September 2012

Dublin charms visitors with its small town feel, Georgian architecture, and hopping pubs. But it’s had the (sometimes unfair) reputation of being home to cheap, crash pad-style accommodations for decades. We’re here to set the record straight: In the last few years, Dublin’s hotel scene has become much more exciting and posh, despite the country’s economic struggles. Beautiful, cutting-edge hotels — comparable to those in other European capitals – have begun to spring up and some of our favorite accommodations are the city’s many gorgeous boutiques. There’s one for every taste and budget, so check out six of our faves below and let us know which you like best in the comments section!

Dylan Hotel

The Dylan Restaurant serves a healthy menu in a relaxed but chic atmosphere.

The Dylan Restaurant serves a healthy menu in a relaxed but chic atmosphere.

Stylish rooms have bold headboards, flat-screen TVs, and stocked minibars.

Stylish rooms have bold headboards, flat-screen TVs, and stocked minibars.

The Dylan Hotel is a stylish 44-room boutique with a quiet and safe location in Dublin 4, an upscale neighborhood a short walk from the city center. Each room has been individually styled with a mix of whimsical decor — artistic headboards, intricate mirrors, statement chairs — and classic pieces. Amenities are fantastic for such a small property. In the room, there are flat-screen TVs, iPod docks (with iPods loaded with historical Dublin walking tours), stocked minibars, and bathrooms with underfloor heating. Some bathrooms also have big, luxurious soaking tubs with small flat-screen TVs. Amenities in the hotel include a fitness room, cozy bar, heated outdoor terrace, solid restaurant, and 24-hour room service.

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Foto Friday: Caption This Photo!

by Devon on September 28, 2012

Watch out for free-falling guests at Hotel Punta Islita in Costa Rica

The ruggedly luxurious Hotel Punta Islita in the remote Guanacaste province is absolutely gorgeous — and  a bit rocky and bumpy! But the hotel has taken extensive steps to to ensure that their guests don’t have any missteps off of, say, a cliff (yikes!) by marking plenty of warning signs like the one above. Or maybe this rustic hideaway is just be trying to tell us about the new trampoline ahead!

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

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We love when hotels feature one-of-kind amenities — many of which tread the line between amazing and ridiculous (not that they can’t be both). While W hotels are known for  their Whatever/Whenever service – which promises to accommodate any (legal) guest requests at any time, and the Sound Your Stay rock star treatment at Hard Rock Hotels — complete with free Fender guitars rentals — is pretty awesome, it’s the wildly decadent, completely over-the-top amenities we love best when visiting our favorite hotels. Here’s just a taste of some of the creative ways hotels are keeping guests happy with some unnecessary [Ed. note: Or are they?] but incredible hotel indulgences.

What: Surf Butler

Why carry your surf board when the St. Regis surf butler can?

 

Where: The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, Orange County

St. Regis hotels are known for their top-notch butler service, which even uses eButlers to receive requests via e-mail. With such attentive service throughout the luxury chain, it’s no wonder that oceanfront St. Regis hotels, like the Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County, offer surf butlers. Before your lesson in hanging ten, the surf butler will take your measurements for your wetsuit and bring all necessary equipment right down to the sand so you won’t have to lift a finger — your focus should be on catching some gnarly waves anyways, dude! Read More »

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Funky lighting creates a sexy vibe in the hotel's lobby.

Funky lighting creates a sexy vibe in the hotel's lobby.

The 57-room Lennox Hotel Buenos Aires is located in the central Congreso area, close to government offices. Quirky decorations and artwork, interesting wall patterns, and unusual color schemes make a stay here a distinct and memorable experience — from the spacious lobby dressed in sleek shades of black, to the chic, dramatically lit private outdoor garden. All aesthetics aside, the hotel also offers top-notch comfort, luxury, and hospitality. There’s a restaurant serving international dishes using local ingredients, a free breakfast buffet with fresh fruits and hot eggs, and a spa for relaxation. And the rooms — large and stylishly furnished like the rest of the property — come with kitchenettes, big closets, iPod docks, and quaint dining areas.  See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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If you’ve ever planned a wedding — or have known a person who planned a wedding, or have known a person who knew a person who planned a wedding — you know that they don’t come cheap. There’s the flowers, the band, the dress, the menu; it may be the best day of your life but it also may be one of the most expensive, especially if you’re pining for a destination wedding on the sand. But don’t worry: We here at Oyster are all about “making it work” [Ed. note: Is Tim Gunn still a thing? We certainly hope so] and we’ve found four beach destinations that won’t empty your — or your guests’ — wallets. From Belize to Destin, you can have your cake (beachside) and afford it, too!

Beach Wedding Destination #1: Dominican Republic

This 16th-century cathedral in La Romano would be a beautiful spot for an intimate exhange of "I dos."

This 16th-century cathedral in La Romano would be a beautiful spot for an intimate exchange of "I dos."

The Dominican Republic almost always makes the list of affordable beach destinations. Not only is it relatively easy to get to — with direct flights leaving from the U.S. and Europe daily – but it is filled with all-inclusive resorts, many of which offer affordable package deals. Plus, conveniently for couples on a tight budget, wedding peak season falls largely during the D.R.’s off season, which means cheaper flights, cheaper room rates, and more tranquil hotel atmospheres for your big day. Sure, June through September can be very hot and humid, and hurricanes are a possibility in the later months, but c’mon, what’re the chances?!

Where to Stay: Now Larimar

The white sand beach at the Now Larimar provides the perfect setting for a casual wedding.

The white-sand beach at the Now Larimar provides the perfect setting for a casual wedding.

