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Where to vacation in spring 2020

January means one thing  – vacation planning. Whether it’s beach vibes or a city break, we’ve got you covered from March through May – with the best hotel recs, of course. Here is our definitive list of where to book, stay and play this spring.

March

Beach: Todos Santos is no longer Mexico’s best-kept secret: tourists are flocking to this artsy, sleepy, ‘magical’ town in Baja California Sur. All the more reason to visit off-season, when temperatures tend to be between 81°F to 83°F at this time of year: warm enough to swim, surf, and drink copious mezcal margaritas (to cool down, of course). Stay at Hotel San Cristóbal (pictured above), our insider (and Vogue writer) Christina Pérez thinks it’s pretty darn great.

A busy street in Todos Santos, Mexico, with flags and market stalls.
Todos Santos, Mexico

City: Dublin, for St Patrick’s Day? How predictable. Go later in March, beat the tourists, and spend a few days in the city getting to know the pubs Temple Bar, where you’ll find live music all year round. The Shelbourne Hotel is right in the middle of the city and steeped in history (the Irish Constitution was drafted here) – it’s also a few steps from the Cliff Townhouse, our shout for oysters and champagne  – if you’re not into Guinness.

A street in Temple Bar, Dublin with pubs and flowers.
Temple Bar, Dublin

And for something a little different: Squeeze in some skiing before the season ends or just amble around art galleries and breweries with a trip to Manchester, Vermont. Book into the charming Kimpton Taconic Hotel.

Kimpton Taconic Hotel in Manachester.
Kimpton Taconic Hotel, Manchester

April

Beach: Sicily is best visited in April, trust us. You’ll get warm temperatures without the sweltering–  sometimes oppressive –  June/July heat, meaning you can wander around hilly Taormina and bustling Palermo without breaking too much of a sweat. Sicily is steeped in cultural influences (Italien, Roman, Arab..) and the island truly has it all: amazing food (we recommend daily granita), incredible beaches and plentiful piazzas for people watching. Our shout? The Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo is truly special and has epic views over the active volcano, Mount Etna.

An arial view of Taormina commune in Sicily.
Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, Taormina

City: Call us crazy, or just hedonistic, but we have Las Vegas on our list for April. Stay at the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace: it’s chic, small (by Vegas standards) and the food is awesome, it’s also right on the strip. Vegas isn’t just casinos and Celine Dion: art lovers should take themselves on a tour of hotel lobbies. No, really – see original work Damien Hirst and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the lobby of the Palms Casino Resort and by Takashi Murakami at the Wynn Hotel, to name a few.

The lobby of Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace

And for something a little different: Arles in the South of France. If it’s good enough for Vincent Van Gogh, we’ll give it a try. The seasonal L’Hôtel Particulier reopens in April –  be the first in the door.

A small stree with nearby apartments in the city of Arles, South of France.
Arles, France

May

Beach: May is the perfect month for the ultimate US road trip and our first stop is Charleston, South Carolina. It’s got year-round good weather, incredible beaches, and truly some of the most charming hotels we’ve ever seen. Check in to 86 Cannon or the peachy-orange Elliott House Inn. Tip: the food is excellent in SC – don’t leave Charleston without trying some damn good barbecue.

The peachy-orange Elliott House Hotel in Charleston.
Elliott House Inn, Charleston

City: Make like Megan and see what all the fuss is about in Vancouver (#Megxit). Go in May to take full advantage of being in a bustling cosmopolitan city that’s surrounded by nature: the blossoming trees and copious greenery just makes us feel good. Stay at the Loden – it’s well-located downtown, great for business and leisure travelers alike and has in-room yoga mats. Namaste.

A room view of Loden Hotel in Vancouver.
Loden Hotel, Vancouver

And for something a little different: Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, is like stepping into a medieval history book and is an architecture lover’s dream. Stay at Hotel PACAI.

