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.
Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling like royalty, sleeping in some of the world’s most expensive suites, and eating in Michelin-starred restaurants? The time and money for that kind of trip can be tricky to come by, but it’s always good to be ready just in case the opportunity arises, right? We here at Oyster have been lucky enough to have visited thousands of hotels around the globe and across the states. The U.S. is known for having high standards when it comes to hotels, and hotels stateside offer some of the most decadent services around. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite luxury properties in the States for those planning a luxe trip — and for those who just like to dream. Enjoy!
Rooms feature decadent decor and opulent bathrooms.
There are dozens of ultra-luxurious hotels in New York, but The St. Regis is second to none, with a refined atmosphere, extraordinary service that includes butlers on call 24-hours, Clefs d’Or concierges, a signature bath menu, gorgeous guest rooms, a great Fifth Avenue location (the better for shopping), and a stunning Beaux Arts lobby. (Phew! That was a long list.) It won’t come cheap, but the level of luxury offered here is not found in any other hotel in the city.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: The packing and unpacking services offered by the guest’s personal butler
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The Ocean Crystal Wedding Chapel at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort
When it comes to destination weddings, the options can seem endless (and exhausting). Couples can choose to wed beachside or poolside, in the woods or atop a mountain. But sometimes sticking to tradition can be just the ticket, even if you are in an exotic locale. That’s why many hotels around the globe offers gorgeous chapels for nuptials. We picked some of our favorites for saying “I do,” so get the wedding marches ready: It’s time to walk down the aisles of our favorite hotel chapels.
The pool at Auberge Du Soleil provides a tranquil environment with plush lounge chairs and pretty grounds.
The gorgeous Auberge Du Soleil, a luxury inn snuggled into Rutherford’s rolling hills, is one of the most exclusive (and expensive) destinations in California wine country. Despite its intimate size (it has just fifty rooms), the Auberge has all the amenities of a larger resort: a 7,000-square-foot luxury spa, a lovely pool, and a Michelin-star restaurant. Views of the surrounding countryside are phenomenal, the grounds are lush and peaceful, and the cozy, upscale rooms all come with huge terraces — and, in most, fireplaces and soaking tubs. It’s a truly special, romantic retreat, and it’s location is convenient for exploring Napa Valley — but we’d have a hard time tearing ourselves away from the heated, year-round pool. So as we say every week: sit back, relax, and soak up the goodness that is the Auberge Du Soleil.
If you’re one of the millions of people on the eastern seaboard affected by Hurricane Sandy, you’re probably a bit preoccupied this week with power outages, mass transit meltdowns, and such. You may have faced danger or devastating destruction (Red Cross donations here, people), or you may be reveling in your electricity-free vacation from work. (At least until you realize that no electricity means no hot showers — we figured that out the hard way.) But one thing is for sure: Once things are up and running again, and planes are flying to far-away places, it will be time to plan yourself a nice vacation away from this mess. Just be sure to pick a vacation destination that is reliably hurricane-free. Here are some top-notch options, as well as great places to stay while you’re there:
Though Lake Tahoe may sometimes get serious snowstorms, the cold waters along the California coast mean that hurricanes almost never make landfall in the state (only two have hit in the last 100 years). When they do hit, it’s typically Southern California that is most affected instead. Lake Tahoe safely sits in northern California, where it has 300 days of sun a year and plenty of great year-round vacation activities — swimming, boating, and hiking in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
Lake Tahoe gets 300 days of sunshine a year.
Oyster.com Hotel Pick: Franciscan Lakeside Lodge
This cluster of cabins right on the lake makes a great value pick. While some rooms are tucked across the street from the lake in a darker, tree-covered area, the lakefront cottages have excellent views and open to the sandy beach and a private pier where guests can swim and play in privacy. Kitchenettes make dining in (and saving money) easy. And the heated outdoor pool (open seasonally) is said to be the largest in North Lake Tahoe.
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As obviously travel-biased folks, we cannot understand how a bride can spend an average of $30,000 on a wedding — instead of on an incredible vacation. But hotels these days are making it easier than ever to do both, that is, honeymoon and wed at the very same location. Check out five of the most luxurious destination wedding escapes around — brides, we promise you’ll be drooling to get away instead.
El Puerto Restaurant at the Fairmont serves up delicious Mexican grub.
