Buenos Aires

The heated pool at the Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize is just on surprisingly luxe green amenity

We don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort during our travels if that means reducing our carbon footprint. But then again, not all eco-conscious hotels call for lights out and cold showers. The 10 hotels that make our list of those with the best eco-friendly perks aren’t all LEED-certified, but they still know that going green makes guests and Mother Earth happy. So here’s our salute to some great stays that are doing their part to reduce, reuse, and conserve with these awesome green amenities.

 

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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 »

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At this point in the season we’re all more than ready for some sun and high temperatures. You only need to check your friends’ Facebook statuses to know that you’re not the only one who’s feeling a little cranky about the recent cold snap. Heading to Miami, or an island in the Caribbean, may be the easiest way to escape the winter chills. But we tend to forget that the U.S.’s winter season can be the best moment to visit tons of great destinations in the Southern Hemisphere and just above the Equator, where the sunny, warm days are in full swing and the dry season starts to kick in. Whether you’re looking to trek to the top of a volcano or discover historic sites in a big city, we’ve got the destination for you. Check out our top picks for escaping the cold, and start packing!

For the Adventurous Type: Costa Rica

The Arenal Volcano is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica, and it is still possible to see some fumaroles activity.

The Arenal Volcano is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica, and it is still possible to see some fumaroles activity.

Costa Rica can be anything from a peaceful oasis to a crowded and touristy spot depending on the time of the year and the region visited — but it’s still far less developed than most popular beach destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean. December through April is the best time to visit, as rainfall drops to a minimum, and days are long and sunny. The country is home to hundreds of diverse habitats, making it easy to enjoy beach days, eco-tourism, and outdoor adventures all in the same trip, and without having to travel long distances. The geography is infinitely varied, ranging from rugged coastlines and bustling towns to misty forests and active volcanoes.

Rico Tico Bar & Grill boasts gorgeous ocean and jungle views.

Rico Tico Bar & Grill boasts gorgeous ocean and jungle views.

A staple in the beautiful Manuel Antonio resort area, the 58-room Si Como No is carefully built into a lush hillside, which means great views and winding paths surrounded by colorful flowers and wildlife. The amenities are a main draw here: two pools, two restaurants, a spa, a movie theater, and a wildlife refuge across the street. Unplugged rooms aren’t particularly luxurious, but you’ll want to be spending your time outdoors anyways.

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Well, the time has finally come! We’re in the last stretch of humanity as we know it (according to the ancient Mayan calendar, at least), and we’re searching the globe for the best places on earth to spend our final days — or day as the case may be. We’ve visited every (habitable) continent and through our travels, we’ve found that whether you’re preparing for a traditional Biblical Apocalypse of fire and brimstone, or something a bit more on the sci-fi spectrum, there is a Doomsday destination for you somewhere on this fated planet. Take a look at our list and pick the spot where you’ll spend your last blissful moments.

 

Hit the beach before making your last offerings in Riviera Maya.

North American Destination: Riviera Maya, for an ancient Mayan offering

The small Caribbean district along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is undoubtedly the best place in North America to spend your last day on Earth. Riviera Maya not only boasts stunning white-sand beaches and some of the most majestic natural beauty in the world, but it is also home to the ruins of 7th century A.D. Mayans. The Mayans, of course, were the ones who predicted the 2012 end of the world (or maybe they just ran out of rock), and the area is having its share of “End of the World” celebrations to honor the culture with  ancient ceremonies.

Stay: Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa

The Tulum area of Rivieria Maya, where the Dreams is located, is the site of the walled cities of the Mayan culture, and the gateway to the ruins. The beachfront Dreams is only a five-minute drive from major ruins, where visitors can offer sacrifices or just say their prayers.

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Funky lighting creates a sexy vibe in the hotel's lobby.

Funky lighting creates a sexy vibe in the hotel's lobby.

