September 2014

When in Paris, it’s wise to do as the Parisians do – stroll the cobblestone streets, people-watch from sidewalk cafes for hours, and eat way too much bread (even if it is Fashion Week, which kicks off on Tuesday). And it’s also smart to do a little research before you make the trip to ensure that you find the hotel that’s perfectly suited for your fashionista style. Fortunately, we here at Oyster.com do the majority of that work for you. We recently visited a bunch of Parisian hotels, and took tons of photos and notes in order to bring you in-depth reviews and truthful photos so what you see is what you get. Here, we bring you a dozen gorgeous hotels, complete with hundreds of photos and detailed reviews, that are stylish enough for a stay during Paris Fashion Week. Enjoy!

1. La Maison Favart

Maison Favart

This upscale, 30-room boutique hotel is one of the best choices in Paris, and offers surprisingly competitive rates for the level of luxury. It is named for the founder of the Opera Comique across the street, and the decor blends influences of the 18th century theater with modern trends. Rooms are chic and sport colorful accents, as well as thoughtful amenities such as iPod docks, bathrobes, towel warmers, and flat-screen TVs with free movies. Several metro lines are nearby, and popular sights such as the Louvre are within walking distance. Just note that the (excellent) breakfast buffet is an extra fee, and that the Classic Rooms are quite small.

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Oktoberfest is the world’s greatest beer festival — and the celebration kicks off around the globe on Saturday! But this party isn’t just about guzzling steins of frothy brew while tapping your toes to German Oompah. (Although there’s plenty of that. And we fully support it.) It’s also an excuse to celebrate just about anything Bavarian — including pretzels, bratwurst, and pork knuckles. So while you’re deciding whether to wear gauplattlerhosen or lederhosen — we found some great spots to hang your hat, German-style. At these top Berlin hotels, your next stein is always within arm’s reach.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski

Hotel Adlon

If you can snag an invite to Käfer’s Wies’n-Schänke (Germany’s VIP beer tent) — then Hotel Adlon Kempinski is your cup of tea lager. The 382-room hotel continues to attract an A-list clientele; this is where Michael Jackson infamously dangled his baby son from a balcony in 2002. It’s an elegant, classic hotel with a rich history. Its predecessor was one of the most popular hotels in Europe through World War II, hosting guests such as Charlie Chaplin and Josephine Baker. The original building was demolished, but after the fall of the Berlin Wall, a building inspired by the original was built on the same location near the Brandenburg Gate.

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Are you a fan of the fall? Love showing off your awesome travel photography to your friends? We know we sure do at Oyster! Join in on the fun by sharing your best fall travel photos with us. Simply submit your pics on Facebook, or use the #OysterPics hashtag with your shot on Instagram or Twitter, and we may end up sharing your pic and featuring it on our blog! Take a look at the lucky Oyster fans who got their summer shots on the blog for inspiration…

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For many of us, long days at the office, stress, and errands can get in the way of a healthy lifestyle. So we often look at our vacations not as a chance for a calorie binge (well, not always), but as a chance to hit the reset button and get back to our exercise and fitness regimens. And those who do manage to stay fit year-round may not want to part with their healthy lifestyle choices when they go away for a week or two. After all, there’s a lot to be said for the mind-body connection — and considering that September is Yoga Month, it feels like there’s no better time for a calming, healthy getaway. From a rustic yoga retreat to a luxe private island escape, these are the 14 best spots for a health and wellness vacation.

Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat, Bahamas

Yoga Retreat

Those looking for a relaxed vacation with some yoga thrown in should look elsewhere. This is a serious ashram by an established group (there are nine Sivananda Yoga Ashrams throughout the world) and the 5:30 a.m. wake-up bell proves it. Guests focus on postures, breathing, positive thinking, and meditation, and have some free time to take advantage of the beautiful beach setting. Seemingly a world away from neighboring mega-resort Atlantis, this five-and-a-half acre oasis has a range of accommodations from tents to Beachfront Suites (most rooms have shared bathrooms, though). Two vegetarian meals are prepared daily right after each two-hour yoga class , while morning and evening satsangs (a mix of meditation, chanting, lectures, singing and dancing) help create a sense of community. Extra workshops and lectures are built into the daily schedule, and there’s a wellbeing center for massage treatments and Ayurvedic body treatments.

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Over just the last month, the Strip in Las Vegas had two new hotels open amidst a ton of buzz. The four-pearl SLS Las Vegas — from the luxe brand known for its properties in Beverly Hills and South Beach – debuted on the site of the former Sahara Resort & Casino and, not to be outdone, the 4.5-pearl Delano replaced THEhotel at Mandalay Bay shortly after. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive, inside look at both and see some of their stellar (and some of their mediocre) features first-hand. Though both have their pros and cons, we’re going to have them battle it out in a few categories to declare a winner. In round one of our Delano versus SLS faceoff, we’re comparing their scenes and locations to determine which has the bragging rights for each. Signal the bell!

Category: Scene

At the Delano

DScene

The sleek public spaces here are a calculated nod to the Nevada desert, beginning with a huge 126,000-pound boulder greeting guests at the entrance. Brown leather couches, chairs with leather belt buckles, and a suspended rock installation by Korean artist Jaehyo Lee continue the striking, earth-inspired decor.

