We’re super excited about next Tuesday’s boozy, beaded party known as Mardi Gras. Multiple parades make their way through the Central Business District and up until the French Quarter, with hundreds of revelers lining the streets to peek at the eye-catching costumes, floats, and borderline insanity. But before you can let your hair down — or lift your shirt up — you’ll need to find some primo digs to stay and play at. Just remember that the parades don’t go on Bourbon Street, even if the majority of the partying does. Check out our fave Fat Tuesday hotels — we promise that at least a few of them will let you catch some shut-eye.
The entrance to Hotel Monteleone; New Orleans, LA
The Draw: A true Southern Gem, the Monteleone is a block from Bourbon Street and has a rich in New Orleans history — with all the Creole stylings to prove it. Most notable is its Carousel Bar, which is a veritable, well, carousel, that features kitchsy decor and a chill vibe that’s all its own. Hop on one of the rotating chairs and order up a Ramos Gin Fizz, a drink that actually originated in the city itself.
Best Feature: Aside from the obviously posh accommodations, its location on Royal Street is ideal for watching the parade and reveling with the Bourbon Street partiers.
Find out more about our fave Fat Tuesday hotels after the jump!
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Awards season continues this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the biggest names in the music industry strut their stuff at the 55th Grammy Awards. And as we dream about jamming on stage with the likes of Elton John, The Lumineers, Jack White, and Justin Timberlake (who’s making his return to the Grammy stage after a four-year hiatus from the music scene, swoon), we can’t help but be a little jealous of those who get to do so. Thankfully, some of our favorite hotels understand our musical plight. From on-site recording studios to guitar rental services, these hotels may not promise celeb-studded jam sessions but they’re definitely rocker-approved. And we mean that literally: Everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Stevie Wonder has visited these music meccas of the hotel world. So if you want to drop a beat before the awards or just pick up the vibes left behind by some of your favorite musicians, check out these rock-ready hotels.
The Nightbird Sound Studio at the Sunset Marquis has hosted A-list recording artists for decades.
The Sunset Marquis cost guests just $8 a night when it first opened in 1963 as a motel for musicians playing at the nearby House of Blues, Roxy, and Viper Room, all located within a few minutes’ walk. Today, there are so many celebrities that continue to traipse through the hotel that the staff doesn’t get starstruck anymore. During Oyster’s two-night stay, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, and Roger Daltrey of The Who were all spotted at the hotel, validating the hotel’s “paparazzi diversion tactics” that are offered for a nominal fee.
In addition to its innate rocker vibe, the hotel also offers a state-of-the-art recording studio on-site — Nightbird Sound Studios — designed by renowned acoustician George Auspurger. Accessed via a hidden entrance in the underground garage, the space features (in addition to the usual trappings) a Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier piano, one of only two in America, on which Stevie Wonder has been recorded. Every A-list musician has passed through the studio, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Justin Timberlake, and Lil Wayne and Green Day both recorded here within days of Oyster’s visit. High rollers can rent out the studio for personal use, including karaoke birthday parties.
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Have you been waiting patiently for your favorite hotel to get Oyster’d? We understand, we do. And we’re trotting the globe as fast as we possibly can to bring you more destinations and hotels every day. We investigate every single hotel in person, and that takes time, but we think the results are worth it. Take a look at our newest additions from California, Amsterdam, New Orleans, and Toronto!
Conservatorium Hotel, Amsterdam
The Conservatorium Hotel delivers a true five-pearl experience in Amsterdam’s residential Museum Quarter. It’s housed in a 100-year-old former bank building, and the hotel’s warm, modern design melds seamlessly with the structure; the stunning atrium lobby, for example, is industrial-chic, featuring wood, brick, and glass. The rooms are decorated in earthy neutrals and every detail was considered, from the placement of the electrical outlets to the reading lights by the bed to the high-tech controls for the lighting and blinds; some rooms have duplex layouts and exposed structural beams. Bathrooms are gorgeous, with rainfall showerheads, stone tile, LCD mirror TVs and micro cotton towels. The big, modern fitness center, stylish indoor pool, and lovely spa, all located below ground, are highlights. It’s a premier choice for luxury travelers looking to trade a central location for added space and quiet.
