Hong Kong

Sometimes our hotels just get us. They know how we like the sheets, take our coffee, and want to wake up to a newspaper at our door. But with so many hotels across the globe to choose from, it can be hard to find just the right one. Luckily we’ve got everyone covered, from financiers to fashionistas. Here are our choices for the best hotels for every (well, almost) profession.

 

For Politicians: ONE UN New York, New York City 

The view from ONE UN New York would excite any government worker.

A top choice among UN diplomats, the ONE UN New York sits right across the street from the UN headquarters in New York City. The hotel boasts an indoor Har-Tru tennis court (after all, politicians love their back and forth), tasty (and schmooze-worthy) breakfast at Ambassador Grill, and the private Skyline Club, with stunning city views, snacks, and cocktails. But really, with a location steps away from the world’s most powerful decision-makers, politicians can’t really ask for more. Read More »

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San Francisco's Chinatown stands ready to celebrate the Spring Festival.

In just a week, Chinese New Year kicks off! And we want to give you plenty of notice so you can start planning how — and where — you’ll celebrate. Also known as the Spring Festival, this holiday consists of two weeks of feasting, lion dances, lantern lighting, and much more. After all, it is the most important holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar, so festivities necessitate indulgence. Millions of people around the world will celebrate with gorgeous decorations, rich foods, and stunning firework displays — and we here at Oyster can’t wait to get in on the action at some of our favorite Chinatowns around the globe. We’ve got you covered on where to ring in the Year of the Snake, but no matter where you choose to kick things off, Oyster wishes you a prosperous new year or, as they say in Mandarin, Gong Xi Fa Cai! Read More »

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Lobby at The St. Regis Deer Valley; Park City, UT

Lobby at The St. Regis Deer Valley; Park City, UT

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Designer Jason Wu has created an exclusive handbag for The St. Regis Deer Valley, which can be purchased online along with dozens of other gifts given the property’s stamp of approval.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong offers its guests free use of USB modems during their trip, so that they can get on-the-go Internet access even outside the hotel.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lindsay Lohan and her mom were turned down by several L.A. hotels before being allowed to book a room at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Sweet Surrender candy store at the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas is now selling a $750 cupcake.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Affinia Manhattan will host the 3,200 dogs taking part in the 137th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The Oriental Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

The Oriental Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? When the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong first opened in 1963, it was the tallest building on the island.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Greta Garbo Suite, unveiled recently at the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel Stockholm on the occasion of the hotel’s 100th anniversary, displays memorabilia from the Greta Garbo Museum in Hogsby.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills offers in-room iPads with an app that allows guests to order a bottle of champagne to their room with just one click.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel Indigo London – Paddington is now offering a package that includes free breakfast and a cocktail prepared using regionally-sourced ingredients.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The US Grant — a Luxury Collection Hotel recently offered suites for just $1.02 in celebration of its 102th birthday.

Check out the answers after the jump! Read More »

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Well, the time has finally come! We’re in the last stretch of humanity as we know it (according to the ancient Mayan calendar, at least), and we’re searching the globe for the best places on earth to spend our final days — or day as the case may be. We’ve visited every (habitable) continent and through our travels, we’ve found that whether you’re preparing for a traditional Biblical Apocalypse of fire and brimstone, or something a bit more on the sci-fi spectrum, there is a Doomsday destination for you somewhere on this fated planet. Take a look at our list and pick the spot where you’ll spend your last blissful moments.

 

Hit the beach before making your last offerings in Riviera Maya.

North American Destination: Riviera Maya, for an ancient Mayan offering

The small Caribbean district along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is undoubtedly the best place in North America to spend your last day on Earth. Riviera Maya not only boasts stunning white-sand beaches and some of the most majestic natural beauty in the world, but it is also home to the ruins of 7th century A.D. Mayans. The Mayans, of course, were the ones who predicted the 2012 end of the world (or maybe they just ran out of rock), and the area is having its share of “End of the World” celebrations to honor the culture with  ancient ceremonies.

Stay: Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa

The Tulum area of Rivieria Maya, where the Dreams is located, is the site of the walled cities of the Mayan culture, and the gateway to the ruins. The beachfront Dreams is only a five-minute drive from major ruins, where visitors can offer sacrifices or just say their prayers.

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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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Batter this than a concrete wall, huh?

Better this than a concrete wall, huh?

No one likes to work out in a depressing basement with stuffy air and no natural light, but sometimes travelers have to take what they can get. After all, many hotel fitness centers feel like afterthoughts, with a few rusty machines crammed into a sad little rooms in forgotten corner of the hotels. But some hotels go above and beyond to provide an appealing space for travelers to work out, with large windows overlooking the city, the mountains, or the beach! Check out our 12 favorite hotel fitness centers with awesome views — and don’t forget to pack your workout clothes!

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The IHG Priority Club Rewards is the world’s largest loyalty program and, luckily, one of the easiest to decipher: There are no tiers, no categories, no blackout dates for redeeming points, and points never expire. The rewards program covers all of the brand’s nearly 4,500 hotels worldwide, which include InterContinental Hotels, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Hotel Indigos, Crowne Plazas, Holiday Inns, Holiday Inn Expresses, Candlewood Suites and Staybridge Suites.

But benefits don’t end there — points can also be used for stays at more than 70,000 properties outside the brand, as well as to buy gift cards and to enroll in a myriad of leisure activities, such as hot air balloon rides and golf lessons with a pro. And just like with most other major loyalty programs, members can also earn miles that can be redeemed on over 400 airlines, including most major U.S. carriers (such as Delta and American Airlines), British Airways, Air China, Air France and Aeromexico. Check out some of our favorite hotels in each IHG brand (both luxury and value) and start planning your next trip with all those points you’ve earned!

InterContinental Hong Kong

Luxurious rooms feature 24-hour butler service, and most have harbor views.

Luxurious rooms feature 24-hour butler service, and most have harbor views.

The 590-room InterContinental is one of the most luxurious hotels in Hong Kong, conveniently situated in Kowloon within walking distance of numerous sights. Its claim to fame is that over two-thirds of the rooms have harbor views, but the hotel has plenty else to brag about, including seven dining options (including NOBU and an Alain Ducasse restaurant), a rooftop pool, a top-notch spa, and gorgeous rooms featuring 24-hour butler service. Rooms are decorated with Asian accents — such as tasseled gold and brown bed throws with calligraphy print — and also feature large flat-screen TVs with DVD players, iPod docks, and marble bathrooms with separate showers and tubs.

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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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