Las Vegas

Over just the last month, the Strip in Las Vegas had two new hotels open amidst a ton of buzz. The four-pearl SLS Las Vegas — from the luxe brand known for its properties in Beverly Hills and South Beach – debuted on the site of the former Sahara Resort & Casino and, not to be outdone, the 4.5-pearl Delano replaced THEhotel at Mandalay Bay shortly after. We were lucky enough to get an exclusive, inside look at both and see some of their stellar (and some of their mediocre) features first-hand. Though both have their pros and cons, we’re going to have them battle it out in a few categories to declare a winner. In round one of our Delano versus SLS faceoff, we’re comparing their scenes and locations to determine which has the bragging rights for each. Signal the bell!

Category: Scene

At the Delano

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The sleek public spaces here are a calculated nod to the Nevada desert, beginning with a huge 126,000-pound boulder greeting guests at the entrance. Brown leather couches, chairs with leather belt buckles, and a suspended rock installation by Korean artist Jaehyo Lee continue the striking, earth-inspired decor.

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Connected to the bustle of Mandalay Bay, the Delano is a convenient option for those needing proximity the Mandalay’s convention center, but seeking quieter accommodations.  With no casino, only two full-service restaurants, and a spa, the Delano provides a refreshingly calm oasis compared to the nearby party hotels.

 

At the SLS

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After a $415 million renovation of Sahara Resort & Casino (a former favorite of The Beatles and The Rat Pack,) SLS opened in August to mixed reviews. Owned by SBE Entertainment, which is a leader in L.A.‘s nightlife scene, SLS Las Vegas blends the old-world vibe of the former Sahara with strikingly modern features.

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Acclaimed French designer Philippe Starck is the brainchild behind most elements seen at the hotel; picture several LED fixtures, plastic body parts affixed to the wall, and quirky, monkey-inspired accents. It could be jarring for some to walk through a bright red corridor to get to the elevators, but it’s certainly a daring design that makes an impression. With several restaurants and clubs, the SLS attracts a hip, young crowd primarily interested in the nightlife the hotel has to offer.

And the winner is…SLS! See who wins for location after the jump >>

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10 Vegas Pools Making a Splash

by Lara Grant on September 10, 2014

Although summer is coming to a close and soon we’ll be trading in our bathing suits for comfy sweaters, the pool parties in Las Vegas were still hopping when we visited them over the weekend. From DJ-led poolside dance parties to quiet pools focused on tranquility, we saw a wide range of scenes. Many of these hot spots will still be going strong for a few more weeks — thanks to that desert heat! — so here’s a list of the best pools, and what to expect, if you need to squeeze in one more water-filled weekend. If you don’t make it out before the fall weather sets in, don’t fret! These bashes will undoubtedly be back as soon as it’s warm enough to drink a frozen mojito outside.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas

Encore2 A five-pearl property, Encore at Wynn is home to huge rooms, fine dining and one of the best pool parties on the Strip. Encore Beach Club, exclusively used for pool parties, is open seven months a year, every Friday through Sunday, beginning in March. The area, which includes Surrender Nightclub, is a whopping 60,000 square feet and includes three tiered pools. It’s home to a wide array of resident DJs, including famous acts like Deadmau5 and David Guetta.

Encore1 The popular spot includes several bungalows that share an infinity plunge pool, and are always filled with a fun and rowdy crowd. The complex may be pretty large, but still expect to fight through mobs of around 4,000 people to get to the stage or a bar. Read More »

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1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? After the success of Hotel Week NYC, Hotel Week LA is following suit by offering discounted rooms at top luxury hotels in Los Angeles from November 29 to December 14.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Not surprisingly, Orlando came in at the number one spot in a recent report on the top meeting destinations in the U.S.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Alain Ducasse reopened at Paris’ Hotel Plaza Athenee yesterday with a brand-new gourmet prix fixe menu that’s heavy on veggies and seafood — for the bargain price of 300 Euros ($387).

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Chef and nutritionist Cheryl Forberg has teamed up with Omni Hotels to provide guests with a “Healthy Traveler Series” full of tips and tricks for staying healthy while traveling.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? For a short time, the Waldorf Astoria Park City is offering guests the opportunity to explore the surrounding area in a luxury Mercedes-Benz.

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Our team of hotel investigators are stationed all over the world, and every day we have expert photographers and reviewers visiting (and revisiting) properties. But often all you get to see is the final product — our comprehensive hotel reviews paired with hundreds of accurate, honest photos. Well, those reviews and photos are certainly helpful when planning a trip, but we figured it might be kind of fun for you to see just how we get to that end result. So we’ve decided to bring you along on our trip to Las Vegas, where we’ve been checking out the scene since Wednesday. We’ve visited pool parties and we’ve dined on some delicious eats and we’ve shared it all on Instagram, so be sure to check it out! But we’re most excited to share our pics and opinions of the brand-new Delano hotel. We were a little confused and thrown off that entry was through the parking garage, but otherwise we’ve been quite impressed! Let’s start at the beginning…

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  This sleek, new property skips the gaudy, colorful look Vegas is known for and instead opts for stylish, desert-inspired decor. The lobby and hallways are decked out with “boulders” and interesting wooden structures and hanging sculptures.

