Best Hotel Pools Around the World

We know the feeling too well – traipsing around a sticky city feeling like you’re covered in pollution, slithering onto public transport to make meeting after meeting. Sometimes the only way to deal with a work trip in the summer is to slip into a pool at the end of the day. Without doing research, good ones are hard to come by – you can never spot rooftop pools from below and many are kept secret on purpose. But don’t sweat it – we’ve done the digging for you. Here are our favorites around the world: 

Faena Hotel Miami Beach, Miami

Found in Miami’s art district, this hotel’s aesthetic has a lot to live up to. And they nail it. Matching the hotel’s bright red and white theme, the stunning pool is begging for a #myofficetoday Insta brag. There is also entertainment every night so definitely check out the Living Room for drinks, snacks, and live music.

Hotel Charlee. Image via CNT.

Hotel Charlee, Medellin

In the bustling Parque Lleras district, you’d never spot the high rise pool at the top of this 18-storey hotel. The building may be gigantic but there are only 42 rooms, which are generous in size. The on-site Lucia restaurant offers some of the city’s best Italian food and the hotel often puts on DJ nights so you can let loose after a day in the “office.” 

Memmo Alfama. Image via Lisbon Shopping Destination

Memmo Alfama, Lisbon

Here, the showstopper is the red-tiled pool, which matches the red roofs of Lisbon and the best rooms look over the Alfama and Tagus River. For breakfast, pasteis de nata are aplenty. Even in the winter, the rooftop is the place to be with fire-pits to huddle around. The chill is worth it for the view. 

Freehand LA. Image via @rayywanders

Freehand, LA

This tropical pool has graced many Instagram accounts thanks to its vibrant color scheme. Grand Central Market is also just four blocks away and it’s well worth the walk. The rooftop is plastered in pink pool accessories and the award-winning Broken Shakes serves fun (but lethal) cocktails for an after work drink. 

Palace Hotel. Image via

Palace Hotel, San Francisco

Just off Market Street, this sophisticated hotel is styled in Beaux Arts decor. Everyone knows San Francisco weather can be unpredictable, but never fear as their pool is heated and covered by a stunning glass roof. The hotel is also family-friendly, so don’t be afraid to bring the kids along and tack on a holiday once the meetings are finished. 

Image via McCarren Hotel

McCarren Hotel & Pool, NYC

You may have heard of this one as McCarren boasts one of New York City’s largest outdoor swimming pools. Based in Williamsburg, the hotel was designed by the same man behind LA’s Chateau Maumont, so you know it won’t disappoint. The pool area is a feast for the eyes with bright colours and a jungle of plants and palm trees.

Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore. Image via Deluxe Destination

Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore

One for the foodies, this Art Deco hotel is opposite the famous Maxwell Food Centre and all hotel guests get complimentary scoops of ice cream served from a cart. The 25-metre long lap pool is the perfect place to work it off. Don’t miss the Rose Bar & Lounge, which serves rose wines and champagnes.

Ohla Barcelona. Image via

Ohla, Barcelona

Smack in the middle of the city, it’s a mystery why Ohla’s rooftop pool is never crowded, which guarantees a relaxed vibe above the Barcelona madness. The views across the city are spectacular. As for the rooms, you’ll find rain-showers and lovely touches, such as a pillow and sheet menu. 

The Curtain. Image via Design My Night

The Curtain, London 

A favorite for creative entrepreneurs, this Shoreditch hotel has a tequila bar and rooftop pool that often plays ‘90s hip-hop, so needless to say it’s buzzing. On a Sunday, the nearby Columbia Road Flower Market is a must-see and Silicon Roundabout is just 10 minutes away, so tech industry folk love it for the easy weekday commute. 

Harsha Chanrai, CEO of Saira Hospitality

After cutting her teeth at some of the biggest hotel brands in Asia, such as Six Senses, The Aman in Sri Lanka and The Fullerton Hotel in Singapore, Harsha broke out on her own to launch Saira Hospitality in 2015. A non-profit enterprise, Saira Hospitality creates partnerships between communities and luxury hotels by empowering locals and providing hotels with a committed workforce. Their pop-up hotel schools have taken place in The British Virgin Islands, Mexico and LA, with more to come. A truly global citizen, Harsha travels constantly, but was brought up in London and now calls New York her home.

Follow her on @harshachanrai

Name three of your favorite hotels?

