Business and Travel

Those looking to plan a memorable corporate gathering or decadent wedding need look no further than these seven hotels across the country. They’re among the most prestigious options in the U.S. for an event, and each has an elegant ballroom for your elegant occasion.

The Pierre – a Taj Hotel, New York City

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel, New York City

The Pierre - A Taj Hotel, New York City

An elegant, historic hotel across the street from Central Park, the Pierre offers a taste of grand old New York. And its aptly named Grand Ballroom is most certainly one of the grandest venues in the city for an event. Read More »

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The St. James's Hotel and Club is a top choice for business travelers in London.

Europe’s bustling capital cities always attract the suit-and-tie set, and the continent’s best business hotels cater to these travelers with great service, special features, and around-the-clock amenities. Whether you’re ironing out the details of a high stakes merger or need to be connected to all four corners of the globe at once, these impressive properties are equipped to help with your every need. Sealing the deal in Europe‘s capital cities has never been easier than at these top business hotels:

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Owner Stephanie Rooijakkers with her pooch Lola.

The Boardwalk Hotel, a 14-room property situated on a former coconut plantation, has long been one of the island’s hidden gems. Original owners Geert and Julia bought the property in 1987 to use for their windsurfing business (Aruba’s constant trade winds make the sport exceptionally popular here), and it quickly became an insider destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing devotees.

The hotel’s location is a large part of its appeal for water sports fans: It’s located just north of most of the High-Rise hotels along Palm Beach, and across the main road from Fisherman’s Huts — where the turquoise sea is ideal for both sports, with waist deep water for hundreds of feet and a sandy bottom free of rocks.

But the times, they are a changin’. A 320-room Ritz-Carlton property, slated to open in 2013, is being constructed right across the street from The Boardwalk, obstructing its views — and soon, it will bring more crowds to Fisherman’s Huts.

The Boardwalk Hotel’s new owners — Stephanie and Kimberly Rooijakkers, a pair of blonde, fit Belgian twins who bought the hotel last year — have mixed feelings about the Ritz-Carlton. Yes, the obscured view is unsightly, and the resort will extend Palm Beach, pushing the wind and kitesurfers farther north. But the Ritz-Carlton will also bring attention to the area and allow The Boardwalk to broaden its appeal: specifically, the owners hope to attract families, couples, and groups.

The decor will be a part of this evolution. While Geert and Julia designed the hotel with a Southeast Asia vibe, the twins have implemented a Coastal Living style. Dark woods throughout the grounds have been painted white, and new bright orange, green and turquoise accents give the casitas a cheerful “Hamptons-esque” appeal. Future plans include the addition 12 new casitas, and modern updates to the beach-y rooms.

The entrance to the Boardwalk literally transports you to paradise.

Not everyone is happy with the changes. While walking to my rental car after shooting the property for Oyster, a sporty gentleman (who had clearly spent the morning wind surfing) called my name and ran after me, asking if I was a journalist.

“Yes, I am,” I answered.

“Are you writing a piece about the hotel?”

The man wanted to express his doubt about the new ownership. It has been his home way from Boston for years, and he had genuine concerns that the twins would take the hotel in an undesirable direction.

“It’s not like the old days, and I don’t think it ever will be,” he said, pointing to the fresh white paint. “There are more families and kids running around now. Before it used to be all wind and kitesurfers — it was our little secret.”

It’s true that the clientele is changing, but the hotel’s sense of community remains. “People know it’s a small hotel here, and they tend to talk to each other more, ” Stephanie said. The property will remain a low-key haven, where guests can kick off their flip-flops and unwind. Each casita has a private porch, with a hammock and charcoal barbeque. And it’s still very much a hidden gem. Don’t blink or you’ll miss it; the hotel, with a garden-like atmosphere tucked behind an iron fence, is hard to spot, especially when the eye is naturally pulled towards the large Marriott properties and massive Ritz-Carlton construction site along the beach.

Grounds at the Boardwalk. Rather, comfy seating.

As for the wind and kitesurfing? Even if it moves a bit farther north, the hotel will still be a convenient home base — and fans of the sports can still talk shop with the owners, who are kitesurfers themselves. In fact, they first discovered the hotel when they stopped by to buy a kitesurfing harness.

The pint-sized pool is positively dreamy.

Of course, running and growing the hotel has certainly had its ups and downs. “At first it was frustrating. I like to do things with my hands and see the results. So the first few months were really hard because it felt like nothing was happening quickly,” Stephanie said. Luckily, the twins’ father is a regular visitor. “He likes to come by the property a few times a week and see how things are going and help with handiwork.”

And even more changes could be in store down the road. Stephanie, a foodie who is eager to provide guests with dining recommendations around the island, may start feeding visitors as well as lodging them. “I really want to have my own restaurant, and it will happen someday.”

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Studio at Sutton Court Hotel Residences, New York

Studio at Sutton Court Hotel Residences, New York

A trip to New York City requires planning, ambition and most importantly: time. Four days simply doesn’t suffice for a Big Apple excursion, which is why many travelers come for extended stays. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has planned a trip for 30 days or more,  here’s a tip for you. You don’t need to go through the mess of renting an apartment – whether in town for business or for leisure, Sutton Court Hotel Residences is sure to meet your needs.

The property, located in a quiet area in Midtown East, features bright, comfy studios and one-bedroom suites, all furnished to make you feel at home. Starting at 625 square feet, all apartments have a fully-equipped kitchen with stainless steel appliances, and a living area with high-tech amenities. The large, almost floor-to-ceiling windows offer great views of Midtown Manhattan and of the iconic Queensboro Bridge in most units.

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The hip Standard New York still has rooms available during TechCrunch DISRUPT

The hip Standard New York still has rooms available during TechCrunch DISRUPT

Techies will descend upon New York City for TechCrunch’s DISRUPT conference next week, so we thought we’d help out one of our favorite blogs by creating a guide for its guests. TechCrunch may know technology and business, but we know hotels — and this city — inside and out.

Our guide helps conference attendees decide where to stay, eat, and play right near the conference. And if you’re not attending but still want some handy dandy tips for restaurants, bars, and fun things to do, by all means, dig in.

Here is Oyster’s Guide to NYC for TechCrunch DISRUPT 2010

Update: We’ve done it again — check out Oyster’s Hotel Guide to TechCrunch Disrupt 2011!

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L.A.’s Best Martini Bars

by Lesley Bracker on February 23, 2010

Bar at the Hungry Cat restaurant in Santa Barbara

Bar at the Hungry Cat restaurant in Santa Barbara

So many of Los Angeles‘ famous watering holes from the Golden Age of Film are now gone, but you can still find a great martini to transport you to another time. These three spots are sure to satisfy:

Musso and Frank Grill is one of the few remaining Old Hollywood eateries. Established in 1919, it was, and still is, a meeting ground for Hollywood. You can sit in a red booth once occupied by Charlie Chaplin or F. Scott Fitzgerald; waiters are happy to tell you stories of Musso’s past. Pair your martini with a great steak, and pretend it’s 1939. Stay at nearby Hollywood Roosevelt, which is equally historic. 6667 Hollywood Boulevard

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TK TK

Interactive touch-screen at The Eliot Suite Hotel in Boston

MSNBC just ran a nice round-up of 10 tech-savvy hotels that go far beyond — yawn — flat-screen TVs and iPod docks. How about those nail polish dryers in the rooms at the Peninsula Tokyo? Cool. And New York’s Pod Hotel made the cut thanks to its free Wi-Fi and “Pod Blog,” a guests-only message board. Fair enough.

But we’ve come across a few cool hotel gadgets that didn’t make the list. Check ‘em out after the jump.

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