Monday Morning Ahhhh

The views from the hotel are breathtaking.

The 144-room cliff-side Hyatt Carmel Highlands offers awe-inspiring views unrivaled anywhere else around Monterey and Carmel — some could even argue the entire West Coast. Accommodations are seemingly as roomy as the stunning ocean views they offer, most complete with working fireplaces and stocked with simple yet modern amenities. The on-site restaurants serve meals that rival the scenery, and the outdoor fire pit is good for relaxing and taking in healthy doses of sea breeze after a day of kayaking (you can rent kayaks through the concierge). So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Hyatt Carmel Highlands.

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Look at the water! Guests can see the crystal blue ocean from just about everywhere on the property.

The low-key, down-to-earth Grand Case Beach Club in picturesque — you guessed it! — Grand Case has an authentic island vibe with bougainvillea-draped, cottage-style buildings and two serene beaches. The pool is tiny, as are studio rooms, but it’s still a gem for travelers intent on quiet, beachside relaxation, plenty of on-site activities, and lush tropical grounds — all within walking distance of the island’s best restaurants, cafes, and bars. And the ocean alone is enough to make this hotel a great pick. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Grand Case Beach Club in beautiful St. Martin.

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This luxury treehouse-like suite boasts stunning ocean views and a private pool.

Aqua Wellness Resort is a rustic-luxe retreat set into a hillside overlooking Redondo Bay on Nicaragua’s Pacific coast. The resort has eco-friendly design, lush vegetation (expect to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and iguanas), and rooms adorned with lots of natural wood; some units include plunge pools and stunning ocean views. The white-sand beach is secluded and beautiful, the restaurant serves simple but tasty local dishes, and group yoga classes on the ocean-view wooden platform are free. For a tranquil, unplugged getaway, this is one of Nicaragua’s premier options — just note that there’s no common pool (yet) and the climb from the beach to reception is extremely long and steep. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Aqua Wellness Retreat. And a warm Happy Memorial Day from all of us at Oyster.com!

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The Pool at the Magdalena Grand

An upper-middle-range beachfront property, the Magdalena Grand Beach Resort (like many resorts on Tobago) offers rooms at reasonable rates; the price covers a buffet breakfast, bicycle rentals, shuttles to a nearby beach, and numerous other freebies. Facilities include a fitness center, large pool, and nearby spa, and the hotel has numerous restaurant and bar options (although the restaurants can be overpriced). Rooms are simple, and some furniture shows wear and tear, but all feature free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and best of all, ocean views. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Magdalena Grand.

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We'd love to dive into that gorgeous blue water right now!

We'd love to dive into that gorgeous blue water right now!

Cinco de Mayo may be over, but it’s all the more reason to head to Mexico for a little R&R after the hard-partying of this weekend. Located on the snorkeling-lover’s island of Cozumel off the Caribbean coast of Mexico, the Cozumel Palace is an upscale all-inclusive resort. It offers an impressive array of kid-friendly features, but is largely popular among couples seeking some relaxation. Rooms feature liquor dispensers, flat-screen TVs, minibars and balconies, and all but the standard rooms have a big whirlpool. Dining options are varied and solid, and the pool area offers daily activities as well as a swim-up bar and loungers. And the views — well, they speak for themselves. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Cozumel Palace.

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Talk about a room with a view!

Rosewood Mayakoba is a gorgeous, peaceful retreat within the resort community of Playa Del Carmen, set on a mile-long stretch of beach. Though it features an extensive children’s program, the resort largely attracts couples with its serene atmosphere, upscale restaurants, and spa. The 128 suites feature attractive contemporary decor — picture clean lines, white walls, and rich woods — as well as high-tech amenities and private outdoor plunge pools. They have an open-air vibe, with many floor-to-ceiling windows, and the overwater lagoon suites have swim-up access. Plus, suites include freebies such as Wi-Fi, fresh fruit, and bottled water. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Rosewood Mayakoba.

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The Inn at Palmetto features a beautiful spa overlooking the lush scenery.

This “inn” in Carolina Lowcountry, really more akin to a sprawling estate, provides a one-of-a-kind experience that uniquely blends southern history and almost otherworldly natural beauty: rivers, misty marshes, old oaks draped with wispy Spanish moss, and salty breezes. The main hotel building looks like a classic southern mansion, and the 50 Cottages and Cottage Suites are simultaneously homey and utterly luxurious, with working fireplaces, screen porches, and gorgeous bathrooms. The multi-bedroom Village Homes are also luxurious, but lack some of the nuances of the cottages. Guests can enjoy a range of recreational facilities, including golf, bicycling, tennis, croquet, kayaking, and swimming (in the two pools), and the luxury spa is highly acclaimed. It’s not an overstatement to say that the inn is one of the most special properties in the entire country. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Inn at Palmetto Bluff.

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The views from the infinity pool are incredible.

This ultra-remote, rustic luxe hideaway is worth the bumpy, two-and-a-half hour drive from airport. In fact, its secluded location is why most guests come to the hotel, in order to reconnect with loved ones and nature. Plus, the hotel has just about everything on-site that one would want for a relaxing — or adventurous — vacation, with a beautiful spa, horseback riding trails, a 9-hole golf course, and an upscale restaurant. The rooms aren’t as impressive as those at larger luxury resorts in the region, but the unparalleled views, stunning infinity pool, and ruggedly beautiful (if rocky) beach more than compensate. Plus, this is a hotel with a heart: Punta Islita is environmentally friendly, and gives back to the local community. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak in the goodness that is the Hotel Punta Islita.

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Let's lounge by the pool, shall we?

This luxurious 120-room enclave is located in posh Punta Mita, and smartly sited on 22 acres amid undulating fairways and verdant tropical gardens. It’s one of the most luxurious properties in the region, and every element is stunning: the fabulous beachside pools, the acres of peaceful gardens, the ultra-luxurious spa, and the immaculate rooms that look straight out of a decor magazine. The stretch of white-sand beach on-site is interspersed with rocky coves, and there are a couple of pretty little islets just offshore — as well as the Mariettas Islands, a marine preserve, a few miles farther out to sea. So as we say every week, sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the St. Regis Punta Mita.

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The pool may be tiny, but the gorgeous view is expansive.

La Lancha is one of a handful of exclusive Central American hideaways owned by Francis Ford Coppola. This small 10-room rainforest retreat has a lakeside location 40 minutes away from the famous Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park. Rooms are rustic and comfortable with fantastic balconies and hammocks for admiring the views. Hotel highlights include a split-level pool, the beautiful Lake Peten Itza with canoes, and an on-site restaurant and bar serving Guatemalan cuisine and Coppola wines. Some guests have complained about the lack of a hot tub and the thin walls between casitas. But many guests return year after year for the hotel’s tranquil vibe; rooms do not have TVs and the somewhat remote location makes it a peaceful spot. So as we say every week, sit back, relax  and soak in the goodness that is La Lancha.

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