July 2013

Hundreds of wineries dot the rolling hills in Napa and Sonoma counties, the heart of California wine country. Visitors come from all over the globe for the region’s beautiful vineyards, quaint towns, hot air balloon rides, world-class cuisine, and, of course, wine. Travelers looking to get pampered should consider these top luxury hotels.

Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, Napa Valley

Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, Napa Valley

Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort, Napa Valley

It’s no wonder royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury Calistoga Ranch: It’s in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. Attention to detail carries over from room design to landscape planning — all modules for the lodges were flown in by helicopter to minimize impact on surrounding trees and to maximize privacy. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, a bocce court, a fabulous fitness center, and wine tasting seminars. If guests decide to venture out for some reason, they can easily access downtown Calistoga and other towns with not only loaner bikes, but loaner Mercedes-Benzes! Read More »

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The term “hipster” has a lot of connotations these days, but we think we have a pretty good idea of what it means when it comes to travel. If you’re a hipster, you’re probably the type who won’t want to stay somewhere mainstream — and certainly not a major chain. You’re the type who appreciates what’s cool, yes, but in a way that is interesting and different. You love anything eco-friendly and organic.

Sound at all familiar? Fess up. We at Oyster have a special spot in our heart for hipster travelers. After all, they, like us, have high standards when it comes to choosing a hotel. They’ll often gravitate toward spots that are uber-trendy, quirky, or extremely green, and with that in mind, we unearthed some of the best hotel options in the world for the hipster set.

Wythe Hotel, New York City

Wythe Hotel, New York City

Wythe Hotel, New York City

The Wythe Hotel is a hub for hipster travelers and locals alike. With a hopping rooftop bar boasting jaw-dropping views of Manhattan, a wonderful restaurant, and cutting-edge industrial design, the Wythe is a destination unto itself. It’s located near the subway as well as dozens of restaurants, bars, and shops in the heart of trendy Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a neighborhood boasting one of the highest concentrations of hipsters in the country. Rooms are spacious and have high pine ceilings, reclaimed wood furnishings, and great amenities, including flat-screen TVs; local, hand-made toiletries; free Wi-Fi, and radiant floor heating. Read More »

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A version of this story previously appeared on The Business Journals. 

The hotel landscape in New York City is constantly reinventing itself — new hotels open, old hotels renovate, hotel restaurants and bars change. It can be hard for travelers to stay up-to-date on their choices, or even keep tabs on their go-to hotels. So we’ve done the sleuthing for you to keep you on top of what’s new on the NYC hotel scene.

The Jade Hotel is one of the hottest new hotels in the Big Apple.

The Jade Hotel is one of the hottest new hotels in the Big Apple.

New Additions

The Jade Hotel

  • When It Opened: February 2013
  • Why It’s Noteworthy: 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. Read More »

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Ohla Hotel, Barcelona

Ohla Hotel, Barcelona

Barcelona attracts tourists from all over the world for its vibrant nightlife, excellent cuisine, beautiful Gothic and Modernist architecture, and laid-back beach vibe. And sometimes the best place to soak it all in is while taking a dip — which is made abundantly easy in a city where rooftop pools are a staple at many hotels. Check out some of our favorites.

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Some people can handle the sleeping bag and zippered tent, but not all. So what to do if you love the great outdoors but want to rough it without, well, really roughing it? The answer: glamping, or glam camping. Not all glamping is created equal, and there’s a range, from a simple tented cabin in the woods to a luxury safari tent. We’ve selected five of our favorite glamping spots where you can get up close with nature — but you know, not too close.

andBeyond Nxabega Okavango Delta Camp, Botswana

&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

&Beyond Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp

This luxurious safari lodge in Botswana delivers everything you’d expect from the excellent &Beyond chain: amazing tents with plush beds, phenomenal service, tasty food, and safari excursions with first-rate guides. It’s located in the Okavango Delta region, but on land, so you won’t need to take a boat to and from the camp. Its peaceful location, beautiful delta views, lovely communal pool, and rustic-luxe design inspired by traditional African hut construction (complete with rich woods and thatched roofs) help make it a truly special place. But its 17,300-acre wildlife concession is smaller than you’ll find at the nearby Xaranna, and the tents lack Xaranna’s soaking tubs and private plunge pools. Read More »

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Thanks to our friends at the Captivate Network, you can catch this story in your office elevator this week! And don’t miss Captivate’s Summer Fridays Sweepstakes!