Six Senses Llamu. Image via Telegraph.
  • Blakes, London – I love that it’s still undiscovered by many and blends into the street so easily. It’s the first boutique hotel I ever discovered as a child living in London and where my love of hotels and design began.
Blakes Hotel. Image via Design Boom.
Hotel San Cristobal. Image via

What do you love most about working in hospitality?
The people. I feel like we’re a certain breed of people. We look to get the most out of every experience, work or play, and we blend them as much as we can. You can always tell when someone has the hospitality gene, something we always try and identify in our students. They have a natural instinct to connect, to serve, to spread happiness – whether in the spotlight or behind-the-scenes. Hospitality, at its core, is really what it means to be human and as Mohammed Ali said, “service to others is the rent we pay for our room here on earth.”

Cherry blossoms in Kyoto.

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? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?
Yes, I love traveling and couldn’t imagine my life without it, even if it’s just exploring a new neighborhood in Brooklyn. Whether it’s Namibia, Mexico or India, we’re totally open and excited to bring our pop-ups to communities globally. I’m a huge fan of “pool meetings” when we’re on a project at 9am. Love to start the day with team morning meditations – optional always. I’m a huge advocate of work/life balance. If we can get out on a boat one morning and island hop we’ll definitely do it. Our partners are a blast and we laugh at the situations we get ourselves into. Like when I walked out of the shower one day in Mexico and there was a cow at my front door staring at me.

Namibia. Image via Natural World Safaris.

Have you or would you travel alone?
Yes – it’s important. To connect with yourself, to make yourself feel a little uncomfortable. A friend once asked if I feel loved when I’m alone. It’s important to cultivate that.

If you’re going to a new place, and your friends have not been there, what do you consult for advice?
I haven’t found a concierge company that I love as of yet. I like to do a tonne of my own research with online articles or asking friends of friends. Then I compile it into a Google Doc that I share with close friends when they go.

What was your favorite room service experience ever?
The little breakfast crepes at Cliveden House, just outside London. Few people can make them so thin with a hint of orange and still hot upon arrival.

Cliveden House. Image via CNN.

Best travel advice you’ve ever received, and from whom? 
Get Global Entry – Michaelangelo L’Acqua.

Who is your dream “co-pilot” (travel partner- dead or alive), and why?
Anthony Bourdain – what a legend. He recognized, embraced and shared the value of the local experience. And didn’t seem to take himself too seriously.

Travel can be about the little luxuries like a super amazing cup of coffee. Where was the best one you’ve had?
Carnitas in Todos Santos, King Coconuts in Sri Lanka, Hole in the wall Gyoza in Kyoto, Baked Crab Hand Rolls in LA.

Sri Lanka. Image via Lonely Planet.

If you could quit your job and follow the ‘Mamma Mia’ dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?
I don’t know about ‘Mamma Mia,’ but that’s always been my dream! It changes, but today: Comporta, Portugal.

Comporta. Image via CNT.

Where’s your next trip? If vacation, why did you choose there?
Ibiza and Formentera! Taking my entire family this August – they’ve never been. I lived there for a brief moment and want to share the magical parts of the island with them.


Beach or City or Mountain? Beach

Alone or with someone else? With someone

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no? No

Lost luggage, or lost phone? Phone

Airplane food- Y/N? No

Fantasy mini bar/fridge item? iSodi – their Cacio e Pepe and Lasagna

Early check-in/ late check-out? Late check out

Favorite subscription service you’ll never delete? Insight Timer

In flight cocktail? What kind? Mescal Negroni

Favourite travel app Safara – when it comes out. Seriously!

Window or Aisle? Aisle

Yoga or hotel gym? Yoga.

Top 10 Cool Down List

As much as we adore the sunshine, summer wreaks havoc on our bodies. Scorched skin, an unquenchable thirst, hair so dry you could snap it – we need all the help we can get. Thankfully, our Safara Insiders are experts in keeping cool as they spend a lot of the year travelling in warm climes. Overheating and overpacking? Forget it – look no further than these top 10 products:

1.  Coconut & Mint Cooling Mineral Mist 

We have to start with a mist. You won’t find better than this deliciously cooling all-over body spray from Little Barn Apothecary. Made with peppermint, aloe leaf juice, fresh virgin coconut, pure organic aloe water, and rich ocean minerals, all the ingredients are as natural and as gentle as can be. 

