Month: April 2019

London by Journalist Annabel Herrick

Trying to boil down London to just one city guide isn’t possible. There is way too much going on in the UK capital to try and choose between a few restaurants, shops, or hotels- London makes even NYC seem tiny in terms of potential travel time between areas and hot spots. Yes, commute time can suck- but it also makes London an amazing place to explore for as long as possible, as there’s no end to diversity and culture here.

Instead of giving you one top list, we’ve decided to show you a variety of perspectives of our home base (we call London home here at Safara- mostly). First up, check out Annabel Herrick’s guide to her London – focusing around the North East areas (Shoreditch, Spitalfields, Islington, and more!). This freelance journalist has written for CN Traveler, Vice, and Stylist. She is definitely a woman you want to be taking tips from – and her London spots are second to none. 

We know you live in London, but let’s say you were to take your dream staycation. Where would you stay?

42 Acres yoga retreat in Somerset – I’ve heard good things…or the Pembrokeshire Coast – it’s so wild there.

Image via 42 Acres

Favorite places to eat on the daily? What do we order?

I loved the Friday food market on Southbank when I worked in Covent Garden. There are various Natural Kitchens all over London and they do great salads, good for meetings too. I just discovered a lovely organic market at the end of my road, Manse Road, in Stoke Newington that’s on every Saturday morning. They have whatever the farmers have grown that week as well as honey, homemade bread, cheeses, milk etc.

Where would you go to eat for a special occasion? What are they known for?

The Modern Pantry is beautiful, a Georgian Townhouse in Clerkenwell. It’s ‘fusion’ European.

Image via The Modern Pantry

What are your favorite bars around town? What should we be ordering?

I’m more about pubs than bars. A few that come to mind: Faltering Fullback in Finsbury Park, The Water Poet near Moorgate and the Southampton Arms in Gospel Oak have a live jazz duo who are wonderful. They only take cash, very old fashioned, proper ‘old man pub’ with great local ales.

Best place for an AM pick me up? Either coffee, green juice, or tea?

London Grind (various all over London) is an easy choice and always good (short and strong with oat milk). Any Hoxton Hotel is reliable for a quiet spot when organising a meeting.

We have an entire afternoon free, and are looking to do some damage to our credit card. Where should we go?

Has to be Rivington Street in Shoreditch for mid/high end brands like Acne or Church Street in Stoke Newington – lots of lovely interior/furniture boutiques and antique shops.

We’ve lost our luggage. Where would you suggest we get a new wardrobe?

In and around Shoreditch; Brick Lane for vintage, BoxPark for local designers and Spitalfields for bigger brands.

Where can we get our dose of culture where we won’t be swarmed with other tourists?

Clissold Park in Stoke Newington for a stroll (the goats…!) or smaller Shoreditch galleries like Jealous or Protein. Now I’m freelance I tend to go to galleries midweek (a luxury I know) as I can’t handle weekend crowds!

We’re looking to party….like a local. Where should we go?

Rowans Tenpin Bowl in Finsbury Park. It’s very weird but very fun. Old Queen’s Head in Angel or Concrete in Shoreditch are crowd pleasers.

We’d love to see some live music. Where to?

Union Chapel in Angel is a beautiful venue.

Image via Union Chapel

Favorite secret spot to get some alone time?

The northern edge of Hampstead Heath away from the crowds, ideally not on a weekend. Super early when it’s misty if you can handle it!

And if we are coupled up – what is the best date spot that will actually have a table?

You have to book in advance wherever you go really. I’m so not the right person to ask for this! I just like a big beer garden with good ales (easily pleased) so further out in North London like The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead is lovely.

Where should we go for some “forest bathing,” or a nature walk (if not a full-on hike)?

Hampstead, Clissold Park, Lea Valley, there’s an old railway line above Archway that not many people know about. Download Go Jauntly for more ideas, they have loads. 

Tips and tricks for getting around town?

Cycle! That’s my number one tip if you’re brave enough. It’s really not as bad as it looks.

Where would you go with your sketch pad or journal?

The best galleries but midweek if possible: RA, Tate, Courthauld, Barbican

You need to work, but the wifi is down at work/home. Where do you go?

One of the many beautiful Stoke Newington cafes. 

Where do we go to work out like a local? What are the trends that everyone’s into these days?

Chroma in Shoreditch do colour therapy yoga sessions, gimmicky but really cool and I swear it works. I love spinning at Digme or 1 Rebel (they do hip-hop themed classes). There’s a tiny community focussed yoga studio called YogaHome near me that’s a registered charity, their classes are amazing considering their low prices. Other amazing studios with a cult following (more expensive) include: Yotopia (Covent Garden), Indaba (Marylebone) or Tri Yoga (Camden, Shoreditch, Soho).

