Friday Feature: Vienna



Vienna is home to peaceful parks, beautifully intricate palaces, exceptional coffeehouses, and a rich history and culture. This capital city gives visitors from all over the world so many great reasons to come and stay a while, and we have outlined some of our favorites about this city below. Vienna’s central location in Europe makes it an easy hub for international travelers. The Vienna International Airport services over 205 destinations and 71 countries with direct flights from the US on Austrian Airlines!

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Vienna is from April - May or September - October. The mild weather in spring and fall brings mild crowds. Most visitors aim to enjoy the warm, sunny weather that Vienna experiences in the summer months. Between June and August, you can expect the city to fill up and room rates to skyrocket.

Things to do:

Visit a traditional Würstelstand. A late-night snack of sausage with bread and mustard is a tradition in Vienna. There are dozens of sausage stands (i.e. Würstelstand) that dot the city. The two most popular sausages are the Frankfurter and Käsekrainer, but you can see the full list HERE.

Pay a visit to Old Town & Hofburg Palace. This is the historic center of Vienna and a great place to walk around soaking in the atmosphere and architecture. Be sure to visit the Hofburg Palace (home of the Habsburgs), the Spanish riding school where you could see the Lipizzaner train & perform, the Stephansdom Cathedral, or the Imperial Crypt that houses the tombs of dozens of emperors and empresses.

Stop by Schönbrunn Palace. This palace is the most famous tourist destination in Vienna. While you are there, be sure to check out the Maze, the Vienna Zoo, and beautiful palace gardens.

Drink a cup of coffee. UNESCO recognizes the coffee culture in Vienna as a deep part of Austria’s culture. There are incredible coffeehouses all over the city that range from fancy to very casual. If you are looking for some of the best, click HERE for a list of recommended cafes.

Feature Hotel: Grand Hotel Wien, Hotel Imperial, Steigenberger Hotel Herrenhof Wien

Things to know before you go…


  • Public transportation is not free. This is especially confusing because there is not typically someone there collecting money or tickets, but not having a transportation ticket will result in a 103 Euro fine.

  • Give up your seat. It is customary, not to mention polite, to give up your seat for elder, mothers, or the blind/handicap while riding public transportation.

  • All water is safe. The Austrians are very proud of their quality tap water so make sure you hydrate!

  • If you plan to do any shopping, make sure you bring a bag. Otherwise you will be left having to purchase one at the store.

  • There is no open container policy. Feel free to enjoy your drink or spiked coffee while on the go!

    Click HERE for more information!

Friday Feature: Iceland



Iceland is known as the “Land of Fire and Ice” and is easily one of the most diverse landscapes of any country in the world! For outdoor enthusiasts, spend your days exploring the numerous mountains, glaciers, rivers, caves, and lakes. But if the exploring the outdoors isn’t your cup of tea, there are still numerous seaside towns to explore and luxury spas to relax in - including the infamous Blue Lagoon! How do you get to this magical place? The main airport international travelers fly into is Keflavík International Airport in Reykjavík, the capital city of Iceland. This also makes an excellent home base!

Best Times to Visit: In summer, there's midnight sun and the temperature gets a little more warm! July and August are the best months for hiking. If you are wanting to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights, February, March, September and October are typically best.

Things to do:

Soak in the Blue Lagoon. There are over 100 naturally occuring hot springs and spas across Iceland, but arguably the most famous of all is the Blue Lagoon in the Reykjanes Peninsula. Enjoy the full experience by staying on property at one of the two nearby hotels. They also offer day passes (for about $56 per day) to visitors to explore and relax in the Blue Lagoon.

See the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, are created when particles emitted by the sun interact with the atmosphere in the Earth's magnetic field. While it is never guaranteed that you will see the lights during your stay, you are more likely to see them outside of populated areas where there is less light pollution.

Go whale watching. The cool waters off the coast of Iceland is the perfect place to go whale watching and experience more diverse marine life! The most prolific time for whale watching in Iceland is during the summer months, from April through September, when over 20 species of whales can be seen on either side of the island.

Drive the Golden Circle. This is a 190 mile loop from the capital of Reykjavik. It includes Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall, and Geysir and Strokkur. You can also loop in the Kerið volcanic crater and the town of Hveragerði the hot springs capital of Iceland.

Take a helicopter tour. What is a better way to see this incredible landscape than through a bird’s eye view? Flying allows you to reach hard-to-access places and gives you an opportunity to experience the country’s beauty from a new perspective. For a list of sightseeing helicopter tours, click HERE.

For more travel information, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Retreat Hotel, Hotel Reykjavik Centrum, CenterHotel Thingholt, Hotel Odinsve

Things to know before you go…


  • Credit Cards are king. Credit cards are accepted everywhere so we don’t recommend converting too much cash.

  • Know your public pool etiquette. You must shower before entering a public pool in Iceland.

  • Tourists outnumber the locals. Iceland has over 2 million visitors a year and is home to only about 300,000 natives.

  • Fuel is expensive. If you choose to rent a car to explore, be aware that gas prices are very steep - roughly $8/galloon. It is best to carefully plan your routes ahead of time to not waste any fuel.

    For more rules and traditions, click HERE.

Friday Feature: Dubai



It is easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour and modern, futuristic vibes of Dubai! But this United Arab Emirates city has so much more to offer than just luxury shopping and incredible architecture. If the city isn’t your scene, there are plenty of safari camps outside the city and beaches along the Dubai Creek shoreline! It is also incredibly easy to get to this incredible city. Dubai International Airport offers over 7,000 weekly flights operated by 125 airlines from 260 destinations on every continent!

Best Times to Visit: Dubai experiences a desert climate with largely year-round sunshine and hot temperatures, and very little rain. To avoid the worst of the heat, the best months to visit are between November and March.

Things to do:

Visit the tallest building of the world. Dubai is a proud home to the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the whole world with 163 floors! You can book tickets for “At the Top” which are the two observation decks located on the very top floor… if you have the nerves for it!

Lounge on Jumeirah Beach. This stretch of beach that sits underneath Dubai’s impressive skyline and is home to multiple luxurious hotels and restaurants. However despite all the luxury hotels, Jumeirah Beach also has a section that is open to the public and everyone can hang out here and jump into the waves!

