Under 2 Hours: Westchester, NY/Fairfield, CT Counties

Stay: Inn at GrayBarns, Bedford Post Inn, Roundhouse

Eat: Inn at Pound Ridge, Blue Hill; restaurants at Graybarns, Bedford Post Inn, and Roundhouse.

Do: Hike in Rockefeller State Park Reserve or Devil’s Den Preserve; visit the farm animals at Stone Barns, get your art+nature fixes at Storm King Art Center, Dia: Beacon, The Glasshouse, Grace Farms, Untermyer Park and Gardens.

Under 3 Hours: Hudson, NY

Stay: WM Farmer & Sons, Rivertown Lodge, Collective Retreat Tents

Eat: In town: Fish & Game, Aeble, Back Bar, Oak Pizzeria, Grazin’ Diner, Hudson Food Studio, Moto Coffee; provisions at Talbot & Arding and Olde Hudson Market; a bit further out is Gaskins, Bonfiglio & Bread, Brunette Wine Bar, and Bartlett House.

Do: shop along Warren Street (the main drag in town) lined with high-end home décor and antique stores – favorites include Rural Residence, Finch, Hawkins, Red Chair, Les Indiennes. Some cool clothing and accessories stores include Mutiny, Sideshow Vintage, Bavier Brook. Head over to High Falls Conservation Area for a quick yet scenic hike, or walk the grounds of the Art Omi where architecture meet nature in the fields.

Under 3 Hours: The Catskills

Stay: Foxfire Mountain House, Audrey’s Farmhouse, Scribner’s Lodge, Deer Mountain Inn, Woodstock Way

Eat: Westwind Orchard Pizza, The Greenhouse at Audrey’s, Bar Room at Foxfire, Prospect at Scribner’s, Dining Room at Deer Mountain, Shindig in Woodstock, Phoenicia Diner.

Do: go apple-picking at Fishkill Farms, picnic along the cliffs in Minnewaska State Park, hike to Kaaterskill Falls, ski/snowboard Hunter Mountain, stroll through Woodstock, vintage clothes-hunting at the massive second-hand shop in Tannersville.

Under 4 Hours: Delaware River Valley/Poconos

Stay: The DeBruce, Nine River Road, The Arnold House, North Branch Inn; Brushland Eating House and Table on Ten have rooms to rent

Eat: The DeBruce and Brushland Eating House are well-known for culinary excellence, while the pubs at The Arnold House and Table on Ten are great for a casual meal. The Heron in Narrowsburg is excellent, a bit further down the river.

Do: horse riding at Bridle Hill Farm, visit the adorable Buck Brook Alpacas, drinking at Wayside Cider Taproom, snowshoeing at The DeBruce, fly-fishing is also popular along the river.

Under 4 Hours: The Berkshires

Stay: Tourists

Eat: The Prairie Whale, Lodge Bar at Tourists. Bright Ideas Brewery, Widow Bingham’s Tavern at Red Lion Inn; provisions at Wild Oats Market and Cricket Creek Farm.

Do: if you’re into contemporary art, explore the huge MassMOCA complex, or go classic at The Clark Institute for high design by Tadao Ando housing a impressive collection of old masters; hike the many trails at Mt. Greylock.


Greenpoint is my home, and while there are a few boutique hotels in the area (The Boxhouse and The Franklin) if you’re interested in staying in the neighborhood I suggest one of the Williamsburg hotels (The Hoxton, The Wythe, The William Vale, or The Williamsburg). The beauty of Greenpoint is that it’s more challenging to reach from Manhattan than other popular Brooklyn hoods like Williamsburg or Dumbo, keeping it fairly quiet and less prone to tourists. It has retained a small town atmosphere, thanks to its residential history. Yes, there are still industrial areas turning into apartment buildings, but with most of the area having been established decades ago, you can still find old tree-lined streets and parks, independent shops and charming restaurants serving the close-knit community of locals. I truly love most of the places in this part of Brooklyn, but below are my favorites!


Alameda: Dine outdoors during the summer, or grab a stool at the nostalgic bar and order the burger and fries. The best in the neighborhood, hands down.

Chez Ma Tante: Show up at opening time for a delicious brunch of refined, gastropub cuisine. The menu is eclectic and divine, and be there early or prepare for a line.

Glasserie: My go to for Middle-Eastern inspired dishes. Great mezze and flatbreads, with the menu changing seasonally.

Diandi: A hip spot for your Pho fix. This Vietnamese restaurant also leaves you with decor goals, from the palm tree wallpaper to the serious plant gang along the walls and hanging from the ceiling.

Le Gamin: An old-school French bistro, ask for the off-the-menu steak. Perfectly seared, and served with typical French sides of fries, salad, and ratatouille. Go with a group so that you can share - the steak is huge - and ensure room for the hearty onion soup, and tarte tatin dessert.

Little Dokebi: Cool Korean. The raw wooden booths are fun place to hang in the winter, but the tables overlooking the McGolrick Park are lovely from spring to fall. More than kimchi and bulgogi, this place has an array of small dishes (dumplings, fried chicken) and sophisticated rice or noodle-based classics.

Norman: This Scandinavian restaurant is housed in the A/D/O design institute (BMW/Mini concept space). The design is minimal, and the food is excellent, but the lighting is a bit too bright to make this a nice place for dinner. Instead, head here for an indulging breakfast - the egg sandwich is killer, as are the pastries. Luxury versions of Ikea’s cafeteria food in a fancy, design-forward space.

Paulie Gee’s: Best pizza in New York. Some may disagree. But most agree. Skip the line if you see a bar spot to snag. You can eat pizza at the bar and avoid waiting the two hours for a table. If you’re not able to get in, try Paulie Gee’s Slice Shop (they do take-out) or head over to Fornino - the latter has fantastic gluten-free pizza.

