Urban Hotels

When the last sparkler has gone out, the wedding’s over. For most people. Except the bride and groom, natch. The tradition of taking a honeymoon is a long and storied one, but there’s been a consistent for many of those newlyweds: They wanna stay in a seriously swag suite. After all, it is sort of the one chance you have to live it up — unless you’re made of money, in which case, you should book a suite every time you travel. Ballers aside, the honeymoon is the best time to treat yourself to an awesome hotel room with all the bells and whistles two newlyweds could want — theoretically, at least.

The Honeymoon: Hong Kong
The Suite: Extreme WOW Suite at the W Hong Kong

WHongKong1

The Extreme WOW Suite reflects the high-design area of Kolwoon in Hong Kong.

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Amazing Jack & Jill sinks lets your newly betrothed know to stay away from your products.

Hong Kong is a fabulous urban destination for those couples seeking out incredible, modern architecture, world-class shopping, and Michelin-starred dining on a nightly basis. And the W Hong Kong is in the heart of the tourist district, Kowloon, and features all the funky extras you’d expect from a W as well as an unreal, souped-up version of the stateside Bliss Spa chain. And the Extreme WOW Suite not only has all the high-tech essentials that seem commonplace in Hong Kong, but also has a fully-stocked kitchenette, spacious closet (because every outfit was carefully planned and considered), and dizzying views of the harbor.

See more photos of the suite »

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Marijuana Legal or Illegal?

The times, oh they are a-changing. Credit: iStockPhoto

Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most celebrated cultural centers thanks to dozens of museums, picturesque canals, and an overall friendly atmosphere. But the city is also known for its Red Light district — filled with XXX-type entertainment — and its lax stance on marijuana. With more than 200 legal dispensaries, Amsterdam uses these laid-back laws as a means of subduing the black market drug trade and keeping crime rates low – keeping things soooo mellow, if you will. But this coming January, The Netherlands will vote on whether or not non-natives can buy pot at their infamous “brown cafes.” To locals, the initiative would mean residents would have to register as “users,” which would then be verified by a dispensary owner. But since we’re not Dutch, we figured we needed to pack our bags ASAP while we can still get legally stoned.  After scrounging the city, we found some of the best cafes — plus hotels where you can rest your head — in Europe’s Hemp Heaven.

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Unfortunately, business trips sometimes take all the pleasure out of traveling. You may be in an awesome destination, but you’re either cooped up in a conference room catching a presentation or burning the midnight oil, polishing up some sort of contract. But why should these trips be all work and no play just because they’re designated as the former? As avid travelers across the board, we say you might as well take advantage of your company-paid airfare and at least stay through the weekend. After all, you’ll need some R&R after those heated boardroom discussions. So we scoured U.S. cities to find the best hotels suited for mixing some business with pleasure. Because doesn’t everyone deserve even a little bit of playtime?

Where You’re Doing Business: New York City

Lobby at the Millennium UN Plaza

Lobby at the Millennium UN Plaza

Where You Should Stay: Millennium UN Plaza

Top Business Perks:

  • With a business-friendly, Midtown East address, the hotel is right next to the U.N. and is within walking distance of over 30 consulates. Plus, with U.N. offices housed in the hotel’s building, security is among the tightest in the city and a bomb-sniffing canine is permanently on-site.
  • Its 7,500 square feet of meeting space offers varying views of the East River, the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building.
  • All rooms have a printer, fax, and copier.

Leisurely Studies: The only hotel in the city with both an indoor pool and an indoor tennis court, the Millennium offers plenty of on-site fun for those hoping to unwind after a long business trip. Plus, with a sleek bar, the hotel is a nice spot for after-work or pre-partying drinks, and there are plenty of upscale bars and restaurants within walking distance.

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Hotel Le Notre Dame, Paris

Hotel Le Notre Dame, Paris

We’ve showed you some of the world’s most incredible hotel views — rooms looking onto the ocean, sweeping mountain vistas, and busy city streets. But even the most posh hotels can have a few drawbacks, like being assigned to an interior-facing hotel room. While it may mean quieter nights, it’ll definitely take away from that serene setting outside your window. So we decided to warn you about the top ten rooms to avoid next time you plan a trip.

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9 Dizzingly High Hotels

by Jane Reynolds on March 27, 2012

View from the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons New York

View from the Presidential Suite at the Four Seasons New York

You’ve seen our shots of gorgeous ocean views and stomach-dropping hotels on the edge, but we’ve yet to show off our staggering shots from crazy high hotels. And by staggering we don’t just mean staggeringly beautiful cityscapes (although some of them are) — we mean super-high views that’ll make you feel dizzy just looking at the photos. Whether they be in New York City or Hong Kong, taken from the penthouse or the elegant top-floor restaurant, these hotel views are jaw-dropping — and sometimes nausea-inducing! Check out nine breath-taking views from hotels around the world.

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Most people associate springtime travel with crazy parties like spring break, but these five cities are perfect for visiting this season — and will leave you without the boozy side effects. These our some of our top cities to poke around in while the weather warms up.

