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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Ah, Spring Break: Those booze-fueled glory days you spent partying in Cancun, Panama City, and Lake Powell feel like they were just yesterday. Unfortunately, it’s a lot harder to convince yourself (and those around you) that someone beyond the age of 22 should still be hitting the beaches with throngs of college kids. Luckily, there are plenty of places for the mature, modern man to take a spring break of his own without feeling like a seventh-year senior. These party spots offer more than just shooter girls and wet t-shirt contests.
The Swim Club Pool at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Palm Springs, CA
Not so long ago, Palm Springs was a sleepy desert town that catered to geriatrics. Then a little festival called Coachella was born and the scene hasn’t been the same since. The cool kids flocking from L.A. on the weekends have supported the rise of an awesome nightlife scene in a town that caters to everyone from dirty hipster to rock god.
Hotels to Check Out: Just like at its sister properties, the parties at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club are the stuff of legends. The two pools host music events each weekend (usually with well-known DJs), and rooms are decked out with amenities like turntables and iPod docks.
Check out more Spring Break spots after the jump.
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Hipster culture is something that has been mocked since mainstream culture became aware of its rise during the 2000s. In fact, making fun of someone’s flannel shirt, skinny jeans, or preference of PBR has become so commonplace, it’s practically passé. But all of this attention hasn’t deterred the culture from working its way into hotels around the world. So put down your second-hand paperback, throw on your favorite vinyl record, and take a look at some of our favorite “hipster-style” hotel amenities.
The Swim Club Pool at the Ace Hotel and Swim Club; Palm Springs, CA
The Ace Hotel and Swim Club has a way of wooing the residents of Silver Lake and Echo Park away from their Intelligentsia coffees for weekends in the desert. There’s an undeniable party vibe at the hotel: like its sister properties, weekends are host to music events (especially well known DJs), where the two pools become lined with chest tattoos and vintage sunglasses. Rooms have retro touches like radios, record players and vinyl. And even though the nearby Coachella music festival is way too mainstream to be considered a hipster party anymore, the bands that play it are just as likely to end up on a Gorilla vs. Bear post as anyone. Just make sure you don’t forget to hit up the photo booth in the lobby before you head back to LA.
Read about more so-cool-they’re-not-cool-but-still-ironic amenities after the jump. Read More »
So, you scored tickets to Coachella? Sweet. Even if the festival is on the verge of becoming overpriced and over-exposed, this year’s lineup is practically too good to pass up. There are your requisite superstars (the Black Keys, Radiohead, and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg), your high-profile band reunions (Mazzy Star and At The Drive In), indie buzzbands (the Weeknd and Neon Indian), and everything in between. And while tickets and flights may have set you back a fortune alone, the idea of pitching a tent in the desert for a weekend doesn’t appeal to everyone — especially if you’re not 18 anymore. Thankfully, the resort town of Palm Springs is only a 30-minute drive away with more hip hotels than you’d expect from a once sleepy golf town. As die-hard music fans and hotel experts, we’ve rounded up the best hotels and matched them to the fans that fit them best.
The music you love: Radiohead, the Black Keys, Pulp, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dog
The right hotel for you: The Movie Colony Hotel
Pool at the Movie Colony Hotel; Palm Springs, CA
For all the indie and underground music buzz it generates, Coachella still snags a handful of top-tier verified rock stars. This year certainly doesn’t disappoint: we’re some of the biggest Radiohead and Black Keys fans here at Oyster.com. But a huge aspect of the music experience is taking part in the legacy, to be able to say you were there when history was made. For fans like these, we recommend the storied Movie Colony Hotel. The property has played host to some of the greats, including Jim Morrison, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra, and sports a ’60s-inspired decor that celebrates its history. The pool is open 24-hours (albeit a little tiny), so you can feel free to take a dip after a day in the desert. Hitting up Coachella with your fan club in tow? Check out the townhouses, whose living rooms open directly into the pool area. Just don’t pull any old-school-rock “I’m a golden god!” moments and jump in from the roof.
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It used to be that pioneers and settlers avoided deserts, given their barren lifelessness and lack of resources. It’s nothing short of ironic, then, that the calm, desolate ambiance that deserts provide is a serious draw for vacationers today. One of our newest Oyster destinations, Palm Springs, is undergoing a renaissance, and is transforming from a sleepy retirement community to a trendy, young weekend retreat spot (Coachella Festival, anyone?) just two hours away from the smog of Los Angeles. It’s amazing what a weekend of spa treatments, golf and panoramic moonscape-esque views can do for weary travelers.
Pool and golf course at the Doral Desert Princess Resort