This post originally appeared on Yahoo! Travel.
As much as we would all love to pack our bags and fly off to some remote corner of the world, the reality is that the majority of Americans won’t be leaving the “Land of the Free” any time soon. In fact, as of last year, a study showed that more than half of Americans have never left the country. A full third does not have a passport. When asked why, many of those Americans who participated in the study said they felt everything worth seeing was already in their own backyards. While we’d like to contest the veracity of that statement, we have to give credit where credit is due. The States DO have lots to offer travelers. From crystal clear waters that rival those in the Caribbean, to insurmountable mountain peaks that wow even the most experienced adventure traveler, the geography of America is as varied as the citizens that call it home. By that logic, you technically don’t have to leave the States to feel miles away. This summer, explore the far corners of America and discover just how diverse your country — you won’t even know you’re still on your home turf.
The Florida Keys are as close to the Caribbean (and its nice weather) as you can get in the U.S. Formerly thriving on the loot from wrecked ships, the Keys now thrive on tourism. Visitors flock to the area during the winter and spring to soak up the year-round heat and swim in the beautiful, calm waters. Situated on the third largest barrier reef in the world, the Keys are a great destination for snorkeling and scuba diving, and there are tons of other outdoor activities, too — tennis, golf, kayaking, fishing…the list goes on.
Stay: Little Palm Island Resort & Spa
Reachable only by boat or seaplane, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is located on a private island where wild key deer roam. It includes 30 luxurious suites, many with private oceanfront verandas. A favorite getaway for celebrities, it provides a secluded place to unplug from the world (use of technology is discouraged) and experience a romantic vacation in a lush, tropical environment. Read More »
With the arrival of warm(er) weather, the Great Outdoors have officially begun beckoning and we here at Oyster can’t wait to pack up some supplies and make for the trail head. The United States offers some of the most varied and stunningly gorgeous terrains in the world that make the perfect backdrop for a back-to-nature hike, whether you’re looking for a one-day jaunt or hoping to make a vacation out of the entire experience. No matter your ideal trail or fitness level, we’ve got you covered coast-to-coast with the best trails for an awesome hiking adventure. We’ve even included one spot you’ll have to cross the Pacific to get to! Break out the rucksack and dig up your hiking boots, because here are nine of the best hikes in the United States… as well as the best hotels nearby for each.
Gorgeous trails snake along Kauai’s stunning coast, and the Kalalua Trail is one of the most stunning, with beautiful sweeping vistas from atop the cliffs. Visitors can choose to hike a portion of the trail for a day excursion, or make an extended trip out of it: The entire trail is about 22 miles and can take three to five days to traverse. It’s often regarded as one of the finest — and most varied — coastal trails in the world, with challenging, muddy slopes and steamy tropical temperatures. Hikers can explore Kalalua Valley, home to enchanting waterfalls and lush foliage, or choose to rest up on the beach.
Stay: Hanalei Colony Resort
No TVs or phones here; instead, you get rare oceanfront views and easy access to hiking along the (practically adjacent) Na Pali Coast. The pool is small, housekeeping only comes every third day, and there’s little on offer at the free breakfast aside from bagels. But the 48 two-bedroom condos with full kitchens are worth the downsized features. Read More »
Mountain Lodge at Telluride, Colorado
Located in Mountain Village, Mountain Lodge at Telluride is a classic Colorado mountain getaway. This log-cabin style lodge offers spacious condo and cabin rentals for groups from two to 14 people. Most rooms have kitchens, gas fireplaces, and private balconies in addition to small touches like humidifiers to battle the dry Colorado air. One highlight of this hotel is the year-round outdoor pool and hot tub with sweeping mountain views. A cozy restaurant, called the View, has a huge fireplace and plenty of space to lounge over a local beer. Read More »
If you’re planning to hit the slopes in Colorado this winter and are looking for a place to stay, you can’t do much better than these gorgeous ski resorts. They embody everything a person wants out of a ski resort — think: handsome lodge decor, cozy apres-ski bars with roaring fires, sophisticated rooms, and first-rate services. If that sounds like your idea of a ski vacation (it sure works for us), take a look at our picks; these 11 gorgeous spots may solve all your planning woes.
The Four Seasons Vail opened in 2011, and is one of the area’s top hotels. All the rooms have warm colors, stone fireplaces, balconies, and huge marble bathrooms with standalone soaking tubs, and almost every amenity impresses, particularly the upscale spa (one of the best in Vail Valley) and lovely outdoor pool area. But it’s not directly on the slopes — guests face a 10-minute walk, or a short hotel shuttle ride. Read More »
Sometimes spa treatments tip over the edge of relaxing and enter the realm of downright strange. From fish pedicures to snow rooms, hotels around the globe are offering unique (and kinda weird) options for guests to indulge in. Some might swear by these alternative services, others may be skeptical — but we at Oyster will try (almost) anything once! Here, we’ve rounded up the craziest spa services we’ve come across during our travels. Take a look and prepare to get pampered in a whole new way!