Oxomoco: This elevated Mexican restaurant is a nice place to take friends, the decor is impressive and the dishes are sophisticated. But if you’re craving street-food style Mexican this is not for you - the dishes err on the fancier side. The dessert is outstanding, so another option is to come here just for the rich chocolate cake, topped with dulce de leche and spicy cinnamon ice cream.

21 Greenpoint: Perfectly lit for a quiet date, and a variety of cozy seating options from the sleek bar and side tables along the wall, to the charming booths in the back. A mix of dishes for whatever you’re craving, the burger, pasta, and pizza plates are all solid.


Achille’s Heel: From the Tarlow empire (Marlow & Sons, Diner, She Wolf Bakery, Reynard’s, Roman’s etc) this low-key spot on West Street in the northern side of Greenpoint feels like a dive bar, but they don’t mess around. The cocktails are expertly crafted and the menu of small plates changes daily. A serious place for quality drinks.

Elder Greene: The dark wooden bar feels cozy, but the crowd can get rowdy. Come earlier in the evening for a pre-dinner beer.

Le Fanfare: Check their calendar for live music nights, a lovely place for post-dinner drinks and fun 1930s-style jazz bands.

Northern Territories: Most of the rooftop terrace bars are found in Williamsburg, but Greenpoint has there’s atop this restaurant just on the border of these neighborhoods. Head upstairs for a drink and great Manhattan skyline views.

Ramona: Just off of Greenpoint Avenue this bar is centrally located near many of the area’s best restaurants. Nice drinks and a sleek bar make it perfect pre- or post- meal.

The Brooklyn Barge: Picnic style drinks and food on the water, crowded and busy, but precious riverside real estate means everyone’s out enjoying the view.

Threes Brewing: A large selection of artisan brews to choose from. The inside isn’t much, but the sidewalk tables are positioned for prime people watching.

Coffee & Treats

Alula: All-day cafe serving Middle-Eastern sandwiches and salads. For fans of tiles, the floors here are amazing.

Bakeri: Artisan bakery that’s perennially busy. Try the tasty breakfast and lunch plates to stay, or savory and sweet pastries to go. I love the floral walls in the cafe, and check out the bathroom too!

Davey’s: When you don’t want to wait in line for ice cream at Van Leeuwen, head here for old-school style cones and shakes.

Frankel’s: Who needs Katz's Deli when you have Frankel’s. Bagels, pastrami sandwiches, matzo ball soup. The perfect hangover food, when you don’t mind paying over $10 for your bagel fix…

Maman: Part of the small chain of French bakery cafes featuring shabby chic interiors and pretty toile-inspired packaging. Aside from being eye candy, the pastries are good too - go for the pistachio pain au chocolat.

Ovenly: The award-winning bakery that supplies many of the best coffee houses around town with treats. Head to the source for their savory scones, salted chocolate chip cookies, and dense cakes. The Brooklyn Blackout is my favorite.

Van Leeuwen: The Best ice cream in New York, and they know it. You may pay dearly for that scoop but it’s worth it. The vegan and regular flavors are creative yet always satisfying, and the quality of the ingredients really make a difference.


Adaptations: Vintage furniture and cool decorative objects

Bembien: Straw handbags from exotic locales - for those who can’t make it to Bali, Mallorca, or Mexico directly, Bembien imports and designs the most fabulous little bohemian “it” bags.

Brooklyn Ceramics: Chic hand-made pottery, reminiscent of Japanese wabi sabi style pieces. The studio uses pretty color palettes of ivory, grey, pastel pinks, greens, blues - and also offer classes so you can make your own wares.

Brother Vellies: I’m not sure if I love the space or the products more. The space is heavenly, filled with plants and vintage bamboo furniture, contemporary art and touches of pink here and there. The accessories are fun and ridiculous, think fluffy pink fur pumps, marabou feather slides, monkey basket bags, and Man Repeller-friendly Batsheva dresses.

Duke’s Liquor Box: Looking for purveyors of niche liquor? This is the place. There’s a rotating, well curated edit of cool bottles from around the world, nothing commercial. The perfect stop for a unique host/hostess gift.

Feng Sway: An Aladdin’s cave of plants, vintage furnishings, second-hand fashion, jewelry, and zen crystals. It’s fun to get lost and play dress up in this wacky concept store.

Homecoming: Cafe/Plant shop, it’s a lovely place for floral inspiration. The price per stem is steep, so choose wisely!

Home of the Brave: This shop’s selection of high-end home accessories is like a fancy, hipster World Market. African baskets and Japanese ceramics, stunning rugs and textiles. Invest in a trip to find these souvenirs and bring them home, or just invest in buying them here.

Porter James: Experts in mid-century modern vintage furniture - their prices are competitive and the selection is constantly rotating as pieces sell quickly.

Rooted: Plant shop housed in an industrial garage. They have a good selection of larger indoor trees and cacti, as well as minimalist vases.

Tend: Newer to the neighborhood, and blossoming literally. With a strong assortment of indoor and outdoor plants, warm and friendly service, and fair prices this is your go-to for expanding your plant gang and creating your at home jungle. They also have a nice mix of green thumb accessories including design-forward pots, gloves, and gardening tools.

Walk the West: vintage and second-hand clothing with an edge. The shop does a nice job of curating its assortment; there’s a good mix of old denim and fun, trendy pieces.


Primp & Polish: In need of a manicure or pedicure, something nice without having to go into Manhattan? You can trust this chain of nail specialists with locations throughout Williamsburg and Greenpoint.

Massage Greenpoint: This simple spa has excellent massage therapists specialized in the kind of body work that gets the kinks out without making too much of a fuss. Hipster interiors - think African mudcloth, Scandi mid-century modern furniture, and of course plants.

