Let’s face it: Traveling can bring out the inner germaphobe in even the most adventurous of us, and for good reason. There are lots of health risks encountered in your hotel room that you won’t necessarily find at home, from mold to industrial cleaning product residue. Didn’t even cross your mind ’til now? Well, fear not — more and more hotels are offering solutions, so your next hotel stay can be cleaner and safer than ever before. Read on to find out what to be wary of — and what you can do about it.
The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco uses chemical-free cleaning products.
The Risk: Chemical Cleaning Products
The chemicals in cleaning products used in many hotel rooms can make you sick — and routine exposure (road warriors, take note) can be life-threatening. Exposure to the carcinogens in cleaning products can increase cancer risk, while endocrine disruptors found in many pesticides, detergents, and disinfectants can confuse body hormones and cause fertility problems or even miscarriages.
The Solution: Chemical-Free Cleaning Products
Eco-friendly hotel initiatives are growing increasingly popular, and these days many hotels are being recognized for their efforts by organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). So don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff about the cleaning products they use, or check out our research here. One of our favorite LEED-certified hotels is The Orchard Hotel, which was at the forefront of this movement. Among the very first LEED-certified hotels in San Francisco, the Orchard uses chemical-free cleaning products — among many other impressive green practices.
Read More »
When the White House just doesn't cut it, there's always the Waldorf.
Happy President’s Day from all of us at Oyster.com! This beloved federal holiday was established in 1879 and occurs on the third Monday of every February, perfectly in between Lincoln’s February 12th birthday and George Washington’s birthday on February 22nd. In honor of President’s Day, we’d like to recognize some of our favorite historic hotels that have been lucky enough to have a Commander in Chief or two grace their digs. Click here to take at a look at our favorite presidential hotels, where everything from scandals, to gunshots — even to haircuts, has taken place.
San Francisco's Chinatown stands ready to celebrate the Spring Festival.
In just a week, Chinese New Year kicks off! And we want to give you plenty of notice so you can start planning how — and where — you’ll celebrate. Also known as the Spring Festival, this holiday consists of two weeks of feasting, lion dances, lantern lighting, and much more. After all, it is the most important holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar, so festivities necessitate indulgence. Millions of people around the world will celebrate with gorgeous decorations, rich foods, and stunning firework displays — and we here at Oyster can’t wait to get in on the action at some of our favorite Chinatowns around the globe. We’ve got you covered on where to ring in the Year of the Snake, but no matter where you choose to kick things off, Oyster wishes you a prosperous new year or, as they say in Mandarin, Gong Xi Fa Cai! Read More »
Awards season continues this Sunday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as the biggest names in the music industry strut their stuff at the 55th Grammy Awards. And as we dream about jamming on stage with the likes of Elton John, The Lumineers, Jack White, and Justin Timberlake (who’s making his return to the Grammy stage after a four-year hiatus from the music scene, swoon), we can’t help but be a little jealous of those who get to do so. Thankfully, some of our favorite hotels understand our musical plight. From on-site recording studios to guitar rental services, these hotels may not promise celeb-studded jam sessions but they’re definitely rocker-approved. And we mean that literally: Everyone from the Red Hot Chili Peppers to Stevie Wonder has visited these music meccas of the hotel world. So if you want to drop a beat before the awards or just pick up the vibes left behind by some of your favorite musicians, check out these rock-ready hotels.
The Nightbird Sound Studio at the Sunset Marquis has hosted A-list recording artists for decades.
The Sunset Marquis cost guests just $8 a night when it first opened in 1963 as a motel for musicians playing at the nearby House of Blues, Roxy, and Viper Room, all located within a few minutes’ walk. Today, there are so many celebrities that continue to traipse through the hotel that the staff doesn’t get starstruck anymore. During Oyster’s two-night stay, Lars Ulrich of Metallica, Joss Stone, and Roger Daltrey of The Who were all spotted at the hotel, validating the hotel’s “paparazzi diversion tactics” that are offered for a nominal fee.
In addition to its innate rocker vibe, the hotel also offers a state-of-the-art recording studio on-site — Nightbird Sound Studios — designed by renowned acoustician George Auspurger. Accessed via a hidden entrance in the underground garage, the space features (in addition to the usual trappings) a Yamaha Mark IV Disklavier piano, one of only two in America, on which Stevie Wonder has been recorded. Every A-list musician has passed through the studio, including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Justin Timberlake, and Lil Wayne and Green Day both recorded here within days of Oyster’s visit. High rollers can rent out the studio for personal use, including karaoke birthday parties.
Read More »
Dogs love chillin' during vacay as much as humans do!
Dogs are man’s best friend, so it can be hard to part with our pooches when it’s time to go on vacation. But some find it literally impossible, so instead choose to bring Fido along — and we fully support this. After all, you may have been working like a dog but so have they! So it’s time to let them enjoy some fun in the sun, too. Here are some of our favorite pics of dogs enjoying a little getaway.