2. The Ordinary – 100% Plant-Derived Squalane – recommended by Safara Insider Maria Maleh

Heard of squalane? It’s a hydrocarbon that is naturally found in the skin. This product will help you top it up, resulting in supple skin and super shiny hair. 

3. EasyAcc Handheld Fan

Small, stylish, and we love this turquoise color. Enjoy a little breeze wherever you are, whether that’s stuck in traffic or on the beach. 

4. Vitamin C Glow Protect Lotion SPF30, from The Body Shop – recommended by Safara Insider Nick Ferman

 “Feels lovely, protects your skin from the sun and from pollution – useful as I’m always on my motorbike!” 

5. skyn ICELAND Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels

We trust this Icelandic brand to know a thing or two about keeping temperatures low. Within ten minutes, this gel patch will ease puffiness and soothe tired eyes. Includes concentrated doses of ingredients, such as ginkgo biloba leaf extract, shea butter and thyme. 

6. 100% Australian Tea Tree Oil – recommended by Safara Insider Nikki Brand 

This agile product has multiple uses, such as household cleaning. But when it comes to skin, tea tree oil deep-cleans pores and relieves redness (perfect for summers in the city). The pure leaf is sourced from arid plains of eastern Australian. 

7. Citrus Verbena Deodorant by L’Occitane 

Zesty and fresh, this deodorant stick is enriched with organic verbena and citrus fruits. With absolutely no toxic ingredients, alcohol or parabens, your skin is kept protected and balanced whilst minimising odour. 

8. 8 Faces Boundless Oil – recommended by Christina Perez 

If you haven’t tired alma yet, you need to. Containing powerful antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and a rich source of essential fatty acids, amla is the most antioxidant rich ingredient in the world. 

9. Cucumber Aqua Gel by Pratima Skincare 

Had a little too much sun? Look no further than this cooling blend to ease sore skin. Organic cucumber, aloe and healing Brahmi is the ultimate mix to guarantee radiance. You could also slather on after shaving. 

10. Organic Lip Balm – recommended by Safara Insider Sarah Murrell 

Don’t forget about your lips, they need some summer TLC too. Hand-blended in England, this velvety-soft lip balm is made with organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Apricot Oil and Beeswax, which means moisture all day long. 

Nick Ferman, Group Brand Special Projects at Luxottica

Nick started his career in Italy in the early 00s before moving to London in 2005. After launching a number of contemporary fashion brands, his lifelong passion for The States (he can go on and on and on about rock ‘n’ roll and Bukowski) saw him develop and manage a cultural and retail swap between Carnaby and New York’s Lower East Side. Currently at Luxottica, you can find him conceiving global partnerships for the company’s brands, such as Ray-Ban, Persol and Oliver Peoples. He started writing songs at 40 and is currently trying not to get another speeding ticket with his grey Moto Guzzi. His time is split between London, Milan, Amsterdam and Stockholm but he would rather be in South Sardinia, his happy place.

Follow him on his motorbike here: @NickFerman

Riad Tizwa. Image via The Kindreds.

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head. Why are they your favorites?

  • Riad Tizwa, Fes, Morocco – stay in ‘the’ ground floor room. Opening the wooden doors with a huge lock will make you feel you are entering your own castle. The charming bathroom with smudged tiles are worthy of a decadent prince. Home cooked breakfast everyday by the loveliest staff.
  • The Line, K-Town, LA – A hipster hotel with nice and attentive staff! Architect Sean Knibb did a pretty good job with the rooms, modern but with a 70’s feel, the furniture was made bespoke for the hotel by local artisans. Floor to ceiling view in every room, pick one facing the Hollywood sign.
The Line. Image via CNT.
  • Little Hoi An Central Boutique and spa, Hoi An, Vietnam – An oasis of tranquillity in the City of Lanterns. The colonial style rooms are straight out of a movie and they have the best beds. Make full use of the spa, every treatment is superb. 15 minutes walk from the fish market.
Hoi An. Image via The Wanderbook.

What hotel room design element can you not live without?

Loads of sockets – never enough these days with all the devices we have – and light switches that are easy to find and operate. 

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

South East Sardinia. Unpretentious, friendly people, the best sea I have ever seen (go to Chia beach). Fradis Minoris is the best seafood restaurant I ever tried, in the middle of the Nora lagoon.

Chia Beach. Image via Visit Sardinia.