Maha Rose: A bohemian zen space offering a variety of new-age therapies, including my favorite sound baths. They also sell a wide array of crystals for all your mental ailments.



During my visit this summer, I was fortunate enough to stay with a friend at her home on Mercer Island. If you’re looking into hotels, some design-driven options include the Ace Hotel, the Palladian, and the Thompson.


Totokaelo: This multi-brand fashion boutique has a strong edit of cool RTW and accessories from the likes of Jacquemus, Off-White, Ellery, Ganni etc. alongside minimalist chic ceramics and homewares, artisan perfumes from Vilhelm and D.S. Durga. 

Glasswing: Welcome to the jungalow. This concept store welcomes you with full-on landscape of plants and flowers, tucked into antique apothecary and library cabinets, exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood décor. Aside from plants, there’s an interesting mix of men’s and womenswear plus natural beauty brands. 

Homestead: Home décor goals. This store sells an expertly curated assortment of vintage rugs and furniture, mid-century modern planters for your plant gang, and bohemian crystals and candles. Need more plants? Head over to their Plant Shop down the street for options from tiny to tree-sized.

Stock Pantry: More home décor and gifts. A small, carefully selected offering of Japanese and Scandivanian-inspired pieces.


Bar Melusine: Bright and modern with design inspo all around. Sleek white marble tops, turquoise bar stools, white and green mosaic tiles, and Scandi-style wooden booths. Bar Melusine specializes in seafood, order a mix of small plates, and make sure to try the variety of freshly-shucked oysters. Save room for dessert next door at the vegan ice cream shop.

Bateau: Tired of mollusks and fish? This is carnivore heaven. The focus is on steaks obviously, with meats both butchered and dry-aged in-house. The seasonal salads are presented like pieces of art, and are a perfectly delicate complement to your boeuf.

Oddfellows: Your all-day café for breakfast or lunch, this Capitol Hill café oozes with hip vibes. The combination of industrial fixtures, big windows, marble bar, exposed kitchen, vintage furniture, and of course plants, makes it the perfect office-away-from-the-office.

Stateside: For your southeast Asian fix on the edge of Downtown and Capitol Hill, find great Vietnamese favorites and killer cocktails served in coconuts with a little umbrella. 

Frankie & Jo's: It may seem like all of Capitol Hill had the same idea as you – but stay patient, it’s worth the wait in line for this unique and absolutely delicious ice cream. Luscious and creamy with just off-the-press waffle cones, you’ll never believe this treat is vegan and gluten-free.

General Porpoise: What’s better than a donut? A cream or jam-filled one, of course! Couple that with artisan coffee from local, small-batch roasters, prepped by your barista on a fuschia pink La Marzocco machine. This café has several branches, with prime spots in Capitol Hill and Pioneer Square. Light-filled spaces for setting up your laptop and fueling your work with delightful sugar clouds and sophisticated brews.

Barnacle Bar: Mediterranean-inspired tapas with a focus on seafood. A cozy aperitivo destination in Ballard. Pull up a stool at the copper-topped bar and fill up on a series of small plates.

Westward: Make sure to time your visit with the sunset here. On the banks of Lake Union in Fremont with city views on the horizon, park yourself on one of the wooden trunks around the campfire or in the perfectly positioned Adirondack chairs, and watch the golden hour do its magic. Not only is the ambience great, but the wide selection of oysters and fresh seafood small plates makes this a must-go.

The Whale Wins: The Pacific Northwest has a wonderful bounty of seasonal produce and this farm-to-table restaurant brings vegetables to life. The chef sources from all around the area – the beaches, gardens, and farms. This is one of the Sea Creature group’s (helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Renee Erickson) best spots.

Walrus and the Carpenter: A tiny oyster bar in low-key Ballard with an American take on the quintessential fishing village pub. Come for a few just-shucked treasures, stay for the creative small plates and convivial bar mates.

Momiji: Fine sushi in a relaxed Capitol Hill setting, with a mix of traditional favorites as well as eclectic speciality rolls. The calm zen garden is a lovely option during the summer. With its proximity to the Pacific, the sashimi is nearly as fresh as it would be if you were in Japan.


Seattle is surrounded by stunning scenery. There’s water everywhere, whether you’re bordering the Puget Sound or one of the many lakes. Snow-capped peaks dot the horizon and lush forests make for perfect hikes. Make sure to balance your city exploration with a day of nature. Some good day trips include: Rattlesnake Ledge (the trailhead is just 40 minutes outside the city), Summerland (Mt. Rainier’s national park), Dungeness Spit (in the Olympic Peninsula), Discovery Park (still within Seattle city limits), Twin Falls and Mount Si.

Downtown will be touristy, and Pike Place Market can feel chaotic and overwhelming. Make this a quick stop only if you must, and instead opt for exploring the hipster neighborhoods of Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Ballard. You’ll find a laidback atmosphere, independent boutiques, friendly and design-driven cafes, and excellent food.



Casa Legado: this boutique hotel is really a posh yet cozy guesthouse. Set in a mid-century family home in Quinta Camacho amongst the old English mansions, this 7-room property feels like you're visiting a family friend. Helena, the owner, is a natural hotelier - curating every chic detail from decor to the perfect restaurant suggestions. Her approach has bred a cult-like following amongst the creative set, drinks in the dining room may find you around fashion and media executives, diplomats, tech gurus, philanthropists or artists. As in a homestay, amenities are limited, but if you're looking to settle in like a local, this is the place to be.

