New York

It's a pink explosion in the Barbie Suite at the Palms!

Hotels often incorporate themes into their rooms, but these so-called themes are usually “classic elegance,” “boho chic,” or “understated luxury.” In the case of the rooms in this slideshow, however, the themes are a bit more specific — and over-the-top. From a suite that Barbie would approve of, to a room dedicated to David Beckham (and, in particular, his abs), we’ve found some amazing themed rooms and suites that are worth a visit (or at least a look).

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It happens every year — suddenly it’s May and you have no idea what to do for Mother’s Day. Again. Brunch is handy and easy, and you know she will appreciate you spending some time with her. But how about you surprise her with something different this year? Whether she’s outdoorsy, artsy or just downright stressed out, we’ve got you covered. Check out our top picks for Mother’s Day and make her feel special! You’re welcome in advance.

If Mom is outdoorsy…

PLAN: Play a round of golf (and let her win)
STAY:
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma County

Sonoma Golf Club at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa; Sonoma County, CA

Fore! Tiger's got nothing on mom this Sunday.

Housed in a Spanish mission-style building, the upscale Fairmont Sonoma is perfect for some pampering and golf days. It boasts an 18-hole championship golf course, a top-notch spa complete with its own thermal mineral spring, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Round up the day with the free daily wine tastings, and then head to one of the hotel’s homey rooms for some rest.

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The heated pool at the Blancaneaux Lodge in Belize is just on surprisingly luxe green amenity

We don’t mind sacrificing a little comfort during our travels if that means reducing our carbon footprint. But then again, not all eco-conscious hotels call for lights out and cold showers. The 10 hotels that make our list of those with the best eco-friendly perks aren’t all LEED-certified, but they still know that going green makes guests and Mother Earth happy. So here’s our salute to some great stays that are doing their part to reduce, reuse, and conserve with these awesome green amenities.

 

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Some destinations always come to mind when people think of beach getaways: Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, Miami’s South Beach, and the crowded sands in Cancun. Some spots, however, are often overlooked and it makes them that much better. Fewer people, untouched nature, you name it; underrated beach destinations are hidden gems that can be just what you’re looking for. Check out our list of nine underrated beach destinations — and make a trip before the secret is out!

Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

Vieques Island is surrounded by gorgeous, clear waters.

This unique little island offers travelers pure, undeveloped land, mainly thanks to the US Navy’s former use of a good portion of the island. The Navy left in 2003, however, and the land it once occupied is now a national wildlife refuge. Tourists to Puerto Rico often don’t leave the mainland as it takes an extra puddle-jumper to get to Vieques and there are few tourist attractions. Instead, attractions are nature-oriented: The island’s stunning, untouched white-sand beaches and famous bioluminescent bay are the highlights, but it also features walking trails, 300-year-old trees, and some of the top snorkeling spots in the country.

Where to Stay: The quaint Inn on the Blue Horizon is a smaller, more affordable option compared to the nearby W Vieques. The inn features phenomenal ocean views, pretty Mediterranean-style architecture, and wild horses roaming the grounds.

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Lobby at The St. Regis Deer Valley; Park City, UT

Lobby at The St. Regis Deer Valley; Park City, UT

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Designer Jason Wu has created an exclusive handbag for The St. Regis Deer Valley, which can be purchased online along with dozens of other gifts given the property’s stamp of approval.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Island Shangri-La in Hong Kong offers its guests free use of USB modems during their trip, so that they can get on-the-go Internet access even outside the hotel.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lindsay Lohan and her mom were turned down by several L.A. hotels before being allowed to book a room at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Sweet Surrender candy store at the Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas is now selling a $750 cupcake.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Affinia Manhattan will host the 3,200 dogs taking part in the 137th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Executive Park View Junior Suite at the Baglioni Hotel London; London, UK

Executive Park View Junior Suite at the Baglioni Hotel London; London, UK

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT?  British Airways recently announced the “Big British Invite” promotion, which offers a free two-night stay at the ultra-luxe Baglioni Hotel London with the purchase of a round-trip ticket between the US and the UK.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Oprah Winfrey has bought a four-room, six-and-a-half-bath condo at the Montage Beverly Hills for $14 million. This will be her ninth residence, and her second home in California.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas will have to pay a $1 million fine as the result of employees accepting payments to supply prostitutes, cocaine and pain killers to undercover agents.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Faktum Hotels is a non-profit website that allows people to book a hotel room for the homeless living in Gothenburg, Sweden.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The W New York’s Detox for Retox package helps guests follow a juice cleanse program with a selection of juices and raw-food items delivered to their room.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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In our Oyster Stats series, we’re sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we’ve accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.

