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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Fashion Week has arrived to New York City, and we’re getting the fashion bug — but it’s not haute couture that’s getting us excited. It’s haute hotels, of course! Rather than envisioning ourselves in what’s on the runway, we’re dreaming about how we’d look in these fashion-forward spots, and what personal styles they’d pair best with. Go on — try them on for size. What hotel would you wear?
Tortuga Bay, Dominican Republic
What to Wear: Oscar De La Renta Swimwear
Oscar de la Renta may be most famous for his evening wear, but he’s designed some super-chic swimwear as well — and there’s no better place to flaunt it than Tortuga Bay, which the famous fashion icon also designed. The 30-room Tortuga Bay hotel offers amazing service (including preferential treatment at Punta Cana Airport), an on-site nature reserve, several superb restaurants, and three world-class golf courses. 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 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.
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 »
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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