Seattle

Rain usually isn’t an element vacationers seek; in fact, it is often purposely avoided, whether that means picking a rain-free destination or visiting a spot during its dry season. Yet some of the rainiest destinations around the globe are also the most beautiful, and they are all the more enticing during their wet seasons when the crowds are few and the natural surroundings are lush. Here are eight spots where we’ve found the silver lining; these rainy destinations are gorgeous, and definitely deserve a visit this spring.

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is one of the wettest destinations in Central America, but it’s thanks to the constant rain that it is also one of the most beautiful. The country is home to lush rainforests, dozens of national parks with a rich diversity of flora and fauna, and long white-sand beaches. If you visit towards the end of the spring, you’ll be traveling during Costa Rica’s rainiest season which means crowds are fewer (in fact, Costa Rica is still relatively undeveloped and uncrowded year-round compared to its Caribbean counterparts), the surroundings are uber-lush, and, also like spots in the Caribbean, rain often lets up for sunny mornings.

Where to Stay: Lapa Rios Ecolodge & Wildlife Reserve

Lapa Rios, located in the remote coastal rainforests of the Osa Peninsula, is Costa Rica’s original luxury eco lodge. This is the opposite of a Cancun-style beach resort — guests come to the upscale Lapa Rios to enjoy the spectacular surroundings, learn about sustainable tourism, and re-connect with nature.

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The weather outside may be frightful, but in these snug hotel bars, things are – well – quite delightful. Our top picks exude warmth and coziness, with features such as leather banquets, wood paneling, strong drinks, and hot fireplaces. Let it snow!

Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York City

Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel, New York CityThere’s a reason the Rose Bar is a celebrity favorite. Despite its soaring wood-beamed ceilings, the space feels intimate and exclusive, with a billiards table, big limestone fireplace, and walnut bar. It’s the perfect hideaway on a chill winter’s night. Read More »

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If the upcoming holiday season is already stressing you out, a) we’re glad we’re not the only ones and b) we’ve got just the thing to make that anxiety melt away: A spa weekend with no relatives allowed. Before you stuff the turkey or fill the stockings, book a little you-time with a Swedish massage and maybe even an herbal facial add-on. After all, your entire Christmas bonus doesn’t have to go towards the kids — you’ve been good this year, too! Check out a few of our favorite stateside spas for holiday de-stressing — and then buckle-up for your in-laws’ visit!

Spa: Viceroy Miami

Viceroy Miami The stunning design of the Viceroy Miami will make you forget all about holiday stress.

Phillipe Starck was the design mastermind behind the stunning Viceroy Miami spa, a 28,000-square-foot space featuring 10 treatment rooms, redwood saunas, eucalyptus steam rooms, and a media screening room. The spa also boasts a beautiful water lounge with white marble floors, three whirlpools, a shallow foot-deep reflecting pool, white furniture (some of it in the pool), and floor-to-ceiling bookcases.

Oyster’s Treatment Pick: The Red Island Body Ritual, inspired by the island of Madagascar (we love anything exotic and travel-related!), which promises to “treat your entire body to a holiday of relaxation and hydration.” Now that’s the kind of holiday we had in mind. Read More »

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For many people across the country, fall means two things: Back to school, and football season. And for many college alumni, it can mean both of those things at once – fall is the time to visit the ol’ alma mater for Homecoming and watch your college team (hopefully!) beat the pants off its biggest rival. Because nothing says fall like tailgating and face paint. To help you plan your trip, we’ve found great hotels near a number of universities across the country; it’s hard to be comprehensive with so many great Homecoming celebrations out there, but this should help bring some of you closer to Homecoming glory.

Stanford University, Palo Alto

Garden Court Hotel, Palo Alto

Garden Court Hotel, Palo Alto

In town to watch the Cardinals play? The Garden Court Hotel is a standout boutique hotel in Downtown Palo Alto, located on a quaint tree-lined street just off of University Avenue and a short drive from Stanford’s campus.  The hotel’s beautiful rooms are the highlight; they have elegant white-and-blue decor, upscale amenities, marble bathrooms, and in many, balconies overlooking the quaint courtyard. Read More »

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The marriage of travel and food has been a long and happy one. For foodies, a destination isn’t going to rank as a favorite unless its cuisine — be it Mexican food in San Diego, seafood in Seattle, or the hodgepodge of deliciousness that is New York –  is something special. For us, that logic applies equally to the hotels where you stay within a city: not just hotels with great restaurants, but places that incorporate gourmet treats into the overall hotel experience. These hotels we love offer awesome foodie freebies, from decadent a la carte breafkasts to free nightly wine hours. Talk about tasty extras.

