Are you on Santa’s Naughty or Nice list this year? We’ve seen a lot of good and bad behaviors during our travels over the last year — and maybe dabbled in both as well! So we know every dirty little secret, or shiny gold star, that you’ve been part-and-parcel to on vacation. But if you’re not sure where you stand in Santa’s twinkling eyes, we’re here to help. You can find out whether your favorite hotel amenities will get your stockings stuffed full of goodies or weighed down by coal this holiday season with our quiz. So check out which list you’re on!
The Naughty List:
1. Have you stripped down?
Clothing optional resorts like the Desire Riviera Maya can see some X-rated action.
For some travelers, itsy bitsy bikinis or revealing Speedos just don’t cut it — a vacation isn’t a vacation without a little nudity. Luckily for them, some hotels are redefining casual dress with policies that let guests bare it all (or almost all), like the couples-only, clothing-optional Desire Resort & Spa Riviera Maya. A little voyeurism never hurt anyone — but don’t be surprised if your nude antics land you on the naughty list this winter.
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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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Hotels are notorious for placing ridiculous price hikes on minibar offerings. That bag of chips that looks so good after a long plane ride becomes a lot less appealing when it comes with a $9 price tag. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From sex toy collections to custom chocolates, hotel minibars are becoming more and more exorbitant every day. Here’s a list of some of the priciest minibar offerings in hotel history. Prepare yourself for some serious sticker-shock!
$400 Pleasure Pack at The Drake Hotel, Toronto
And with peek-a-boo showers, do you really need that $400 pleasure pack?
This funky boutique hotel in Toronto’s newly gentrified Art and Design District is full of unique, modern elements that attract a hip crowd — as does the hot nightclub on-site. But even these riotous visitors might balk at the $400 price tag on one of the hotel’s in-room pleasure packages. The Lap of Luxury set includes a black silk scarf and a 24-karat-gold waterproof vibrator for some serious (and seriously luxurious) sexy time. Batteries are included, so that’s something.
The Rooftop Lounge is one of the nightlife hot spots in the Art and Design District.
The Thompson Toronto is every bit as hip as its sister properties stateside. With a hopping rooftop bar boasting some of the most striking views in this part of town, and renowned dining at Scarpetta, the hotel is a local party destination in the heart of the trendy Art and Design District. Rooms are sleek, with floor-to-ceiling windows, mod furniture, and sumptuous beds with custom-made Sferra sheets. The white marble bathrooms are no less dazzling, with rainforest showerheads, Tocca toiletries and heated floors. One of the hotel’s most unique features, however, is its sleek infinity rooftop pool, which has a chic deck with expansive vistas. For those who want to keep up with their work-out routine during their trip, the hotel offers a large, bright fitness center with modern equipment, and a yoga studio with a wide array of classes. See more incredible photos after the jump or read our full review now.
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If you and your partner are planning a quick family escape before the holiday rush, — or are thinking ahead (kudos!) for outings between next year’s school breaks – we’ve come up with four great vacation ideas to offer you a little inspiration. Whether your family wants fun in the sun, a bit of culture, or just a change of scenery, we’ve found the best LGBT family getaways for all types. And as with any good family-friendly destination, these trips have a little something extra for parents to enjoy after the kiddies have gone to bed.
In Search Of: Culture
The "New York up North," Toronto has plenty of cultural sights
Tagged as “New York run by the Swiss,” Toronto is a massive (and clean!) cultural hub, with a reputation for being both family- and gay-friendly. Canada’s biggest city also has world-renowned restaurants, shopping, and theaters, with quick and easy transportation to take you there. The Fairmont Royal York is one of the Toronto’s premier hotels with its elegant, old world charm, and a prime location blocks from the shopping and attractions of Yonge Street. After a day of sight-seeing on Yonge or in the nearby Entertainment District, parents can cozy up for an intimate evening at the Library Bar, or one of the hotel’s award-winning restaurants, such as the locally-focused Epic. Read More »
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 »
The luxe Hazelton Hotel wants its guests to be comfortable — no matter the cost.
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Hazelton Hotel in Toronto recently installed a handcrafted bed from Hastens that costs almost 30 times the price of a week-long stay in the hotel’s Superior Guest Room.
2. FACT OR FAKEOUT? During Tom Cruise’s recent visit to the Forza Mare Hotel in Croatia, the film star requested that the hotel clear itself of all guests so he might enjoy a more private stay.
