Singapore

Newsflash! Visiting the world’s most expensive cities doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be forced to stay in the world’s most expensive hotels. Though the suite life can be tempting when hoteling in the globe’s most affluent destinations, what’s feasible for the rich and famous often doesn’t align with what’s feasible for the rest of us. Thankfully, there are fantastic budget options in pricey towns that offer a lot of bang for your buck — so you can use that extra cash towards your eight-euro bottle of water. From London to Singapore and back again, we’ve got the lowdown on hotels that won’t break your bank…in cities that threaten to do just that! Though some cities are even too rich for Oyster’s blood — we’ll get to you soon Lausanne! — here are our top picks for the best budget stays in the world’s most expensive cities.

London: Generator Hostel London
Price: $39/night

HOSTEL LONDON

The Generator Hostel represents a new type of high-end “hostelling” which puts a real emphasis on creating fun, chilled-out atmospheres conducive to interaction between guests. The Generator is one such property and is a good choice for both young solo travelers and groups, offering dorms for up to 12 people as well as private rooms (though some are cramped). The cafe, bar, and cinema room are all great spaces to relax, and the hostel’s event program is a nice touch. There are few properties with as good a central London location that also promise such a snazzy vibe on the cheap in the world’s most expensive city.

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Ok, it’s time for some real talk. We here at Oyster adore Hawaii. And, of course, we love Paris – any day of the year. But as travel experts, not only do we look forward to returning to destinations that will forever stand the test of time, but we also strive to uncover lesser-known, and lesser-thought-of, destinations that will really knock our — and your — socks off. When it comes to honeymoons, we know couples look for something (and somewhere) romantic and charming, but how about – originalThere are plenty of gorgeous spots around the globe, but we love a duo that’s not afraid of going slightly off book in the pursuit of a one-of-a-kind getaway. Here we’ve selected nine dream picks for an atypical honeymoon that’s anything but ordinary — just like your love, right?

1. Flam, Norway: Fretheim Hotel

norway

The tiny village of Flam is located in a valley surrounded by steep mountains. It’s the final destination for the Flam Railway, which visitors take through the mountains to reach the village, and is considered one of the most scenic train stops in Europe. From Flam, you can also catch a cruise to the Sognefjord, which is arguably the most beautiful and famous fjord in Norway. Couples choosing this atypical getaway can also choose an aytpical hotel: The Fretheim Hotel dates back to the late 19th century, and its common spaces have charm to spare. The hotel makes the most of its unique, naturally beautiful location with soaring glass windows in the lobby and restaurant that frame the mountains. Read More »

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One of the greatest perks of traveling is the opportunity to try new foods. Even dishes that you may be familiar with are better when tasted in their land of origin (have you ever had pasta in Italy? Bellissimo!). But there’s something particularly exciting — and truly adventurous — about trying a bite of something you’ve never even heard of before. We’ve traveled the globe and have discovered some delicious delicacies… and we’ve also sampled some foods that are…well, “interesting” may be the best way to put it. Here are half a dozen of the weirdest delicacies the world over. Bon apetit!

Singapore: Fish Head Curry

fish head curry

A lot of the strangest delicacies in the world seem to involve fish and/or weird parts of animals that you didn’t even know were edible (and their edibleness is questionable to say the least). Well, fish head curry involves both fish and weird parts of it. In Singapore, fish head curry is considered a tasty, stew-like dish of veggies, rice, and — you guessed it — a fish head (generally red snapper).

Where to Stay: Hotel Fort Canning is a modern boutique in a beautifully restored historic military building. This excellent property includes luxe amenities such as three pools, an Asian bistro, a pizza bar, a cocktail lounge, and a fitness center.

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Some hotels are more than just hotels — they are former castles, royal residences, or Gatsby-esque mansions. Or they opened their doors many years ago to offer accommodations of unsurpassed luxury, attracting royalty and famous names. These grand dames around the world have drawn on their rich pasts in order to offer present-day magnificence.

