Phoenix

Even though it’s a few months away from Valentine’s Day, we’re always looking for ways to have a romantic weekend — especially a romantic long weekend. And thanks to Columbus Day, we have the perfect opportunity coming right up. One of the best (and easiest…and least expensive) ways to turn up the heat is to just stay put in your own city — but head to a luxurious hotel with features designed to heighten the romance. Staycations with a significant other can be the perfect way to experience some of the best properties your city has to offer; the true creme de la creme of your town is almost guaranteed to have cozy rooms, a spa, and a high-quality restaurant or two. At the twelve hotels that make our list, locals/guests won’t need to leave the property — and won’t want to — with all the couple-centric features. And if you don’t live in one of these locales, fear not; you can always hop in a car or on a plane (although the “inexpensive” aspect might get knocked out).

New York City: The Greenwich Hotel

Greenwich Hotel

This virtually flawless 88-room TriBeCa hotel (opened in 2008 by Robert de Niro, among others) offers large, homey rooms, breathtaking design, and very attentive service. Even better: free Wi-Fi; free minibar snacks; and free Wii video games by request are also available. The Greenwich feels like a lush oasis in the middle of the once-industrial neighborhood, with a plant-filled courtyard, the luxurious Shibui spa, and an underground, lantern-lit pool beneath a 250-year-old Japanese farmhouse roof. The exceptional rooms, each uniquely designed to evoke an Italian home, and the hip rustic Italian restaurant, Locanda Verde, complete the romantic experience. Plus, you can skip the lengthy wait for a reservation at the restaurant and just order it up for room service!

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Travel may be our specialty, but fortunately our time hitting the road to visit hotels and show you what they’re really like has granted us plenty of time to also hit the links. We’ve teed up at some pretty amazing courses — at some equally amazing resort properties — and each round has had something special about it. But some of our very favorites have been those with spectacular views. So what if you double-bogey when all you can see is crystal-clear ocean for miles? (Well, maybe don’t answer that.) Here are ten courses with amazing views that are worth a trip.

Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo

 Four Seasons Resort Costa Rica

The Four Seasons‘ par-72 championship golf course, designed by Arnold Palmer, has panoramic ocean views from four of its holes, and the surrounding forests are rich with wildlife (including both howler and white-faced capuchin monkeys). It’s a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, meaning its construction was, and its operation is, more environmentally sensitive than your typical golf course.

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If the upcoming holiday season is already stressing you out, a) we’re glad we’re not the only ones and b) we’ve got just the thing to make that anxiety melt away: A spa weekend with no relatives allowed. Before you stuff the turkey or fill the stockings, book a little you-time with a Swedish massage and maybe even an herbal facial add-on. After all, your entire Christmas bonus doesn’t have to go towards the kids — you’ve been good this year, too! Check out a few of our favorite stateside spas for holiday de-stressing — and then buckle-up for your in-laws’ visit!

Spa: Viceroy Miami

Viceroy Miami The stunning design of the Viceroy Miami will make you forget all about holiday stress.

Phillipe Starck was the design mastermind behind the stunning Viceroy Miami spa, a 28,000-square-foot space featuring 10 treatment rooms, redwood saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, and a media screening room. The spa also boasts a beautiful water lounge with white marble floors, three whirlpools, a shallow foot-deep reflecting pool, white furniture (some of it in the pool), and floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

Oyster’s Treatment Pick: The Red Island Body Ritual, inspired by the island of Madagascar (we love anything exotic and travel-related!), which promises to “treat your entire body to a holiday of relaxation and hydration.” Now that’s the kind of holiday we had in mind. Read More »

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Sedona provides the perfect hiking grounds for your next trek.

The Southwest is one of our favorite places to get physical thanks to its crisp, high-altitude air; gorgeous terrain; and earthy, holistic vibes. And though there may be tons of incredible national parks throughout the region — including Arches, Zion, and the Grand Canyon — other lesser-known areas prove to be just as majestic. Take a look at just a few of our favorite places in the Southwest to get fit and reconnect with Mother Nature!

 

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Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Brunch at Atrio at the Conrad Hotel -- Miami

Spring has sprung and that means Easter is just around the corner! When Peter Cottontail comes hopping down the lane, we get all too excited for egg hunts, chocolates galore, and — most importantly — Easter brunch. Who doesn’t love the combo of booze and food on a Sunday afternoon? And when it’s in the name of all that is holy — well, that’s just an extra perk! A chic hotel is often just the place to find a perfect Easter brunch spread, so we’ve rounded up our favorites across the states. View our mouth-watering slideshow below and prepare yourself to mug down deliciously this Sunday.

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In honor of President Obama’s inauguration on Monday, we’re taking a look back at his travels over his last four years in office — and on the campaign trail. The Commander-In-Chief has laid his head in some of our favorite hotels around the globe and, thanks to his refined taste and seriously swanky style (although we’d argue we really have Michelle to thank for that), we’re always eager to see where he’ll travel to next (and, more importantly, where he’ll stay!). Congratulations, Mr. President! May the next four years be full of prosperous times — and plenty of unique hotel stays!