Image via Chroma Yoga

We’re jetlagged AF. Where do we go to treat ourselves, spa or massage-wise?

I’ve heard treatments at Tri Yoga are amazing.

Anything else you want to add in terms of interesting activities or must-see/do’s?

Columbia Road Flower Market on a Sunday. Get there early.

 

Louis A. W. Sheridan, Founder of Discover & Escape

Louis A. W. Sheridan is a London-based creative consultant and photographer, as well as the Creative Editor at Mr & Mrs Smith (he’s the magic behind @smithhotels – one of our favorite instagram inspirations!). His work has taken him across the globe, where he has photographed mountains, models and movie stars; interviewed shepherds, singers and psychics, and hijacked the decks at every opportunity. In and amongst all this he launched Discover & Escape – a shapeshifting creative agency hellbent on viewing everything through a travel lens.

D&E has worked with amazing brands like Matches Fashion as well as profiled artists like Theophilus London and Giles Deacon. Alongside content creation and editorial (for stunning hotels like Aman Venice and El Fenn), Louis also works with hotels on recognising, reacting to, and shaping travel trends. He is always looking for an excuse to take photos, tell stories, and hang out with horses.

We caught up with Louis on where to spot leopards in India, where to stay in Patagonia, and his tips on self discovery through travel as both a career and a (semi-accidental) lifestyle. Read on for some wisdom…

Follow Louis on instagram @louisaws

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

1. Sujan Jawai, Rajasthan, India – A tented camp in the wilds of Rajasthan where leopards roam freely.

2. Le Bristol, Paris, France – If/when I’m made King, I imagine this is how I’d live 24/7.

3. Awasi, Torres del Paine, Chile – Horses, solitude, horses, world-beating food, horses, mountains. Patagonia is hard to beat.

What hotel room design element can you not live without? 

Enough sockets to charge a battalion of camera equipment, and windows that can actually be opened.

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

Anywhere with 4G – often far more reliable than wifi. I also love working out of hotel libraries/lounges – they’re criminally underused by guests and are often as well designed as the rooms/restaurants/lobby etc.

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

Yorkshire is my reset button. Though Harbour Island has marginally better weather.

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?

Travel was never the aim though my work has always been about storytelling and I’ve found that the best stories present themselves if you keep moving. I can roll out cliches all day on the subject, but I genuinely believe that spending time with new people and places is one of the best ways to understand yourself and your place in the world. As for making it fun/relaxing – I’m lucky enough to travel with my partner (a travel editor herself) which makes a huge difference. It’s a constant to and fro of ensuring we’re both present while also recording anything and everything.

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

If you’re travelling long-haul as a couple and the flight’s quiet, book the window and aisle seat and leave the middle free. Only a psychopath would choose the middle seat so you’ll either get the extra space or at the very least, a close-up anthropological study.

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

I have a first-world problem in that this can happen in reverse for me if we’re on the road too much. Spending a good amount of time in one place can feel like a luxury and if things get really intense then the antidote is always screen-free downtime. That being said, living in London – anywhere with sun helps.

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

Adapt to the mealtimes of wherever you are, even if you’re struggling with a sleep pattern, eating at set times helps tell your body what time it is. And drink obscene amounts of water.

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

A.A. Gill is Away – Gill’s acerbic writing style speaks to me more than most. He travelled far and wide, writing about some notoriously dull and difficult places and yet always found a story, because, there always is one. Even where I don’t agree with his opinions I find his absolute conviction compelling.

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

I have a penchant for M65 field jackets, equally perfect for photographing on location and getting through airport security. Strategically fill each pocket (phone, passport, jewelery etc) then put the whole jacket in the scanner and you’re through in seconds.

Beach, city, or mountain?

Is Cape Town all three? All three.

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

No. The last sacred space.

Airplane food- Y/N?

Unequivocal no.


Paris

We could walk every arrondissement 100 times and still discover new things to love about Paris. From sipping on an espresso at a sidewalk cafe, to duck fat potatoes at every meal, to running through the rain along the Seine – this is a place where your dreamy image (or cliché) of what it could be actually matches reality.

Though people think of Paris as a city for the posh and fashionable (and let’s be real- everyone who lives there seems to be slightly cooler) the town has so much to offer for anyone who decides to pay a visit.

