October 2012

If you have an upcoming vacay booked for the Caribbean, don’t despair — plenty of resorts are up and running after the storm. And even if you don’t have a trip planned, we know many travelers grow attached to their favorite hotels and vacation destinations; a reader wrote us just the other day asking how her favorite resort in Jamaica was doing post-Sandy. So Oyster.com decided to let her — and all of you — know how each of your favorite islands in the storm’s path fared, and share the recent social media updates from some of our favorite resorts in each place.

Jamaica

Sandy did make landfall in Jamaica as a Category 1 hurricane, and the island suffered one death and $16.5 million worth of worth of damage (crops such as coffee, bananas, and coconuts were all impacted). But tourist resorts for the most part were only minimally affected.

Half Moon had no damage aside from a few fallen tree limbs and debris and is fully operational.

Half Moon is fully operational, and had no damage aside from some fallen tree limbs and debris.

Oyster’s Post-Sandy Resort Pick: Half Moon, Jamaica

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

The election is only days away, but before you cast your ballot for Romney or Obama, we have an entirely different presidential face-off that requires your vote: Two of the world’s finest Presidential Suites are going head to head for your vacation dollars. These qualified candidates bring a different set of skills to the table, run on entirely different foundations, and boast excellent Junior Suite running mates for the job. And unlike the other election, nobody loses with one of these choices. To help you decide, we’ve asked each suite to give a final statement in its own words. (Yes, walls can talk.)

J.W. Marriott Essex House, New York City 

The Essex House Presidential Suite is conservatively luxurious

“My fellow Americans, I speak to today from this beautiful Central Park location in the great city of New York to tell you why I at the  J.W. Marriott Essex House should be voted the best Presidential Suite in the United States. Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Choosing the right hotel to host a convention is always a difficult feat and it often comes with a lot of pressure. After all, travelers worldwide spend a total of $249 billion on business travel annually, and a large portion of that goes towards hotel stays. But with over 458 million Americans attending overnight business trips annually, conventions are an everyday occurrence and planning one is merely a rite of passage in many companies. So we here at Oyster.com have created a little cheat sheet for those of you who may feel overwhelmed by the task. Whether your main goal is to impress your boss — or you want to use your planning power to find a spot where you can bring the kiddies along — this list will help you find the best convention center hotel for your company.

Best Hotel For Impressing the Boss: Four Seasons Hotel Denver

Few hotel chains are as impressive as the Four Seasons, and this one in Denver is no exception. Ultra-luxurious rooms (starting at 400 square feet and featuring up-to-date amenities), a heated outdoor pool, and a massive spa are all features that grant this hotel its five-pearl status. Plus, the Four Seasons is not only just a 5-minute walk from the Colorado Convention Center, but it offers a free shuttle and has over 17,000 square feet of meeting space on-site.

Your boss will be awed upon entering the sleek, streamlined lobby.

Your boss will be awed upon entering the sleek, streamlined lobby.

Standout feature: The on-site conference coordinator can not only assist with all of your convention needs, but will also plan day excursions, such as shopping trips and hiking, for spouses and families that come along.
Downside: Though special deals can be made for convention groups, Wi-Fi normally comes at an additional fee per device. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

The Wine Room at The St. Regis Atlanta; Atlanta, GA The Wine Room at The St. Regis Atlanta; Atlanta, GA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Some scenes of Flight, starring Denzel Washington and coming to theaters on November 2nd, were filmed at The St. Regis Atlanta.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Blancaneaux Lodge, owned by movie director Francis Ford Coppola, is home to the only natural waterfall in Belize.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Savoy Berlin’s ballroom is were Greta Garbo and Thomas Mann celebrated the reception after their wedding.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Diners at The Fairmont Kea Lani Maui’s restaurant had to be rushed to a safer area after the tsunami alert went off last Saturday due to the 7.7-magnitude earthquake that struck off the British Columbia coast.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown has offered a special $299-rate to flight passengers stranded in D.C. due to Hurricane Sandy.

Check out the answers after the jump!

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

We'd love to join those lucky vacationers in the Esperanza's infinity pool.

We'd love to join those lucky vacationers in the Esperanza's infinity pool.

This beautiful, luxurious resort is one of the nicest in Los Cabos. With just 75 rooms, it offers more of a home-y vibe than other high-end mega-resorts in the area but includes all of the amenities of a larger property. Rooms start at a spacious 925 square feet, and are decorated in traditional Baja style, with authentic artwork and wood detailing. They come with high-end electronics and decadent bathrooms, but the private terraces are arguably the highlight; all have at least partial ocean views (many have jaw-dropping ocean views), and some have whirlpools. The beach is secluded and gorgeous, and the resort’s pools are top-notch, with pool staff offering free treats — such as ice pops and fresh fruit — every hour. No wonder families and couples (including celebs such as LeAnn Rimes and hubby Eddie Cibrian) flock to the Esperanza year-round — we’d love to be there right now! So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Esperanza Resort.