The Hay-Adams, Washington, DC

This decadent junior suite at The Hay-Adams offers White House views.

Four years ago, President Obama moved his family into the Presidential Suite at this historic hotel with White House views after former President George W. Bush rejected his request to stay in Blair House, the White House’s guest residence. President Obama wanted to move to Washington three weeks before his inauguration so that his daughters could start at Sidwell Friends School without missing the beginning of the term, but he was informed that Blair House was already booked (for former prime minister of Australia John Howard and several receptions, as it later turned out). Lucky for him, The Hay-Adams is one of DC’s most luxurious stays. Read More »

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Who hasn’t dreamed of traveling like royalty, sleeping in some of the world’s most expensive suites, and eating in Michelin-starred restaurants? The time and money for that kind of trip can be tricky to come by, but it’s always good to be ready just in case the opportunity arises, right? We here at Oyster have been lucky enough to have visited thousands of hotels around the globe and across the states. The U.S. is known for having high standards when it comes to hotels, and hotels stateside offer some of the most decadent services around. So we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite luxury properties in the States for those planning a luxe trip — and for those who just like to dream. Enjoy!

The St. Regis New York

Rooms feature decadent decor and opulent bathrooms.

Rooms feature decadent decor and opulent bathrooms.

There are dozens of ultra-luxurious hotels in New York, but The St. Regis is second to none, with a refined atmosphere, extraordinary service that includes butlers on call 24-hours, Clefs d’Or concierges, a signature bath menu, gorgeous guest rooms, a great Fifth Avenue location (the better for shopping), and a stunning Beaux Arts lobby. (Phew! That was a long list.) It won’t come cheap, but the level of luxury offered here is not found in any other hotel in the city.

  • Our favorite luxe amenity: The packing and unpacking services offered by the guest’s personal butler

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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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The Best Road Trips is a weekly summer series highlighting our favorite getaways from major cities all over the United States.

Nicknamed Valley of the Sun, Phoenix is known for its sub-tropical desert climate, where temperatures can skyrocket beyond 100° Fahrenheit in the summer. With a host of museums and galleries, top-notch Tex-Mex cuisine, and cactus-dotted landscape, Arizona’s state capital is one of the most unique metropolises in the country. But the city’s 4.2 million residents need to venture out every once in a while and take advantage of myriad vacations spots within (somewhat-reasonable) driving distance. So pack your bags, crank the A.C., and hop in the car — we’ve got some miles to cover.

Road Trip #1: Phoenix to Sedona, AZ

  • Total Driving Time: 2 hours, 6 minutes
  • Distance Covered: 117 miles
  • Take This Trip If: You need a spiritual re-awakening.
Sedona

The iconic red rock formations of Sedona are surrounded by natural energy forces known as vortexes.

Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa

The Rouge Hotel offers visitors a world-class stay in an incredible setting.

Bell Rock Inn

The Bell Rock offers a family-friendly atmosphere for those with kids in tow.

With its iconic Red Rock landscape and spiritually-charged environment, Sedona is an other-worldly paradise for earthbound explorers. The city is practically ensconced by endless hiking trails, and has four vortexes — natural energy fields said to possess mystical powers. But Sedona is also a blossoming cultural center, filled with eclectic local galleries, Native American craft shops, and indie boutiques. For a truly indulgent experience, check out the Sedona Rouge Hotel and Spa. The property boasts incredible vistas of the Rocks from the fire pit on the observation deck, as well as from the private, in-room balconies. But the hotel’s real draw is the lavish spa, with treatments inspired by the vortexes and daily outdoor yoga classes. For a no-frills yet family-friendly stay, the Bell Rock Inn is a great budget option that still has the scenery and amenities necessary for a proper Sedona stay. The inn has two heated pools, a BBQ and picnic area, and an outdoor playground for kids, all with the same magnificent views of the rocks.

  • Top Driving Tip: Jerome, a 30-mile detour on the trip to Sedona, is about 45 miles outside of your final destination. Past the Old West ruins, this legendary ghost town is actually home to a thriving winery owned and operated by the frontman for the heavy metal band Tool.

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After the wedding, comes the honeymoon! A Wedding on the Beach at the Melia Caribe Tropical -- Dominican Republic

After the wedding comes the best part: the honeymoon! Here's a wedding we snapped in the D.R.

We truly believe the old saying “opposites attract.” I mean, check out all the oddball celebrity couples out there — on the surface, at least, they seem to have different opinions on everything. Travel included. Found yourself in a similar jam while planning your honeymoon?  Put the boxing gloves down — you needn’t argue anymore about where to go. Our comprehensive honeymoon guide features four hot spots with a little something for every kind of couple. Easy, right?  Now all you need to figure out on your own is where to live, how to raise your children, and with what frequency you visit the in-laws…

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