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Free Safara memberships (with a $25 donation to the World Health Organisation)

Safara is offering free memberships with a donation to the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 Response Fund.

As a company that helps you book hotels, we’ve honestly felt pretty helpless the past few months. We’ve had to reassess everything, which is strange and scary, but also an exhilarating challenge. While we remain focused on navigating our business through this new reality, we’ve also been looking for ways we can help the global health crisis.

That’s when we realized that, though Safara cannot be used today, it will be more useful than ever when the travel restrictions are lifted (and we all venture back out, wide-eyed and with passports in hand).

That’s why we’re offering offer Safara memberships for free (yes, free!) with a $25 donation to The WHO’s Covid-19 relief efforts. Doing good never felt so good, right?

And don’t worry – your membership cycle won’t start until your first booking, which will hopefully be sooner than we think. Seeing as you asked, we’re planning a staycay with our best friends in the Kent countryside or upstate New York.

Also, to help you armchair travel, we’re continuing to provide inspiration on our editorial site and Instagram, starting with our Insider series, Five Reasons, where some of our favorite tastemakers give tips and shout-outs to businesses, neighborhoods, and cities they love –  from Mid-Levels, Hong Kong to Greenpoint, NY and everywhere in between.

Stay safe, stay home (for now).

Learn more here.

Top 12 Travel-Inspired Books According to Our Safara Insiders

When interviewing our Insiders, almost everyone claimed they’d cram a book into their carry-on. Granted, we’re not really able to vacation right now (#Covid-19), but the list still applies. Whether you’re staycationing or self-isolating, we’ve shortlisted our favorite recommendations for your trip (or armchair trip). From Hemingway to Bill Bryson, Joan Didion to A. A. Gill, simply click to buy, 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

Travel for work? Book hotels with Safara and get free vacations

Safara is here, and we have a gift for you. Read on.

This generation of ‘bleisure’ travelers (that’s you, and us) still love to see new places, stay in cool hotels, and be around like-minded people – the days of shaking up solo with a bland room service menu in a mundane hotel are over. Yet travel is one of the few areas where we’re still stuck in the dark ages when it comes to hotel booking.

All work and no play makes Jack (and Jackie) a dull human, right? But what about those of us who do both pretty damn well. It’s true that we’re traveling more. A LOT more. On average 5-6 more times a year than previous generations – and a lot of these trips are for work. But that doesn’t mean they’re boring. 

Humble brag, but we’re reinventing hotel booking for today’s travelers. Especially for those of you that travel loads for work. 

Did you know that most of the big hotel booking sites pocket up to 30% of hidden commission fees built into the cost of your room? Safara is a travel membership – the first of its kind – that gives you all this commission back in points, whether you’re traveling for work, play, or a bit of both. We don’t take one cent in hidden fees. Nada. 

This means that any trips you take – including ones you’re expensing anyway – turn into free vacations, fast. Told you you’d love us.

Ever feel totally overwhelmed by the thousands of options that big booking sites offer? Do we really have time to sift through 1,918 options for a weekend in Paris? We’ve hand-selected the 7000+ hotels on our site (yes, it took years!), with each having been tested and reviewed by Safara’s team, or our network of industry tastemakers (you know them already as “insiders”). From budget to boutique, we know the best hotels – and never show you too many.

There’s more.

We want to give our readers a gift to say thanks for being part of the journey from the start. Your first booking is free anyway, and you’ll get $100 in free travel after you make it. 

Additionally, we’re giving you 20% off your membership price (usually $195) using the code safaralaunch if you do become a member by 30 March 2020. Now, we’re not Will Hunting, but that math adds up to a no brainer. What’s more, if you don’t make your membership back in points in your first year, we’ll refund you the cost. 

Sign up today, and happy travels! 

Safara founders Maya Poulton and Joey Kotkins

Read more about the Safara team here.

Where to vacation this spring

OK, we’ve survived January and February, we’re rewarding ourselves with some 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!

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