Image by Yuri Kuzin/iStock Photo.
Erin Go Bragh, everyone! (FYI: That means “Ireland Forever.”) With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, you’re definitely in need of a watering hole to throw back a Guinness (or two, or three) this weekend — or at least an Irish pub to fill up on some Black & White pudding. We’re pretty excited about all the beef stew and Bailey’s we plan on imbibing on March 17th; if you still need a place to celebrate, try out one of these Irish pubs in a city near you. From the Emerald Isle itself all the way to the DR, we promise a good time — and at least a few Irish Car Bombs.
Read More »
Spring (and St. Patty’s Day!) are just around the corner, and there’s nothing we look forward to more than lush greenery, open skies, and a nice wool sweater, making Ireland the perfect place to experience the new season. Before going on our Irish adventure, however, we have to find the right place to stay for our budget.
Ireland may have some gorgeous hotels, but for a truly Gaelic experience, visitors can stay in a number of historic castles. Two of the best options on the island are the Ballynahinch Castle in Connermara and Ashford Castle in County Mayo. Even though both are great options, they come at two very different prices. Ballynahinch is located along a stunning river and has homey, country decor. The 18th-century castle also boasts gourmet on-site cuisine and plenty of modern amenities inside its comfy rooms. Ashford Castle, another historic, unspoiled property, also sits along a lovely riverfront location, a spa, and gorgeous rooms with views to match. Even though Ballynahinch may not have the luxury touches that Ashford Castle has, the price can’t be beat!
Can you tell which is which? Ballynahinch’s high-end rooms start at €135 per night, whereas same-level Ashford rooms start at a steeper €655 per night. Check out the rooms each hotel offers, take a guess in the comments section below, and then find the answer after the jump!
- Option 2
Read More »
It’s official: We’ve got the luck ‘o the Irish here at Oyster.com. And since that means there is now extensive travel coverage of Ireland at your disposal, you’ve got the luck o’ the Irish too! Our coverage includes 50 hotel reviews, nearly 20,000 photos, four knowledge-packed travel guides, and five helpful roundups of the best hotels in Dublin — whether you’re on business or a luxe getaway, with the family or with your honey. Follow the links to check it all out, or peruse some of our fabulous photos after the jump. Just be warned: They’ll make you want to start planning your Irish vacation right away!
Read More »
We’re all about a funky hotel or two, but there’s something to be said for the grand dames. They celebrate their storied histories and iconic statuses with classic, timeless decor — that’s almost always tres chic and just a bit over the top, dahhhling. And whenever you step into one of these hotels, you feel like you’re in the presence of greatness — at least, great decor and design. So today we’re giving a photo tour of our favorite hotels that have that classically elegant (and dare we say, old money?) look down pat. From gilded pillars to floral patterns, from dainty tea sets to regal portraits, these hotels keep their spaces feeling timeless. Get inspired — and get the look!
Lobby at The Fairmont San Francisco
The Fairmont combines the amenities, technology, and corporate-dominated clientele of a large, modern property with the history, cachet, and decor of a turn-of-the-20th-century grand old dame. Upon entering the lobby, guests are wowed by the sweeping ceilings, gilded accents, intricate wrought ironing, and massive marble columns, under which guests can recline on plush velvet sofas in rich golds and browns. The overall effect is stunning, and exudes a glamorous 1920s vibe. Rooms, many with stunning views, are equally elegant with warm gold and green accents, antique mahogany furniture, and cozy beds.
Pubs along Dublin's Temple Bar beckon visitors with their traditional bites and brews.
Ireland: The land of meat and potatoes. Hearty dishes like lamb stew and fish and chips may be what the Emerald Isle is known for, but that’s just the tip of its culinary iceberg. In the last decade especially, Ireland has had a culinary resurgence. Reconnecting with indigenous ingredients in thoughtful and exciting new ways, Irish chefs have re-established the island nation as a force to be reckoned with on the gastronomic stage. During our recent trip to Ireland, we got in touch with our Irish roots and enjoyed some truly delectable dishes. From shots of Jameson to shots of oysters, we got up to our ears in Irish cuisine — and now you can too. Prepare your palates, it’s time to dig into Ireland. Sláinte!
Ok, So It’s Still A Lot About The Potato
At the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, visitors can enjoy beef and Guinness stew with a hearty serving of mashed potatoes.
Ireland may have grown up a lot in the last decade when it comes to cooking, but that doesn’t mean that the potato is just going to disappear over the Cliffs of Moher. The versatile root vegetable has been a staple of Irish cooking since the 1500s, served alongside meat stews, in casseroles and soups, and all by its lonesome in simple but nonetheless exquisite dishes. Champ (an Irish take on mashed potatoes) and Dublin coddle (a hearty dish with bacon, sausage, and onions) are both staples.