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It’s that time of year again, when football fans gather around the big-screen to witness the greatest day in American sports. And this year, a lucky few (thousand) fans will make the trek down to New Orleans to see the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens face off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Because we’re big fans of the Big Easy, we found the best places to stay on game day, no matter which team you’re rooting for — And we’re not about to say which side of the dome we’ll be sitting on!
Just down the block from the Superdome, this hotel gets fans close to the action.
You can’t get much closer to the action than the InterContinental New Orleans, just a two-minute drive from the Superdome. This Central Business District hotel not only boasts a great location for Super Bowlers, but also has a heated rooftop pool and a savvy concierge who can offer all the inside tips on navigating through the sure-to-be-packed. Read More »
We here at Oyster love staying on the cutting edge, be it with hotel trends or technology (have you seen our app?!). We also love taking full advantage of everything there is to experience with hotels, and there is often no better way to do that than with some handy hotel apps (like ours!). We’ve loaded up our iPhones and Androids in search of the best hotel apps around, and found these great, user-friendly apps that make our travel a lot easier and a lot more exciting. Best of all, they pair nicely with the Oyster Hotel Reviews and Photos app (have we mentioned that yet?), available for iPad. Download it and then take a look at some other great apps below!
At Conrad Hotels, like this one in Miami, guests can have concierge service in the palm of their hands.
Standout feature: Pre-select designer bath amenities
The Hilton luxury brand Conrad is known for making its guests feel especially comfortable, so it’s no wonder that they can cater to you not only in person, but also through your iPhone or iPad. The app makes it easy to arrange everything you need — transportation, spa treatments, you name it – before your stay. Read More »
Legend has it that when Dom Perignon first discovered champagne, he called out, “Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!” It’s hard to disagree with the Frenchman — a cool glass of bubbly can make even the most stoic person let loose a giggle or a smirk. And this is doubly true on New Year’s Eve. Tonight, 2013 will be rung in with champagne toasts around the world, and the best place to do just that? In a swanky champagne bar right in the comfort of your very own hotel, of course! On-site champagne lounges provide uniquely festive ambiances and make stumbling home post-festivities all the easier. Some of our favorite luxury hotels feature these sophisticated spots, so sit back, pop open a bottle of bubbly, and start spying for someone to kiss at midnight. It’s almost 2013 — Happy New Year!
The PJ Lounge at the Dukes is a classy spot to ring in the New Year.
While Dukes may be famous for its martinis — James Bond-creator Ian Flemming originated the famous “Shaken, not stirred” line here — its newest addition to the fold is serving up the finest champagne and champagne cocktails. The Perrier-Jouet Champagne Lounge (or, more simply, the PJ Lounge) is a stylish space, outfitted in rich greens, with bright pops of pinks and whites, to sip some bubbly. The bar is classic and playful all at once, just as any New Years Eve affair should be. Read More »
Hotel minibars have a bit of a naughty reputation. After all, they tempt and tease world-weary travelers with salty-sweet goodness at all hours of the day, and then come with a double-digit price tag to boot! But sometimes, the items up for grabs can at least provide guests with a moment of amusement. Some hotels feature rather surprising minibar offerings — we’re talking walking sticks and 24-karat gold vibrators. It’s enough to make guests pause in their perusal of the candy selection and say, “Wait, what?” We’ve come across some of the wackiest minibar items during our travels; here are some of our favorites:
Get your groove on at the Thompson Beverly Hills.
