San Diego

Many hotels have on-site bars, even if they’re merely situated in the glorified outskirts of the lobby, where guests can grab standard drinks after a day of sight-seeing. But these days, some of the best hotels across the country are making sure they step up their scene by providing not only comfy rooms and high-end services, but hotspot bars that attract locals as well as guests. We’ve traveled across the country and have found the 12 trendiest hotel bars in the U.S. So check ‘em out, and maybe offer your friends a round at one of these hip locales.

Bar Marmont, Chateau Marmont; Los Angeles

Bar Marmont

With its butterfly-covered ceiling, stuffed peacock in the corner, and plush banquettes, this 1930s Vietnam-inspired bar is one of the best places in Hollywood to share a drink with a starlet in hiding. Beyond the celebrity factor, the Chateau’s comfortable bar is a wonderful place to enjoy the fantastic food. The “damn good burger,” we can assure you, lives up to the name.

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The Canyon Ranch in Miami has a gorgeous rooftop pool with stunning ocean views.

The Canyon Ranch in Miami has a gorgeous rooftop pool with stunning ocean views.

Deciding on a destination for an upcoming trip is never easy. While the beach and mountains may beckon, cities are a great option year-round, offering an array of activities for every type of getaway. After a long day of sight-seeing, however, some may long for those quiet, relaxing moments by the pool that are often easier to come by in non-urban destinations. So we’ve rounded up our favorite urban rooftop pools, so you can find relaxation even in a bustling metropolis. Click through the slideshow and discover some of our favorite hotel rooftop pools.

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One Bal Harbour Resort bathrooms have some of the best views in the Miami.

Some people prefer to read a magazine in the restroom, but we’d much rather gaze out over a stunning view. There’s nothing we love more than exotic sights, no matter where we’re taking in the view — the shower, tub, or elsewhere. From Hong Kong to Miami, Boston to Barcelona, here are our favorite hotel views from the best seat in the house.

 

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Trust us, we here at Oyster get it more than most people — going on vacation is freakin’ awesome. Vacations are all about fun, relaxation, and the “what happens here, stays here” vibe, and when you’re on a vacay, it feels like nothing can get ya down. But some hotel websites go a little too far and market their properties by showing “guests” in absolutely euphoric (and unrealistic) states. To the point where we’re pretty sure that that kind of happy can only be reached if you’ve been dabbling in some recreational, er, “fun.” And depending on the destination, maybe you have been. But still, when we’re deciding where to stay for our winter getaway, we usually don’t base it on how happy the “guests” on the website seem to be. Nonetheless, those photos can be pretty entertaining. Last time, we rounded up a bunch of marketing photos where the guests just couldn’t seem happier. And this time, we’ve done the same thing — but focused on those hotel couples that just seem so in luuuurve. We’re sorry, but even if we were married to Ryan Gosling, we wouldn’t be smiling that big! Check out some of the most hilarious hotel couples we found!

1. Your room or mine?

“What about one final fling before you marry that old ball and chain?” (Mansion on Forsyth Park, Savannah)

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The Oriental Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

The Oriental Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? When the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong first opened in 1963, it was the tallest building on the island.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Greta Garbo Suite, unveiled recently at the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel Stockholm on the occasion of the hotel’s 100th anniversary, displays memorabilia from the Greta Garbo Museum in Hogsby.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills offers in-room iPads with an app that allows guests to order a bottle of champagne to their room with just one click.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel Indigo London – Paddington is now offering a package that includes free breakfast and a cocktail prepared using regionally-sourced ingredients.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The US Grant — a Luxury Collection Hotel recently offered suites for just $1.02 in celebration of its 102th birthday.

Check out the answers after the jump! 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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‘Tis the season for annual awards lists, but if you think you know what’s coming, guess again. Oyster’s awards aren’t like the other guys’ — we’re not like the other guys, so why should our awards be? You can find lists of the world’s best luxury hotels in a dozen other places, but only Oyster digs deep to learn every hotel’s secret quirks. Our hotel investigators trot the globe and visit every hotel in person so we can bring you the unvarnished truth, and this year, for the first-ever annual Oyster Hotel Awards, we’d like to show you the wackiest, coolest, weirdest, and most interesting things they came across in their travels. We are thrilled to present the 2012 selection of Oyster’s Most Interesting Hotels in the World. Are you ready for this?

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The Pool at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West L.A.

The Pool at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in West L.A.

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Just in time for the holidays, the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza has frozen over it’s pool so guests can ice-skate.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Tennis star James Blake is no longer on the market! He and longtime girlfriend Emily Snider (the couple has a five-month-old daughter) wed this month at the luxurious L’Auberge Del Mar in San Diego.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? New York City’s Hudson Hotel has opened a ski chalet-themed bar complete with twinkling lights, fur throws, and even man-made snow.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Intercontinental Miami now features an LED facade which lights up in sync with music blasting from the hotel’s lobby.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Gilt, The New York Palace‘s hip restaurant and bar which has been a frequent filming location on Gossip Girl, will close on December 15th.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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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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Owning a private island is overrated and it’s actually a lot of work — or so we’ve heard from our many island-owning friends. You have to deal with the astronomical taxes, the development, the upkeep — it’s a full-time job (that island owners simply pay other people to do, of course). But visiting a private island? It’s as great as everyone says — and we know from experience. We’ve stayed on some gorgeous private islands in our travels, in equally gorgeous hotels and resorts. Here are six of our favorites:

#1: Gran Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, Dominican Republic

The pool at Cayo Levantado features a swim-up bar as well as poolside drink service.

The pool at Cayo Levantado features a swim-up bar as well as poolside drink service.

The details: The D.R.’s only luxury resort set on its own island, the Gran Bahia Cayo Levantado offers a relaxing atmosphere for couples and families. There are scenic beaches and beautiful pools, and we love the details in the rooms: Four-poster beds, private Jacuzzi tubs, and island-inspired artwork give them a romantic vibe.

How to get there: From the Samana airport, it’s a 45-minute cab ride to the Bahia ferry station. From there, it’s a 10- to 15-minute ferry ride to Cayo Levantado. In lieu of the ferry, you can also hire a private panga boat to take you from Samana. We never said getting to a private island is easy, but it’s certainly worth the flight (…and drive and boat ride)!

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