Take an Arab Water Boat ride. This traditional road is made of wood and used to ferry people across the Dubai Creek. They travel between the water station at Shindagha/Al Ghubaiba on the Bur Dubai side, and the water station at Al Sabkha on the Deira side. This is a great way to catch a breeze and see the expansive city!

Go on a desert safari. While the city is all about modernity, glass, and entertainment, the desert offers guests a nice change of pace. Desert safaris are fairly inexpensive and usually include the jeep ride, a local meal, and some entertainment at one of the big camps!

Go to the Miracle Garden. This is a beautifully designed botanical garden in the city! We recommend going early in the morning to beat the crowds and get the best pictures!

Feature Hotel: One & Only Royal Mirage, Taj Dubai, Bab Al Shams Desert Resort & Spa, Four Seasons Resort at Jumeirah Beach

Things to know before you go…


  • No PDA! If you are traveling with your significant other, public displays of affection are considered rude. Kissing and cuddling in public is not allowed, but married couples are allowed to hold hands.

  • Beware of where you point your camera. When taking pictures make sure that you ask Middle Eastern people if you can take photos of them first, especially women. There are some old superstitions in this region, including the belief that a camera can suck out your soul.

  • Experience the nightlife but know the laws. If you are having a night on the town and plan on bar hopping, always get in a taxi and don’t walk. It is illegal to be drunk in public.

  • Watch your potty mouth. Do not swear in public or talk badly about an organization or you might end up with a fine for slander.

    For more rules and traditions, click HERE.

Our Recent Stay: Palazzo Naiadi

Our travel designer, Robin, just got back from a wonderful trip to Rome and had an incredible stay at Palazzo Naiadi! Needless to say, it was truly incredible and she is dishing out all of her favorite elements below.

Continue reading to see some of her favorite parts of the property:

Why we went:

Rome is personally one of my favorite cities in Italy because of how much there is to see and do! We choose to stay at the Palazzo Naiadi becuase of it’s great location to the train station (aka great spot for day trips out of the city center) and it’s fresh update!

What we loved:

There is so much to love about this 5-star hotel! It’s spacious rooms, attentive staff, and central location make it the perfect spot to call home for a longer stay in the Eternal City. The luxury and amenities that come with it are such a great addition to any European vacation.

How we slept:

Often times in Europe, the beds are small and a little less comfortable than we are used to in America. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth for Palazzo Naiadi! The beds and rooms were spacious and comfortable which meant a great nights sleep for everyone in our room… aka more energy for sightseeing, eating, and walking through the Eternal City!!!

What we ate:

After a long travel day, the first thing we did was grab a refreshing Aperol Spritz on the rooftop pool restaurant! There is no better way to start an Italian vacation than a rooftop spritz and apertif… that’s almost an Explorateur Travel rule! For dinner, they have the incredible Ristorante Tazio that serves traditional Italian fare. Another great option is the Tazio Champagnerie and Lobby - great for sipping champagne while people watching!

What you get with your stay:

  • 5-star elegance in the heart of Italy's capital city

  • Chic hotel rooms and suites and an outstanding location in Rome's city center

  • Pet-friendly hotel

  • Plush bedding, marble bathrooms, mini-refrigerators, desks, free Wi-Fi and stunning views

  • World class fitness center

  • Outdoor pool

  • Wellness spa

  • Great restaurants and lounges both indoors, on the expansive terrace, or pool-side

  • Wedding and meeting space

  • Convenient location close to the city's cultural and historical landmarks, including the Colosseum, the Spanish Steps, the Opera House, the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.

Why we would recommend this property to our clients:

If you are calling Rome home for an extended length of time and using it as your “home base” to travel out of on day trips, this hotel is perfect for you! The amenities alone had me wanting to move in but combine that with the convenient location and proximity to the train station, you truly can’t go wrong!

Friday Feature: Paris



Paris has captivated the hearts of travelers for a lifetime. The hype was intense… but honestly after walking the beautiful streets of this city, it is easy to see why this place calls so many visitors back time and time again. Spend your days soaking in some culture at the many incredible museums, sipping rosé while people watching in one of the numerous quaint cafes, basking in the Parisian sunshine under the Eiffel Tower, or simply get lost in the fabulous architecture. This city is also incredibly easy to get to with two main international airports - Charles De Gaulle or Orly Airport. Both of which are about 45 minutes from the center of Paris!

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Paris is from April to June and October to early November when the weather is mild and enjoyable and the tourist crowds are smaller than summer. The cheapest time to visit Paris is early December, January, and February.

Things to do:

Take in the Paris skyline. Most people think that the best view of Paris is from the Eiffel Tower, but what is a Paris skyline without that beauty in the back? That is why we recommend climbing to the top of the Arc de Triomphe during your stay! This gives you a great vantage point of the city while still getting the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Go for a picnic. Arguably the best place to experience this romantic city is from the park bench or blanket in one of it’s numerous gardens! The lawn of the Eiffel Tower is an obvious choice for first timers. Pro Tip: check out Zia near the Eiffel Tower for incredible picnics to go! Another great spot to enjoy rosé, brie, and people watch is Luxembourg Gardens! For those traveling with kiddos, Luxembourg also has toy boats in it’s fountain for easy entertainment.

Cruise the River Seine. This iconic river takes you past multiple notable sightseeing spots in the city making it a great addition to your Paris itinerary! They also offer cruise tours that include champagne tasting with a sommelier… because what is more romantic than a glass of bubbles on the Seine?!

Get your fill of culture. Paris is full of incredible museums that you will not want to miss! The best option to capitalize on your time? Get a Paris Museum Pass and spend your time museum hopping around the city.

Pick up a souvenir! There is no shortage of fabulous shopping in this city so definitely leave time to explore the various boutiques and department stores. Le Bon Marchè is a great spot to spend a day… and your money. It is also the oldest department store in the world!

Feature Hotel: Four Seasons Hotel George V Paris, Pavillon de la Reine, Hôtel San Régis

Restaurants we love…


  • Chez Georges - charming bistro in the 2 Arr.