Four Seasons: there are two FS properties in Bogota, another sign of the city's arrival on the luxury tourist map. Each is quite distinct so pay attention to your booking. The FS Bogota is a bit more centrally located in the buzzy area of Zona T. The design is modern and sophisticated, with a wonderful spa and excellent dining by the Harry Sasson group (top restaurants in Bogota) at NEMO. The FS Casa Medina is a set in a landmark mansion, all red brick, wooden beam ceilings, roaring fireplaces, and vintage furniture. It's charming and elegant, and in a slightly quieter part of town around Zona G/Quinta Camacho - though still just a 15-20 minute walk from the center of action in Zone T.

BOG Hotel: this a trendy, design-forward hotel. With interior inspiration taking note of Colombia's rich history in gems and precious metals, it's flashy and bold. There's a heated pool on the rooftop, that come evening becomes a hot-spot for sunset drinks. It's in North Bogota, just above Zona T. 


Andres Carne del Res: an institution. You cannot come to Bogota without going to Andres Carne del Res. If you can't make it out to the mothership in Chia (town just outside Bogota about 40 minutes from Zona T) then at least have a night out in the D.C. location near El Retiro shopping center in Zona T. You come for the kitschy scene and music. This a party place, not gourmet dining.

Café Bar Universal: hipster central - entry here is like a speakeasy, you may walk past the door and not even realize it. There's a small window opening on the metal sheet door, make sure to make a reservation. This tiny place is always packed, with it's sexy candlelit jungalow vibes, electronic/jazz tunes, top notch cocktails, and inventive chef-led cuisine. 

Casa: lovely, well-designed restaurant in Zona T with Latin American specialties. Mid-century vibes with antiques, contemporary art and old fireplaces. The ceviche and fideua are divine.

Central Cevicheria: Bogota has it's fair share of Peruvian restaurants. You could dine just on ceviche if you wanted to. Most places tend to be on the fancy side, but this Peruvian option is casual and fun. Great for lunch or a night out with friends.

Club Colombia: there is where you go to try finely prepared traditional Colombian home-style cooking in an elegant setting. You can also try the original Harry Sasson (part of the same group) built inside a landmark mansion yet renovated with a modern geometric-faceted skylight. It's a bit formal, but a Bogota classic.

El Chato: Another hip spot, yes filled with plants. The chef here trained at Noma, so expect creative dishes, leveraging unusual ingredients.

El Bandido Bistro: a little bistro at the end of Calle de los Anticuarios (see Shop section), for timeless French dishes, and a fun scene accompanied by live music on most nights.

Empanaditas de Pipian: here's my low-brow indulgence. These are street-style empanadas, served from a small kiosk shop - there's a few locations around town. There's nothing better. Not fancy, just damn good. Try the Bogota classic version with potatoes and minced beef, a squeeze of lime, and some aji (like an herbed hot sauce).

Juana La Loca: interesting cocktails and beautiful design, with live music on the weekends - great for drinks at the bar.

Masa or Brot: just in case you're hotel doesn't serve breakfast, or you're actually looking for more carbs (Colombians love carbs, sorry) these local bakery/cafes will take care of you. They're a nice alternative to the Juan Valdez chain, which is perfectly fine and convenient, but these are a bit less commercialized. 

Mini-Mal: cool and eclectic, this place serves a creative take on Colombian farm-to-table cooking. Humble decor - the focus is on the food.

Prudencia: this is place is a must when visiting La Candelaria. Set inside a refurbished row house in the historic district downtown, this restaurant creates a fabulous experience. The design is super chic, a mix of French paneled walls in butter yellow, open kitchen, green-house style skylight, wood tables mixed with Kartell ghost chairs, mountain flowers in bud vases, and a set menu of creative home-style cuisine. Don't miss, and reserve in advance!

San Jeronimo: if you're heading out to the countryside (Chia, Zipaquira) make sure to stop for snacks (more carbs!) at this roadside spot in Cajica. You'll find giant pandeyucas (oddly shaped yuca-flour bread with cheese - like the Brazilian pao do queijo), and almojabanas (round corn-flour bread with cheese), and the iconic cup of fresh strawberries with rich whipped cream.

Segundo: minimalist wooden walls, high ceilings and full height windows, a chic and sparkling bar, this place makes your jaw drop. Excellent for cocktails!


El Retiro: while this shopping center may not look that fancy from the exterior, it has the best selection of luxury Colombian designers. You'll find Johanna Ortiz's boutique here, alongside Mercedes Salazar's shop for fabulous statement earrings, and Ballen Pelletterie for millennial chic handbags. If you're into sweets, there's a Pasteleria Santa Elena on the ground floor, a local pastry cafe for classic Colombian pie tarts filled with arequipe (our version of dulce de leche).

Centro Andino: looks a bit nicer than El Retiro from the outside, but inside it's quite dated. I call this place out because across the street you'll find excellent designer boutiques - Rose, a multi-brand store selling several local high-end designers, and Silvia Tcherassi the grande dame of Colombian fashion.

Calle de los Anticuarios: this street is lined with great shopping. Make sure to stop at St. Dom - the top concept store in the city, with the best selection of Colombian designers for women, men, home, baby, and accessories. Pepa Pombo, just a few doors down is another local brand, known for its colorful knit pieces. Dessvan is a fun store filled with mid-century modern furniture, don't be fooled by it's appearance - the store is actually an old vine-covered mansion!

Artesanias de Colombia: a good place for souvenirs, you'll find Panama hats and mochilas, straw baskets of all shapes and sizes, hammocks, textiles, ceramics, and jewelry. These are quality souvenirs, the company has outposts all over the country and supports local artisans, keeping their craft alive and ensuring their economic sustainability.


La Candelaria: this historic neighborhood features colonial homes in brightly colored shades, along cobblestone streets. It's filled with restaurants, shops, and museums. You may read about questionable safety here. It's pretty safe during the daytime, but do avoid it at night. 

