Oyster's Photo Fakeouts - Start Slideshow

Oyster visits hotels in person, takes hundreds of photos of each, and posts them so our visitors know exactly what they're booking into. There's a huge difference between the photos we take and the ones on other travel sites. So if that pool, which looks so sparkling blue on their shot isn't exactly azure, we'll show you.

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Sexy lady phenomenon

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Sexy lady phenomenon

See if you can spy the difference between these photos. Don't think too hard -- it's pretty obvious. Did you get it? The answer is: humans! That's right -- real, live hotel guests. Read More »
D.R. Photo Fakeout: The myth of mega resort serenity

D.R. Photo Fakeout: The myth of mega resort serenity

In the spirit of pointing out misleading promotional hotel photos, we felt the need to call out some of the beaches that, in real life, don't quite look like they do on the hotel's website. All too often, mega resorts market their beaches as pristine… Read More »
Miami Photo Fakeout: Model Man goes surfing in a hot tub

Miami Photo Fakeout: Model Man goes surfing in a hot tub

South Beach's Aqua Hotel isn't a horrible place to stay, but it's definitely not all its website makes it out to be. Even granting that the hotel can't be expected to have the hotty model around all the time, the "pool" -- which in fact… Read More »
Hawaii Photo Fakeout: The magical art of the teensy pool crop

Hawaii Photo Fakeout: The magical art of the teensy pool crop

This Oahu hotel may be named the Aqua Aloha Surf, but it certainly doesn't have a whole lot of aqua in its lima bean pool. Just like the The Equus, the hotel shows a zoomed-in, cropped section of the pool on its website to give… Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: The magic of framing hides the magic of Macy's

L.A. Photo Fakeout: The magic of framing hides the magic of Macy's

Listen, Sofitel L.A. We understand that you'd probably rather not advertise for Macy's on your own website -- and we understand you'd rather not advertise the fact that Macy's is right there, bumpin' up against your pool. Read More »
Wedding Photo Fakeout: A classy, intimate beach wedding for everybody!

Wedding Photo Fakeout: A classy, intimate beach wedding for everybody!

Imagine setting a date to say your vows -- notifiying only your nearest and dearest; a handful of your most cherished family members and pals -- and running off to the Dominican Republic with your spouse-to-be, dizzy with excitement and drunk on love. And imagine… Read More »
Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Riu Negril Club

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Riu Negril Club

Hotels can be good at hiding things under the covers. The Riu Negril Club website photo would be pretty accurate, if it didn't camouflage one very important fact: The "king bed" is really two double beds pushed together. Not a vacation ruiner, but certainly a… Read More »
D.R. Photo Fakeout: This buffet looked more delicious in 1988

D.R. Photo Fakeout: This buffet looked more delicious in 1988

The following is a dream sequence, inspired by the buffet on the left (as shown on the Grand Palladium Bavaro Resort and Spa's website): Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: Can you spot the differences between these two images?

L.A. Photo Fakeout: Can you spot the differences between these two images?

Looks like someone got all dressed up for picture day! On the left is the image of a Deluxe King room displayed on Ayres Hotel's website. On the right is a picture we snapped during our stay. Can you spot the differences between these two… Read More »
D.C. Photo Fakeout: The U.S. Capitol is close, but not this close

D.C. Photo Fakeout: The U.S. Capitol is close, but not this close

Proximity to power is valuable currency in Washington, D.C. So it won’t surprise folks inside the Beltway that the city’s prominent players occasionally exaggerate their standing. But we’re from New York City, and we couldn’t help but notice that this photo, which appears on the… Read More »
Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Breezes Montego Bay

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Breezes Montego Bay

The beautiful sunset, lush foliage, cushioned lounge chairs and decorative Jacuzzi tiles in the Breezes Montego Bay hotel website photo above look lovely and romantic -- but, as our reporter found, they don't actually exist! Add enough air brushing and any hotel will look like… Read More »
Miami Photo Fakeout: The Essex House Hotel

Miami Photo Fakeout: The Essex House Hotel

We think The Essex House Hotel in South Beach, Miami is a great value -- but we're not big fans of their Photoshopped marketing photos. On the left is a marketing photo we found on Expedia.com, which conveniently leaves out a street lamp and traffic… Read More »
Hawaii Photo Fakeout: The magical art of the teensy pool crop, part 2

Hawaii Photo Fakeout: The magical art of the teensy pool crop, part 2

Take a gander at the images above; the picture on the left was pulled from each hotel's website, the one on the right was snapped by Oyster reporters. Yes, The Equus on Oahu appears to have slyly attempted the ol' crop trick -- which we… Read More »
Las Vegas Photo Fakeout: Color me sad