  • Les Ombres - amazing French restaurant with arguably the best view of the Eiffel Tower, especially at night

  • Cafe de Flore - long-running coffeehouse & celebrity hot spot serving French fare in a charming corner cafe

  • Cafe Central - charming French cafe located on Rue Cler, close to the Eiffel Tower

  • L’Avenue - cozy French restaurant located in the 8 Arr.

  • La Fontaine de Mars - casual local French spot serving an amazing crème brûlée à la vanille

  • Pierre Hermé - great spot for authentic macaroons

  • L'Éclair - cozy cocktail spot in the 7 Arr.

  • Les Papilles - great French restaurant right by the Luxembourg Gardens

  • Artisan Boulanger - great morning spot for a warm croissant and peak of the Eiffel Tower

Friday Feature: Ischia, Italy




For a long time Ischia was kept a secret amongst Europeans as a non-touristy Italian getaway. Well, the cat is out of the bag and this adorable little island is on it’s way to becoming Italy’s next hot holiday spot. Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples and best known for its mineral-rich thermal waters. Hot springs bubble up at Maronti Beach in the south, and Roman remains lie beneath the sea floor at Cartaromana Beach. Fly into Naples airport or take the train from Rome to Garibaldi train station. From there, you can take the Alibus or taxi to the main port in Naples. SNAV and Alilauro ferries leave from Naples, Sorrento and Pozzuoli. There are several docks in Ischia (Forio, Casamicciola and the main Ischia ferry terminal) so be sure to look up which one is nearest to your hotel.

Best Times to Visit: The best time for the traveler to visit Ischia is from April to October, however, the weather in Ischia is always changing and visitors should expect both sunshine and rain — whatever the season. Summer, the main tourist season, combines long, hot days with lengthy evenings.

Things to do:

Visit Castello Aragonese. You can visit the iconic Castello Aragonese for €10 euros a person. It’s open 365 days a year which is a rarity in Italy. You can read all about this castle’s fascinating history by clicking HERE.

Take a dip in the healing thermal springs. Ischia is best known for it’s abundant thermal hot springs so make sure to schedule some R&R time. Take advantage of their healing properties at either Negombo or Poseidon. The water from the natural hot springs, heated by volcanic action, is believed to be good for a variety of health treatments.

Hike Mt. Epomeo. This is the highest mountain an Ischia and a great hiking option for those of you looking for some active, outdoor time! However, bring lots of water and wear good shoes because this hike is no joke! This hike starts in Fontana and typically lasts about 3 hours.

Stroll and explore the many charming boutiques. For those of you not looking to burn off those pasta calories with a rigorous hike, spend your day strolling the charming streets and window shopping in the locally owned boutiques. Pick up some hand crafted sandals and other awesome souvenirs!

The obvious - relax on the beach. It seems almost criminal to not include some beach time when talking about this gorgeous island. Beach clubs or “lidos” with beach chairs and sun decks are a favorite of this region. But be prepared for the additional cost (typically between €10- €20 for the day).

Feature Hotel: Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa, Punta Molino Hotel Beach Resort and Spa, Mezzatorre Hotel & Thermal Spa

Things to know before you go…


  • Tourism is a relatively new thing for the island. Unlike the Amalfi Coast, tourism to this region is fairly new. This is sure to change as the destination grows!

  • The ferry’s are very regular. Like I mentioned, there is a ferry ride involved with getting to this island. However, this logistical component shouldn’t be a reason not to visit as the connections are fast, frequent easy to use.

  • Seafood and wine are a staple. Wine in Italy is a no brainer but being on the coast offers visitors a great taste of fresh Italian seafood!

    For more tips, click HERE.

Our Recent Stay: The Hoxton, Amsterdam

Our travel designer, Robin, spent three awesome nights exploring Amsterdam and was lucky enough to call The Hoxton Hotel home for her travels! Needless to say, it was truly incredible and she is dishing out all of her favorite elements below.

Continue reading to see some of her favorite parts of the property:

Why we went:

Amsterdam is probably one of the coolest and trendiest spots in Europe right now and The Hoxton fits right in! This hotel is modern, updated, and so freaking chic I wanted to hire the interior decorator to come to my own home. We chose this specific hotel during our stay because of it’s perfect location and awesome canal views!

What we loved:

Aside from being situated on a great canal and close to just about everything, The Hoxton is so cozy and inviting. The staff was all warm and friendly when checking in and during the duration of our stay. Also, they have an incredible restaurant downstairs that serves trendy, remixes of traditional comfort food meals. They also have a great bar and happy hour menu! The Hoxton Bar was featured on World’s Best Bars during our stay… so you know it’s an Amsterdam hot spot amongst travelers and locals.

How we slept:

The beds were the most comfortable of any bed I slept on during my 5 week Europe trip! That is a HUGE compliment, especially from me who is very particular about hotel beds. But the other perk? Waking up to the warm Amsterdam sunrise over the charming little canals.

What we ate:

Amsterdam has a very eclectic and diverse food scene so we were anxious to check out as many bars and restaurants as possible… Until we had a welcome cocktail and truffle fries from Lotti’s! We came back to this incredible spot just about every day whether it was for a simple drink, light appetizer, morning brunch, or dinner! It was so stinking good… and you could see plenty of locals dining alongside you which means you know it is good!

What you get with your stay:

  • Fabulous location

  • Lotti’s Cafe, Bar, and Grill

  • Fun Photo Booth in the lobby

  • 24 hour room service

  • High ceilings (a rarity in Europe)

  • A free light breakfast bag delivered to your room at your desired time

  • Hox Shop with rip-off free pricing

  • Free Wifi and international calls

  • Late checkout available

Why we would recommend this property to our clients:

This hotel honest has it all: comfortable beds, warm and inviting staff, mouthwatering food, convenient location to all major attractions, and impeccable design! I would recommend The Hoxton to anyone and everyone traveling to Amsterdam over the next couple of months.

Friday Feature: Nice, France



Nice may not have the same glitz and glamour that it’s neighbors (Monte Carlo and St. Tropez) has, but it is one of the liveliest coastal towns you can find. It also makes for an ideal reprieve from Paris and a great spot to explore the beautiful waters of the French Riviera. How do you get to this iconic French town? If you are not hitting up Paris during this France trip, we recommend flying into the Nice Cote d’Azur Airport is located southwest of Nice and actually serves as the tourist platform of the entire French Riviera, Monaco included.