This all-inclusive property in Punta Cana has an upscale vibe while still offering affordable rates — one of the many reasons why it’s a popular choice for weddings, and hosts up to several a day. With a recently renovated spa and a dedicated wedding coordination team, the hotel offers three wedding packages, all of which include the help of the wedding planner, the bouquet, and the cake — and as we just got back from a recent visit to the resort, we can vouch for its tasty desserts! Check back at Oyster.com soon to see new photos of the Now Larimar, including more beautiful shots of the beach, pools, spa, and rooms!

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In honor of LiLo’s most recent snafu, we at Oyster.com decided to take a look back at the most memorable celebrity uh-ohs in hotel history. And trust us, there have been plenty. After all, when celebs basically live in hotels, they’re bound to get a little rowdy, rude, rambunctious — you name it — while staying in a luxe spot. And though Lindz may have it down to a science these days, she’s only following the example set by numerous celebs before her who have taken their star status a little too far. Trashed suites, accosted employees, terrified hookers — plenty of celebrities have left quite a wake behind them in some of the ritziest hotels in the country. So okay, Lohan may not be the “hotel havoc” trailblazer, but since she’s been doing such a fine job with it recently, we’ll start with her.

The Celeb: Lindsay Lohan

The Hotel: Dream Downtown

LiLo is just one of many celebs who like to party at the Dream. It's nightclub is a highlight, but stars such as Mark Ruffalo have been spotted dining in the hotel's restaurant.

LiLo is just one of many celebs who like to party at the Dream. Its nightclub is a highlight, but stars such as Mark Ruffalo have also been spotted dining in the hotel's restaurant.

The Offense: Just last week, Lohan was arrested after a hit-and-run outside of the hip Dream Downtown. After the actress [Ed. note: She still acts, right?] spent the night partying it up at the hotel’s exclusive nightclub, she hopped into her Porsche to call it a night. And we guess she was really ready to get home, because despite reportedly hitting a restaurant employee (who sustained a knee injury), she continued to speed away. NYPD later arrested Lohan on charges of causing an injury and leaving the scene of an accident.

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Lobby at Liberty Hotel; Boston, MA

Lobby at Liberty Hotel; Boston, MA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Liberty Hotel in Boston was busted last month for offering guests a welcome glass of champagne, which violates a Massachusetts law that bans free liquor.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The new “Stay Well Rooms” at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas include amenities such as shower water infused with vitamin C to promote healthy hair and skin.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel St. George in Brooklyn was New York’s smallest hotel in the 1940’s, with just two rooms and a tiny bar.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Throughout September and October, guests staying at participating Kimpton Hotels can learn kitchen knife skills with lessons from the property’s chef.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Mindy Kaling and John Mayer were spotted making out at the Trump SoHo New York’s new restaurant, Koi.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The AVE links Madrid with Barcelona and Sevilla in less than 3 hours. Credit: istockphoto/Holger Mette

The AVE links Madrid with Barcelona and Seville in less than 3 hours. Credit: istockphoto/Holger Mette

Visiting our neighbors “across the pond” isn’t just a hop, skip, and a jump that the saying makes it sound: It involves long (and expensive) flights, long lines in customs, and plenty of seat-of-your-pants transfers and transactions. But Europe is a lifetime must-see and Spain is one of its most diverse and fascinating countries. So how do you possibly see all it has to offer during a week-long vacay?  Well, the reliable, high-speed AVE trains certainly help. The country’s top destinations – Barcelona, Madrid and Seville – are all within 3 hours of each other by way of the AVE, which makes it easy and fast to discover this trio of cities in just one trip. Of course you could spend years in the country and still be discovering new spots each day, but our Oyster guide offers a solid itinerary for each city that includes the three attractions you just can’t miss — and still allows you enough time to enjoy some tapas al fresco. And, as hotel experts, we let you know the best places to stay, to boot. Pack your bags — and don’t forget this guide! You’re Spain-bound, baby. Read More »

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The world has been abuzz since Apple introduced the new Apple Maps — and the chatter has not been positive. As we’re sure you’ve heard, this map app won’t be too helpful if you need, well, an accurate map. Instead, flubs such as roundabout directions, museums pinned in the middle of the ocean, and a whole list of destinations that can’t be found add up to making Apple Maps a real flop. But hey – it certainly can be entertaining (that is, if you’re not in a rush to actually arrive at a certain location). We had some fun finding just where Apple Maps would send you if you were trying to get to some of our favorite hotels. Enjoy!

The Hotel: Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic

Heading to the luxurious Casa de Campo on the coast of La Romana? Apple Maps will only get you as far as the La Romana airport, so that 10+ mile drive to the resort is up to you to figure out!

Look at what you’re missing!

The Beach at Casa de Campo

The Beach at Casa de Campo

See more gorgeous photos (and an accurate map) of Casa de Campo here.

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What we'd give to be on that pier right now!

What we'd give to be on that pier right now!

Belize may be known for its lush rainforests and Mayan ruins, but its beaches are beautiful as well. Just take a look at the sandy shores at the luxurious Turtle Inn, owned by the Coppola family. An intimate resort set alongside a beautiful stretch of the Caribbean Sea near Placencia, this romantic spot caters to couples with its peaceful setting and Balinese-style private cottages and villas. Three restaurants, two bars, two outdoor pools and a number of guided tours and excursions make the resort feel much bigger than it actually is. And excellent snorkeling and scuba diving at the Belize Barrier Reef is a just short boat ride away — although you may just wanna sink your toes in the sand or lie back on the sun-drenched pier. Either way, as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Turtle Inn.

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