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 »
At this point in the season we’re all more than ready for some sun and high temperatures. You only need to check your friends’ Facebook statuses to know that you’re not the only one who’s feeling a little cranky about the recent cold snap. Heading to Miami, or an island in the Caribbean, may be the easiest way to escape the winter chills. But we tend to forget that the U.S.’s winter season can be the best moment to visit tons of great destinations in the Southern Hemisphere and just above the Equator, where the sunny, warm days are in full swing and the dry season starts to kick in. Whether you’re looking to trek to the top of a volcano or discover historic sites in a big city, we’ve got the destination for you. Check out our top picks for escaping the cold, and start packing!
For the Adventurous Type: Costa Rica
The Arenal Volcano is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica, and it is still possible to see some fumaroles activity.
Costa Rica can be anything from a peaceful oasis to a crowded and touristy spot depending on the time of the year and the region visited — but it’s still far less developed than most popular beach destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean. December through April is the best time to visit, as rainfall drops to a minimum, and days are long and sunny. The country is home to hundreds of diverse habitats, making it easy to enjoy beach days, eco-tourism, and outdoor adventures all in the same trip, and without having to travel long distances. The geography is infinitely varied, ranging from rugged coastlines and bustling towns to misty forests and active volcanoes.
Rico Tico Bar & Grill boasts gorgeous ocean and jungle views.
A staple in the beautiful Manuel Antonio resort area, the 58-room Si Como No is carefully built into a lush hillside, which means great views and winding paths surrounded by colorful flowers and wildlife. The amenities are a main draw here: two pools, two restaurants, a spa, a movie theater, and a wildlife refuge across the street. Unplugged rooms aren’t particularly luxurious, but you’ll want to be spending your time outdoors anyways.
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Choosing between artsy Melbourne, seen here, and beach-y Sydney isn't easy.
Australia is a big country. With an extremely diverse landscape and culture, the “Down Under” offers something for every kind of traveler. But deciding where to vacation when visiting for a limited amount of time can be difficult. Even the country’s two largest cities — Sydney and Melbourne– are two very different sides of the same coin. Both offer gorgeous architecture and a boat load of culture, but where one gets top marks for an eco-friendly attitude and a hipster vibe, the other is renowned for its beaches and bold attitude.
The rivalry between the cities is legendary, dating back as far as their foundings. While Sydney was originally built with very little urban planning as a massive jail for English convicts, Melbourne was a settler’s destination, constructed as a European metropolis with a grid of streets (one point for Melbourne!). Both bustling, rough-and-tumble Sydney and up-and-coming Melbourne experienced population booms in the late 1800s, establishing themselves as the largest cities — and most bitter rivals — early on. But which is superior? The decision isn’t an easy one: Canberra was even made the country’s capital back in the day just so as not to fuel the fires between the two cities. Today, visitors have to make that choice for themselves — but with a little help from Oyster, of course. Get the lowdown on our favorite aspects of these Aussie cities and then make your decision!
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Well, the time has finally come! We’re in the last stretch of humanity as we know it (according to the ancient Mayan calendar, at least), and we’re searching the globe for the best places on earth to spend our final days — or day as the case may be. We’ve visited every (habitable) continent and through our travels, we’ve found that whether you’re preparing for a traditional Biblical Apocalypse of fire and brimstone, or something a bit more on the sci-fi spectrum, there is a Doomsday destination for you somewhere on this fated planet. Take a look at our list and pick the spot where you’ll spend your last blissful moments.
Hit the beach before making your last offerings in Riviera Maya.
North American Destination: Riviera Maya, for an ancient Mayan offering
The small Caribbean district along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula is undoubtedly the best place in North America to spend your last day on Earth. Riviera Maya not only boasts stunning white-sand beaches and some of the most majestic natural beauty in the world, but it is also home to the ruins of 7th century A.D. Mayans. The Mayans, of course, were the ones who predicted the 2012 end of the world (or maybe they just ran out of rock), and the area is having its share of “End of the World” celebrations to honor the culture with ancient ceremonies.
Stay: Dreams Tulum Resort and Spa
The Tulum area of Rivieria Maya, where the Dreams is located, is the site of the walled cities of the Mayan culture, and the gateway to the ruins. The beachfront Dreams is only a five-minute drive from major ruins, where visitors can offer sacrifices or just say their prayers.
