March 2013

With the motto “Beautiful by Nature,” it’s no wonder that Turks and Caicos‘s tourism focuses on the islands’ quiet, natural beauty. A 37-mile chain of islands, Turks and Caicos radiates a particular Caribbean-ness, with dreamy blue waters, golden beaches, excellent snorkeling, and bioluminescent glow worms lighting up the water at night. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you’re planning a romantic getaway or want to take the kids along, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

Hotel for Couples: Point Grace

Beach at Point Grace

Beach at Point Grace

Its remote location on the point of the beautiful, 12-mile Grace Bay beach makes this hotel the perfect place for couples to escape. Property highlights include a lovely, tranquil pool, personal beachfront service, a small but spectacular spa, and one of the Providenciales’ most romantic dinner spots.

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We’ve all fantasized about a month-long trip to Europe — but the time to fulfill this dream is not always easy to come by. Fortunately, a ton of time isn’t necessarily required if you want to explore the other side of the pond. With just a few days, you can visit numerous areas of the continent and hit up top destinations, and there are a few attractions you just can’t miss. We’ve picked one in each of Europe’s most popular cities, and paired it with a nearby hotel so you can get the most out of your flash trip. These nine sights are all must-sees — don’t miss out!

Must-See #1: Tower Bridge, London

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

Some of you might say, “What about Big Ben (excuse us, the “Elizabeth Tower”)? And the British Museum?” Well, yes, those are top spots of course, but if there is one place that makes London recognizable, it is the Tower Bridge. Built in the late 19th century and painted blue in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee, the bridge is crossed on foot, bike, car and double-decker bus by thousands of Londoners and visitors daily, making it one of the most visited places in all of London. On a rainy day, you can get great views of the bridge from the glass-enclosed City Hall, and on a sunny day, head to the Tower of London for the best vistas.

Stay: Apex City of London Hotel

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

The Apex City of London Hotel is a contemporary, mid-size chain property located just a 3-minute walk to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and the tube. All 179 rooms have warm lighting, big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers. The sleek interior design continues in the lobby and in Addendum Restaurant, which serves seasonal fare and has outdoor seating. Small touches (such as a rubber ducky for the tub) make this property feel like more than a typical chain hotel.

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Foto Friday: Name Your Price!

by Devon on March 29, 2013

Another Spring Break has come and gone; we’re still lathering up on the aloe and washing the sand out of our clothes. For Spring Break, families, couples, and co-eds travel around the globe to find some fun in the sun, and the Florida Panhandle is a popular choice. Some go luxury and some go value, but it can sometimes be hard to tell which is which…

A  value option is the Crowne Plaza Pensacola Grand. It’s not right on the beach, but enormous room windows provide great views of the Florida landscape, and the sandy beaches aren’t too far from the hotel. Rooms also have great modern amenities, and the hotel has a stocked on-site library. Best of all, rates after often about a cool $120 per night.

On the other end of the spectrum, are the luxury beachfront digs of the WaterColor Inn & Resort. This resort boasts modern in-room amenities, property perks such as pools and bike rentals, and great views. But the standard room costs about four times as much as standard rooms at the Crowne Plaza, at nearly $400 per night. Can you tell which is which? Check out the rooms each hotel offers, take a guess in the comments section below, and then find the answer after the jump!

Option 2

Option 1


 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

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Ackee and saltfish, Jamaica

Ackee and saltfish in Jamaica

If you’re a foodie, cuisine plays an important role in your vacation. We can relate. Luckily, we’ve gotten to sample a lot of great food while off investigating hotels across the globe, and we’ve particularly enjoyed discovering various destination’s specialties, from smoked salmon in Norway to macarons in France. There’s a lot of food out there, to be sure, but these seven local dishes ranked among our favorites.

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During our travels around the globe, we have stayed in some pretty gorgeous rooms. But a beautiful room means nothing if it looks out at a brick wall. On the other hand, a drab room can be seriously lightened up by an amazing view. So we rounded the 10 best hotel room views we’ve ever seen.

 

Hotel Duquesne Eiffel, Paris

Hotel Duquesne Eiffel

Hotel Duquesne is a comfortable 34-room hotel in the 7th Arrondissement within walking distance to Left Bank tourist sites, such as the Musee d’Orsay and the Eiffel Tower. Some rooms even boast exceptional views of the iconic structure, built in 1889 by on the occasion of the World’s Fair in Paris.