{ 0 comments }

Ski resorts know that it’s not just the active traveler who frequents lodges these days. Couples looking to rekindle some romance in an outdoorsy setting — whether rustic or luxe or both — flock to these cold-weather enclaves for some indulgent private time. So skiing spots across North America have begun to focus more and more on charming features designed to help inspire some romance. Here are some of our favorites:

The Couple-Friendly Feature: Cozy Outdoor Firepit

The Hotel: Rusty Parrot Lodge and Spa 

Cuddle up in front of the fire at the Rusty Parrot, or take a late night dip in the whirlpool.

This boutique hotel in Jackson Hole is decidedly upscale, featuring rustic chic decor in super spacious, bright rooms (many of which have their own fireplaces). It includes all of the requisite apres-ski offerings: an ornate reading room with heavy leather chairs, a stylish bar manned by knowledgeable mixologists, and a delicious on-site restaurant, Wild Sage. This outdoor lounge deck with a whirlpool and fire pits, however, is our favorite feature for some couple’s canoodling.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Foto Friday: Name This City!

by Devon on October 26, 2012

Which pizza-loving, lakeside city do you think this is?

Despite its popular nickname, this town comes second to none.  As one our favorite major cities, this mystery town has the only river in the world that flows backwards (hint: it shares the city’s name), and has the largest library in the world! You probably know quite a few different monikers for it, but some lesser known names you may not have heard before include “The City of Broad Shoulders,” “The Big Onion,” and “Paris on the Prairie.”

Think you know? Find out after jump!

Read More »

{ 2 comments }

For a lot of employees, corporate retreats are dreaded events. And for good reason: At a bad corporate retreat, you might end up singing Kumbaya in the woods with your boss or falling backwards into the arms of a coworker to “build trust.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. At Oyster.com, we’ve covered some resorts that provide truly awesome settings for company getaways. The daily schedule may still be in your boss’s hands, but at least the resorts will make the probability of being able to squeeze in some fun much higher.

Best Corporate Retreats for…

An AIG-Style Luxury Bash

The Hotel: St. Regis Monarch Beach, Orange County

St. Regis Monarch Beach

St. Regis Monarch Beach, where AIG spent over $7,000 on golf fees alone for their executive retreat in 2008.

If you’re in the mood to party like it’s 2008, look no further than the St. Regis Monarch Beach. This is the high-end hotel where AIG reportedly spent over $400,000 on an executive retreat — less than a week after the government’s $85 billion bailout of the company. (The bill included over $23,000 in spa treatments; we guess the executives had a lot of de-stressing to do after their company nearly went down the toilet.) But hey, the times are a changin’ and 2012 has seen the return of luxury corporate retreats. So go on, celebrate the fact that your company is no longer facing imminent disaster (we hope). With a gorgeous 18-hole, ocean-view golf course, eight tennis courts, a renowned spa, an excellent business center with videoconferencing technology, and a high-tech boardroom, it’s the ideal setting for a decadent company getaway.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

With only 140 characters to spare (and that includes the requisite hashtags and handles), shaping the conversation about travel isn’t always easy. Luckily for us, Twitter has tons of accounts that influence, amuse, and inspire us in all of our worldly adventures. Here are ten of our favorite tweeters — and their hilarious tweets — who have given us new insights (and a whole lotta laughs) on our traveling journey. #ReadOn

Most Enviable Tweeter: Anthony Bourdain

Follow: @Bourdain

Travel Channel's Anthony Bordain gives the people what they want

As the Travel Channel’s rebellious alternative to Samantha Brown, No Reservations host Anthony Bourdain tweets read exactly how we want them to: Food porn, booze, cultural insight, restaurant recommendations, more booze, and nostalgic druggie flashbacks. Whether he’s recounting last night’s whiskey binge in Philly, or posting  pictures of his beef noodle entree in Taiwan, Bourdain’s  tweets make for a great nightcap on our feeds. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

The lobby has plenty of seating for people to meet with friends and check their email.

The lobby has plenty of seating for people to meet with friends and check their email.

Located in Murray Hill, the Affinia Shelburne is a bit of a hike from most popular tourist attractions, but this attractive, low-key property is a great value option. Many rooms — complete with bright decor and up-to-date electronics – are equipped with kitchenettes, and all are outfitted with “spa-like” bathrooms. Careful thought (and money) went into the rich black granite countertops, the marble-tiled bathtubs, and the tasteful lighting that grants a candle-lit glow. Plus, as an Affinia property, the hotel is extremely pet-friendly. But the real highlight here is the rooftop bar — a popular spot among tourists and locals on warmer nights — which offers gorgeous views of the New York City skyline, including the Chrysler building (many rooms have nice views as well). The on-site restaurant, Rare, serves up tasty fare in a casual setting and is known for its burgers. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

Read More »

{ 0 comments }