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Spring break is right around the corner — finally! After a long winter of snow and slush, it’s time to escape the homestead and let loose. But a quick trip to an island all-inclusive isn’t for everyone. Maybe desert vistas are more your thing? Or you’d rather climb a mountain than windsurf in the Caribbean? No matter what your vacation style, we have a spring break plan for you that promises to be everything but run-of-the-mill.

If the desert sun is calling your name, head to Albuquerque, New Mexico: 

albuquerque

Albuquerque, located about an hour from Santa Fe, is often overlooked. Like Santa Fe, Albuquerque is dotted by adobe historic buildings, and has boiling summers. Albuquerque is known as the “hot air balloon capital” of the U.S. and if you like the city in the spring, you should be sure to revisit in the fall when the world’s largest hot air balloon festival takes place here. Albuquerque also boasts gorgeous terrain, a chance to cross the Rio Grande, and an amazing fine arts community. Not to mention, as the setting for AMC’s Breaking Bad, the city attracts more than one Walter White fan.

Stay: The gorgeous and hip Hotel Andaluz is housed in a historic building with a luxe vibe and eco-friendly focus. Featuring a rooftop bar and a stunning lobby, the Andaluz evokes the feel of a Spanish resort, yet also honors its own history as a New Mexico landmark with extensive Southwestern art throughout. Read More »

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When the going gets tough, the tough are of tempted to stop going – or going on vacation, that is! But the exact opposite should be true: travel inspires and relaxes us. It takes us to new creative heights. It is refreshing. It’s exactly what we need when we’re in a rut, or going through a rough patch, or simply sick of gray skies and piles of snow. So if you’re yearning to get away from it all but don’t want to break the bank in the process, these six budget destinations come through with incredible deals and plenty of sun-dappled relaxation.

Mexico

Hotel B Cozumel

The rules of supply and demand certainly appyl in Mexico, where thousands of hotel rooms mean competition for tourist dollars. And that means great deals on some of the country’s most scenic towns, including towns along the Yucatán Peninsula, the Riviera Maya, and major destinations like Puerto Vallarta and Cancún. Great deals can be had for every type of vacation style, so don’t settle for merely a good price: If you’re a water lover, go for an all-inclusive (or large resort) that bundles jetskis, snorkeling gear, and other amenities into your vacation package. For a more sedate getaway, look for a small hotel or guesthouse where you can escape the crowds.

Stretch your hotel dollar: The Hotel B Cozumel is a steal along the famed Riviera Maya, with a natural snorkeling bay, gorgeous views, and rooms that ooze personality.

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Most of us have to stick to a budget when we plan a vacation, and we know that considering a hotel’s value is just as important as considering its rooms and features. It’s hard to enjoy a nice resort when you feel like you’ve been ripped off, and it’s hard to enjoy a cheap resort when you feel like a few extra bucks could have bought you a significantly better trip. For a hotel to be a great value, in our view, it’s got to offer the best of both worlds: It’s got to be a resort that’s cheaper than the competition but still objectively pretty great. So we scoured some of our  favorite beach destinations to find seven resorts offering just that. Prepare yourself for some shockingly good deals.

Kauai Beach Resort, Kauai

Kauai Beach ResortThis private, quiet property has large rooms, gorgeous sunrises over a rugged beach, a water slide and sand-bottom pool, and a romantic bar with live music. It’s a good choice for a quiet, relaxed stay. There may be more to do at the Kauai Marriott, but rates are typically better here. Read More »

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Hurricane season is upon us, and weather experts are predicting that 2013 is going to be a doozy. But even if you can’t stop extreme weather from happening, at least you can protect yourself on your vacation — provided you pick a vacation destination that is reliably hurricane-free. Here are some top-notch options, as well as great places to stay while you’re there.

Lake Tahoe, California

Though Lake Tahoe may sometimes get serious snowstorms, the cold waters along the California coast mean that hurricanes almost never make landfall in the state (only two have hit in the last 100 years). When they do hit, it’s typically Southern California that is most affected instead. Lake Tahoe safely sits in northern California, where it has 300 days of sun a year and plenty of great year-round vacation activities — swimming, boating, and hiking in the summer, and skiing in the winter.

Lake Tahoe gets 300 days of sunshine a year.

Oyster.com Hotel Pick: Franciscan Lakeside Lodge

This cluster of cabins right on the lake makes a great value pick. While some rooms are tucked across the street from the lake in a darker, tree-covered area, the lakefront cottages have excellent views and open to the sandy beach and a private pier where guests can swim and play in privacy. Kitchenettes make dining in (and saving money) easy. And the heated outdoor pool (open seasonally) is said to be the largest in North Lake Tahoe.

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Yamm restaurant shows off the hotel's futuristic design style.

Edward Snowden — the former CIA employee who leaked information about the National Security Agency’s surveillance methods last week — has reportedly been hiding out at The Mira Hong Kong since his whistle-blowing shocked people across the globe — but no longer. The Daily Telegraph has reported that a man who called himself Edward Snowden checked out of the The Mira today. Many have their doubts about whether or not this is the Edward Snowden: After all, the 29-year-old has been very secretive since the big reveal, even admitting to feeling extremely fearful of being spied on. In fact, reports claim that Snowden left his hotel in Hong Kong just three times during his stay — despite being in the city for three weeks — for fear of being located by the NSA.