At the flashy Thompson Beverly Hills, spending the night with that special someone just got more fashionable. Designer Alexander Wang created special packaging for PROPER ATTIRE condoms, which are for sale at all Thomspon properties, as well as on the brand’s website. Couples pay $5.99 for a pack of three assorted (which include extra large, ultra-thin, and studded — oh my!) and proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. Read More »
It’s time to get your spook on. Halloween is just two short weeks away, and for many that means shaking out the costumes, buying some candy and cueing the Monster Mash marathon. But for the brave of heart, Oyster’s here to help you choose your spooky itinerary for Fright Night. No matter where you are across the globe, hauntings and mysteries abound that are sure to scare your socks off. From ghost towns to witches’ hideaways, we’ve found some of the best places to spook and be spooked — and where to rest your head (if you can) at the end of the day. But we’d suggest sleeping with one eye open…
Visit a Ghost Town
The American West is rife with these abandoned metropolises that once served as centers for mining and railroad operations. Walking among the now-desolate edifices that line the streets of these ghost towns is like taking a spooky step back in time, and as the nation’s largest unreconstructed ghost town, Bodie, California is the perfect spot to get your frightening fix. Founded in 1859 on the heels of the gold rush, the town’s 200 original structures once housed thousands of residents – families, robbers, miners, gunslingers, prostitutes – but now they stand eerily empty. Visitors come seeking ghostly encounters — or even just great photos, as the abandoned buildings look hauntingly beautiful at night.
The Hotel: Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite
When the sun goes down, the monsters come out to play at Yosemite's Evergreen Lodge.
Located east of Yosemite National Park, Bodie is a fun and spooky visit for campers looking to combine history with mystery this Halloween. And the Evergreen Lodge, a 22-acre cabin resort nestled into the Stanislaus National Forest, is a great spot to call home at the end of the day (if you’re not camping on-site).
Other Haunts: Other ghost towns of the American West worth checking out include Jerome, Arizona (which is well-known for its spectral lore — watch out for the beautiful Sammie Dean!) and South Pass City, Wyoming.
From the cryptic mythology throughout the Mississippi Delta, to the spirits of wartime past down the Atlantic coast, the South has no shortage of spooky adventures. Whether you’re looking for a friendly encounter from the other side, or trying to find a true adrenaline rush by meeting with a tortured (undead) soul, these Southern haunts have plenty of history and unexplained mysteries for thrill-seeking travelers.
Be on the look-out for any "half-headed" cadets at this Charleston hotel
The ghostlore: Charleston prides itself on its chilling past, and it’s no wonder that the town where the Civil War started has its share of lingering souls. One of the city’s most haunted sites is the Embassy Suites hotel in the downtown Historic District. Known as the Old Citadel, the building formerly housed the State Arsenal and military college, which is located just a short drive away nowadays. Legend has it that The Lost Cadet, or “Half Head,” roams the hotel’s halls to this day. The spirit is said to be a young solider missing the top half of his head after losing it to a cannonball. But despite his misfortune, he apparently has a joyful demeanor. Read More »
It’s time to take a bite out of summer. After all, August heralds the start of some of the best food festivals across the globe, giving you the perfect excuse to escape your hometown and chow down on some first-class cuisine. We here at Oyster have the scoop on August’s yummiest of the yum – and the best hotels at which to continue your foodie love affair, of course. So loosen that belt buckle, its chow time.
The Chew: San Francisco’s culinary “who’s who” strut their stuff at this annual festival, which takes place July 30th through August 5th. Throughout the event, four grand tastings will allow you to experience all that the Bay Area’s iconic restaurants and hidden neighborhood gems have to offer, including handcrafted cocktails, wine and beer from local vintners and breweries, and scrumptious dishes from a wide array of cuisines. Later in August, La Cocina presents the San Francisco Street Food Festival, a celebration of San Fran’s best street food (and music). Epicures can expect global fare from 80+ vendors at this event – you definitely won’t go hungry!
Big 4 Restaurant at The Huntington Hotel
The Bed: Old-world grandeur is alive and well at the Huntington Hotel, one of San Francisco’s best boutiques, where rooms are cozy and the staff is attentive. Plus, the hotel’s Big 4 Restaurant provides a swanky continuation of the foodie fun you’ll experience during your trip. While traditional offerings such as crab cakes are available, chef Gloria Ciccarone-Nehls is best known for her use of exotic wild game, including wild paella of crispy frog legs and rabbit-rattlesnake sausage.