Denver

For those who crave that electrifying rush of adrenaline, a week of lying on the sand is not an ideal vacation. Beachside rest and relaxation can do wonders for some, but others find their R&R with a solid jolt to the nervous system; cue the adventure-vacation combination! Whether you’re surfing waves, chasing storms, or heli-skiing mountaintops, these eleven destinations all hold the promise of a heart-pounding getaway. Ready? Set? GO!

1. Surfing Pipeline, Oahu

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Adventure seekers have been visiting the Hawaiian islands for centuries. The state’s rugged, lava-formed terrain offers challenging — and stunningly beautiful — hikes and climbs, and the volcanoes themselves present unique thrills. But, of course, the main pulse-racing draw is surfing the menacing waves and rip curls that crash against the islands’ shores. The biggest and baddest waves roll in off of a reef break on the North Shore of Oahu at Banzai Pipeline. Many surfers have made a name for themselves at this spot, which is also home to some of the most intense surfing competitions in the world, including Pipe Masters. Adrenaline seekers who know their way around a wave — and are serious swimmers — can’t miss a trip here.

Stay: Turtle Bay Resort

This 448-unit resort on the scenic, isolated North Shore — just minutes from Banzai Pipeline — features an unbeatable array of amenities. There are two 18-hole golf courses, a stable, helicopter rides, and five miles of shoreline.  Read More »

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The number of local craft breweries is at an all-time high in the United States. From coast to coast (and everywhere in-between), privately-owned breweries are producing delicious brews for every palate. Hoppy IPAs, robust ales, and refreshing pilsners are just some of the offerings on parade, and lucky for beer aficionados, many of these breweries (micro, or otherwise) welcome visitors for tours and tastings. Some even have full-fledged restaurants on-site that pair their pints with delicious plates. So pack the kegerator and find a willing d.d. because it’s time for a brew-cation. We’ve tried beers all over the country and, after plenty of boozy research, have picked out the seven best cities in the U.S. for beer. Plus, we’ve got great hotel recs in each city where beer lovers will feel right at home.

1. Portland, Oregon 

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Boasting the highest concentration of breweries of any city in the world — over fifty in the metropolitan area, if you’re curious — Portland tops our list. Large-scale operations have rubbed shoulders with small craft breweries in the Rose City since the 1980s, and micro-breweries and nano-breweries (breweries that generally produce four barrels or fewer) are popular destinations for locals and tourists alike. Deschutes Brewery, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Upright Brewings are perennial favorites, but there are endless offerings in this quirky beer-loving-hipster-friendly city.

Where to Stay: Ace Hotel – Portland

This funky boutique emphasizes style above all else, and features cool decor touches such as reclaimed school chairs, nightstands made out of books or suitcases, turntables, and stacks of vinyl records. Hotel highlights include a local, organic breakfast in the breakfast room, a great happy hour scene at the Clyde Common lobby bar, and aromatic coffee at the beloved Stumptown Cafe. Read More »

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Calling all adrenaline junkies! Our hearts are in the bottoms of our stomaches just thinking about bungee jumping, but we know some of you seek out breathtaking, heart-stopping, pulse-quickening adventures on the reg. Well, if that’s what you crave, bungee jumping is just the ticket! And if you’re already game to try something terrifying, you might as well conquer the most terrifying, right?! Here are the world’s five most terrifying bungee jumps (plus, five beautiful hotels for celebrating — or sleeping — post-feat).

1. Victoria Falls Bridge, Zimbabwe

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Connecting the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the Victoria Falls Bridge crosses over the second gorge of its namesake — which, as the largest waterfall in the world, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World as well. Only the bold bungee jump from this bridge; after all, the jump plummets 364 feet over the Zambezi River, which in turn is filled with crocodiles — but the views are breathtaking…if you can keep your eyes open!

Where to Stay: Matetsi Water Lodge is located on a massive game reserve by the Zambezi River. The lodge’s 18 suites are intimate and surprisingly luxe — each suite has its own plunge pool, patio, large bathroom with separate shower and tub, and bedroom with river views.

