Forget logo branded t-shirts and shot glasses. These hotel gift shops forgo stocking their shelves with those usual tchotchkes in favor of products that raise their retail status as high as the penthouse suite! The six shops that make our list make it so you don’t even have to leave the hotel to score some seriously awesome merchandise. After shelling out some green, you can head back to your luxe digs to admire your vacation loot. Now how to pack it all in your suitcase…
Heard of the children’s book series Eloise — about a little girl who lives in The Plaza? Well, some clever retail folks made the storybook character come to life. The Eloise Shop at The Plaza offers one-of-a-kind merchandise based on the book series. But you don’t have to be a bookworm to enjoy the hotel’s charm. The century-old, 282-room Plaza is a New York landmark. A $400 million overhaul in 2008 gave the huge rooms gold-plated bathroom fixtures, but it also converted most rooms overlooking Central Park into privately-owned residences (akin to how Eloise lived). The hotel even has an Eloise-themed suite.
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Kids may not fret about mortgages and car payments but they’ve still got plenty of reason to de-stress. There’s dating blues, red-marked math exams, bad selfies, embarrassing parents, Justin Bieber drama — and that’s just the short list! So why not treat them to a little time at the spa — just like Mom and Dad! Yes, there are plenty of hotels out there that cater not only to adults but also to tots who need a decompressing massage or a pick-me-up pedicure. Here are our six top picks for hotel spas where kiddies can come along.
After your kid has been walking for hours around a hot Orlando theme park, those little feet could use a nice soak! But the Nick Suites‘ kid spa offers way more than just pedicures and polish. Young guests can do everything from getting ‘inked’ with airbrush tattoos to requesting funky hair braids and feather extensions. Aside from having a super cool spa, this property is also one of Orlando’s best options for families. The property’s 777 suites, all with kitchens or kitchenettes, are spacious and well-designed to sleep families. Bonus: the on-site water park is the perfect spot to show off those freshly-painted toes!
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Forget rusty aluminum chairs and fraying towels — these top hotels cabanas only come equipped with first-rate finds. Here’s a roundup of our favorite poolside bungalows designed for discerning loungers: Picture plush seating, shade, salty ocean air, and fancy extras, all right by the pool so you can take a dip whenever you please. These 10 cozy nooks also dazzle with high-tech features and jaw dropping views.
Offering the ultimate in poolside luxury, Viceroy Anguilla provides guests with their own private poolside oasis. Cabanas come with sofa beds, lounge chairs, and gourmet treats. After all, opened in 2009, the Viceroy is the most modern property on this tiny island — and arguably the most luxurious. The Kelly Wearstler-designed resort manages to mix an upscale look with a laid-back, beachy feel, and features sleek lines, modern amenities, numerous art installations, earth tones, animal prints, and wood, stone, and gold accents throughout.
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Remember how exciting it was to go on school trips to the aquarium? Getting an up-close look at marine life – from tiger sharks to stingrays – was always an enchanting experience. Well it turns out aquariums are a fun sight at any age… and they certainly add a tropical, under-the-sea vibe to otherwise bland spaces. That’s why it’s no surprise that a good number of the hotels we have visited have installed fish tanks to add a cool oceanic feature for kids and adults to enjoy without having to suit up. Several of these hotels have gone above and beyond in bringing the awe factor to their aquariums. In typical grandeur Vegas fashion, three of its properties made our list, but you’ll want to visit all seven spots!
The giant, 3,215-room Mandalay Bay offers a wave pool and streaming lazy river pool for kids, as well as a quality spa, lively bar,s and premier cuisine for adults. But everyone can enjoy the 1.6-million-gallon Shark Reef Aquarium with about 2,000 sea creatures on display, including 15 different kinds of sharks. In one of the exhibits, visitors can experience an almost 360-degree view of the fish and sharks swimming about; another displays the bright jellyfish. If just looking isn’t good enough, there’s a popular Touch Pool, where guests can touch sharks, rays, and horseshoe crabs.
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When you’re on vacation, you want to feel pampered. But some hotels — especially those that are uber-crowded or on the budget end — can make you feel like just another faceless visitor. Fortunately, we’ve had the luxury of staying at some spots where they really roll out the red carpet for all guests. In fact, it can be so wonderful — and yet, unexpected — that we’ve wondered if they thought we were members of the royal family! Here’s a roundup of majestic hotels that aim to make guests feel as noble as the Duchess of Cambridge. After a visit, we swear you’ll be one step closer to becoming a newly minted monarch. Or at least, you’ll feel like it.
