November 2012

The Penthouse at the Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Penthouse at the Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Eva Longoria was recently spotted at Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort & Spa with an unidentified new beau, with whom she reportedly canoodled by the pool.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Ritz-Carlton Washington’s $100,000 Access Package for Inauguration 2013 includes two first-class, round-trip, domestic-flight tickets, a four-night stay in a suite, and special access to the Capitol and Library of Congress.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Taj Boston’s Fireplace Butler builds and starts a fire for guests — who get their choice of wood from a Wood Menu [Ed. note: We know, we know, insert "that's what she said" pun here.] — in guests’ suites at no extra charge.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The InterContinental Miami has hired tennis player Anna Kournikova to redesign its two-story presidential suites, which feature striking views of Miami and Biscayne Bay.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo has introduced a program allowing guests to experience a tech-free vacation. Participating guests may leave their iPhones safely with the hotel and are given a free custom iPhone cover and a guide to 24 things they can do without technology at the resort.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Red rooftops against the backdrop of Tuscany's hills create the perfect sight to take in on your first morning in Florence.

Red rooftops against the backdrop of Tuscany's hills create the perfect sight to take in on your first morning in Florence.

There’s nothing better than, well, being on vacation in the first place — and then looking out of your hotel room’s window to a gorgeous view. We’ve seen plenty of beautiful sights on our travels, and we’ve taken in some of the most breathtaking views we’ve ever seen in Florence, a city characterized by red rooftops, cobblestone streets, and distant rolling hills. Check out some of the most bellissimo views we’ve seen in the Italian city.

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Escape to this pier that leads to nowhere -- except a gorgeous view over the ocean.

Escape to this pier that leads to nowhere -- except a gorgeous view over the ocean.

Located on a beach that’s ideal for tanning, kayaking, and taking in the view (some seaweed debris makes it less so for taking a dip), the Azul Sensatori Hotel is one of the many luxurious options in Puerto Morelos. But while some other resorts may be more luxe, few are as family-friendly. The all-inclusive resort offers plenty of amenities and services for those traveling with children, including a fabulous kids’ club with daily activities, a kiddy pool, a kid-size gym, a Fisher-Price toy lending program, and even a life-size Dora the Explorer running around. For the adults, the spa is airy and luxurious with soothing decor, and the adults-only pool is relaxing and serene. And the beach is gorgeous day and night, with soft sand and a picturesque pier for taking in the view. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Azul Sensatori.

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Business trips sometimes offer welcome changes of scenery — but long days chock-full of meetings, luncheons (where a permanent smile is required), and early-morning (or late-night!) workouts squeezed in at the hotel gym can make them downright exhausting. But if you’re lucky enough to be sent to a good destination, all the downsides can be worth the perks. Silicon Valley is a major business hub and, as such, most hotels in the area cater to those traveling for work with well-equipped gyms, up-to-date business centers, and comfortable rooms. And some also cater to those looking to let loose after a day of schmoozing meetings. After all — work hard, play hard — right? We’ve picked our favorite business hotels in Silicon Valley where mixing business with pleasure is easily done. Check ‘em out! And then get back to partying work.

Four Seasons Silicon Valley at East Palo Alto

Forget the indoor gym -- the Four Seasons has an outdoor fitness room by the pool.

Forget the indoor gym -- the Four Seasons has a fitness cabana by the pool.

This Four Seasons reflects the legendary service and commitment to quality of the luxury brand. Upscale touches are everywhere, from the beautifully manicured grounds to the sleek wood-paneled lobby to the spacious rooftop pool (where attendants offer guests free sunscreen). The spa, pool, and Quattro restaurant are all top-notch, and the rooms are bright and modern with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bathrooms with deep soaking tubs, and large flat-screen TVs.

Work: The hotel offers over 7,000 square feet of indoor meeting space, complete with ballrooms, flexible board rooms, and catering service.
Unwind: The stylish rooftop pool features private cabanas and bar service, as well as an outdoor workout area.

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Foto Friday: Name This City!

by Devon on November 23, 2012

Named after a nearby natural beauty, what gorgeous capital city is this?

Surrounded by gorgeous snow-capped mountains and boasting fresh Western air, it’s no surprise that this city is a popular vacation spot among outdoorsy types. What some visitors may not know, however, is that it’s the largest city to have hosted a winter Olympics, and it’s the site of the first Transcontinental Railroad connection.

Think you know? Find out after jump! Read More »

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This turkey wasn't as lucky as those pardoned by the president -- but it sure looks tasty! Photo Credit: istockphoto.com

This turkey wasn't as lucky as those pardoned by the President -- but it sure looks tasty! Photo Credit: istockphoto.com

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OYSTER.COM!

Take a whack at our Thanksgiving-themed trivia before carving up the turkey and chowing down:

1. As per tradition, the President pardoned two turkeys yesterday. This lucky duo was not only saved from the Thanksgiving table, but they also got to stay at a luxe Washington, D.C. hotel where they feasted on grains and cranberries. Which hotel served as their crashpad?

Find the answer here »

2. True to form, the Donald says he will not be doing any of the cooking this Thanksgiving, which he and his family are spending at one of his resorts. Which sunny locale has the Trump crew chosen to descend upon for the holiday?

Find the answer here »

3. The 86th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is filling the streets of New York City today. Which hotels offer rooms with views of the festivities?

