Month: March 2019

Hot List: Best Hotel Lobbies for Getting Work Done

The Hoxton Hotel, Brooklyn, NY

The Hoxton’s lobby resembles more of a co-working space than an actual hotel lobby. You will find Brooklyn locals having meetings, typing away on their computers, and grabbing a casual coffee. Choose between plush chairs or formal tables. Outlets are a-plenty and their food is fantastic. 

Photo via The Hoxton

The Four Seasons Hotel, Downtown, Mexico City

One of the more upscale hotels in Mexico City, The Four Seasons has a large lobby that is perfect for plugging away, but we fancy hanging in the bar to get some work done. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, don’t worry about it. Order something to drink and take a seat. It’s definitely somewhere you could spend a few hours.

Photo via The Four Seasons 

Only YOU, Centro, Madrid

One of the trendier boutique hotels in the city, Only YOU has a great lobby that is perfect for a casual meeting or getting some work done on your laptop. Get comfortable on one of the big couches – if the weather is nice, take those emails outside. If you are in Madrid for more formal business, book one of their meeting rooms.

Photo via Only YOU

Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore

Step into this white shuttered boutique hotel, and just past the lobby you’ll enter a classic library- with a twist. Modern Taschen design books can be found next to leather-bound first editions and the seats and tables are plentiful. The iced coffee and EOD cocktails are delicious. Plus, though a WeWork is not too far down the street, it seems that the freelance economy hasn’t yet found this gem – we could take our pick of spots.  We were welcomed by staff, even for just ordering a couple coffees all day long.

Photo via Six Senses

The ACE Hotel, Shoreditch, London

ACE Hotels across the globe have become go-to hangs for the cool kid crowd. Whether you are living in London or just visiting, you could do worse than to set up shop in the lobby. With big communal tables and comfortable seating, you will definitely find others working away too. Directly off the lobby is Bulldog Edition – the ACE’s cafe where you can grab the high powered cold brew and baked good you need to kick off a productive work day. If emails keep you late into the evening, head downstairs to Miranda, the hotel bar, for a cocktail. 

Photo via Rollin Joint

Kimiko Ninomiya, Marketing at Soho House

Originally from California, Kimiko made the move from the west coast to Brooklyn after being swooned by the NYC magic. An Uber alum, she worked for the tech company for 6 years doing marketing and content strategy. Recently, she has made the jump to running CRM marketing for Soho House.

Long before she committed to a career in hospitality at the famed membership club, Kimiko has been traveling the world from Tokyo to Armenia. A lover of art (major fan of Kusama), food, and exploring culture – it’s no wonder Kimiko found herself in the hospitality world. 

Follow her adventures on Instagram at @kimik.

What are 3 of your favorite hotels

Aman Tokyo – The lobby is breathtaking, with amazing views (the same you’ll get from the beautifully-designed guest rooms, full gym, and world-class spa and pool). The staff and service are beyond welcoming, anticipating your needs and recognizing you by name every time you come and go. The bar serves delicious cocktails and a full menu, but feels relaxed and unstuffy compared to other hotel bars with view. Staying here almost makes you question whether you ever need to leave your hotel.

Photo via Aman

El Rey Court, Santa Fe, NM – The El Rey is a quirky, cozy, and stylish roadside motel–turned–hip boutique hotel. The property is full of southwestern charm with adobe walls, terra cotta tiles, featuring local artwork throughout. The hotel bar, La Reina, is popular with local creatives, making for a fun vibe and quality people-watching. The drinks are delicious, too!

11 Howard, New York, NY – The 11 Howard is my favorite crash pad for a long weekend in NYC. It’s beautifully designed interiors are full of thoughtful details, including a signature scent when you walk into the lobby. The rooms themselves are lovely and inviting, with with custom-designed pieces that really elevate the experience. And the Grown Alchemist products in room are definitely worth snagging. 

If you work in hospitality, what do you love most about it?

I recently moved into hospitality from tech and the focus on the customer experience is so refreshing. When you’re at a product-focused company, everyone talks about customer centricity but it feels like people in actuality are creating for their own egos. In hospitality, everyone truly lives and breathes an ethos of putting customers first and taking every opportunity to make them feel important and appreciated. I love that—it’s so important in building a brand and loyalty.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

Soho House, obviously!

What is your favorite travel book, and why?

Walter de Maria’s The Lightning Field: The story itself is situated near a small cabin that was built for the purpose of experiencing The Lightning Field over a period of a day (or more) as the sky and landscape change throughout the day. You can visit alone or in a small group, and with no cell service for miles you’d better make sure it’s people you like. More importantly, it’s a magical place for introspection and appreciation of the artwork and the beautiful high desert of New Mexico.

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

Bose noise-canceling headphones, toiletries bag (so I can wash my face and brush my teeth), a sheet face mask, CEP compression socks (swear by them), whatever book I’m reading (currently Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou), and this cute but ridiculous pink bear eye mask that I found on a trip to Singapore that has cooling gel in it.

Have you or would you travel alone? If Y/N, why?

I traveled alone for a few weeks in Japan last year and, to be honest, it made going back to traveling with others feel less appealing. I loved being on my own schedule, exploring and doing everything that was important to me. Because the language is so different, I spent a ton of time in my own brain while still being out and about, which, as an introvert, was a very special experience.