City view of Vilnius, Lithuania's capital during sunset time.
Vilnius, Lithuania

Five eco-friendly travel must-haves for your carry-on

We’re all about travel (obviously). It’s mind-expanding and eye-opening. It allows us to see the world, experience other cultures and enriches our daily lives. On the other hand, there’s no getting around the fact that air travel increasingly contributes more and more to harmful emissions – a round trip from New York to California generates 20% of the greenhouse gases that a car emits over a year.

While an obvious way to help is to simply travel less, this isn’t always possible, especially for today’s mobile workforce. Start with your travel essentials. Here are five eco-conscious, insider-recommended items to add to your carry-on this month.

Boundless Solid Oil – 8Faces, $88

We love a solid oil: leaves more space for liquids in our clear plastic bag (eye roll, but we get it). Safara Insider and contributor to Vogue, Departures and Gossamer, Christina Perez, recommended this one – it melts and absorbs instantly.

Boundless Solid Oil by 8Faces is a must have travel essential.

Flip flops – Tidal New York, $30

Ethically, sustainably and locally made in New York in a low waste factory, these flip flops are also comfy and exceptionally durable. We heard about these beauties from Sophia Li, journalist, film director and self-professed eco-daughter.

Comfy and durable Flip flops by Tidal New York are a must travel carry-on.

Dopp Kit  – By Humankind, from $30

Committed to reducing single-use plastic, By Humankind have personal care products that actually work. Start with their Dopp Kit for travel, which you can customize with a choice of products.

Tea Tree Oil – Disciple Skincare, £12

This strong but tiny product is Safara co-founder Maya‘s travel essential: Tea tree, Maya says, “is an all-rounder: from an antiseptic for blemishes and cuts, to a natural bug repellent, to a cuticle fix, to a few drops in the bath for some anti-inflammatory R&R –  this is a must for any flight.”

A travel must item for any fight is the tee tree oil by Disciple Skincare.

Reef-safe Sunscreen – Raw Love, from $16.99

Created in Maui by divemaster and SNUBA instructor, Jenna Davis, this sunscreen is eco-friendly, reef-friendly, biodegradable and water-resistant.

Eco-friendly sunscreen travel essential from Raw Love.

Where to go for a last-minute weekend break in January

We get it, Christmas is a lot. Or maybe you’re still nursing a NYE hangover. Either way, January means one thing: a mini-break. And yes, you deserve it. Note to our Stateside readers, you’ve even got a perfectly-positioned day off on 20 January for Martin Luthor King Day.

We’re making it easy for you too: whether you’re based on EST, PST or GMT— here is our pick of destinations, hotels and hot spots for that well-earned January break.

From New York City

The Hudson Valley and the epic Catskill Mountains are easily accessible by NY city-slickers by car or train. Kingston is being touted as a new creative hub in upstate New York, and the newly-renovated Hotel Kinsley should be top of your list for a place to lay your hat.

If something more remote is required, head to the Deer Mountain Inn in Tannersville – the country house vibes and Michelin-starred restaurant make it difficult to leave, but there are hikes aplenty if you do venture out.

Deer Mountain Inn

We know, Miami is a bit, well, Miami. But it is only three hours flight from New York City and has a thriving art, culture and fashion scene. Book a room at Casa Faena or the Edition Miami Beach – both have all the good vibes you need (and Edition’s tagline is “stay and play”). See our Miami City Guide for more.

Based in New York City but don’t feel like moving too far? Treat yourself and check into the Gramercy Park Hotel for a night or two. It has the perfect East Side location for great bars and nightlife, but also gives guests access to thew city’s only private park. Cue feeling very fancy and special.

Gramercy Park

From LA

Assuming you don’t already live there, or even if you do, Malibu is an ideal spot for a weekend jaunt. The weather is perfect for beach walks, mountain hikes or vinyard tours. Stay at the enviable Calamigos Ranch, which has access to all these things from your front door.

For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, venture further north to Ojai, which is equal parts eclectic, artistic and delicious (the area’s microclimate means that seemingly everything grows here). Stay at the hacienda-style Ojai Valley Inn for the most incredible setting (on 220 acres) and everything from golf to tennis and even an on-site apothecary.

