Month: August 2018

Sarah Murrell, Founder of BY SARAH LONDON

Our latest /Insider, Sarah Murrell, founded the all-natural and organic, plant-based skincare brand BY SARAH LONDON with her sister, Lauren. Sarah passionately believes in empowering our wellness choices (BY SARAH even details a full ingredient list on the front labels of their vegan and cruelty-free products!). Sarah’s inspiration and motivation to help us all make natural, organic skin care choices began with her sister, Lauren’s recovery from leukemia in 2012 (when she couldn’t find any products that had clear and natural ingredients, so she started mixing her own!). Prior to launching her own company, Sarah spent 10 years in branding and communications for the world’s leading beauty brands- so she knows her stuff…read on for her travel tips and tricks.

Follow Sarah Murrell on Instagram @bysarahlondon

What beauty items can you not travel without?

Our organic skincare minis! For long-haul flights, I apply 2-3 drops of our Organic Facial Oil so that my skin remains hydrated and deeply-nourished, and top up just before landing for healthy, radiant skin on arrival.

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

I love a roll top bath! – does that count? There’s an amazing one at Gleneagles– an incredible luxury hotel in Scotland that made me feel fully rested and rejuvenated after celebrating a special birthday.

Where would you go to digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

I recently took a trip to Zermatt, Switzerland and cannot recommend it enough for the nature, breathtaking scenery and sense of calm. We stayed at the Hotel Christiania, which is family-run and has the most charming & welcoming atmosphere, and an equally as spectacular setting- nestled at the foot of the Swiss Alps, with views of the Matterhorn.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

I’m never without our Organic Lip Balm (a wonderful multi-tasker), S’well water bottle and podcast series (currently listening to How I Built This).

Have you or would you travel alone?

Yes! Traveling alone is an amazing sense of achievement and adventure!

If you’re going to a new place, and your friends have not been there, what do you consult for advice?

I look for the latest plant-based restaurants and yoga studios to give me the lay of the land. In NYC, I love by CHLOE New York (for plant-based “fast food,” any time) and the restaurant The Butcher’s Daughter – but I always recommend getting there early, as the queue is often out the door!

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

Water, water, water!

Travel can be about the little luxuries…like a super amazing cup of coffee. Where was the best one you’ve had?

I’m a lover of tea, and the most aromatic brew was in Copenhagen at Royal Smushi Cafe – scent, flavour and even the tea cup itself were divine!

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach in the winter / (Swiss) Mountains in the summer!

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No!

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out

Amsterdam

A huge mix of cultures and an inclusive attitude to newcomers makes Amsterdam what is it. The city is small and there’s a strong community vibe here, so look out for cool collectives within music, fashion, and art.

Don’t be thrown off by the local language, which has a harsh sound to it, as the Dutch are so friendly and easy-going. Side note: this may be because of the legal weed (just in case you hadn’t heard that was a thing…)

Where to stay

Hoxton Hotel
This is one of our favorite Hoxtons. This place is constantly buzzing with people coming to grab a bite in the restaurant, sit in the lounge on their laptops, or stand in the bar after work. All that aside, rooms are quiet and most of the hustle happens in the daytime.

Volkshotel
There’s a similar vibe at Volkshotel, but this place is younger and more lively. Located close to the Pijp (consider it Amsterdam’s Shoreditch), a lot of locals come here for drinks at the rooftop bar.

Pulitzer Hotel
If you prefer something more luxurious and sophisticated, the Pulitzer Hotel is the ideal place. This grande 5-star hotel is made up of 25 canal houses that are all interconnected. It also has the most soothing inner courtyard to have breakfast or sit with your computer.

Zoku Amsterdam
This place has plenty of people staying long-term – every room has a kitchen – which can only be a good sign. There’s even an app to interact with like-minded people in the building. If you’re not staying here, it’s a great place to work. 

Where to eat & drink

Lion Noir and Cafe Panache are both great examples of non-touristy, super local restaurants, yet they still somehow feels homely and familiar.

Definitely head to Gs brunch boat on a Sunday or Restaurant Rijsel in Amsterdam East for good and affordable food. Mana Mana is our favorite hidden gem in the Pijp, which has the most amazing Middle Eastern food. Head for drinks afterwards at the Cafe de Pijp or Kingfisher (they serve giant G&T’s in fishbowl glasses).

Lion Noir

Where to get a coffee

Café de Pels
What you see here is what you get. This cafe is a humble favorite. They also have newspapers from all over the world to go with your coffee.

Café George
This place serves you coffee in a fancy setting on marble tables, so definitely a more upscale option.