The Treatment: Sparience Oxygen Bubble
The Spa Hotel: Gran Hotel La Florida, Barcelona
The Sparience Oyxgen Bubble experience is stress-reducing.
At the Zen Zone Spa in Barcelona, guests can try out the Sparience Oyxgen Bubble. Meant to relieve stress and minimize injury recovery time, these bubbles are filled with 99.5 percent pure oxygen, which should induce intense mental and physical relaxation. The sculpted AlphaSphere bed combines color, shape, and light with sound, vibrations, and warmth to increase the effects of the treatment. It all sounds well and good, but doesn’t it remind you a bit of this John Travolta classic? Read More »
Pool at the Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1. FACT OR FAKEOUT? Elton John requested a separate room for his collection of glasses (of which he has almost 25,000) during his recent stay at the Relais & Chateaux Santa Teresa hotel in Rio de Janeiro.
2. FACT OF FAKEOUT? The Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles rolled out a menu last month that offers several meals that are 500 calories or fewer.
3. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Benjamin hotel in New York City now allows guests to request calls to their rooms about an hour before bedtime to remind them to power off their electronic devices and prepare to go to sleep.
4. FACT OR FAKEOUT? A cup of seasonal, gourmet hot chocolate at the Four Seasons Resort Vail’s Fireside Lounge will set you back $16.
5. FACT OR FAKEOUT? The Time hotel in New York recently unveiled a life-size statue of NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has stated several times in interviews that this is his favorite hotel in Manhattan.
Check out the answers after the jump!
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Let’s face it: Traveling can bring out the inner germaphobe in even the most adventurous of us, and for good reason. There are lots of health risks encountered in your hotel room that you won’t necessarily find at home, from mold to industrial cleaning product residue. Didn’t even cross your mind ’til now? Well, fear not — more and more hotels are offering solutions, so your next hotel stay can be cleaner and safer than ever before. Read on to find out what to be wary of — and what you can do about it.
The Orchard Hotel in San Francisco uses chemical-free cleaning products.
The Risk: Chemical Cleaning Products
The chemicals in cleaning products used in many hotel rooms can make you sick — and routine exposure (road warriors, take note) can be life-threatening. Exposure to the carcinogens in cleaning products can increase cancer risk, while endocrine disruptors found in many pesticides, detergents, and disinfectants can confuse body hormones and cause fertility problems or even miscarriages.
The Solution: Chemical-Free Cleaning Products
Eco-friendly hotel initiatives are growing increasingly popular, and these days many hotels are being recognized for their efforts by organizations such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). So don’t be afraid to ask hotel staff about the cleaning products they use, or check out our research here. One of our favorite LEED-certified hotels is The Orchard Hotel, which was at the forefront of this movement. Among the very first LEED-certified hotels in San Francisco, the Orchard uses chemical-free cleaning products — among many other impressive green practices.
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What’s better than crawling into a soft, warm bed after a long day of skiing? Well, very few things, but an après-ski spa session may just top it! It’s not only that during a treatment your muscles can finally relax after so many hours of tension, but spa treatments also allow your mind to float away into a whole other dimension in which checking your work email or stressing over what to make for dinner is not even a dot in the horizon. With a wide array of world-class treatments, gorgeous facilities, and unique, tranquil vibes, these spas are your best bet for some après-ski pampering.
The full-service spa also offers salon services.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is a five-pearl, full-service resort in the mountains above Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort. Along with luxe rooms, fine dining, and ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes, the Ritz-Carlton offers many other recreational activities — including multiple outdoor pools and whirlpools that are open year-round. However, one of the best features of the hotel is its huge spa, complete with a wonderful fitness center with mountain views, and an outstanding treatment menu that ranges from organic mani-pedis to stone massages.
- Our favorite spa treatment: The hotel’s Signature Package includes a 50-minute organic massage, a 50-minute organic facial, and a 50-minute organic manicure and pedicure.
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Akin to that elusive “nineteenth hole” in golf, après-ski scenes are more about socializing than sporting. Groups gather after the last run of the day to drink, dance, and relive any hairpin turns they might have experienced on the slopes. We’ve traveled to North America’s premier ski locales and every time, after a blustery day on the mountains, nothing has warmed us up faster than a hot toddy by the fire in some of our favorite hotel bars. Featuring cozy ambiances, stunning views, and custom drinks, these hot spots are just the ticket for a solid après-ski social hour.
The Granary offers phenomenal views and cuisine in Jackson Hole.
This après-ski gem in Jackson Hole offers delicious, locally-sourced cuisine. Cocktails are tasty and the views…well, the views pretty much speak for themselves. With The Granary set in a wildlife refuge more than 700 feet above the Jackson Valley, it’s no wonder that the views are the most stunning of the Tetons in the area. Read More »