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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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This romantic boutique in California's Sonoma County is perfect for an intimate — and luxe — exchange of "I dos."

The Kenwood Inn and Spa is an award-winning boutique that’s a popular spot for tying the knot. Located in Sonoma County, the hotel evokes Tuscan charm from every nook and cranny: Lush gardens, European-style courtyards, and exquisite fountains and pools provide gorgeous backdrops for a wedding, and the 29 private and spacious rooms, individually decorated with romantic Mediterranean-inspired decor, are furnished with cozy fireplaces, quality Italian linens, oversized showers, and personal balconies (some with stunning vineyard views). Extensive freebies (such as in-room drinks and gourmet snacks), plush robes, and an ultra-luxurious spa help ensure that guests feel pampered — particularly important for the bride before her big day. The hotel’s restaurant serves local cuisine using ingredients from nearby ranchers, cheesemongers, and farmers, meaning a delicious feast is in store for all of your wedding attendees. Overall, it’s one of the most romantic boutique picks in Sonoma Wine Country.

The hotel is extremely well-equipped to help couples plan their nuptials, offering the ideal setting for everything from intimate gatherings to fairytale-like receptions for up to 100 guests. An on-site wedding coordinator will help design your unique experience at one of four venues: the lovely Centro Court, the large Pool Courtyard, the intimate Wine Bar, or the Tuscany Room. In addition, treatments at the hotel’s award-winning spa can be arranged in advance (the hotel is known for its vinotherapy services) and menu tastings with the hotel’s executive chef, pastry chef, and sommelier will assure every dish tastes delicious. For more wedding-inspired photos of the Kenwood Inn & Spa, click here »
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Most hotels remain open throughout the year, even when off-peak season means low occupancy and less-than-ideal weather. But some hotels choose to shutter their doors and windows during this time, triumphantly reopening in the warmer months — and often boasting some upgrades, to boot! These hotels sure know how to build our anticipation; we can’t wait to get back to them! So without further adieu, here are our five favorite hotels that are reopening for the spring and summer.

Hidden Pond; Kennebunkport, ME

Reopening Date: May 2nd

Some of the cottages at Hidden Pond feature outdoor porches and screened-in patios.

Spread over 60 acres, Hidden Pond features 36 suite-like bungalows and two-bedroom cottages. While each have their own personality, they are all bright, homey, and sophisticated, characterized by pops of color and lodge-like touches (such as stone fireplaces adorned with antlers, and a lamp made from a tree branch). The spa is set up to resemble a tree house, and free yoga classes are held at the organic farm (where guests may also pick fresh flowers and veggies). Another outstanding feature is the outdoor bar and grill that sits on a “sand bar,” with chairs circled around fire pits. This upscale boutique hotel attracts couples with its tranquil environment and top-notch restaurants, as well as families with its cottages that include full kitchens and washer/dryers. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the beach, which is just a five-minute drive away.

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The Tranquila Suite at La Tranquila; Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

The Tranquila Suite at La Tranquila; Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The smallest room at La Tranquila in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is 16 times bigger than a standard room at The Jane Hotel in New York City.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? According to singer Josh Groban, his dog Sweeney has a favorite hotel: The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The most expensive treatment at Mango Bay in Barbados is a $7,000 facial that includes a face massage with gold flakes.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? An Irish billionaire owes The St. Regis Washington, D.C. $10 million after throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party at the hotel’s bar and leaving without paying the tab.

5. FACT OF FAKEOUT? Stock investor Marty Zweig is selling his three-floor penthouse at The Pierre hotel in New York for $120 million.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Spring has sprung and that means Easter is just around the corner! When Peter Cottontail comes hopping down the lane, we get all too excited for egg hunts, chocolates galore, and — most importantly — Easter brunch. Who doesn’t love the combo of booze and food on a Sunday afternoon? And when it’s in the name of all that is holy — well, that’s just an extra perk! A chic hotel is often just the place to find a perfect Easter brunch spread, so we’ve rounded up our favorites across the states. View our mouth-watering slideshow below and prepare yourself to mug down deliciously this Sunday.

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