The luxurious Fairmont hotel is located in the heart of San Francisco and is a top choice among politicians and rock stars. Sure, many US Presidents have stayed here — but you don’t need a 1600 Pennsylvania Ave address to join the hotel’s prestigious President’s Club. Hotel guests can request a free membership and, in turn, get their royal hindness kissed from the moment of arrival. Members gain access to a private reception desk, the hotel fitness club, use of TaylorMade golf clubs, and other free services.
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Some hotels are more than just hotels — they are former castles, royal residences, or Gatsby-esque mansions. Or they opened their doors many years ago to offer accommodations of unsurpassed luxury, attracting royalty and famous names. These grand dames around the world have drawn on their rich pasts in order to offer present-day magnificence.
Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence
Housed in the former residences of the Bertolini princes, the Grand Hotel Baglioni lives up to the grand image painted by Florence’s past. The hotel is filled with heavy-handed regal touches and ornate decor from top to bottom. The 193 rooms are very spacious (not often the case in a historic building), and feel luxurious, decked out with classic Italian furnishings, large leaded windows, gorgeous dark wood (the ceilings, floors, and furniture), and equally spacious dazzling white bathrooms. Both the rooftop garden and Terrazza Brunelleschi restaurant offer stunning views of Florence. Read More »
We’ve given you the deets on where some of our favorite celebs have wed and where they’ve spent their honeymoons, as well — now it’s time for round two. Considering Hollywood couples’ infamous inability to stay hitched, they certainly go all out for their nuptials! From gorgeous castles to beachside resorts, we’re bringing you a photo gallery of the beautiful hotels where stars have said “I do.” And fortunately, everyone on our list is still married – even if its only been a couple weeks of wedded bliss! Check out the five hotels we can now add to our list.
Many receptions take place in the hotel's ornate dining room.
Oheka Castle, built in the 1920s as the second largest private residence in the U.S., is a magnificent chateau-style property about an hour from New York City. Today, it’s the country’s top wedding venue, and remains one of the most striking properties on the East Coast. Kevin Jonas, of Jonas Brothers fame, wed Danielle Deleasa at the hotel in 2009, and Oheka Castle is no stranger to boy band weddings — N’Sync member Joey Fatone married Kelly Baldwin at the hotel five years earlier. Not surprisingly, weddings here aren’t cheap; the most expensive wedding held at Oheka Castle cost over three million dollars. Read More »
Want to live like a Rockefeller on your next vacation? Or want a voyeuristic peek into the world of the rich and powerful? These iconic resorts across the country — from a Gilded Age Palm Beach estate to a Newport mansion to a Long Island Gold Coast castle — will make you feel like your blood runs blue.
The Breakers Palm Beach
There’s a reason The Breakers’ reputation precedes it. This 140-acre resort, first built in 1896 (and reconstructed in 1926), resembles a Renaissance palace, and it’s seen more than its fair share of American royalty over the years; Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, William Randolph Hearst, and various Astors, Rockefellers, and Vanderbilts have all walked the halls at this posh spot. No other hotel in Palm Beach can come close to matching the luxury found at this iconic property.
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Pool at the Omphoy Ocean Resort -- Palm Beach
This 134-room boutique hotel has a cool, chic vibe, with lots of dark wood in the rooms and lobby, dim mood lighting, and a private beach with food and drink service. Situated between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, the hotel has beautiful views all around. The renowned restaurant from celebrity chef Michelle Bernstein is a local hot spot, and access to two private golf courses is a nice perk. The pool features a stylish design and the large rooms have beachy touches with netted, canopied beds and floor-to-ceiling windows, many with views of the water. Check out more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now»
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We’re loving this recent heat wave, but it just makes us want to kick back and relax (preferably with a cocktail in hand). So it may be a bit ironic, but we decided to do an intensive search on the laziest spots we could find — starting in Florida. After all, it is the Sunshine State. From spas with plush lounge chairs to pools where you don’t have to lift a finger, we found five Floridian hotels that are prime for lounging. Relax and unwind; it’s time to take it easy.
Lazy Spot #1: The Beach at the W South Beach
Beach at the W South Beach
Why we love it: Though many hotels in South Beach have direct beach access, the W offers an unparalleled experience on the sand. Cushy white-and-black-striped lounge chairs are spread out along the hotel’s 100-yard-deep stretch of beach, which is considerably removed from the crowds in order to create a relaxing vibe. While guests bask in the sun, on-call attendants are quick to bring towels, food, beverages, or even iPod shuffles.
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