Ojai Valley Inn

For the ultimate LA staycay, check in to West Hollywood‘s Petit Ermitage for a bohemian home away from home, or the famed Hotel Figueroa in Downtown LA.

From London

For a trip to the coast with a dash of culture, try Margate or Deal. Formally sleepy seaside towns, both are now touted as faves by busy millenials trying to get out of London for a weekend. Here’s a plan, do both in one Kent roadtrip. Check into The Rose in Deal, a former pub with buckets of charm and beautiful rooms. Drive to Margate to visit the Turner Contemporary and see the Turner Prize winners before the exhibition ends at the end of the month.

The Rose, Deal

The Cotswolds check every box when it comes to manor houses with outdoors-y vibes and cozy fireside drinks. The Cowley Manor in Cheltenham has all that and more across its 31 unique (and quite funky) bedrooms and on-site, award-winning spa.

Cowley Manor

For something further afield, Marrakech is only a 3.5 hour flight from London, and has pretty decent weather in January (often upwards of 20C) without being sunburn-inducing. It’s also less touristy this time of year, making wandering around the bountiful souks and shops more pleasant. We adore El Fenn: it’s moments from the main square but like many of the riads, it is peaceful and calm and has furniture you’ll want to bring home with you.

Happy Holidays from Team Safara!

We’re a truly international team, and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Take Fede, our lead developer: he hails from rural Northern Italy 🇮🇹, lives in the vibrant city of Amsterdam 🇳🇱, and is spending this week in Goa, India 🇮🇳, enjoying Christmas dinner with a spicy twist. 

Goa, India

Staying closer to home, our brand director, Alice, hails from Ireland 🇮🇪, and she’ll be tucking into a traditional Christmas dinner in her hometown of Cork, if she survives the annual family Christmas day quiz that is.

Cork City, Ireland

Manel, our developer, will be in the slightly warmer climes of South Tunisia 🇹🇳, while Chloe, our French 🇫🇷marketing manager – usually based in Barcelona 🇪🇸–  will be retreating to family in the British countryside 🇬🇧.

There’s also Tom, our Argentinian 🇦🇷CTO, who’ll be doing Christmas in, of all places, Italy 🇮🇹, meaning we’ve come full circle on flag emojis! 

Cotswolds, UK

We almost forgot about our founders, Maya and Joey. Despite being Canadian🇨🇦 and having family all the way over in Japan 🇯🇵 Maya calls the UK 🇬🇧  home now, and will be putting her feet up in the Cotswolds for Christmas, and heading back to London for NYE. Finally, Joey, our resident American, will be in the Pacific Northwest 🇺🇸, celebrating Hannukah and Christmas like a boss.

Seattle, WA

Phew. 

From all of us here at Safara, we wish you Happy Holidays and a travel-filled 2020.

Our Holiday Gift Guide for Travel-Lovers

Here it is – our 2019 gift guide, tailored for the travel-lovers in your life. From our favorite in-flight loungewear to the face mask that will cure all that jetlag dullness, we have you covered. And you’ll get zero judgement from us if you just buy the lot for yourself…

Loewe Bamboo and Canvas Beach Mat

This grey weather is really making us want to head to the Southern Hemisphere, pronto. Loewe’s totally divine leather-trimmed bamboo beach mat will look even more chic with you on it.
 $525, Net-a-Porter

strangelove eau de parfum Discovery Set

strangelove founder Elizabeth Gaynes wants to ‘tell love stories through the art of perfume’, so earmark this discovery set for someone you love (which can include yourself, of course).
$75, strangelovenyc.com

Rimowa Unique custom suitcase

It’s not cheap, but all Rimowa cases have a lifetime guarantee, and the best part is, it’s customizable! Design a case by selecting wheels, handles, and tags.
$970, Rimowa

Art Orcales Tarot Cards

If traditional tarot cards are a bit too woo woo, be guided by some of the world’s best artists with this kickass stocking-filler. Picasso told us to ‘Choose to have as many styles as you do lovers’, so we like them a lot.
£10.49, Amazon