Best Times to Visit: To avoid crowds the May-June and September periods are the best times to go. But since Nice is a beach town, most people like to travel in the summer when temperatures peak and the Mediterranean beaches are most compelling.

Things to do:

Take a walk down Old Town (Vieille Ville). As local and tourist favorite this spot is boasting with plenty of awesome French restaurants and shops to explore during your time in Nice!

Get your steps in climbing Castle Hill. Really more a hill than a castle, the original Colline du Chateau crumbled away over the years. But if you want a panoramic view of the city, this is your spot! The park is free to visit and if you don't want to climb, there is also a free lift that will carry you about 75 percent of the way up!

Check out English Walk. The Promenade des Anglais (English Walk) runs parallel to the pebbly shore of Nice's beachfront, stretching for more than 2 miles the coastline. This is also where most of the city’s main attractions stem off of so this is a great spot to kick off your trip!

Soak in the sunshine. It is obvious that the beaches are a major draw for most travelers when going to the French Riviera. There are a mix of public and private beaches so if you are looking for an umbrella, towel, and chair beachside be ready to spend a couple Euro. However, there are still plenty of free places to spend an afternoon as well.

For more ideas, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Hotel Nice Riviera, Westminster Hotel & Spa, Hotel Le Negresco

Things to know before you go…


  • Brush up on your French. Often times the French get a bad reputation as being “rude” when really they just prefer you to try your best to speak their language. Don’t just blindly assume everyone will speak English back to you.

  • These are not sandy beaches. Unlike America, the beaches in this part of France are pebbly not sandy so plan accordingly!

  • Pack comfy shoes. The whole country of Europe is very walking-friendly and Nice is no exception. Traffic in the city center can be busy at all hours of the day so make sure to pack comfy walking shoes - plus this is truly the best way to see the city!

Friday Feature: Marlborough, New Zealand




The region of Malborough is best known for world class Sauvignon Blanc but this gorgeous spot isn’t just for our white wine lovers! New Zealand’s largest wine growing region is also home to delicious seafood and diverse landscapes that offer a little something different for every traveler’s style. How do you get to this beautiful spot? It is best to look for a flight into Christchurch then renting a car to drive the 4.5 hour drive to Marlborough. There are a number of direct flights offered daily by Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia to Christchurch!

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Marlborough is between October through April when temperatures are warm as New Zealand is in summer time during these months!

Things to do:

Sample the local Sauvignon Blanc. This may seem like the most obvious answer but truly no trip to this region of New Zealand is complete without a taste of the local speciality! We recommend spending one afternoon taking a winery tour. There is a variety of local wine trail operators providing a popular way to see and sample what Marlborough has to offer, be it by car, coach, or bicycle.

Take a scenic walk through Wither Hills Farm Park. This beautiful trail offers incredible views of Marlborough and the Wairau Plains. Or take your stroll along the Taylor River reserve, finishing with coffee and cake at a riverside cafe.

Kayak through the Wairau Lagoon. This lagoon is perfect for all of our outdoor lovers, particularly if you love bird watching! It is home to over 90 species of birds and also the first human habitation of New Zealand.

Hit the beach. If you would like some sun and sand during your travels, make sure to head to Whites Bay or Robin Hodd Bay for some great beach action! If you are into surfing these are two popular local spots to hang ten along the coast of New Zealand.

For more ideas, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: The Marlborough Lodge, Bay of Many Coves, The Sounds Retreat


Things to know before you go…


  • There is an accent but locals will tell you it is extremely different than Australian… but not by much haha!

  • They speak English, but that doesn’t mean using the same words we do. It never hurts to pick up a phrasebook so you are able to determine “ketchup” vs. “tomato sauce”.

  • Locals have a lot of pride in their country. Don’t be shocked if they ask you repeatedly about how much you are loving New Zealand!

For more suggestions, click HERE.

Our Recent Stay: Hotel Poseidon

Our travel designer, Robin, just got back from an incredible stay at Hotel Poseidon in Positano. We have so many honeymoon client’s call this boutique property home for their travels and it absolutely stands up to the hype!

Continue reading to see some of her favorite parts of the property:

Why we went:

After it’s social media frenzy, Positano has become a hot destination for travelers and I couldn’t wait to check it out with my mom and sister! We choose Hotel Poseidon for it’s convenient location, awesome reviews, and inspiring views across the Amalfi Coast! This boutique property has 48 rooms and all the exceptional services of a 4 star hotel.

What we loved:

Location, location, location! Hotel Poseidon sits up on the hills and offers it’s guests incredible views of the beautiful coastal town of Positano. The hotel also had a fabulous pool, delicious restaurant and bar, and beauty centre. The rooms are adorable and authentic with almost all room categories boasting a private terrace.

How we slept:

After a full day boat tour to Capri, we were EXHAUSTED! The beds couldn’t have felt better and our room has spacious enough for all three of us to spread out without stepping on each other. The property has numerous room categories to choose from, which means there is a little something for everyone! Another perk: air conditioning! This is not a luxury at every hotel on the Amalfi Coast so this is a big one y’all - especially for our summer travelers!

What we ate:

The hotel is home to the incredible bar and restaurant Il Tridente which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinners! Chef Antonio Sorrentino and his team love to honor the Neapolitan culinary tradition; they created a menu with special dishes that have been passed on for generations! But aside from the incredible food and friendly staff, this place is the perfect spot to catch a Positano sunset while enjoying a refreshing aperitivo with good company!

What you get with your stay:

  • 4 star luxury

  • Rooftop hotel pool and bar

  • Incredible restaurant on property

  • Ideal location in Positano

  • Beauty Centre offering guests massages, body treatments, and more!

  • Concierge to help organize excursions during your vacation

  • 1970’s Beetle rental free of charge to drive the scenic Amalfi Coast roads

  • High speed Wifi

  • Air conditioning

  • Friendly and helpful staff who are ready to make your stay truly incredible!