Las Vegas Photo Fakeout: Color me sad

On the left is the image used by the California Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas to promote their Deluxe King rooms. On the right is a photo of the same type of room, um, in real life. Read More »
Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Smiling gym-goers are questionable

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Smiling gym-goers are questionable

Listen, hotel marketers: nobody smiles at the gym. The gym is a No-Fun Zone. People don't go to the hotel fitness center to chitty-chat like that; they go to the hotel bar. You're practically begging us to expose a Photo Fakeout with this kind of… Read More »
Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Another reason to be suspicious of people who smile in gyms

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: Another reason to be suspicious of people who smile in gyms

Alright: it has been established that Montego Bay has to be seen to be believed. That is, the photos on some Montego Bay hotels' websites are not to be believed. *Ahem* Read More »
Miami Photo Fakeout: The smiling gym-goer strikes again

Miami Photo Fakeout: The smiling gym-goer strikes again

Oh, look. A photo pulled off of a hotel website featuring people smiling and laughing in a gym, a place where people are (typically) neither smiling nor laughing. Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: The Incredible Shrinking Pool

L.A. Photo Fakeout: The Incredible Shrinking Pool

Dear Hotel Oceana, We really like you. Your little boutique in Santa Monica has a quiet vibe and bright, enormous rooms, and you're only 15 minutes from the beach on foot. And that heart-shaped pool in the courtyard is cute. So it just seems so… Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: When flora goes missing

L.A. Photo Fakeout: When flora goes missing

We've already brought you countless examples of sly cropping, elaborate camerawork, and conspicuously missing hotel decor. For today's Photo Fakeout: the case of the mysteriously disappearing plants at The London West Hollywood. Often, hotel websites show off guest rooms that include everything from purple orchids… Read More »
Hawaii Photo Fakeout: A hotel gym that really looks like your parents' basement

Hawaii Photo Fakeout: A hotel gym that really looks like your parents' basement

We've previously shown you photos of people suspiciously smiling in gyms that are anything but smile-worthy. First there were the overly happy ladies at Jamaica's Runaway Bay Heart Hotel; then there was this deceptive backdrop at the Holiday Inn Resort (also in Jamaica), and finally… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: NYC Hotel Hides Its 'Hood

New York Photo Fakeout: NYC Hotel Hides Its 'Hood

"Hotel 91 is a new 70 room smoke free hotel located in Manhattan's vibrant Lower East Side. Chinatown, Little Italy, SoHo, Wall Street, and other major NYC attractions are only steps away." Read More »
Las Vegas Photo Fakeout: Good luck finding a lounge chair

Las Vegas Photo Fakeout: Good luck finding a lounge chair

Aaah, the sand squishes between your toes, the calm water laps at the shore, and the sun beats on your shoulders. You must be in... Las Vegas?! That's right. There's no amenity too crazy for Las Vegas hotels (rollercoaster anyone?), and "beaches" are no exception… Read More »
Miami Photo Fakeout: Blue Moon shows off a too-blue pool

Miami Photo Fakeout: Blue Moon shows off a too-blue pool

Sometimes a photo's water is a little bit too blue, its trees are a little bit too green, and its cocktails are just a little bit too... yellow. In addition to some glaring color enhancement, the marketing photo of Miami's Blue Moon Hotel shown above… Read More »
D.R. Photo Fakeout: The vanishing building at Don Juan Beach Resort

D.R. Photo Fakeout: The vanishing building at Don Juan Beach Resort

Ahh, the Dominican Republic. The sun shines, the breeze lightly blows, and the palm trees sway. And, at least at the Don Juan Beach Resort, buildings disappear. While the marketing photo on the left would have you think that the pool has an unobstructed view… Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: This pool was ready for (only) its close-up

L.A. Photo Fakeout: This pool was ready for (only) its close-up

As we've seen before with the pools at Aqua Aloha Surf and The Equus, photographers like to get and down dirty with hotel pools. By zooming in on just a corner, marketers can make the pool look larger than it is. When part of the… Read More »
L.A. Photo Fakeout: A pool shows off only its good side

L.A. Photo Fakeout: A pool shows off only its good side

Like we just saw in our previous Photo Fakeout at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Beverly Hills, by showing only a small part of the pool, a hotel can lead consumers to believe that the pool is larger than it is. It's only when you can… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: Hello, wall!

New York Photo Fakeout: Hello, wall!

