December 2012

Legend has it that when Dom Perignon first discovered champagne, he called out, “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” It’s hard to disagree with the Frenchman — a cool glass of bubbly can make even the most stoic person let loose a giggle or a smirk. And this is doubly true on New Year’s Eve. Tonight, 2013 will be rung in with champagne toasts around the world, and the best place to do just that? In a swanky champagne bar right in the comfort of your very own hotel, of course! On-site champagne lounges provide uniquely festive ambiances and make stumbling home post-festivities all the easier. Some of our favorite luxury hotels feature these sophisticated spots, so sit back, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and start spying for someone to kiss at midnight. It’s almost 2013 — Happy New Year!

PJ Lounge at the Dukes Hotel, London

The PJ Lounge at the Dukes is a classy spot to ring in the New Year.

While Dukes may be famous for its martinis — James Bond-creator Ian Flemming originated the famous “Shaken, not stirred” line here — its newest addition to the fold is serving up the finest champagne and champagne cocktails. The Perrier-Jouet Champagne Lounge (or, more simply, the PJ Lounge) is a stylish space, outfitted in rich greens, with bright pops of pinks and whites, to sip some bubbly. The bar is classic and playful all at once, just as any New Years Eve affair should be. Read More »

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The pool at Newstead has gorgeous views.

The breezy, laid-back Newstead Belmont Hills Golf Resort & Spa is one of Bermuda’s only properties built within the last decade, and modern rooms, gourmet dining, a serene spa, and a spectacular infinity-edge pool prove it has raised the luxury bar for Bermuda’s more seasoned resorts. And with such gorgeous views, the pool makes us just want to lounge on a recliner all day and soak up the sun. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Newstead Belmont Hills.

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Most of us will spend Monday night popping bottles of (cheap) champagne, passing cheese platters, or ordering in MSG-loaded Chinese food. Regardless of which indulgence you chose, there’s definitely at least a tinge of holiday hangover – alcoholic or otherwise. Start the year off right by heading to one of these super-sleek spas in a city near you.

The spa bathroom at the Beverly Wilshire; Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES: The Spa at the Beverly Hills Wilshire
The Detox Treatment: The Detox Massage ($180 for 60 minutes)

The Deal: As if complimentary use of the 8,000-square foot spa’s saunas, steam rooms, and experience showers (which feature the likes of colored lighting and variable pressure) wasn’t rejuvenating enough, every treatment here is top-notch, which is why we’d head straight for a Detox Massage. Therapists at the Rodeo Spa use specific massage techniques to flush out kidney, liver and other bodily toxins that will relax your mind, too.
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While there are many great budget-friendly hotels in the Caribbean, the islands are also known for their luxury properties, where guests are treated to day trips aboard yachts, couples are offered massages in sumptuous spas, and rooms are twice the size of a New York apartment (although, we guess it’s not too hard to be). We’ve compiled a list of our favorite luxury hotels in the Caribbean so you can start planning what to do after your new year’s resolution of winning the lottery (that’s not a new year’s resolution, but, really, who hasn’t had that on the list for at least a decade?) comes true.

One&Only Ocean Club – Bahamas

All guests have a butler on call 24/7 assigned to their room upon arrival.

All guests have a butler on call 24/7 assigned to their room.

Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the 105-room Ocean Club’s personal butlers, beautiful pools (one for adults, one for families), restaurant from Jean-Georges, and access to Atlantis’s water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean’s best resorts.

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While some travelers love the pampering and convenience of all-inclusive resorts, other opt for the intimacy and individuality of a boutique stay. For those who choose resorts, all-inclusive options allow for a hassle-free vacation with pre-planned activities, meals, and excursions. And for the fans of boutiques, nothing beats charming character and a unique ambiance, mixed with the personal attention that comes with having fewer guests. So whether you’d rather have a massive resort as your playground, or cozy accommodations at a boutique, Oyster wants to know which adventure you choose. Take a look at the options below in the Caribbean destination of Nevis and then enter your answer in the comments section.

Option 1: An all-inclusive romp at the resort

This luxe Caribbean resort has tons to offer.