Why we would recommend this property to our clients:

Positano can get quite expensive, particularly in high season. The Hotel Poseidon is a great 4 star hotel that is a little more budget friendly than some of it’s 5 star competitors! This is the best hotel to come home to after spending the day out on the water, strolling the charming streets, or exploring the other seaside towns along the coast! Hotel Poseidon is authentic and a perfect addition to your Positano vacation!

Friday Feature: Laos




Laos is arguably one of the few truly exotic travel destinations left in the world. Located in southeast Asia by Thailand and Vietnam, Laos is home to number Buddist temples, UNESCO world heritage sites, and breathtaking scenery. However, unlike it’s neighboring countries this little country is not quite as advanced in regards to tourism, meaning that you can expect a very authentic and cultural experience. How do you get to this little country? When flying through international connections, it is easier to arrive in Bangkok first. Bangkok connects well with Laos to the airports of Luang Prabang, Vientiane and Pakse. 

Best Times to Visit: The small, landlocked country of Laos is best visited between October and April, when the weather's warm and dry throughout. River travel is best between November and January, when high water levels make passage easy along Laos' main waterway, the Mekong River.

Things to do:

Visit the That Luang. Also known as the Great Stupa in Vientiane, That Luang is a national symbol and the most sacred monument in the entire country. Its foundation dates back to the 3rd century to house a breastbone of Buddha. It is located just a little over a half of a mile northeast of central Vientiane, it’s easily reachable by tuk-tuk or bicycle, which you can rent from most guesthouses.

Spend some time in Luang Prabang. This charming little town ranks as the top must-visit destination in the country. Mostly because the entire town is a dedicated UNESCO world heritage sight. It is home to former royal palaces, over 30 temples, old French colonial architecture, and plenty of natural beauty!

Tub down the Nam Sung River. Located along the town of Vang Vieng, the Nam Sung River is a place where tourists and locals gather to tub down the river. The town of Vang Vieng sits between Vientiane and Luang Prabang and is a little slice of heaven with patty fields and beautiful limestone cliffs.

Visit the Bolaven Plateau and Tad Fane Waterfall. Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos is famous for its great scenery, ethnic villages and unexplored corners. It’s a nature lovers dream and probably best known for being home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls including Tad Fane and Dong Hua Sao.

For more ideas, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Amantaka, Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao


Things to know before you go…


  • English speaking people are not easy to find. Even the hotel and restaurant workers will know very few English words so it is best to brush up on your Lao, the native language.

  • It is a very rural country. The majority of locals live in very small villages spread throughout the country.

  • Most natives are Buddists. They are very patient with tourists but always reember to respect their culture and religion.

For more suggestions, click HERE.

Our Recent Stay: Hotel Il Castelfalfi

Our travel designer, Robin, and CEO, Jennifer, stayed at the beautiful property of Castelfalfi while exploring properties across Tuscany. This is a great, modern hotel in the heart of the countryside and home to the best Tuscan sunset arguably anywhere!

Continue reading to see some of their favorite parts of the property:

Why we went:

Castelfalfi is just an easy 45 minute drive from Florence, making it a perfect getaway from the city. We chose to pick up a rental car at the airport and head that way upon landing into Italy.

Sidenote: picking up a rental car in a foreign country while severely jet lagged, it not always suggested- but because Castelfalfi is such a short ride away, it was the perfect choice for us!

What we loved:

We rolled up to this hotel to find two buildings - one with a rustic exterior and one that was sleek and shiny. Come to find out, one is their 4-star hotel (La Tabaccaia) and one is the 5-star resort (Il Castelfalfi). Spoiler: they are both charming and perfect!

Our room was in the main resort of Il Castelfalfi, which is where this hotel really differentiates itself from every other Tuscan resorts. Many Tuscan properties are created off of pre-existing buildings, which can come with interesting quirks and rooming configurations. While Castelfalfi boasts all the views (and we are talking ALL the views) of the Tuscan countryside, it also has modern and traditional-style hotel rooms that are perfect for anyone who may not love more rustic options.

How we slept:

Our room faced the Tuscan countryside, which offered a view directly from my pillow when I woke up. The area was so quiet, and we awoke to birds chirping and a serene sunrise. However, I'm not sure if our review is completely fair, because at that point, they could have had us sleep on the floor of the lobby and we would probably still gotten in some pretty heavy Z's.

What we ate:

What gives this resort an edge over other Tuscan retreats, is that it has its own town. Literally. There is a tiny town connected to this hotel that offers places to grab a late night gelato, do a little shopping, and get a taste of quaint village life. In this town, there are also beautiful restaurants. Because we got into town late, and had just hopped off a plane from 17 hours of travel - we opted for the casual pasta/pizza spot called Il Rosmarino. It was a short walk down the street, but offered the warmest welcome, coziest ambience, and most incredible Diavolo pizza that a gal could ask for. We swore we'd take it easy and go to bed early (ha! we said that every night...) but ended up splitting a bottle of Chianti and toasting to our Italian adventure.

What you get with your stay:

I mean, if I haven't sold you yet with gelato and pizza, I'm not sure that I can sell you (or if we could be friends). Although, a few things that I have been remiss in mentioning so far are:

  • The luxurious spa

  • The incredible golf course spanning the countryside

  • The bean bag chairs where you can enjoy the sunset with an apertivo

  • A pool with unreal views

  • A breakfast room boasting unlimited Prosecco

  • Horseriding available

  • Wine and olive oil tastings

  • Private villa rentals available

  • Friendly staff

  • Unbeatable sunsets overlooking the rolling Tuscan hills… I mean, honestly!

Why we would recommend this property to our clients:

This is the perfect landing spot for anyone who wants an easily accessible Tuscan getaway, but wants all the comforts of a modern hotel. There are great food options on-site, plenty to do, and even private villas for larger groups. Whether you are looking for an economical stay (La Tabaccaia), a five star experience, or a private villa for a group - this is an ideal destination!

