February 2013

When you have to take a gamble on your vacations, you better know what your odds are of hitting the jackpot. If the choice is between Las Vegas and Atlantic City, both are viable options for card sharks and those who want to play the slots. Sin City may be the epitome of a gambler’s paradise thanks to endless casinos and 24/7-nightlife, but Atlantic City rules the East Coast, with a more laid-back feel and an easy-to-get-to location. Whether you want to stroll the Strip or take to the boardwalk, these lucky locales each have a distinct approach to pleasing their clientele. So which would you choose? Take a look at the options below and then enter your answer in the comments section.

 Option 1: Getting Your Sin On in Las Vegas

Things can get a little crazy at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

The MGM Grand is one of the Vegas’ most iconic hotels, sitting in the heart of the Strip, and offering not only dining from celeb chefs but also tons to do on-site before you head to the giant casino. The hotel even boasts one of the best pool scenes in the city at Wet Republic, and, after a recent major overhaul, the hotel got even more grand. Read More »

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Sometimes our hotels just get us. They know how we like the sheets, take our coffee, and want to wake up to a newspaper at our door. But with so many hotels across the globe to choose from, it can be hard to find just the right one. Luckily we’ve got everyone covered, from financiers to fashionistas. Here are our choices for the best hotels for every (well, almost) profession.

 

For Politicians: ONE UN New York, New York City 

The view from ONE UN New York would excite any government worker.

A top choice among UN diplomats, the ONE UN New York sits right across the street from the UN headquarters in New York City. The hotel boasts an indoor Har-Tru tennis court (after all, politicians love their back and forth), tasty (and schmooze-worthy) breakfast at Ambassador Grill, and the private Skyline Club, with stunning city views, snacks, and cocktails. But really, with a location steps away from the world’s most powerful decision-makers, politicians can’t really ask for more. Read More »

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The Flat at the Jasmine house Inn, Charleston, SC

If you’re looking for some old-world charm, check out the Jasmine House Inn, located in a tony downtown area of Charleston, South Carolina. The hotel is actually a converted 19th century mansion, and features 12 rooms with as much vintage allure as there are modern innovations. Think 15-foot ceilings and hardwood floors juxtaposed against flat-screen televisions and fast, free Wi-Fi. Most notable is the highly stylized décor  (everything matches), including patterned rugs and floral wallpaper. Freebies include continental breakfast and evening  hors d’oeuvres – but parking is not included.

Read the full review>>

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It’s time to get your spring break plans in order, and if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, the Caribbean is a prime destination. But with thousands of islands (although only a few dozen are inhabited) to choose from, that doesn’t narrow things down much. That’s why we at Oyster have created an A to Z (well, actually, an A to V) guide to the Caribbean, so choosing your island and resort will be a piece of cake. First stop: Anguilla.

Anacaona Boutique Hotel, Anguilla

The boutique Anacaona has two pools.

Anguilla is a tiny British territory that covers fewer than 40 square miles and is a popular spot for couples and celebs (Sofia Vergara went on a girls’ trip to the island) due to its small size and upscale vibe. Visitors must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thus, getting to the island can be pricey. So once you’re there, we’d recommend staying at the boutique Anacaona in the island’s West End. Though its not quite as luxe as the CuisinArt or Viceroy, it offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy – through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants, and its prices are considerably lower. With two small pools, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.

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White sand, blue waters -- what more could you want?

We just got back from Riviera Nayarit in western Mexico, known for its 190 miles of beautiful sandy beaches, wonderful resorts, and world-class golf. We went all over — from the hopping south to the remote northern areas — and fell in love with the dozens of small, charming towns that dot the coast, the region’s friendly locals, the awesome surfing spots, and the laid-back vibe.

We investigated some of Riviera Nayarit’s top hotels and snapped almost 12,000 photos. And you definitely won’t want to miss our prestigious awards lists and editor’s expert recommendations — including kid-friendly, value, and luxury hotels — based on our recent inspections. Check out more awesome pics after the jump.

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Gazebo at The Kahala Hotel and Resort

The Diamond Head Gazebo at the Kahala Hotel and Resort fits 150 guests. The Koko Head, located nearby, can fit 300.

When done right, there’s nothing better than a destination wedding: The gorgeous scenery, unique setting, and vacation-like vibe will stay with your guests well past the walk down the aisle (no matter how much they indulge in the post-nuptial cocktail hour). And if you have your eye on Hawaii, few places do a better job than the Kahala Hotel and Resort in Oahu. A celebrity retreat since 1964, the Kahala might be the best hotel on the island, with a more ”laid-back luxe” than “pretentious glitz” vibe that will help to calm your nerves before the big day. Plus, the hotel can handle everything for the bride and groom — photographers and videographers, musicians, decorations, and food can all be arranged by the on-site wedding manager — with your input, of course. Additional fees do add up if you choose to bring in ”non-recommended” vendors, but with a gorgeous ceremony location at spots like this beachfront gazebo, your wedding photos will be breathtaking. The Kahala’s Kissing Point, however, may be the most picturesque spot to snap a shot. Check out more wedding-inspired photos at the Kahala now »

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Want to live like a Rockefeller on your next vacation? Or want a voyeuristic peek into the world of the rich and powerful? These iconic resorts across the country — from a Gilded Age Palm Beach estate to a Newport mansion to a Long Island Gold Coast castle — will make you feel like your blood runs blue.

The Breakers Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach

The Breakers Palm Beach

There’s a reason The Breakers’ reputation precedes it. This 140-acre resort, first built in 1896 (and reconstructed in 1926), resembles a Renaissance palace, and it’s seen more than its fair share of American royalty over the years; Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, William Randolph Hearst, and various Astors, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts have all walked the halls at this posh spot. No other hotel in Palm Beach can come close to matching the luxury found at this iconic property.

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The notorious Chateau Marmont has seen its share of celebrity scandals -- especially during awards season!

The 85th annual Academy Awards is taking place this Sunday at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. And despite some serious snubs and surprises, we are all too excited for the Oscars this year. Rubbing shoulders with the stars is relatively common in Tinsel Town, and particularly with those golden statuettes up for grabs, you can be sure to stumble across some of your favorite celebs this weekend. But if you want to make your stalking stumbling more of a sure thing, then there are a few celebrity hideaways you should definitely visit — and Oyster has the scoop on every one of them. So get your cameras and autograph books ready, it’s time to nab your own award. Meet the nominees at these celeb hot spots in LA »

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Pool at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa; Atlantic City, NJ

Pool at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Atlantic City, NJ

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has launched an in-room gambling program that allows guests to gamble through their TV sets.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Angelica Huston and Donna Karan were recently seen partying at The Surrey in New York until the wee hours.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The B Ocean Fort Lauderdale is offering several special promos for March 1st that include $13 rooms, breakfast buffets for $13 and two cocktails for $13, as the date will be palindrome (3/1/13).

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Peninsula Beverly Hills has an on-site Nutrition Adviser who works upon request with the hotel’s chefs to create healthy meals for each guest.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Comfort Hotel Grand Central in Oslo is housed in the city’s original train station, built in 1854.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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When the White House just doesn't cut it, there's always the Waldorf.

Happy President’s Day from all of us at Oyster.com! This beloved federal holiday was established in 1879 and occurs on the third Monday of every February, perfectly in between Lincoln’s February 12th birthday and George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. In honor of President’s Day, we’d like to recognize some of our favorite historic hotels that have been lucky enough to have a Commander in Chief or two grace their digs. Click here to take at a look at our favorite presidential hotels, where everything from scandals, to gunshots — even to haircuts, has taken place.

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