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 Spa features a Jacuzzi with underwater loungers, a hammam, and two treatment cabins.
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.
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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
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
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.
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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
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.
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Credit: Mikhail Shapaev/Flickr
For the past month, soccer fans around the globe have been glued to Euro 2012. It’s been a rough-and-tumble path to the finish line, but come this Sunday only one team will be left standing. First, though, are the semi-finals: Portugal vs. Spain; Germany vs. Italy. (In other words, let the bloodbath begin — on and off the field.) We may not all be extreme hooligans, but we sure don’t mind posing as one for the exciting finish. And where’s a better place to reign in it with a cold one and root for your squad with a passionate fury then besides fervent locals cheering on their respective teams? The teams’ hometowns, naturally. Check out these awesome watering holes that’ll welcome your hooting and hollering with open arms for the finish of Euro 2012.
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Public Restroom at the Hotel Constanza Barcelona
Who hasn’t ducked into a hotel to make use of a clean public restroom while on vacation? While hotels across the board often have nicer public bathrooms than, say, the local gas station, some hotels’ bathrooms go beyond just clean. Whether employing attractive streamlined design or antique decor, hotels are upping the ante when it comes to their public bathrooms, and we at Oyster have seen the best of the best. Check out our ten favorites in this slideshow.
After the wedding comes the best part: the honeymoon! Here's a wedding we snapped in the D.R.
We truly believe the old saying “opposites attract.” I mean, check out all the oddball celebrity couples out there — on the surface, at least, they seem to have different opinions on everything. Travel included. Found yourself in a similar jam while planning your honeymoon? Put the boxing gloves down — you needn’t argue anymore about where to go. Our comprehensive honeymoon guide features four hot spots with a little something for every kind of couple. Easy, right? Now all you need to figure out on your own is where to live, how to raise your children, and with what frequency you visit the in-laws…
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The Penthouse Suite at The Joule -- Dallas
When even the prices of the standard rooms at some of our favorite luxury hotels shock us, you can only imagine our heart palpitations when we see the nightly rates of these hotels’ top-of-the-line suites. But if we were going to splurge on anything in life, it’d probably be a stay at one of these suites. After all, they’re priced high for a reason; they are some of the most beautiful spaces we’ve ever seen, with stylized decor, all of the high-tech amenities anyone could want, and extra services for the lucky guests who can afford to book one of these spots. So would you prefer a brand-new car or a one-night stay at the most expensive suite at The New York Palace? Our photos after the jump may make you think twice »
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View from the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons New York
You’ve seen our shots of gorgeous ocean views and stomach-dropping hotels on the edge, but we’ve yet to show off our staggering shots from crazy high hotels. And by staggering we don’t just mean staggeringly beautiful cityscapes (although some of them are) — we mean super-high views that’ll make you feel dizzy just looking at the photos. Whether they be in New York City or Hong Kong, taken from the penthouse or the elegant top-floor restaurant, these hotel views are jaw-dropping — and sometimes nausea-inducing! Check out nine breath-taking views from hotels around the world.