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!
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:
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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Manhattan's Columbus Day Parade dances its way down 5th Avenue. Photo credit: Asterix611/Flickr
We all know the rhyme (or you really should): In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue — and people have been celebrating his discovery of the “New World” ever since. But no one showers the famed Genovese explorer with more praise than his Italian compatriots. From coast to coast, Italians celebrate their rich heritage, vibrant culture, and noteworthy achievements (chief among those being the conviction that the world is not, in fact, flat) on Columbus Day with parades, music, and feasts. And the bastions of Italian culture — America’s Little Italys — are the sites of some of our favorite festivities and traditions. We’ve picked out the best places to march and mangia in these old-world enclaves, as well as our favorite spots to bed up for the night after indulging in plenty of pasta, pastries, and vino. Cent’anni! Read More »
Junior Suite at the Singapore Marriott Hotel -- wouldn't you *love* staying here? We def would.
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Marriott Rewards Elite Platinum Elite members now get automatic upgrades into a suite at most Marriott-brand hotels in Asia-Pacific.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Stephen Baldwin recently saved a woman who was having an epileptic seizure at The Peninsula New York’s bar.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hilton Hotels has just unveiled a limited-edition pair of slippers by designer Vivienne Tam that cost the same as the best available rate on a weekend night at the Hilton Charlotte City Center.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A low-cost Vietnamese airline has been fined $960 for an in-flight bikini dance show.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? An employee at the Omni San Diego Hotel was recently caught installing a hidden camera inside one of the hotel’s public bathrooms.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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Golf Course at Makena Beach and Golf Resort -- Maui
A round of golf can always do a body good. Sure, golf can be one of the most frustrating sports on the planet, [Ed. note: We've seen a few snapped clubs in our day.] but there’s nothing like the feeling when you sink that putt for eagle. (Not that we can speak from personal experience, per se, but we’ve heard stories.) So what could possibly make hitting the links even better? Gorgeous ocean views, duh. For all you golfers out there – Hi, Dad! — we found twelve beautiful hotel golf courses around the globe that have killer vistas to boot. Pack your clubs and get ready to work on your swing–these spots will be sure to inspire you to play your very best.
Let’s see if you can guess what the following events have in common: a super-secret conference hosted by the billionaire Koch brothers; a concert with $10,000 tickets featuring Mariah Carey; and an uber-luxe weekend golf retreat in Deer Valley, Utah.
If you guessed political campaign fundraising, you guessed right. Each of those events was orchestrated for one purpose — to help either Romney or Obama win the 2012 election. (Romney is currently pulling in more dollars — specifically, $35 million more than Obama in the month of June.)
But the events had something else in common, too — they all took place at some of the country’s top luxury hotels. And we wouldn’t be the hotel tell-all if we didn’t spill the details on just what went down — and where.
We’ve provided helpful color coded icons in Republican red and Democratic blue to let you know which event helped whom.
Park Hyatt Aviara Resort, Carlsbad, CA
The Event: “Path to Freedom 2012,” a fundraising summit hosted by the Koch brothers, June 24
The Power Players: The Koch brothers, conservative oil tycoons each worth $25 billion
The Spoils: Unknown, but it’s been reported that their annual fundraising goal is $400 million.
Security at the Park Hyatt Aviara was extremely tight for the Koch brothers’ biannual fundraiser, and few details about the guest list or speeches have been leaked. (A BuzzFeed reporter did manage to sneak in, before getting the boot for not wearing a name tag.) But we’re sure the wealthy conservatives who gathered to
conspire raise money enjoyed the property’s gorgeous pool with lagoon views, Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, and serene gardens. See exclusive photos of the hotel
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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.
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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Lobby at the Four Seasons Lanai, The Lodge at Koele; Lanai, HI
1. FACT OF FAKEOUT? Oracle CEO Larry Ellison has agreed to buy 98% (including the much-lauded Four Seasons, natch) of the Hawaiian island of Lanai from billionaire David Murdock.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Caesars Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas won’t be celebrating the 4th of July this year with its signature fireworks show due to its falling on a Wednesday.
3. FACT OF FAKEOUT? Etihad Airways has purchased 200 hens and three beehives as part of a project to boost sales by appealing to customers’ palates.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Bermuda’s Rosewood Tucker’s Point Hotel & Spa is now offering a package that includes exploring a seventeenth-century shipwreck.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel Solamar San Diego has temporarily stopped serving beer after a guest complained about it not being locally brewed.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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It happens to us every morning — as we’re commuting to work, we doze off and imagine we’re part of the strings of tanned, lean bodies flocking to the beach, surfboard in hand — instead of on the subway. Well, it’s time to stop daydreaming, get your boss to approve your time off, and catch the next flight out of town — we’ve shared our favorite spots to practice the most popular and coolest summer sport. And whether you are an experienced surfer or just looking to learn, rest easy: we’ve got you covered.
Sunset Surfing in Waikiki, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is known as the Mecca of surfing, but Oahu’s North Shore is the icing on the cake. It’s probably not for amateurs, though, as waves are a good size and are better enjoyed with a little practice (not that we’d be the ones to to tell you). Some of the world’s top surf competitions take place here, and anyone who’s ever been on a surf board will recognize names such as Pipeline, Log Cabins and Waimea Bay — home to some of the best waves around. Granted, the island can get crowded, but few places in the world boast waves like these.
Best Spot to Surf: Turtle Bay, Radz and Graters are arguably the best, as they are all open to the swells of the northernmost spot on the island. All are for experienced surfers and close to each other.
Best Spot to Sleep: Turtle Bay Resort is a 448-unit resort on the scenic, isolated North Shore with an unbeatable array of amenities — two 18-hole golf courses, a stable, helicopter rides — plus five miles of shoreline with wonderful waves, and great restaurants.
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Image courtesy of Travel Channel
If you’ve been following our recaps on Oyster of Hotel Impossible, you know one thing for sure: We really love Anthony’s no-bullsh*t approach. But last night was a particularly touching episode for us to watch as not only did we get super emotional over the family-owned property, but Anthony did as well — he spent a whole night pouring over the hotel’s financials. And while burning the midnight oil, he discovered ways for the hotel to increase revenue dramatically while only dropping their prices slightly, with requisite beautification projects as well, natch. Check out our five favorite moments from last night’s episode after the jump!
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