ALL POSTS IN [Special Features]

By Oyster.com Staff

US Virgin Islands

The small collection of mostly arid islands that make up the US Virgin Islands has long been a seafarers stomping ground — from the pirates of yore to today’s more abundant cruise ship hordes and the occasional yachtsman. And as they have for the past 400 years, people come to the islands mainly to drink, relax on the beach, and bargain shop — often, in just that order. Traveling to the islands, considered “insular areas” or “unincorporated territories” of the United States, is in many ways analogous to traveling within the US — citizens don’t need a passport, the US dollar is the official currency, and English is the official language. But a trip to the Virgin Islands still feels like a getaway with its laid-back atmosphere and sunny weather.

The islands’ hotels are largely concentrated on the 3 main islands – St. Thomas (the only island with an airport), St. John, and, to a lesser extent, St. Croix. Since the islands are so small, anywhere you stay will be within about a 30-minute drive from anywhere else on the island. Hotels range from the low-key, no-frills, family-owned spots, to all-inclusive mega-resorts, to unplugged, natural luxury, like at Caneel Bay, a historic sugar plantation turned top-notch hotel visited by the rich and famous (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have stayed here). Even with a quaint pool and rustic rooms that lack TVs and phones, Caneel’s attentive service and unparalleled setting make it one of the Caribbean’s best resorts. On neighboring St. Thomas, the Ritz-Carlton is also a luxe option, located only 5 minutes from Red Hook’s fun dining and yacht scene. And those traveling with kids (and on a tighter budget) may consider the Sugar Bay Resort and Spa – a clean, modern, family-oriented resort with a full-service spa, an excellent snorkeling beach and tons of kids’ activities.

This week, our favorite travel blog posts all feature something that’s a little hard to believe – whether it’s the world’s largest Christmas tree, the discovery of a unicorn lair (!!!), a woman who sold everything so she could see the world, or tips for actually fitting everything in a carry-on (it can be done!).

A Luxury Travel Blog shows us the biggest Christmas tree in the world, located in Umbria, Italy. The Guinness Book of Records dubbed it in 1991, but does it really count as a tree? That’s your call.

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Here at Travel Channel, we’re in the mood for anything (and everything) ho-ho-holiday travel-realted. We hope our picks for our favorite holiday content will put you in the mood, too! See what our editors are hoping Santa brings them this year, learn about the most exciting holiday destinations, and more:

Holiday Travel Moodboard

1) Give the Gift of Travel

2) Find the perfect present for the globetrotter in your life with the 2012 Lost Girls Gift Guide

3) See what’s hot this month — from Christmas cookies to holiday festivals with our Decadent December gallery

4) Check out some of this year’s Most Exciting Holiday Destinations

5) See how Christmas is celebrated around the world

6) Get a look at what the Travelchannel.com editors are hoping to find under the tree this year with our Editors’ Picks

7) Track Santa’s amazing adventures around the globe — we caught him water skiing in Virginia and swimming with dolphins in Japan

By Oyster.com Staff

Park City

Park City is Utah’s version of Aspen, though most would argue that its more laid-back than its Colorado counterpart. Considered one of the best places in the world to ski, Park City attracts tons of skiers and snowboarders with its fresh powder. Celebrities also flock to Park City during the winter — some for the slopes, but many for the Sundance Film Festival in January.

There are actually 3 distinct ski resorts in Park City, with distinct reputations: Park City Mountain is known as the party spot, while Deer Valley is for the rich and famous, and The Canyons attracts numerous families, being home to the largest mountain in the area as well as more casual, family-friendly accommodations. Bear Hollow Village is a neighborhood-like resort in The Canyons, featuring 3-bedroom condos and 3- and 4-bedroom townhouses. The individually owned condos and townhouses vary in decor and modernity, but all feature fireplaces, washer/dryers, sleek kitchens, and often reasonable rates. The nearby Waldorf Astoria, on the other hand, is luxurious in every way, starting with the beautiful lobby — crystal chandeliers hang from the high beamed ceilings, antlers protrude from the walls (a must in Park City) and leather and dark-wood accents give a dramatic but warm feel.

Deer Valley is the ultra-luxe option in Park City. Sidewalks are heated, restaurants are tres chic, and ski valets are free (but snowboarding is prohibited on the mountain). The 170-room Stein Eriksen Lodge offers ski-in, ski-out access to Deer Valley Resort, and has a design style that could be described as “wilderness chic.” It’s popular among couples for its romantic spa, 2 restaurants and year-round outdoor pool. The nearbySt. Regis, complete with elegant rooms and gorgeous views, is one of the only properties in the area that compares.

Champs-Elysees in Paris

From fancy hotels, airline dating, or gadgets that get rid of jet-leg, our selection of travel blogs this week gives you even more reason to get bitten by the “travel bug.”

Those goodies in your hotel room’s minibar seem so tempting until you see their price tags. But check out Oysterblog’s list for the most expensive minibar offerings and that $10 bag of chips might seem to be a bit more reasonable compared to these pricy treats that could cost you an arm and a leg!

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By Oyster.com Staff

The city’s wonderful restaurants, fabulous shopping, hundreds of arts and culture venues, and world-class museums prove that Atlanta is one of the fastest-growing — and most exciting — destinations in the country. Home to the world’s largest aquarium, the new World of Coca-Cola, dozens of beautiful parks and the High Museum of Art, the hometown of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. is a gorgeous city that has made a name for itself in the new South. At the same time, Atlanta seamlessly exudes laid-back Southern charm and high-arts cultural appeal, both of which account for the millions of visitors that descend upon the city each year.

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Pin of the Week

This week, the cold weather has started settling in, and we’ve been setting our sights on warmer destinations. It seems we’re not the only ones, since our most popular pin on Pinterest this week is the luxurious Four Seasons Resort at Hualalai in Hawaii. And from its collection of local Hawaiian art from 1775 to today, to its 7 pools, including 2 carved from ancient lava rock, what’s not to love? Check out our Best Hawaiian Resorts for even more warm weather getaways. And make sure to follow our Daily Escape pinboard so you can get our daily fix of wanderlust delivered directly to your pin feed!

This Week in Photos

From a “magic equation” for budgeting travel to 5 tips for rescheduling flights during these upcoming holidays, this week’s travel blog round-up not only adds to our already bad case of wanderlust, but is chock-full of useful tips as well.

Traveling, of course, can come with a large cost. To prevent blowing your budget halfway through your trip, Gadling shares their “magic equation” to help you decide how much vacation you can afford, and what luxury activities you might have to take off your agenda.

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By Oyster.com Staff

For skiers and nature enthusiasts alike, there are very few places that compare to Jackson Hole. The low-lying valley, located near Wyoming’s western border and surrounded by the Teton Mountain Range, is the gateway to some of the nation’s most spectacular national parks, including Grand Teton, Yellowstone and the National Elk Reserve. The easily available hiking, biking, river rafting, camping and skiing attracts visitors here year-round. READ MORE

Anthony Bourdain

Tonight at 9|8c, Anthony Bourdain heads to Brooklyn for the final episode of No Reservations. See Tony’s thoughts on the final episode and the establishments in the episode affected by Hurricane Sandy.

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Latest Pins on Pinterest

  • Lake Placid, New York

  • Before Selfies

  • Atlantic City in the ‘20s

  • Vintage Hamptons