October 2012

Take me out to the ball game! cmannphoto/iStockPhoto

Game one of the 2012 World Series is going down tonight in San Francisco as the Giants take on the Detroit Tigers for (global?) supremacy. Though we here at Oyster are still mourning the Yanks not making the cut (we blame umpires, A-Rods, and ankles – in that order), it won’t stop us from tuning into this series with high hopes for some first-class baseball. And we’re also hoping to get the skinny on the first-class digs Verlander & Co. will be calling home during their stint in San Fran — as well which hotels are big enough to fit a roster full of Giants in Detroit. So we dug through the baseball archives and discovered the MLB’s favorite hotels while visiting these championship cities in the past. These hotels, not surprisingly, feature all kinds of ballplayer-approved amenities, including state-of-the-art fitness centers and luxe beds perfect for getting a good night’s sleep. The Giants and the Tigers definitely won’t be able to blame any lackluster performances on where they batter shack up. Read More »

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In our new series, Oyster Stats, we’re sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we’ve accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.

The presidential debates have everyone all hot and bothered, and understandably so. As Election Day nears, voters are left questioning their parties and searching for proof that the person they plan on voting for will be the best suited for the job. Well, we here at Oyster.com can’t guarantee that, but we have collected some interesting evidence that may have you looking at the election — and particularly your fellow voters — in a new light. Check out our findings below.

Finding: Swing state residents are swingers.

 

It may come as a surprise to you that those who live in the most indecisive states are also the most likely to decide to dabble in a swing-tastic lifestyle — or it may not. After all, the more options, the better! In our research, we found that a significantly larger percentage of Oyster.com viewers residing in the swing states were checking out hotels on our site that encourage open relationships — such as Desire Resort & Spa Los Cabos, Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, and Temptation Resort & Spa Cancun – than viewers in the red and blue states. So okay fine, we understand that this may not mean that swing state residents are actually more likely to be swingers. But it at least means that they’re more likely to have it on their minds!

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The Waterside Chapel at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, South Carolina is a charming place to say "I do."

This “inn” — which is really more akin to a sprawling estate – in Carolina Lowcountry is surrounded by natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes characterize this gorgeous property. The main building at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff (an Auberge resort) looks like a classic Southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and beautiful bathrooms. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed.

Many couples choose to get married at the inn, particularly those who are drawn to its Southern charm. Plus, the sunny South Carolina weather makes it a popular wedding destination year round (Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds said their “I dos” just a couple of weeks ago in Charleston). The Waterside Chapel, seen here, offers expansive views of the May River and moss-laden Spanish oaks. (Take a look inside the chapel, here.) After the ceremony, the quaint Village Square — nestled under massive branches of ancient oak trees — is an attractive spot for a champagne toast with guests. Couples can choose to either move the party inside — via horse and buggy, if so desired — to the elegant ballroom and oversized verandas of the River House, or continue the celebration outside under a starry Southern sky. First class service (including the help of an on-site wedding planner) and gourmet catering round out this luxurious wedding experience. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff here » Read More »

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The Jane Hotel may be a party spot, but you can only have a one-person party in this tiny room.

The Jane Hotel may be a party spot, but you can only have a one-person party in this tiny room.

Ah, New York. There’s really no place like it. It’s one of the only cities in the world where you can pay hundreds of dollars for a hotel room smaller than your office cubicle. We’re hardly exaggerating, and to prove it, we’ve rounded up our photos of some of the smallest hotel rooms we’ve ever seen. (It’s worth noting that good things can come in small packages, and if the price is right, some of these exceptionally teensy spaces can actually be good values.)

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Deluxe Room at the Hotel Brunelleschi; Florence, Italy Deluxe Room at the Hotel Brunelleschi; Florence, Italy

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Brunelleschi’s tower is the oldest standing building still in use in Florence.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The owners of Eden Roc: A Renaissance Resort and Spa in Miami recently attempted a hostile management takeover of the hotel by breaking into the Marriott’s offices.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston offers puppies to guests who miss their pets.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Two Law students from University of California – Berkeley were arrested after having been caught beheading a 14-year old helmeted guinea fowl at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Smyth Hotel’s Food Truck Concierge delivers guests’ favorite dishes from food trucks operating in the area to their rooms upon request.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The organic garden at Belize's Turtle Inn is just one of the resort's many eco-practices.

Belize is best known for its lush rain forests, Mayan ruins, and gorgeous barrier reef — one of the world’s best sites for snorkeling and scuba diving. As so much of the country’s tourism is dependent on its breathtaking natural surroundings, a determined commitment to eco-friendly practices can be found in most hoteliers throughout the country, and Oyster has stayed in everything from compact eco-lodges to rustic-luxe hideaways during our visits to this small Central American country. Check out photos of our favorite eco-friendly stays — and find out what exactly makes them green — in this slideshow:

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Berlin is the European capital of underground culture, hipster style, and well… currywurst. [Ed. note: It's the best, we promise.] But the city is also home to top-notch museums, world-class operas, cutting-edge architecture, and first-rate shopping. All of this would come at a high price in any other city, but Berlin is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe (although the city still has plenty of pricey luxurious spots). Still, it’s not always easy to tell if the budget-friendly spot you’ve found delivers on value as well.  So to help you out, we’ve picked out our favorite wallet-friendly hotels in Berlin that are places you’d actually want to spend a night in. Check them out and enjoy your stay!

Excelsior Hotel Berlin

Modern, stylish rooms have crisp white wedding and sepia photographs.

Modern, stylish rooms have crisp white wedding and sepia photographs.

The Excelsior Hotel Berlin is a 316-room contemporary property near Ku’Damm. The modern rooms feature crisp white bedding, plush accents, and striking sepia photographs. Room perks include free Wi-Fi (for the first 30 minutes each day), a big flat-screen TV, a minibar, and a coffeemaker. Renovated bathrooms are large, and some upgraded rooms come with spacious balconies. This stylish property has an appealing lobby with flickering candles and the Franke Brasserie has a nice gas fireplace. And with a cozy on-site bar, fitness room, sauna, and steam room, this hotel is packed with amenities and value.

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The hotel's main pool overlooks the private beach.

The hotel's main pool overlooks the private beach.

The 21-room GoldenEye is hands down Jamaica’s hippest and most luxurious resort. It’s also one of the island’s most historic, as the former home of Ian Fleming, and the hideaway at which the author scribed all 14 of his James Bond novels. Today, the property, which reopened in 2010 after an extensive $50 million renovation, includes stunning cottages and villas, two happening restaurants, a tree house spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities. But we’d forego the activities to lounge by the hotel’s tranquil pool which offers this gorgeous view of the hotel’s private beach. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the GoldenEye Hotel & Resort.

 

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We Americans love our coffee. After all, the average adult guzzles around 70 gallons of coffee a year – and spends over $1,000 annually on morning doses of caffeine. While the habit can be hard on your wallet, the health benefits of consuming coffee are numerous: Research shows it can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and heart disease. And particularly for business travelers who need to work through the night and then impress clients the next morning – all while recovering from jet lag – a ready cup of Joe is essential. We’ve found five of the best hotel coffee bars across the states so you can get that jolt you need without having to leave your hotel.

Best Coffee Bar for When You’re Burning the Midnight Oil:

Perks Coffee at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio

Perks Coffee at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio

Perks Coffee at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio

A popular business hotel – with amenities such as a full-service FedEx business center and modern meeting rooms – the Grand Hyatt also features Perks Coffee, a cute coffee-bar-meets-convenience-store. Along with coffee, Perks serves up tasty pastries and prepackaged sandwiches and salads, and best of all, it’s open around the clock so you can work through the night.

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