You travel a lot for work…was this something you were seeking in a career? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?

It was. I’ve worked long and hard to achieve a position where I get to manage projects at a global scale. The main thing is to develop skills that are transferable in different markets. Always download a lot of movies and series to kick back (Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars is a current favourite), do at least one new thing (bar, gallery, book shop, I recently discovered delicious Berlin restaurant Lokal) and don’t feel bad about staying in if the day has worn you out.

Lokal. Image via Time Out.

What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist?

  • Red Bone, Childish Gambino
  • There Is No Time, Lou Reed (listen to the lyrics, could have been written now)
  • Outrageous, Calva Louise.

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

  • Pukka green tea bags
  • Drakes cashmere scarf
  • Noise cancelling head phones
  • Persol 714 folding shades (in black)
  • A good rock and roll biog (Seymour Stein’s Siren Song is excellent).

If you could swap suitcases with anyone in the world (alive or dead) at baggage claim, who would you swap with?

Glenn O’Brien, in his TV Party days.

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

Book your essentials early, improvise the rest (from my friend Manuela, the most adaptable person I know).

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

Don’t drink too much alcohol, only attend functions ‘ you have to attend,’ don’t look at your phone, find time every day to do at least one thing you love (going to the cinema on my own, learn a new riff on the guitar). I apply the above to travel, work or play.

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

I’m writing this whilst on holiday in Sicily. What’s better than a Cremolata for breakfast?

Beach or City or Mountain?


In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no?


Fantasy mini bar/fridge item?

Italicus, just try it.

Lilly Alice, Freelance PR Consultant & Fashion Influencer

Lilly was born in Germany but now splits her time between London and Berlin (whilst fitting in a lot of travel in between). Having partnered with the likes of Paul Smith, Selfridges, Stella McCartney and Adidas, she is a classic ‘multi-hyphenate’ millennial with serious ambition. Since going freelance, Lilly has built an enviable list of her own fashion PR clients and grown her Instagram following to an enormous 100k. Loved for her dog selfies, killer sportswear and glamorous holidays, her Stories often feature her partying in Ibiza with the coolest crowd. Needless to say, her tips are not to be missed.

Follow her adventures on @LillyAlice1.

The Standard NYC. Image via

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head. Why are they your favorites?

All places have a super chilled vibe but great service. Town Hall Hotel is my favourite – I used to book a room there every once in a while even though my flat was only a five minute walk away.

Soho House Berlin. Image via

What hotel room design element can you not live without?
Master switch by the bed.

You travel a lot for work, was this something you were seeking in a career? How do you make it as relaxing and fun as possible?
I never thought I would have the opportunity to travel so much so I didn’t really plan it. What I did plan though is to run my own business/work as a freelancer to be able to all have all the freedom in the world. I think the best thing is that I now know so many great people all over the planet so whenever I travel I will try to meet up with friends and get to know a new city that way.

Image via Town Hall Hotel

What 3 songs are on your OOO playlist?
Parallaxis – Traumprinz
Kanedo – Beach Side
Your Eyes – Julain Collet, Jakob Oschmsnn

Best travel advice you’ve ever received, and from whom?
My mum: the only thing you will ever need is a credit card…. 

Do you have any tips or tricks for beating the dreaded jet lag?
I don’t but if someone does, please tell me!

What is your favorite travel book or magazine- for at home, or abroad- and why? 
I love Suitcase magazine – they have amazing tips on what to pack and where to travel. It also has a super cool look.

What’s your go-to outfit for getting through security quickly, and still looking good?
A nice tracksuit in black with easy trainers in a cool colour, no jewellery.

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it?
Holbox, Mexico.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve purchased abroad and brought home (or tried to carry-on) from your travels?
A dog.

Lilly’s dog Heidi

You have an hour to spare at the airport. What would I find you doing?
Working on my laptop.

Where’s your next trip?  China for work.

In flight wifi- good idea: yes or no? YES.

Lost luggage, or lost phone? LUGGAGE.

Airplane food- Y/N? NO∙

Favourite subscription service you’ll never delete? SPOTIFY.

Best US Hotels for Dogs – Chosen by City

If you’re travelling for work, don’t underestimate the power of bringing your pet along. Watching them splash in the sea or roam a new park is an instant stress reliever. Some hotels even offer to take them off your hands so you can concentrate. Dogs are a (wo)man’s best friend and the ultimate travel companion after all.