Anxiety and burn out are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so?

Everyone has their own stressors and responsibilities to manage, and I’ve done so in all sorts of ways. What I’ve found is most effective for me is that when I’m taking time off to travel, I’m 100% off. I was only able to feel truly comfortable with this after taking a 4-month sabbatical, and the reality of it is that the world does not begin and end with me and my contributions. There’s always more work to be done, and as long as I’ve done a good job preparing everyone for my absence, that means I can truly immerse myself in my travels. This makes the experience all the more rewarding, leaving me feeling refreshed and ready to return to my responsibilities (although tbh I’d be totally happy to never work another day in my life).

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

Get up and move! I love to book fitness classes for the morning or day that I arrive in a new city. If I’m not able to make it to the gym, doing a couple 7 min workouts and getting out and walking are key. I also make a point to stay up until the time I’d normally sleep (with no naps in between), and wake up bright and early the next day (7am at the latest!).

Do you have any favorite travel hacks (ways to score an upgrade, methods of getting your meal first on a flight, etc)?

On long haul flights you can request a meal preference. I have a dairy allergy so I always opt for the vegan option (there are a ton of others, many for specific dietary restrictions). When you request a meal preference, these “special” meals are always brought out first before they bring out the carts meaning you get your food anywhere from 15–30 minutes faster than everyone else!

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

The best cup of coffee I’ve had wasn’t the most amazing coffee but the experience was memorable because of where I was and the people I was with. I was in Yerevan, Armenia, with a big group of friends for a wedding and on this particular afternoon we sat at an outdoor patio of one of the many cafes near the Armenian Opera Theatre. It was after we’d walked down the stairs of the Cascade and we just sat for hours enjoying Armenian coffee and keeping cool in the shade through late afternoon.

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

I find NY Times 36 Hours books to be perfect for anywhere in the US. They’re full of inspiration for any type of trip, including long weekends to cross-country road trips. When traveling abroad, I love Wallpaper* city guides. They curate the essentials like delicious food, shops, and hidden gems, while also focusing on architecture and design so I know I’ll find interesting cultural sites that aren’t your typical tourist traps.

Beach or City or Mountain?

City

Alone or with someone else?

Alone

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Lost luggage

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Dry vermouth and cocktail olives

Milos

Milos is what we wished Mykonos was like on a good day. It’s the lesser known Greek island with better beaches, better food, and way less tourists. Not insinuating that we don’t like a good visit to the party island – but if Mykonos was Beyonce, Milos would be Solange. You get what we are saying here.

With spring on the horizon for many of us – the warm weather destinations on our go-to list start and end with Greece. If you’re craving white washed houses and clear waters – Milos is your place. Unlike Santorini, Mykonos, or any of the more popular islands – Milos is home to 72 incredible beaches and a more interesting history (the statue of Aphrodite, now in the Louvre, was discovered here).

Adamas, Pollonia, Plaka, Klima, and Mondrakia are only a few of the towns that make up this incredible island (ie: you will definitely need a car to explore). All of them offer something different, and all of them are equally as stunning. Regardless of how or where you spend your time on Milos, it’s sure to be your next favorite Greek getaway. 

Where to stay

Skinopi Lodge

High in the hills, these modern glass and stone structures look like something out of Architectural Digest. A stark contrast to Adamas or Pollonia, these three villas are discreetly placed on a hillside overlooking the a bay. If you are wanting top notch design, attention to detail, and perfect seclusion  – this is your spot.

Kostantakis Winery & Residence

For an accessible option, check out Kostantakis Winery & Residence. Though it isn’t directly on the water, these well designed rooms are placed on a beautiful vineyard. It’s a small boutique hotel, and you can tell they pay attention to detail. Plus – you can always head to their downstairs cellars to get a glass of vino when the time is right.

Salt Hotel

Located near Pollonia. Salt Suites makes your white-washed Grecian dreams come true.  Only 1.5 miles from Papafragas Beach, the location is pretty hard to beat. Some rooms come with jacuzzis on the decks but we don’t think that is 100% necessary. If you can, make sure to book a suite with a patio overlooking the bay.

Where to eat

Armira Milos

This Pollonia restaurant does a great job with Greek classics. This taverna is family run and the menu is based on recipes that were taken from grandma. Their seafood dishes are fresh and wonderful. Make sure to get a glass of white wine to wash them down with. 

To Kyma

This restaurant isn’t technically on Milos. Take a short boat ride to Kimolos and head to this simple seaside taverna. Though it clearly takes pride in the no-frills atmosphere – it’s known to host the same celebrities as some of the best restaurants in NYC or Paris (Brad Pitt, Keira Knightly – you know, the regulars). Order the octopus and a variety of salads.

O Xamos

Set in a charming garden, this old school restaurant is where you go when you want home cooked Greek food like goat, lamb, and the like. They are famous for their grilled meats, and with good reason. Make sure to get a side of grilled cheese as well.

Medousa

This is our favorite restaurant on the island. Come here a little early to check out Mandrakia beach and put your name in (there will likely be a wait but it won’t be long). Serving the best seafood we had, make sure to order the octopus and get a full bottle of white wine. There will most likely be cats roaming around and if you can get a table overlooking the ocean….that’s ideal.

Where to drink

Utopia Cafe

For the best sunset views, and decent cocktails, head to Utopia. In the hillside town of Plaka, you can come here to shop a bit before sitting down for a beverage. Make sure to check when Utopia is open – hours can be unpredictable.

Kri Kri

Located in Plaka, Kri Kri doesn’t serve the best cocktails we’ve ever had…but it does serve cocktails. You will most likely find other tourists starting their evening or grabbing a drink after dinner in town. The garden area is adorable and you could do worse than one of their watermelon cocktails.

Kostantakis Winery

This isn’t the best wine in the world – but it’s great to have a taste of what Greece is making. You can come here for a full tasting or just a glass, and walk the grounds while you sip.

What to do

Firiplaka Beach

Firiplaka is the idyllic sandy beach we all think about when Greece comes to mind. The hillside that juts down to the water is a mix of yellow, pink, and sand – which proves to be a pretty incredible contrast to the bright blue ocean. Once you realize you aren’t in fact on drugs and this place is actually that beautiful – take your pick of either renting a cabana or lounge chair, or walk a bit further down the beach and find your perch in the “clothing optional” zone.

Boat trip to Kleftiko Caves

Milos was once an island where pirates took shelter after looting ships. The Kleftiko Caves were some of their favorite places to hide – and you can clearly see why (they are beyond gorgeous). You’ll need to take a boat to see the caves, but it’s 100% worth the trip. Make sure to check the weather as boats don’t go out if it’s too windy. We recommend taking Oneiro tours since they cater to small groups and a more personalized experience.

Tsigrado Beach

On the other side of the island from Plaka and Adamas is this tucked away beach. It’s near Firiplaka – so feel free to wrap a visit into a larger beach day when you’re hitting a few spots on the southern part of the island. Make sure that you are prepared for the descent to the sandy perfection that is Tsigrado. There is a steep passage way that isn’t suitable to everyone…but if you can make it down, it’s a gorgeous place to spend the afternoon.

Sarakíniko

By far one of the most famous spots in Milos – Sarakiniko is the moonscape beach that we have all swooned over in photos. White volcanic rocks line the shallow waters, and make for amazing structures to jump off of and sunbath on. 

Firopotamos Beach

Classic fishermen houses provide a backdrop to Firopotamos beach. This isn’t the secluded cove you may want, but it is gorgeous for other reasons. Take in the local culture of boat houses and Greek tourists getting their dose of Vitamin D on the sand. 

Where to get your hit of culture

Venetian Castle

Built in the 13th century, the Venetian Castle is located on the highest peak on the island and is well preserved. Definitely come here for a sunset (or sunrise) and find some of the best views in Milos. 

Klima Village

One of, if not the most picturesque village in Milos. An old fishing town that still operates. The houses are carved into the rock that makes up the white-washed background, and the village is famous for its colorful “boat garage” doors. This is another great place to catch a sunset.

Catacombs

These things are very, very old. Dating back to the 1st – 5th century (yes, that’s a thing), these are the only Christian catacombs in Greece. They are super well preserved and offer a welcome break from the sunshine.

Where to break

Palaios Pastry

If you happen to have a sweet tooth and, for some insane reason, need a break from the delicious Greek mezze that Milos has to offer – head to Palaios Pastry. Everything in the shop is homemade, and they offer a variety of traditional Greek desserts.

Alesta

A little coffee shop in Pollonia where you can get your afternoon coffee fix. Don’t expect the high end espresso bars you might find in London or LA, but you will certainly enjoy your company and a pick-me-up.

Stephanie Sprayregen, Founder of Spray Marketing

Though we are thoroughly impressed by Stephanie’s resume, that isn’t the first thing about this lady boss that captured our attention. Born in Kuching, Malaysia in Borneo, Stephanie moved to Vermont at 4, and then to Boston at 14 to pursue a career in competitive figure skating. Yes – that’s a fact. After she decided she didn’t want to stay on the Michelle Kwan path (though she could have…), she went into a career that has centred around hospitality.

Drawn to the type of community hotels can create and foster, Stephanie knew she wanted to be in the hospitality industry. She has spent more than half her career in hotels and tech travel at companies like Gansevoort Hotels, The William Vale, and Skipper. Most recently, she founded spray.marketing which is a lean performance marketing company without the fluff, focusing on lifestyle and hospitality.

With 16 countries in her passport (more planned for 2019!) and many, many hotel stays on her books – Stephanie is a chick we know we can count on when it comes to travel advice. Follow her adventures on IG @ssprayregen.

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

Habitas Tulum, Tulum, MX – The ultimate glamping experience, but with 5-star service. Love the morning yoga sessions, outdoor rain shower and healthy, clean eats.

The William Vale, Brooklyn, USA (of course) — Only hotel in NYC with a private terrace in every guest room, which is important to me as a guest.

Ocean View Club Dunmore Town, Bahamas — Loved this hotel so much, that I got hitched there! Every room or cottage is unique with its own character. It’s a family-owned business and you can feel that in their level of service. They really make you feel welcomed and at home.

If you work in hospitality, what do you love best about your job and the industry?

I love that hotels aren’t just a ‘heads-in-bed’ establishment anymore. Hotels have become a cultural hub where art, music, food and entertainment collide into an immersive experience. It makes going to work every day fun and exciting.

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

Despite being in digital marketing, I love digital detoxes! An easy place for me to detox is upstate New York at Scribner’s Catskill Lodge. The lobby has a beautiful furnace fireplace and the walls are lined with books for you to read at your leisure. It’s a very peaceful and tranquil hotel in the middle of nature!

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

It’s a splurge, but I always carry an SK-II Facial Treatment Mask. I have no shame putting that mask on in the middle of a flight because I know my skin will thank me later.

Do you have any favorite travel hacks (ways to score an upgrade, methods of getting your meal first on a flight, etc)?

I buy everything with my credit card so I can build my points up!  As long as you stay diligent with paying your credit card, this is the fastest way to get upgraded seats and ‘free’ flights!

Anxiety and burn out are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so?

Traveling is the best way to detox from stress and anxiety. Even if it’s a weekend staycation, going someplace once a month reminds me that there is a bigger world out there and I need to live in it.

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

Cartagena has a small hole in the wall coffee shop called Abacus Books and Coffee, where the red-brick walls are lined with a curated selection of books for you to browse for hours. It’s a great place to escape the heat and relax with a refreshing cold brew coffee, while reading a good book or taking advantage of their free WiFi.

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

The best travel advice I’ve received is to try to “live like a local” any place new I visit. If this means trying a new dish that I wouldn’t necessarily eat, then that’s what I’ll do.

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

I think workout clothes can be chic and most importantly comfortable! You’ll usually find me in an all black workout attire with white sneakers going through security. I have Global Entry, but I still don’t want to take any chances with having to take off my shoes or a layer because something went off in the detector.

Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience: 

Architecturally intriguing, has a pool, close to things, comfortable, unique, locals hang out there, doesn’t break the bank, dope minibar

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Lost phone!

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Early check-in!

Hot List: Time for a Digital Detox

We are heading into spring, which means that it might be time for that digital detox we talk so much about. The beginning of the new year is usually categorized by gym memberships (that we may or may not use), trading in wine for green juice, and getting serious about workflow. We are all for the hustle, but usually that comes with us being attached to our computers, phones, tablets, etc. Not sure about you, but we could probably use a little device hiatus. Check out our go-to places to disconnect, brought to you by a few of our /Insiders.

Where? Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Says who? Maya Poulton, Safara co-founder and all around boss lady.

Why? Off the northwest tip of West Papua, you will find a collection of 1500 islands that can only be described as idyllic- most don’t even have names. Celebrated for their turquoise waters and thick jungle, these islands are the definition of remote. Raja Ampat is well known for the best diving in the world, due to its myriad coral reefs and remote location, which has prevented human interference (16 hours from Singapore, via 3 flights and 2 boats). You can spy manta rays, sharks, whales, turtles, birds of paradise, and even “salties” (salt water crocs- though we suggest you avoid them). If you are wanting to half-ass your digital detox, we wouldn’t recommend coming here- there is no cell service, and no wifi. It’s paradise.

Where to stay?  Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort.

Where? Isla Holbox, Mexico

Says who? Bryan Kinkade, Publisher at AFAR Media

Why? Isla Holbox is everything Cancun isn’t, which is why you should come here. This is a car-free island north of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula located on a Nature Reserve. If that doesn’t make you want to power-down and focus on some “you” time – we aren’t sure what will. 

Where to stay? Casas Las Tortugas

Where? Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

Says who? Negar Mohammadi, Director of Brand Marketing at Vogue

Why? Don’t expect easy access to WiFi in Santa Teresa. Do expect everything else you should be looking for: amazing beaches, good surf, and great food. Labeled “the next Tulum,” we promise this quaint town isn’t filled with LA style cafes and luxury resorts that the famed Maxican tourist destination is known for. Instead, you’ll find hammocks on the beach and surf boards to rent, fresh coconuts, and a place to truly relax. If you’re looking to meet a few friends and kick your IRL socializing into gear – this is a great option.

Where to stay? Latitude 10

Where? Ile de Re, France

Says who? Marine Tanguy, Founder of MTArt Agency

Why? Famous for its beaches, pine trees, and picturesque dunes – Ile de Re is a perfect place to wind-down in Europe. Off the west coast of France, this charming island is much more “connected” than heading deep into the jungle, but it is a far fling from the bustle and buzz of the Mediterranean towns down south. The towns on the island are extremely laid-back, and offer small cafes with top notch cuisine, expansive beaches, and beautiful walks. Leave your phone behind and try to visit during May or September when you can truly take advantage of the peace and quiet the island has to offer.

Where to stay? Hotel Le Senechal

Where? Providencia, Colombia

Says who? Andrew Barker, Chief Brand Officer at C Magazine

Why? Part of the San Andres Islands, Providencia is closer to Costa Rica and Jamaica than it is to mainland Colombia. This hidden paradise isn’t easy to get to (fly from Cartagena or San Andres, and then ferry or plane to Providencia), but it’s well worth it once you’re there. Because there isn’t a direct flight, far fewer tourists make the trek which gives the island a rugged feel. Most people that go say it’s one of the most beautiful places they’ve ever been. 

Where to stay? Hotel Deep Blue

Bennett Brown, Maderas Village + Pitaya Travel

If you were living in NYC or LA 5 years ago, every plugged-in person you knew was discussing a little boutique hotel in Nicaragua called Maderas Village. No, this wasn’t a splashy five star property with huge ad budgets to match –  it was just that good of a place that people couldn’t stop talking about it (aided by Maderas’ super sexy instagram, no doubt). Soon guests came from all corners of the globe to get in on the Maderas experience. Though bookings grew, what remained the same was the spirit of community that Maderas had somehow fostered. You could go alone or with someone, you could stay a weekend or a couple months, but you always were among “your people.” It was a magical place. We went in 2015, and then again the next year – and had the pleasure of befriending Bennett Brown, one of Maderas’ amazing partners. We bonded over a shared love of adventure travel and a desire to challenge the status quo of the travel industry (check out what we’re up to, here, and what he’s up to next, here).

Originally from Toronto, Bennett left a successful real estate career in the big city to move to a tiny, undeveloped beach town in Nicaragua. This is where he helped build Maderas Village, over 6 years ago. When Maderas took off, Bennett and team opened a 2nd pop-up boutique hotel, Bayhouse.

Bennett is now the CEO of Pitaya, a technology company developing a new Hospitality Experience Platform for boutique hotels. As an amazing hotelier and constant globetrotter (he just spent a couple months living in Lisbon, and before that had a stint in Joshua Tree), we couldn’t wait to get our mits on his travel tips. Read on…

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

I hate to say it, but reliable internet & wifi. A solid internet connection is just so critical today, and so many hotels fail to get this right. Few things will frustrate people more than unreliable technology.

Did you always want to work in the travel/hospitality industry? What was your “spark” for choosing travel as a vocation, and how did you get into it?

It really hadn’t crossed my mind until I arrived at Maderas Village in Nicaragua, over 6 years ago. I was traveling through Latin America and stopped in to visit an old family friend, Matt Dickinson (Dickie), who had co-founded the hotel.

What really captivated me was their philosophy around how to deliver an incredible guest experience. That was the first time the term ‘Hospitality’ really connected with me. It kind of sounds crazy, but very few hospitality companies actually bring people together. I knew Dickie was on to something as I had never experienced a place like that before in all my travels. I felt I had to figure out what they were doing differently that the industry seemed to have missed. So, I decided to stay longer and figure out how to make myself indispensable.

What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist?

–       Spoon – Inside out

–       Marvin Gay – Got to Give It Up

–       David Bowie – Heros

Who is your dream “co-pilot” (travel partner- dead or alive), and why? 

I suppose I would have to say Steve McQueen: he is a really fascinating individual, and seems like someone that would always be up for an adventure to unique destinations.  

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

I usually look to a few sources such as AHotelLife or Design Hotels, as they have a solid collection of curated properties around the world. From there I find a few properties that match the vibe I am looking for on this trip, and then dig into their socials.  There are generally some solid gems to explore- cafes, music venues, galleries or great eats.

Best travel advise you’ve ever received, and from whom?

The best advice I have heard was to just ‘say yes.’ I was at a talk given by Richard Branson and the CEO of ING in Toronto years ago, and a lot of their focus had been on the idea of “just saying yes” as often as possible as it leads to unexpected outcomes. It just made a lot of sense and I would have to credit that advice for leading me to a lot of the most fascinating ventures over the years.

Anxiety and burn out are big topics these days. How do you combat them, and how do you use travel to do so? Any favorite hotels for this, specifically? 

I passively manage my stress by ensuring those I share my time with both personally and in business have a calming presence and positive outlook. I have found that even in the most stressful situations seem much more manageable with calm and positive people at your side. 

However, while traveling I look to enjoy the unique environments each country offers, whether that is surfing, climbing, snowboarding or even enjoying a coffee in battery park and watching the city go by.

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

There is this little café in Rome called The Hybris Art Gallery. It has an amazing atmosphere, great music, and welcoming staff. I am not even certain the coffee was truly the best, but in that moment it didn’t much matter as it was all perfect.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach

Alone or with someone else?

Share the experience

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

Yes

Lost luggage, or lost phone?

Luggage

Airplane food- Y/N?

Yes

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Reese’s peanut butter cups

Favourite travel app?

Porter & Sail

Window or Aisle?

Window, it’s the best part of flying

Austin

Austin has become an increasingly popular U.S city for visitors and transplants alike. Though big name festivals like Austin City Limits and South by Southwest call Austin home base, they aren’t even close to the only reason tourists are making the trek down south. With great music 7 days a week, excellent restaurants (or food trucks), and more outdoor activities than we can count…we understand why.

With its history of music, art, and exceptional food – not to mention the University of Texas campus in the middle of town – Austin has been a long-standing hub for creativity and innovation. It’s no surprise that large scale festivals chose this city to call home. The increase of young professionals moving in has driven small business owners to expand their doors and open new coffee shops, boutiques, restaurants, and more. It’s given way to boutique brands like Outdoor Voices to move headquarters down south, new chefs like Zach Hunter, and niche boutique hotel businesses such as Bunkhouse to expand. All without losing the quirk we love so much about the city.

Where to stay

Hotel Saint Cecilia

In the South Congress neighborhood is this 14 room boutique hotel. A bit more secluded than the rest of the properties on our list, Saint Cecilia sits on lush grounds that give a true sense of privacy. Named after the patron saint of music and poetry, you can imagine that the hotel is designed to convey a sense of rock n’ roll. Oh, and that iconic neon “SOUL” sign overlooking a beautiful pool we’ve all seen photos of? You’ll find that here too. 

The LINE Hotel

The LINE’s third property, Austin’s hotel is much like the DC and LA experience in the sense that it is shaped by the town it’s built in. Housed in an old jazz club, the LINE gives homage to the creative history of the building and the city itself. Rooms overlook Lady Bird Lake and come complete with local art. If you can find any time to rest during your trip, definitely spend a few hours by their gorgeous pool. 

Hotel San Jose

Behind stucco walls on South Congress Avenue, you’ll find Hotel San Jose. The modern design, showcasing concrete and minimalist accents, go perfectly with their gardens and courtyards. Their pool is surrounded by bright couches and pillows, and looks like it was staged for some sort of photoshoot. This hotel is almost too pretty to leave, but luckily we love the cocktails they are serving so we can stay here all day.

Heywood Hotel

Heywood Hotel is located in the East Austin area – which is probably one of the hottest neighborhoods in town now. The design is what we would call “Southwest Minimalist.” With only 7 guest rooms, you can expect impeccably personalized service.  Grab a bike to explore the neighborhood ( or for a quick ride downtown) or get some emails out of the way in their sunny courtyard. 

Where to eat

Dai Due

Former farmers market stand and supper club, Dai Due brick-and-mortar location gives us a taste of Texas. Hyper-locally sourced meat and heavy recipes that will let you know you’re definitely in the Lone Star State. 

Sour Duck Market

From the owners of upscale restaurant Odd Duck (which you should also go to), is an all-day eatery/market/bar called Sour Duck. We are putting Sour Duck on our list because we thoroughly enjoy the multifaceted approach to goodness as well as the Eastside location. This is a perfect place to grab a beer, wine, or cocktail and a few apps with your friends, and enjoy all of those things at outdoor picnic tables. It’s the perfect answer for when you want fantastic food but don’t feel like putting on heels in Texas.

Kemuri Tatsu-Ya

For those of you visiting from New York, LA, or anywhere else that claims to have the best ramen around…get ready. Austin restaurant Ramen Tatsu-Ya might be one of our favorite bowls around and their sister restaurant, Kemuri Tatsu-Ya is equally as good but more inventive. Dubbed “Texas Izakaya,” Kemuri is a hybrid of Texas BBQ goodness and Japanese ramen goodness. It’s all very, very good. 

Saigon Le Vendeur

Austin has exceptionally good Vietnamese food, and this spot has our favorite banh mi in town. Sandwiches are served out of an old shipping container, and that only adds to the experience. 

Veracruz Tacos

You’ve heard of Veracruz. If you haven’t heard of Veracruz…we don’t understand why. Either way, it’s worth the hype and you should go to any or all of their locations. Our favorite is the one near Radio Coffee & Beer or around Mueller’s Farmers Market (open every Sunday and Wednesday). Get the Migas Pablanas and have your life be changed forever. 

Where to drink

Kitty Cohen’s

Kitty Cohen’s is a Palm Springs inspired patio bar where you can get punches and other tiki drinks and probably be the happiest version of yourself possible. They have a small pool in the middle of the outdoor area, which you can actually get into. Basically, this bar is giving us everything we want. 

P6

On top of the new LINE hotel is P6 – a cocktail bar serving serious booze and even more serious views. The space just opened on March 1st and you should make sure to check it out. The drinks aren’t cheap but they are delicious, and it would be a challenge to find a better place to watch the sun go down. 

Techo Mezcaleria

Located on top of a restaurant in the East Austin neighborhood is this tiny mezcal bar. The romantic interior boasts a dark wood bar and a seriously amazing mezcal selection. You’re in Austin, so don’t worry they don’t expect you to cram into a small cave to enjoy good liquor. Techo also has an outdoor patio that is perfect for a larger group if need be. 

Where to dance

Barbarella

If you’re looking for a club experience that still has hints of Austin culture – come to Barbarella. Each night of the week is themed (the 60s, 70s, 80s, electronic, etc), so there is truly something for everyone. 

The White Horse

If you’re looking to dance to live music (usually honky-tonk) and want to get your two-step on – there isn’t a better place than this Eastside staple. The live bands change depending on the night – but you are pretty much guaranteed a great time 7 days a week. 

Cheer Up Charlies

Cheer Up Charlies is a queer-friendly bar made for literally everyone.  Housed in what looks like a lodge, the bar has a great patio and even better music. They have dance parties, live music, art shows, and beyond. Plus, if you aren’t in the mood to take down a beer, don’t worry – they have kombucha on tap. 

Where to shop

STAG Provisions for Men

One of our favorite men’s stores on South Congress. They have some vintage and a ton of new, cool brands. Whether you want to pick up a crisp button up or go the full Austin lumberjack look – STAG will hook you up with the trendiest threads. Also, their staff is super friendly so you might feel inclined to stay a while and have a whiskey.

Esby Apparel

We love Esby Apparel for the classic cuts and clean lines. This sustainable brand values minimalism and makes those pieces that you can wear on repeat. Specializing in menswear aesthetic made for women, we consistently find closet staples to take home with us.

Mueller’s Farmers Market

One of our favorite farmers markets in Austin. Sitting right on a man made lake, come here for great produce vendors, packaged goods, games, and food trucks. 

ByGeorge

By far Austin’s most upscale and chicest store,  ByGeorge has high-end designers and high-quality brands you might not have heard of (yet). Their jewelry section is second to none. If you’re looking to drop some cash on some seriously beautiful items…this is your spot.

Feathers

Austin has really good vintage shopping (Charm School Vintage, Room Service Vintage, Blue Velvet, etc). We could fill this list with a host of other store names, but we are going to give you Feathers because it’s a great option for a more curated selection of vintage. There won’t be piles of clothes here – the store reads more like a boutique, but we can guarantee you will find great denim, hats, and amazing one-of-a-kind pieces (we splurged on a floor-length denim jacket and we couldn’t be happier).

take heart

If you are looking to by a gift – look no further than take heart. This might actually be our favorite store in Austin because, though it’s not large, you could spend an hour going through every shelf and checking out the perfectly curated goods they sell. We love their minimalist pottery, Japanese goods,  jewelry, and candles.

What to do

Barton Springs Pool

This is Austin’s favorite watering hole, and will probably be yours soon too. Fed entirely by natural springs, Barton Springs is a man made pool in the middle of Zilker Park. It’s the perfect place to cool off during the warmer months in Austin. 

Wild Basin Preserve

Made up by 227 acres and miles of hiking trails, Wild Basin Preserve is a great and totally accessible outdoor excursion. With different trails connecting at different points, you can decide how long you want your hike to be. There is a clear map at the entrance that allows you to map your route – but no matter which one you take, it will surely be gorgeous. 

Pangea Lounge Food Truck Park

Second in the US for the number of food trucks per capita, Austin knows what it’s doing when it comes to serving food out of a van. Luckily, many of the best trucks are clustered together in food truck “parks” which makes it easy to hit a few of them at once. Pangea Lounge on E. 6th Street is one of our favorites. You can find Thai, Greek, Indian, and, of course, tacos.

Jester King Brewery

About 30 minutes from Downtown Austin is Jester King Brewery. Their year-round and special edition beers are fantastic, but what we love more is the property. The farmhouse sits in Texas Hill Country and makes you feel like you could be much further than 30 minutes west of Austin. With beautiful views, outdoor games, and truly great pizza – you could easily spend an entire day here.

Where to work

Thunderbird Coffee

This is actually our favorite coffee in Austin (a bold claim, but we made it) but we are putting it on our “Where to Work” list because of the big communal tables, large outdoor space, and private high tops. Plus, their baked goods and drinks are good enough that you can stay for hours. Pro tip: if you buy a bag of beans to take home (which you should) you get a free drink of choice. 

The pool at Hotel Saint Cecilia

Listen – you’re in Austin where the weather is pretty warm most times of the year. If you aren’t taking advantage of that while you are penning emails, closing deals, or editing copy…what are you really doing? Head to the pool at Saint Cecilia for prime sunshine and privacy.

Austin Public Library

We know this might sound like we are sending you back to college by telling you to work in a library but hear us out. The Austin Public Library is an architectural gem inside and out, and happens to have a fantastic restaurant. It’s right downtown and the perfect place to come to plug-in. 

Where to break

Juiceland

If you are looking for a healthy start to the day, go to any Juiceland location. This Austin based chain makes really good smoothies and has healthy bites too. We love the location near Deep Eddy.

Seventh Flag Coffee

One of our favorite coffee shops in South Austin. It’s spacious and comfy, which makes sense because it was once a home. We love the minimalist design (part of the reason we come here) and the coffee is some of our favorite in town.

Figure 8 Coffee Purveyors

Insider Margot Boyer-Dry calls Figure 8 the best cup of coffee she’s had, hands down. Started by two Austin natives, Figure 8 is a small local coffee shop with great coffee. We are putting it on here because you may not have heard about it, and it isn’t another “second location” hip storefront like Alfred. The reclaimed wood tables and serves up its own roasted beans.

Where to get your hits of culture

Two-Step at Broken Spoke

Broken Spokes is a legendary dance hall and music museum. Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton have both played here. Need we say more? Come here to two-step any day of the week. Dancing isn’t mandatory, but we dare you to resist jumping on the bandwagon once you’re there.

Live Music

Continental Club, Cheer-up Charlies, Mohawk, Scoot Inn, C-Boy’s Heart & Soul. We could keep going for the entirety of this article, but you get the picture. Austin is a great place to see music. Whether it’s during Austin City Limits and SXSW or long after the festivals have departed – this town hosts a range of great artists on a nightly basis.

Blanton Museum of Art

Set on the UT campus, this is far beyond a traditional college art museum. With permanent collections and exhibitions that come through, it’s a must visit on your trip to Austin. We love the peaceful courtyard as a way to wind down from the buzz of the city. It also has a great cafe we’d suggest stopping into. 

Where to work out

Practice Yoga

Donation based yoga on the Eastside. We love this no-frills studio and every teacher we have had has been great. They categorize themselves as “absurdly high-quality donation based yoga” and we couldn’t agree more.

CorePower Yoga

We know this isn’t necessarily a “hyper-local” add to our list, but CorePower Yoga does the trick and we happen to love the Austin location. When you need to sweat it out and feel good about those arms before you take a dive into Barton Springs – CorePower has you covered.

Bike or run along Ann & Roy Butler Path

Austin boasts some of the most beautiful city greens we could ask for – so why not take the workout outside? Ann & Roy Butler Path is the trail that runs along Lady Bird Lake, and it’s the perfect place for a bike ride or a jog. Our suggestion? Jog along the trail to Deep Eddy, and then take a dip.

