July 2014

It may be particularly fun during the summer months, but thanks to a variety of species and waters around the world, fishing is a sport that can be enjoyed year-round. Peak seasons vary from fish to fish, but as long as you’re on a river, by a lake, or bobbing atop the ocean, you’ll likely get a bite. And no matter if you’re an experienced angler or a novice on all things baiting and hooking, fishing can be a great activity for your vacation itinerary – particularly for families since the little ones can participate as well. We’ve picked 10 hotels that are perfect properties for grabbing a rod and heading out to the water. Now go reel ‘em in!

Cheeca Lodge and Spa, Florida Keys

Cheeca Lodge

The 114-room Cheeca Lodge was one of the original luxury properties on Islamorada, dating to 1946 and earning plenty of celebrity cachet over the years (high-profile guests have included George W. Bush). The property was rebuilt after a fire gutted its main building in 2009, and it now has bright, spacious rooms with tropical-luxe decor and massive bathrooms. The lush grounds are especially pretty at night, with Tiki-torch-lit paths. But the hotel’s beach is manmade — there’s even a rock ledge on the water’s edge. There’s a private fishing pier on the property and guests can rent fishing rods for free. You’re bound to have a fun time since Islamorada advertises itself as the “sport fishing capital of the world.”

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FourSeasonsSelfieSMiles24Jul2014Picture this: You’re on a dream vacation in Maui with your significant other. The sun is setting over the Pacific Ocean and the light is just right for a photo that will inspire hundreds of likes on your Instagram feed. (By the way, check out ours!!) Sure, you could take 10 awkward selfies and hope that in at least one of them you both look naturally relaxed and happy — with the sunset actually in the frame. Or, if you’re staying at the Four Seasons Resort Maui, you can simply rely on photo ambassador Scott Miles (or SMiles as his name tag reads). His job is to take free photos of guests using their cameras or smartphones — #nofilter. So we picked Scott’s brain about beach photo tips, celebrity encounters, and the golden rule.

See what we discovered after the jump >>

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Who doesn’t love the beach? What about a little fame and glory? Well, we here at Oyster believe that the answer to both of these questions is a resounding “no one” — so we have officially combined the two with our introduction of #OysterPics. Yep, using this hashtag, we’re asking all our fans — who are also fans of the beach, and taking photos of it — to share their best beach shots with us. Simply submit your photo on Facebook or use the #OysterPics hashtag with your shot on Twitter or Instagram, and we may end up sharing your pic and featuring it on our blog! We’ll pick our favorites over the next few weeks, so get snapping!!

Share your #OysterPics here.

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This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel

People have long questioned the whole “the bigger, the better” theory. Most have concluded that it really depends on the circumstances, and we’d have to concur. After all, in our area of expertise (hotels, of course), sometimes a megaresort — packed with activities, restaurants, and enough rooms to host hundreds of reunions at one time — is just what we’re looking for. Other times, we seek the privacy and tranquil vibe of a smaller hotel. And sometimes, we find that the most charming stays are those in absolutely itsy bitsy hotels — boutique properties tucked away in historic townhomes or on the top floors of unassuming edifices. So while even a hotel with nearly 100 rooms can be considered a boutique property, the tiny hotels that make this list all have just four rooms or fewer. Take a peek inside these intimate getaways to discover some truly unique stays.

Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam

Bed and Breakfast

Number of Rooms: Three

The picturesque, off-the-beaten-track Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam is charm itself, located on a leafy canal with picturesque views of traditional canal houses and bridges in a residential area away from throngs of tourists. Inside and out, the Bed and Breakfast Amsterdam is set apart by the owners’ attention to detail. The little added touches such as fresh flowers, free afternoon cakes, chocolates on the pillows, and a carafe of black currant gin in each guest’s room upon arrival help make this B&B an intimate, special spot.

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Fitness centers, outdoor pools and spas are common amenities at hotels these days, but want to know one of our favorite features offered? Live music! We’ve visited quite a few hotels that are a fun place to catch a show, whether you’re a guest or live in the surrounding area. From poolside DJ sets to soulful jazz in a cozy lounge, hotels give their guests a unique way to enjoy the city without leaving the grounds. If you’re someone who loves to kick back and enjoy live music, you’ll definitely want to bookmark these 10 hotels!

Ace Hotel and Swim Club, Palm Springs

Ace Hotel

This upper-middle-range, 180-room hipster haven has a palpable party vibe and frequent music nights with a live DJ. The style is retro, with 70s details such as record players and vinyl in the rooms. The property draws a young crowd and can get quite loud with its purposeful off-the-beaten-path vibe. Their Swim Club members get year-round access to the outdoor swimming hole, gym, spa and poolside happenings like their DJ events and the Reggae Sol party on the last Saturday of each month. Although it gets crowded, lounging by the pool while a DJ spins sounds like a fun way to spend the day to us!