Both of the above photos are of a Deluxe Room with One King Bed. And this room at the Holiday Inn New York City -- Wall Street is pretty nice -- a big bed, a window that lets in plenty of natural light, a small… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: The skinny on a not-so-wide pool

New York Photo Fakeout: The skinny on a not-so-wide pool

The Empire Hotel in New York City is a great hotel with a rooftop bar, swanky decor, a seafood restaurant, and a great location. Plus, it's been immortalized for an entire generation by Gossip Girl as the hotel that boy-billionare Chuck Bass owns and lives… Read More »
Jamaica Photo Fakeout: You might run away from this hot tub

Jamaica Photo Fakeout: You might run away from this hot tub

There's no denying that the hot tub at Jewel Runaway Bay Beach & Golf Resort, Jamaica is bright and colorful, but there's something just a little too pristine and perfect about this hotel photo (on the left) that we found on a booking website. The… Read More »
Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: Shiny, Pretty (Traffic) Lights

Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: Shiny, Pretty (Traffic) Lights

By now, after finding so many Photo Fakeouts, we're used to the basics of hotel marketing images. Take, for example, the perfect (ahem, perfectly airbrushed) blue sky seen in the above photo (the left one, that is). It cascades so nicely from midnight blue down… Read More »
Miami Photo Fakeout: An Indoor Kiddie Pool Turned Adult

Miami Photo Fakeout: An Indoor Kiddie Pool Turned Adult

What you don't see may really be what you get. Looking for the classic, Olympic-sized indoor pool experience? Well, unfortunately you'll have to look further than the Claridge in Miami. You won't be able to do your morning laps here. The magical art of the… Read More »
Groupon Photo Fakeout: A Not-So-Shiny Pool

Groupon Photo Fakeout: A Not-So-Shiny Pool

Groupon's deals may not be as trustworthy as you've previously believed. Currently, the ever-popular deals site is offering a package at the Clinton Hotel & Spa South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida. Groupon and Expedia have teamed up to offer their consumers great deals, but… Read More »
Costa Rica Photo Fakeout: The missing panoramic view

Costa Rica Photo Fakeout: The missing panoramic view

Hotel La Mariposa only shows one photo of a Full Ocean View Room on its website (seen above, left). When we checked into that same room type, we sadly only found one of the three windows shown in the hotel's photo. Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: The Two By Four Room

New York Photo Fakeout: The Two By Four Room

We know New York has small rooms. And since we've really seen it all, we know when something looks too good to be true. The Hudson Hotel in New York cropped its marketing photo just before the wall (seen left) so the viewer can't see… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: The Tiny Fitness Center

New York Photo Fakeout: The Tiny Fitness Center

Looking to burn some calories during your hotel stay? It's not impossible. But if you're looking for some breathing room in between intervals, steer clear of the fitness center at the Holiday Inn New York City - Wall Street. While the hotel's marketing photo has… Read More »
St. Lucia Photo Fakeout: The art of the pool crop, redefined

St. Lucia Photo Fakeout: The art of the pool crop, redefined

On the hotel's website, the Marigot Beach Club shows off an expansive, aquamarine pool -- that's in the ground, of course. But when Oyster visited this St. Lucia spot, we found the pool to be quite a bit smaller -- and above the ground, too… Read More »
Barbados Photo Fakeout: Does that Jacuzzi come with champagne?

Barbados Photo Fakeout: Does that Jacuzzi come with champagne?

That attractive couple looks like they have plenty of room to invite a few friends to join them in the Jacuzzi -- with some champagne, of course -- from the Sugar Cane Club's photo. The reality? Not so much. In fact, they could barely squeeze… Read More »
Lima Photo Fakeout: Mood lighting and a photo crop makes all the difference

Lima Photo Fakeout: Mood lighting and a photo crop makes all the difference

On Expedia, the pool area at the Country Club Lima Hotel seems to have a sexy, tranquil vibe with mood lighting and a large pool. By day (and without the art of the photo crop), it's a bit of a different scene. Sure, it still… Read More »
San Juan Photo Fakeout: Bringing the pool crop to a whole new level

San Juan Photo Fakeout: Bringing the pool crop to a whole new level

Did the hotel's website show a photo of a different pool? We gotta hand it to their marketing team and photo editors, the photo on their website not only shows a massive pool, but it does a good job of cropping out the Holiday Inn's… Read More »
Washington, D.C. Photo Fakeout: A pretty view that doesn't exist

Washington, D.C. Photo Fakeout: A pretty view that doesn't exist

What a view! Though the L'Enfant Plaza's website shows off a room with a shockingly close view of the Washington Monument (on the backdrop of beautiful blue skies, no less), our room at the hotel looked out onto a shockingly close wall, instead. Sure, some… Read More »
Boston Photo Fakeout: Setting the stage -- literally

Boston Photo Fakeout: Setting the stage -- literally

We love this Photo Fakeout because it's a true testament to the powers that styling a space can (and do) have. Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The Technicolor Effect