See more amazing pics after the jump>>

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We all know that stomach-sinking sensation of showing up to a hotel and finding that it is nothing like we expected. Critters for roommates, chemical plants on the premises (with just “a safe amount of pollution,” the hotel promises), bulletproof glass in reception… When you only get one or two vacations a year, you don’t want to feel like you’re sleeping in a prison. We here at Oyster have encountered some hotels that, are, well, just plain disasters as we’ve traveled the world, taking photos of every nook and cranny. But these 10, they’re the worst of the worst.

La Semana Hotel, New York City

La Semana

It’s a special kind of hotel that earns a reputation for being both disgusting AND dangerous: Within five minutes of entering La Semana, it’s evident that it is both. Not only have there been reports of mentally unstable clientele and gunshots, but the check-in clerk stands behind bulletproof glass, and many rooms’ windows are covered in bars and barbwire, which creates the feeling of entering a prison. The rest is downhill from there: Holes in the (barely six-foot-high) ceilings, no doors on the dirty bathrooms, exposed wires, disgustingly dirty TV remotes, furniture that looks too cheap for a tailgate party, and beds without blankets make this one of the seediest hotel experiences in New York.

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The highly-anticipated Delano Las Vegas opens its doors today. A ribbon-cutting ceremony commemorating the event will take place at 11:30 a.m., followed by a tour of the luxury property and tastings at its many eateries. Replacing THEhotel at Mandalay Bay, the all-suite tower has rooms starting at 725 square feet and featuring sophisticated decor in white and neutral color palettes, mixed with eclectic pieces that reflect the surrounding desert landscape. Spacious bathrooms include both glass showers and separate soaking tubs, along with MALIN+GOETZ toiletries. This soon-to-be packed spot also has a private pool. For the culinary curious, there are several fun dining and drinking options on-site — Della’s Kitchen will serve upscale comfort food like chicken and waffles with bourbon maple syrup; miX at Delano has fine French and Italian dining on the 64th floor. Guests can head to the cozy bar Franklin for a cocktail, or 3940 Coffee + Tea for an espresso or breakfast burrito. We’re excited about this new opening on the strip and will have tons more photos and details after we head there later this week! We’ll also be checking out the new mixed-use resort and casino SLS Las Vegas (sister property to the popular SLS South Beach), so stay tuned and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram as we post updates from Sin City!

In the meantime, check out some of the current top luxury spots on the Las Vegas strip after the jump >>

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1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Is this too good to be true?! Through mid-September, the Gansevoort Park Avenue‘s outdoor gelato cart is giving away free scoops every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? At last night’s Netflix Emmys after-party at the iconic Chateau Marmont, Lindsay Lohan racked up a tab of over $40,000 for items such as cigarettes and minibar munchies.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The luxe SLS brand, with properties in Beverly Hills and South Beach, just opened its first hotel in Las Vegas.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A Hazmat team was called into a Seattle hotel yesterday after medics had to treat 17 guests for sickness caused by a strong, unknown odor.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? All Ritz-Carlton properties, such as the Ritz-Carlton Atlanta and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, now offer an app with real-time service requests, so you can put in your room service order over your smartphone.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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If you suffer (we use the term lightly) from an intense devotion to wine, you will feel right at home at these wino-friendly hotels. We must say, we’ve uncorked the best of the best with these seven getaways. Many are near the best grape stompin’ vineyards in the country, or either offer expansive wine lists, classes for newbies, or wine-infused spa treatments — or all of these things! Just be sure to bring a clean palate; you’ll have plenty of opportunity to unleash your inner connoisseur.

Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley

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Set on 26 pristine Carmel Valley acres awash with vineyards and lavender, The Bernardus Lodge is a hit with pinot aficionados. Guests can unwine (get it?) at the spa with a chardonnay pedicure before uncorking in the tasting room. The restaurants here stock 25,000 premium bottles of wine, including 10,000 bottles from the Bernardus Vineyards and Winery near the resort.

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With rumors swirling of a run for the 2016 presidency, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been jet-setting around the country to attend various conferences and speak at numerous events, likely in order to drum up support. And, of course, with a potential campaign looming in the future comes plenty of research done to uncover just how Mrs. Clinton travels — and what she spends her hard-earned cash from her high-priced speaking engagements on. Yesterday, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Clinton not only requires roundtrip transportation on a private jet — a $39 million, 16-person one, to be exact — but she also demands accommodations in the presidential suite at the hotel of her choice. Hey, if you wanna be president you gotta play the role as accurately as possible, right?! We’ve been lucky enough to have stayed in some pretty luxe digs that even Hillary approves of. So after the jump, check out some of our favorite hotels where Clinton has laid her head to rest — for both work and pleasure. We’ve even included the Las Vegas hotel where she successfully dodged a shoe[Las Vegas Review-Journal]
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Who doesn’t love a good theme? We’re suckers for a little kitsch every now and then, and there’s something about the wild, wild West – cowboy hats and boots and all – that’s particularly endearing and fun. A western theme conjures up good ole days of yore, and it can make a property feel especially homey. That’s why we love these seven ranch-style hotels; from upscale estates spread across sprawling grounds to cheesy cowboy-themed properties, this list has the best of the best of the wild, wild West.

Tanque Verde Ranch, Tucson

 Tanque Verde

This rustic, all-inclusive resort is a quintessential Western dude ranch surrounded by miles of gorgeous mountains and desert. The property borders Saguaro National Park East, where guests can enjoy guided horseback rides, hiking, and mountain biking. There’s also swimming, communal ranch meals, and kids’ activities, and sweeping wood-beam ceilings, stone fireplaces, and local artwork add to the ranch-like vibe.

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