But one of the most delicious ways to eat a potato is in a boxty. These traditional potato pancakes, delicious in their own right, are elevated to a whole other level when stuffed with either fish, meat, or vegetables. Legend has it that this well-loved dish will even help you snag a brogue-wielding fella, for as the Irish say, “Boxty on the griddle / Boxty in the pan, / If you can’t make boxty, /You’ll never get a man.” Read More »
Ever dreamed of sleeping in a castle? Check out all 15 of Oyster's bucket list stays.
If you’re like most of us, you probably have a dream trip tucked in the back of your mind — the improbable fantasy hotel stay that will happen one day down the road when you have the time/money/etc. Maybe. But now that we’ve all survived the Mayan apocalypse and are busy working on New Year’s resolutions, Oyster has a resolution challenge for you that you probably won’t mind keeping. In 2013, don’t put off that trip you’re planning to do before you die any longer. Because if the Mayans taught us anything, it’s that we could be dead tomorrow, right? To help you take the plunge, we’ve compiled 15 incredible and utterly unique hotel stays that should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Are you on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this year? We’ve seen a lot of good and bad behaviors during our travels over the last year — and maybe dabbled in both as well! So we know every dirty little secret, or shiny gold star, that you’ve been part-and-parcel to on vacation. But if you’re not sure where you stand in Santa’s twinkling eyes, we’re here to help. You can find out whether your favorite hotel amenities will get your stockings stuffed full of goodies or weighed down by coal this holiday season with our quiz. So check out which list you’re on!
The Naughty List:
1. Have you stripped down?
Clothing optional resorts like the Desire Riviera Maya can see some X-rated action.
For some travelers, itsy bitsy bikinis or revealing Speedos just don’t cut it — a vacation isn’t a vacation without a little nudity. Luckily for them, some hotels are redefining casual dress with policies that let guests bare it all (or almost all), like the couples-only, clothing-optional Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya. A little voyeurism never hurt anyone — but don’t be surprised if your nude antics land you on the naughty list this winter.
Read More »
Unique amenities and personalized services are becoming increasingly in-demand at luxury hotels. Some might label these services over-the-top — and some of them are — but many of the butlers, sommeliers, and experts of the hotel world are performing real and important services for guests. And we here at Oyster want to hear their stories — especially if they include exciting and heartwarming tales from Ireland’s rich past! Descendants of the Emerald Isle are scattered far and wide around the globe, yet many often find themselves returning home to discover their roots. And giving them a helping hand is Helen Kelly, the Genealogy Butler at The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel. A professional genealogist, Kelly has been aiding the Irish in their quest for their ancestral history since the 1980s, and has worked with The Shelbourne since 1995 as, quite literally, the only Genealogy Butler in the world.
The Shelbourne's Genealogy Butler, Helen Kelly, "empowers" guests to track down their ancestors.*
The Shelbourne Dublin itself is a historic icon located on St. Stephen’s Green. Built in 1824, the property has witnessed major historical events firsthand (the Irish Constitution was signed here in 1922) and has hosted plenty of famous guests (including Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Princess Grace Kelly, Bill Clinton, and Bono).
Hotel guests, who perhaps get inspired by their storied surroundings, can make an appointment with Kelly to review whatever information they have on their ancestors. She will then be able to offer guidance on how to best track down more information in a city where the mass of historical documents and institutions is daunting. Over a one-hour consultation — which costs 100 Euro — guests will receive a full assessment from Kelly on their ancestral history, as well as an overview of the history, culture, and landscape of Ireland.
To read more about Kelly’s work as Genealogy Butler, check out our interview after the jump.
Read More »
‘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?
Read More »
When it comes to cozy winter charm — roaring fires, hot (and strong!) drinks, and snug nooks — it’s hard to top Ireland. Though winter is the off season for the Emerald Isle, it can be a magical time to visit (as anyone who has heard the song Christmas in Killarney can probably understand). Plus, hotels can be dirt cheap this time of year. So sure, it’ll be
near-freezing cold, but fortunately these hotel features will warm you right up on your Irish holiday.
Toasty Feature: The Peat-Burning Fireplace
The Bushmills Inn in Antrim keeps peat fires roaring in colder months.
Peat is as Irish as it gets — this bog turf has been burned as fuel for centuries in Ireland, and gives off a distinct smell that some people love.
Find It At: Bushmills Inn, Northern Ireland
The quaint Bushmills Inn in Antrim is quintessentially Irish in every respect: There are fireplaces burning peat or wood throughout the property, a fantastic restaurant serving locally sourced cuisine, Irish music performed certain nights at the Gas Bar, which is lit by traditional gaslight, and 41 cozy, cottage-style rooms. The inn has a rich history dating back to 1608, when a coach house and stables stood here, and the actual main inn building dates to the 1820s; the historic character has been carefully and thoughtfully preserved throughout.
Read More »