Shopping

When New York Fashion Week kicks off tomorrow, the city will be teeming with fashionistas from around the globe. Not that it isn’t already, of course, but even more models, designers, and socialites will be packing the streets, restaurants, and front-row seats of New York City. While designers show off their Spring 2013 collections, fashion-lovers will be rockin’ their Fall 2012 duds in all the hottest spots around town — and you may just be one of them! We’re sure a fashionista like you already has a good feel for what’s hot and what’s not, but trust us — we’ve got some insider info — and we know just where you’ll want to be spending your time this NYFW. Whether you’re looking to fit in a spa treatment or party the night away with the coolest kids in town, our ten tips on hotel hot spots for NYFW will keep you stylin’.

1. Best Hotel for Celebrity Sightings: The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Hang outside the Carlyle entrance this NYFW and you're (almost) guaranteed a celeb sighting.

Hang outside the Carlyle's entrance this NYFW and you're (almost) guaranteed a celeb sighting.

The Carlyle is a favorite of Victoria Beckham’s when in town for Fashion Week festivities, and in happier times (at least happier for him), Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes hosted a tea party for Suri at the hotel. But even though The Carlyle is a known celebrity hangout and paps may be waiting outside, the staff will never whisper a peep on which famous guests may be staying in the rooms (employees follow a strict discretion policy). After all, the hotel has been the secret host to artists, presidents, and local and international celebrities since 1930: Even JFK and Marilyn Monroe trusted their trysts to its strict security. So if you want a chance of spotting some of the most private of celebs (LiLo — if she’s even invited to any NYFW fetes — will probably be staying somewhere much more flashy, like The Standard), book a room or casually hang in the lobby of The Carlyle — you’ve got good odds for catching a glimpse of a famous face.

Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Couples getaways can be great. But, unfortunately, they can feel more like a job if you’re bringing a needy girlfriend along. No judgement here; we get that you love your girlfriend, but a few hours of peace and quiet will allow you to fully soak up the benefits of a vacation. This is where we, as Oyster.com hotel experts, come in to help. While we don’t have direct experience with handling a needy girlfriend, we may have been that girl once or twice. (Is wanting your boyfriend to be hyper-attentive soo much to ask?? But we digress…) So who better than us to give you the low-down on the most distractable hotels and amenities? We may be committing a major breach of girl code, but here goes. Check out our top 5 hotels for distracting a needy girlfriend — and enjoy your 5-minutes peace!

 Hotel: Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Girlfriend Type: Shopaholic

Salvatore Ferragamo at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Salvatore Ferragamo at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort; Bahamas

Why It’ll Distract Her: If your needy girlfriend is shopping-inclined, then you’re guaranteed some alone time at the Atlantis. With more features than any other hotel in the Caribbean, the resort has over 100 shops; everything from Atlantis logo stores, stuffed with t-shirts, bags, and hats, to high-end designer shops like Salvatore Ferragamo and Bvlgari. Hey, we didn’t say this would be cheap.

Alone Time It Earns You: We’d say at least three hours. If you lend her your credit card for the afternoon, that grants you two more (and probably some debt to boot). Use your alone time to win that money back at the elaborate casino. Or check out the dolphin show; it’s pretty awesome.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }

We’ve compiled the hotels that offer the best shopping to guests — so that you have a mid-shopping retreat, right on-site.

The Mandarin Oriental, Boston

The Mandarin Oriental, Boston

Besides the in-room Playstation 3s, massive Spa by Mandarin and a welcome beverage for travel-weary arriving guests, the Mandarin Oriental is literally attached to the Prudential Center Mall, one of Boston’s most popular shopping destinations. Read More »

{ 1 comment }

Shops on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Shops on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles

Melrose Avenue is one of Los Angeles’ most famous shopping streets, and was at its height in the punk-driven 80s. But Melrose has undergone a resurgence, and this time, it’s an upscale shopping experience.

The original thrift stores and trendy boutiques are still there, alongside tattoo and piercing shops, in the area between Fairfax and La Brea. But closer to La Cienega, and on  Melrose Place (yes, this is a real street), are some of the city’s most interesting designer boutiques. It’s also the chicest few blocks in all of Los Angeles.

When Marc Jacobs opened his flagship store on Melrose Place, then a Marc store and then a men’s store, it changed the dynamic of this once quiet stretch of Melrose Avenue.  Soon to follow were Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenburg, Paul Smith (with it’s shocking pink exterior) and Oscar de la Renta.  Homes and furniture showrooms have been transformed into charming boutiques.  Balenciaga has a beautiful shop seemingly brought here from the future, with its silver tile and silver leaf work, not to mention the LED lighting.  The newly opened Vivianne Westwood store comes with big fanfare, and Decades is not to be missed for designer resale and vintage designer accessories and clothing.