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Grand Hotel Baglioni, Florence

Housed in the former residences of the Bertolini princes, the Grand Hotel Baglioni lives up to the grand image painted by Florence’s past. The hotel is filled with heavy-handed regal touches and ornate decor from top to bottom. The 193 rooms are very spacious (not often the case in a historic building), and feel luxurious, decked out with classic Italian furnishings, large leaded windows, gorgeous dark wood (the ceilings, floors, and furniture), and equally spacious dazzling white bathrooms. Both the rooftop garden and Terrazza Brunelleschi restaurant offer stunning views of Florence. Read More »

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Lobby at The Jade Hotel, New York City

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The boutique Jade Hotel may only be a few months old, but it has already has some pretty famous visitors. Last week, Cameron Diaz was spotted getting drinks at the bar and flirting with strangers.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Westin St. John is one of three Starwood properties that make up the first shift towards the brand reducing its carbon footprint worldwide. The new green initiative will include the installation of high-tech water savers that will reduce wasted water at the hotel by 50 percent.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Wyndham Hotel Group added Singapore to its destination list this week with the opening of a Days Inn and a Ramada.

4. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The general manager of the Lancaster London, along with numerous other volunteers, scaled up the side of the hotel in order to raise money for Kickstart Programme.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Room service is pricey no matter where you go, but in a recent study, TripAdvisor found that Denver and Dallas offer the best value as far as room service. Not surprisingly, New York City and Honolulu offered the worst.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The One-Bedroom Suite at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado; Santa Fe, NM

The One-Bedroom Suite at the Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado; Santa Fe, NM

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado in Santa Fe offers a couples spa package that costs $300 more than a weeknight stay in the hotel’s most basic room (which, by the way, is pretty luxurious).

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a Facebook giveaway contest for a free wedding ceremony and stay at the hotel.

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Fullerton Hotel Singapore has been taken over by the City of Singapore and will be turned into the largest post office in the city.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Rolling Stones will make a stop at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas during the band’s 50 and Counting tour.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A hotel employee recently found Amanda Bynes pant-less and smoking, curled up in a corner of the W New York Times Square’s gym.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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Lobby at the Raffles Hotel Singapore, Singapore

Lobby at the Raffles Hotel Singapore, Singapore

1. FACT OR FAKEOUT?  Back in 1942, soldiers who took part in the Japanese occupation of Singapore found guests at the Raffles Hotel Singapore dancing one final waltz before the property was seized.

2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas both feature a technology that allows guests to order drinks from the slot machines

3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A hotel in Finland is seeking professional sleepers to test the sleep quality of their newly renovated rooms.

4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? New York’s Yotel just launched a zip line that takes guests straight to Times Square from the hotel’s rooftop. The service is included in the nightly rate.

5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Upscale organic supermarket Whole Foods just announced the purchase of Canyon Ranch in Tucson. The hotel will be the first Whole Foods Hotel, and will have a focus on health, weight loss and cholesterol reduction.

Check out the answers after the jump!

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The Marriott Wailea Resort is a romantic honeymoon locale on Maui.

Honeymoons must be two things: romantic and memorable. Any old trip to the beach is just not going to suffice for a couple’s post-nuptial getaway. But thankfully, there are plenty of unique and luxurious properties out there for newlyweds. Remote jungle hideaways, cozy mountain lodges, luxe European grand dames, and gorgeous beachfront properties are waiting with a bottle of champagne at the ready to toast your “I dos.” These romantic hotels around the world are perfect honeymoon locales; go ahead and swoon over them in this slideshow.

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One Bal Harbour Resort bathrooms have some of the best views in the Miami.

Some people prefer to read a magazine in the restroom, but we’d much rather gaze out over a stunning view. There’s nothing we love more than exotic sights, no matter where we’re taking in the view — the shower, tub, or elsewhere. From Hong Kong to Miami, Boston to Barcelona, here are our favorite hotel views from the best seat in the house.

 

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San Francisco's Chinatown stands ready to celebrate the Spring Festival.

In just a week, Chinese New Year kicks off! And we want to give you plenty of notice so you can start planning how — and where — you’ll celebrate. Also known as the Spring Festival, this holiday consists of two weeks of feasting, lion dances, lantern lighting, and much more. After all, it is the most important holiday in the Chinese lunar calendar, so festivities necessitate indulgence. Millions of people around the world will celebrate with gorgeous decorations, rich foods, and stunning firework displays — and we here at Oyster can’t wait to get in on the action at some of our favorite Chinatowns around the globe. We’ve got you covered on where to ring in the Year of the Snake, but no matter where you choose to kick things off, Oyster wishes you a prosperous new year or, as they say in Mandarin, Gong Xi Fa Cai! Read More »

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