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Okay, so one of the worst things ever is when you’re “enjoying” a spa treatment — but you’re not actually enjoying it because all you can think about is how much time it’s taking and how many things are piling up on your to-do list during your rubdown. Well, those behind the spas at JW Marriott, the Marriott’s top level of luxury hotels, have had the same experience, so they’ve dreamt up a whole new menu of mini spa treatments that last between 12 and 25 minutes. Of course, the new Spa by JW concept will also include traditional treatments, but those in a hurry — who still crave a little R&R — can indulge in brief treatments like the tense shoulders massage or the energy boost massage. And best of all, these treatments require no appointment and take place in express suites, fully-equipped with massage chairs, scent infusers, noise-canceling technology, and cell phone chargers. The first of these treatments will become available in September at the JW Marriott in Houston, and will soon roll out to all Spas by JW. [Hotel Chatter]

See more great pics of some of our favorite JW Marriott spas after the jump >>

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1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The iconic Plaza Hotel in New York City has its own board game – Plaza-opoly — that takes guests on a tour of New York City’s most noteworthy destinations (via the game board). Just be careful to avoid being sent to “House Security.”

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Bookworms who like to read novels with a cocktail in hand will do well at the James Hotels (including the James Chicago, one of our favorites in the Windy City). The chic brand has hired both a famous author and a mixologist to pair books with booze at their hotel bars.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Vermont isn’t as quaint and low-key as you might think: At the Stowe Mountain Lodge, Hamptons-style pool parties are all the rage for swanky thirty-somethings looking for a party in the Green Mountain State.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Doors may soon close at the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino – a boardwalk mainstay for decades – in Atlantic City.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT?  A new service is offered to London vacationers on the British island of Jersey: Sunshine Butlers — offering SPF applications, cool mists, and chilled snacks — are available to help guests with all their sun safety needs.

Check out the answers after the jump! 

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Summertime always gets us nostalgic, particularly when we think back to our busy days and peaceful nights spent at summer camp. Everything was just simpler then, right? Counselors chose the activities, the kitchen staff provided all the grub, and at night the soft sounds of nature — plus the fact that you were dead-tired from the day’s adventures — put you right to sleep. Well, you may be all grown up now, but you can still relive those days — and bonus: no need for matching uniforms. When summer was just beginning to hint its arrival, we told you about the best hotels stateside for pitching a tent (and we threw in a Botswana property just for good measure). So this time, we’re focusing solely on international destinations where you can experience a new kind of summer camp-like getaway that’s adults-friendly (and most are kid-friendly, too). Check out our top picks for outdoorsy, campy properties outside the U.S.

Camping Village Rochette, Tuscany

Camping Village Rochette

Billed as a high-end camping village, this property has some fun amenities — a striking pool, a Turkish bath, and tennis courts — with bungalows of various sizes spread out over a large wooded area about 500 meters from the beach. Some of the newer, larger bungalows are on the luxurious side; ones at lower price points are a little on the shabby end (although they may be more reminiscent of a summer camp stay than the others). The property offers numerous play areas for kids, as well as daytime and nighttime activities, and it has an on-site market so guests can make use of the in-room kitchens. The hotel also provides a shuttle to the nearby seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia.

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For couples seeking a relaxing oasis, adults-only pools make a big splash as grownups can take a swim without getting stuck in the middle of a Marco Polo game. But the poolside perks at the watery adult playgrounds that make our “best of the best” list go far beyond just being kid-free. These 10 trendy adults-only pools offer up everything from cabanas with spiked snow cones to swim-up blackjack, from live music to free sunscreen. And of course, they’ve all got plenty of comfy chairs and recliners for some serious (and seriously sexy) lounging.

Four Seasons Punta Mita

Four Seasons Punta Mita

This secluded beachfront setting is perfect for romance, especially for parents looking for a kid-free poolside escape. Drop the kiddos off at the Four Season’s supervised playground and hit the adult-oriented Tamai Pool complex — complete with a whirlpool, full bar, and private cabanas. Soothing music plays underwater and there are plenty of comfy lounge chairs for settling in with a free magazine — after you’ve lathered up with the free sunscreen. Read More »

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1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Grand Hotel Francais is one of five hotels in Paris that have initiated a “pay what you want” policy for guests.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Los Angeles District Attorney has dropped all charges against singer Ray J following his rampage at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel back in May.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Tweet that! Hotels — like Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Portland — — are beginning to reward guests who promote them on social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Earn points or in-room spa treatments simply by following your favorite hotel brands.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel travelers are at their lowest-ever satisfaction rates, according to a study published Wednesday.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Following the sale of the W Fort Lauderdale to Miami Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross, the hotel will feature a “Football Fanatics Package,” in which guests can have team jerseys, tickets, and memorabilia delivered to their rooms.

Check out answers after the jump!

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