August 2012

School may be back in session (groan…), but students don’t have to wait until Spring Break for their next set of adventures.  Though most colleges encourage students to venture out of the classroom for hands-on experience in with their majors, finding the funds isn’t easy on a student loan budget. That’s why we’ve found amazing value destinations for college students in need of a little field training. So close the books and get out on the road instead — it’s time to put those lessons into play!

Your Major: Business
The Place to Visit: Atlanta

Atlanta is an “alpha city” driven by several Fortune 500 companies

With a $304 billion economy and the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Atlanta is one of the most business-driven cities in the country. Hotlanta is known as an “alpha” city (i.e., an important economic city) thanks to major brands like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, and UPS setting up headquarters in the Georgia capital. So for business students trying to get some early networking experience, Atlanta is the best city to start handing out cards.

In the heart of Atlanta’s downtown Business District, this Marriott is an affordable option on a student budget, and boasts an impressive gym and business center – perfect for power-lunch prepping. Read More »

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Foto Friday: Caption This Photo!

by Devon on August 31, 2012

We can’t help but love us some eccentric décor. And when it comes to truly awe-inspiring (read: straight-up kooky) designs, few cities can top trendy Berlin. In one of the more, er, creative uses of space in the German capital, the Michelberger Hotel‘s courtyard has been converted into a giant-bird sanctuary, complete with an over-sized nest and egg. We just hope a mammoth birdbath arrives in time for our next visit — we’d love to take a dip!

The Michelberger Hotel keeps things interesting with this larger-than-life décor.

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

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The hotel's lobby combines funky new pieces with antiques to create a sleek look.

The hotel's lobby combines funky new pieces with antiques to create a sleek look.

The boutique-like Rocco Forte Hotel Savoy — with just over 100 rooms – is known for personalized service and contemporary style. Neutral tones and tasteful fabrics create an elegant look, and are livened up by colorful artwork throughout. The attached L’Incontro Bar and Restaurant features a renowned Tuscan menu created by Michelin-starred Chef Fulvio Pierangelini and a chic dining room that spills out onto the piazza during summer months. The hotel’s central location is a major draw, and most guest rooms offer spectacular views. Those facing front look out onto the piazza, which makes for a pretty vista, if a bit of noise during lively days and nights. Rooms in the rear overlook the stunning Duomo — even the fitness center has lovely views from its top-floor perch. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»
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Since the fall of the wall, post-Communist Berlin has become a thriving creative and cultural center, boasting an internationally renowned arts scene, first-rate shopping, legendary nightlife, and ultra-modern architecture. It is also a major business hub, attracting suits and ties from across the globe. But alongside these modern digs is historical Berlin: iconic sights like the Brandenburg Gate and the East Side Gallery attract families and backpackers alike to this European capital. Such a diverse crowd means extraordinarily diverse lodgings. From luxe suites to hipster hovels (very attractive hovels, though), there is a “best” hotel for everyone in Berlin. Here are our favorites:

Berlin’s Gilded Grande Dame: The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin

The Grand Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin

The Grand Suite at The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin

Classic elegance: that’s the name of the game at The Rtiz-Carlton, Berlin. Featuring mahogany furniture, plush bedding, and massive marble bathrooms like the one seen here, this is easily one of Berlin’s most luxurious properties. And the grandeur doesn’t come without modern amenities: Wi-Fi, touch-screen controls, and large flat-screen TVs are available in each room and guests have access to a large spa, indoor pool, sauna, and fitness center as well. The upscale French brasserie, tea lounge, and British gentlemen’s club-inspired bar are the icing on the oh-so-delicious cake. This is definitely the frontrunner for those guests seeking a luxe experience in the German capital.

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When planning a destination wedding, the first locations that come to mind are likely postcard-perfect beaches in the Caribbean or some other exotic sandy setting. However, if you’re not quite ready to spend a fortune — or you don’t want to put that burden on your guests — there are tons of gorgeous, inexpensive (or shall we say, less expensive) destinations in the U.S. that make for memorable weddings. And it’s always nice a change of scenery! Just because you’re not Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner doesn’t mean you can’t have your own beautiful destination wedding, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite spots for a more affordable event to help you decide.

