September 2012

Barcelona is arguably Spain’s most cosmopolitan and trendy city [Ed. note: And as a native of Madrid, that's hard to admit]. Its laid-back — yet upscale – atmosphere, stunning architecture and great food make it the top destination in Spain, and a must-see stop on tours of Europe. Millions of tourists pour into the city’s sunny streets every year, and thus there are plenty of hotels from which to choose. However, we gotta say — the best way to dive right into Barcelona’s cool vibe is by staying in one of its outstanding boutique hotels, where the experience feels the most authentic. Check out some of our favorites below!

Abac Barcelona

ABaC Spa features a Jacuzzi with underwater loungers, a hammam, and two treatment cabins.

ABaC Spa features a Jacuzzi with underwater loungers, a hammam, and two treatment cabins.

Upscale avant-garde rooms are white and beige with purple accents

Upscale avant-garde rooms are white and beige with purple accents.

This exclusive, 15-room luxury boutique embodies contemporary style at its best, making it a natural fit in a city that treasures design. Rooms are avant garde, from the clean, white and beige decor, to the modern under-lighting, from the remote-controlled blinds, to the Bang & Olufsen sound system. And the hotel’s amazing spa with Turkish baths shouldn’t be missed, nor should the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.

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Foto Friday: Caption This Photo!

by Devon on September 21, 2012

Expect the unexpected on the streets of Miami.

From the looks of this pic, it seems that opposites really do attract. We ran into our tough-meets-fluff friends on the streets of Miami, where playful Foofers and her mean-muggin’ buddy took some time to enjoy a walk around the gorgeous South Beach neighborhood. Though we aren’t exactly sure where these two are headed, we’re positive they’ll be able to turn some heads no matter where they end up.

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

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What we would give to be snuggled up in one of those velvet chairs!

What we would give to be snuggled up in one of those velvet chairs!

Gone are the days of summer. And while we look back with nostalgia (it’s easy to forget how brutal the heat was once it’s gone, right?), we here at Oyster are already looking forward to fall: Pumpkin bread, hot apple cider, a good book…and the best way to round out this autumnal trifecta is with a crackling fire, of course. It’s time to get cozy: Warm up with a peak at our favorite hotel fireplaces across the country.

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When we visited Forty Putney, the snow was just starting to clear. But the next couple of months would be a beautiful time to visit as the leaves change.

When we visited Forty Putney, the snow was just starting to clear. But the next couple of months would also be a beautiful time to visit as the leaves change.

The temperatures are changing across the states and the cooler weather has us pining for New England — after all, there are few places that can do autumn much better. So we would love to be able to hit the road and head to Forty Putney Road Bed and Breakfast in Southern Vermont — just under a four-hour drive  from New York City — for a weekend getaway. This small, riverfront B&B with lovely natural scenery features fresh, understated decor and cozy accents (many rooms have fireplaces). A free two-course, gourmet breakfast is a highlight here, along with the intimate pub complete with a long list of local brews. No children under 12 are allowed at the inn, encouraging a romantic stay. Like most B&Bs, Forty Putney does not have a fitness center or spa. However, perks here include rooms stocked with free goodies like snacks and drinks, and an indoor Jacuzzi overlooking the grounds. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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Sometimes the honeymoon isn’t about the locale (OK, well maybe a little bit), but rather about the hotel itself. Some of the finest properties around the globe are offering up unique, sexy services to ignite their burning desires (and/or fires). And rather then spend every last minute planning your honeymoon when you have SO MUCH ELSE to do, we figured we’d finagle the deets for you in advance. So brides, sit back, relax and enjoy these ideas brought to you by hotels across the globe. You can thank them later when you’re just positively glowing.

1. Book your stay at an adults-only resort.
Try: Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados

Beach at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion, Barbados

The beach's umbrellas seat two. Coincidence? We think not.

Sprawling across 11 acres on the west coast of Barbados, the property is situated closer to the waterfront than others in the area, due to it being built before legislation forced future resorts to build further inland. The pink Colonial-style Fairmont Royal Pavilion feels quite romantic thanks to its design and offers two restaurants and bars, as well as free afternoon tea on the terrace. Because there are only 72 rooms, the beach never feels crowded. Excellent amenities include an outdoor pool , tennis courts , and free non-motorized water sports. Plus, NO ONE under the age of 18 is permitted at the resort. Did someone say bliss?

