Memorial Day weekend is just around the corner, and with it comes the official kick-off of the summer season. When that Friday hits, thousands of beach-bound celebrators will clog the highways on their way to sun and surf. But while we love a good beach day just as much as the next patriot, this Memorial Day we’re excited to try something inland. Join us in avoiding the crowds, uncovering new corners of America, and – of course – honoring our soldiers, with parades, festivals, and much more at these ten locales not on the beach.
Calling all patriots: Washington, DC wants to celebrate with you.
If you want to go hardcore patriotic, there really isn’t any place better to be this Memorial Day than Washington, D.C. (Especially since NYC had to go and cancel Fleet Week due to the sequestration.) In addition to a variety of military ceremonies taking place around town, visitors can also attend the National Parade or the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally (nothing like the wind in your hair, right?!). The National Memorial Day Concert, hosted at the Capitol Building, is always a special event, and this year’s affair features appearances by General Colin Powell and actor Gary Sinise, in addition to several military bands and the National Symphony Orchestra. Visitors can also opt to simply stroll through Washington’s many amazing monuments – during the day or at night – and sample some of D.C.’s delicious culinary offerings.
STAY: The gorgeous, 317-room W Washington D.C. blends the new – fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a great spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service – with the old – the property’s historic Beaux Arts building dates back to 1917. Plus, you can see the Washington Monument from the hotel’s hip rooftop lounge, POV, making celebrating in style easy.
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Everyone knows that we here at Oyster.com love freebies. After all, we talk about them a lot — and we mean a lot. But when you’re shelling out hard-earned cash for your hotel room, it’s nice when the hotel recognizes that and throws in some perks “just because.” We’ve already gone through the freebies we love, and honestly kind of expect, but we’ve yet to go through all the freebies that really took us by surprise — and sometimes even made us laugh! Some you can bring home with you, some are just on loan, but all of these amenities are funky, looney, and downright fabulous.
Have fond memories of your childhood at Hotel Avante.
Get your mind out of the gutter. Those are not the kind of toys we are talking about — and we would definitely not be okay with them if they were on loan! Instead, Hotel Avante offers adult guests good old-fashioned toys in each room. Called “executive toy boxes,” they include toys such as Slinkys, yo-yos, Etch-a-Sketchs, and Rubik’s cubes, and are meant to be used as inspiration — or even just distractions — for business travelers burning the midnight oil. But if you’re a leisure traveler, we won’t tell — go ahead and have some fun!
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We’re all about a funky hotel or two, but some of the coziest spots are those with shabby-chic decor — just homey enough to be comforting, while still packing in a lot of style. Shabby-chic hotel design is a study in the art of textural contrasts: vintage leather, velvet furniture, deliberately faded rugs, woods, and rich prints all add to the look. And when shabby-chic is done well, the end result is impressively style-conscious, yet more livable than some, shall we say more modern, spots we’ve visited. So today we’re giving a photo tour of our favorite hotels that have the shabby-chic vibe down pat. Get inspired — and get the look!
Butterfly Bar at the Petit Ermitage
We love the cozy, laid-back look of the Petit Ermitage, a quaint boutique in West Hollywood. The hotel’s bohemianism — think stained glass, distressed fixtures, and plenty of interesting artwork – gives the common areas and rooms a whimsical vibe and clearly attracts a fair share of hipsters, who can be found by the rooftop pool or in the lobby. It may not look like much from the outside, but the Petit Ermitage not only boasts an attention-to-detail in the design, but also in the amenities it provides (rooftop garden, tasty restaurant, pool), especially for a hotel of its size.
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“This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius…” Yesterday, our favorite astrological free spirits started celebrating their 2013 birthdays, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Possessing a deep social conscience, Aquarians are humanitarian, philanthropic, and dedicated to making the world a better place. And they do so with flair. Known for their wildly inventive and creative ideas, Aquarians can also be temperamental and flighty if you don’t encourage their quirk. Luckily, Oyster has stayed at some of the best off-beat, hippie-chic retreats for fostering the unpredictable and artistic notions of the Water Bearers in your life. So get your sketchpads ready, it’s time to take these rebellious visionaries on a one-of-a-kind vacation.
Korakia Pensione brings a bit of the Mediterranean to Palm Springs.
Korakia Pensione is a striking hotel in Palm Springs. Modeled after a Mediterranean pensione, it looks like something out of Greece or Morocco, and Aquarians are sure to relish in its exotic, eclectic vibe. Aquarians are also notorious flirts (what with all of that passionate, creative energy roiling around inside them), so they’ll definitely appreciate that Korakia was named one of Forbes’ sexiest hotels in America. The two Korakia Pensione pools and many outdoor spaces – including fire pits, fountains, and stone paths — are all beautiful and unexpected. And the hotel plays old movies every night outside on the terrace. The rooms are named, not numbered, and each is slightly different, but all have an old-world, whimsical feel.
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If you and your partner are planning a quick family escape before the holiday rush, — or are thinking ahead (kudos!) for outings between next year’s school breaks – we’ve come up with four great vacation ideas to offer you a little inspiration. Whether your family wants fun in the sun, a bit of culture, or just a change of scenery, we’ve found the best LGBT family getaways for all types. And as with any good family-friendly destination, these trips have a little something extra for parents to enjoy after the kiddies have gone to bed.
