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Visiting Europe is often composed of a whirlwind tour, during which visitors hurry from one tourist destination to another. Therefore — in between trips to museums and monuments — finding the time to breathe can be surprisingly difficult. To help speed along to the moment where you actually find relaxation — you’re on vacation, after all — some of our favorite hotels across the pond are outfitted with top-notch spas designed to get you to that “Ahhh” feeling faster than you can say “Euro Trip.” Whether all you want is some downtime in the sauna or a deep tissue massage, these properties have you covered. So sit back and relax—the Louvre will still be there tomorrow.

1. K West Hotel & Spa, London 

The intimate spa encourages relaxation at every corner.

K West is a smart and sophisticated option in London, with its main attraction being the beautiful K Spa. Featuring sleek style and impressive facilities — the hydrotherapy pool and “Snow Paradise” room are particularly noteworthy — the spa is well-regarded throughout the United Kingdom. The “Snow Paradise” room is meant to follow a hot steam treatment, and is based on Finnish spa techniques of using hot-cold therapy to stimulate circulation and the immune system.

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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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There are plenty of different ways to travel in Europe – from shoestring-budget trips to over-the-top getaways worthy of the British royals. Here at Oyster we’ve been lucky enough to be able to do both (seriously, the budget hotels in Europe are pretty nice!), but the holidays are for wishing and dreaming, so we’re going to help you put together your own list of top places to get pampered in 2013. Keep reading and discover our favorite luxury hotels in Europe!

Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

These luxurious rooms have classic, elegant decor, but modern technologies.

These luxurious rooms have classic, elegant decor, but modern technologies.

The world-renowned luxury hotel Plaza Athenee — a part of the Dorchester Collection — is synonymous with Parisian elegance and good taste. Iconic red awnings and chestnut trees welcome guests to the historic setting, on the upscale Avenue Montaigne location with direct views of the Eiffel Tower. It’s all about luxury here, inside and out. The avenue is lined with high-end shops such as Christian Dior, Prada, and Chanel. And inside, the 146 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in classic Art Deco style with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and marble baths. With six distinct restaurants, a large fitness center, and a can’t-miss daily breakfast in a leafy garden, the Plaza Athenee doesn’t miss a beat.

  • Our favorite luxe amenity: Guests have access to the Dior Institute for a full range of quality beauty and spa treatments.

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Deluxe Room at the Hotel Brunelleschi; Florence, Italy

Deluxe Room at the Hotel Brunelleschi; Florence, Italy

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Brunelleschi’s tower is the oldest standing building still in use in Florence.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The owners of Eden Roc: A Renaissance Resort and Spa in Miami recently attempted a hostile management takeover of the hotel by breaking into the Marriott’s offices.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Fairmont Copley Plaza Boston offers puppies to guests who miss their pets.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Two Law students from University of California – Berkeley were arrested after having been caught beheading a 14-year old helmeted guinea fowl at the Flamingo Las Vegas.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Smyth Hotel’s Food Truck Concierge delivers guests’ favorite dishes from food trucks operating in the area to their rooms upon request.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Pretty sweet view, right?

Lush, tropical landscapes. Gorgeous city skylines. Tempting mountain vistas. These are the reasons why we go on vacation, right? That, and being able to relax and let someone else do the cooking for a change. But why not have both? Hotels with top-notch restaurants know that pulling in diners is about more than just the grub. A destination restaurant has to have both killer cuisine and a view to dine for [Ed. Note: See what we did there?] in order to pull vacationers away from their lounge chairs. We’ve seen some of the most unique and breathtaking vistas, all while dining on the freshest cuisine, at these five scrumptious hotel properties.

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Credit: Mikhail Shapaev/Flickr

For the past month, soccer fans around the globe have been glued to Euro 2012. It’s been a rough-and-tumble path to the finish line, but come this Sunday only one team will be left standing. First, though, are the semi-finals: Portugal vs. Spain; Germany vs. Italy. (In other words, let the bloodbath begin — on and off the field.) We may not all be extreme hooligans, but we sure don’t mind posing as one for the exciting finish. And where’s a better place to reign in it with a cold one and root for your squad with a passionate fury then besides fervent locals cheering on their respective teams? The teams’ hometowns, naturally. Check out these awesome watering holes that’ll welcome your hooting and hollering with open arms for the finish of Euro 2012.

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Staying at a hotel is all about getting away. And while some hotels make you feel like you’re in a different location, others go a step beyond and transport you to another era. You’ve seen our coverage of historic hotels around the globe, but now it’s time for us to show off the coolest futuristic hotels on Oyster.com. With everything from funky lighting to pod-like bedrooms to mobiles that could orbit in outer space, these hotels are ready for the 22nd century.

The Hotel: nhow Berlin

Lobby at the nhow Berlin

Lobby at the nhow Berlin

  • Why We Love It: The nhow Berlin is an offbeat, creative hotel overlooking the River Spree. This futuristic property has a music theme and offers rare amenities like Gibson guitar room service and two recording studios on-site. Bright colors, psychedelic patterns, and funky-shaped furniture have high visual impact in the lobby, bar, and restaurant. The wild decor is somewhat muted in the rooms, though there’s still plenty of pink, and quirky furniture, as well as amenities such as iPod docks and TVs embedded in mirrors.
  • Fave Futuristic Feature: What’s not to love about the pink UFO-like sculpture in the lobby?

See more photos of the nhow Berlin »

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The only thing better than Italian food is Italy itself. And the views from Terrazza Brunelleschi Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Baglioni in Florence are just as savory as its menu options. Between the fine dining and striking views of Florence, this upscale hotel restaurant is just another one of the city’s many works of art.

Terrazza Brunelleschi Restaurant at the Grand Hotel Baglioni

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iPadAppWe already told you guys about our incredible new iPad app — you know, the one with interactive maps, tons of destinations, and collections with vacation ideas ripe for picking. But with the launch of Apple’s latest iPad — which already sold over 3 million units in its first weekend on shelves – we had to quickly make some improvements to make our app iPad3-ready. Curious how we souped it up in time for the iPad3′s release? A lot of coffee, nail biting, and well, tons of work. Check out the improvements we made after the jump!

Update: Our latest version was so impressive that the App Store asked to feature it — which we did. The best part? Having a “featured” app can increase our site’s organic traffic by three or four times as much!

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The mess known as La Lohan. (Credit: Michael Williams/startraksphoto.com)

  • After a disastrous first stay at the Chateau Marmont, Lindsay Lohan is back terrorizing the notorious Hollywood property. Reports say she partied hard last weekend, but she’s denying it, obvi. [HotelChatter.com]
  • Talk about in-flight entertainment: Super Bowl Champs, the New York Giants, continued to celebrate their victory on the flight back to New York City. Watch the video. Seriously. [Gadling.com
  • San Francisco International Airport has gone all Zen on us: The airport has built an on-site yoga studio in Terminal 2, equipped with mirrored walls and mats to borrow. [ABCNews.com]
  • Aruba is offering the Pats a serious consolation prize. So while Eli Manning hangs with Mickey, Tom Brady might be in the Caribbean. If Gisele’s gonna wear a bikini, we bet the whole team shows. [USAToday.com]
  • Atlantic City just approved a “Tourism District Master Plan” that includes facelifts for the Boardwalk and Pacific Avenue, and more nightlife at Steel Pier. Bring on the diving horse! [ACWeekly.com]

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