With The City of Lights being one of the most popular destinations in the world, we figure you’ve already got The Louvre and a few of the famous restaurants on your list. In an effort to add some lesser known gems, and pay homage to the places we love most, check out our guide to France’s picture-perfect capital.

Where to stay

The Hoxton Paris

Okay fine. You will find a Hoxton on our list of “Where to stay” in any city the hospitality company may have a hotel in – and with good reason. Their Paris outpost is housed in an 18th century hôtel particulier and is their largest (and arguably most beautiful) hotel. Many of the furnishings come from famous French designers and you can choose a variety of guest room sizes ranging between a Shoebox, Cosy, Roomy, and Biggy. We recommend snagging a room on the top floor as they have striking views of the Eiffel Tower. With the Rivié restaurant serving classic French fair and Jacques’ Bar making exotic cocktails right in the hotel – you may feel like you don’t even have to leave.

Photo via The Hoxton

Le Pigalle

This might be the sexiest hotel in Paris. With in-room bathtubs, views of the city, and eclectic artwork decorating the walls – it’s definitely a spot to book if you are getting away with your special someone (in fact – we even included it in our V-Day guide). As much as we love the rooms, our favorite thing about this hotel is that the good time comes to you. Their ground floor not only has a vinyl record library, they also have DJs that come in to spin on a weekly basis.

Hotel Des Grands Boulevards

Experimental Group (the guys behind Experimental Cocktail club and other mainstay watering holes in Paris and beyond), took a step into the hotel business and opened hotels in both London and Paris. Built in an 18th-century townhouse and boasting 50 rooms that are designed with rich fabrics and playful details, we would crown Des Grands Boulevards the chicest of Experimental’s hotels.

Grand Amour Hotel

This is the older sibling to Amour Hotel (3-star hotel which is also 100% worth staying at). This place serves us old retro Hollywood vibes, if Hollywood was in France. With a major “cool-kid” factor, we stay at this place as much for the courtyard bar and the great restaurant as we do for the eclectic rooms.

Where to eat

Chez Janou

This restaurant is loved by locals and tourists alike. The food is good, the vibe is better, and their chocolate mousse (which is literally bottomless) is the best.

Chateaubriand

Don’t come to Chateaubriand if you are a control freak. This distinctly French restaurant has one of the best and most affordable tasting menus we’ve come across – but you pretty much get zero say in what comes to your table. Truth be told, that is entirely fine with us because everything that comes out of this kitchen is great.

Le Stresa

We have insider knowledge that this is model Elsa Hosk’s favorite restaurant. Though it’s a bit scene-y and may not be your first pick if you are trying to go to authentic Parisian style, you can’t deny that La Stresa is a good dose of fun. Pasta, velvet chairs, and ornate mirrors are what define this small Italian restaurant. 

Pamela Popo

This restaurant is named after a Serge Gainsbourg song. Need we say more? Fine, we will. Decked out in vintage wallpaper, Pamela Popo will take you right back to the 50s & 60s. It’s classic French food and when it’s warm we encourage you to grab a seat outside.

Where to drink

Le Comptoir Général

Along Canal Saint Martin is one of our favorite multi-use bars in Paris. This Franco-African themed space looks like a warehouse loft that has been converted into a venue – with mismatched chairs and vintage finds hanging on the walls. The best part about Comptoir is that you can come here for drinks and great tunes in the evening, and return the next day for morning coffee.

Photo via Le Comptoir Général

Le Perchoir

Our favorite rooftop bar in Paris. Come here for a sunset drink (or three) and make sure to dress well – you’ll find a seriously fashionable crowd.

Hero

Hero is actually a Korean-inspired restaurant on rue Saint Denis. We encourage you to order the food – but we come here for the killer cocktails. The vibe is dark and sexy, and you will hear a mix of hip-hop and K-pop in the background. Can you ask for anything more?

Le Dépanneur

Great cocktails in a cozy-chic space. This spot is also a restaurant, so if you get hungry there are some great picks on the menu. It’s in the increasingly hip Pigalle neighborhood which has bars popping up on every street – so this is a great place to start your evening or meet for a date (you are in Paris after all…).

Le Syndicat

Behind a storefront that is seemingly closed is Le Syndicat. This bar specializes in unusual cocktails and bringing back old-school French spirits.

What to do

Marche des Enfants Rouges

An indoor market with tons of stalls that carry fresh produce, prepared food, and more. It’s a great place to stop for lunch.

Picnic on the Seine

There are few better experiences in Paris than buying a baguette, bottle of wine, and great cheese to bring to the banks of the river. 

