Dallas

The Canyon Ranch in Miami has a gorgeous rooftop pool with stunning ocean views.

The Canyon Ranch in Miami has a gorgeous rooftop pool with stunning ocean views.

Deciding on a destination for an upcoming trip is never easy. While the beach and mountains may beckon, cities are a great option year-round, offering an array of activities for every type of getaway. After a long day of sight-seeing, however, some may long for those quiet, relaxing moments by the pool that are often easier to come by in non-urban destinations. So we’ve rounded up our favorite urban rooftop pools, so you can find relaxation even in a bustling metropolis. Click through the slideshow and discover some of our favorite hotel rooftop pools.

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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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The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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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!

The St. Regis New York

Rooms feature decadent decor and opulent bathrooms.

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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Oyster Decodes Hotel Points Programs is a new series where we break down hotel rewards programs and give you the inside scoop on how they can save you money.
 
Hotel point programs are not always easy to decipher, and sometimes even we (travel experts, after all) feel we need a guide to understand how they work. But it’s worth the effort it takes to decode: All are free to join, and more often than not, end up saving travelers a significant amount of cash. This week, we’re biting the bullet and starting with cracking the Marriott rewards program, which is one of the most difficult to navigate as guests can redeem their points at over 3,600 locations worldwide across 12 distinctive brands.
 
Marriott properties are divided into eight categories — depending on the hotel brand, location and type — and five tiers.  Members can earn up to 10 points for every dollar spent at Marriott hotels, as well as at Marriott’s partner airlines and rental car companies, which include Hertz, Delta, and Virgin Atlantic. They can then redeem the points earned on hotels, airlines and other services. While advantages of joining the program are numerous, the system is not always straightforward, so we’ve selected some of our favorite hotels in each category and tier where, for a certain number of points (starting at 70,000), you can enjoy a one night stay in a standard room. Start redeeming those points!

Tier 5: 70,000 points

The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong - Hong Kong, China

The gorgeous indoor pool has great views and a Jacuzzi

The gorgeous indoor pool has great views and a Jacuzzi

Only a few hotels in Hong Kong deliver the Ritz-Carlton’s level of luxury. Large rooms feature decadent touches, such as plush beds with 400- to 600-thread count linens, iPods and iPod docks, Nespresso coffeemakers, and high-end toiletries. The hotel is set on floors 102 to 118 of Hong Kong’s tallest building, and while acrophobes may not appreciate being this far from the ground, the height does make for breathtaking views — that is, when the sky is clear. Highlights include a stylish indoor pool, sleek gym, and top-notch spa. The Ritz-Carlton is connected to a great shopping mall and corporate offices, and also offers easy access to the airport train and the MTR. However, its location in an up-and-coming business area west of Tsim Sha Tsui is a bit out of the way for leisure travelers.

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The Vivien Leigh Suite at the Draycott Hotel; London, UK

The Vivien Leigh Suite at the Draycott Hotel; London, UK

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lady Gaga recently gifted a UK couple celebrating their wedding at London’s Draycott Hotel a night in the Vivien Leigh Suite.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The NYLO Dallas South Side, which opened near the Dallas Convention Center a few weeks ago, is the first hotel to be built in South Dallas in over 60 years.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Guests enjoying afternoon tea at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong will also enjoy receiving a free Marc Jacobs “Lindy” handbag (while supplies last) as part of the hotel’s latest partnership with the designer.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Talking Stick Resort in Phoenix has just launched its own bourbon, created in collaboration with Kentucky’s famed Woodford Reserve Distillery.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? In an effort to stay away from booze, Britney Spears now requires her room’s minibar to be cleared of all alcoholic contents before she arrives.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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School may be back in session (groan…), but students don’t have to wait until Spring Break for their next set of adventures.  Though most colleges encourage students to venture out of the classroom for hands-on experience in with their majors, finding the funds isn’t easy on a student loan budget. That’s why we’ve found amazing value destinations for college students in need of a little field training. So close the books and get out on the road instead — it’s time to put those lessons into play!

Your Major: Business
The Place to Visit: Atlanta

Atlanta is an "alpha city" driven by several Fortune 500 companies

With a $304 billion economy and the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Atlanta is one of the most business-driven cities in the country. Hotlanta is known as an “alpha” city (i.e., an important economic city) thanks to major brands like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, and UPS setting up headquarters in the Georgia capital. So for business students trying to get some early networking experience, Atlanta is the best city to start handing out cards.

In the heart of Atlanta’s downtown Business District, this Marriott is an affordable option on a student budget, and boasts an impressive gym and business center – perfect for power-lunch prepping. Read More »

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There’s a reason tourists flock to museums while on vacation: Time goes by way too fast in the real world for individuals to set hours to wander an art gallery. And even if vacay is prime time to explore various museums wherever you may be, the galleries often come with long lines and pushy crowds. Thankfully, hotels are responding to the masses’ hunt for artistic expression. From intimate collections to large-scale galleries, many hotels play host to some excellent exhibitions with works by legends like Andy Warhol, Alison Shotz, and Henri Matisse, as well as up-and-coming local artists. Get your sketchpads out — it’s time for a little artistic inspiration.

The Patron: The James Chicago

Dan Gunn's Mystery of the Rectangle Exhibit at The James Chicago

Dan Gunn's Mystery of the Rectangle Exhibit at The James Chicago

The Art: One of Chicago’s top luxury hotels, The James sometimes quirky aesthetic is modern, minimalist, and clever. Its appreciation of art and design is present throughout the lobby, which hosts small exhibitions such as Dan Gunn’s pieces, seen above, and in its two art galleries. Both local and international, renowned and up-and-coming artists can find their way into the James, whose dedication to creative expression stems from the artsy River North area it calls home.

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Texas may be the second largest state in the Union, but all of its residents seem to agree on at least one thing — there’s nothing better than kicking off your boots and enjoying some downtime in the Lonestar State. So we’ve traveled all over the state — and found some spots perfect for rest and relaxation. After all, when in Rome Texas! From Dallas to Corpus Christi, there’s a chill place calling your name. But we couldn’t help but start with Austin in honor of the (dreamy) Matthew McConaughey’s nuptials. After all, he is the *king* of chilling out.

The Lakeside Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Grounds at the Lake Austin Spa Resort

Why we love it: Though it looks like McConaughey had no trouble chilling in a hammock pre-ceremony, we’re thinking his guests could have preferred a stay at the romantic Lake Austin Spa Resort — rather than the tents the film star set up for them in his backyard. This waterside retreat, along the shores of Lake Austin, is more than a spa resort — with kayaking, canyon hikes, yoga and “discovery programs,” Lake Austin Spa Resort is a true wellness destination. But if you’re looking to kick back, there’s no better spot than the lush, lakeside grounds. Pick a grassy spot in the shade or head down to the water’s edge for some peace and quiet.

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The Penthouse Suite at The Joule -- Dallas

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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