Trust us, we here at Oyster get it more than most people — going on vacation is freakin’ awesome. Vacations are all about fun, relaxation, and the “what happens here, stays here” vibe, and when you’re on a vacay, it feels like nothing can get ya down. But some hotel websites go a little too far and market their properties by showing “guests” in absolutely euphoric (and unrealistic) states. To the point where we’re pretty sure that that kind of happy can only be reached if you’ve been dabbling in some recreational, er, “fun.” And depending on the destination, maybe you have been. But still, when we’re deciding where to stay for our winter getaway, we usually don’t base it on how happy the “guests” on the website seem to be. Nonetheless, those photos can be pretty entertaining. Last time, we rounded up a bunch of marketing photos where the guests just couldn’t seem happier. And this time, we’ve done the same thing — but focused on those hotel couples that just seem so in luuuurve. We’re sorry, but even if we were married to Ryan Gosling, we wouldn’t be smiling that big! Check out some of the most hilarious hotel couples we found!
1. Your room or mine?
“What about one final fling before you marry that old ball and chain?” (Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah)
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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!
- Price: $110 and up
- Pearls: 4
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 »
In honor of President Obama’s inauguration on Monday, we’re taking a look back at his travels over his last four years in office — and on the campaign trail. The Commander-In-Chief has laid his head in some of our favorite hotels around the globe and, thanks to his refined taste and seriously swanky style (although we’d argue we really have Michelle to thank for that), we’re always eager to see where he’ll travel to next (and, more importantly, where he’ll stay!). Congratulations, Mr. President! May the next four years be full of prosperous times — and plenty of unique hotel stays!
This decadent junior suite at The Hay-Adams offers White House views.
Four years ago, President Obama moved his family into the Presidential Suite at this historic hotel with White House views after former President George W. Bush rejected his request to stay in Blair House, the White House’s guest residence. President Obama wanted to move to Washington three weeks before his inauguration so that his daughters could start at Sidwell Friends School without missing the beginning of the term, but he was informed that Blair House was already booked (for former prime minister of Australia John Howard and several receptions, as it later turned out). Lucky for him, The Hay-Adams is one of DC’s most luxurious stays. Read More »
Fantasizing about luxurious hotels and faraway resorts is one thing, but fantasizing about owning them is an entirely different concept altogether. Real estate is a high-stakes game that costs big, but, when done right, earns even bigger. And because we are constantly investigating the latest hotels around the globe, we couldn’t help but wonder who plays the proverbial Oz behind the curtain at some of our favorite spots. Check out ten men and women who are serious players on the hotel scene right now — and just how fat their wallets are.
1. Sheldon Adelson
Net worth: $9 billion
The Venetian in Las Vegas is one of Adelson's crowning achivements
He famously lost $150 million of his fortune this year by betting on losing political candidates, but that barely makes a dent in Sheldon Adelson’s billions. Currently the CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, Adelson began his business career as a mortgage broker and financial consultant before developing the world’s largest trade show, the computer expo COMDEX. In 1989, he purchased the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and developed the Sands Corporation. As of 2012, the Sands portfolio includes properties across the US and Asia, as well as plans to develop “EuroVegas” in Madrid. His most noted resorts are the Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas, as well as Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
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A meal that has been adopted by countries the world over, Sunday brunch was (supposedly) dreamed up in the late 1800s by a British writer who thought that the noonday feast would be a welcome treat — and much-needed hangover cure — for ”Saturday-night carousers.” But no matter the origin, brunch has come to be a weekly staple — and the silver lining to a day often overshadowed by the start of a new work week looming in the future. So whether it’s buffet-style, booze-focused (bottomless Bloody Marys, anyone?), or family-oriented, brunch can put a smile on just about anyone’s face. We’ve chowed down at plenty of happiness-inducing brunches across the U.S. and have come up with a list of our favorite spots to grub on Sunday. Check ‘em out!
The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Sunday brunch at the Palace is legendary. Not only is the setting beautiful — we’re talking 40- to 50-foot vaulted ceilings, neoclassical marble columns, and six-foot-wide crystal chandeliers, topped by a sunlit translucent windowed ceiling — but a jazz trio plays beautiful music as hotel guests, locals, and visitors pile tasty treats on their plates. Sushi (with sushi chef), omelets (with omelet chef), crepes (with crepe chef), fresh fruit, sandwiches, salads, oysters on the half shell… you name it, it’s part of the buffet. Plus unlimited coffee, orange juice, and champagne.