DScene1

Connected to the bustle of Mandalay Bay, the Delano is a convenient option for those needing proximity the Mandalay’s convention center, but seeking quieter accommodations.  With no casino, only two full-service restaurants, and a spa, the Delano provides a refreshingly calm oasis compared to the nearby party hotels.

 

At the SLS

SScene3

After a $415 million renovation of Sahara Resort & Casino (a former favorite of The Beatles and The Rat Pack,) SLS opened in August to mixed reviews. Owned by SBE Entertainment, which is a leader in L.A.‘s nightlife scene, SLS Las Vegas blends the old-world vibe of the former Sahara with strikingly modern features.

SScene2

Acclaimed French designer Philippe Starck is the brainchild behind most elements seen at the hotel; picture several LED fixtures, plastic body parts affixed to the wall, and quirky, monkey-inspired accents. It could be jarring for some to walk through a bright red corridor to get to the elevators, but it’s certainly a daring design that makes an impression. With several restaurants and clubs, the SLS attracts a hip, young crowd primarily interested in the nightlife the hotel has to offer.

And the winner is…SLS! See who wins for location after the jump >>

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Atlantic Citycasino 2-001 has had a rough couple of weeks, as numerous of its hotels have shut their doors. First, there was Showboat, then Revel, and now — what Donald Trump once called possibly the finest building in the nation – the Trump Plaza closed today after over 30 years in operation. Guests have reported that its decline has been apparent over the years, particularly recently. Want bedspreads or ice machines? Forget about it! But nonetheless, we here at Oyster love hotels so we’re always sad to see one go under. And rumor has it that its sister property, The Trump Taj Mahal, will likely close come November. [USA Today]

Let’s take a walk down memory lane at the Trump Plaza that once was…but is no longer >>

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Fall is in the air…Which means it’s time to plan your cozy cool-weather escape! We’re dreaming of New England inns, mountain lodges, and sophisticated urban retreats. Whatever your fall fancy, we’re here to help make it happen! We’re giving away $500 toward your fall trip. All you have to do is sign up with your e-mail…Really, that’s it! And you can refer friends to get extra entries. Pretty cool, huh?

Enter on Facebook, or if you’d rather not, just enter using this form and the subject line “Sweepstakes Entry.” If you do use Facebook, don’t forget to “like” us — we love to be liked.

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Screen Shot 2014-09-16 at 10.19.42 AMAlthough it has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, Odile made landfall in Mexico’s Cabo San Lucas as a Category 3 hurricane on Monday. No deaths were reported, but over 100 people were treated for minor injuries, and numerous residents and tourists were displaced and forced to seek cover in various hotels. Some hotels, however, did not fare so well. The luxurious Hilton resort suffered major damage and lost power, while the neighboring Melia Cabo Real (pictured to the left) also lost power and sustained damage such as blown out windows and doors. The Los Cabos International Airport is closed until further notice. Hurricane-prone destinations can offer some pretty tempting rates during high hurricane season, but always keep your safety in mind first. Check out some of our favorite hurricane-proof locales[Associated Press]

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We gave you all the deets on Fashion Week in New York and London, and now glamorous Milan is up next on the multi-city Fashion Week circuit, with the festivities kicking off on Wednesday. Milan is “the most” at many things in Italy; it’s the most modern, the most business-oriented, the (nearly) most populated, and the (arguably) most stylish city in the country. And we’ve got to agree with the latter claim. After all, it plays home base to luxury fashion houses such as Prada, Valentino, Armani, Versace, Missoni, Miu Miu, Etro, Dolce & Gabana, and many, many more, and it also has some of the most fashionable hotels in the world. Take a peek at Milan’s most stylish hotels, that are sure to be hot spots during the next fews days as Milan Fashion Week takes center stage.

Bulgari Milano

Bulgari Milano

It’s no surprise that a Bulgari property would be fashionable. This uber-luxurious hotel is one of the best places to see and be seen in the fashion scene of Milan, and it has a price tag to match. An 18th-century renovated mansion on 4,000 square meters of private gardens, the 58-room property is within walking distance of shopping venues like Prada and Gucci, yet still manages to feel secluded. Bulgari Milano is loaded with every conceivable amenity, from a world renowned spa to a sleek bar and gourmet restaurant. There are some complaints that rooms are too small for the price and that the color scheme is gloomy — but everyone in fashion knows that black never goes out of style.

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Step inside… The 32-room Hotel MC San Jose is a chic boutique (NEW on Oyster) with stylish details and plenty of friendly warmth and personality from the small staff. A pretty selection of cacti, palms, and shrubs makes the entrance to the hotel even more inviting, and it backs onto a cheerful garden, full of greenery, trees, and blossoming flowers. The interior is cheerful, too. Shiny tile floors, comfy white couches, and funky lighting make for a pleasant lobby. Thoughtful details include unique sculptures, colorful modern art on the walls, potted plants, and magazines and brochures to peruse. Glass doors let in ample sunlight. It’s located a five-minute walk to a beautiful beach, restaurants, and shops in a picturesque coastal town. Simple, elegant, mostly all-white rooms (some are more stylish than others) include free Wi-Fi and free mineral water, and some have gorgeous ocean views. There’s a small but lovely outdoor pool, a spa with a sauna, a pretty relaxation terrace, and a garden. 

Click through the jump to see even more beautiful pics of what makes a truly unique (and affordable) boutique on the Spain’s Mediterranean coast >>

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