During our travels we’ve stayed in the cutest, quaintest, and tiniest of hotels. And while we love the intimate and peaceful vibe that many smaller properties can offer, sometimes staying near the action just isn’t enough. We want to be in the thick of it. That way we can to go into full-on relaxation (read: lazy) vacation mode and have everything we could ever want right at our fingertips. Why should you have to jump in a car (or even worse — on a bus) just to meet a few people, see a show, or dance the night away? Luckily, these 12 massive village-style properties don’t think you should; in fact, they are hoping you won’t! Packed to the brim with communal conveniences like multiple restaurants, several pools, nightclubs, theaters, tons of activities, kids programs — even grocery stores, pharmacies, and bowling alleys — some of these places are so big they have on-site shuttles and maps to get you where you want to go amid sprawling grounds. And with enough rooms to house populations in the hundreds and thousands, they promise to be teeming with tons of potential new pals. It may take a village to create your perfect vacation — but at these properties, it’s worth it!
The 674-room Grand Palladium Bavaro is spread over spacious grounds (guests also have access to two sister properties) offering an incredible selection of 15 bars, five buffets, and eight restaurants. Walking shoes are recommended, but family-friendly amenities, lower prices than some neighboring properties, and renovated rooms are big draws. In 2014, the resort added 178 units — including a swim-up suite option overlooking the beach (a great pick for honeymooners). Kids and their parents will appreciate the outstanding kids’ club, but take note: the beach can get crowded.
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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.
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 »
What’s the secret to a great family vacation? Finding a location that allows everyone to explore and have fun – at their own pace. A spot where the kids (most likely bursting with energy) can have a blast while you enjoy a relaxing massage and a margarita…or several margaritas. (Go ahead – it’s vacation.) And generally a beach destination can deliver on all these fronts. So we’ve rounded up the best kid-friendly, tropical vacation spots that feature safe and fun places to play, kid-friendly restaurants, and all sorts of activities, even if the sun goes into hiding for a day or two. And Mom and Dad will be just as happy at these spots as well.
With ten pools, a sprawling (45,000-square-foot) water park, a shopping center, a spa complex, and more restaurants than you can shake a breadstick at, the family-friendly Beaches is one of the most features-heavy resorts in Turks and Caicos. With a pirate-themed Sesame Street Treasure Caravan; 12 miles of white sand beach; pools staffed by lifeguards; Pirate’s Island Waterpark featuring two waterslides; AND Crayola Art Camps (whew!), your little ones can be entertained while you head for a rum punch. For the tweens and teens, there’s a Martha Stewart Crafts Studio, a (teen-appropriate) nightclub and lounge, an Xbox games garage, and even a DJ academy.
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Summer is such a gift: the warm weather, the laid-back vibe, the beachy music, the opportunity for more travel, the sunsets. Here at Oyster, we’re really big fans of the latter two, and we often get to enjoy them both at the same time. (Not to say that we don’t love watching the sun sink down into the Hudson from our home base in New York City, but there’s something particularly special about taking in the sunset from an exotic locale.) We’ve watched the sun bid adieu to the day in numerous destinations around the world, and we’ve picked out the seven summer sunsets you’ve just GOT to see.
Photo Credit: David Stanley
Home to some of the best sunsets in the Caribbean, this Dutch island knows how to make the most of its outrageous sunsets. From beachfront dining to sunset cruises, there are endless opportunities to take it all in. And due to Aruba’s location that’s (generally) outside of the hurricane belt, consistently warm and sunny weather can be experienced year round, so you don’t even have to rush to get there this summer! Be sure to check out California Lighthouse on the island’s northwest tip for a one-of-a-kind vantage point.
Where to Stay: Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Located on Aruba’s famed Palm Beach on the island’s western coast, The Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is the ideal place to watch the setting sun. Since many rooms include large, comfortable balconies, you don’t even need to leave your chair to see the magic happen.
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Earth Day may roll around just once a year (it’s today, by the way), but the great thing about travel is that you can celebrate your commitment to the planet anytime and anywhere! So whether you’re planning a last-minute bash to celebrate Mother Earth, or just want to go green for your next vacay, these seven hotels have you covered… And if you’re asking what makes a hotel eco-friendly, the answer varies depending on whom you question. Some of our picks have launched awesome recycling programs; another is LEED -certified; and yet another sits on a 1,000-acre private rainforest reserve, home to scarlet macaws. Read on for all the tree-hugging deets, and have a very happy (and green) Earth Day!
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach, along with its sister hotels Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos, Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa, and Pueblo Bonito Rose Resort & Spa, is committed to green initiatives and promoting sustainable tourism throughout Mexico. The hotel has taken lots of steps, both big and small, to reduce its environmental impact, from launching an initiative to protect sea turtles in the area to headlining an innovative recycling program. Pueblo Bonito also organizes beach clean-ups, composts much of its organic waste, and works to protect local whales, brown pelicans and other wildlife. Oh, and it’s a gorgeous luxury property with direct access to a private beach.
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Spring break is right around the corner and, those on a budget shouldn’t rule out a trip to the sun-soaked beaches of the Caribbean. Budget-friendly all-inclusives dot the shores of some of our favorite destinations, including the Dominican Republic, Cancun, and Jamaica, among others. It’s time to pack your bags and hitch a flight to warmer weather.
With competitive pricing, lovely rooms, and great on-site amenities, this 70-room boutique hotel will attract people who never thought they’d choose an all-inclusive package. With three restaurants and cabanas on the terrace, Waves has a contemporary appeal especially for couples. The quiet beach along Prospect Bay feels private, and the calm waves are perfect for swimming and kayaking. A spa and adults-only pool, located across the street, are extra perks.
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If you’re a water sports junkie or think you could become one, these nine hotels are the perfect place to start your vacation planning. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to surf or snorkel — whatever your pleasure, we’ve chosen an awesome hotel for a variety of different activities. So prepare to leave the winter cold behind (and don’t forget your sunscreen).
Where to Stay If You Love…
The Bitter end Yacht Club is a top-notch choice for just about any type of water sports enthusiast, but it stands out for its sailing. The resort’s sailing school, established in 1985, offers a number of classes, including Sailing 101 for newbies (included as part of a seven-night stay). The resort also has its own fleet of 100 vessels, including sailboats and catamarans. This relaxed, family-friendly resort has tech-free rooms featuring stunning views from the balconies and the sliding doors allows breezes to sweep through. Read More »
Sunset in Antigua
Gorgeous sunsets can be found all year-round, but summertime is a particularly nice season to take in a beautiful dusk view with a mai tai in hand. We’ve shown you some incredible sunsets before, but we’ve created a second edition of amazing views we’ve seen more recently. From Caribbean beach destinations to bustling metropolitan cities, we found 10 more incredible sunsets from our travels around the world.
We're ready to zip down this slide!
Who doesn’t feel like a kid again when at a water park? Whether you’re visiting with your own kids, or are just trying to revive your inner kid, a water park can be just what you need for a little fun this summer. We’ve visited tons and tons of water parks during our travels, and have seen all kinds of slides, waterfalls, pirate ships, lazy rivers — you name it! But we whittled them down to the best of the best to show you. So check out our slideshow of the best water parks in the world!
Lobby at the Sofitel Buenos Aires; Buenos Aires, Argentina
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Karl Lagerfeld has signed a contract with Sofitel Hotels to design all of the rooms at the Sofitel Buenos Aires, the restaurants at Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam, and the lobby at the Sofitel Los Angeles.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Plaza Athenee Paris recently celebrated its 50th birthday with a cake five meters long.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Fancy a free five-night stay at the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino (or any of the oMarriott resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico)? The chain is offering the giveaway to their Facebook and Pinterest fans.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel in Barcelona will undergo massive renovations, lasting through late 2014, to become the world’s first “space hotel.” It will include a zero-gravity spa and panoramic impressions of the universe.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Palomar Dallas’s new “Travel Lite” fitness package includes a one-hour morning run with the hotel manager.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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