 

Margot Boyer-Dry, Writer + Founder of Lorem Ipsum

Margot is the witty wordsmith we all need in our 2019 reality. This Brooklyn based writer is the founder of Lorem Ipsum – a culture focused newsletter spanning music, food, tech, and beyond. As The News Stand put it, it’s “the only newsletter you need in your inbox.” Frankly, we wholeheartedly agree.

In addition to keeping up with pop culture for Lorem Ipsum, Margot has done copywriting for Facebook and Audible, and has written for publications like Curbed, New York Magazine, and The New York Times. She co-wrote the NYT column “Summer in the City,” sharing her point of view on what to do, where to eat, and who to see during the warmer months in the Big Apple. This is a lady who knows what’s up.

Follow Margot on Instagram @m.bigdeal and sign up for her newsletter

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

I can’t remember its name, but the best place I’ve ever stayed was a hotel in a former convent in Avignon. Thick stone, sweet courtyard, pure delight. After that, I remember a sweet Riad in Fes where I almost floated away after all the evening tea. And The Silo in Cape Town has a really friendly staff– find them and befriend them.

Photo via The Silo Hotel

What is the most unique hotel amenity you’ve ever encountered?

The Hoxton in Williamsburg has coffee packets– like tea bags, but for steeping coffee. Why has no one thought of this before.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling? 

Pretty much anywhere outside will do- give me dappled sunlight and something green, and I’m good to go. All parks with WiFi are my offices in Brooklyn.

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

Somewhere remote and mountainous. The Himalayas. Patagonia. Upstate New York.

What is your most used travel emoji?

✌

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

My cousin taught me early: never be on the main drag.

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

It’s basic, but it holds up: sleep on local time.

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

Figure 8 in Austin (included in the recent Safara guide!), hands down. Coffee comes best with a spinning record. (And a breakfast taco never hurts.)

Rank the following, from most to least important to you, re: what you seek in a hotel experience:

Comfortable, close to things, doesn’t break the bank, unique, locals hang out there, architecturally intriguing, has a pool, dope minibar.

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain!

Airplane food- Y/N?

Plane food is almost uniformly disappointing, but nevertheless, absolutely.

Window or Aisle?

DEPENDS. Daytime flights pull me toward the window, but aisles are better for long trips. How many times do I anticipate having to pee?

Nicky Paul, Music Producer + Keyboardist for St. Lucia

Producer, composer, and keyboard player for indie-electro band St. Lucia, Nicky Paul has been in the music scene for a long minute. Growing up in LA, Nicky has been surrounded by creativity from a young age and continues to grow his creative circle at home in Brooklyn, NY.

Prior to joining St. Lucia, Nicky was a hired gun for projects with Tony Bennett, Britney Spears, Passion Pit, and more. He also spent a fair amount of time in the advertising music game and runs his own publishing company. Plus, his hip swinging and head bobbing makes him one of our favorite people to watch on stage and could probably qualify him as a professional dancer. 

In addition to in-studio production, he has toured live with St. Lucia and other artist. Touring has taken Nicky to Europe, Asia, South America, and back home to the U.S. This guy is no stranger to spending long stretches of time on the road, so we take his travel tips pretty seriously.

Follow Nicky on Instagram @nicky_paul and his band St. Lucia @stlucia.

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

Amangiri, Utah, USA –  simple, chic, concrete design in a desert. Dystopian modern luxury at its best.

La Casa Que Canta, Zihuatanejo, MX – Mexico + Beach + Great Hotel = perfect

Soho House Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, UK – English Countryside with a modern twist, brilliant. Glamping also available.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

NY: Dumbo House

LA: Chateau Marmont or Griffith Park

Berlin: Berlin Soho House

London: Electric Cinema (Shoreditch)

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

Yosemite (high tuolumne meadows) or Santa Cruz Island (channel islands).

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

Get ahead of the game by falling asleep or staying awake on the plane, depending on the destination/time zone you’re going to.

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

Headphones 

What is your favorite travel book – for at home, or abroad- and why? 

It’s actually the New Yorker magazine. I don’t have a favorite book, so if I’m not deep into one at the time this is always my go to.

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

Sneakers, Sweats, Sweatshirt, Shirt… the 4 S’s. All Gucci, all the time. Sometimes Chanel.

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? If so, how did you go about designing your career life to include so much travel, and how do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

I’ve always wanted to play and make music and I’ve always wanted to see the world. I’ve been lucky enough that both have come to fruition through what I love doing. I think the most essential point to making travel both fun and relaxing is to do things in moderation. Don’t plan too much, but don’t plan too little. Leave room for spontaneity but also have a clue of what you want to do. Don’t put pressure on yourself to do ALL the things… just book enough time (days/weeks) that you can do them without feeling like you’re in 5pm NY rush hour traffic. Also, it helps if you’re doing it with someone or people you enjoy. Things tend to just fall into place in my experience. 

Beach or City or Mountain?

Mountain

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete?

The New Yorker (print edition) and girls scout chocolate mint cookies.

In flight cocktail – Y/N? What kind?

Bloody Mary or just tomato juice with a side of lemon and ice.

Thank you for visiting Safara!

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