The 57-room Lennox Hotel Buenos Aires is located in the central Congreso area, close to government offices. Quirky decorations and artwork, interesting wall patterns, and unusual color schemes make a stay here a distinct and memorable experience — from the spacious lobby dressed in sleek shades of black, to the chic, dramatically lit private outdoor garden. All aesthetics aside, the hotel also offers top-notch comfort, luxury, and hospitality. There’s a restaurant serving international dishes using local ingredients, a free breakfast buffet with fresh fruits and hot eggs, and a spa for relaxation. And the rooms — large and stylishly furnished like the rest of the property — come with kitchenettes, big closets, iPod docks, and quaint dining areas.  See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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Attention hipsters-at-heart: You too are running out of time to plan your vacation. Okay, so the summer just officially started, but hotels are booking up fast, festival ticket booths are hanging the “Sold Out” banners, and flights are getting more expensive. So if all you’re looking forward to is to having an excuse for growing a mustache, getting a tattoo, spending a few days eating organic, locally grown food, drinking coffee and biking around, check out our 5 top picks for a real hipster vacation and start packing. Tip: skinny jeans for him, cut-outs jeans for her, sunglasses, and an instrument required.

BROOKLYN, NY

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY

Prospect Park in Brooklyn, NY

Hipsters started flocking to Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood in the early 2000’s, and in just a few years the area has become the ultimate boho-chic spot. As housing prices soared in the area due to its popularity, hipsters started moving to more affordable yet equally cool neighborhoods in Brooklyn, such as Greenpoint and Bushwick, and spreading the lifestyle. There’s now a bunch of farmer’s markets, hundreds of cool bars, and dozens of organic restaurants all around the borough. However, Williamsburg is still the place to catch a show at one of its hundreds of venues (ranging from small holes in the wall –check out Pete’s Candy Store–, to larger spaces like Brooklyn Bowl), get a drink, or even get a haircut (an expensive one, that is) in an old garage that doubles as a trendy tattoo parlor. Round up the experience with a trip to beautiful Carroll Gardens, family-friendly Park Slope, and even up-and-coming Downtown Brooklyn neighborhoods.

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Public Restroom at the Hotel Constanza Barcelona

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.

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Hotel Le Notre Dame, Paris

Hotel Le Notre Dame, Paris

We’ve showed you some of the world’s most incredible hotel views — rooms looking onto the ocean, sweeping mountain vistas, and busy city streets. But even the most posh hotels can have a few drawbacks, like being assigned to an interior-facing hotel room. While it may mean quieter nights, it’ll definitely take away from that serene setting outside your window. So we decided to warn you about the top ten rooms to avoid next time you plan a trip.

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Best Western Tomo San Francisco CA

This San Fran hotel is part of a budget chain -- but has high style.

Although we have covered hundreds of hotels and seen many, many guest rooms, there have been a few that have really, well, stood out to us. One would even call them “zany.” Really. We’ve seen stone hand sculptures, faces on chairs, and even private infinity pools waiting for us to dip our toes in. But these eight suites were something else — they take “quirky” to a whole new level. Check ‘em out now — you may find your next design inspiration inside the gallery!

8 Crazy Hotel Rooms and Suites

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Lobby at the CasaCalma Wellness Hotel; Buenos Aires, Argentina

Lobby at the CasaCalma Wellness Hotel; Buenos Aires, Argentina

 This modern, eco-friendly boutique is the first carbon-neutral hotel in all of Buenos Aires. With just 17 rooms, the CasaCalma offers a cozy, wellness-focused experience to travelers, sporting a vertical garden, an honesty bar with organic products, and a tranquil lobby. The spacious rooms may have a minimalist decor — with blonde wood furniture and a nearly all-white look accented by pops of color — but they have all the amenities you could want, including plush bedding, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and attractive vine-draped balconies. The luxurious bathrooms have amenities that include two-person jet tubs, separate large walk-in showers, and — in some — private saunas. Additional perks include Nespresso machines, free Wi-Fi, bicycle rentals, and a free organic buffet breakfast. All of this luxury comes at a price but with it’s fabulous Microcentro location and eco-friendly policies, this hotel is well worth its hefty cost. Check out more amazing photos of the hotel after the jump or read the full review here>>

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