Savannah

The Inn at Palmetto Bluff is a romantic spot in Carolina Lowcountry.

Romance is alive and well below the Mason-Dixon line, where Southern charm makes everything seem more bewitching. Couples looking for a romantic getaway will be satisfied no matter their taste, considering that the region boasts both gorgeous antebellum mansions and modern luxury stays. Choosing the most romantic spots, then, is quite a difficult task, but we think we’re up to the challenge. From intimate city boutiques to sprawling Lowcountry estates, here are some of our favorite hotels in the South that are just the trick in the romance department.

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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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From the cryptic mythology throughout the Mississippi Delta, to the spirits of wartime past down the Atlantic coast, the South has no shortage of spooky adventures. Whether you’re looking for a friendly encounter from the other side, or trying to find a true adrenaline rush by meeting with a tortured (undead) soul, these Southern haunts have plenty of history and unexplained mysteries for thrill-seeking travelers.

The Hotel: Embassy Suites Charleston, Historic Charleston

Be on the look-out for any "half-headed" cadets at this Charleston hotel

The ghostlore: Charleston prides itself on its chilling past, and it’s no wonder that the town where the Civil War started has its share of lingering souls. One of the city’s most haunted sites is the Embassy Suites hotel in the downtown Historic District. Known as the Old Citadel, the building formerly housed the State Arsenal and military college, which is located just a short drive away nowadays. Legend has it that The Lost Cadet, or “Half Head,” roams the hotel’s halls to this day. The spirit is said to be a young solider missing the top half of his head after losing it to a cannonball. But despite his misfortune, he apparently has a joyful demeanor. Read More »

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Bar Rendez-Vous at the Ibis Amsterdam Centre; Amsterdam, Holland

Bar Rendez-Vous at the Ibis Amsterdam Centre; Amsterdam, Holland

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Participating Ibis Hotels in Europe feature rooms equipped with robot arms programmed to create unique pantings by interpreting data sent by guests’ movements, temperatures and noises while sleeping on a special mattress.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The economic output generated by domestic and international visitors to the States in 2011 was almost three times the military budget of the U.S. in the 2010 fiscal year.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Chateau Marmont will be releasing a portrait book of celebrities posed naked inside the hotel’s rooms.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Mark has just launched a new service in which airport concierges direct guests to private Immigration booths that cater exclusively to the hotel’s guests.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa is now offering elliptical machines that can be ridden like bicycles for guests’ use.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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When planning a destination wedding, the first locations that come to mind are likely postcard-perfect beaches in the Caribbean or some other exotic sandy setting. However, if you’re not quite ready to spend a fortune — or you don’t want to put that burden on your guests — there are tons of gorgeous, inexpensive (or shall we say, less expensive) destinations in the U.S. that make for memorable weddings. And it’s always nice a change of scenery! Just because you’re not Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner doesn’t mean you can’t have your own beautiful destination wedding, so we’ve put together a list of our favorite spots for a more affordable event to help you decide.

Destination #1: Vermont

Vermont, with its quaint villages and scenic landscapes, is probably your best bet for a back-to-nature inspired wedding. If you can totally see yourself posing for the pre- or post-wedding photos along tumbling streams, thick woodlands and gorgeous views, search no more. Its small, cozy inns and B&B’s are perfect for intimate weddings and small receptions, and the green meadows and steep mountains make for great backgrounds when saying your “I Do’s.” You will probably need a car or a shuttle to move your guests around, as Burlington’s is the only major airport serving the entire state, but the scenery and the vibe will prove to be well worth it.

Oyster’s Fave Value Wedding Spot: Swift House Inn

The Swift Room at the Swift House Inn; Mid Vermont, VT

Vermont's kitschy B&Bs are perfect venues for intimate weddings and family affairs.

The historic Swift House Inn is located within walking distance of downtown Middlebury, a picturesque New England town, with traffic-free streets lined by locally owned shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The hotel’s 20 rooms are spread throughout the Main House (formerly a Governor’s Mansion), the Carriage House, and the Gate House. Room decor varies, allowing guests to choose a room depending on personal style. Some rooms offer a classic New England B&B vibe with floral wallpaper, fireplaces, and four-poster beds, while others are more understated, with soft-toned walls and tasteful furniture. One of the inn’s highlights is its delicious and free breakfast, and an on-site restaurant, Jessica’s, is a popular destination for both guests and locals.

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Credit: Duncan Walker/iStockPhoto.com

Come on, you know it: We all have a secret soft spot for those kitschy red, white and blue decorations folks tend to resurface during the summer — especially around July 4th. But while we give a wink to plastic flags, what we truly love is some rustic, genuine American décor; from pieces that look straight out of Betsy Ross’s Philadelphia home to more desert-inspired styles reminiscent of the Westward Expansion. And hotels across the country are happy to oblige to these decor styles year round. Since Independence day is on the horizon, enjoy our favorite spots for all the plaid, wood and warmth that typical American décor is so famous for.

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View from the Bitter End Yacht Club -- Virgin Gorda

Sure, the BVI is a nice, island-y spot. But we have some atypical island vacations after the jump that are hard to beat.

It’s getting warmer, summer is soon approaching, and we’ve got a full-blown case of spring fever at Oyster HQ. So it’s easy to catch ourselves dreaming of an island escape where we can enjoy some sun, fun, and relaxation. But going to the Caribbean is sooo typical (not that we’d turn down the chance to be someone’s travel buddy if they’re heading that way…hint, hint). Instead, we’re picturing a different kind of island vacation. A vacation where you’re on an island, but not one that most would normally think of; instead, we’re picturing the atypical island vacation – but with all the perks of an island getaway. Check ‘em out now!

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Rooftop Bar at The Perry South Beach; Miami, FL
Rooftop Bar at The Perry South Beach; Miami, FL

There’s nothing like a rooftop bar to kick off the warm months, and with the crazy weather patterns of the last few weeks, there’s nothing that sounds more appealing right now than getting a drink with a view. If you’re daydreaming about sipping on a perfectly made cocktail a few stories above street level too, check out our selection of the hottest hotel rooftop bars across the country now.

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Lobby at the Mansion on Forsyth Park; Savannah, GA

Lobby at the Mansion on Forsyth Park; Savannah, GA

The Mansion on Forsyth Park is one of the best — and most special — hotels in Savannah. The Victorian mansion overlooks a park in the Historic District and features a long list of amenities, particularly so for a boutique hotel; not only does the hotel boast an attractive outdoor pool, a solid spa, and a tasty restaurant popular among guests and locals, but it also has it’s own cooking school where guests can take group lessons or get one-on-one attention in learning how to serve up authentic Georgian cuisine. Eclectic, spacious rooms have vintage furnishings, such as white Rococo-esque headboards, accented by modern touches like funky light fixtures and animal-print throw pillows. Visitors wanting to be in the heart of the tourist action might prefer a property closer to the riverfront, but those looking for top-notch luxury arguably can’t find a more high-end spot than the Mansion. Check out more photos of the hotel after the jump or read our review>>

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