Santa Monica

One of the most important brand names a hotel can boast is that of its designer. A famous hotel designer such as Philippe Starck can help ensure a hotel’s hot spot status, so new hotels are wise to invest heavily in their interior style. And it’s not only traditional hotel designers that can add to a hotel’s cachet; there is a trend of fashion designers or celebrities turning their talents to hotels, which always creates plenty of buzz. These nine hotels are some of the most devastatingly stylish we’ve found anywhere.

Hotel Le Notre Dame, Paris

Hotel Le Notre Dame, ParisMany guests choose this charming boutique hotel for its proximity to Notre Dame Cathedral, which is a two-minute walk away. But this hotel is notable for more than its location: Its 26 funky, eclectic rooms were designed by none other than fashion powerhouse Christian Lacroix. They feature bold patterns and prints, as well as natural materials such as wood and stone. Read More »

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Having a pool in your hotel is always a great perk when traveling in the summer, but there are many other seasonal hotel amenities that can make a trip special. Part of our job here at Oyster is to experience the property in full, and we never miss a chance to make the most of our visit. We’ve done everything you can imagine, from zip-lining in a snowstorm to bird-watching binoculars in hand — all for the sake of a complete review. These are our favorite summer amenities and where to find them.

Loaner bikes: Paradise Point, San Diego

The best way to explore this private island is on a bike.

The best way to explore this private island is on a bike.

Plenty of hotels offer loaner bikes for guests to use during their stay, but few are located on a 44-acre private island where the best way to explore is on two wheels. Sea World San Diego and Pacific Beach’s shopping and dining are just a short bike ride away – so leave the car in the hotel’s parking lot and enjoy the sea breeze in your hair.

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Summer is (unofficially) here, and tons of travelers will be heading coast to coast to visit some of the most iconic city spots in the country. From the Brooklyn Bridge to the Golden Gate Bridge, from the Santa Monica Pier to the Atlantic City Boardwalk, we’ll give you the dish on our favorite landmarks (and hotels!) along the way. So grab your cameras and fill up on gas, we’ve got plenty of great photo-ops ahead!

Visit: The Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The Brooklyn Bridge turned 130 years old this month.

New York is filled with plenty of must-see attractions, but this year it’s all about the Brooklyn Bridge. The iconic structure has appeared in countless movies, TV shows, and books, and this May it celebrated its 130th birthday. Once the longest suspension bridges in the world, this National Historic Landmark stands as a modern wonder of engineering and architecture.

Stay: New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge

While most Manhattanites snicker at the thought of tourists staying in Brooklyn, this spacious Marriott is conveniently located a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as within walking distance of nine subway lines that lead right through the heart of the city. Read More »

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Who doesn’t love a beach vacation? The sun, the sand, and the ocean all come together to make for a relaxing getaway that, when complete, will send you home rested and relaxed – and hopefully with a tan! Where you stay, however, can make a big difference on just how fabulous your beach trip is. That’s why we’ve found the 15 most decadent hotels on the sand to ensure that you enjoy the ultimate beachfront luxury.

Eden Roc at Cap Cana, Dominican Republic

Eden Roc at Cap Cana

The Eden Roc, opened in 2012, is one of the most high-tech properties in the Dominican Republic, and is located in the gated Cap Cana community — which has a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, marina, and beach club. The 34 colorful suites are clustered around a small, man-made lagoon and feature elegant decor (picture four-poster beds, intricate floor tiling, and spacious bathrooms). Up-to-date amenities include iPad-controlled lights, sound systems, and TVs with numerous channels in Spanish and English. Suites also come with small pools and golf carts for getting around the property.
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Getting fit doesn’t have to be on your to-do list after you travel. While many hotels offer state-of-the-art cardio and strength training equipment, we know that treadmills can get downright boring after a while. So we’ve found the hotels that have one-of-a-kind fitness amenities that will add a little spice to your workouts while you travel and below we’ll tell you where to find them.