Find the answer here »

4. Other countries celebrate their own Thanksgiving holidays. Where is it celebrated on the second Monday in October?

Find the answer here »

5. Although the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621, it was not declared a national holiday until over 200 years later. Which president made Thanksgiving a public holiday?

Find the answer here (scroll to second slide) »

 

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As the Hotel-Tell All, Oyster is very well-traveled when it comes to hotels. We’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, and the ugly. So around this time last year, we came up with a list of 11 things we hate about hotels. And trust us, we really hate them (don’t even get us started on daily resort fees…). But tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we realized that, sure, hotels can do some annoying things, but hotels give us plenty to be thankful for, too. So this time, we decided to come up with a list of 11 things we love about hotels.

11. 24-hour room service

Breakfast in bed at The Surrey in New York City

Breakfast in bed at The Surrey in New York City

Even Mom won’t whip up an omelet for us when we just gotta have one at 4 a.m. But at hotels with 24-hour room service, guests can have their pick of tasty treats no matter the time of day or night. And even better than 24-hour room service is 24-hour room service with a menu dreamed up by a celebrity chef. Hotels such as The Surrey and Mercer Hotel, both in New York City, are known for their celebrity chef restaurants and room service menus.

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The Wedding Pavilion at Ladera overlooks St. Lucia's awe-inspiring landscapes.

This unique luxury resort in St. Lucia provides a gorgeous, one-of-a-kind setting for an exchanging of “I dos.” The Ladera is made up of 32 one- and two-bedroom villas, each carefully carved into the surrounding hillside overlooking the island’s iconic twin Pitons. These villas – which have missing fourth walls, and in most cases, private plunge pools — are a main draw, as are the spectacular views and lush grounds. The resort also features some fabulous amenities, such as an infinity lagoon pool, a gorgeous open-air restaurant and bar, an (albeit tiny) open-air fitness center, and a lovely spa with black water soaking baths, perfect for calming any nerves before the big day. All of this comes at a price, but the Ladera nonetheless offers significantly cheaper (by about half) rates than the ultra-glam Jade Mountain. Ladera is also within close range of several of the island’s top tourist attractions: Notable cocoa plantations are within walking distance, the pristine white sands of Jalousie beach are a short drive away, and popular spots like the volcano and Tet-Paul nature trails are nearby — so you and your guests won’t lack for things to do before and after the wedding.

The resort boasts that weddings at Ladera are “perfect in every way” — and it’s pretty hard to dispute that claim. The Wedding Pavilion, seen here, overlooks the world heritage Piton Mountains, St. Lucia’s lush rain forests, and the Caribbean Sea 1,000 feet below. Ceremonies are as memorable as the setting, and are  arranged quite easily thanks to an on-site wedding specialist. There are three wedding packages couples can choose from, the most basic of which includes the handling of legal documents, securing a wedding officiant, and reserving the pavilion. The next tier includes the floral wedding arch, champagne and canapes, and a wedding cake, while the most extravagant package also includes floral arrangements, music (steel drums or a guitarist), a Romantic Bliss Massage for two, a private candlelight dinner for two with one bottle of Ladera wine, and a sunset cruise. For intimate, extravagant weddings — or elopements (sometimes you just gotta do it your way!) — there is no place more unique or stunning. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the Ladera Resort here »  Read More »

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Nowadays, more and more hotels are offering unique services to cater to their guests’ every whim. From surf butlers to in-house tattoo artists to pet psychics, the list of luxe hotel amenities is expanding rapidly (and, many would argue, getting more ridiculous over-the-top every day). Some of these may be gimmicks — seriously, The Ritz-Carlton South Beach, tanning butlers? — but other services are more than just asterisks on amenities lists. Dedicated to their craft and eager to educate others on their field, professionals from a variety of industries have been called on by some our favorite hotels to share their expertise— and we want to hear their stories. Our Q&A series provides an inside look at some of the most fun and, oft-times surprising, services hotels offer. (Check out our first installment, with the Affinia’s pet psychic, here.)

Tea Master Robert Rex-Waller will brew you a perfect cup of tea at the Park Hyatt Washington.

We recently interviewed Robert Rex-Waller, the resident tea expert at the Park Hyatt Washington. Tea experts, also known as tea masters or sommeliers, are growing in demand at luxury hotels around the globe. Brewing a perfect cuppa isn’t as simple as Lipton would have you believe, and that’s where experts such as Rex-Waller step in.

The Tea Cellar at the Park Hyatt Washington features over 50 rare and limited-production, single-estate teas from remote regions of China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and the Himalayas — and Rex-Waller is happy to help guests discover new, unique flavors during their visits, whether they order a calming pot of chamomile tea or a $300 pot of exclusive Pu-erh tea. Check out our interview with the tea expert after the jump. Read More »

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The Pool at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West L.A.

The Pool at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West L.A.

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Just in time for the holidays, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza has frozen over it’s pool so guests can ice-skate.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Tennis star James Blake is no longer on the market! He and longtime girlfriend Emily Snider (the couple has a five-month-old daughter) wed this month at the luxurious L’Auberge Del Mar in San Diego.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? New York City’s Hudson Hotel has opened a ski chalet-themed bar complete with twinkling lights, fur throws, and even man-made snow.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Intercontinental Miami now features an LED facade which lights up in sync with music blasting from the hotel’s lobby.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Gilt, The New York Palace‘s hip restaurant and bar which has been a frequent filming location on Gossip Girl, will close on December 15th.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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