Institut Suédois

We are throwing this one in the mix because we bet you haven’t visited this museum yet. The gallery explores the history of artistic exchanges between France and Sweden, and frequently has exhibits by young creatives and artists. If you have a love for Scando aesthetic – definitely don’t miss this one.

Canal Saint Martin

We love the Canal Saint Martin because it’s truly one of the most picturesque spots in a very photogenic city. It’s more tranquil than the other sites along the Seine and is close enough to the Marais to make it an easy stop-by. If you’re looking for that romantic pic with your friend, partner, pet, or stranger – this is your spot. 

Piscine Molitor

If you are in need of a Wes Anderson Instagram moment, or just want to cool off in the warmer months, come to this iconic pool at Hotel Molitor. 

Where to shop

Merci

That little red car you’ve seen all over the internet? That’s in front of Paris’s favorite concept shop, Merci. This multi-floored high-end general store has home goods, clothing, used books, gifts, and even furniture. If you are meeting a special someone, they have a flower shop and if you are in need of a pick-me-up, they also have a cafe (because duh). 

Ami

The St. Germain location of this super cool men’s brand has the only women’s capsule collection anywhere- go for a cool blazer nobody else can get their paws on.

Thanx God I’m a V.I.P.

This is a secondhand vintage shop…but it’s not any secondhand vintage shop. Their collection is more curated than other shops in the area (which you should explore – because there are quite a few) and it is even organized by color. We have found some seriously great finds and trust you will too.

Shakespeare & Co

You’ve probably already heard about this iconic bookstore. Even if you have, go back and buy a book or a poster or anything else. We are big supporters of small bookshops, and this is one of our favorites across the globe.

Nous

This is a men’s concept shop started by the same men who ran the shoe and tech departments at the famed Paris store Colette. The space has events, DJs, and guest appearances weekly,  and an inspiring product collection.

Where to dance

Rosa Bonheur

Set in the middle of Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, this bar is a great day-time or sunset spot to grab a drink.  Once the sun goes down, this place can turn into a serious dance party. It’s known as a gay bar which means you can count on a good time and great moves.

Lulu White Drinking Club

Once you walk through the unmarked door in Pigalle, you’ll find live jazz and brass music and a bar that specializes in New Orleans style cocktails. The crowd gets rowdy in the best possible way and this is definitely a place you can keep dancing until the wee hours of the morning.

Andy Wahloo

This place has been around for a while but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go. With great tunes, neon lights, and a Moroccan themed bar, this place creates some of our favorite cocktails in the city. If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite before hitting the dance floor, check out Derrière which is a restaurant by the same owner. We’ve been to both – multiple times – and can solidly say it’s a great time.

Photo via Andy Wahloo

Le Montana

Located in Saint Germaine, this small club has been popular with the fashion crowd for years. You will most likely find an intimidating bouncer out front, alongside a very attractive woman with a “list” that you may or may not be on depending on their mood. If you get in the door, head downstairs for champagne and dancing in a parlor style bar decorated in floral print.

Where to break

Le Loir Dans la Théière

Truly some of the best pasties you will have in Paris. Come here for tea or lunch – or both. 

Ten Belles

One of the city’s first specialty coffee shops. Similar to the small coffee-culture spots you now find in NYC, this place has a strong brew and not a lot of space, but come here for takeaway and you won’t be disappointed.

Télescope

Popular with the fashion crowd, Télescope offers great coffee, an amazing tea selection, and a variety of other warm or cold beverages for that perfect pick-me-up in your day. Be mindful that you can’t bring your laptop – but it makes this cafe a great place to read, write, or people watch.

Jardin des Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg

Pick up a coffee or something sweet and make your way to the famous Jardin des Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg. Sit along the fountain to watch little kids play with boats and Parisians sunning themselves. The Luxembourg gardens is a perfect place to have a picnic, and has tons of things for children. The Tuileries will set you in the middle of museum isle. Either way, they are great spots for an afternoon kickback.

Where to get your hit of culture

Jeu de Paume

We are assuming that you are already going to the Musée de l’Orangerie (which is one place we make sure to visit every time we go to Paris). We highly encourage you to also make a pit stop at this museum dedicated to photography which sits on the edge of the  Tuileries gardens – just a short walk from Monet’s waterlilies. 

Musée Rodin

Once the workshop of the famed sculptor, the Hôtel Biron and its gardens are now a museum dedicated to the work of the artist and the collection of art he kept. You can visit his studio in central Paris as well as his home just outside. We recommend doing both.

Palais de Tokyo

One of the largest contemporary art centers in Europe, Palais de Tokyo extends the Musée d’Art Moderne. With a focus on emerging and established artists from around the world – you will see new works from some of recent history’s best talent. Though it may not be one of your first stops in Paris, this is the place to go when you’ve already hit the classics a few times.