If you’re an Entourage fan, then you’ll recognize the Urth Cafe’s outdoor patio, a great place to stop for lunch. You’ll also recognize Fred Segal’s cafe, which is a little farther east on Melrose.  A new addition to the area is Rick Bayless’ Red O mexican restaurant, right across the street from Fred Segal. Other restaurants not to miss on Melrose are Lucques, Home of James Beard award winning chef Suzanne Goin, and also Comme Ca, a great french brasserie in the middle of busy Los Angeles.

If you’re into shopping, then this area is a must.

- Lesley Bracker

[Photo Credit: Flickr/Ann Althouse]

{ 0 comments }

Eataly, Mario Batali's Italian restaurant and grocery center

Eataly, Mario Batali's Italian restaurant and grocery center

Although we survived Snowcapolypse 2010, winter isn’t over. Nevertheless, tiny apartments or hotel rooms compel New Yorkers out into the low temps and wind tunnels created by those super-tall buildings. It’s a good thing, then, that this city is full of places that offer “two-for-one” experiences. Once you arrive at one of these eating-shopping combos, you don’t have to leave for a long, long time.

Jeffrey’s Grocery, a charming “groceraunt” in the West Village, sells basics like coffee and tp while serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Pop in mid-afternoon for a refreshing selection from the raw bar and a glass of white. At Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery, you have to push past dusty shelves of Mexican staples and into the back. Here, out of a glorified supply closet, come some of the city’s best tacos. A few pollo and al pastor, a bottle of Jarrito fruit punch, and we’re set.

Stay at the Ace Hotel New York City, where you can hang out and snack on your goodies in the atmospheric lobby. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

R+D Kitchen, a popular restaurat and bar on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica

R+D Kitchen, a popular restaurat and bar on Montana Avenue in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is known for its great shopping and fantastic restaurants (some of the best in all of Los Angeles), but Montana Avenue is where you’ll experience how the locals live, eat, and shop.

Montana Avenue’s shops, restaurants and cafes run along 12 tree-lined, charming blocks between 7th Street and 20th Street — ideal for a half day of exploring. Each block has a variety of boutiques, eateries and coffee spots, and you can glimpse the Pacific in the distance. Start on one end, walking one side of the street, returning the other end – it doesn’t matter if you start at 7th or 17th.  If you want to know how it feels to live in Santa Monica, this is where to go: not to the Promenade or Pier, but to this neighborhood.  In fact, you’re more likely to spot a celebrity here than any other area of L.A.

You won’t have trouble finding coffee, as there are several Starbucks, a Peets, and the famous Caffe Luxxe, known for its authentic lattes and devoted following (all are open as early as 6 a.m.).  Feel like taking a yoga class?  There are several studios, and yoginis carrying mats are ubiquitous. Want to buy a top that you won’t see anyone else wearing?  Your choices are literally endless, as there are no chains stores here — not a Gap in sight.  You will find a Kiehl’s, however, and a small William Sonoma. The boutique Planet Blue can be expensive, but they always have a great sale rack, and you’ll find items seen on a celebrity in this week’s People. Savannah is where to go for exclusive designer clothes and accessories.

For dinner, choose from local favorites Via Portafino, R+D Kitchen (with the street’s only full bar), or Father’s Office, with its famous burger. Babalu has an endless champagne brunch, Blue Plate is a local hangout for breakfast, and for lunch, consider Kreation or Rosti for their amazing salads.

Morning, noon, or night, this street is bustling with activity and will provide  a wonderful visit to a beautiful neighborhood.

-Lesley Bracker

[Photo Credit: Flickr/Muy Yum]

{ 0 comments }

Santa Monica Place

Santa Monica Place

The newly refurbished Santa Monica Place is to-die-for. After three years and half a billion dollars (yes, you read that correctly), this old mall feels like a new mall.

It’s the only place in the Los Angeles area where you can shop by the beach (with the ocean breezes), dance to famous KCRW DJs under the stars at night, eat at rooftop restaurants helmed by famous chefs, and drink cocktails prepared by trained mixologists at any of the dozen bars.  All this with a view of the Santa Monica Pier, too. Read More »

{ 0 comments }

Pier at the Malibu Surfrider Beach in California

Pier at the Malibu Surfrider Beach in California

There are many wonderful day trips you can take during your visit to Los Angeles, and at the top of the list would be Malibu’s Surfrider Beach.  A twenty-minute drive up the famous Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica, it can be a great half-day or full-day trip.

The Pier separates the two areas of Malibu known as The Colony, to the north, and Carbon Beach, to the south. Here, you are welcome to walk the shoreline and sightsee–really, this is the best “star homes” tour in the city–and in addition to the surfers you’ll see the happy dogs running up and down the beach and neighbors visiting each other on the patios. The Pier itself is a beautiful place to walk, too; it can feel like you’re on top of the Pacific Ocean. Sport Fishing boats depart from here twice a day, taking visitors on a short boat trip to some of the best fishing grounds for sea bass, halibut, and rockfish. You can rent kayaks here, as well, and spend an hour or two on the ocean.

Read More »

{ 0 comments }