Boston

The marriage of travel and food has been a long and happy one. For foodies, a destination isn’t going to rank as a favorite unless its cuisine — be it Mexican food in San Diego, seafood in Seattle, or the hodgepodge of deliciousness that is New York –  is something special. For us, that logic applies equally to the hotels where you stay within a city: not just hotels with great restaurants, but places that incorporate gourmet treats into the overall hotel experience. These hotels we love offer awesome foodie freebies, from decadent a la carte breafkasts to free nightly wine hours. Talk about tasty extras.

A la carte breakfast

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

Spotlight On: Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa Rica

Free hotel breakfasts aren’t exactly a rarity, but they are usually comprised of cereals, fruit, and, if you’re lucky, some moderately edible scrambled eggs. Not so at Gaia Hotel and Reserve, where the free breakfast is a gourmet a la carte affair. Menu items include Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Italian Egg White Frittata, Vanilla and Mango Pancakes, a Costa Rican Breafkast, and more. And the freebies don’t stop there: The room rate also includes a short spa treatment.

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Planning a patriotic getaway this 4th of July weekend? These hotels are super convenient to the holiday action — whether you’re planning a trip to Lady Liberty or planning to catch one of the country’s many spectacular fireworks shows.

Ink 48, New York City

Ink 48, New York City

Ink 48, New York City

Ink 48 (named for its location on 48th Street in New York City) is close to the river and has a beautiful rooftop offering partial views of the 4th of July fireworks (shown from 24th to 40th streets). Tickets to its private 4th of July reception are $200 plus fees, but that includes an open bar, hors d’oeuvres, and live DJ music. Its free wine receptions, swanky spa, and pet-friendly features make it a great place to stay as well. Read More »

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Hotels are offering some pretty creative butler services these days to attract guests’ attention. Many of these offerings may be gimmicks, but we couldn’t help but wonder — what do these specialty jobs actually involve? We’ve rounded up some of the craziest butler services we’ve come across, from surf butlers to soap butlers.

Hotels are offering specialized butlers to do everything from picking your perfume to tracing your ancestry.

Hotels are offering specialized butlers to do everything from picking your perfume to tracing your ancestry.

Fireplace Butler

There’s nothing worse than selecting a fragrant-but-quick-burning birch wood when you’re trying to make the night last. Luckily for suite guests at the Taj Boston, they need not worry about picking the wrong wood for a relaxing night by the fire thanks to the Fireplace Butler who can be used by guests of any room with a fireplace. The butler service even comes with a seasonal menu – wood menu, that is. Read More »

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Father’s Day is less than a week away, and after impressing mom last month with some delicious brunches and unique gifts, we can’t forget about dad. More often than not, it can be pretty tricky to find him the perfect gift — fortunately, we have some ideas… Of course your dad is a family man, but this Father’s Day why don’t you give him a little break from the tots and chaos by sending him on a mancation? After all, nothing says “I love you, Dad” like sending him away for a long weekend, right?! We picked out awesome mancations for every type of dad — check ‘em out!

Pamper him: The James New York

The James New York

The James New York

He hasn’t been able to get away in a while?  If you’ve got some extra dollars to spare, now’s the time to put it to good use. This SoHo boutique — with a stunning rooftop bar and pool, on-site restaurant by David Burke, and hotel art curator — embodies the hip, creative neighborhood it inhabits. Its bright, minimalist rooms are full of thoughtful details to make Dad feel at home — just without the noise. Treat him to luxury, trend, and a happening New York neighborhood for a good dose of relaxation.

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Having a pool in your hotel is always a great perk when traveling in the summer, but there are many other seasonal hotel amenities that can make a trip special. Part of our job here at Oyster is to experience the property in full, and we never miss a chance to make the most of our visit. We’ve done everything you can imagine, from zip-lining in a snowstorm to bird-watching binoculars in hand — all for the sake of a complete review. These are our favorite summer amenities and where to find them.

Loaner bikes: Paradise Point, San Diego

The best way to explore this private island is on a bike.

The best way to explore this private island is on a bike.

Plenty of hotels offer loaner bikes for guests to use during their stay, but few are located on a 44-acre private island where the best way to explore is on two wheels. Sea World San Diego and Pacific Beach’s shopping and dining are just a short bike ride away – so leave the car in the hotel’s parking lot and enjoy the sea breeze in your hair.

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Getting fit doesn’t have to be on your to-do list after you travel. While many hotels offer state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment, we know that treadmills can get downright boring after a while. So we’ve found the hotels that have one-of-a-kind fitness amenities that will add a little spice to your workouts while you travel and below we’ll tell you where to find them.