3.FACT OR FAKEOUT? Guests at New York City’s iconic Bemelman’s Bar at The Carlyle were treated to an impromptu jazz performance from Mariah Carey last weekend.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Reporters covering last week’s Democratic National Convention had a lot more to worry about than the return of Clint Eastwood’s chair: Hotels in Charlotte were reamed by reporters across networks for hosting everything from bedbugs to drug dealers during their stay.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? VH1′s next Vegas reality show is pitting model against model at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in which contestants have to complete Vegas-inspired stunts (think swimming with sharks at Mandalay or sleeping with the lions at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino) to win a spokesmodel contract with the hotel.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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The rooftop lounge at The Drake Hotel is an ideal wedding venue for a rock & roll couple.
Rocker brides and grooms, get ready: We’ve found just the venue for your upcoming nuptials. Located in Toronto’s funky Art and Design District, The Drake Hotel is known for its edgy vibe befitting the neighborhood. Its 19 rooms each have their own hip style with modern touches — including Malin + Goetz toiletries, flat-screen TVs, and iPod docks — and each comes with a “pleasure menu” that adventurous newlyweds (or “lucky” bridesmaids) might enjoy. And perhaps the biggest draw for hard-partying couples and their entourage is the hotel’s popular nightclub, The Drake Underground, where a flash of your room key lets you skip the line, and the bass pumps into the wee hours: Beauty rest before the big day is better gotten elsewhere…but that’s overrated, right?
At The Drake, you will also be in walking distance of parks, museums, and shopping, so anything you might need for the big day is close at hand. Not that you’ll have to worry about much. The staff at The Drake is known as much for their attentive service as for their partyin’ lifestyle. And they’re not all about Rock & Roll receptions (though those hosted in the Underground are known to be legendary). The rooftop lounge, Sky Yard, has seen its fair share of classic outdoor ceremonies, for those looking for a more traditional wedding with just a hint of edge (perhaps to satisfy a certain overbearing mother-in-law — not that we’re naming any names). And the hotel will gladly take care of all décor and catering details, offering custom bake sale options and fresh flowers. So if you like to party and want a non-traditional locale, The Drake Hotel is a rockin’ choice. Check out more wedding-inspired photos of the hotel here »
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If there’s one thing we’ve learned this summer it’s that the Brits are classy. From the Diamond Jubilee to the ongoing Olympic games, it’s clear that Her Royal Majesty recognizes true luxury when she sees it (and isn’t afraid to parachute out of a helicopter, either…but that’s a whole other story). While we all might be wishing our way to London right now, it might be easier – and just as fabulous – to visit some of the Royals’ favorite hotels beyond the British Isles. They can’t take their castles with them when they travel, but Queen Elizabeth II and company do find some of the most elegant, indulgent properties to call home when touring the globe. Just don’t forget to pack your finery when traveling to these hotels – they are, after all, literally fit for a queen.
Regal Entrance to Half Moon, Jamaica
Since opening in 1954, Jamaica’s Half Moon resort has played host to many a royal, including HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Phillip, HRH The Prince of Wales, and HRH Princess Margaret. This exclusive resort is built on a perfectly shaped crescent beach (hence its celestial name), and is known for its timeless, understated luxury across every nook and cranny of its 400 acres. Classic design, attentive service and quality cuisine are abound – even at the swim-up bar. But what truly sets Half Moon apart from other resorts is its endless breadth of activities. Guests can swim with dolphins in the resort’s private cove, play tennis or golf, windsurf, kayak, choose from a myriad of spa treatments…the list literally goes on for a bit. With so many options (even if HRH chooses only to soak in the Jamaican sun), the island’s status as member of the British Commonwealth, and Half Moon’s dedication to service and taste, it’s no wonder the royals feel right at home here.
Oyster’s Fave Royal Amenity: Half Moon’s Equestrian Center gets it major British brownie points. Polo is as British as tea and crumpets, and at Half Moon the boys (Their Royal Boys?) can work on their form, beach-side.
Look at that view: Who would’ve guessed that a Canadian city-scape could rival one of our own stellar NYC lookouts? [Ed. note: Sorry, we're biased.] At the Thompson Toronto, the rooftop bar offers gorgeous views and is furnished with sexy, striped loungers. Plus, the walls of glass surrounding the area lend an open, airy feel to the space and the rooftop’s infinity pool speaks for itself. But the hotel’s cool amenities don’t end there; down below there is a state-of-the-art screening room, the renowned Scarpetta restaurant, and a yoga studio to ground you – in case all of that open air gets to your head.
View from the Rooftop Bar at the Thompson Toronto