We know researching dog friendly places to stay takes time. In the US, petsmart hotels are aplenty, you just need to know where to look. So, we’ve made it easy and narrowed it down to our favourite hotel per city: 

Hotel 50 Bowery

1. NYC: Insta fame at Hotel 50 Bowery 

The team at Hotel 50 Bowery welcome pets with open arms. There is no fee but they ask for notice in advance so they can get you and your pup set up (including a dog bed and bowl). Local recommendations on pet-friendly parks and restaurants are provided, which are super useful. Beware: they love to share photos of their guests’ dogs on Instagram.

Hotel 50 Bowery

2. Miami: Epic Pet Getaway at Kimpton EPIC Hotel

All animals are welcome at the Kimpton – no restrictions and no hidden fees. Pets are even encouraged at the pool. This hotel have truly perfected the art of pampering your pooch. Yes, mats and bowls are standard, but you may not expect Yip-Yap breath mints, pedicures and one-hour daily walks as part of the Epic Pet Getaway package. 

Babba Canales recommends: “The Standards, especially in Miami.”

Quick tip: Two pets of any size are welcome for no additional fee at The Standard Miami. Both dogs and cats are permitted, no discrimination here!

3. San Francisco: Outdoor Dog Run at Hotel Nikko 

Four-legged friends are in for a treat at Hotel Nikko. A luxury bed, toys and accessories are gifted for every dog, including a beautiful Nikko branded leash. The outdoor dog run is a great spot for playing and making friends whilst owners can enjoy the health club, sauna, steam room, pool and hot tub.

Hotel Nikko

4. LA: Pawdicures at Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, Santa Monica

Here there is no hierarchy between dog and owner – dogs are presented with their own bed, bowls and treats on arrival. Once settled in, dog-sitting and walks are available on request. In partnership with local pet store The Healthy Spot, guests get 10% off toys and treatments, which includes pawdicures and furcials. They even arrange dog-friendly weddings with tiaras to boot. 

Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows
Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows. Image via Here Magazine.

Lilly Alice recommends: “Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt in Kitzbühel (Austria) and the Nobu Hotel in Ibiza.”

Quick tip: Bio-Hotel Stanglwirt offer dog-sitting and a bone on arrival!

Safara Insider Lilly Alice
Nobu Hotel Ibiza. Image via Thailand Tatler

Quick tip: The Hoxton launches Hox Hounds  

Written in woofs and barks (until translated), the new Hox Hounds site has everything you need to know about staying at any Hoxton with your dog. All Hoxton hotels – from London to Chicago – offer dogs their own custom-made dog bed, Do Not Disturb sign, and dog-friendly Mutt Manual written in dog, of course. So, always bear Hoxton in mind as a reliable option when looking for last minute dog friendly hotels. 

Hoxton Chicago
Safara Insider Christina Perez

Mini Ibiza Guide: Our Hit List

It’s summer, we have to talk about Ibiza. Once a destination for all-night dancing and severe hangovers, the island has had quite the rebrand in recent years with an influx of wellness businesses and British expats looking for sun-trapped laptop spots. It’s not all about the nightlife – these days the chill does tend to outweigh the clubbing. 

We asked those in the know for a quick list of their favourites. It’s not too late to get booking – Ibiza in fall is divine. 

Image via @paradiso_ibiza

Where to stay

Paradiso Ibiza Art Hotel – this hotel was simply made for Instagram – check out that millennial pink. Each of the rooms at the PARADISO has Marshall speakers, a Smeg fridge and colorful furniture characteristic of the 70’s. The hotel also has its own gallery that hosts three exhibitions per peak season.

Cas Gasi

Cas Gasi Boutique Hotel – surrounded by orchards, 450 olive trees and fragrant fruit trees. The romantic 19th century farmhouse is whitewashed in classic Ibiza style and offers just 10 rooms. An excellent base for exploring the countryside and the pool is gigantic. The head chef is from Valencia so expect lots of paella. Did we mention they have two hotel dogs? 

Los Enamorados – the owners of this 9 room hotel were certainly not afraid of taking risks – just look at the outlandish decor. Based in North Ibiza, Los Enamorados is full of quirky antiques and one-off pieces. Don’t miss the on-site concept store and the Peruvian chef is masterful with fresh fish. Massages are also available. 

