Denver

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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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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As the Hotel-Tell All, Oyster is very well-traveled when it comes to hotels. We’ve seen it all — the good, the bad, and the ugly. So around this time last year, we came up with a list of 11 things we hate about hotels. And trust us, we really hate them (don’t even get us started on daily resort fees…). But tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we realized that, sure, hotels can do some annoying things, but hotels give us plenty to be thankful for, too. So this time, we decided to come up with a list of 11 things we love about hotels.

11. 24-hour room service

Breakfast in bed at The Surrey in New York City

Breakfast in bed at The Surrey in New York City

Even Mom won’t whip up an omelet for us when we just gotta have one at 4 a.m. But at hotels with 24-hour room service, guests can have their pick of tasty treats no matter the time of day or night. And even better than 24-hour room service is 24-hour room service with a menu dreamed up by a celebrity chef. Hotels such as The Surrey and Mercer Hotel, both in New York City, are known for their celebrity chef restaurants and room service menus.

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America has spoken! The faces of our government may not have changed too much in recent days, but some of the laws that make it up sure have. After all, the 2012 elections brought about a lot of firsts on the national and state level, including (but not limited to) famous victories in Colorado and Maine. In honor of some new state laws (that have surprised — and delighted — and outraged — quite a few people), we’re hitting the road to take full advantage of our rights as U.S. citizens. Come along for the ride!

The Vote For: Legal Highs

You can get Rocky Mountain High at the Hotel Monaco in Denver

While federal laws may keep a tighter leash on the whole situation, several states this election passed marijuana laws that allow pot possession. Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults 21 and older, and we some people we know are ready to break out the Cheetos and spark up a fat one (and, yes, the law allows non-resident protection under new legislation).

To celebrate these state’s historic firsts, visitors and locals can book a room at the super-chill (and somewhat trippy) Hotel Monaco in Denver. The boutique hotel boasts a great downtown location for convenient munchies options, quirky and stylish rooms to get creative in, and free evening wine receptions so you can share all of your very important ideas (or at least they’ll seem so at the time) with strangers.    Read More »

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Choosing the right hotel to host a convention is always a difficult feat and it often comes with a lot of pressure. After all, travelers worldwide spend a total of $249 billion on business travel annually, and a large portion of that goes towards hotel stays. But with over 458 million Americans attending overnight business trips annually, conventions are an everyday occurrence and planning one is merely a rite of passage in many companies. So we here at Oyster.com have created a little cheat sheet for those of you who may feel overwhelmed by the task. Whether your main goal is to impress your boss — or you want to use your planning power to find a spot where you can bring the kiddies along — this list will help you find the best convention center hotel for your company.

Best Hotel For Impressing the Boss: Four Seasons Hotel Denver

Few hotel chains are as impressive as the Four Seasons, and this one in Denver is no exception. Ultra-luxurious rooms (starting at 400 square feet and featuring up-to-date amenities), a heated outdoor pool, and a massive spa are all features that grant this hotel its five-pearl status. Plus, the Four Seasons is not only just a 5-minute walk from the Colorado Convention Center, but it offers a free shuttle and has over 17,000 square feet of meeting space on-site.

Your boss will be awed upon entering the sleek, streamlined lobby.

Your boss will be awed upon entering the sleek, streamlined lobby.

Standout feature: The on-site conference coordinator can not only assist with all of your convention needs, but will also plan day excursions, such as shopping trips and hiking, for spouses and families that come along.
Downside: Though special deals can be made for convention groups, Wi-Fi normally comes at an additional fee per device. Read More »

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Before they can even think about taking up residence at the White House (or, in Barack’s case, renewing any magazine subscriptions), presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have to earn the comfy D.C. digs. Election season is heating up and the two have been on the campaign trail for months, spending night after night on the road in hotels across the country. And though their campaign accommodations may pale in comparison to one of the most famous addresses in the world, neither contender is losing any sleep at these luxe hotels that line the road to the White House.

The White House is up for grabs, and Romney and Obama are on on the road to Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Prost! Oktoberfest attendees cheers in Munich. Credit: Nikada/iStockPhoto

Sixteen days, over five million people, and — most importantly – seven million liters of beer: That’s Oktoberfest in Munich. What began as a wedding celebration in 1810 [Ed. note: Sounds like a fun wedding!] has grown into the world’s largest fair, attracting locals and tourists to the Bavarian city every September and October to down tasty traditional treats followed by long swigs of brew. Sound amazing? Yea, it’s pretty hard to beat. But nonetheless, it has inspired copycats all over the world, and they’re doing a pretty darn good job at keeping up. From Santiago to Hong Kong, Bavarian aficionados have hosted their own Oktoberfests for years: Some are traditional, some not so much, but they all harken back to their Munich origins in one way or another. So if you can’t make it to Germany this year, don’t fret. We have the scoop on the most wunderbar Oktoberfests across the globe — and the best hotels for sleeping off those delicious Bavarian brews. Prost! Read More »

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If you haven’t found “the one” yet, but are planning on taking out someone new (and maybe special) this Valentine’s Day, some serious impressing is in order. Hotels exude sexiness on any given day, and these bars don’t disappoint: Each of them has its very own get-into-his-or-her-pants kind of charm.

The Hotel: 60 Thompson; New York City, NY

The Bar: Kittichai

Kittichai at 60 Thompson; New York City, NY

Why We Love It: The trendy NYC ambiance simply rules. Although the food — which is thai — is only so-so on a good day at this combo bar/restaurant, the romantic atmosphere makes up for its over salted fare. Eclectic music (think French renditions of silly American nursery rhymes) adds to the quirky-chic vibe,  just be prepared to shell out a few bucks: Everything’s more expensive in Manhattan.

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With the Superbowl in sight (in the super-glam city of Indianapolis, no less), do-or-die playoff games mean serious crowds, crazed fans and tons of hotel reservations for the aforementioned. We checked out this weekend’s schedule and made our own picks — for sleeping, that is.

The Cruise Room Bar at the Oxford Hotel; Denver, CO

STEELERS V BRONCOS IN DENVER, CO
Top Spot to Sleep: The Oxford Hotel

Why: You don’t need to worry about Fido, packing your iPhone charger or getting around the downtown district when you camp out at the Oxford Hotel. Bose docks are in every rooms, pets are welcome and complementary towncar service is offered within a 2-mile radius. After you watch Tim Tebow put on what’s undoubtedly going to be an interesting performance, you can grab a drink at The Cruise Room Bar, the oldest in all of Denver. Read More »

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