May 2013

Couples take note:  It’s not necessary to leave the country to experience some of the world’s most romantic hotels. We love exotic locales, but those looking for something closer to home can find some truly decadent escapes right in our own backyard. Our five favorite picks all have lovely waterfront settings on oceans, waterfalls, or lagoons, as well as pampering service and ultra-luxurious accommodations. Check ‘em out!

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina

The Cottage Suite - River View, Inn at Palmetto Bluff

The Cottage Suite - River View, Inn at Palmetto Bluff

This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building 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 gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. 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. It’s not an overstatement to say that the Inn at Palmetto Bluff is one of the most special properties in the entire country.
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"Let's get weird!" says the staff at the Wyndham Dominicus Palace Resort!

Things got a little weird during our visit to the Wyndham Dominicus Palace Resort in the Dominican Republic. People all over the beach — seriously, everywhere – started love trains, and they didn’t seem to care who knew about it. (Oh, and this happened, too. And so did this.) But hey, we’ve never been ones to complain about a friendly atmosphere!

Read our caption after the jump, then enter your own in the comments section below! Read More »

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Summer fever is in full swing and we’ll do just about anything to enjoy a little sun during our lunch break or a boozy weekend brunch. Over the past couple of weeks, we shared our top al fresco hotel restaurant picks in New York City and Los Angeles, and this week we’re spilling our inside scoop on the best outdoor dining spots in the nation’s capital. So come with some SPF and an empty stomach — these D.C. restaurants in the sun are sure to satisfy!

Cafe Du Parc at The Willard Intercontinental

Cafe Du Parc at The Willard Intercontinental

Cafe Du Parc, located just a short walk from the White House, is popular among tourists, locals, and business people in town with clients. Serving three meals a day, as well as cocktails and light bites in between, the restaurant offers French-inspired dishes such as French onion soup and wild mushroom tarts.

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Step right into The Jade Hotel.

Opened just a few months ago, The Jade Hotel is already a hot spot in New York City, thanks to its trendy Greenwich Village location and even trendier clientele (Cameron Diaz reportedly spent the night flirting with a bartender at the hotel). From the curated library to the retro rotary phones in every room, no detail has been left out at this sexy boutique. Its 113 stylish rooms have tasteful decor inspired by the Paris of the 1920s, and feature top-notch amenities, including high-definition TVs, Tivoli radios with iPod hookups, and free Wi-Fi. Grape & Vine, a bar and restaurant reminiscent of the old New York speakeasies, attracts a varied clientele with its intimate yet casual vibe and French-inspired menu. The Jade is a great pick for couples and business travelers, but those with kids in tow might find some rooms to be too small and the walls too thin. Check out more photos after the jump, or skip to the full review here.

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Summer is (unofficially) here, and tons of travelers will be heading coast to coast to visit some of the most iconic city spots in the country. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Atlantic City Boardwalk, we’ll give you the dish on our favorite landmarks (and hotels!) along the way. So grab your cameras and fill up on gas, we’ve got plenty of great photo-ops ahead!

Visit: The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The Brooklyn Bridge turned 130 years old this month.

New York is filled with plenty of must-see attractions, but this year it’s all about the Brooklyn Bridge. The iconic structure has appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and books, and this May it celebrated its 130th birthday. Once the longest suspension bridges in the world, this National Historic Landmark stands as a modern wonder of engineering and architecture.

Stay: New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge

While most Manhattanites snicker at the thought of tourists staying in Brooklyn, this spacious Marriott is conveniently located a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as within walking distance of nine subway lines that lead right through the heart of the city. Read More »

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We're ready to zip down this slide!

Who doesn’t feel like a kid again when at a water park? Whether you’re visiting with your own kids, or are just trying to revive your inner kid, a water park can be just what you need for a little fun this summer. We’ve visited tons and tons of water parks during our travels, and have seen all kinds of slides, waterfalls, pirate ships, lazy rivers — you name it! But we whittled them down to the best of the best to show you. So check out our slideshow of the best water parks in the world!

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Some hotel weddings are gorgeous, some not so much, but they often all kind of feel the same. That’s where we come in — we’ve discovered some of the most beautiful and unique wedding venues in hotels around the world. Whether you want to say “I do” on safari, in a cloud forest, or at a Gatsby-esque mansion, these hotels deliver on the romance. Check them out here, and get inspired for your own big day (or vow renewal)!

For the Nature Enthusiasts: Selva Negra in Nicaragua 

Chapel in the middle of a rainforest? Check that off your list.

For outdoorsy couples looking for an authentic eco-lodge experience on their wedding day, Selva Negra is the real deal. This family-run organic farm and coffee estate in Nicaragua has accommodations ranging from hostel rooms to private bungalows, as well as a lush, cool mountain setting that’s rich with wildlife (expect howler monkeys, lizards, agoutis, and all types of birds). Couples can get married at the on-site chapel — which the owners built for their own daughter’s wedding — beneath Selva Negra’s cloud forest.  Read More »

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Lobby at the Sofitel Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lobby at the Sofitel Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires, Argentina

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Karl Lagerfeld has signed a contract with Sofitel Hotels to design all of the rooms at the Sofitel Buenos Aires, the restaurants at Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam, and the lobby at the Sofitel Los Angeles.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Plaza Athenee Paris recently celebrated its 50th birthday with a cake five meters long.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Fancy a free five-night stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (or any of the oMarriott resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico)? The chain is offering the giveaway to their Facebook and Pinterest fans.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona will undergo massive renovations, lasting through late 2014, to become the world’s first “space hotel.” It will include a zero-gravity spa and panoramic impressions of the universe.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Palomar Dallas’s new “Travel Lite” fitness package includes a one-hour morning run with the hotel manager.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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This luxury treehouse-like suite boasts stunning ocean views and a private pool.

Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), and rooms adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, the restaurant serves simple but tasty local dishes, and group yoga classes on the ocean-view wooden platform are free. For a tranquil, unplugged getaway, this is one of Nicaragua’s premier options — just note that there’s no common pool (yet) and the climb from the beach to reception is extremely long and steep. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Aqua Wellness Retreat. And a warm Happy Memorial Day from all of us at Oyster.com!

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Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? The sun, the sand, and the ocean all come together to make for a relaxing getaway that, when complete, will send you home rested and relaxed – and hopefully with a tan! Where you stay, however, can make a big difference on just how fabulous your beach trip is. That’s why we’ve found the 15 most decadent hotels on the sand to ensure that you enjoy the ultimate beachfront luxury.

Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Eden Roc at Cap Cana

The Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community — which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms). Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
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