New Yorkers have a rep for not being the friendliest people around. After all, in a destination teeming with tourists, locals often turn up their noses at outsiders, and just a grunt in your general direction is considered a kind greeting. But as New Yorkers ourselves, we wanted legitimate proof that this stereotype is true — and alas, it is. In fact, our research (not surprisingly) found that New Yorkers are not only considerably less friendly and romantically-inclined — especially when compared to their laid-back, West Coast counterparts in California — but also show much less love for the Earth than Californians. So here’s the cold, hard truth — and proof!

Finding: New Yorkers don’t love the Earth

California has always been a leader in creating eco-friendly legislation and practicing green initiatives. But New York as a state has actually shown more love for the Earth than we’d expect. It has a surprisingly low carbon footprint, and though New York City’s air quality is pretty atrocious, commuters relying on public transportation save the Earth a lot of heartache. Nonetheless, New Yorkers seem to care a whole lot less about the Earth than Californians, according to our research. While Californians spent an average of 88.2 seconds per visit on our eco-friendly pages — such as a list of LEED-certified hotels and our slideshow of eco-friendly spots in Jamaica — New Yorkers spent a mere 11.46 seconds per visit. Go green, New York!

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In our Oyster Stats series, we’re sharing surprising tidbits on a range of topics using data we’ve accumulated from our hotel coverage and site traffic. Our goal is not to provide scientific data but to provide interesting directional insights about travel trends.

If you think you’re a smart shopper, you may have to think again. Because according to our research, some states are getting a lot more bang for their buck when it comes to hotels — and the results are pretty surprising.

Essentially, people from certain states are doing a better job of finding the lowest price possible for the highest pearl rating possible, guaranteeing a more luxurious stay at a smaller cost. Others, however, are not so savvy. Shelling out more money for a hotel with a lower pearl rating, these shoppers get a lot less pearl per dollar than their compatriots across state lines. Just check out how the numbers break down:

Here we show how the price per pearl differs among our best and worst shoppers. Our best shoppers in Nevada can, theoretically, book a five-pearl hotel for $290 per night, whereas New Yorkers, our worst shoppers, would pay $445 per night for a five-pearl property.

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Batter this than a concrete wall, huh?

Better this than a concrete wall, huh?

No one likes to work out in a depressing basement with stuffy air and no natural light, but sometimes travelers have to take what they can get. After all, many hotel fitness centers feel like afterthoughts, with a few rusty machines crammed into a sad little rooms in forgotten corner of the hotels. But some hotels go above and beyond to provide an appealing space for travelers to work out, with large windows overlooking the city, the mountains, or the beach! Check out our 12 favorite hotel fitness centers with awesome views — and don’t forget to pack your workout clothes!

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Deluxe Room at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel; New York, NY

Deluxe Room at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel; New York, NY

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Patrons of The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel’s Bemelmans Bar booed Bono when he unexpectedly joined the bar’s band while they were performing I’ve Got You Under My Skin. Guests claimed it stole the spotlight from the talented band members.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Montage Beverly Hills shut down the hotel’s exclusive bar per Brangelina’s request, as the couple wanted to dine without being interrupted by fans and nosy guests.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin Washington, DC City Center is famous for being the spot where then-Mayor Marion Barry was arrested by the FBI in 1990 while smoking crack.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? German hotel chain Kempinski will manage North Korea’s famous Ryugyong Hotel, which was first started in 1987 but was stalled for years due to the country’s economic crisis.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Vintage Park – A Kimpton Hotel recently opened the Airstream Room, which is housed in a refurbished vintage Airstream trailer equipped with a double bed and a sitting area.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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