The Fitness Feature: Kayaking and Canoeing

Kayaks at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

The Hotel: The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes

Plenty of beach and lakeside hotels offer kayak and canoe rentals, but few offer as many options for your paddling session. For those who prefer a trained professional to accompany them, guided tours at this Ritz include two-hour eco-tours along Shingle Creek ($60 for adults; $30 for children) and excursions on Grande Lake where paddlers can watch the sun rise and set ($20/hour for adults; $10/hour for children).

Other hotels with similar offerings: Terranea Resort, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

The upscale Terranea Resort offers myriad activities, including two-hour ocean kayaking tours along the Catalina Channel, where paddlers can spot bottlenose dolphins, sea lions, leopard sharks, and bat rays ($89 per person). Or guests can opt for “kayorkle” — a two-hour excursion where guests snorkel and kayak, also for $89 per person.

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The Viceroy Room at the Viceroy Santa Monica; Los Angeles, CA

The Viceroy Room at the Viceroy Santa Monica; Los Angeles, CA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Viceroy Santa Monica has partnered with designer Marchesa to offer a $500,000 destination wedding package that includes a Marchesa bridal gown, a 12-setting Lenox china set, and 60 rooms for three nights. That will make for some happy wedding guests!

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Peninsula Beverly Hills is now offering those traveling with kids its own version of a modern Cinderella experience: rides on sleek motorcycle-drawn carriages.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas recently announced it will be closing its wedding chapel due to the shortage of couples willing to tie the knot in Sin City. The space will be turned into a sports bar.

4. FACT OF FAKEOUT? Jon Bon Jovi surprised JW Marriott Essex House New York guests with an unannounced appearance during the hotel’s formal reopening under the JW Marriott name.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York has rolled out a $14,999 Great Gatsby-themed package for couples that includes a custom-tailored shirt and suit from Bergdorf Goodman, a shagreen and onyx cuff from Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, and dinner at Jean-Georges.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Hotel bars are often a convenient spot for a nightcap or a quick after-work drink (anything to take the edge off!) while on a business trip — but not all have the right vibe and noise level to help free your mind of all the stress after a long day of work. Whether you have been working all day in your office, or running from meeting to meeting while on the road, these great hotel bars are a safe bet for some after-work fun.

Red Owl Tavern at Hotel Monaco Philadelphia

The Red Owl offers Independence Mall views and great drinks.

The Red Owl offers Independence Hall views and great drinks.

The Red Owl Tavern is a hip spot located off the lobby at Hotel Monaco. It offers a fantastic wine list (put together by Kimpton Hotels master sommelier Emily Wines), and hand-crafted cocktails. With huge windows overlooking Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, a couple of cool industrial-inspired details, and house-cured charcuterie board specials, the bar attracts a varied crowd of professionals.

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King Room at the Mansion on Forsyth Park; Savannah, GA

King Room at the Mansion on Forsyth Park; Savannah, GA

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Autograph Collection, which owns hotels such as the beautiful Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah, has a Facebook tool that analyzes your handwriting and recommends a holiday experience based on the findings.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A woman was arrested for spending the night on a couch in the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel‘s lobby.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Sharon Osbourne was caught vacationing at the Esperanza Resort in Cabo San Lucas with a man that was not her husband.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? DoubleTree Hotels, a Hilton Hotels brand, has designed a clear vinyl hotel room complete with a bed, a bedside table, and a dresser. The company plans to open several pop-up, see-through hotels in New York, Sydney and London in 2013.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The FBI raided the Helly Nahmad Gallery at The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel in New York last week as part of an investigation into unlawful gambling.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The Gramercy Park Hotel is one of the sexiest spots in New York City.

There’s something about boutique hotels that make them sexier than your average getaway: Smaller spaces and dark corners, personalized service, and often diligent attention to detail make them well-suited for the romantically-inclined. We picked our favorite boutiques that have all the necessary trappings for romance.

Get in the mood »

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Pups deserve a little pampering too.

The Westminster Dog Show kicks off on Monday and even though our pooch may not be in the show, it’s a good enough excuse to pamper our ‘lil pup! Anyone who’s seen the Christopher Guest classic Best in Show knows that some people really love their pets, and will go to any lengths to keep them happy. And the current pet-friendly hotel trend means that it’s never been easier to spoil your dog rotten on the road.

 

Check out five of the most extravagant pet services we’ve encountered here »

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