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Lobby at The Jade Hotel, New York City

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The boutique Jade Hotel may only be a few months old, but it has already has some pretty famous visitors. Last week, Cameron Diaz was spotted getting drinks at the bar and flirting with strangers.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin St. John is one of three Starwood properties that make up the first shift towards the brand reducing its carbon footprint worldwide. The new green initiative will include the installation of high-tech water savers that will reduce wasted water at the hotel by 50 percent.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Wyndham Hotel Group added Singapore to its destination list this week with the opening of a Days Inn and a Ramada.

4. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The general manager of the Lancaster London, along with numerous other volunteers, scaled up the side of the hotel in order to raise money for Kickstart Programme.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Room service is pricey no matter where you go, but in a recent study, TripAdvisor found that Denver and Dallas offer the best value as far as room service. Not surprisingly, New York City and Honolulu offered the worst.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and with it comes the official kick-off of the summer season. When that Friday hits, thousands of beach-bound celebrators will clog the highways on their way to sun and surf. But while we love a good beach day just as much as the next patriot, this Memorial Day we’re excited to try something inland. Join us in avoiding the crowds, uncovering new corners of America, and – of course – honoring our soldiers, with parades, festivals, and much more at these ten locales not on the beach.

1. Washington, D.C.

Calling all patriots: Washington, DC wants to celebrate with you.

If you want to go hardcore patriotic, there really isn’t any place better to be this Memorial Day than Washington, D.C. (Especially since NYC had to go and cancel Fleet Week due to the sequestration.) In addition to a variety of military ceremonies taking place around town, visitors can also attend the National Parade or the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally (nothing like the wind in your hair, right?!). The National Memorial Day Concert, hosted at the Capitol Building, is always a special event, and this year’s affair features appearances by General Colin Powell and actor Gary Sinise, in addition to several military bands and the National Symphony Orchestra. Visitors can also opt to simply stroll through Washington’s many amazing monuments – during the day or at night – and sample some of D.C.’s delicious culinary offerings.

STAY: The gorgeous, 317-room W Washington D.C. blends the new – fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a great spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service – with the old – the property’s historic Beaux Arts building dates back to 1917. Plus, you can see the Washington Monument from the hotel’s hip rooftop lounge, POV, making celebrating in style easy.
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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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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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One Bal Harbour Resort bathrooms have some of the best views in the Miami.

Some people prefer to read a magazine in the restroom, but we’d much rather gaze out over a stunning view. There’s nothing we love more than exotic sights, no matter where we’re taking in the view — the shower, tub, or elsewhere. From Hong Kong to Miami, Boston to Barcelona, here are our favorite hotel views from the best seat in the house.

 

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Let’s face it: Traveling can bring out the inner germaphobe in even the most adventurous of us, and for good reason. There are lots of health risks encountered in your hotel room that you won’t necessarily find at home, from mold to industrial cleaning product residue. Didn’t even cross your mind ’til now? Well, fear not — more and more hotels are offering solutions, so your next hotel stay can be cleaner and safer than ever before. Read on to find out what to be wary of — and what you can do about it.

The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco uses chemical-free cleaning products.

The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco uses chemical-free cleaning products.

The Risk: Chemical Cleaning Products

The chemicals in cleaning products used in many hotel rooms can make you sick — and routine exposure (road warriors, take note) can be life-threatening. Exposure to the carcinogens in cleaning products can increase cancer risk, while endocrine disruptors found in many pesticides, detergents, and disinfectants can confuse body hormones and cause fertility problems or even miscarriages.

The Solution: Chemical-Free Cleaning Products

Eco-friendly hotel initiatives are growing increasingly popular, and these days many hotels are being recognized for their efforts by organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). So don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff about the cleaning products they use, or check out our research here. One of our favorite LEED-certified hotels is The Orchard Hotel, which was at the forefront of this movement. Among the very first LEED-certified hotels in San Francisco, the Orchard uses chemical-free cleaning products — among many other impressive green practices.

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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. 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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