Barcelona

Grounds at the Eco-Friendly Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort -- Costa Rica

Grounds at the eco-friendly Arenas Del Mar Beach and Nature Resort in Costa Rica.

Happy Earth Day! Today more than ever calls for some tree-hugging and eco-friendly practices, so we’ve picked ten of our favorite green hotels around the globe where you can celebrate by being kind to Mother Nature. From solar panels to vertical gardens, these unique spaces make it a point to be respectful of the environment. Need official proof? Most of them are LEED-certified. But if you don’t have a chance to get away to celebrate, pretend by clicking through our slideshow — just remember to power down afterwards and enjoy the great outdoors for a change!

{ 0 comments }

We’ve all fantasized about a month-long trip to Europe — but the time to fulfill this dream is not always easy to come by. Fortunately, a ton of time isn’t necessarily required if you want to explore the other side of the pond. With just a few days, you can visit numerous areas of the continent and hit up top destinations, and there are a few attractions you just can’t miss. We’ve picked one in each of Europe’s most popular cities, and paired it with a nearby hotel so you can get the most out of your flash trip. These nine sights are all must-sees — don’t miss out!

Must-See #1: Tower Bridge, London

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

The Tower Bridge was designed by Sir Horace Jones in 1884.

Some of you might say, “What about Big Ben (excuse us, the “Elizabeth Tower”)? And the British Museum?” Well, yes, those are top spots of course, but if there is one place that makes London recognizable, it is the Tower Bridge. Built in the late 19th century and painted blue in 1977 for Queen Elizabeth II’s silver jubilee, the bridge is crossed on foot, bike, car and double-decker bus by thousands of Londoners and visitors daily, making it one of the most visited places in all of London. On a rainy day, you can get great views of the bridge from the glass-enclosed City Hall, and on a sunny day, head to the Tower of London for the best vistas.

Stay: Apex City of London Hotel

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

Spacious rooms have warm lighting and free Wi-Fi.

The Apex City of London Hotel is a contemporary, mid-size chain property located just a 3-minute walk to the Tower of London, the Tower Bridge, and the tube. All 179 rooms have warm lighting, big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and bathrooms with separate soaking tubs and walk-in showers. The sleek interior design continues in the lobby and in Addendum Restaurant, which serves seasonal fare and has outdoor seating. Small touches (such as a rubber ducky for the tub) make this property feel like more than a typical chain hotel.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

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.

 

{ 0 comments }

It’s true that every traveler is unique, and our mission at Oyster is to find the best hotel for each one’s specific needs. But most travelers can agree on one thing: wanting the best hotel for the lowest possible price. And we can certainly help with that, too. We used some database wizardry to discover the least expensive four- and five-pearl hotels on Oyster, and layered on our editorial expertise to select which of those were also truly awesome hotels. The result? Take a look!

Southwestern Gem: Hotel St. Francis, Santa Fe

  • Price: $110 and up
  • Pearls: 4
Hotel St. Francis, Santa Fe

Hotel St. Francis, Santa Fe

This 81-room upscale boutique, housed in a historic building two blocks from the Santa Fe Plaza, underwent a complete renovation in 2011 and now features simple, mission-style decor inspired by the principles of St. Francis of Assisi. The elegant, minimalist rooms have original wood floors, sturdy wood furniture made by local artisans, and a color scheme of gray and white — but, as in many historic buildings, they’re small. The hotel features a fine dining restaurant serving New Mexican cuisine, as well as a bar, with outdoor seating available, that offers appetizers and cocktails. But there’s no pool or Jacuzzi, and guests will have to pay a daily fee for parking. If a pool is a priority, consider the nearby Inn and Spa at Loretto. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

There are plenty of different ways to travel in Europe – from shoestring-budget trips to over-the-top getaways worthy of the British royals. Here at Oyster we’ve been lucky enough to be able to do both (seriously, the budget hotels in Europe are pretty nice!), but the holidays are for wishing and dreaming, so we’re going to help you put together your own list of top places to get pampered in 2013. Keep reading and discover our favorite luxury hotels in Europe!

Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris

These luxurious rooms have classic, elegant decor, but modern technologies.

These luxurious rooms have classic, elegant decor, but modern technologies.

The world-renowned luxury hotel Plaza Athenee — a part of the Dorchester Collection — is synonymous with Parisian elegance and good taste. Iconic red awnings and chestnut trees welcome guests to the historic setting, on the upscale Avenue Montaigne location with direct views of the Eiffel Tower. It’s all about luxury here, inside and out. The avenue is lined with high-end shops such as Christian Dior, Prada, and Chanel. And inside, the 146 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in classic Art Deco style with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and marble baths. With six distinct restaurants, a large fitness center, and a can’t-miss daily breakfast in a leafy garden, the Plaza Athenee doesn’t miss a beat.

  • Our favorite luxe amenity: Guests have access to the Dior Institute for a full range of quality beauty and spa treatments.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Batter this than a concrete wall, huh?

Better this than a concrete wall, huh?

No one likes to work out in a depressing basement with stuffy air and no natural light, but sometimes travelers have to take what they can get. After all, many hotel fitness centers feel like afterthoughts, with a few rusty machines crammed into a sad little rooms in forgotten corner of the hotels. But some hotels go above and beyond to provide an appealing space for travelers to work out, with large windows overlooking the city, the mountains, or the beach! Check out our 12 favorite hotel fitness centers with awesome views — and don’t forget to pack your workout clothes!

