Atlanta

Through our many travels we’ve learned that April showers don’t just bring May flowers – they bring delicious May produce! Everything from zucchini to asparagus, spring peas to corn, and watermelon to strawberries begin sprouting up during the spring and summer. And if you’re not quite ready to put on the overalls and bring in the harvest yourself, the next best thing is to visit a local farmers’ market, where fresh produce abounds. We’ve picked out our 10 favorite farmers’ markets across the states, so no matter where your spring and summer vacations take you, you’ll have plenty of tasty treats to bring home. And we’ve even found a great hotel near each spot so you can be sure to beat the crowds.

1. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Vegetable stand at Pike Place Market

Pike Place is one of Seattle’s main attractions. Featuring numerous produce, meat, and fish stands, the market also has plenty of craft kiosks for buying local artwork and gifts. It is open 7 days a week, and though most stands close around 5 p.m., several fine-dining restaurants on the 9-acre historic district are open late.

Where to Stay: Inn at the Market is aptly named. It is one of Seattle’s best-known, and most popular, hotels, in large part due to its unbeatable location: It’s in the heart of downtown Seattle, just half a block from Pike Place Market.

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Baseball season is now in full swing (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) and you have six months of heartbreak and/or joy — depending on your team — ahead. Taking in a game from the comfort of your living room can be nice, especially if it means saving face after an embarrassing loss (hey, Rangers!). But there’s nothing quite like taking in your team from the stands, with a hot dog and beer in hand. And there’s nothing like showing your team spirit than being there to root them on in the flesh. So whether you cheer for the Yankees (or the Mets), the Red Sox, the White Sox (or the Cubs), the Braves, the Cardinals, the Dodgers, the Marlins, the Phillies, the Giants, or the Astros, we have the perfect hotel where the die-hard fans can stay.

For: Yankees Fans, New York City

Trump International Hotel and Tower, New York City

He may have sold his penthouse apartment a few months ago, but Derek Jeter fans will still love being in a place the famed Yankee once called home: The Trump International Hotel and Tower. A luxury skyscraper with hotel rooms and residences, the Trump is one of the top spots for pre and post-game pampering, with an indoor pool, a tasty restaurant, and one of the best spas in the city. Plus, with a fabulous location on Central Park West, the hotel is less than a block from the B and D lines which will drop you off right by Yankee Stadium.

For Mets Fans: If you’re a Mets fan and can’t stand to be in the same hotel as Yankees fans (and to be honest, the stadiums aren’t that close), you may consider the Grand Hyatt. Rumored to have hosted numerous celebrity athletes (particularly during the U.S. Open), the Grand Hyatt is conveniently located next to Grand Central, where Mets fans can catch the 7 train to Citi Field in Queens. It’s also a prime location for visiting numerous must-see Big Apples sights.

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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Spring has sprung and that means Easter is just around the corner! When Peter Cottontail comes hopping down the lane, we get all too excited for egg hunts, chocolates galore, and — most importantly — Easter brunch. Who doesn’t love the combo of booze and food on a Sunday afternoon? And when it’s in the name of all that is holy — well, that’s just an extra perk! A chic hotel is often just the place to find a perfect Easter brunch spread, so we’ve rounded up our favorites across the states. View our mouth-watering slideshow below and prepare yourself to mug down deliciously this Sunday.

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One Bal Harbour Resort bathrooms have some of the best views in the Miami.

Some people prefer to read a magazine in the restroom, but we’d much rather gaze out over a stunning view. There’s nothing we love more than exotic sights, no matter where we’re taking in the view — the shower, tub, or elsewhere. From Hong Kong to Miami, Boston to Barcelona, here are our favorite hotel views from the best seat in the house.

 

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Staying at a hotel is downright inspiring (unless it’s this hotel, of course). After all, being in a new environment can make you feel rejuvenated and relaxed, and the space can even give you ideas for sprucing up your home. Today we’re giving a photo tour of our favorite hotels that have that “bright and bold” vibe down pat. From crazy colorful murals to subtle pops of color, these hotels keep their spaces fun and light. Get inspired — and get the look!

W Atlanta – Buckhead

Lobby at the W Atlanta - Buckhead

Texture, pattern, color — the W in Buckhead has it all; in fact, it has it all right in the lobby! This design-focused, chic hotel offers a younger, funkier alternative to upscale hotels in Atlanta, and the contemporary style ranges from the antler-adorned chandeliers in the lobby to the uber-modern, minimalist decor in other common areas. But what we really covet are the cozy chairs in the rooms, where playful patterns and mismatched artwork create a whimsical vibe.