Los Enemorados

Where to eat

Restaurante Cala Bonita – here a Spanish chef produces simple yet sophisticated dishes showcasing local produce and seafood. It’s also adjacent to the beach. Try the ‘Arroz con Bogavante.’ 

Cas Gasi

The Boat House Ibiza – a tiny jungle in the heart of Ibiza. The relaxed atmosphere hits you as soon as you arrive with huge hammocks on the beachfront. Food is served in tapas form and coconut water makes the perfect accompaniment. 

The Boat House

Casa Colonial Ibiza – this restaurant and bar distill their own gin (LAW) on the premises. The Thai and Mediterranean-French fusion food will convince you to stay for dinner – served on the large colonial-style terrace. 

Best beaches

Cala Comte – pedalos to hire, sand dunes, 15 minute drive from San Antonio. 

Cala Saladeta  – quiet, snorkelling available, accessed by walking. 

Agua Blancas – nudist-friendly, favourite among residents, 10 minute drive from San Carlos. 

Florencia Cavallo + Elise Labau Topaloglu, Co-Founders of Golden Edit

Nomads from birth, Florencia Cavallo was born in Argentina and lived in Buenos Aires until her family moved to Australia and Elise Labau Topaloglu was born in the south of France and grew up in St Barths, a French-speaking Caribbean island.

They met in New York through their work in fashion PR. Together, they developed the idea for e-commerce site Golden Edit, which launched in 2018. Here, they bring together their favorite brands from around the globe – from Australia to Mexico, Colombia, Turkey, Ecuador, and everywhere in between. As two women whose lives merge fashion and travel seamlessly, we were keen to hear their tips:

Hotel Can Simoneta in Mallorca. Image via My Premium Europe

Name 3 favorite hotels, anywhere, off the top of your head. Why are they your favorites?

  • Belmond Hotel Splendido in Portofino: One of the most glamorous resorts in Italy where you can truly enjoy ‘la dolce vita.’ The views! The food! The décor! It’s an absolute dream.
  • Hotel Can Simoneta in Mallorca: Exclusive, intimate and oh-so romantic. The property sits on a cliff in Canyamel overlooking the sea and is made of a number of restored and altered 140 year old buildings.
  • Twin Palms in Surin Beach, Thailand: A stylish boutique hotel with a jaw-dropping lagoon pool where you can truly get away from it all. A sweet smell of fresh lemongrass lingers throughout the entire resort. It’s pure bliss. 

What are your favorite “offices” while traveling?

The best part of travel is discovering new places, so it’s always a welcomed surprise when you stumble across a gorgeous tucked away café where you can work for the day, while people watching the locals. For a place that feels like “home”, we love The Wing.

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

Portable phone charger, Lucas’ Papaw Ointment, water (staying hydrated in-flight is key to beating jetlag!), a straw hat too big to fit in checked baggage, noise-cancelling headphones and a set of bikinis in case bags get lost.

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

We try to do as much research as possible before heading to a new destination, but the magic really happens when you arrive and start wandering around and getting lost in a new place.  Talking to the local community is the best way to discover hidden gems. Locals always give the best advice – whether it’s in a big city like Berlin, or a small seaside town.

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

Frances Mayes (played by Diane Lane) in ‘Under The Tuscan Sun.’

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

A white tee, linen pants, straw bag large enough to fit our laptop, and Birkenstocks we can easily slip on and off. 

If you could quit your job and follow the “Mamma Mia” dream (ie open a small hotel in a foreign land or on a remote island), where would you do it? 

Florencia: My husband and I dream of opening a little restaurant in the south of Italy (not that there’s shortage of them!); an intimate space offering simple, home-cooked food and to-die-for local wine. Of late, it has become more of a ‘goal’ than a dream… stay tuned!  

Elise: As for us, we dream of turning a plot of land we recently bought in a natural reserve in southwest Turkey into a beautiful glamping destination. Picture the glamorous African Safari experience in Tanzania or Kenya without the wild animals, and overlooking the Aegean instead.

You have an hour to spare at the airport. What would I find you doing? 

Dream: soaking up our favorite book. Reality: Sending last minute emails. 

Where’s your next trip? Why? If vacation, why did you choose there?

We’re headed to Mallorca, Puglia, Calabria and Sicily for a never-ending summer!

Beach or City or Mountain?

Beach, always! 

Early check-in/ late check-out?

Early – so we can change and go straight to the beach!

Window or Aisle?