The adults-only infinity pool is perfect for soaking up some sun post-nuptials.
With beautiful architecture and grounds, the Fairmont Mayakoba is the most picturesque spot to wed on the Playa del Carmen in Mexico, and few properties in the area can match the unrivaled level of privacy the resort offers. Although rooms are set amidst lagoons and tropical forests, they’re well-equipped and modern featuring upscale bathrooms with glass-enclosed showers and separate jetted tubs.
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School may be back in session (groan…), but students don’t have to wait until Spring Break for their next set of adventures. Though most colleges encourage students to venture out of the classroom for hands-on experience in with their majors, finding the funds isn’t easy on a student loan budget. That’s why we’ve found amazing value destinations for college students in need of a little field training. So close the books and get out on the road instead — it’s time to put those lessons into play!
Your Major: Business
The Place to Visit: Atlanta
Atlanta is an "alpha city" driven by several Fortune 500 companies
With a $304 billion economy and the third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies in the U.S., Atlanta is one of the most business-driven cities in the country. Hotlanta is known as an “alpha” city (i.e., an important economic city) thanks to major brands like Coca-Cola, Home Depot, Delta Airlines, and UPS setting up headquarters in the Georgia capital. So for business students trying to get some early networking experience, Atlanta is the best city to start handing out cards.
In the heart of Atlanta’s downtown Business District, this Marriott is an affordable option on a student budget, and boasts an impressive gym and business center – perfect for power-lunch prepping. Read More »
The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.
If you’re lucky enough to live in San Francisco or its outer-lying suburbs, you know one thing for sure: There are plenty of vacations that are just a short car ride away. And while SF has plenty to offer on its own — hello, Union Square shopping — sometimes it’s a bit more fun to take a drive. Especially in a convertible. With the top down. So get your bags packed, slather on some sunscreen and hop in the whip — we’ve got some miles to cover.
Road Trip #1: San Francisco to Napa Valley
- Total Driving Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes
- Distance Covered: 49 miles
- Take This Trip If: You’ve had a long week, and desperately need a glass of wine.
A private outdoor living room at Calistoga Ranch.
The pool at EuroSpa & Inn.
Wine is steeped in Napa County’s history, with vineyards popping up in the area by the mid-19th century. Known to produce some of the top American vintages, Napa also has more to offer than delicious drinks, including romantic scenery, top-notch spas, and incredible dining — including arguably the country’s top restaurant, French Laundry by famed chef Thomas Keller. If you’re aiming for a luxurious experience, look no further than the 5-pearl Calistoga Ranch, an Auberge Resort. The romantic property has killer rooms complete with working fireplaces, private Jacuzzis, and outdoor rain showers. For a more budget-conscious option, check out the EuroSpa & Inn, which has free Wi-Fi, amazing views from the pool and hot tub, as well as spacious units furnished with wet bars and microwaves. Plus, breakfast is on the house.
- Top Driving Tip: When leaving from San Francisco, you have two options when heading north to Napa — the Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate. Go with the latter; it’s a far more scenic drive and will get you to Calistoga in approximately the same amount of time.
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Host Anthony Melchiorri. Credit: Courtesy of the Travel Channel
When you’re driving up to sprawling vistas in the heart of California’s Wine Country, you’d expect a gorgeous log cabin‘s rooms and amenities to be first-rate, right? That’s what Anthony Melchiorri thought of the Purple Orchid Inn Resort & Spa, which is a 9,000 square-foot property overlooking 23 private acres of olive fields. The views, to say the least, were pretty epic. But the Purple Orchid was in dire need of some tune-ups to turn around its disgraced image now that it had been taken over by new owners Derek and Rhiannon. Who better than to give the team a lesson than Anthony Melchiorri, our favorite, fearless host of Hotel Impossible and an awesome advice giver. Check out what we learned this week after the jump!
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California wine country has come a long way in a short time. Ever since the famous Judgement of Paris turned the wine world on its head in 1976, the wine making industry in Napa and Sonoma has blossomed. But it’s not just the impressive wines that come out of the region that make it special: the natural beauty, incredible culinary scene, and laid back attitude make it a truly awesome corner of America. Hotels, like the Meritage Resort and Spa pictured here, offer couples and wine lovers a calm getaway surrounded by vines.
Vineyard at The Meritage Resort and Spa