White+Warren Cashmere Travel Pants

Anyone that does more than one transatlantic flight a year will thank you profusely for the existence of these pants. Enough said.
$298, White+Warren

Susanne Kaufmann Moisturising Face Mask

This mask will boost dehydrated post-flight skin in no time. It also comes highly recommended by one of our favorite travel Insiders and the co-founder of Collagerie, Serena Hood.
£47, Collagerie

Apple AirPods Pro

Rushing through airports calls for meditation apps and / or killer Spotify playlists. Give your favorite world traveler the gift of airport zen.
$249, Apple

Arket 48-hour tote

For those weekend breaks when a wheely case seems excessive. Arket have a 24-hour version too, FYI.
€79, Arket

Plant People Drops Holiday Set

If facing into in-laws and family spats is causing anxiety levels to rise faster than our current sea level (global warming alert y’all), Plant People have a trio of MCT oil tinctures: one for sleep, one for relief, and one for mind and body. And breathe.
$49.99, Plant People

ClassPass gift card

Tired of hearing your loved one complain about messing up their workout routine when they travel for work? Give them the the gift of yoga, spin, reformer pilates or Zumba with a ClassPass gift card. No more excuses.
From $50, ClassPass

Sezane Alban Jumper

This jumper balances comfort and glam perfectly. Ideal for throwing on when the airplane air-con gets too chilly, it also has a very chic deep back neckline and comes in four colors.
€95, Sézane

Slip silk eye mask

This luxury sleep mask will keep light out and, as it’s made from high-grade mulberry silk, it will be gentle on your eyes, skin, and hair. They have matching pillowcases too (if you’re feeling super generous).
$50, Net-a-porter

Stow Universal Leather Tech Case

The perfect travel companion for your less organized friend, you know the ones, they leave their passport at the Starbucks counter. Also, it’s bright orange, so hopefully they won’t leave this there too.
$440, Aha

Monocle Travel Guides

Now, our travel guides are the best on the web (check them out), but if your mom doesn’t go online much or you’re trying to drop a big hint on Christmas day, you may wish to go analog.
€18, Monocle

ITALY by Grey Malin Signed Collector’s Edition

From city breaks to beach vacations, Italy has it all. Get a healthy dose of wanderlust with celebrated photographer Grey Malin’s collector’s edition coffee-table tome.
$125, exclusively on greymalin.com

Glossier The Skincare Edit

Just when we thought we were all Glossier-ed out, they’ve only gone and made their best products in travel size, including a limited edition headband. Purchase for the millennials in your life.
$50, Glossier

Pantone Drinking Bottle

Plastic bottles are so ten years ago. With water fountains popping up at airports globally, this chic stocking stuffer is the ideal gift for those friends that seem to always be in the air.
27.60, Pantone 

The Alps hotels that every freerider (or off-piste dreamer) must stay in at least once

Ski season is officially upon us, and we’re pretty pleased about it. And while we love a leisurely afternoon ski followed by a warming vin chaud (in a hot tub, perhaps?), we also love the heady thrill that comes with taking things off-piste, literally. We’ve partnered with FATMAP, the essential mapping app for any self-respecting outdoors-person, to get the lowdown on the best off-piste and freeriding spots in the Alps  – and, of course, where to stay when you’re there.

Verbier

Verbier is serious about off-piste – so much so that it plays host to Freeride Week annually in January, where skiers from all over the world come to tackle some incredible powder. Stay in the Experimental Chalet (of Experimental Cocktail Club fame) – rooms are cozy but modern, and the famous Farm Club will literally be on your doorstep. Plus, apres-ski cocktails are obviously covered.

Experimental Chalet, Verbier

Chamonix

Chamonix is said to be one of the world’s best ski areas for adventurous off-pisters. Give the Vallée Blanc a go – with a guide if necessary – for incredible views of Mont Blanc. For a cheeky, affordable and well-located hotel, try the brilliantly-named Rockypop in Les Houches: think fun decor, basic but hip rooms, and an on-site ski shop.