Window (to daydream while looking at the clouds)

Top 12 Carry-On Books According to Our Safara Insiders

When interviewing our Insiders, almost every one claimed they’d cram a book into their carry-on. Whether you’re ready to ‘fly-and-flop’ on a beach break or planning a city break filled with solo dining, we’ve shortlisted our favourite recommendations for your trip. From Hemingway to Bill Bryson, Joan Didion to A. A. Gill, simply click to buy, enjoy a flight with no wi-fi, and get lost in a story. 

1. ‘Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor’ – Tim Lawrence Brooks
“Because it reminds me of my youth and my home.” – Carissa Barrett

2. ‘Notes From a Small Island’ – Bill Bryson
“It’s an amusing read.” – Nicholas Campbell

3. ‘A.A. Gill is Away’ – A.A. Gill
“His 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.” – Louis Sheridan

4. ‘The LUXE Guides’ 
“They’re well curated and cater to travelers like me, who want to hit up all the newest & coolest (slightly off the beaten path) hot spots. Also, my journal.” – Sabrina Meier

5. ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ – ‎Ernesto “Che” Guevara
“Takes one Ernesto to know another.” – Ernesto Roman

6. ‘The Lightning Field’ – Walter de Maria
“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.” – Kimiko Ninomiya

7. ‘Arcana Volume 5: Magic, Mysticism, and Music’ – John Zorn
Recommended by Grace Lee

8. ‘Mandala Of Being’ – Richard Moss
”Because I can practice mindfulness and awareness as I read it and apply practices in real time.” – Megan Puleri

9. ‘A Moveable Feast’ – Ernest Hemingway 
“Hemingway always reminds me of my Dad, who was my favorite travel partner. Recently, I read Donna Tartt’s ‘A Secret History’ while traveling between Shelter Island, CA, and NYC. I’m a little late to this one, but I am a huge fan of her writing and this book is definitely one you can get lost in during those hours in transit.” – Georgia Zeavin

10. ‘Vagabonding, An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term Travel’ Rolf Potts 
“He makes a compelling case for why you should not wait to travel until you’re retired or you’ve saved “enough” money—if you really want to travel, make it a true priority now. Take the money you’d otherwise spend on a few dinners or fancy jeans and buy a plane ticket instead. This philosophy really inspired me to change my career path and, in fact, my entire lifestyle.” – Christina Perez

11. ‘The Bright Continent’ – Dayo Olopade
“An investigation of technology and development in Africa. I reported it across 17 countries in two years, and while it covers meaty issues like education, health care, and finance in Africa, it’s also a contemporary travelogue that brings back memories of some of the most unusual and fascinating places I’ve been.” – Daya Olopade

12. ‘The White Album’ – Joan Didion
“For her packing list on page 34 and her devastating essay on Hawaii. Among new works, I’m obsessed with Flights by Olga Tokarczuk for her beyond-inventive descriptions of airports and travel-sized toiletries.” – Amelia Mularz

Guide to The Catskills by photographer Ernesto Roman

A quick getaway for busy New Yorkers, The Catskills is less than three hours from The Big Apple. The Catskills Mountains are swathed in forests, which teem with wildlife and offer incredible hikes for nature starved urbanites. We couldn’t think of anyone better to ask about the must-dos in the area than local photographer Ernesto Roman. Creative Director of Deer Mountain Inn, he lives and breathes the rustic Catskills lifestyle. Here are his top tips:

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

  • Deer Mountain Inn:  Your Catskills getaway dreams come true. A classic , turn of the century construction, offering a rustic dining experience with wood burning fireplaces, cozy entertainment lounge that is private for inn guests and hundreds of acres to explore the outdoors.
  • Camp Here Here: A fun glamping experience with a great restaurant, but they only run in the summer.
  • There are amazing, unique private properties around The Catskills that may only get through airbnb. One of them is Mystic Lodge, located in a dairy farm in Bovina, which offers you a secluded teepee experience perfect to disconnect and be one with nature.

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

  • Circle W Market: in Palenville & Catskill. Get the Great Red Ruben (with Pastrami for the meat lovers), The Niobe Wrap (for the veggies) or the Avocado toast (for the sriracha lovers). But really look out for their daily specials!
  • Silvia in Woodstock. Offer daily specials like $1 oysters happy hour on Tuesdays. Usually go for the chicken or the bibimbap. 
  • Prospect at Scribners in Hunter. They are open daily for breakfast (not dinner) so get the pancakes!

