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:


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

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. 

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

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

Hot List: Our Insiders’ Favorite Places to Stay in LA & NYC

Major disclaimer: we do not fall into the camp of ‘LA/NY or bust.’ When it comes to US cities, we fully love and appreciate the great towns that span America. However, we do find ourselves in these two hubs quite often for work. The good news: they are both great cities to play in. Consider them your ‘bleisure’ capitals.

We tapped our Insiders and rounded up a list of their favorites places to stay and play in New York and Los Angeles. Read on for more.

PUBLIC Hotel, New York, NY

“This is the hotel I opened alongside the godfather of boutique hotels, Ian Schrager. This hotel is a new idea, breaking the mold from what the big hotel groups were doing in the market at the time – PUBLIC offers ‘Luxury for All.’ This means it’s a luxury-designed hotel at an affordable rate. The design of the rooms and public spaces are exactly what was missing in downtown Manhattan. A true playground with five bars, all serve a different purpose, design, and experience. A one stop shop when you are traveling to NYC.” – Sebastian Puga, VP of Brand Marketing at PUBLIC Hotel

Photo via PUBLIC Hotels

Chateau Marmont, Los Angeles, CA

“The Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood, California. I stayed here at a pivotal time in my life. It reminds me of embarking on a new chapter, and of unearthing new and interesting parts of myself. (And I got into the best kind of trouble at The Chateau Marmont, because that’s just what you do there!)” – Tori Ainsworth, Marketing Director at Christy Dawn

11 Howard, New York , NY

“The 11 Howard is my favorite crash pad for a long weekend in NYC. Its beautifully designed interiors are full of thoughtful details, including a signature scent when you walk into the lobby. The rooms themselves are lovely and inviting, with custom-designed pieces that really elevate the experience. And the Grown Alchemist products in the rooms are definitely worth snagging.” – Kimiko Ninomiya, Marketing at Soho House

Photo via 11 Howard

The Native, Los Angeles, CA

“The Native in Malibu, California, is a hotel for the people. I stayed for just two nights and still speak regularly to their General Manager and Sound Bath Practitioner (yes, I realize that was the most LA thing that has ever been typed).” – Amelia Mularz, US Editor for Mr. & Mrs. Smith

Photo via The Native

The NoMad Hotel, New York, NY

“I’m a real fan of perfect, thoughtful hospitality that doesn’t feel forced or overwhelming – the team at The Nomad is really good at that. Their Library Bar is the kind of place I dream of when I’m in New York, and it’s true that the chicken they serve at dinner is a very special dish (and I never order chicken at restaurants!)” –  Nina Anakar, Chef & Founder of Ziza Mediterranean 

Photo via The NoMad

Hot List: Carry-On Musts from Those in the Know

We all strive to be that person who can travel for six weeks with just a carry-on. Some of us are, but most of us aren’t, and that’s okay.

Many of us here at Safara have to jump on planes for last minute work trips or a forgotten wedding weekend across the country. It’s helpful to have some trusty go-to items that we can brainlessly throw in every time. 

Packing a carry-on for any occasion is an art form, mixing the personal with the practical. Here’s what our pro-traveler Insiders take with them. Maybe think about adding a few of these to your list.  

Silk Eye Mask by Slip – Negar Mohammadi, Director of Brand Marketing at Vogue

B&O Headphones Andrew Barker, Chief Brand Officer at C Magazine

A New Yorker and an AFAR Magazine – Bryan Kinkade, Publisher at AFAR Media

My Nikes and a Carhartt Beanie – Anna Douglas, Yoga Teacher and Marketing at Alo Moves 

Jao Hand SanitizerNicole Heim, Founder of Cienne 

 Tea Tree Toothpicks Grace Lee, Creative Director & DJ

Hot List: Best Hotel Lobbies for Getting Work Done

The Hoxton Hotel, Brooklyn, NY

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

Photo via The Hoxton

The Four Seasons Hotel, Downtown, Mexico City

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

Photo via The Four Seasons 

Only YOU, Centro, Madrid

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

Photo via Only YOU

Six Senses Maxwell, Singapore

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

Photo via Six Senses

The ACE Hotel, Shoreditch, London

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

Photo via Rollin Joint

Hot List: Time for a Digital Detox

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

Where? Raja Ampat, Indonesia

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

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

Where to stay?  Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort.

Where? Isla Holbox, Mexico

Says who? Bryan Kinkade, Publisher at AFAR Media

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

Where to stay? Casas Las Tortugas

Where? Santa Teresa, Costa Rica

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

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

Where to stay? Latitude 10

Where? Ile de Re, France

Says who? Marine Tanguy, Founder of MTArt Agency

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

Where to stay? Hotel Le Senechal

Where? Providencia, Colombia

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

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

Where to stay? Hotel Deep Blue

Pocket Read: The Art of Solo Travel

Traveling alone can be one of the greatest vehicles for self-reflection. Many of us romanticize the idea of sitting on a train, bus, or other various modes of transit, writing in a journal and feeling blissfully content as we stare out the window at a sunset. While Eat, Pray, Love moments may happen for you – don’t be surprised, or upset, if your trip leaves you without complete clarity on sense of self, a lover, a career change, or any other fairly unrealistic revelation. Going into any experience with those types of expectations will almost certainly end in disappointment – especially when the true goal is to let go. With that disclaimer in mind, we haven’t found a better way to get more in touch with ourselves than to strip away the distractions of our everyday life. If you are lucky enough to find the means and the time, traveling alone is one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.

