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
As tradition goes (although the times, they are a-changin’), the man is the one who gets down on one knee and pops the question — but there is “one” loophole. Supposedly, since the fifth century, it has been acceptable for a woman to ask for her significant other’s hand in marriage on one day that comes only every four years: leap day. (You can thank the Irish for this tradition.) And you’re lucky ladies, because 2012 brings with it the birth of hip-hop royality, the possible end of the world, and – most importantly of course — leap day, February 29th. So if you want to snag your man for keeps, the time to do it is tomorrow. Whisk your better half away on a last-minute romantic getaway and propose at one of our favorite romantic spots.
The Harvest Dance Suite at the Spring Creek Ranch; Jackson Hole, WY
Set in a wildlife refuge more than 700 feet above the Jackson Valley, the Spring Creek Ranch has arguably the most stunning views of the Tetons in the area. It has a wide array of room categories, from standard hotel rooms to immense two-bedroom condos, and he delicious, popular restaurant and the excellent heated outdoor pool are not to be missed.
Best Spots for Proposing:
If your soon-to-be-fiance is the active type, hop on a horse (how romantic?) and take him to a secluded spot on one of the property’s many trails. Beside the lake or in the teepee are also romantic spots for popping the question.
View from the Auberge Du Soleil; Napa Valley, CA
We just got back from beautiful Napa and Sonoma in California Wine Country, where hundreds of wineries dot the rolling hills and temperatures rarely dip below the 60s. The most popular visitor activities are drinking and eating — and for good reason. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry in Yountville is a destination unto itself and Healdsburg is home to Cyrus restaurant, with two Michelin stars. Check out some of the hotel highlights from our trip after the jump>>
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The Wine Cave at Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort
Napa Valley is a seriously romantic place — and with all that delicious wine to set the mood, it’s no surprise that our first pre-Valentine’s Day highlight is Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort. Royalty, A-list celebrities, and athletes keep returning to the luxury spot for one simple reason: It’s in a class all by itself. Guests rent exquisite private lodges, set on a private 157-acre park-like property complete with hiking trails and a top-of-the-line restaurant and spa. The property boasts plenty of activities, including outdoor yoga, a beautiful heated outdoor pool, and wine tasting seminars. Want some privacy? Head back to your very own lodge, which features super-sexy amenities like an outdoor rain shower and your very own Jacuzzi. The hotel’s only downside? Luxury comes at a price — but at a price that’s worth every penny. Check out more amazing photos of the resort after the jump or read our full review >>
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You know what New Year’s Eve means: cocktail dresses, wild parties, a midnight countdown, and just hours until your New Year’s resolutions kick in. It can be tough to start in on your new diet-and-exercise regimen — especially after a night of raucous debauchery — so we’ve come up with the top six last-minute active getaways to help you jump start your goals for 2012. You will have never looked or felt better! We have a destination for every kind of woman in every kind of location (with great deals to boot) so getting in shape will be fun – we promise! Whether you like to burn calories whizzing down the slopes or want to start fresh with a detox and yoga, we have a spot for you. Check out Oyster.com’s top picks for active getaways below, or on Shape.com!
The rock wall in the fitness center at the Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa
For the party-girl: Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa Miami Beach in Miami
Some of you will undoubtedly be hitting up the clubs in Miami Beach for a wild New Year’s Eve. So for all you party girls out there, the Canyon Ranch Miami Beach is the perfect choice: It has a slightly more relaxed vibe than other Canyon Ranch resorts (so there will be no judgment for your escapades the night before) and it offers about 40 free fitness classes everyday (so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to burn off the calories from the New Year’s Eve champagne toast). The Canyon Ranch brand is synonymous with good health and the Miami Beach outlet is no different; guests sign waivers that they will not smoke while at the resort, the restaurant serves healthy options off of a menu with detailed nutritional information next to every item, and the massive fitness center includes dozens of cardio machines and a rock-climbing wall. Best of all, starting on January 1st, the hotel offers a four-night Your Stay, Your Way package for guests staying in room types of the Ocean Palm suite or higher, which entitles them to a $400 credit that can be used towards the spa, the shop, and the restaurant. So after a sunset yoga class or a beach conditioning workout, you can order an icy, alcoholic beverage by the pool (albeit low-cal and flavored with acai juice) – hey, you’re still a party girl at heart.
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