Resort pick: Four Seasons Resort Nevis

This 192-room mega-resort has all the top-notch amenities you would expect from a Four Seasons resort: three on-site restaurants and inclusive options that include three pools, 10 tennis courts, kids and teen activities, a golf course, gorgeous spa facilities, and tons of watersports.  Read More »

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Celebrity chef restaurants have fast-become the brag-worthy accessory to luxury hotels. Nowadays, the likes of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gordon Ramsay call multiple hotel kitchens home, but the ultimate indulgence comes when you can chow down on fame-broiled [Ed. Note: We couldn't help ourselves] chateaubriand in the comfort of your very own suite. The hotels with the most bragging rights are going a step above by not only offering a gourmet experience in the dining room, but delivered to your door as well. Oyster has had the pleasure of sampling many delicious celebrity chef room service menus. Check out six of our favorites here:

Celebrity Chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten

A private dinner in paradise just got even more delicious, courtesy of Jean-Georges.

The Hotel: One&Only Ocean Club

Bringing a sense of tranquility to the otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the One&Only Ocean Club’s personal butlers, beautiful pools, and access to Atlantis’s water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean’s best resorts. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Dune restaurant is just the icing on the cake at this luxe resort. But what delicious icing it is — that you can have delivered straight to your room. Serving innovative French-Asian cuisine punctuated with Bahamian herbs and influences, Dune offers a mouth-watering and chic dining experience, suite-side.

Oyster’s Menu Pick: Roasted Peking duck with shallot confit, asparagus, shitake, and lilly bulb stir fry.

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The beach is peaceful and has tons of on-site watersports.

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 overlooking a private beach and lagoon, as well as two happening restaurants, two pools, a tree house spa, and an extensive roster of on-site activities. The rates might cause some to flinch, but those who can afford it will find little cause for complaint. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now »

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The Best Travel Tweets of 2012

by Devon on December 26, 2012

Whether our favorite tweeters are giving us drunken live updates from their planes, or just making us super jealous from their private island vacations in the Caribbean, we can’t get enough of their 140 character e-postcards. And 2012 saw its share of great travel tweets from all types of tweeters. Check out some of our favorites below!

1. Jenny Johnson on every flyers worst nightmare

Comedy writer Jenny Johnson always knows how to make us laugh with her sharp observational humor and sarcastic wit, so we love when she takes a crack at her fellow passengers. In this case, it’s that guy we all know who just doesn’t know when to check his over-sized carry-on (although we can’t blame him for trying). Read More »


Views at this romantic resort are breathtaking.

The Salish Lodge & Spa, situated in a gorgeous spot overlooking the falls in Snoqualmie, is about a 40-minute drive from Seattle. The historic property originally opened with only eight rooms back in 1916, and continues to be a popular romantic getaway and wedding destination today. The restaurants feature beautiful views and the elegant spa has numerous signature treatments (including one with homemade honey!). Sexy rooms have wood-burning fireplaces and peek-a-boo bathrooms with two-person tubs, perfect for couples. The entire property has a soothing, rustic-luxe style; features such as stone fireplaces, stacked firewood, cashmere throws, bookcases, and warm, earth tones complement the outdoor scenery. And newlyweds can indulge in the lodge’s famous four-course breakfast before heading out to the many nearby outdoor activities.

All of this luxury comes at a price, and a daily resort fee on top seems excessive — but then, this lodge is one of the most romantic destinations in the Pacific Northwest. The Salish offers a variety of romance packages geared toward couples, which often include the services of a Bath Butler, chocolate lollipops with honey and cinnamon, champagne and keepsake flutes, and a copy of Dr. Pepper Schwartz’s Great Sex Weekend. Dr. Schwartz also happens to be the boutique hotel’s resident Romance Concierge, so if you want to plan anything special for your honeymoon, she’s the one to consult. Check out more honeymoon-inspired photos of the Salish Lodge & Spa after the jump » Read More »


Christmas tree at the New York Palace

Merry Christmas from all of us at! Check out some of our favorite holiday content to keep you in the Christmas spirit all day long:

Some of the best holiday hotels across the U.S. »

How Christmas is celebrated around the world »

Iconic Christmas decorations in NYC »

The best holiday markets around the globe »