Friday Feature: Corfu, Greece

Corfu lead-xlarge.jpg



Corfu is the second largest island in the Ionians. It is very similar size to Mallorca but way less crowded, making it a great spot to add to your travel bucket list! The waters are warm and the accommodations are more reasonably priced compared to the rest of the Mediterranean! Spend your day strolling through the charming seaside towns, soaking in the warm waters, or sampling the local fare at one of the awesome restaurants. This is the perfect spot for a relaxing getaway and especially easy for families. Corfu has an international airport with regular flights to and from Europe and other cities in Greece. Ferries arrive at Corfu from Igoumenitsa and Patra, and there are ferries plying the one and a half hour route between Corfu and Igoumenitsa every hour during the day. 

Best Times to Visit: The best times to visit Corfu are April to May and September to November. Although there is never really a bad season in the Mediterranean, you'll find that winter temperatures are too chilly to swim off the shores of Corfu, while the summer months draw hordes of tourists.

Things to do:

Simply relax. This is probably the most obvious answer for things to do on the quaint island but we would be remiss to not include it! This sweet little seaside town has a relaxed vibe and is a great place to curl up with a good book on the beach.

Rent a boat to explore the islands. You can actually rent a boat here independently even if you don’t have your boaters license. Spend your day cruising the coast line, stopping for a bite at the numerous seaside bars and taverns, and jumping into the crystal blue waters!

Visit Corfu Town. This UNESCO site is truly spectacular! Due to being under Venetian rule from the 14th century to the late 18th century, traditional Venetian architecture can still be found throughout the island. Make sure to leave some time to get lost wandering these picturesque streets.

Go for an olive oil tasting. The island of Corfu has over 4 million olive trees. As a staple in the Greek diet for centuries, you simply must sample their fresh variety of olive oil during your stay!

Swim the Canal d’Amour in Sidari. Located on the northside of the island, Canal d’Amour (or Love Canal) is a beautiful spot to spend some time. The rock formations around this area are colourful, crumbly and very unique. You’ll find people laying on the beach, or jumping off of the cliffs into the clear water. Bring a picnic and spend the day basking in the gorgeous sunshine!

For more ideas, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel, Divani Corfu Palace, MarBella Corfu


Restaurants to try…


  • AKAMATRA, Spilia - for traditional Greek food

  • PORTO, Kassiopi - great for less expensive family dinner options overlooking Kassiopi harbour

  • TAVERNA STAMATIS, Viros - run by a local artist and best known for its (fried courgette croquettes, or kolokithokeftedes

  • TOULA'S, Agni - best for fresh seafood in Agni

For more suggestions, click HERE.

Friday Feature: Stockholm, Sweden




Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and a charming mix of old world style mixed with young, hip new districts. It entices visitors with everything from fabulous shopping, to interesting history, and delicious restaurants. This is also an incredibly easy destination to get to! Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport is the main international airport serving the capital and it forms a major hub for Nextjet, Norwegian Air and Scandinavian Airlines. By far the easiest way to get to the city center of Stockholm is by taking the Arlanda Express train service!

Best Times to Visit: For warm weather and sunshine, the best time to visit Sweden is May to September. If you want snow, aim to go between late November and March. 

Things to do:

Explore Gamla Stan. This is one of Stockholm’s medieval center and a great place to kick off your Stockholm vacation. Aside from rich history, this city center is a great spot to explore restaurants, museums, cafes, bars, and other great shops!

Spend the day at the Medieval Museum. Here you can track the history of the city from its foundation in the 13th century to the 16th century at the end of the medieval period. This is especially great for kids as they can dress up in traditional armor!

Check out the Royal Palace. Stockholm’s Royal Palace is home to over 600 rooms and five different museums, making it the largest palace in all of Europe. But more than just it’s grandeur, this is still the home of to the King of Sweden.

Take a day trip outside of Stockholm to Lake Malaren. With beautiful islands scattered across an expanse of still waters, Mälaren is the perfect escape from the bigger city of Stockholm. In the summertime, you can find tickets for the Mariefred which is an old steamboat that has been carrying passengers down the same route for over 100 years.

For more ideas, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Grand Hotel Stockholm, Hotel Diplomat, Elite Hotel Adlon


Things to know before you go…


  • Alcohol is expensive. And you can not buy it in the supermarkets! Keep an eye out for happy hours.

  • The subway will not get you from the airport to Stockholm. Be prepared to call a cab.

  • There are museums for every budget. There are a lot of options with free admission, but some do charge a small fee so be prepared!

  • Don’t forget your credit card at home! Stockholm is almost a completely cashless city.

    For more tips and information, click HERE.

Friday Feature: Mallorca, Spain




Mallorca (also spelled Majorca) is one of Spain's Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean. It's best known for beach resorts, sheltered coves, crystal clear water, limestone mountains, and Roman ruins. If you are looking for all of the glamor and views of the Amalfi Coast but a little more off the beaten path, this Europe holiday spot is definitely worth checking out! But how do you get to this beautiful island? You can fly into Palma de Mallorca airport from anywhere in Europe to begin the adventure, or arrive to the island by ferry. It will take some three hours to take a boat from Barcelona or Valencia.

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Mallorca is from March to May, when average temperatures are in the 60s and 70s and the crowds of summer tourists haven't yet descended on the island.

Things to do:

Hike down to Calo des Moro. This is truly one of the most beautiful and scenic beaches in Mallorca. However, it is so much more than just a beach! Calo des Moro has an amazing hike down to the beach that we definitely recommend. Pack a picnic if you want a day filled with beautiful scenery and some awesome time outdoors.

See Es Pontàs. This is Mallorca’s version of the Azure Window! This is a big natural arch in the water that looks kind of like the recently collapsed arch in Malta. It is right next to the small town of Cala Figuera, which is another cute little spot to spend the day exploring afterwards.

Take a hot air balloon ride over Mallorca. This is the best way to truly see the beautiful scenery of Mallorca! Rides take off either at sunrise or sunset and typically last between 1.5 to 2 hours. Make sure to pack your camera!

Watch the sunset from Colonia de Sant Pere. Mallorca is home to some of the most breathtaking sunsets but what makes them even better is the beautiful scenery. Colonia de Sant Pere is a small town just north of Mallorca on the coast and a beautiful spot to enjoy the changing colors!

Spend some time exploring Palma. This is the capital city of Mallorca with cute neighborhoods and cafes/boutiques to explore! It is also very rarely crowded with tourists as most visitors to the island do not come for the city centers!