Val D’Isere

Along with neighboring Tinges, Val D’Isère is in the Vanoise National Park, meaning it has some of the most impressive natural landscape around so freeriders can trail the valleys and slopes with views aplenty. Hotel Avenue Lodge is our shout for a place to get your well-earned rest. It’s smack bang in the middle of Val D’Isère and rooms are chic and cool without being overly traditional.

Three Valleys

The best thing about the Three Valleys is that there’s actually four of them (fun fact). Courcheval and Val Thorens alone offer an extensive ski area, and while VT is the highest at 2300m, Courcheval is where you want to stay. Incredible dining options and access to trails and peaks perfect for freeride powder, and there’s also some incredible hotels. Our pick: Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges. Rooms are miles away from traditional, cheesy alpine lodge vibes and views are second-to-none. Oh, and it’s ski-in ski-out, of course.

Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges, Courcheval

Ischgl

We also dig Austria, you know. Ischgl is Europe’s biggest freeride regions, and while there are slopes abound for all levels, the Piz Val Gronda especially great for slightly less-experienced off-pisters (breathtaking views included). While not smack bang in the middle of Ischgl, Hotel Zhero is our pick for sleep time. But trust us, it’s not just for sleeping: set up shop by the roaring fires in beautifully-designed rooms with exposed brick walls and soft fabrics and enjoy a drink before dinner at the Zhero Open Grill, the area’s first à la carte restaurant.

Check out FATMAP’s interactive Guidebook to these spots here and visit FATMAP.com for more

Where Our Team Went this Summer

As a team of travel pros, we are extremely fussy when it comes to picking destinations, whether that’s work or play. It’s all about the dream trio: enough sun, a beautiful hotel and good food. Read on to hear where we settled this summer:

Ibiza

Maya, Co-Founder & CMO – Ibiza, Cornwall & Greece

This summer I’ve actually travelled far less than usual, as the focus has been on building Safara’s hotel booking site and membership – coming soon! Instead of taking a couple of longer breaks or most of August off (as is the culture in London) I chose to instead do a few mini breaks, which have been far more chill for work/life balance:

Los Enamorados , Ibiza


Ibiza, twice – I’m that person who talked sh*t about Ibiza for about 10 years. I really thought it must be very young, very expensive, and very douchey – boy, was I wrong! I love it so much that I’ve been there three times in the past two summers. For my “how to chill in Ibiza” tips, check out our Ibiza guide.

Cornwall, UK – I fell in love with this place when I had the chance to go for a friend’s 40th birthday. It has an amazing art school, so there’s a strong creative presence there amongst the locals, and nature that you just can’t beat. Amazing beaches, spooky ghosts (there were numerous pentagrams in the old house we were staying in!), wildflower bushes, galleries, plus delicious ice cream and scones. Be sure to check out the James Turrell works at the Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens.

Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens

Greece – Mykonos and Santorini – I’m going this Friday for my last summer hurrah, and for my first time to Greece. Will of course report back with tips for our Safara members.

Cas Gasi, Ibiza


Where did you stay? What was special about it? 
Sir Joan and Cas Gasi in Ibiza were amazing but polar opposites:

  • Sir Joan is five minutes from the airport and walkable to Ibiza Old Town and the clubs.
  • Cas Gasi is located deep in the central north. Great if you don’t want to leave the hotel – it’s perfect there, just as it is. Think: freshly grown tomatoes, a gorgeous pool, and tons of reading nooks. And just a few rooms in a 200 year old formerly private estate. The hotel is also close to a ton of under-populated beaches that are 20 minutes away by car.

Best thing you ate/drank and where?
Fresh squid ‘a la plancha’ and the watermelon mint and feta salad at the Experimental Beach club in Ibiza.

Highlight? Top tip?
I’m hoping the best is still yet to come in Greece…

Joey, Co-Founder & CEO – Lithuania & all over the US

Where did you go this summer? Why?
San Francisco (2x), NYC (2x), Seattle (2x), Las Vegas, Miami, Lummi Island in the San Juans, Sun Valley Idaho, and Vilnius Lithuania. The 4th of July with family brought me to Lummi and Idaho. A hunt for family history took me to Lithuania.