Oyster’s Pick: Cinnamon-raisin French toast with flame-heated maple syrup
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Courtyard at The Greenwich Hotel; New York, NY
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Robert De Niro, The Greenwhich Hotel’s co-owner, had Russell Crowe arrested after the actor spent several nights in the hotel’s courtyard singing with some friends till the wee hours.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas is offering a $60,000 New Year’s Eve package that includes three nights in the hotel’s Presidential Suite and a couple’s treatment to detox after the NYE revelry.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Peninsula Chicago has unveiled plans to open a 1,200-square-foot ice rink on the hotel rooftop on Friday, December 21st. Admission will be donation-based and proceeds will go to charity.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Starwood just announced plans to open a 36-story, Petra-inspired W Hotel in Costa Rica in 2016.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Element New York Times Square West is now offering free loaner bikes that double as iPhone chargers. All Element hotels will also feature the offer soon.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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This year, the Festival of Lights takes place from this Saturday (December 8th) through the 16th. Celebrations vary from the traditional — lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and giving gelt — to the more unique gatherings (skiing with the “Adventure Rabbi”, anyone?), but all are heartfelt, fun affairs that involve the whole family. Jews around the globe will be coming together over the next eight nights, and there are plenty of events for them to explore the world over. We’ve collected some of our favorites here, but no matter where you end up, here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy Hanukkah!
This holiday season, The Plaza is playing host to the world's largest menorah, in addition to other celebrated guests.
Visit the World’s Largest Menorah in New York City
Standing 32 feet tall and weighing two tons, New York City‘s menorah is the largest in the world. It stands on a piece of prime real estate, right in front of the iconic Plaza hotel on 5th Avenue, across the street from Central Park. Admission is free, and guests can stay to enjoy sufganiyot — holiday jelly donuts — and folk dancing after the lighting, which starts at 5:30 nightly (excluding the Sabbath). On December 8th, there will also be live music, singing, and dancing to kick off the holiday, as well as Hanukkah gelt for the children and hot latkes for everyone to enjoy.
Where to Stay: The Plaza
As NYC’s menorah is so conveniently located in front of The Plaza, why not stay at the iconic New York hotel? The century-old landmark has huge rooms, gold-plated bathroom fixtures, an exceptional spa, and 24-hour butler service. It’s definitely worth the splurge this holiday season.
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Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling like royalty, sleeping in some of the world’s most expensive suites, and eating in Michelin-starred restaurants? The time and money for that kind of trip can be tricky to come by, but it’s always good to be ready just in case the opportunity arises, right? We here at Oyster have been lucky enough to have visited thousands of hotels around the globe and across the states. The U.S. is known for having high standards when it comes to hotels, and hotels stateside offer some of the most decadent services around. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite luxury properties in the States for those planning a luxe trip — and for those who just like to dream. Enjoy!
Rooms feature decadent decor and opulent bathrooms.
There are dozens of ultra-luxurious hotels in New York, but The St. Regis is second to none, with a refined atmosphere, extraordinary service that includes butlers on call 24-hours, Clefs d’Or concierges, a signature bath menu, gorgeous guest rooms, a great Fifth Avenue location (the better for shopping), and a stunning Beaux Arts lobby. (Phew! That was a long list.) It won’t come cheap, but the level of luxury offered here is not found in any other hotel in the city.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The packing and unpacking services offered by the guest’s personal butler
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‘Tis the season for annual awards lists, but if you think you know what’s coming, guess again. Oyster’s awards aren’t like the other guys’ — we’re not like the other guys, so why should our awards be? You can find lists of the world’s best luxury hotels in a dozen other places, but only Oyster digs deep to learn every hotel’s secret quirks. Our hotel investigators trot the globe and visit every hotel in person so we can bring you the unvarnished truth, and this year, for the first-ever annual Oyster Hotel Awards, we’d like to show you the wackiest, coolest, weirdest, and most interesting things they came across in their travels. We are thrilled to present the 2012 selection of Oyster’s Most Interesting Hotels in the World. Are you ready for this?
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Trust us, we here at Oyster get it more than most people — going on vacation is freakin’ awesome. Vacations are all about fun, relaxation, and the “what happens here stays here” vibe, and when you’re on a vacay, it feels like nothing can get ya down. But some hotel websites go a little too far and market their properties by showing “guests” in absolutely euphoric (and unrealistic) states. To the point where we’re pretty sure that that kind of happy can only be reached if you’ve been dabbling in some recreational, er, “fun.” And depending on the destination, maybe you have been. But still, when we’re deciding where to stay for our winter getaway, we usually don’t base it on how happy the “guests” on the website seem to be. Nonetheless, those photos can be pretty entertaining so we rounded up some of our favorites — check ‘em out!
1. Happiest Feet on Earth
“We’re on vacation, it’s 6:30 A.M., and the kids are up and full of energy — fabulous! Sleep is overrated.” (Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta)
Photo from the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta website.
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