We’re all about a funky hotel or two, but there’s something to be said for the grand dames. They celebrate their storied histories and iconic statuses with classic, timeless decor — that’s almost always tres chic and just a bit over the top, dahhhling. And whenever you step into one of these hotels, you feel like you’re in the presence of greatness — at least, great decor and design. So today we’re giving a photo tour of our favorite hotels that have that classically elegant (and dare we say, old money?) look down pat. From gilded pillars to floral patterns, from dainty tea sets to regal portraits, these hotels keep their spaces feeling timeless. Get inspired — and get the look!
Lobby at The Fairmont San Francisco
The Fairmont combines the amenities, technology, and corporate-dominated clientele of a large, modern property with the history, cachet, and decor of a turn-of-the-20th-century grand old dame. Upon entering the lobby, guests are wowed by the sweeping ceilings, gilded accents, intricate wrought ironing, and massive marble columns, under which guests can recline on plush velvet sofas in rich golds and browns. The overall effect is stunning, and exudes a glamorous 1920s vibe. Rooms, many with stunning views, are equally elegant with warm gold and green accents, antique mahogany furniture, and cozy beds.
The Colonnade at The Fairmont Washington, D.C.
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Fairmont Washington, D.C.’s $100,000 Presidential Detail Package included a $5,000 shopping spree at SAKS Fifth Avenue, a visit to the “First Ladies Exhibit” at the Smithsonian, and in-room hairdressing services.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The San Francisco Marriott Union Square has just launched the “Workspace by the Minute” program, which allows guests and non-guests to rent flexible work and meeting space by one-minute increments instead of having to rent it for a full day.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lindsay Lohan has been barred from all W hotels in New York after trashing yet another hotel room at the W New York – Union Square while partying.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Martha Stewart recently stayed in a two-bedroom Fairway Villa at the Wynn Las Vegas, which features a private massage room and a private pool.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach’s Polo in Paradise package includes a one-and-a-half-hour personalized polo class at the International Polo Club, a gourmet picnic, and Sunday brunch while watching a polo match from preferred veranda seating.
Check out the answers after the jump!
Read More »
A meal that has been adopted by countries the world over, Sunday brunch was (supposedly) dreamed up in the late 1800s by a British writer who thought that the noonday feast would be a welcome treat — and much-needed hangover cure — for ”Saturday-night carousers.” But no matter the origin, brunch has come to be a weekly staple — and the silver lining to a day often overshadowed by the start of a new work week looming in the future. So whether it’s buffet-style, booze-focused (bottomless Bloody Marys, anyone?), or family-oriented, brunch can put a smile on just about anyone’s face. We’ve chowed down at plenty of happiness-inducing brunches across the U.S. and have come up with a list of our favorite spots to grub on Sunday. Check ‘em out!
The Garden Court at the Palace Hotel, San Francisco
Sunday brunch at the Palace is legendary. Not only is the setting beautiful — we’re talking 40- to 50-foot vaulted ceilings, neoclassical marble columns, and six-foot-wide crystal chandeliers, topped by a sunlit translucent windowed ceiling — but a jazz trio plays beautiful music as hotel guests, locals, and visitors pile tasty treats on their plates. Sushi (with sushi chef), omelets (with omelet chef), crepes (with crepe chef), fresh fruit, sandwiches, salads, oysters on the half shell… you name it, it’s part of the buffet. Plus unlimited coffee, orange juice, and champagne.
Oyster’s Pick: Cinnamon-raisin French toast with flame-heated maple syrup
Read More »
Most of us will spend Monday night popping bottles of (cheap) champagne, passing cheese platters, or ordering in MSG-loaded Chinese food. Regardless of which indulgence you chose, there’s definitely at least a tinge of holiday hangover – alcoholic or otherwise. Start the year off right by heading to one of these super-sleek spas in a city near you.
The spa bathroom at the Beverly Wilshire; Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES: The Spa at the Beverly Hills Wilshire
The Detox Treatment: The Detox Massage ($180 for 60 minutes)
The Deal: As if complimentary use of the 8,000-square foot spa’s saunas, steam rooms, and experience showers (which feature the likes of colored lighting and variable pressure) wasn’t rejuvenating enough, every treatment here is top-notch, which is why we’d head straight for a Detox Massage. Therapists at the Rodeo Spa use specific massage techniques to flush out kidney, liver and other bodily toxins that will relax your mind, too.
Read More »
Hotel minibars have a bit of a naughty reputation. After all, they tempt and tease world-weary travelers with salty-sweet goodness at all hours of the day, and then come with a double-digit price tag to boot! But sometimes, the items up for grabs can at least provide guests with a moment of amusement. Some hotels feature rather surprising minibar offerings — we’re talking walking sticks and 24-karat gold vibrators. It’s enough to make guests pause in their perusal of the candy selection and say, “Wait, what?” We’ve come across some of the wackiest minibar items during our travels; here are some of our favorites:
Get your groove on at the Thompson Beverly Hills.
At the flashy Thompson Beverly Hills, spending the night with that special someone just got more fashionable. Designer Alexander Wang created special packaging for PROPER ATTIRE condoms, which are for sale at all Thomspon properties, as well as on the brand’s website. Couples pay $5.99 for a pack of three assorted (which include extra large, ultra-thin, and studded — oh my!) and proceeds benefit Planned Parenthood. Read More »