Monserrate: take the funicular or cable car up to the top of this hill high above the Bogota skyline, for breathtaking views of the city. You'll be going up to over 10,000 feet about sea level so don't exert yourself too much if you're prone to altitude sickness. 

Museo Botero: such a beautiful place, and such a good deal. It's free. Surprisingly quiet too. Set in a gorgeous villa in La Candelaria, with a porticoed courtyard. There are two floors of artwork, all of Botero's own pieces as well as items from his personal collection. 

Museo de Oro: this part of downtown just a few minutes walk from La Candelaria is bit more seedy, so just be extra cautious on your way in and out of this must-visit tourist spot. The museum is well laid out explaining the history of gold in the country, dating back thousands of years. The collection of gold is remarkable, and the museum shop has a great selection of plated pieces in traditional designs to take home.

Plaza Bolivar: a majestic square with grand buildings: the Palace of Justice, the Casa de Narino (President's residence), the Palacio Lievano (City Hall), the National Capitol, and the Primary Cathedral are all here. It's located just next to La Candelaria, so combine these trips into one stop downtown (also with Museo Botero and Museo de Oro).

Safety: be vigilant and street-smart, as you would in any tourist center of a major metropolitan city. In Bogota we say "don't give papaya" which means don't "ask for it" - avoid wearing flashy watches and jewelry, zip/close your bag (ideally cross-body), don't hold cash out on the street, don't take cash out from street ATMs (in malls, in banks - inside is the keyword), don't walk around with your phone too visible. You can take Ubers but don't take taxis off the street. Cachacos (slang for Bogotans) are super friendly and proud of their city, make some friends with the locals and have them show you around!

Parks: there are two just north of the Zona T that are lovely to walk around if you're into the local park scene. I like them because they remind me of my childhood - Parque 93 where my grandmother would take me on walks, and Parque del Chico where my parents were married. Parque 93 is lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops; Parque del Chico is a gated park with lovely colonial hacienda.

Walks: stroll around the neighborhoods of Los Rosales and Quinta Camacho - they are a nice way to see elegant residential homes. Los Rosales up on the hills along the mountainside is lined with chic high rises in the typical red brick of the city. Quinta Camacho has small lanes dotted with quaint English style cottages and mansions, many covered in ivy, and with a weathered patina.



Ryokan Tawaraya: this hotel is somewhat of an urban myth. Difficult to reserve, notoriously booked, it's the most popular luxury ryokan in Kyoto. The traditional design and expert hospitality are long-known amongst the finest examples in Japan (the hotel has been in operation for 300 years) so you earn major bragging rights if you can snag a stay here.

Ryokan Genhouin: if you're looking to stay in a traditional Japanese inn but can't book Tawaraya, this is a lovely lesser-known luxe ryokan option. The pretty guesthouse features surprisingly comfortable tatami beds (actually mats on the floor), a shoji-screened living room, a chic communal library/dining room, manicured gardens, and classic omotenashi (Japanese hospitality). When you're not hanging out in your yukata (Japanese robe) you're just a stone's throw away from the Philosopher's Path to explore the quieter side of Kyoto.

Hoshinoya Kyoto: for those who want to experience a ryokan-setting with the comforts of a hotel. This resort is set in a historic inn along the river and only reachable by boat. A wonderful oasis amongst the forests for rest and relaxation.

Celestine Gion: this hotel has all your modern amenities, a sleek design marrying the contemporary and old-world, and the perfect central Gion location. Upscale without being too pricey.


Monk: this is one of those meals you remember your whole life. Chef Yoshihiro Imai is a young, talented, and warm genius cooking up to the beat of his own drum. His tasting menu features foraged plants alongside farm- or sea-to-table proteins, but the hero here is his take on Neapolitan-style pizza. Topped with handmade Japanese cheese and finds from hikes in the countryside. Artistically plated dishes are served on chic ceramics in a modern dining room for a special few. Imai worked at Noma, and no doubt he's on his way to Redzepi-star status. Housed along the Philosopher's Path, the setting is cozy nirvana; this restaurant is more home than establishment; Imai's wife runs a yoga studio upstairs. Don't miss coming here!!!

Yamamoto Menzou: this place has a cult-following for fans of thick, rich udon. A two-hour wait is the norm, so come early at opening time, or prepare to catch up on the news or your instagram feed while waiting for a plate of foodie medal-worthy noodles.

Okakita: tried going to Yamamoto Menzou but the line is too long? Let the tasty soba here satisfy your noodle cravings. Just next door to the udon empire.

Ippudo: it's all about the spicy ramen. Ippudo is a dependable chain of ramen joints throughout Japan, and the Kyoto downtown location doesn't disappoint. Make sure to order the gyoza to start before diving into your bowl of noodles.

Kyoto Brewing Company: a hipster taproom for Japanese craft beers. The trio of men who created this company are producing artisan brews that stand up to the culinary excellence of this foodie city. You can also order KBC beer at Monk to go with your pizza.

Before9 Brew Pub: a cool and casual pub located downtown with minimalist design. 

Kyoto Modern Terrace: come for the architecture, stay for refined drinks or dinner. This sophisticated restaurant is built within an amazing modernist building. Inside you'll find serious design-inspo from the mid-century modern decor, or go outside to enjoy the terrace over Okazaki Park. 

Yukei Salon de The: can't stay at Tawaraya but want to experience some of their famous hospitality? Drop by this teahouse run by the owners of the renowned ryokan for an elegant snack.

Kisakiya: a teeny, hipster bakery selling exquisitely packaged cookies and treats. Adorable and miniature, it's is a nice stop if you're in the area (northern Kyoto) when visiting Stardust (see SHOP).