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Prost! Oktoberfest attendees cheers in Munich. Credit: Nikada/iStockPhoto
Sixteen days, over five million people, and — most importantly – seven million liters of beer: That’s Oktoberfest in Munich. What began as a wedding celebration in 1810 [Ed. note: Sounds like a fun wedding!] has grown into the world’s largest fair, attracting locals and tourists to the Bavarian city every September and October to down tasty traditional treats followed by long swigs of brew. Sound amazing? Yea, it’s pretty hard to beat. But nonetheless, it has inspired copycats all over the world, and they’re doing a pretty darn good job at keeping up. From Santiago to Hong Kong, Bavarian aficionados have hosted their own Oktoberfests for years: Some are traditional, some not so much, but they all harken back to their Munich origins in one way or another. So if you can’t make it to Germany this year, don’t fret. We have the scoop on the most wunderbar Oktoberfests across the globe — and the best hotels for sleeping off those delicious Bavarian brews. Prost! Read More »
We all like to get loose on vacation, and sometimes that means bringing strangers back to our rooms for afterhours fun (no judgments here, folks). Though many of our steamy hotels make for great couples retreats, a few of our favorites stand out for their one-night-only perks. All of these sexy spots offer up comfy beds and free breakfast, just in case your date — what was their name again? — happens to stick around for bacon and eggs. So whether you’re in the mood for some hot and heavy tub action or a fireplace to cozy up next to — plus the grub to soak up last night’s hangover — each of these hotels offer a little something extra for your perfect one-night stand.
WANTED: A Sure Thing
Bathroom in The Two Bedroom Suite at the Tortuga Bay
- Ideal Hunting Grounds: Tortuga Bay — Dominican Republic
- At Tortuga Bay, it’s hard not to get laid. All suites and villas at Tortuga Bay have in-room Jacuzzis, which are converted into private love tubs each night at turndown, complete with scented rose petals and lit candles. The resort also hosts its share of weddings, where bridesmaids and drunk singles are practically begging to go home with whom — or what — ever. And if for some reason, the Jacuzzi and wedding party fall through, prostitution is in fact legal in the Dominican Republic.
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The One-Bedroom Suite at the Swissotel Sydney; Sydney, Australia
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Swissotel Sydney is now offering discounted rates for guests who arrive in a hybrid car.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Saudi Princess Maha al-Sudari left a $7+ million bill unpaid at the Shangri-La Hotel Paris (and it’s not in her plans to settle it).
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Goring in London just launched the “Bath Menu”, which lets guests choose their favorite scents from a selection of Molton Brown toiletries.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Lords South Beach hotel has sued the Hotel On Rivington in New York for making its lobby a carbon copy of the Lords’ foyer.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The “Little Legends Package” at The Beverly Hills Hotel includes a “Red Carpet Arrival” for children, complete with sunglasses and a boa for girls, and a top hat for boys.
Check out the answers after the jump! Read More »
Are you an active traveler? Or perhaps like to get off the literal beaten path when on vacation? Now you can stay in shape and get in some R&R on your next vacation with these hot hotel services.
1. Waterfall Hiking in Kauai, Hawaii
We'd hike 500 miles for this view!
Only a short drive from the head of the Na Pali Coast trail, Hanalei Colony offers easy hiking access and rare oceanfront views on the breathtaking route. This strenuous hike on the Na Pali Coast is eight miles round trip, but it’s well worth the sweat: After the first leg of the journey, you’ll get to cool off in a natural pool beneath the 100-foot-high Hanakapiai Falls. And as with most nature climbs, it’s completely free.
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We already shared the scoop on vacations that could maybe, kinda kill you, but we have a brand-new batch of spots that practically scream danger. And while not typical of a “relaxing vacay,” these retreats are sure to get your adrenaline pumping. Catch up on your thrills by visiting one of these terrifying (but beautiful!) destinations.
Dive Off a Cliff
Cliff Diving at the Caves Hotel, Jamaica
- Where to Do It: The Caves, Jamaica
- Why It’s Killer: Set along Negril’s western-edge, The Caves’ multitude of natural rock formations are perfect for cliff diving — at three or thirty feet. Arguably Jamaica’s most romantic escape (for adults only), the Caves’ 11 unique, private cottages and suites are tucked along lush garden paths and dramatic seaside cliffs (there’s no beach). So sit back, relax, and let loose!
Seek out more incredible thrills after the jump!
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