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.
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?
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!
Inclusivity is in this city’s nature and soul, and the many nationalities that make up the people who live here are a huge part of why it feels so vibrant. Even though it’s the capital city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a small city, and even the locals act like it’s one borough. Which may be why there are such strong ‘community’ vibes here, and many collectives within music, fashion, and art.
Don’t be thrown off by the local language, which has a bit of a harsh sound to it. Even though the dutch are very confident and can come across as very strong and loud, they are the most friendly and easy-going people you will meet (except when you get in the way of someone on their bicycle- then it can get pretty ugly).
Also, there’s legal weed everywhere. Just in case you hadn’t heard that;)
Out of the several Hoxton Hotels across the world, this is one of the finest. This place is constantly busy with people coming to grab a bite in the restaurant, sitting in the lounge on their laptops, or standing in the bar after work. This will not disturb your beauty sleep though (as rooms are quiet, and most of the hustle occurs in the day time), and therefore is the perfect place to stay at. Gotta love a hotel that locals love, too – makes you feel less foreign (even when you are).
There’s a similar vibe at Volkshotel, but this place is younger and more festive, being located close to the Pijp (the nexus of hipsterdom, and sort of like Amsterdam’s Shoreditch). A lot of locals come here for drinks at the rooftop bar.
If you prefer something more luxurious and sophisticated, the Pulitzer Hotel is the ideal place for your stay. This grand-damme 5-star hotel is made up of 25 canal houses that are all inter-connected, and has the most soothing inner courtyard for you to have your breakfast or sit with your computer.
This place has plenty of people staying long term (every room has a kitchen), so the community vibe is strong; there’s even an app to interact with like-minded people in the building. If you’re not staying here, come and sit in their lounge located on the top floor and work. You’ll be sure to meet a new friend or “co-worker.”
Where to eat & drink
Lion Noir and Cafe Panache both are a great indication of what’s non-touristy and super local, but also still somehow home-y & familiar.
If you didn’t go on a boat yet, there’s no better reason to go to Gs brunch boat on a Sunday. Go to 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. Go for drinks afterwards at the Cafe de Pijp or Kingfischer (as you probably can tell by the name, they will serve your G&T in a fishbowl glass…and yes, it’s fun!).
This place serves you coffee in a fancy setting on marble tables, perfect for anyone who likes to be pampered after a day full of first impressions.
Where to shop
Second-hand shopping in Amsterdam is a must. Try Episode or Laura Dols. The basement at Van Ravenstein does not sell any second hand stuff, but instead designer brands from previous seasons that are heavily discounted- and who doesn’t like that? Only on Saturdays though! Amsterdam is not a very dressed up city, so there’s no surprise that the coolest store in town is a small hole-in-the-wall sneaker shop called Patta, located on Zeedijk, across from this is SMIB (the brand store of a local music collective). Other local brands to visit include Daily Paper, The New OriginalsandZoe Karssen.
Where to see some hits of culture
Museum quarter – The main attraction in this area is the Rijksmuseum, but another hot tip is the Van Gogh museum. For something a bit less expected and bite-sized (it took us only about 30 mins to see all of it), try the Moco Museum just across the park, which has on a super cool Dalí & Banksy exhibition (on through Jan 2019).
Nearby, in De 9 Straatjes (“the Nine Streets” neighborhood, which is now 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 niche gyms is surprisingly many- one of our favorites is Rocycle (ie the Soul-Cycle of Amsterdam).
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. Which you’ll probably need, after all that dancing till daylight.
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). Even if you don’t, make sure you still check out Resident Advisor before coming to see if there are any DJs or festivals that you shouldn’t miss out on. This country is basically the birthplace of Gabber music (or ‘hardcore techno’ to most of us), so you can’t leave without listening/dancing to some…
Best place for IG stories
What captures the feeling of Amsterdam better then anything is the canals, so make sure to capture them on one of the many crossing bridges. #content
A more irregular & fun choice would be to go and float in saltwater at Koan Float, Amsterdam’s first “floating spa” that made a strong impression on the locals.
Where to work- ie your remote “office”
The Hoxton, Pulitzer, and Zoku make up 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 while at it. You’ll feel like a million dollars in this place, and that OT will SO be worth it.
You can’t find a more perfect setting for a late night cocktail than in the Nine Streets area. Occo is part of the 5-star hotel The Dylan,and lets you sit outdoors in their inner courtyard when it’s a nice evening, or indoors in the very thoughtfully decorated bar when it’s not.
Best place to buy gifts
Anna+Nina is the perfect place for gifts (for them, or for you). Quirky interior decorations, local handicrafts, and stunning jewelry will put a smile on anyone’s face.
Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo
There are two rooftop pools you should have your picture taken next to, either the one at the W Hotel the one at the newly opened Soho House. Not only are the views great, but it also proves you know what strings to pull;)
Ever since “Hygge” became a saying known around the world, people have been fascinated by the Danes and their lifestyle… and they are just as cool and laid back as you’ve imagined. Their effortless confidence is very honest and refreshing- there’s no fussiness, and hanging with some Danes will definitely leave you feeling “fun and cozy” (it’s impossible to literally translate “Hygge” into English!), and inspired. Pleasure is a right here, and the idea of not indulging in what you want (including copious amounts of pastries) from time to time is simply shocking to a Dane. They also have more bikes than people in Copenhagen, which helps balance that out. Sounds good, right?
Denmark is a relatively tiny country with an inversely strong impact on global culture, with leadership within the design, fashion, art and foodie worlds (hello: Noma & Ganni!). Copenhagen is its dreamy capital. (Sidebar: ask most Swedes where to go in their country besides Stockholm, and they will say “Copenhagen!”… so there are definitely some cultural parallels between these two cities/countries of tall, fit, and happy people).
Denmark also has the happiest workforce in the world…and perhaps that has something to do with Hygge. As the author of The Little Book of Hygge, Meik Wiking, explains it: ‘Danes are aware of the decoupling between wealth and wellbeing. After our basic needs are met, more money doesn’t lead to more happiness and, instead, Danes are good at focusing on what brings them a better quality of life.’ Zen AF.
The newly opened Nobis Hotel has got it all- they even have toiletries from Byredo that you can steal with you- and that shit is normally really expensive! (But worth it- we prefer Byredo to the now omnipresent Le Labo…).
Since Noma itself (voted the best restaurant in the world for four years) is now closed, we are lucky that it fostered plenty of great chefs throughout the years who have now opened their own restaurants in Copenhagen. One of these is Manfreds – a Michelin star restaurant with a tasting menu for 270DKK (270 euro). This place is perfect for vegetarians – so rare for high-end tasting menus, usually!
There are of course just as great restaurants without Michelin stars in this city. Three of them just happens to be Italian: go to Mangia for the incredible pasta and the dope atmosphere, Baest for the best pizzas in town and a loud and young vibe, and Spaghetteria for the local feels- this place really embodies the Copenhagen attitude of being very casual, and both warm and cool.
If you’d rather go low on the carbs, Fishmarket and Osteria 16 are two seafood restaurants with the perfect options for a great dining experience without the focus being on pasta and bread.
It’s not only because of the very hip owner, Fredrik Bille Brahe (brother of Sophie Bille Brahe, famous jewellery designer, and newly married to top model Caroline Brasch) that this place is a local hotspot, but also because of the curated menu of healthy and very tasty bites, and of course the great coffee. But don’t even think about asking for oat or almond milk here- they only do regular.
If you prefer your coffee with a danish pastry, head over to Juno the Bakery instead, which is less trendy but you won’t regret a visit because the wienerbrød is that good. If you’re really into exceptional coffee and don’t care about the rest, then The Coffee Collective is the place for you.
This is your first stop, for sure: an impressive concept store that will leave no one empty-handed. Around the corner is Beau Marché which you also must check out, if not for the design decoration then to grab a coffee in their cozy backyard café that has the perfect local buzz. Local brands like Ganni, Soulland, and Wood Wood all need to be explored as well in their own stores (especially for New Yorker style stars, who are already decked out head to toe in these brands!). Go to Time’s Up for some second-hand shopping – it might be worth mentioning this is a favorite of Virgil Abloh’s (#offwhite #louisvuitton).
This modern art museum is located outside of Copenhagen, so it doesn’t technically qualify for this list, but it is THAT good. With the train from the central station, it’s only 30 min away- cheap and easy.
If you prefer to stay in the city center, make your way to Glyptoteket. The main hall where the restaurant is located is very inspiring and soothing. Go here for lunch when you’re hungover and need some new energy, and when you’re back to normal, make sure to see the exhibitions as well.
Put on your sneakers and go to Apollo Bar (also owned by Fredrik Bille Brahe). This is the place to be with the cool crowd from creative industries, who come here on a regular basis, especially during Fashion Week.
Rent a bike or hop on a bicycle taxi (or just take a normal taxi), and go to this “free town” that is a community market where people pretty much make a living out of selling art and handicrafts to tourists. A strange place you’ll want to see before leaving.
Where to work out
If you go in the summer, go for a swim- firstly, it’s a super clean harbor in the middle of a big city – which basically never happens. Secondly, there are wooden docks all over the place that encourage a dive, or five.
Also (obviously, sorry) – Copenhagen is the perfect city to cycle in. Its surface is flat and there’s 350km of cycle path in the city (so it’s super safe). Rent a bicycle and cycle anywhere you need to go- this will definitely keep you in shape during your stay here, and allow you to stuff your face with pastries daily, as the Danes do.
Bring some Danish design from Hay with you to someone you love.
Best spot for your new Bumble profile photo
The waterfront in Nyhavn, in front of the postcard-colorful buildings: regardless of if that photo’s going on your bumble profile or not, this place needs its mandatory stroll and photo sesh. Don’t stay for lunch though, as every place in this ‘hood is a tourist trap.
Stockholm is built on water, and you are close to nature pretty much everywhere you go (seriously: 90% of Stockholmers live within 300 meters of some greenery!). Though most people think of cool & clean minimalist design and fashion (and super tall blonde people) when thinking of this city, today’s Stockholm also has more unicorn startups per capita than any other city in the world except for San Francisco. With the number of expats constantly growing as such, the city feels more international than ever, and it certainly helps you feel welcome that pretty much every Swede speaks close to perfect English.
In this time of climate crisis and single use plastic warfare, to enter a culture where nature is respected and revered so highly is refreshing. The concept of allemansrätten is something that is familiar to every Swede, and loosely translates to “The Right to Roam.” From parks to lakes to waterways, access to the wilderness here (even in the city!) is a public right – and a right that people don’t take for granted. Whatever you do in Stockholm, be sure to take a moment to have a Fika (the daily 3pm coffee & a sweet ritual) outside somewhere to soak it all in. And if you have more than a moment, be sure to get out of the city to the Archipelago (ferries from the city center are only 30 mins – 1.5 hours) for a picnic or a walk.
The safest bet you can make (you pay extra for it though!), with an amazing traditional breakfast and rooms overlooking Nybroviken – the central bay. If you do not stay here, come for a drink on the outdoor patio to lap up some luxury for less.
Södermalm is the main area for all things F&B and one of our faves is this experimental restaurant that is crazy fun. They only do a set menu, but for a very reasonable price. If you can’t get a table here, don’t worry, try Bleck, Bananas or Café Nizza instead for the proper local Södermalm experience.
Go to Ugglan Bar before (or after) and play some ping-pong and pool with the young hipster crowd that comes here.
If you’re looking for something more central, Riche is a classic that never goes out of style. Try Tako or Bardot that are both new editions to the restaurant scene in Stockholm and offers the best vibe for a dinner in the weekend. A stop before at Lydmar Hotel gives you the pleasure of enjoying the great view of the castle across the water with a drink in your hand, without having to pay the (super pricey) price of staying there for the night.
Swedish people love their coffee (did you ever read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo? It’s like 50% people drinking coffee), so there are coffee places everywhere. The coffee brand and small chain Johan & Nyström is a favorite of locals- if you’re obsessed with coffee, this is your place.
If you’re more interested in the full Swedish Fika experience, go to Mellqvist, where they care equally about the coffee as they do about baking the juiciest cinnamon & cardamom buns (kanelbulle & kardemummabulle).
Where to shop
The Swedes are known for their minimalistic design and sense of style, so don’t bother going anywhere else than to the local brands’ own stores (ie this isn’t a city to shop at Zara). Go to Norrmalmstorg and start with Acne Studios, RodebjerandFilippa K, then go down Biblioteksgatan and explore the crossing streets where you’ll find brands such as Eytys, Byredo and many others.
In the summer, this is the place to be- this outdoor club is open from morning till late night on the weekends, and there’s no place like it in Stockholm. Make sure to check if there’s a daytime session happening while you’re in town, you don’t wanna miss that.
Trädgården turns in to Under Bron (and is all inside) in the darker months of the year, and is still worth a visit, but if you’re going to be indoors you might as well go to Spybar or Mono as they’re both more centrally located, and are guaranteed fun.
What to do
If the weather allows you to, you should really take advantage of the nature around the city and fill those lungs with some fresh air. The best long walks are done in Haga Parken where you can stop by Carl Eldh Studio Museum or around Djurgården. The best way to do Djurgården is if you start at KMK (Kungliga Motorbåtsklubben) and have a coffee to go. By the time you’ve finished your coffee, it’s time to stop for lunch at Rosendals Trädgårdar.
If you crave even more nature, hop on one of the many boats that take you further out in the archipelago- bring a picnic, and sit on a cliff!
Best place to buy gifts
Svenskt Tenn is a famous interior design store with plenty of small pieces that make up for great gifts.
Where else to do a Swedish massage than in Sweden? Go to Sturebadet (or Grand Hotel if you want to pay a little extra) and enjoy a well-deserved break from the city. Both places have a gym and pool you get access to, so why not make it a full wellness day while you’re at it.
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.
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?
Colombia has it all, and Medellín is its emerald in the rough. Tucked away in the Aburrá Valley, a central part of the Andes Mountains, it has been dubbed by locals as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild weather (which means you can walk around and see cool shit without sweating your ass off, year round). After years of being the center of Pablo Escobar’s drug operation, today’s Medellín is a friendly and safe (seriously) place to explore amazing architecture, botanical gardens, contemporary art galleries, and of course a rowdy & diverse South American party & food scene.
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 of 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, as 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 to eat for everyone here- from carnivores to vegetarians (the latter usually have slim pickings on this side of the world). From low (ie cheap) to high, here are 3 top picks, below:
This is a traditional local cafeteria. The food and beer is really cheap (think $3), but substantial and tasty. The local tripe soup is well-known as one of the best delicacies, but for the more faint of heart, the arepas and various meat and fish platters are easier to take down on a hangover.
Go here for contemporary and fusion cuisines. 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…but also the falafel platter and salads are amazing for the more health-conscious.
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 has outposts now in Bogota and Miami, as well.
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 miss-matched lamps and equally as charming farm tables. Make sure to order at least two cocktails and don’t shy away from the albondigas.
Pergamino coffee is one of the best coffee places we’ve ever been to- 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 and 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? (Galleries, Museums, Architectural landmarks, etc)
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.
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.
Come here to see 23 of artist Fernando Botero’s finest bulbous sculptures. Huge and fleshy, you might have deja vu, as you’ve probably seen these somewhere before- like on 49th St. in NYC by Rockefeller Center. Just don’t laugh at the tiny peens;)
Is honestly like a mini EQUINOX in the heart of the city – you’ll work out next to (super jacked) 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.
If you come to Medellin even for 24 hours, this place is a must. Colombia is a “megadiverse” country, and 2nd only to Brazil (which is a million times it’s size) in terms of diversity of plant life. There is also a really amazing fancy restaurant on a pond surrounded by bamboo forests, and a small vintage train car that serves drinks that looks like it’s straight out of a Wes Anderson film.