%Arabica Coffee: the story behind this small coffee chain is heart-warming. Owner Kenneth Shoji's passion for the simple pleasures of life led him to buy a coffee farm and convince an award-winning latte artist to join him. Today you can enjoy an excellent cup of joe and know you're supporting a greater cause. 

Oryori Hayashi: the kaiseki options in Kyoto are abundant, but this one stands out. Come for the 20-course menu of exquisitely presented Michelin-starred cuisine in the most revered tradition of Kyoto, and remember no pictures!

Kanga-an: an imperial Buddhist temple serving fucha ryori, a fancy vegan cuisine. The meals are multi-course affairs set in a majestic palace ambience, and if you're lucky you'll find (or be invited to) the hidden bar.


Kyoto has an overwhelming amount of sights to see. While it's population only accounts for around 1% of the country, this city has an incredible 20% of the national treasures. With nearly two dozen Unesco World Heritage sights, hundreds of temples and shrines, and the finest food in Japan, it can be difficult to narrow down your options. Accept that you won't see everything, and choose a few key must-see sights to tackle, balancing the rest of your time exploring the cool, off-the-beaten-path places this ancient yet modern city has to offer. 

Fushimi Inari Shrine: home of the fox kami (god) known as the spirit of rice and business. You can understand its importance in Japan! The walk up through the over 10,000 orange torii (gates) can take a couple hours, but it’s worth hiking up a bit as the crowds dwindle and you can get a better sense of this spiritual destination. Earliest structures date back over a thousand years, though the main shrine dates back to 1499.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest: a magical walk through this Bamboo Forest is calming and stress-relieving. In fact, the Japanese believe in the medicinal properties of a walk in the park, hence the ritual of forest-bathing or shinrin-yoku.

Ginkaku-Ji: the Temple of the Silver Pavilion as it’s confusingly called (it’s actually a brown wooden building) is hidden amongst the forest. The grounds alone make the visit worth your time, and it’s decidedly less busy than some of the other sights for a more personal experience. The Japanese maples tower above with delicate, perfectly formed leaves, and carpets of moss cover the ground dotted by stones.

Kinkaku-Ji: the Temple of the Golden Pavilion, known for it’s dazzling reflection on the pond where it resides. This shining structure is the main attraction, and bus loads of visitors come to take their photo. The sea of people dominates the experience, so come early and get it over with.

Ryoan-Ji: a zen garden, that as remarkable as it is, does not feel so zen. You’ll also be overrun with tourists here, try to enjoy the peace found in staring at the stones and lines drawn in the sand to make the most of your pilgrimage. It’s located near the Kinkaku-Ji so combine the trips.

Nishiki Market: this 400-year old market sells more than just fish. There are over 100 stalls, with sellers showcasing the ocean's bounty alongside Japanese delicacies and kitchen goods. The Yamasho stall (#48) has a stunning display of seafood jewels, while Mochitsukiya's stall (#99) has freshly pounded mochi. 

Gion District: narrow lanes of row-houses featuring intricate wooden lattices set the stage for the few-remaining Geishas shuffling by in their beautiful kimonos. This area is known for it's well-preserved buildings, teahouses, small restaurants, and also has a small canal that runs through the Shirakawa area creating a romantic setting for night walks. Early evening is also the perfect time to spot Geisha's on the way to their appointment, just make sure to follow respectful etiquette when photographing them.

Philosopher's Path: known in Japanese as the Tetsugaku-no-michi, this pedestrian path stretches from the Ginkaku-Ji to Nanzen-Ji temples. The path follows a small tree-lined canal, and is a lovely place to stroll year-round...though be prepared for crowds during hanami (floral viewing) season when the path's spectacular line up of sakura (cherry blossom) trees explodes into a dazzling pink splendor. It's a delightful half-hour walk from one end to the other, and be sure to stop by Monk (see EAT section) for one of the best meals in your life!


Pass the Baton: take a detour from your Geisha stalking in Gion and pop into this fabulous concept store set inside a historic machiya house. Cross the little bridge over the Shirakawa canal to discover antique ceramics, vintage Chanel bags and luxe second-hand kimonos. There's a tea and sake room here, called Tasuki that's also worth the pause.

Stardust: this tiny concept shop is wabi-sabi perfection (yes an oxymoron). Uneven plastered walls, reclaimed wood, slivers of sunlight filtering in through linen drapes, imperfect pottery, and vintage tea sets provide instagram bait all around. The vegan cafe serves a delicious tea time, and lunch is available by reservation. This is your answer to a special souvenir, choosing from the acutely curated selection of ceramics, homewares, candles, jewelry, and ready-to-wear. Kana, the owner, also sells chef Yoshihiro Imai's book, Circle, so pick up a copy and have him sign it when you go to Monk for dinner.

Three Star: a cool vintage boutique with more casual offering than Pass the Baton. The interior is unique with fun, unexpected decor and a great selection of second-hand streetwear from the 80s, 90s, and early 2000s.

Omo: get your Geisha on with traditional, custom-made pieces - from the kimono robe to the obi sashes, sandals and all.

Harajuku Chicago: more vintage, including second-hand kimonos. A great way to take a piece of Kyoto home without having to splurge on a tailor-made creation. 



Palazzo Dama: a bit of Paris in Rome. This airy palace designed by Antonio Girardi is dazzling. White paneled walls and ornate crown moldings are backdrops to serene marine blues, pops of gold, crystal chandeliers, billowy palms and graphic décor. The pool and gardens offer a tranquil place to relax, and the chic lobby and restaurant feel rich yet modern. A destination in itself.