The Fitness Feature: Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaks at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

The Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

Plenty of beach and lakeside hotels offer kayak and canoe rentals, but few offer as many options for your paddling session. For those who prefer a trained professional to accompany them, guided tours at this Ritz include two-hour eco-tours along Shingle Creek ($60 for adults; $30 for children) and excursions on Grande Lake where paddlers can watch the sun rise and set ($20/hour for adults; $10/hour for children).

Other hotels with similar offerings: Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

The upscale Terranea Resort offers myriad activities, including two-hour ocean kayaking tours along the Catalina Channel, where paddlers can spot bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, leopard sharks, and bat rays ($89 per person). Or guests can opt for “kayorkle” — a two-hour excursion where guests snorkel and kayak, also for $89 per person.

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Many hotels have on-site bars, even if they’re merely situated in the glorified outskirts of the lobby, where guests can grab standard drinks after a day of sight-seeing. But these days, some of the best hotels across the country are making sure they step up their scene by providing not only comfy rooms and high-end services, but hotspot bars that attract locals as well as guests. We’ve traveled across the country and have found the 12 trendiest hotel bars in the U.S. So check ‘em out, and maybe offer your friends a round at one of these hip locales.

Bar Marmont, Chateau Marmont; Los Angeles

Bar Marmont

With its butterfly-covered ceiling, stuffed peacock in the corner, and plush banquettes, this 1930s Vietnam-inspired bar is one of the best places in Hollywood to share a drink with a starlet in hiding. Beyond the celebrity factor, the Chateau’s comfortable bar is a wonderful place to enjoy the fantastic food. The “damn good burger,” we can assure you, lives up to the name.

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Hotel bars are often a convenient spot for a nightcap or a quick after-work drink (anything to take the edge off!) while on a business trip — but not all have the right vibe and noise level to help free your mind of all the stress after a long day of work. Whether you have been working all day in your office, or running from meeting to meeting while on the road, these great hotel bars are a safe bet for some after-work fun.

Red Owl Tavern at Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

The Red Owl offers Independence Mall views and great drinks.

The Red Owl offers Independence Hall views and great drinks.

The Red Owl Tavern is a hip spot located off the lobby at Hotel Monaco. It offers a fantastic wine list (put together by Kimpton Hotels master sommelier Emily Wines), and hand-crafted cocktails. With huge windows overlooking Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, a couple of cool industrial-inspired details, and house-cured charcuterie board specials, the bar attracts a varied crowd of professionals.

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Summertime is fast-approaching and we can’t wait till the days of top-down convertibles, cover-ups and flip-flops dress codes, and mini weekend getaways. After all, a share can be great but there’s something about a spontaneous trip to the beach to really make it feel like summer. So whether your home base is New York or Los Angeles, D.C. or San Francisco, or even Boston, we have a beach destination that can easily be reached via a quick road trip. So grab a map, your sunglasses, and some road trippin’ munchies, and make your escape!

Weekend Getaway from New York City: Montauk

Travel time: 2 hours, 30 minutes via car

Visit Montauk before the "too cool" Hamptons vibe has rubbed off on it.

It may seem cliche, but there’s a reason why Manhattanites flock to the Hamptons come summer. Home to upscale restaurants, trendy workout clubs, quirky shops, and of course, beautiful beaches, it offers a nice reprieve from the congestion and smog of the city — while maintaining that cool (and sometimes snobbish) city vibe. Montauk, located at the furthest tip, however, has a more laid-back feel; residents fear that a recent influx of visitors will taint its unpretentious reputation, but for now it’s a nice alternative to the ultra-exclusive vibe of other Hamptons.

Where to Stay: A cool party spot, Sole East attracts a young, beautiful crowd. With a tasty on-site restaurant, a small pool with loungers, and beach cruisers available for rent, it’s a great pick.

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When traveling around the world, tourists often have famed art museums on their lists of must-see attractions. But what if the hotel they’re staying in is basically a museum unto itself? The following hotels all offer top-notch amenities and services, but they all also have such stunning art collections, you won’t even need to step foot out of the lobby to get your culture on (although we’d still highly suggest it). Here are eight hotel art collections that are worth a visit.

Egerton House Hotel, London

An original lithograph by Toulouse-Lautrec hangs in the dining room.

Housed in a beautiful historic townhouse in Knightsbridge, the Egerton Hotel features numerous period pieces, such as antique chandeliers, mirrors, and grandfather clocks. The artwork is equally, if not more, impressive. The common spaces boast original artwork by Matisse, Picasso, and Toulouse-Lautrec, as well as prints from the Illustrated London News. Guests staying in the blue Deluxe King Room can take in a Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph, hanging on the wall opposite of the bed, every morning right when they wake up.

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