For more ideas and things to check out, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Park Hyatt Mallorca, St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca, Jumierah Port Soller Hotel and Spa


Things to know before you go…


  • Don’t forget your sunscreen. The sun here is no joke so make sure to always lather up before you start on the day’s adventure.

  • Don’t expect an early bird special. Most locals on the island eat rather late so don’t be surprised if restaurants are not very busy during the typical dinner time.

  • Avoid rainy season. This is considered to be from the end of September till November however the rains are rather occasional and short.

  • Parking is rarely free. If you rent a car to explore the island, make sure to take into consideration that you will most likely have to pay for public parking.

    Click HERE for more information!

Our Recent Stay: Castello Banfi

Our travel designer, Robin, and CEO, Jennifer, stayed at the beautiful property of Castello Banfi in Montalcino while exploring properties across Tuscany for clients! Needless to say, they fell in love and we think you will too!

Continue reading to see some of their favorite parts of this authentic Tuscan stay!

What we loved:

There is so stinking much to love about this property! First impressions upon driving up to the villa was truly stunning. The grounds are clean and well kept and driving through the cypress trees to make your way up to the property set the stage for an incredible stay. Upon check in we were greeted with a flute of their own sparkling Brut… a touch we absolutely loved to enjoy while our luggage was being delivered to our room. Inside the rooms they also offered two complimentary bottles of Brut and a complimentary demi bottle of Brunello!

Room details:

The rooms were spacious and so well decorated. The decor stayed true to the rustic and authentic Tuscan style, while still being updated and comfortable. The bathrooms and closets were huge! The rooms also came with USB plug in’s right next to the bed, which is very uncommon in villa stays in Tuscany.

Where to eat:

There are two restaurants on property. For lunch La Taverna, where tradition and authenticity come together under the ancient vaults, and for dinner, the elegant and refined Sala dei Grappoli. Sala dei Grappoli also offers an incredible tasting menu that allows you to truly experience the food and authentic wine all made fresh on property. If you are looking for a romantic alternative, private dinners can also be arranged in the rose garden with incredible views of the vines!

What you get with your stay:

Aside from 5-star service and swoon-worthy views, a stay at Castello Banfi comes with:

  • Complimentary wine and olive oil tastings on property

  • Access to a heated swimming pool overlooking the Tuscan hillside

  • Access to spa services either in your room or outside in the vineyard… Unreal!

  • Two dining options

  • Unlimited water bottles near the pool

  • Full service breakfast served on the terrace

  • Access to private dinners in the wine cellar, rose garden, or vineyard

  • Close proximity to Montalcino, Sienna, Brunello, and the Maremma coast

  • Activities including: horseback riding, private tours, chef’s table, painting classes, Ferrari ride, wine tours around the region, hot air balloon tours, and more! (Additional fees may apply)

Why we would recommend this property to our clients:

It is hard to fully describe the warmth and peace that exists in Castello Banfi. Walking on property feels like walking through the comforts of home… but with access to really good wine at all times! The staff is caring, attentive, and pays close attention to the details of your stay. The property is beautifully designed and holds true to the rustic authenticity that visitors crave when visiting Tuscany!

Friday Feature: Singapore




Singapore is an amazing destination that feels exotic and glamorous all at the same time. This island city-state off of southern Malaysia is a global financial center with a tropical climate and multicultural population. Whether you consider yourself a foodie, history buff, art junkie, or just a genuine explorer, there is something in Singapore for everyone! How do you get here?! There are numerous flights into Singapore’s main airport Singapore Changi Airport with some direct flight options from San Francisco and other major airports.

Best Times to Visit: The best time to go to Singapore is between February and April. Although Singapore is mostly a year-round destination, the months of February to April fall within Singapore's dry season and experience slightly less rainfall.

Things to do:

Stroll amongst the fabulous street art in Haji Lane. Singapore has some really awesome street art sprinkled throughout Haji Lane. And trust us… you will want to spend some time in Haji Lane anyways! This narrow street lined with colorful shophouses is where you’ll find people browsing specialty shops and boutiques filled with art, fashion, and other cool things you’ll be tempted to buy. Peek down the narrow alleys and you will be sure to find amazing street art!

See the Sultan Mosque. At the heart of Kampong Glam sits the vast and beautiful Sultan Mosque. This is a beautiful place of worship that can house up to 5,000 people. It is one of Singapore’s most popular religious sites and boosts stunning gold domes. This impressively large building is easy to spot as you explore the Kampong Glam neighborhood by foot.

Walk the Marina Bay Center. We promise you will want to walk because this is the best way to experience the beautiful skyline of Singapore. If you make your way to the other side of the bay, be sure to turn around and snap some pictures. Including the Marina Bay Sands Singapore, which has an infinity pool connecting three separate buildings together on the top floor.

Explore the Gardens by the Bay. This is a very innovative and beautifully designed green space that tourist and locals alike love. Make sure to drop by Cloud Forest Dome where you will be able to see the tallest indoor waterfall in the world.  Another great spot to check out the Supertree Groves, which are a bunch of futuristic structures for plants.

For more ideas for your next vacation, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Shangri La Hotel Singapore, Four Seasons Singapore, Mandarin Oriental Singapore


Things to know before you go…


  • Singapore is a tropical climate. Meaning that it can be quite humid, especially in the summer months. So make sure to pack clothes that are light.

  • Make sure the budget. Singapore is a very expensive destination, not only to get to, but also to enjoy! However, there are still some awesome free attractions throughout the city to explore.

  • Don’t be afraid to drink the water. The tap water is safe, and even delicious!

  • Be sure you are familiar with the alcohol consumption regulations. Consumption of alcohol is banned in all public places from 10.30 pm to 7 am. But it is important to note that the term "public places" does not include licensed pubs, restaurants, etc.

    Click HERE for more information!

Friday Feature: Oslo, Norway




Oslo is the capital of Norway and is best known for its modern architecture, contemporary art, beautiful green spaces, and incredible museums. Most of the museums are on located the Bygdøy Peninsula, including the Norwegian Maritime Museum and Viking Ship Museum, which showcase viking ships from the 9th century. The Oslo Airport located in the city is the main airport for Norway and hub for international traffic. It has scheduled flights to and from more than 100 destinations.