NEW ORLEANS

Bienville House in New Orleans, LA

Bienville House; New Orleans, LA

Mark Twain once said “In America, there is New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” In what’s arguably one of the most culturally unique cities in the country, it’s easy to see what he meant. Of course, it’s the birthplace of Jazz and home of epic Mardi Gras celebrations, but the city itself has much more depth than that, including legendary cuisine, historic architecture, and a buzzing nightlife. Spring is one of the best times to make your way to NoLa, not only so you can avoid the sweltering summer temperatures, but also so you can take advantage of the New Orleans Jazz Festival, French Quarter Festival, and Bayou Boogaloo.

Editor’s Pick: Bienville House

Check out our other favorite springtime cities after the jump.

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A few weeks back, we had the pleasure of attending a luncheon organized by the Singapore Tourism Board. And it truly was a pleasure, munching on traditional specialties like laksa and Hainanese chicken rice while listening to Anthony Bourdain – Singapore’s unofficial spokesperson — wax philosophical about the island nation’s vibrant food culture. Just listening to that man talk about Singapore’s street food and hawker centers is enough to make you book a plane ticket in order to indulge in piping hot beef rendang for a week.

The view from the Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

But learning about Singapore was especially interesting for us for one reason in particular: Shortly, Singapore will be a brand new destination added to Oyster! You heard it here first: We have a hotel investigator on the ground in Singapore, hard at work photographing and evaluating hotels – probably as we are writing this.

Below we’re giving you an exclusive SNEAK PEEK at some of the beautiful and truly unbelievable hotels you will see reviewed on Oyster soon.

Check out more photos of a few of Singapore’s luxury hotels after the jump!

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Who doesn’t like to wake up in the morning and find the Eiffel Tower outside their window? Or open the drapes at night and see the Chicago River glittering with hundreds of lights from the nearby skyscrapers? Most of us don’t have that at home, but, hey, that’s what hotels are for, right? Check out the first in a series of our most favorite sights (and eye-sores) from the best hotels around the globe. Get ready to start planning your next urban getaway by checking out our favorite city views!

The King Deluxe Room at the Palazzo Manfredi; Rome, Italy

The King Deluxe Room at the Palazzo Manfredi; Rome, Italy

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With the Year of the Dragon fast approaching, Chinese communities across the U.S. (and everyone who likes a good party) are gearing up for the host of events that will take place starting on January 23 as part of the New Years’ celebration.  San Francisco, New York and LA all have a long list of parades, traditional performances and balls — but it’s where you’re kicking up your heels at night that matters. Several of our favorite hotels have created special packages for you to enjoy — and partake in — the Chinese New Year celebration.

Dragon Gate in Chinatown, San Francisco, CA

Dragon Gate in Chinatown; San Francisco, CA

SAN FRANCISCO

Boasting the largest Chinatown in the country, it’s no wonder San Francisco has some of the best festivities.  You might have missed the Flower Market Fair, but you can still get tickets here for the traditional concert given by the San Francisco Symphony Chinese New Year Community on February 11; take part in the 34th annual Chinese New Year Run rolling through Chinatown on February 19; enjoy the parade on February 11, and head to the zoo on January 29 to catch some acrobatic performances, tricks and more specialized family fun.

Where to Stay: Omni San Francisco Hotel
The 362-room Omni has spacious, quiet rooms and terrific service that’s on par with some of San Francisco’s best (and most expensive) hotels. Décor is tasteful and classic, the on-site steakhouse is outstanding, and the property is just steps from Chinatown and public transportation.

Lobby at the Omni San Francisco Hotel; San Francisco, CA

Lobby at the Omni San Francisco Hotel; San Francisco, CA

Chinese New Year Package: Accommodation in a Deluxe Room, two tickets for bleacher seating on the parade route, fortune cookie amenity and free valet parking for one vehicle, for $385 per night.

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OK, so even though Oyster.com is a travel website and our main goal is to deliver the truth about hotels, we also secretly moonlight as a life coach. That’s right, we can dole out advice on waaaay more than just hotels; don’t forget — we helped you get over your ex, offered Lindsay Lohan some sound legal advice, and dissected the key moments in Kris and Kim’s “marriage” (if you can call it that) that lead to the split. So yeah, we’re basically the new-and-improved Dr. Phil with a ton of travel tips to boot. To help transform your lifestyle, we scoured the globe and found the destinations best suited for changing your life for the better. (We guess some people can handle the total transformation at home but a vacation is always nice, right?) So grab a friend who’s also in need of a little improvement and head to Oyster’s top five picks for transforming your life! Check ‘em out below or on Shape.com.

Sunday Farmers' Market in Washington, D.C.

Sunday Farmers' Market; Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.

Ranked by PETA as one of the most veg (and vegan)-friendly cities in the country, Washington, D.C. is the perfect spot to transform your diet. Going vegetarian is all the rage (Meatless Monday, anyone?) — it’s been proven to be good for your heart, your skin, and your immune system – and D.C. has tons of vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants. But even if you’re just looking to increase your veggie intake without completely swearing off meat (I mean, have vegetarians never had a hamburger before? Hard to give up, don’t you think?), D.C. is a good place to be. With the First Lady’s “Let’s Move” nutrition initiative, the capital is all about you getting your three to four servings of fruits and veggies (each!) every day. Read More »

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