Rome Luxury Suites: with four properties around the Campo Marzio (historic center near the Spanish Steps and Piazza del Popolo) you have several options for an upscale boutique hotel stay. Each location has several suites, with sleek interiors, and its position couldn’t be better. Surprisingly quiet, the back lanes of this area are lined with chic independent boutiques. There are also several great restaurants nearby, where you can dine alongside locals – despite its proximity to the tourist attractions.

Hotel de Russie: the stunning courtyard is reason alone to stay here, though you can always go for a drink to enjoy the exclusive setting here. This is one of the city’s finest hotels, with the discreet, elevated service and strong design that the Rocco Forte group is known for. There’s a stunning indoor pool and spa, for relaxing after all the hours walking.

Casa Montani: This is a luxury family apartment turned unique bed & breakfast, with fine furnishings and a cozy ambience. Its location just outside Piazza del Popolo keeps you close to the action, but far enough away to feel like you’re coming home at the end of the day. 

JK Place Roma: sister of the glamorous JK hotels in Capri and Florence, the Rome edition delivers modern luxury in a convenient location near the Tiber River not far from the main shopping and tourist areas. The design features bold colors, wood paneling and mid-centery modern furniture.


Pigneto 1870: if you feel like venturing out of touristy Rome, then head into what would be likened to Brooklyn, Bushwick specifically. Formerly a gritty area, it’s been rapidly gentrifying thanks to an influx of young creatives. This restaurant serves an inventive take on traditional dishes, tasting courses and changing menus, served on cool ceramics in a hipster vibe. 

Dilla’: this pretty little restaurant has great lighting, great food, and great service. Mismatched china plays backdrop to amazing Roman pastas. Think carbonaras and cacio e pepe, with a solid wine selection. It’s elegant yet casual, and the desserts are divine.

La Buvette: this is a lovely place for breakfast or later in the early evening for an aperitivo. Its vintage design is romantic, and even the staff wear old-world uniforms. Try the fruit tarts!

Cantina Belsiana: for a quick lunch when visiting the Spanish Steps area, pop in for a helping of charcuterie. There are a few small plates to order as well (yes pasta) but the spotlight here is the meat and cheese.

Da Enzo: unfortunately this local trattoria in Trastevere has become quite popular, once a place for locals it’s now on the tourist map. It’s still worth it for the homestyle Roman cooking – the best amatriciana and cacio e pepe, fried artichokes and zucchini blossoms, and save room for dessert: the tiramisu has a Nutella-filled center.

Madre: modern design, jungalow vibes, and a lovely terrace with a hanging garden make this a great oasis in the hip Monti area of Rome. Food is Latin-inspired, alongside pizzas you'll find ceviche, tacos, and a fun selection of cocktails.

Settimio al Pellegrino: near Via del Governo Vecchio and Via Giulia, this is quickly becoming the in-the-know, off-the-radar trattoria in central Rome. There’s no menu, you will eat whatever the owner and his wife have prepared that day.

Prosciutteria Cantina dei Papi: if you’re craving a snack while walking along Via del Governo Vecchio, stop here for a several foot-long “tagliere” – meat and cheese plate. It’s served on a long wooden board, offering the best of Italian cured specialities.

Ai Spaghettari: another option in Trastevere, come here for a variety of local "primi" pastas, "secondi" meat-based mains, and "contorni" vegetable sides. There's also a rich and creamy tiramisu. Take a table outside on the square (Piazza San Cosimato) -- even more fun during market days.

Tartufi & Friends: if you like truffles, this is the place to get your fix. Near the Spanish Steps, pop by and prepare to splurge. Go for the white truffle while you're here and think of it like a fine champagne: expensive but worth it.


Chez Dede: a concept store on Via di Monserrato, with a strong edit of global brands that have one thing in common: handmade luxury. Look out for the fierce trench coats by fellow Italians, Giuliva Heritage Collection.

Artisanal Cornucopia: another one of Via dell'Oca's gems, this concept store has cool finds for yourself and your home.  

Atelier Bomba: a true atelier, this is Cristina Bomba’s studio, where today her son Michele personally attends to clients in the style of traditional haute couture.

Profumum Roma: niche apothecary selling artisan fragrances, inspired by the Roman landscape. Their Via di Ripetto store near the Spanish Steps is a perfect stop to pick up a special souvenir.

Flamingo Vintage: there are many vintage and second-hand shops in Rome, but this one has the best edit. Designer items and a well-curated assortment of fun, statement pieces in the cool Monti neighborhood.


Rome is filled with important historical monuments that deserve your attention. Pick a few, but also try doing some non-touristy things: just walking around and exploring the neighborhoods is the best way to see the city. The sights are remarkably breathtaking at night, when their spotlights highlight ancient architecture through the shadows; there's no better way to end the evening than with a romantic walk around Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and Piazza Navona illuminated in the darkness.

The best neighborhoods to walk around are Trastevere and Monti. In the historic center, some great streets are Via dell’Oca, Via del Governo Vecchio, and Via Giulia for beautiful strolls. Make sure to stop by the Galleria Sciarra near the Trevi Fountain - it's stunning.

Another great way to see the city, is renting a motorino. See the city like Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday. An exhilarating ride you'll never forget! 

Maxxi Museum: designed by Zaha Hadid this museum features changing exhibits from contemporary art to retrospectives. The architecture both outside and inside is worth the visit.  

EUR: the acronym for Esposizione Universale Roma, this district of the city was built by Benito Mussolini for the 1942 World's Fair (which never took place due to WWII). The buildings showcase strong works of rationalist architecture, which rose in Italy during the Fascist period (1920s-1940s). It combines modernist and neo-classical architecture, with imposing minimalist structures and a reverence for arches, columns, domes and porticoes. A good example is the Palazzo della Civilta', now Fendi's headquarters! You can take a taxi about 20 minutes from central Rome.

