Seattle

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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The Outlook Inn is one of the most romantic spots on the San Juan Islands.

Couples have a lot of reasons to be attracted to the Evergreen State. From sleek Seattle boutiques to secluded inns on the San Juan Islands, there’s a little something for every romantic in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. Outdoorsy couples will love hiking in the romantic Snoqualmie Valley, in the shadow of one of Washington’s many waterfalls, while city-slickers will fall in love with Seattle’s funky food scene and vibrant nightlife. So if you’re planning a romantic getaway with that special someone to Washington State, be sure to consider these hotels ready for romance.

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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 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.

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Seattle may be known for its rain (among many other things — Starbucks, anyone?) but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out and exploring all the city has to offer. Fortunately, our “What to See in Seattle” half-dozen video includes outdoor and indoor fun just in case the clouds get too ominous. Whether you want to hit up the major tourist sights or do as the locals do, we have an activity for you, and a hotel that’s convenient for each.

Watch more Oyster videos here »

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For those with disabilities, the challenges of traveling go beyond just getting to the airport on time and figuring out the TV in their hotel rooms. But fortunately, numerous destinations in the U.S. and abroad continue to work towards making travel for the handicapped as smooth as possible. We’ve visited quite a few spots during our travels and have come up with a list of the most handicap-friendly destinations around the world. First up, Seattle!

Even the Space Needle is a wheelchair-friendly attraction in Seattle.

Seattle, WA

Seattle is continuously ranked as one of the most disabled-friendly cities in the U.S., thanks in large part to its condensed downtown area and public transportation system. Since the city did not begin operating its first rail system until 2009, it is entirely built to comply with ADA standards, unlike older major railway transits in cities such as New York and Boston. The Emerald City also has tons of entirely accessible attractions such as the Seattle Museum, Pike Place Market, and even the Space Needle.

Stay:  Hyatt at Olive 8

This hotel is not only known for its chic and eco-friendly decor and design, but also for its great downtown location and variety of assistance services. The hotel has just about every feature offered in Braille, along with audio-visual smoke detectors and ADA-approved rooms.

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If you’re one of the many shoppers out there struggling with gift buying this holiday season, don’t fret. Whether you’re a road warrior with no time to shop or just looking for a ‘lil inspiration, we’ve found a surprising source for great gift ideas: hotels. From gourmet goodies to decadent bath products to home decor, hotels have plenty of items that can make the perfect present — so swipe something on your next hotel stay (and pay up, of course!) or simply swipe the suggestion!

Gift Idea: Signature Pantry Goodies

Guests can buy signature pantry items from The Merrion kitchen, such as red onion marmalade.

Guests can buy signature pantry items from The Merrion kitchen, such as red onion marmalade.

Little-known fact about hotels: Some of the really, really nice ones have their own signature gourmet goodies. At The Merrion, for example, the hotel chef sells kitchen creations such as red onion marmalade (4 euros, or about $5) and hotel-brand chocolate bars crafted under the guidance of chocolatiers in France, both for sale in the in-room minibars. In addition, entire holiday hampers of treats can be purchased. One of our favorites? The Merrion Hamper, with items such as cranberry sauce, brandy butter, mulled wine and grape chutney, macaroons, mince pies, chocolate truffles, Christmas pudding, and lemon oil, all for 55 euro (about $72). At The Shelbourne Dublin, more tasty seasonal signature treats are for sale, such as various relishes (4.95 euros, about $6.50), preserves (4.95 euros, about $6.50), and even Christmas pudding (10 euros, about $13).

Oyster’s Picks for Where to Swipe ‘Em: The Merrion Hotel in Dublin, The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel

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Luxury King Room at The Hazelton Hotel; Toronto, Canada

Luxury King Room at The Hazelton Hotel; Toronto, Canada

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto is offering a 199,000-CAD (about $201,500) holiday shopping package that includes round-trip flights on a private jet, two nights in a 1,860-square-foot suite, and personal shopper, stylist, and Art Concierge services.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Trump International Hotel and Tower New York has launched a photo contest to decorate the hotel lobby and hallways during the holiday season. The winner will receive a free one-night stay at the hotel.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Lindsay Lohan and The Wanted’s Max George were recently seen canoodling at the Liberty Hotel in Boston after a long night of partying.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Strand has partnered with 50 Cent, offering the option of waking up to a pre-recorded wake-up call from the rapper himself.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hyatt at Olive 8 has been named the U.S.’s top place to work for LGBT equality for the ninth consecutive year.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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