    Extra tip: If you’re visiting during the weekdays, I will emphasize to check business hours before driving to restaurants. Most places are closed Mon-Wed

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

  • Gaskins (Germantown): Wood-fired oven dishes, locally sourced ingredients with a small town vibe.
  • Deer Mountain Inn (Tannersville). Go for the seasonal (Michelin star) Chef’s Tasting Menu, small bites (get the fried chicken) and craft cocktails. You can sit next to a wood-burning fireplace or a table with mountain views.
  • Brushland Eating House (Bovina). A dining destination for most, it’s a great place to reward yourself with a nice dinner after a countryside drive. Love their iron cast dishes and pastas.

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

  • Warren Street in Hudson. You will find anything from thrift stores to ateliers.
  • A favorite is Mutiny, an exquisite boutique with a hand-picked selection of brands including accessories, publications, writing goods and the best incense I’ve ever smelt.

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

  • The Tavern at Rivertown Lodge (Hudson): ask about their organic wines selection
  • The Maker Hotel (Hudson): A new addition to the list. You’ll find an elaborated cocktail list. The kind of place you could go for some absinthe or brandy.
  • Brunette Wine Bar (Kingston): I always feel the vibe is ‘sparkling rose’
  • West Kill Brewery (West Kill): Beers are seasonal and they rotate. There’s always something new to try. Really into the Kaaterskills IPA right now.

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

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

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

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

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

Favorite secret spot to get some alone time?

  • The Leanto at Deer Mountain Inn: One of the best views of the Catskill Mountains. It’s a 15min hike from the Inn and has been my favorite place to bring a book, get some fresh air, meditate and catch sunsets.

Tips and tricks for getting around town?

  • You can get away with taking Amtrak from NYC to Hudson and relying on Uber/Lyft or just walking around. Other than that, you definitely need a car, no way around it! Add a good 20min to anywhere you go in the summer. Traffic doubles up everywhere, especially the queues at the gas stations!
  • Parking at Kaaterskills Falls gets super crowded during the weekends. There’s not a lot of options. If you park on the sides of the road, you’ll probably end up with a parking ticket, so go as early as possible.

Let’s just say we are single – where are the babes hanging out?

  • This is a tough one. Being single upstate ain’t no joke. As a rule of thumb, just hit the bars. If you are solely relying on dating apps, well…bless your soul.
  • In terms of people watching, follow the crowds, head out to the big festivals or gatherings such as Field and supply, Phoenicia Flea, the Basilica Soundscape or all the summer pool parties.

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

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

  • Kaaterskills Falls: work your way up from the bottom. You can also explore the trails on top of the falls for an easier hike and check out the viewing platform. There are numerous trails to explore.
  • follow their founder and naturist extraordinaire Laura Silverman on a nature walk, foraging class or forest bathing experience.

Where would you go with your sketch pad or journal?

  • Storm King: a 500 acres outdoor museum and sculpture park (in case you haven’t been yet). You’ll be inspired.
  • Overlook Mountain: the most impressive view of The Catskills.

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

  • The nearest hotel lobby, as they may also have a generator because you never know.

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

  • The great outdoors! There are plenty of lakes, hiking and mountain bike trails to go around. You will also find a lot of yoga studios spread out through The Catskills. Winters are long in the mountains, so if you’re not a skier/snowboarder, you’ll be looking for your classic gym chain (YMCA, Planet Fitness, etc) just to jump on a treadmill. 

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

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

  • Hiway Drive In or Drive in 32 for an old school drive in movie theater experience. Watch a film under the stars!
  • Lil Deb’s Oasis – A vibrant and colorful Caribbean style restaurant. It’s a women-powered and community oriented business with occasional art installations and performances. The fried fish dish and sweet plantains sides make me feel right at home.
  • Preserved Instincts – This an electronic music sanctuary. Probably my favorite, most unexpected Catskills find. A beautiful main street storefront in a tranquil town.
  • Town Tinker Tubing in Phoenicia. Feel like a kid again!
  • The Soiree on the railway: a curated train ride experience throughout the Ulster and Delaware railroad tracks. Passengers travel on a restored 1940’s train, sipping on champagne, wearing their finest summer attire while listening to a live Jazz band. This event happens once a year in the summer and is hosted by
  • Don’t forget to come up in the Fall, the foliage is spectacular!

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