Destination #1: Vermont

Vermont, with its quaint villages and scenic landscapes, is probably your best bet for a back-to-nature inspired wedding. If you can totally see yourself posing for the pre- or post-wedding photos along tumbling streams, thick woodlands and gorgeous views, search no more. Its small, cozy inns and B&B’s are perfect for intimate weddings and small receptions, and the green meadows and steep mountains make for great backgrounds when saying your “I Do’s.” You will probably need a car or a shuttle to move your guests around, as Burlington’s is the only major airport serving the entire state, but the scenery and the vibe will prove to be well worth it.

Oyster’s Fave Value Wedding Spot: Swift House Inn

The Swift Room at the Swift House Inn; Mid Vermont, VT

Vermont's kitschy B&Bs are perfect venues for intimate weddings and family affairs.

The historic Swift House Inn is located within walking distance of downtown Middlebury, a picturesque New England town, with traffic-free streets lined by locally owned shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The hotel’s 20 rooms are spread throughout the Main House (formerly a Governor’s Mansion), the Carriage House, and the Gate House. Room decor varies, allowing guests to choose a room depending on personal style. Some rooms offer a classic New England B&B vibe with floral wallpaper, fireplaces, and four-poster beds, while others are more understated, with soft-toned walls and tasteful furniture. One of the inn’s highlights is its delicious and free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant, Jessica’s, is a popular destination for both guests and locals.

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Ask Oyster: Get Nude Credit: iStock Photo

Welcome to our new series, Ask Oyster! Have a burning travel question you’d like answered? Contact us and put “Ask Oyster” in the subject line.

Dear Oyster,

My husband and I have always wondered what it would be like to try the nude lifestyle on vacation, but I have no idea what kind of resorts might offer this. (And I would be a bit embarrassed to call up a hotel and ask!) What are my options?

–Uses Lots of Sunscreen

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WET Republic pool parties are one of the main draws at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino WET Republic pool parties are one of the main draws at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Tickets for the WET Republic pool party at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas cost as much as spending a weekday night in a Standard Room.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Trump SoHo New York will offer free beauty treatments for Fashion’s Night Out to non-guests on a first-come, first-serve basis.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Only about half of the 100 “budget design” hotels Ikea announced plans to build across Europe will feature the Swedish company’s furniture.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa just got the green light to replace one of its historic 8-story wings with a 26-story tower fronting Waikiki Beach.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Guests who book a 50- or 80-minute treatment at the Ink48’s spa can get a second one and pay only that day’s high temperature.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Playa Virador at the Four Seasons Costa Rica

Playa Virador at the Four Seasons Costa Rica

Costa Rica‘s popularity with tourists is ever-growing, and it’s easy to see why: This lush Central American country is home to a wealth of natural wonders, from misty cloud forests to white-sand beaches to active volcanoes. The wildlife here is incredibly rich, and most visitors will spot fauna like monkeys and toucans. The variety can be a little overwhelming, so to make it easier, we’ve shared some of our top activity picks and let you know where to stay nearby.

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This week’s moment of bliss comes from the Four Seasons Resort Nevis, a small Caribbean island known for its chill vibe. And although the gorgeous rooms may be the highlight — they’re equipped massive bathrooms, Ralph Lauren-like decor, and large flat-screen TVs — we’re lusting after a spot on one of these lounge chairs, and, naturally, a dip in the calm ocean waters. On-site amenities are bountiful here, but who really needs tennis courts, 18-hole golf course, or three stunning pools when we’ve got a beach like this to lie on? So as we say every week, sit back, take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy the goodness that is the Four Seasons Resort Nevis.

The waters in Nevis are remarkably calm -- and kind of feel like a bathtub.

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Several celeb couples have honeymooned at this gorgeous California property.

Several celeb couples have honeymooned at this gorgeous California property.

Celebrities always travel in style, and we love checking out where they stay when on a getaway from the spotlight. So in this honeymoon edition of our (constant) celeb watch, we explore the gorgeous hotels where some of our favorite celebs celebrated their first days of wedded bliss. Sure, some didn’t last, but it’s not like these hotels are to blame. In fact, they’re probably responsible for the happiest days of the marriage! Take note, Jen and Justin: these spots will deliver the star treatment during your honeymoon.

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