A la carte breakfast

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

The free a la carte breakfast at Costa Rica's Gaia Hotel and Reserve is worth writing home about.

Spotlight On: Gaia Hotel and Reserve, Costa Rica

Free hotel breakfasts aren’t exactly a rarity, but they are usually comprised of cereals, fruit, and, if you’re lucky, some moderately edible scrambled eggs. Not so at Gaia Hotel and Reserve, where the free breakfast is a gourmet a la carte affair. Menu items include Eggs Benedict, Belgian Waffles, Italian Egg White Frittata, Vanilla and Mango Pancakes, a Costa Rican Breafkast, and more. And the freebies don’t stop there: The room rate also includes a short spa treatment.

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Thanks to our friends at the Captivate Network, you can catch this story in your office elevator this week! And don’t miss Captivate’s Summer Fridays Sweepstakes!

Traveling green doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on the quality of your hotel. If eco-friendly lodging makes you think of a tent in the woods, think again — these gorgeous properties are luxurious and LEED-certified.

H2 Hotel, Healdsburg, California

H2 Hotel, Healdsburg, California

H2 Hotel, Healdsburg, California

This 36-room boutique hotel in the heart of Healdsburg in Sonoma County is a good pick for eco-conscious folks looking for something convenient to wineries with a modern, hip, relaxed vibe. With a LEED Gold certification, the H2 features green amenities such as loaner bicycles, lots of open spaces, and a green roof. Read More »

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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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Staying fit on the road is never easy, particularly when it comes to eating well. Many of us let our diets go out the window when we travel, partly because there simply aren’t any healthy options to be had. After all, if the only edible-looking option on the room service menu is the burger, what is one to do?! Luckily, hotels are starting to recognize the demand for more healthful food options, and a handful of chains are taking action. Hyatt, Fairmont, and Westin are among the brands paving the way, working with health experts and organizations to come up with some tasty, guilt-free menu options. Here’s hoping other hotel chains get on board with this trend!

Hyatt

Hyatt, which has 492 hotels worldwide, is one of the largest chains to introduce healthy food options at its properties. The “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” initiative launched in 2012 has brought cage-free eggs, hormone-free beef, and sustainable seafood options to all of its hotels, among other health-conscious food options. Hyatt also teamed up with Partnership for a Healthier America (Michelle Obama is a Chair!) to make its kids’ menus healthier in support of the effort to combat childhood obesity. In addition, all Hyatt hotels have on-site fitness centers, so no excuse not to hit the gym either!

Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle

Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle

Oyster.com’s Pick for a Standout Hyatt Hotel: Hyatt at Olive 8, Seattle

You almost can’t go wrong with the Hyatt at Olive 8, which is known for its exceptionally high customer ratings, environmentally conscious design, and easy, walk-to-everything location. If you’re looking for a romantic lobby in which to have cocktails, you might want to head across the street to the dark and elegant Grand Hyatt; otherwise, be prepared to stay happily put.
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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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Through our many travels we’ve learned that April showers don’t just bring May flowers – they bring delicious May produce! Everything from zucchini to asparagus, spring peas to corn, and watermelon to strawberries begin sprouting up during the spring and summer. And if you’re not quite ready to put on the overalls and bring in the harvest yourself, the next best thing is to visit a local farmers’ market, where fresh produce abounds. We’ve picked out our 10 favorite farmers’ markets across the states, so no matter where your spring and summer vacations take you, you’ll have plenty of tasty treats to bring home. And we’ve even found a great hotel near each spot so you can be sure to beat the crowds.

1. Pike Place Market, Seattle

Vegetable stand at Pike Place Market

Pike Place is one of Seattle’s main attractions. Featuring numerous produce, meat, and fish stands, the market also has plenty of craft kiosks for buying local artwork and gifts. It is open 7 days a week, and though most stands close around 5 p.m., several fine-dining restaurants on the 9-acre historic district are open late.

Where to Stay: Inn at the Market is aptly named. It is one of Seattle’s best-known, and most popular, hotels, in large part due to its unbeatable location: It’s in the heart of downtown Seattle, just half a block from Pike Place Market.

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