Where to shop

Second-hand shopping in Amsterdam is a must – try Episode or Laura Dols. The basement at Van Ravenstein also sells designer brands from previous seasons that are heavily discounted – only Saturdays! Amsterdam is a casual city, so no surprises that the coolest store in town is a small hole-in-the-wall sneaker shop called Patta, located on Zeedijk and across the road you’ll find SMIB (the brand store of a local music collective). Other local brands to visit include Daily Paper, The New Originals and Zoe Karssen.

Patta

Where to get a hit of culture

In the museum quarter, the main attraction is the Rijksmuseum, but another hot tip is the Van Gogh museum. For something off-the-beaten-track, try the small Moco Museum just across the park, which you can zip around in about 30 minutes.

Foam
In De 9 Straatjes (“the Nine Streets” neighborhood), a trendy shopping ‘hood in the Old Town, this photography museum is definitely worth a look.

Where to work out

Go running in Vondelpark, and finish at the Vondelgym with some strength exercises and a shower. For a small city, the number of lux gyms is surprisingly – one of our favorites is Rocycle (i.e. the Soul-Cycle of Amsterdam).

Where to party

De School
Dutch people take their partying seriously, and to really get a sense of how the locals do it, go to De School. This club has a 24-hour license (seriously!) and when you’re done dancing in the morning, you can even have breakfast in their restaurant. You’ll probably need it, after all that dancing.

Radion
An industrial haven in the Nieuw-West district. One for techno lovers and another all-nighter option.

NYX
A bastion for the LGBTQ community, this is the place to go if you want to check out Amsterdam’s drag scene. Go with an open mind – there’s DJ decks in the bathroom.

What to do

If you want the best music experience Amsterdam has to offer, be sure to come here during the Amsterdam Dance Event (usually in late October). This country is basically the birthplace of Gabber music (or ‘hardcore techno’ to most of us), so you can’t leave without giving it a go…

Where to get some R&R

Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre
The safest bet is this spa at the Conversatorium Hotel. With its 5-star rating and 1000 square m wellness centre, you can’t go wrong.

Koan Float
A more unusual choice is to float in saltwater at Koan Float, Amsterdam’s first “floating spa,” which has made a big impression on the locals.

Where to work

The Hoxton, Pulitzer, and Zoku make for great remote offices. If you’re not in ‘full working’ mode but just need to take care of some emails in the afternoon, go to Conservatorium Hotel and enjoy a glass wine whilst you’re at it. You’ll feel like a million dollars in this place.

Conservatorium Hotel

Best bar for a secret rendezvous

Brasserie Bar Occo
A perfect setting for a late night cocktail in the Nine Streets area. Occo is part of the 5-star hotel The Dylan, and you can sit outdoors in their inner courtyard in the summer.

Best place to buy gifts

Anna+Nina is the best place for gifts (for them, or for you). Quirky interior decorations, local handicrafts, and stunning jewelry will put a smile on anyone’s face.

Anna & Nina

Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo

There are two rooftop pools you should check out: the W Hotel or the newly opened Soho House.

Cyrena Lee, Head of Content at Getaway

Our first /Insider, Cyrena Lee, is the Head of Content for Getaway – an ‘experience designed to bring us back to our elements, immerse us in the magic of the woods, and challenge us to rediscover the pleasure of boredom, solitude and unstructured time.’ Sounds relaxing & magical, right? For whatever reason, “boredom” sounds like a real luxury to us…

Before landing at Getaway, Cyrena spent time at Oglivy Beijing and Virgin Sport, and has written for publications including DailyCandy, GourmetLive, and the travel site Fathom. An avid rock climber, she also built up much of the branding, content, and creative storytelling for Brooklyn Boulders.

Cyrena moved to NYC at 17 from Princeton, NJ, and has also spent time abroad in Beijing, Shanghai, & Paris. She likes holograms, lucid dreaming, meditating, hot pot, languages, and airports.

Follow Cyrena Lee on Instagram @cyrenaly

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Remote controlled curtains — encountered this at CitizenM in Shoreditch, London. Going from day to night without getting up is a pretty nice touch, and now it seems like an absurd necessity.

Where would you go to digital detox or just generally to get off the grid?

Any Getaway cabin to detox, or the south of France to just hang out and eat fresh tomatoes and cheese all day.

What do you always bring with you in your carry-on?

My rock climbing shoes, because, you never know.

Have you or would you travel alone?

Travelling alone is one of my favorite things to do. I even wrote a piece on it called “When You Travel Alone, You Belong to Everyone” for Fathom a few years back. People emailed me saying they were inspired to do so after. It’s absolute freedom!

Best Travel advice you’ve ever received, and from whom?

I used to plan in advance more, but my French boyfriend has a very lax approach to travelling. He never books hotels in advance because, as he puts it, he never knows if he’ll want to stay longer or go somewhere else last-minute. I’ve found that this mode of non-planning opens up for a lot more unexpected adventures.