In our opinion, you have to get quiet to get loud – meaning tuning out the background noise that comes with day-to-day life and amplifying your own voice. When you’re traveling solo, the internal volume is turned way up. Your thoughts are enunciated clearly, your intentions are spoken loudly, you seem to drop-in to your desires more holistically. It hones in on the voice that harnesses initiative and allows you to feel more confident in making choices. If the energy to dive into a crazy new experience isn’t naturally there, don’t push it because of what you think you should be doing. Genuine motive is key when you’re traveling alone – so make sure that what you’re doing is for yourself. Don’t try to emulate someone that is listening to the music at a completely different volume – the only person that matters in this context is you. What does that really mean? If you are more cautious – don’t go on a solo trek through a remote country in Asia because you saw a post from an influencer on IG. If you are craving complete isolation, don’t hop on board with a travel group in South America because your friend said it was cool.

Once you’ve done that, get ready to manage your expectations. There will be nights when you are dancing on a beach with beautiful strangers – but the three nights before that you found yourself at the same restaurant, re-reading the same chapter in your book over and over. The image that you have sitting in a coffee shop, working on a novel the very first day you land, might actually look like getting lost and taking two hours to figure out a WiFi password. All of it is okay. It’s all part of the process, and you will still find yourself at the coffee shop or on the beach dancing – you’ll just be a better version of yourself when you get there.

There are certain surprises along the way you can’t anticipate. Some are far better than any expectation you could have. Some…aren’t. For example, a monkey stealing your only energy bar when you haven’t eaten in 7 hours may lead you to find the best bowl of phở you’ve ever had. Either way, it’s the unexpected that turn a trip into an experience. Our best advice is to roll with it. Don’t stick to the storyline you have in your head. If you went to “get away” but meet a group of great people at a wine bar – stay a while. If you were hoping to make friends across an ocean, but find yourself deep in your journal – give into that too.

Appreciate the nuances and even the hard moments. Loneliness is super common when we are traveling solo. That doesn’t mean it isn’t for you – and it doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, with our hyper-connected world, it can be truly refreshing to feel lonely. A lot of beauty and self-realization comes from loneliness, frustration, and getting lost. We encourage all of those things.  The conversations you have with yourself during these moments are better than any therapy we’ve paid for – because you begin to ask questions to the person who knows you best. And, of course, keep in mind that it’s all momentary. Just remember, the chances of coming home with regret are close to zero but chances of feeling some form of dissatisfaction during the process is probable. 

At the end of the day, the trip is about re-asserting ownership over your own priorities. The experience conforms to you, not the other way around. If you’re feeling too self-involved, it will get you out of your own head and thinking about the world around you. If you’re someone that doesn’t prioritize yourself, it becomes a vehicle to put your own wants first. In that way, the trip takes whatever form you need it to – all you have to do is trust that it will.

If you’re reading this, it means you are interested in flying solo somewhere. Our top piece of advice? Do it. Wherever you are at in your comfort level with traveling sans friends, there is truly a place for everybody. See below for a few thought starters:

For the rationally cautious and curious:

Lisbon, Portugal 

Europe is an easy escape plan for those wanting to test the waters of solo travel. Portugal is perfect for safety, price, and ease. Lisbon is a perfect place to land in for your first solo adventure. The town is walkable but big enough where you can get purposefully lost. There are high-speed trains to Porto or Farro if you want to explore past city lines and jump in the ocean. The food is second to none – and there is an increasing ex-pat community coming from other European counties and the US.

Where we would stay:

Santiago de Alfama

Treat yourself with a room at this 5-star boutique hotel. The 15th-century building has been perfectly preserved but the interiors have been re-done to top-notch quality. Clean whites blend in with the scenery and perfect views of the Almafa neighborhood really do the trick. Audrey’s, the restaurant in the hotel, is actually worth a visit and you will most likely meet other tourists there.

For trading in solo weekends away for a longer trip:

Sacred Valley, Peru

You could really go to Peru as any type of solo traveler – there really is something for everyone in this beautifully diverse country. Though we could talk about Lima, the cities up north, and further south near Arequipa, we are going to recommend the Sacred Valley. Welcoming millions of tourists each year, Cusco is a safe and convenient hub to fly into. From there, we recommend heading into the Sacred Valley. Instead of going straight to Machu Picchu, spend some time in the serene towns of Pisac, Ollantaytambo, and Urubamba. You can take cars or jump in a collectivo which is a shared ride that picks up around town. The towns have yoga studios, healthy eateries, and beautiful hiking. Each has a convenient town center with weekly markets and the necessary amenities but feels far enough away to truly unplug.

Where we would stay:

El Albergue Ollantaytambo Hotel & Restaurant

Though we might opt to spend a bit more time in Pisac, this hotel is too beautiful not to feature. It is perfectly designed with deep woods and clean whites, and the food is fantastic. The property includes an organic farm, a coffee collective, and a school for local children. Make sure to take advantage of the traditional Pachamanca lunch – where the chef will cook your food in volcanic stone buried in the garden.

For the solo traveler that wants to go further:

Mae Hong Son, Thailand 

Close to the tourist town of Pai, Mae Hong Son is a town in northern Thailand that borders Burma. Surrounded by mountains and capturing an idyllic serene lifestyle- this is the perfect place when you’re serious about getting away. Don’t count on cell service, because you most likely won’t have it. WiFi is available in some areas but not all. There are breathtaking hikes to waterfalls, hot springs, and lost caves. It’s also the perfect launch point for exploring Salween National Park and offers the opportunity to camp if that’s your thing. Pang Ung, or Baan Ruam Coffee Village, is also close by. With its gorgeous lake, it’s another great option for camping. 

If the tent game isn’t your thing, here is one of our favorite places to stay nearby:

Fern Resort

This eco-friendly resort is simple but perfect for your time in northern Thailand. Looking out into the mountains, the hotel is made up of 21 bungalows. The property is built on former rice paddies and maintains the same tranquility you would expect. 

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