There are certainly worse places to lay low: The Mira is one of Hong Kong’s most luxurious, high-design properties. The hotel boasts a central location in Tsim Sha Tsui, futuristic design touches, seven outstanding restaurants and bars, and an excellent fitness center. If Snowden was hiding out at the chic hotel, we can only assume he is sad to leave it now. Whether he will stay in Asia or seek asylum elsewhere – many speculate he may travel to Iceland for that reason — saying goodbye to The Mira could not have been easy. See more photos of The Mira after the jump »

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If you’re the type that’s always up-to-date on the latest celeb gossip, or if you have the bucks to travel like an A-lister, you probably aren’t interested in hearing about the hottest hotels from two years ago. You want to know all about the hottest hotels around the world right now, where celebrities have been spotted recently (within the last year at least). We totally understand. Trends fade; cool hotels become less cool. That’s why we did some sleuthing to find out which hotels are still scorching hot — in cities from NYC to Paris to Istanbul.

Trump SoHo, New York City

Paparazzi are frequently camped outside the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York City.

Paparazzi are frequently camped outside the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York City.

Celebs Spotted Recently: The Kardashian clan (Kourtney, Kim, Kanye, and Kris Jenner); Jada Pinkett-Smith; Jessica Alba; Kendra Wilkinson

The Oyster.com offices are located just around the corner from the Trump SoHo, and we can confirm first-hand that it is one of the most star-studded hotels in NYC. We spotted the Kardashian clan only a month or so ago way back from lunch; in fact, and it feels like paparazzi are permanently camped outside the hotel entrance. The first Trump hotel in downtown New York has the attention to detail and hands-on service you’d expect from a Trump property, but the hipper vibe and great SoHo location cater to a younger set. The luxurious spa and seasonally open pool are the hotel’s main features. Koi (which draws plenty of celebs all on its own) serves Japanese food in a sleek space.

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Plenty of business people find themselves traveling to New York City for work. And while New York has plenty to offer all kinds of travelers, it can be tough for business travelers to find some time to enjoy the city’s many perks. Fortunately, we’ve gone through our database and have found the top business hotels that are perfect for mixing business and pleasure.

For the Sports Fanatic: ONE UN New York

Tennis courts at the ONE UN New York

Across the street from the UN, the ONE UN is a popular choice among diplomats and dignitaries, and thus is well-equipped for business travelers. Business-minded amenities include 7,500 square feet of meeting space, room service, a new coffee bar, and rooms with large work spaces. Sports and fitness fanatics will be particularly happy at this hotel, which boasts a 24-hour fitness center, a lap pool with an on-duty lifeguard and great city views, and an indoor tennis court; the ONE UN is the only New York City hotel to have one.

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Lobby at The Jade Hotel, New York City

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The boutique Jade Hotel may only be a few months old, but it has already has some pretty famous visitors. Last week, Cameron Diaz was spotted getting drinks at the bar and flirting with strangers.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin St. John is one of three Starwood properties that make up the first shift towards the brand reducing its carbon footprint worldwide. The new green initiative will include the installation of high-tech water savers that will reduce wasted water at the hotel by 50 percent.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Wyndham Hotel Group added Singapore to its destination list this week with the opening of a Days Inn and a Ramada.

4. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The general manager of the Lancaster London, along with numerous other volunteers, scaled up the side of the hotel in order to raise money for Kickstart Programme.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Room service is pricey no matter where you go, but in a recent study, TripAdvisor found that Denver and Dallas offer the best value as far as room service. Not surprisingly, New York City and Honolulu offered the worst.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and with it comes the official kick-off of the summer season. When that Friday hits, thousands of beach-bound celebrators will clog the highways on their way to sun and surf. But while we love a good beach day just as much as the next patriot, this Memorial Day we’re excited to try something inland. Join us in avoiding the crowds, uncovering new corners of America, and – of course – honoring our soldiers, with parades, festivals, and much more at these ten locales not on the beach.

1. Washington, D.C.

Calling all patriots: Washington, DC wants to celebrate with you.

If you want to go hardcore patriotic, there really isn’t any place better to be this Memorial Day than Washington, D.C. (Especially since NYC had to go and cancel Fleet Week due to the sequestration.) In addition to a variety of military ceremonies taking place around town, visitors can also attend the National Parade or the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally (nothing like the wind in your hair, right?!). The National Memorial Day Concert, hosted at the Capitol Building, is always a special event, and this year’s affair features appearances by General Colin Powell and actor Gary Sinise, in addition to several military bands and the National Symphony Orchestra. Visitors can also opt to simply stroll through Washington’s many amazing monuments – during the day or at night – and sample some of D.C.’s delicious culinary offerings.

STAY: The gorgeous, 317-room W Washington D.C. blends the new – fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a great spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service – with the old – the property’s historic Beaux Arts building dates back to 1917. Plus, you can see the Washington Monument from the hotel’s hip rooftop lounge, POV, making celebrating in style easy.
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Hidden among the Caribbean’s many mega-resorts are some of the most unique, intimate boutiques travelers can imagine. With laid-back, eco-friendly attitudes, these petite hotels are some of the best in the region, offering personalized service and truly relaxing atmospheres. So consider passing on that 500-room all-inclusive and indulge in some intimacy at these wonderful boutiques.

1. Fowl Cay Resort, Bahamas

The gorgeous Fowl Cay Resort feels more like a private home than a hotel.

Crowded beaches are unheard of on this private island resort where a maximum of 28 guests at a time have free range of 50 acres and three beaches. Personal boats for daily excursions, on-call service, spacious villas with fully stocked kitchens and wet bars, and a host of all-inclusive activities make Fowl Cay a standout gem in the ExumasRead More »

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