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?

Start eating according to the time zone you’ll be travelling to 12 hours before your flight. Or just convince yourself it doesn’t exist. A combination of the two works every time for me, even for flights to Asia.

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?

Love my ADAY Don’t Stop Top and Brakes On Leggings for comfort and looking chic all at once. I pair it with a massive Lauren Manoogian sweater to keep warm.

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no? Yes, working flights = less stolen vacation time.

Lost luggage, or lost phone? Lost phone. Airplane mode, please.

Favourite subscription service you’ll never delete? Patreon

Medellín

Colombia has it all and Medellín is considered the emerald in the rough. Tucked away in the Aburrá Valley, a central part of the Andes Mountains, it has been dubbed as the ‘City of Eternal Spring’ by locals for its mild weather. You can walk around and see cool stuff without profusely sweating, year round. After years of being the center of Pablo Escobar’s drug operation, today Medellín is a friendly and safe place (seriously) to explore amazing architecture, botanical gardens, fantastic food, contemporary art galleries, and, of course, a rowdy South American party scene.

Where to stay?

Hotel Charlee, in the heart of El Poblado

El Poblado is where you want to be- walkable to many things, a $5 UBER to others, and full of bustling eateries, shops, and places to go out, as well as lush parks to chill in. The hotel itself is design-forward and well appointed – each room has a private little atrium with sofas, and a well-stocked ‘Mega Bar’ (beware the full-sized tequila). Breakfast is included, and served on an incredible rooftop with sprawling views of the city and mountains. The building is one of the highest in the area, which is great for rooftop cocktails, pool dips, and even work time – wifi is free!

Where to eat & drink?

Medellín’s avocados are reason alone to get excited for some quality noshing – they’re absolutely massive (the size of your face). There’s something for everyone here – from carnivores to vegetarians (the latter usually have slim pickings on this side of the world). From low to high cost, here are our 3 top picks:

Restaurante Mondongos El Poblado

A traditional local cafeteria. The food and beer is really cheap ($3) but substantial and tasty. The local tripe soup is well-known as one of the best delicacies. For the more faint of heart, the arepas and various meat and fish platters are easier to take down on a hangover.

OCI.mde

Go here for contemporary or fusion dishes. Chef Laura trained for 8 years abroad in Europe, Australia, and Asia – and it shows. They specialize in slow (meaning 14 hour) cooking times, so items like the short ribs are prime. The falafel platter and salads are good alternatives for the more health-conscious.

El Cielo

This is the gold standard for the fancy foodie – book ahead, and go early. This is where you go for a 2-3 hour tasting menu that will change your life (and deplete your savings account). Chef Juanma is only 34 but is killing it – El Cielo now has outposts in Bogota and Miami, as well.

Alambique 

This restaurant and bar is tucked away above a storefront in El Poblado. If you don’t know where you’re going, you are sure to miss it. The open air space is decorated with mismatched lamps and charming farm tables. Make sure to order at least two cocktails and don’t shy away from the albondigas. 

Where to get a coffee?

Pergamino

One of the best coffee places in the world. Selling beans directly from their own farm, which is mere miles away, coffee has never tasted so damn fresh. They also have a beautiful, large space where the local hipster freelancers seem to flock (and a yummy red velvet cake). You can buy beans to take home (which is also a great ‘lazy gift’ idea).

Where to see some hits of culture?

MAMM

For us, the building itself was actually the most interesting part of the experience. It’s an incredible copper lattice-worked beast with many nooks and crannies, living walls, and sculptures throughout. Definitely check out the gift shop.

Crematorio Campos de Paz

Other guides will definitely tell you to go to Pablo Escobar’s final resting place, Cemetario Jardins Montesacro, Itagüí. But for a more “off the beaten path” place with incredible architecture and views of all of Medellin, go to Crematorio Campos de Paz at dusk. It reminded us of Richard Serra’s large copper sculptures at Dia Beacon, in the best way.

Plaza Botero

Come here to see artist Fernando Botero’s finest bulbous sculptures, 23 of them. Huge and fleshy, you might recognise them from 49th St. in NYC, by the Rockefeller Center.

Where to work out?

The gym at Hotel Charlee

Like a mini EQUINOX in the heart of the city, you’ll work out next to locals and foreigners alike. Two stories high, it has all the equipment you might need (even a cycle room) and you can cool down with a drink at the rooftop pool after.

Where to hang out?

Joaquín Antonio Uribe Botanical Garden

If you come to Medellin for just 24 hours, this place is a must. Colombia is a hugely diverse country and second only to Brazil when it comes to plant life. The amazing restaurant on a pond is surrounded by bamboo forests and a small vintage train car that serves drinks. It’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film.

 

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