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The Technicolor Effect

The water is SO blue, the foilage is SO green, it's almost too good to be true! Well, it is. Many rooms at Conchas Chinas do boast beautiful ocean views, but the website shows views that are so vibrant, they're not possible in nature. We… Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The tiny bathrooms they don't show you

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The tiny bathrooms they don't show you

The slideshow on the Conchas Chinas website shows lots of (unlabeled!) photos of the property. We don't blame the hotel for wanting to put its best foot forward, but it shows four bathroom photos (only one of which is shown above), so we thought at… Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The sexy lady strikes again

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The sexy lady strikes again

Ah, the sexy lady phenomenon -- we never get sick of this one. Hotels love to use beautiful people to tempt potential guests into staying at their resort, and we can now add this Hilton to the list. Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: It's a pool party!

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: It's a pool party!

Another tranquil pool taken over by guests! Based on the hotel's website, the pool area is calm and there are plenty of lounge chairs to come by. That's not always the case, especially during spring break season, when this hotel becomes very popular with college-aged… Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Three's a crowd

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Three's a crowd

From its photo, you may think Las Palmas is just the spot for a romantic getaway. But don't expect alone time in the hot tub with your honey! When we visited during spring break season, the hot tub was brimming with vacationers, drinks in hand… Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Sexy lady phenomenon distracts from the truth

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Sexy lady phenomenon distracts from the truth

This sexy lady is all up in our business. In fact, she's practically all up in her business, too. And not a child to be found! Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Don't Rub-A-Dub-Dub in this Tub

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: Don't Rub-A-Dub-Dub in this Tub

The bathroom photo on the Plaza Pelicanos website has a beautiful golden glow. When we saw it in person, however, it wasn't so heavenly. Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The art of the photo crop, gym edition

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The art of the photo crop, gym edition

Hotel Portonovo's photo of it's gym is a bit confusing. It shows just one machine, making it hard to tell if the gym is large or small. Well, unfortunately, when photos are cropped it's usually for a reason. Though Portonovo Plaza does offer a solid… Read More »
Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The art of the photo crop, pool edition

Puerto Vallarta Photo Fakeout: The art of the photo crop, pool edition

The photo crop strikes again -- and at the same hotel as this gym crop! While you can see some ocean from this rooftop pool, you can see some not-so-great views as well, like of the unattractive surrounding buildings. What's more, the marketing photo only… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: Sneaky Pool Crop

New York Photo Fakeout: Sneaky Pool Crop

The Trump Soho is a luxurious hotel -- without a doubt -- so you would think it would have nothing to hide. But the thing is, it's in New York City, and we all know that NYC has issues with space. So it makes sense… Read More »
New York Photo Fakeout: Sneaky Pool Crop Strikes Again

New York Photo Fakeout: Sneaky Pool Crop Strikes Again

This sneaky pool crop is an epidemic in New York City! Just having a rooftop pool at an NYC hotel is a treat, so you don't have to make it seem bigger than it really is, okay, Dream Downtown? Oh, but it would be nice… Read More »
Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: The Power of Staging

Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: The Power of Staging

A roaring fire. Cocktails served on a tray. A bouquet of flowers. The bluest sky. The bluest pool. A quiet atmosphere. These all set the scene for a relaxing poolside soiree. But what you really get at the pool at the Palomar isn't quite so… Read More »
Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: Pool Crops Plague L.A. Too

Los Angeles Photo Fakeout: Pool Crops Plague L.A. Too

The pool and its surrounding deck at this Ritz are pristine, but the marketing photo makes them look MASSIVE. In truth, they're not really, and though the pool furniture is modern and sleek, the mood lighting certainly doesn't hurt with making it seem sexier than… Read More »
D.R. Photo Fakeout: When Two Become One

D.R. Photo Fakeout: When Two Become One

What a comfy looking king bed!! Perfect for a romantic vacation a deux. Oh, wait. It's actually two double beds pushed together...so you better be careful not to fall between the mattresses! Read More »
D.R. Photo Fakeout: The Vanishing Crowds

D.R. Photo Fakeout: The Vanishing Crowds

The hotel's photo must have been taken during hurricane season or maybe 5 a.m., because this pool is (almost) never that serene. Instead, it's teeming with co-eds, couples, and partiers boozing at the swim-up bar. Hey, we're not saying we mind! But if you're looking… Read More »
Hawaii Photo Fakeout: Pool Crop, Staging, and More - Oh My!

Hawaii Photo Fakeout: Pool Crop, Staging, and More - Oh My!

The marketing team at the Pagoda Hotel is guilty of quite a few things with this shot. The pool looks sizable, the deck furniture looks pristine, the people look happy, and the pool patio looks nice. But this is what we found: a tiny pool… Read More »

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