{ 0 comments }

The AVE links Madrid with Barcelona and Sevilla in less than 3 hours. Credit: istockphoto/Holger Mette

The AVE links Madrid with Barcelona and Seville in less than 3 hours. Credit: istockphoto/Holger Mette

Visiting our neighbors “across the pond” isn’t just a hop, skip, and a jump that the saying makes it sound: It involves long (and expensive) flights, long lines in customs, and plenty of seat-of-your-pants transfers and transactions. But Europe is a lifetime must-see and Spain is one of its most diverse and fascinating countries. So how do you possibly see all it has to offer during a week-long vacay?  Well, the reliable, high-speed AVE trains certainly help. The country’s top destinations – Barcelona, Madrid and Seville – are all within 3 hours of each other by way of the AVE, which makes it easy and fast to discover this trio of cities in just one trip. Of course you could spend years in the country and still be discovering new spots each day, but our Oyster guide offers a solid itinerary for each city that includes the three attractions you just can’t miss — and still allows you enough time to enjoy some tapas al fresco. And, as hotel experts, we let you know the best places to stay, to boot. Pack your bags — and don’t forget this guide! You’re Spain-bound, baby. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Barcelona is arguably Spain’s most cosmopolitan and trendy city [Ed. note: And as a native of Madrid, that's hard to admit]. Its laid-back — yet upscale – atmosphere, stunning architecture and great food make it the top destination in Spain, and a must-see stop on tours of Europe. Millions of tourists pour into the city’s sunny streets every year, and thus there are plenty of hotels from which to choose. However, we gotta say — the best way to dive right into Barcelona’s cool vibe is by staying in one of its outstanding boutique hotels, where the experience feels the most authentic. Check out some of our favorites below!

Abac Barcelona

ABaC Spa features a Jacuzzi with underwater loungers, a hammam, and two treatment cabins.

ABaC Spa features a Jacuzzi with underwater loungers, a hammam, and two treatment cabins.

Upscale avant-garde rooms are white and beige with purple accents

Upscale avant-garde rooms are white and beige with purple accents.

This exclusive, 15-room luxury boutique embodies contemporary style at its best, making it a natural fit in a city that treasures design. Rooms are avant garde, from the clean, white and beige decor, to the modern under-lighting, from the remote-controlled blinds, to the Bang & Olufsen sound system. And the hotel’s amazing spa with Turkish baths shouldn’t be missed, nor should the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

We love when we get a chance to hop across the pond and explore Europe. And one of the best parts of a European vacation is that even a quick jaunt can include visits to multiple countries. Traveling from the westernmost capital (Lisbon) to the easternmost (Moscow) takes just over five hours – which is less than the time it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles — and many trips take only around an hour. Plus, you don’t need a visa for every country on your itinerary. So now that the Games are winding down (Go U.S.A.!), take a break from good ole’ London and top off your European getaway with visits to nearby countries. We compiled a list of our top picks for overnight trips, all less than a two-hour flight from London. Start packing!

Overnight Trip #1: Dublin

  • Flight Time: 1 hour
The Temple Bar are in Dublin is the perfect spot for a pint

The Temple Bar area in Dublin is the perfect spot for a pint

Ireland’s capital is a vibrant city with a small-town vibe. The relaxed atmosphere encourages lazy days throwing back pints in a pub, but tourists are certainly never at a want for things to do: Dublin boasts a hopping nightlife – especially in the Temple Bar area – as well as gorgeous architecture, beautiful gardens (don’t miss St. Stephen’s Green), wonderful museums, a surprisingly gourmet dining scene, and an easily walkable city center.

  • Tip: The pay-as-you-go bicycle system in the city center is a great way to explore Dublin, and is often a more reliable means of transportation than the public tram system. Just make sure you get a map before heading out for the day, as one-way streets can be tricky.

STAY AT: The Morgan

One-Bedroom Suite at The Morgan; Dublin, Ireland

One-Bedroom Suite at The Morgan; Dublin, Ireland

The Morgan is a boutique hotel located in Temple Bar, the “cultural quarter” and nightlife center in Dublin. The all-white rooms have comfortable beds and crisp linens, and are complete with modern bathrooms, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and electric kettles. While there is no gym or spa, and in-room Wi-Fi comes at an additional fee, the hotel is home to a popular neighborhood bar serving a small tapas menu and cocktails.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in happier times -- although it looks like she already had her eye on the exit. Photo Credit: Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in happier times -- although it looks like she already had her eye on the exit. Photo Credit: Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com

The crash heard round the world, news broke last week that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are yet another celebrity couple headed to Splitsville. Whispers of Scientology schooling for Suri and Cruise’s sexual preference are swirling around the couple’s split, but we here at Oyster are focused more on the duo’s recuperation than the he-said-she-said of it all. A divorcee getaway is in order here — STAT! — and we have the perfect places for Tom and Katie to lay low (separately of course), lick their wounds, and put on a brave face for the public.

Oyster Picks for Katie

The Getaway: Back to Basics — Revisiting Dawson’s Creek
The Hideaway: The Ocean House — Watch Hill, Rhode Island

Dawson Days: An upgrade from the creek, Watch Hill's Ocean House is a luxurious New England hideaway.

Dawson Days: An upgrade from the creek, Watch Hill's Ocean House is a luxurious New England hideaway.

Katie spent a few good years filming popular teen drama Dawson’s Creek. The show may have been set in the fictional Massachusetts town, but The Ocean House — in real-life Watch Hill, Rhode Island – exudes Capeside’s New England charm. Located on a private, white sand beach, the hotel is a great spot for a quiet getaway where Katie and Suri can enjoy the many on-site amenities. With two pools, a full-service spa, a large fitness center, and even a croquet lawn, The Ocean House is luxurious without being stuffy, and the town of Watch Hill is a quaint amalgamation of boutique shops and cafes for the girls to peruse during the day.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }