Sweden and Norway typically conjure images a la Frozen: Stunning icescapes punctuated by the rogue reindeer or a flash of brilliance from the Northern Lights. But there is more to these Northern European countries than meets the eye — and it’s not all winter and chill. When hockey season ends and the sun comes out to play, Scandinavians flock to the coastline for summering on the shore. Whether boating along their country’s rugged oceanfront or exploring its lakes, Scandinavians embrace the warm weather with gusto. There’s also phenomenal hiking, golfing, and other athletic activities to enjoy, as well as island hopping and shopping, so Norway and Sweden are both wonderful, not to mention atypical, holiday vacations to squeeze in before the summer’s over. Check out our favorite stays and activities in Scandinavia.
This nautical-themed, boutique hotel has a secluded, out-in-the-country feel perfect for summering in Sweden – but in reality, it’s only a 10-minute drive from central Stockholm, making it convenient as well as picturesque. Though the suburban area of Nacka, one of the city’s business hubs, can be relatively quiet at night, the Hotel J has an excellent waterfront restaurant that’s often bustling. Nacka is well-regarded among sailing enthusiasts and spa-goers, making it an apt choice for a holiday. Read More »
While a nautical theme can make for fun hotel decor all year round, we can’t help but enjoy it a little more in the summer when the timing feels particularly fitting. After all, during warmer months we love the idea of being out on the open seas, wind in our hair… until we think about how crowded and gross cruise ships can actually be. Considering the many recent mishaps on ships and boats — some of which actually proved to be quite dangerous — as of late, we’d rather enjoy a nautical theme from dry land, thank you very much. Fortunately, we’ve visited plenty of hotels that make you feel like you’re first mate — without actually having to set sail.
The 175-room Amstel Botel, a former river cruiser converted to a floating hotel, sits by the industrial NDSM wharf, a growing outpost of Amsterdam’s underground art scene. The Botel is decorated like a European ferry, and is a no-frills budget-friendly option for visitors. Central Amsterdam is a 15-minute free ferry ride away. Kids may enjoy the experience of staying on a boat, but the property is more popular with value-minded couples and groups. Luxury seekers and visitors hoping for a charming European hotel should look elsewhere, but those searching for a boat-like vibe without having to leave the dock will find the nautical decor fun and charming.
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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 – original. There 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?
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 »
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!
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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The St. James's Hotel and Club is a top choice for business travelers in London.
Europe’s bustling capital cities always attract the suit-and-tie set, and the continent’s best business hotels cater to these travelers with great service, special features, and around-the-clock amenities. Whether you’re ironing out the details of a high stakes merger or need to be connected to all four corners of the globe at once, these impressive properties are equipped to help with your every need. Sealing the deal in Europe‘s capital cities has never been easier than at these top business hotels:
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.
The Oriental Suite at the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong, China
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? When the Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong first opened in 1963, it was the tallest building on the island.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Greta Garbo Suite, unveiled recently at the Radisson Blu Strand Hotel Stockholm on the occasion of the hotel’s 100th anniversary, displays memorabilia from the Greta Garbo Museum in Hogsby.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills offers in-room iPads with an app that allows guests to order a bottle of champagne to their room with just one click.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Hotel Indigo London – Paddington is now offering a package that includes free breakfast and a cocktail prepared using regionally-sourced ingredients.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The US Grant — a Luxury Collection Hotel recently offered suites for just $1.02 in celebration of its 102th birthday.
Check out the answers after the jump! Read More »
There are plenty of different ways to travel in Europe – from shoestring-budget trips to over-the-top getaways worthy of the British royals. Here at Oyster we’ve been lucky enough to be able to do both (seriously, the budget hotels in Europe are pretty nice!), but the holidays are for wishing and dreaming, so we’re going to help you put together your own list of top places to get pampered in 2013. Keep reading and discover our favorite luxury hotels in Europe!
These luxurious rooms have classic, elegant decor, but modern technologies.
The world-renowned luxury hotel Plaza Athenee — a part of the Dorchester Collection — is synonymous with Parisian elegance and good taste. Iconic red awnings and chestnut trees welcome guests to the historic setting, on the upscale Avenue Montaigne location with direct views of the Eiffel Tower. It’s all about luxury here, inside and out. The avenue is lined with high-end shops such as Christian Dior, Prada, and Chanel. And inside, the 146 rooms and 45 suites are decorated in classic Art Deco style with modern touches like flat-screen TVs and marble baths. With six distinct restaurants, a large fitness center, and a can’t-miss daily breakfast in a leafy garden, the Plaza Athenee doesn’t miss a beat.
- Our favorite luxe amenity: Guests have access to the Dior Institute for a full range of quality beauty and spa treatments.
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In honor of LiLo’s most recent snafu, we at Oyster.com decided to take a look back at the most memorable celebrity uh-ohs in hotel history. And trust us, there have been plenty. After all, when celebs basically live in hotels, they’re bound to get a little rowdy, rude, rambunctious — you name it — while staying in a luxe spot. And though Lindz may have it down to a science these days, she’s only following the example set by numerous celebs before her who have taken their star status a little too far. Trashed suites, accosted employees, terrified hookers — plenty of celebrities have left quite a wake behind them in some of the ritziest hotels in the country. So okay, Lohan may not be the “hotel havoc” trailblazer, but since she’s been doing such a fine job with it recently, we’ll start with her.
The Celeb: Lindsay Lohan
The Hotel: Dream Downtown
LiLo is just one of many celebs who like to party at the Dream. Its nightclub is a highlight, but stars such as Mark Ruffalo have also been spotted dining in the hotel's restaurant.
The Offense: Just last week, Lohan was arrested after a hit-and-run outside of the hip Dream Downtown. After the actress [Ed. note: She still acts, right?] spent the night partying it up at the hotel’s exclusive nightclub, she hopped into her Porsche to call it a night. And we guess she was really ready to get home, because despite reportedly hitting a restaurant employee (who sustained a knee injury), she continued to speed away. NYPD later arrested Lohan on charges of causing an injury and leaving the scene of an accident.
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Stockholm has up to 18 hours of daylight in the summer.
Being one of the northernmost capitals in Europe gets you a reputation as a cold place, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean Stockholm doesn’t offer myriad outdoor activities and attractions during the summer months — which, BTW, can be fairly warm. From intriguing medieval neighborhoods with narrow cobblestone streets to world-class museums and gorgeous parks, the Swedish capital is a fascinating destination, rain or shine. Pack your bags and hop on the first plane to Stockholm: We’ve got some amazing stuff to see.