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Celebrity chef restaurants have fast-become the brag-worthy accessory to luxury hotels. Nowadays, the likes of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Gordon Ramsay call multiple hotel kitchens home, but the ultimate indulgence comes when you can chow down on fame-broiled [Ed. Note: We couldn't help ourselves] chateaubriand in the comfort of your very own suite. The hotels with the most bragging rights are going a step above by not only offering a gourmet experience in the dining room, but delivered to your door as well. Oyster has had the pleasure of sampling many delicious celebrity chef room service menus. Check out six of our favorites here:

Celebrity Chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten

A private dinner in paradise just got even more delicious, courtesy of Jean-Georges.

The Hotel: One&Only Ocean Club

Bringing a sense of tranquility to the otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the One&Only Ocean Club’s personal butlers, beautiful pools, and access to Atlantis’s water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean’s best resorts. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Dune restaurant is just the icing on the cake at this luxe resort. But what delicious icing it is — that you can have delivered straight to your room. Serving innovative French-Asian cuisine punctuated with Bahamian herbs and influences, Dune offers a mouth-watering and chic dining experience, suite-side.

Oyster’s Menu Pick: Roasted Peking duck with shallot confit, asparagus, shitake, and lilly bulb stir fry.

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Patio King Room at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado; Santa Fe, NM

Patio King Room at the Four Seasons Rancho Encantado; Santa Fe, NM

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Jennifer Aniston’s assistants got in a fight with a Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado employee after overhearing him chatting with a guest about the actress’s presence at the hotel.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A Russian firm is so worried about the Mayan end-of-the-world prediction that it has designed a floating hotel that can withstand most natural disasters, including rising sea levels and earthquakes.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Beverly Wilshire Beverly Hills has just launched a program that allows guests to check in via Skype while on their way to the hotel.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta is allowing guests to send in suggestions for new food and drink specials through the end of the month.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Madonna has announced plans to get into the hotel industry next year and has partnered with her brother, Christopher Ciccone, to carry out the project.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Oyster Decodes Hotel Points Programs is a new series where we break down hotel rewards programs and give you the inside scoop on how they can save you money.
 
Hotel point programs are not always easy to decipher, and sometimes even we (travel experts, after all) feel we need a guide to understand how they work. But it’s worth the effort it takes to decode: All are free to join, and more often than not, end up saving travelers a significant amount of cash. This week, we’re biting the bullet and starting with cracking the Marriott rewards program, which is one of the most difficult to navigate as guests can redeem their points at over 3,600 locations worldwide across 12 distinctive brands.
 
Marriott properties are divided into eight categories — depending on the hotel brand, location and type — and five tiers.  Members can earn up to 10 points for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels, as well as at Marriott’s partner airlines and rental car companies, which include Hertz, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic. They can then redeem the points earned on hotels, airlines and other services. While advantages of joining the program are numerous, the system is not always straightforward, so we’ve selected some of our favorite hotels in each category and tier where, for a certain number of points (starting at 70,000), you can enjoy a one night stay in a standard room. Start redeeming those points!

Tier 5: 70,000 points

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong - Hong Kong, China

The gorgeous indoor pool has great views and a Jacuzzi

The gorgeous indoor pool has great views and a Jacuzzi

Only a few hotels in Hong Kong deliver the Ritz-Carlton’s level of luxury. Large rooms feature decadent touches, such as plush beds with 400- to 600-thread count linens, iPods and iPod docks, Nespresso coffeemakers, and high-end toiletries. The hotel is set on floors 102 to 118 of Hong Kong’s tallest building, and while acrophobes may not appreciate being this far from the ground, the height does make for breathtaking views — that is, when the sky is clear. Highlights include a stylish indoor pool, sleek gym, and top-notch spa. The Ritz-Carlton is connected to a great shopping mall and corporate offices, and also offers easy access to the airport train and the MTR. However, its location in an up-and-coming business area west of Tsim Sha Tsui is a bit out of the way for leisure travelers.

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Road warriors, rejoice: The days of relying on a (possibly shoddy) business center are over. Not that we don’t love a good business center, but when it comes to those who frequent the skies (or road, or railroad track) for work, we know from experience that it’s important to stay connected on your own terms. And since business travelers are dominating the hospitality landscape, hotels have heeded visitors’ requests and souped up their technologies to match the fast pace of the world today. Before you grab your briefcase and hop the next flight to Atlanta/New York City/Hong Kong, make sure you’re booked at one of tech-savvy retreats.

1. Innerwireless Distributed Antenna System
Where: Mandarin Oriental, New York 

The work desk in the Mandarin Executive Suite is spacious, sleek, and handsome.

Hate when your call gets dropped? So do we — especially if we’re negotiating an important deal. And obviously the Mandarin Oriental does too, which is why the ultra-luxe property in New York City set up what’s dubbed an “Innerwireless Distributed Antenna System,” which is a device installed in the core of the hotel that allows for uninterrupted — that’s right folks — and universal cellular coverage. And if you forgot your iPad charger or extra computer battery, the hotel concierge will easily provide you with replacements.

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