family-friendly hotels

Summertime always gets us nostalgic, particularly when we think back to our busy days and peaceful nights spent at summer camp. Everything was just simpler then, right? Counselors chose the activities, the kitchen staff provided all the grub, and at night the soft sounds of nature — plus the fact that you were dead-tired from the day’s adventures — put you right to sleep. Well, you may be all grown up now, but you can still relive those days — and bonus: no need for matching uniforms. When summer was just beginning to hint its arrival, we told you about the best hotels stateside for pitching a tent (and we threw in a Botswana property just for good measure). So this time, we’re focusing solely on international destinations where you can experience a new kind of summer camp-like getaway that’s adults-friendly (and most are kid-friendly, too). Check out our top picks for outdoorsy, campy properties outside the U.S.

Camping Village Rochette, Tuscany

Camping Village Rochette

Billed as a high-end camping village, this property has some fun amenities — a striking pool, a Turkish bath, and tennis courts — with bungalows of various sizes spread out over a large wooded area about 500 meters from the beach. Some of the newer, larger bungalows are on the luxurious side; ones at lower price points are a little on the shabby end (although they may be more reminiscent of a summer camp stay than the others). The property offers numerous play areas for kids, as well as daytime and nighttime activities, and it has an on-site market so guests can make use of the in-room kitchens. The hotel also provides a shuttle to the nearby seaside town of Castiglione della Pescaia.

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Most hotels remain open throughout the year, even when off-peak season means low occupancy and less-than-ideal weather. But some hotels choose to shutter their doors and windows during this time, triumphantly reopening in the warmer months — and often boasting some upgrades, to boot! These hotels sure know how to build our anticipation; we can’t wait to get back to them! So without further adieu, here are our five favorite hotels that are reopening for the spring and summer.

Hidden Pond; Kennebunkport, ME

Reopening Date: May 2nd

Some of the cottages at Hidden Pond feature outdoor porches and screened-in patios.

Spread over 60 acres, Hidden Pond features 36 suite-like bungalows and two-bedroom cottages. While each have their own personality, they are all bright, homey, and sophisticated, characterized by pops of color and lodge-like touches (such as stone fireplaces adorned with antlers, and a lamp made from a tree branch). The spa is set up to resemble a tree house, and free yoga classes are held at the organic farm (where guests may also pick fresh flowers and veggies). Another outstanding feature is the outdoor bar and grill that sits on a “sand bar,” with chairs circled around fire pits. This upscale boutique hotel attracts couples with its tranquil environment and top-notch restaurants, as well as families with its cottages that include full kitchens and washer/dryers. The hotel also provides a free shuttle to the beach, which is just a five-minute drive away.

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A collection of islands, Hong Kong attracts tourists with its many things to do; from shopping to eating to visiting museums and historic sights, visitors are always busy. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you plan on bringing the kids along or want to take a bite out of the best Asian cuisine, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

 Hotel for Foodies: Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental

Man Wah at the Mandarin Oriental

With not one, not two, but three Michelin-starred restaurants on-site, the Mandarin Oriental is the ideal spot for foodies. Guests can also munch on tasty bites at the hotel’s bakery and popular lounge.

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1 Trip, 5 Ways: Cancun

by Jane Reynolds on March 15, 2013

Thousands of spring breakers, honeymooners, older couples, families and young groups of friends flow into Cancun every year, making it one of the world’s top beach destinations. Its turquoise waters, beautiful stretches of sand, and night-long parties are a main draw here, but there’s plenty of culture to be had as well. We’ve found just the spot to stay for almost every kind of traveler, so whether you plan on bringing the kids along or hope to have a romantic getaway, Oyster has a hotel for you. We brought them to you all week on Captivate elevator screens, so see the full roundup below!

Hotel for Couples: Excellence Playa Mujeres

Excellence Playa Mujeres

Excellence Playa Mujeres

This adults-only luxury resort offers a nice all-inclusive experience with tons of variety. There are multiple dining options, several beautiful pools, a gorgeous spa with great treatments for couples, and dozens of wonderful activities perfect for unwinding with your significant other.

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The Macy's parade is as important to us on Thanksgiving as turkey on the table! Credit:istockphoto.com

The Macy's parade is as important to us on Thanksgiving as turkey on the table! Credit: istockphoto.com

The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a sight worth seeing — if you can manage to shove your way through the crowds to get a peek, that is. If you book one of these hotels along the parade route, you could watch the giant balloons and floats from the comfort of your hotel room. Be warned, though — many rooms will cost more than three times the normal rates. Check them out here »

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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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If you and your partner are planning a quick family escape before the holiday rush, — or are thinking ahead (kudos!) for outings between next year’s school breaks – we’ve come up with four great vacation ideas to offer you a little inspiration. Whether your family wants fun in the sun, a bit of culture, or just a change of scenery, we’ve found the best LGBT family getaways for all types. And as with any good family-friendly destination, these trips have a little something extra for parents to enjoy after the kiddies have gone to bed.

In Search Of: Culture

Destination: Toronto

The "New York up North," Toronto has plenty of cultural sights

 Tagged as “New York run by the Swiss,” Toronto is a massive (and clean!) cultural hub, with a reputation for being both family- and gay-friendly. Canada’s biggest city also has world-renowned restaurants, shopping, and theaters, with quick and easy transportation to take you there. The Fairmont Royal York is one of the Toronto’s premier hotels with its elegant, old world charm, and a prime location blocks from the shopping and attractions of Yonge Street. After a day of sight-seeing on Yonge or in the nearby Entertainment District, parents can cozy up for an intimate evening at the Library Bar, or one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, such as the locally-focused Epic. Read More »

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The iconic entrance to Caesars Palace

The iconic entrance to Caesars Palace

Caesars is one of the oldest properties in Atlantic City, but extensive renovations have kept it feeling like one of the newest. It’s situated along the boardwalk, steps from the beach and luxury shopping, and has a dramatic lobby with Roman-inspired columns and painted ceilings. Though some rooms are a bit dated, they offer a solid deal or guests can opt to stay in the slightly pricier Centurion and Ocean Towers, where rooms have sophisticated decor, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks, and spacious bathrooms. Upscale property amenities include an impressive spa, an adults-only rooftop pool with pretty views, and a plush stadium-seat theater for live shows. Tack on gourmet restaurants, a clean casino, and several nightlife options, and what you get is a dependable, upscale choice for adults (though families are certainly welcome). See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»

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