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Oslo is from May to August when the temperatures rise and there are surprisingly affordable room rates available. However, it’s good to remember that evenings can get chilly at times, so it is best to pack a coat!

Things to do:

Check out the Oslo Opera House. Oslo has a beautiful waterfront and the Opera House is commonly considered the most iconic buildings in all of Scandinavia. If you don’t have time for a complete guided tour, make sure that you check out the views from the top floor to get an amazing view of the whole town.

Explore the Viking Ship Museum. It is hard to think of Norway without thinking about vikings - so this is an absolute must do! Over 1,100 year ago, the Vikings dragged two longships from the shoreline to use as centerpieces for grand ceremonial burials. These ships have been carefully restored and are truly beautiful!

Stroll through Ekebergparken. This park-like museum cemented Oslo's reputation as a contemporary-art capital, especially with respect to sculpture. The Ekebergparken is a vast forested public park overlooking the city and the Oslofjord is dotted with work from various artists.

Explore Frogner Park. This beautiful park is free to enter at any time of year and is Oslo’s namesake borough. There are 212 sculptures in total, in bronze and granite from Iddefjord. The main artist, Vigeland, was known for realism but his subjects can be rather bizarre (i.e. man fighting with babies to a woman being ridden by a baby using her platted hair as reins).

For more ideas for your next vacation, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: Hotel Continental, Saga Hotels Oslo, The Thief


Things to know before you go…


  • Stock up on your Norwegian Krone. The Euro doesn’t work in Norway but the NOK has weakened in past years making it cheaper to travel now!

  • Norway is a safe country. It is actually known as one of the safest countries with extremely low crime rates even in major cities.

  • The weather is always changing. So it is best to pack jackets, even in summer as evenings can get chilly.

  • The northern lights aren’t visible everywhere in Norway. Make sure to plan accordingly!

    Click HERE for more information!

Friday Feature: Ubud, Bali




Bali is quickly becoming a hot destination for travelers and it’s so easy to see why! Ubud is located in the uplands and known as the center of traditional crafts and dance of Bali. It is surrounded by rainforest, terraced rice paddies, and Hindu temples and shrines. Flights to this beautiful destination go through Ngurah Rai International Airport, the only airport in Bali.

Best Times to Visit: The best time to visit Bali is generally during the summer months of June, July, and August when the weather is driest and the days are sunny. Unfortunately, that's also when the island becomes the most crowded.

Things to do:

Visit the Museum Puri Lukisan. Ubud is best known as the cultural center of Bali and is home to numerous art galleries. If you are into modern art, make sure to put a stop at the Museum Puri Lukisan where you will find a wide range of art work. The museum also comes with English language explanations of the history of art in this part of the world.

Enjoy a meal at Locavore. This is the most famous restaurant in Ubud, if not all of Indonesia! Prepare yourself because meals here usually last upwards of three hours and they offer an incredible wine pairing menu. Most dishes are fusion based so they mix local elements with foreign techniques, and have won plenty of awards doing so!

Take a stroll down the Campuhan Ridge Walk. This spot is located slightly outside of town but great for any travelers looking to get outside and explore the beautiful scenery of Bali. The starting point of Gunung Lebah Temple is a beautiful way to kick off a relaxing walk through rolling hills.

Visit Pura Taman Saraswati. This beautiful little temple is dedicated to the goddess of wisdom and the grounds are truly a test of true Indonesia architecture and design! To that end, you will find gorgeous carvings of the goddess all over the building and fountains in front of the temple that fill a large pond. It is also the spot for dance performances at night when the temple is illuminated in the night sky!

For more ideas for your next vacation, click HERE.

Feature Hotel: COMO Uma Ubud, Four Seasons Bali at Sayan, Viceroy Bali, Amandari


Things to know before you go…


  • Beware of the monkeys. Wear minimal jewelry when you are around the monkey forests. They like the grab on anything you can and also remember they are wild animals… not pets!

  • Don’t drink the water. Make sure to buy bottled water as tap water is not drinkable. Ice however at resorts and major hotels is typically safe.

  • Brush up on your temple etiquette. To enter a temple, you must wear a sarong (usually with sash around your waist). Temples are generally free to visit. However, most keepers will show visitors to a 'donation box'.

Click HERE for more information!

Friday Feature: Palm Beach


Palm Beach


Best known for pastel colors, weekend polo matches, and unbelievable shopping, Palm Beach is a true walk back in time to early Florida! If you are wanting to soak in the amazing Treasure Coast sunshine, the water and beaches across south Florida are easily comparable to the Caribbean - minus the international flight. If shopping is more your scene, spend your days walking the designer Worth Ave. or ever-growing CityPlace. This tropical destination is easy to reach with Palm Beach International (PBI) airport only a quick 15 minute drive from downtown.

Best Times to Visit: Palm Beach is truly a year round destination but if you are wanting fewer crowds and temperate weather, the best times to visit are April - May or October - December!

Things to do:

Walk down the iconic on Worth Ave. This boutique shopping district stretches four blocks of Palm Beach’s shopping district from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean. Not only is this home to some of the best shopping in all of South Florida, Worth Avenue has so much European charm and blooming flowers that taking a day to stroll the streets is a must during your time in Palm Beach - don’t forget your camera!

Soak in the sunshine. You can’t come to sunny South Florida without spending some time suntanning on the beach. There are plenty of public beaches spread throughout Palm Beach county. But if you are not into the sand during a beach day, Palm Beach has a great selection of pools at the incredible resorts!

Take a sunset cruise on a catamaran. The best way to wrap up a day in beautiful West Palm Beach? Cruising the beautiful intracoastal waterway with wine and good company! Click HERE to book a 90 minute cruise during your next trip!

Snorkel Breakers Reef. Breakers reef is located just off the coast of The Breakers Resort & Spa beach. It is the remains of the old pier in front of the Breakers Hotel and is now home to lots of beautiful sea life! This reef is easy to swim and a great afternoon activity for the whole family.

Feature Hotel: EAU Palm Beach, The Breakers, Four Seasons Palm Beach


Restaurants we love…


Click HERE for more local spots!