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.
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 Exumas. Read More »
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.
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 days ago on our 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.
For many, the dream beach vacation involves snoozing on a quiet stretch of sand in some exotic (read:expensive) locale — and we don’t blame you. But the truth is, there’s no need to break the piggy bank to have a fabulous oceanfront getaway. Picking a budget-friendly hotel that’s not overrun with twentysomethings looking for a crashpad can be tricky, and more serene destinations tend to be more expensive. But we searched high and low, and these six affordable properties are great for those who want to spend some quiet, relaxing days on the beach — without spending all their savings.
The gorgeous infinity pool overlooks a beautiful white-sand beach.
Overlooking a stunning beach on the southern tip of the Hotel Zone, this adults-only property oozes tranquility. Its serene white and red decor — accented by billowy curtains everywhere — and its somewhat secluded location far from the booming Cancun nightlife, sets this boutique apart from the mega-resorts located just north of it. The Bel Air Collection has 155 chic, minimalist (if low-frills) rooms, trendy common areas, a wonderful spa, and a gorgeous infinity pool with ocean views. It’s a great pick for a relaxed, romantic getaway.
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Beach at Sandy Lane; Barbados
Decked out in its signature pink, the 112-room Sandy Lane is arguably the best resort in Barbados, known for its unparalleled service and distinct touches. Guest amenities run rampant; perhaps the most noteworthy is access to the super-exclusive Green Monkey golf course (so that’s probably why Tiger Woods got married here). Upon arrival, the road winds through beautiful grounds and mahogany trees toward the impressive entrance and marble lobby. Once there, the staff will whisk your luggage away to your room, marked with luxe touches including Italian marble floors, plantation-style designer furniture, and state-of-the-art bathrooms. The top-notch spa, outstanding restaurants, and celebrity sightings are mere cherries on top. Check out more amazing photos of the hotel after the jump or read the full review here >>
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The Tranquila Suite at La Tranquila; Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The smallest room at La Tranquila in Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit is 16 times bigger than a standard room at The Jane Hotel in New York City.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? According to singer Josh Groban, his dog Sweeney has a favorite hotel: The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The most expensive treatment at Mango Bay in Barbados is a $7,000 facial that includes a face massage with gold flakes.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? An Irish billionaire owes The St. Regis Washington, D.C. $10 million after throwing a St. Patrick’s Day party at the hotel’s bar and leaving without paying the tab.
5. FACT OF FAKEOUT? Stock investor Marty Zweig is selling his three-floor penthouse at The Pierre hotel in New York for $120 million.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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There’s nothing quite like the sense of discovery one feels when arriving at a hidden gem hotel — a truly special spot that is intimate, remote, underrated, or all of the above. Some people like to brag to their friends about their insider find; others prefer to keep it all to themselves. Of course, we at Oyster have never been good at keeping secrets.
It’s time to get your spring break plans in order, and if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, the Caribbean is a prime destination. But with thousands of islands (although only a few dozen are inhabited) to choose from, that doesn’t narrow things down much. That’s why we at Oyster have created an A to Z (well, actually, an A to V) guide to the Caribbean, so choosing your island and resort will be a piece of cake. First stop: Anguilla.
The boutique Anacaona has two pools.
Anguilla is a tiny British territory that covers fewer than 40 square miles and is a popular spot for couples and celebs (Sofia Vergara went on a girls’ trip to the island) due to its small size and upscale vibe. Visitors must either fly to St. Martin and take a short ferry to the island, or fly in directly (by way of a small seaplane) from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Thus, getting to the island can be pricey. So once you’re there, we’d recommend staying at the boutique Anacaona in the island’s West End. Though its not quite as luxe as the CuisinArt or Viceroy, it offers access to the same gorgeous white-sand beach as the neighboring Viceroy – through an off-property path — as well as to the nearby Greg Norman’s golf course and a few restaurants, and its prices are considerably lower. With two small pools, a great restaurant serving Caribbean fare with a twist, and a massage hut on the beach, the hotel is a good pick for value.
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“Caribbean” and “all-inclusive” go together well. After all, the Caribbean is synonymous with snoozing on a rope hammock between two palm trees, not lifting a finger — and all-inclusive resorts allow you to do just that. In fact, with everything pre-paid and all amenities included, you don’t even have to open your wallet! We here at Oyster have seen dozens of all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and while it’s not easy to single just one out, we do have a list of our very favorites, from a secluded spot on gorgeous Turks and Caicos to an adults-only oasis in hopping Cancun, and from small boutiques with tons of character to sprawling resorts with every amenity imaginable. If you’re ready to get pampered, check out our top picks for the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, and start planning your trip!
World-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa is an upscale, tranquil spot with outstanding treatments.
Accessed via a 30-minute boat ride from Providenciales, this 1,000-acre all-inclusive resort on a private island is the definition of tranquility. With an incredible infinity-edge pool, world-renowned COMO Shambhala Spa, waterfront Balinese-style villas, doting service, and more than three miles of pristine beaches, it’s easily one of the most luxurious and romantic options in the Caribbean.
- Our favorite perk: Lotus Restaurant is located by the beautiful infinity-edge pool and features light Caribbean and Asian food, and stunning ocean views.
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While there are many great budget-friendly hotels in the Caribbean, the islands are also known for their luxury properties, where guests are treated to day trips aboard yachts, couples are offered massages in sumptuous spas, and rooms are twice the size of a New York apartment (although, we guess it’s not too hard to be). We’ve compiled a list of our favorite luxury hotels in the Caribbean so you can start planning what to do after your new year’s resolution of winning the lottery (that’s not a new year’s resolution, but, really, who hasn’t had that on the list for at least a decade?) comes true.
All guests have a butler on call 24/7 assigned to their room.
Bringing tranquility to otherwise-crowded Paradise Island, the 105-room Ocean Club’s personal butlers, beautiful pools (one for adults, one for families), restaurant from Jean-Georges, and access to Atlantis’s water park, casino, and other attractions make it one of the Caribbean’s best resorts.
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