In Search Of: Culture
The "New York up North," Toronto has plenty of cultural sights
Tagged as “New York run by the Swiss,” Toronto is a massive (and clean!) cultural hub, with a reputation for being both family- and gay-friendly. Canada’s biggest city also has world-renowned restaurants, shopping, and theaters, with quick and easy transportation to take you there. The Fairmont Royal York is one of the Toronto’s premier hotels with its elegant, old world charm, and a prime location blocks from the shopping and attractions of Yonge Street. After a day of sight-seeing on Yonge or in the nearby Entertainment District, parents can cozy up for an intimate evening at the Library Bar, or one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, such as the locally-focused Epic. Read More »
Planning a wedding is no easy task: Guest lists, seating arrangements, and the requisite family drama (because apparently you just have to invite your cousin Mildred) can all add up to a nerve-wracking experience for even the most clear-minded of brides. There are just so many things to consider before tying the knot, that brides-to-be can often forget about themselves – and the importance of maintaining their own sanity – amidst all the hustle and bustle. So we’re here to play fairy godmother (well, sorta) and remind all the future Mrs’s (and Mr’s!) out there that they need to take some time for themselves, too. And we can’t think of a better way to relax and recharge than a good spa session — complete with candles, soft music, plush robes, you name it! Because the last thing you need right now is more planning and researching, we’ve done the legwork and have picked our favorite spas for pre-wedding pampering. Check ‘em out and say “ahhh” before the big “I do”!
Spa at the Viceroy Miami; Miami, FL
The Viceroy’s 28,000-square-foot, Philippe Starck-designed spa is arguably the most striking — and extensive – wellness center in Miami. It features ten treatment rooms, redwood saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, and a gorgeous water lounge complete with white marble floors, three Jacuzzis, a shallow reflecting pool, and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the bay.
Oyster’s Spa Menu Pick: For those who want to leave behind the stress of planning a wedding, we’d argue that the 60-minute Milk and Honey Body Treatment ($180), which “exfoliates and moisturizes the body, harmonizes the senses, and encourages relaxation” is a must. We wouldn’t mind the 30-minute Papaya and Pineapple Foot Scrub ($65) either.
The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.
Los Angeles is awesome whichever way you look at it. Despite its reputation of having few attractions for tourists and huge distances to cover to get to any of them, L.A. has plenty to offer with top-notch restaurants, world-class museums, a vibrant nightlife scene, and wonderful beaches that attract millions of visitors every year. But it’s good to take a break from all the buzz sometimes and head somewhere new, be it a more relaxed spot for some serious R&R, or the perfect stretch of sand for surfing. So whether you’re in town visiting and want to mix it up a bit, or you’re a resident and want to get away from it all, start packing and hit the road! We’ve got the perfect nearby spots that are just a short drive away.
Road Trip #1: Los Angeles to Orange County, CA
- Total Driving Time:1 hour
- Distance Covered:51 miles
- Take This Trip If: You’re ready for some pampering
It'a all about fun in the sun and easy living here in the O.C.
Don't you just want to take a dip in the Coliseum Pool at the Pelican Hill?
Have lunch with a view at the Montage Laguna Beach
Orange County is known for its well-heeled residents and high prices, but if you want to get some serious R&R, it’s the place to be. This string of uncrowded beaches is a good pick for families, but the area is popular among couples as well for its bucolic landscape and unparalleled sunsets. The beaches (and the waves) are definitely the main draw. If you’re planning a trip with the family, the ultra-luxe Pelican Hill is a wonderful choice. The property boasts two great golf courses, along with a plethora of other amenities, such as two gorgeous pools, a world-class spa, a fitness center, and a top-notch kids’ club. If it’s just you and your significant other, the Montage Laguna Beach is great for spending some quality time together. It offers an excellent spa, impeccable grounds, and beautiful rooms with breathtaking views.
- Top Driving Tip: The fastest and shortest way to get there is the Santa Ana Freeway, but if you’ve got some time to spare, Cabrillo Highway (SR 1) is the most scenic. Along the way you’ll see gorgeous beaches and rolling hills.
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The Junior Suite at the Dream South Beach -- Doesn't it just feel so SoBe?
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Dream South Beach is offering a $2/night room rate in honor of its second anniversary on June 1.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The price of a pair of the sunglasses included in the W Los Angeles Westwood‘s “Shades of Summer” package is worth about half of the price of the entire package itself.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A woman recently won a yacht while playing a penny slot machine at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Ace x Tanner Goods Bracelets sold at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club in Palm Springs cost one-third of the price of a weeknight stay.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hotel Indigo Edinburgh’s room service includes a private ,10-minute stand-up comedy act.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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Can you figure out where this picture was taken?
Although the snow is melting, ski destinations can be just as pleasurable when the weather heats up — and they’ve got the serious scenery to back it. And even if you’re not into a rugged vacay, there are still plenty of spots for you to chill out with incredible mountain views. Check out our ten favorite now!
Credit: Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com; Tony DiMaio/startraksphoto.com; Sara De Boer/startraksphoto.com; Norman Scott/startraksphoto.com
Sure, there have been some celebrity breakups that have devastated us — but there’s not just bad news coming from Tinsel Town. In fact, some of our favorite celebs have recently gotten engaged. Declaring their undying love — and their belief that “this time it’ll work” — stars including Drew Barrymore, Britney Spears, Halle Berry and Kristen Bell have all vowed to say “I do.” And we couldn’t be more thrilled — we want to celebrate with them! So we figured if we did the legwork of finding the perfect spot to play host to each of the celebs’ bachelorette parties, then they’d have to send us an invite, right? Even if we don’t snag a coveted offer from one of the ladies, at least we’ll have some inspiration for planning our own fetes.
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