Palais de Tokyo

Père Lachaise Cemetery

If it were possible to have a dinner party with the dead – you would 100% want to come to the largest cemetery in Paris for the best company around. Gertrude Stein, Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, and Edith Piaf are all buried here. 

Where to work

Hubsy

This is more like a co-working space than a coffee shop. You pay based on the hour and get free drinks and snacks while you’re there. Conveniently located in the 3rd, you’ll find fast wifi and plenty of outlets.

CRAFT

This coffee shop is bright and welcoming with plenty of space. The staff is super friendly, and it serves as sort of a “remote office” for locals and tourists alike. Plus, they have great coffee.

Gaîté Lyrique

This is a large concept space that is completely free to the public. It has cultural programming and events that come through the space. It’s also home to coffee shops and bars on each floor. Make yourself at home because this is the kind of place you can stay awhile. Make sure to check out any exhibitions or shows that are up while you’re there.

Sophia Li, Journalist + Film Director

Sophia Li is one of those friends who everyone goes to for advice – a nucleus, if you will. We witnessed this firsthand when Miranda Kerr texted her via Snapchat to ask what to wear to an event (see, “angels” need help too). From fashion (girl did work at Vogue) to travel (she’s on the road as a speaker and journalist) to food and wellness- Sophia’s got the low down on lots of lovely things.

Sophia grew up between four U.S. states and two countries as a child, and moved to NYC post college. There she was able to create the dream job for herself- as the former Entertainment Media Editor at Vogue.com, she worked on creating and launching VOGUE‘s social and digital voice. She credits timing was on her side, we credit her passion for storytelling.

After going freelance over a year ago, she now works with clients including CNN, Vogue, Refinery29, Theory, and Maybelline as a Film Director and Journalist. And travels even more than ever before. In her free time, she is also the Creative Director of HER USA: a female community empowering women and celebrating the authentic, vulnerable self through Jeffersonian-style dinners and more.

Read on for travel tips such as how to make the most of work trips (as potential mini vacations!) and where to bathe in the Kenyan bush – this Insider’s tips are not to be missed.

Follow her @sophfei on instagram.

What are 3 of your favorite hotels?

Cottar’s 1920 Safari Camp in Kenya: Well besides being located in one of the most magical places in the world (hello birthplace to all humanity), the Maasai Mara, this place is dedicated to preserving and conserving wildlife. It’s also one of the most sustainable certified places in the world.

Marina Bay Sands in Singapore: The sheer engineering behind this place is just mind-blowing. Spent the holidays here with my family as we watched the sunrise overlooking the skyscrapers whilst swimming in the largest and tallest infinity pool in the world. Pretty memorable, I must say.

The Dutchess in upstate NY: I go to this place at least once every year with chosen family. Every detail here is accommodated for – it’s a former equestrian training center and barn renovated into a boutique hotel meets idyllic B & B. Also two words: biodynamic farming.

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

“Bush baths” with champagne outside of your tent at Cottar’s while wild apes roam about

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Ideally, each hotel room would have a key card as a master key for electricity so you’re minimizing how much energy you spend when you’re not in the room.

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

Somewhere to surf… north shore of Oahu, Tamarindo, Puerto Escondido.

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 moved every 3-4 years while growing up and started going to China with my sister by ourselves when we were 11 and 14 respectively, so travel is very much in our veins. I usually tack 2 days on to a work trip to personally explore the place so I feel more integrated and present/less jet-lagged in the location.

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

A journal, a book (currently reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way), a silk Lunya sleep-maskDottera On Guard essential oil to boost immunity, Kora Organics facial sculptorTata Harper face mist, beats headphones.

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

Yes, I travel alone all the time for work. I have also incorporated more solo personal travel in recent years to get myself out of my comfort zone/be open to talking to others who I might not have if I were with friends. Most recently, I went on a solo surf camp retreat and also spent a few days in Porto, Portugal on my own after a road trip with friends.

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

Intermittent fasting…. food makes you feel drowsy so try and get on the local schedule while flying.

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

This season, I’ve been recently wearing Summersalt’s travelwear sets with compression socks, these Flattered snakeskin boots that you slip on and off, and this oversized camel coat that doubles as a blanket.

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?

Usually no unless I’m on a work deadline. It’s the best time to disconnect and everyone understands why you’re offline!

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Late check-out

Favorite travel app?

Tap to find local water fountains/at the airport so you don’t buy a plastic bottle every time while traveling!

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