Emblem SF. Image via Fathom Travel


Where did you stay? What was special about it? 
I spent a few nights at the Emblem in SF and loved their perfect bathrooms. The Pacai Hotel in Vilnius is a revelation. Constructed out of a 15th Century mansion, they balanced modern touches whilst preserving the historic structure throughout. With the exceptional service and the perfect location in Old Town, this place is worth a spot on everyone’s new hotel list.

Pacai Hotel in Vilnius

Best thing you ate/drank and where?
Lithuanian potato pancakes are next level. Get them everywhere.

Highlight? Top tip?
Visiting Vilnius with my parents was a truly special experience as we tracked down our roots from the 1800s. I’d recommend anyone doing this kind of exploration, wherever you’re from. To stand on the ground where your ancestors stood, especially when so much of the details of their history has been lost, is a remarkable feeling. 

Chloe, Marketing Consultant – Glamping in Navès

I went to Navès, which is a small town about 70 miles from Barcelona (where I live).

Where did you stay? What was special about it? 
Forest Days – a beautiful spot for glamping. It has five bell tents for an entire five hectares of land. Each tent area has its own dining area, eco-friendly bathroom and – most importantly – spectacular views. You are so close to nature that you feel free and healthy.

Best thing you ate/drank and where?
The owner would leave a basket full of goodies outside the tent around 8am. We would unpack like a present you open on Christmas morning. The weekend was spent drinking my favourite Cava Mas Macia.

Highlight? Top tip?
The highlight of my trip was when my fiancé proposed to me under millions of stars by our tent! Make sure you hike up the Busa cliffs as you will see such amazing scenery and take a dip in the wonderful Lake of Sant Ponç. 

Annabel, Editorial Producer – Tuscany, Wales & Helsinki

I began the summer with a holiday in Tuscany (including two nights in Florence), a weekend at home in Wales (once the heatwave hit London and I had to flee) and then a press trip to Helsinki where I wrote a story about going to a festival alone for Refinery 29 followed by a few days there with a friend.

Flow festival

Where did you stay? What was special about it? 
Our villa in Tuscany was a converted monastery that fitted in 12 of us. The rooms were huge with high ceilings and the garden had a small pool. In Helsinki, I stayed at Marski by Scandic first (the central hotel partner for the festival that served amazing buffet breakfasts) then a beautiful AirBnB by Hesperia Park. The archipelago of Helsinki consists of around 330 islands and Lonna was my favorite for its incredible restaurant, serving fresh produce grown on the island.

Tuscan villa
Islands off Helsinki

Best thing you ate/drank and where?
A lot of gelato in Florence and salmon in Helsinki. The open sandwiches with rye bread are great – especially the prawn one served at Loyly sauna. Finns love a ‘Long Drink,’ which is gin with grapefruit flavored juice – dangerously drinkable… Flow festival’s food was 50% vegan/vegetarian so all really healthy!

Tuscan villa

Highlight? Top tip?
Dancing around the Tuscan villa after countless Aperol Spritzes, watching Solange, Mitski and Nao performances at Flow, jumping in the Baltic sea after a sauna… Again and again.

Loyly sauna

Fede, Full-stack Developer – Amsterdam & Italy

I went to Amsterdam and Italy to spend time with friends and family. We organised a small festival (for the eighth year running) on Trentino’s mountain.  

Trentino. Image via Italy Magazine

Where did you stay? What was special about it? 
Stayed with friends and family – my childhood room is now my nephews’!

Troost Browerij, Amsterdam

Best thing you ate/drank and where?

In Amsterdam I had the best burger ever at Troost Browerij. In Italy I had an incredible slow-cooked pork on gravy and roasted hazelnuts with sweet puree at Rifugio Bindesi.

Rifugio Bindesi. Image via La Voce de Trentino


Highlight? Top tip?
In Italy the festival was great as always. The energy was amazing – I’m so proud that we made it happen!

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 marriot.co.uk

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 e-architect.co.uk

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. 

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. 

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


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