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The Grand Tuscan Suite at Villa D' Citta features a romantic fireplace in addition to the hotel's standard amenities.

Flights to Europe are pricey. Flights to Chicago? Not as much. The Windy City might be smack dab in the middle of the country, but that doesn’t mean it lacks for Old World charm. The six-room Villa D’ Citta is a cozy, romantic bed-and-breakfast located in Chicago’s residential Lincoln Park neighborhood — and it’s bringing a little slice of Italia to the Midwest. For the couple with Europe on the mind but a stateside budget, this is an excellent pick. Its few features are all charming: an outdoor whirlpool and sun deck, a brick courtyard with a barbecue, and a large gourmet kitchen. The bright, luxurious rooms have big flat-screen TVs and hardwood floors, but two of them share a bathroom. These might be fine for the bridal party, but the bride and groom will relax in more private quarters, featuring deep soaking tubs and separate steam showers, fireplaces, terraces, and canopy beds.

The entire hotel can be reserved for private events — weddings included, of course. With only six rooms, it means keeping the party on the small side and reserving way in advance. But the intimate gathering will be a cherished event, especially for those seeking a quiet kind of luxury over exorbitant glitz on their big day. Because the hotel is so small, it also means bringing in a lot of your own vendors, but the dedicated staff will work to help couples as much as they can. So if you’re looking for European luxury sans a plane ticket, be sure to check out this Chicago outpost. See more wedding-inspired photos of the hotel here » Read More »

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The Vivien Leigh Suite at the Draycott Hotel; London, UK

The Vivien Leigh Suite at the Draycott Hotel; London, UK

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lady Gaga recently gifted a UK couple celebrating their wedding at London’s Draycott Hotel a night in the Vivien Leigh Suite.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The NYLO Dallas South Side, which opened near the Dallas Convention Center a few weeks ago, is the first hotel to be built in South Dallas in over 60 years.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Guests enjoying afternoon tea at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong will also enjoy receiving a free Marc Jacobs “Lindy” handbag (while supplies last) as part of the hotel’s latest partnership with the designer.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix has just launched its own bourbon, created in collaboration with Kentucky’s famed Woodford Reserve Distillery.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? In an effort to stay away from booze, Britney Spears now requires her room’s minibar to be cleared of all alcoholic contents before she arrives.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Before they can even think about taking up residence at the White House (or, in Barack’s case, renewing any magazine subscriptions), presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to earn the comfy D.C. digs. Election season is heating up and the two have been on the campaign trail for months, spending night after night on the road in hotels across the country. And though their campaign accommodations may pale in comparison to one of the most famous addresses in the world, neither contender is losing any sleep at these luxe hotels that line the road to the White House.

The White House is up for grabs, and Romney and Obama are on on the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Prost! Oktoberfest attendees cheers in Munich. Credit: Nikada/iStockPhoto

Sixteen days, over five million people, and — most importantly – seven million liters of beer: That’s Oktoberfest in Munich. What began as a wedding celebration in 1810 [Ed. note: Sounds like a fun wedding!] has grown into the world’s largest fair, attracting locals and tourists to the Bavarian city every September and October to down tasty traditional treats followed by long swigs of brew. Sound amazing? Yea, it’s pretty hard to beat. But nonetheless, it has inspired copycats all over the world, and they’re doing a pretty darn good job at keeping up. From Santiago to Hong Kong, Bavarian aficionados have hosted their own Oktoberfests for years: Some are traditional, some not so much, but they all harken back to their Munich origins in one way or another. So if you can’t make it to Germany this year, don’t fret. We have the scoop on the most wunderbar Oktoberfests across the globe — and the best hotels for sleeping off those delicious Bavarian brews. Prost! Read More »

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This week’s Monday dose of goodness comes from the 120-room St. Regis, set in the posh Punta Mita area of Puerto Vallarta. Besides having a pristine, private, white-sand beach, this luxury resort offers up three distinct — and gorgeous — pools, world-class golfing, and rooms that looked ripped straight from the pages of a decor magazine. It’s the extra attention to detail that really lets us unwind when we’re on vacation — and the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort does all that. So as we say every week, take a deep breath, relax, and soak in the Monday morning bliss that is the beach at the St. Regis Punta Mita.

Beach at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Riviera Nayarit

Beach at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, Riviera Nayarit

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