Planning a European getaway this summer? These cities are some of our top picks for the summer months. Whether you’d rather chill on Barcelona’s beaches or explore Rome’s many outdoor ruins, warm weather makes all the difference in these spots.

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, with hopping nightlife, excellent cuisine, and beautiful Gothic and Modernist architecture. But it also has a prime location on the Mediterranean sea, with beaches such as La Barceloneta accessible right in the city limits — making this a popular summertime travel pick.

  • Oyster’s Pick for Where to Stay: Ohla Hotel, for its stunning rooftop pool, great for a summertime dip Read More »

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Thanks to our friends at the Captivate Network, you can catch this story in your office elevator this week! And don’t miss Captivate’s Summer Fridays Sweepstakes!

The Manhattan skyline is of course one of the world’s most iconic, an awe-inspiring tribute to human ingenuity and America’s economic success. To see it at night is magical. To see it at night from atop a Manhattan roof — to be part of the skyline, in other words — is more magical still. And to do so with a well-mixed cocktail in one’s hand is an experience simply not to be missed.

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire Hotel Rooftop Bar & Lounge at The Empire Hotel

The Empire’s 12th-floor rooftop bar is one of the swankiest in town, but the crowd tends to be a little more down-to-earth than one might find at downtown options such as Gansevoort’s Plunge. Expect fancy cocktails, views of Lincoln Center, indoor and outdoor seating, and even a small pool. Read More »

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Some hotels are more than just hotels — they are former castles, royal residences, or Gatsby-esque mansions. Or they opened their doors many years ago to offer accommodations of unsurpassed luxury, attracting royalty and famous names. These grand dames around the world have drawn on their rich pasts in order to offer present-day magnificence.

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Housed in the former residences of the Bertolini princes, the Grand Hotel Baglioni lives up to the grand image painted by Florence’s past. The hotel is filled with heavy-handed regal touches and ornate decor from top to bottom. The 193 rooms are very spacious (not often the case in a historic building), and feel luxurious, decked out with classic Italian furnishings, large leaded windows, gorgeous dark wood (the ceilings, floors, and furniture), and equally spacious dazzling white bathrooms. Both the rooftop garden and Terrazza Brunelleschi restaurant offer stunning views of Florence. Read More »

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Hotel Ella, Austin, Texas

Hotel Ella, Austin, Texas

If there’s one word that can describe the ethereal beauty and warm ambiance of the South, it’s charming. And what better way to celebrate this corner of the United States than by reveling in a little bit of history during your visit? These mansions — most of them dating back to the 1800s — represent the epitome of Southern charm. So pack your bags and head for the Mason-Dixon Line: It’s time for some proper front porch sittin’.

 

 

 

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The term “boutique hotel” can be applied to a host of very different properties — whether quaint or trendy, traditional or avant-garde. But they all have at least one thing in common: They’re intimate, and fewer rooms means fewer guests get to experience them, so staying at one can feel like discovering a secret hideaway. But secrets are no fun if you don’t get share them — so we’re spilling the beans on 11 of our favorite boutiques across Europe.

Draycott Hotel, London

Draycott Hotel, London

Draycott Hotel, London

This 35-room combo of Edwardian townhouses is warm and intimate with a country home feel, and in a great location for exclusive West End shopping. With wonderful boutique perks such as the free English afternoon tea (guests at other hotels will have to pay at least a £15 premium to enjoy such a tradition), free pre-dinner champagne, and free hot chocolate before bed, it’s hard to find much at the Draycott to complain about. Unless, of course, your priorities are a pool and fitness center, both of which the hotel lacks. Read More »

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