would you want to stay the most?

 

 

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We don’t know about you, but we here at Oyster are ready for summer. We’ve done all of the prepping — we went to the gym once (hey, its more than we did in the winter!), got a couple of spray tans, and most importantly, we found our stowed bikinis, flip-flops, and wide-brimmed hats. And we’re not the only ones who have come out of hibernation and are in back in business for a little fun in the sun: Some of our favorite U.S. hotels on the East Coast have re-opened their doors for the summer season. We’ve been longing for a stay at these quaint inns and hotels all winter long and now they’re ready to welcome us (and you) back.

The Hotel: The Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant — Martha’s Vineyard

Grounds at The Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant -- Martha's Vineyard

Grounds at The Beach Plum Inn & Restaurant -- Martha's Vineyard

The Beach Plum reopened for the season this week in order to accomodate the many vacationers heading to Martha’s Vineyard for Memorial Day weekend. The beautiful property — where alpacas and ponies roam –is an up-island spot overlooking Menemsha Harbor, the fishing village, and a lighthouse. And though its not as historic as the centuries-old town it overlooks, the inn dates back to the late 1800s when it was built from wood salvaged from shipwrecks. While there are few on-site activities, guests can go next door to the Menemsha Inn to play tennis or hit the gym. Don’t expect cell phone service here; part of the charm of sinking into a hammock on a private patio is not having any reception. Wi-Fi is available throughout the property for those who need to stay in touch, and the on-site restaurant that the inn is known for – while pricey — is excellent. See more photos and read our full review of The Beach Plum Inn »

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