Via Appia Antica: this actually an archaeological park around one of the oldest streets in Rome - the Appian Way. It's a lovely walk along the iconic stone pines, and a refreshing way to see old Rome without the chaos of traffic. You'll need to take a taxi, it's about 30 minutes outside central Rome.


Stay, eat, shop, see - a note on Daylesford:

Daylesford: this is a one-stop-shop Disneyland for organic living. You can stay in one of their charming cottages, which vary in size, accommodating 2-8 people per house. You can stroll the trails to greet grass-roaming cows and pastured chickens. You can get your zen on with a meditation session or a massage at the Bamford Spa. You can take a class on Artisan Bread Making, or how about Ferments to Eat and Drink, at the Cookery School. You can also pick up a picnic basket along with everything you need to fill it, or dine at one of their restaurants. And for shopping... besides the incredible bounty of organic produce, homemade cheeses, biodynamic wines et cetera there is an amazing selection of sleek homeware, decorative objects, culinary books, and cashmere items from their ready-to-wear collection. Be prepared to empty your pockets!


Soho Farmhouse – Chipping Norton: if Daylesford is the ultimate destination for organic living, then Soho Farmhouse is that for rustic cool. Set on 100 acres of bucolic rural fields, the Soho House group brings upscale camp dreams to life. With chic timber cabins, a Cowshed spa set in a lovely stone cottage,  pools set in a boathouse or on a lake, and their perfectly-designed lounge areas for socializing ,this retreat has it all. Even the main restaurant is housed in a barn. Activities are abundant, and include row boats and horse riding. P.S. you don't have to be a member to stay here, just plan in advance as it's perennially booked.

Farncombe Estate – Broadway: These hoteliers are experts in countryside chic hospitality, and on the grounds of the Farncombe Estate there are actually three options. There's the 17th century farmhouse, Dormy House , with panoramic views of the Cotswolds hillside, the chic Fish (think luxe huts and treehouses),  and Foxhill Manor (aka you just got invited to your friend's fancy private house). These places are sophisticated yet cozy, with decidedly modern furnishings juxtaposed against historic structures and nature filled hide-out backdrops.

Wild Rabbit Inn – Kingham: part of the Daylesford family and just a few minutes drive from the flagship farm, this inn has several rooms as well as a cute independent cottage, all set in a quiet village yet near the action in Stow-on-the-Wold.

The Lygon Arms – Broadway: this boutique hotel is conveniently located in one of the Cotswolds main towns, Broadway. The hotel is housed in an ancient coaching inn, dating back to the 1300s. Steeped in history, the rooms have been made modern with contemporary furnishings yet antiques still dominate throughout the property. The dining room happens to be a 16th century hall roaring fireplace and all, and the spa features an amazing pool  amongst columns and double-height ceilings that recall an elegant, bygone-era bathhouse. An excellent option if you are more of a luxury hotel-type vs. glamping cottage-type.

Barnsley House – Barnsley: a classic English getaway. This is an elegant country home, with fine dining and meticulously manicured gardens. Rooms are modern with bright and calming palettes. For those who want to head into the country, but never really leave the comforts of the city.

Old Stocks Inn – Stow-on-the-Wold: an updated take on a traditional coaching inn, dating back to the 1600s. Historic architecture gets a hipster makeover with modern interiors: cool palettes of white and grey, pops of yellow and turquoise, subway tile bathrooms, mosaic floors, graphic print textiles. Right in the center of town, a good base for antiquing.


The Wild Rabbit – Kingham: as part of the Daylesford empire the food here is locally sourced from one of the most sustainable organic farms in the UK. The warm and sophisticated interior creates an inviting atmosphere to enjoy 

Five Alls Pub – Filkins: if you’re popping by for supper, make sure to arrive a bit early to walk this pretty town’s lanes. Hearty plates of gastropub food, and a cozy atmosphere make this a nice place for a casual date.

Wheatsheaf Inn - Northleach: the beautiful façade of this 17thcentury stone inn disguises a rather modern upscale pub and cozy guesthouse. Classic English favorites.

The Chequers: rustic yet modern gastro-pub in Chipping Norton

Kings Head Inn – Bledington: Perfectly positioned on a clearing near a small creek in a little residential village. The Inn is set in a 16thcentury building, and serves up contemporary British food in a refined yet charming interior.

Broadway Deli – Broadway: stocked to the brim with typical English products, think chutneys, tea and biscuits, crackers and curry packs. Aside from the jam-packed (literally) grocery offering, the Deli is the place to go for take-away sandwiches and crisps. The perfect reward after a long hike up to Broadway Tower. The grilled cheese is divine.

Leaf & Bean Tea Room – Broadway: another post-hike option, sit down at one of their outdoor tables to people watch along this picturesque town’s main thoroughfare. Delicious scones and an overwhelming yet delightful list of teas and infusions.

Bantam Tea Room – Chipping Campden: Don’t be put off by the incredibly low ceilings in this excellent tea room. The building dates back to 1693. Head to the garden for classic cream tea, or indulge in any of their rich desserts tantalizingly displayed in their window just opposite the Market Hall.


Stow-on-the-Wold: this buzzing village is world-renown for antiquing

Chipping Campden: lovely architecture ranging from the traditional grass thatched homes in the residential area just outside the historic center, to the iconic limestone facades of centuries old buildings lining the main street. The Market Hall is nearly 400 years old, part of UK’s National Trust, and once the epicenter of this wool town’s trading. Still to this date a local wool trader sells sheepskins amongst other hides in this ancient market.

Broadway Tower: there's an option to arrive to the tower by car. Don't do it. The beauty of this region is its countryside, so take the four-mile hike  up either pre- or post- your lunch at Broadway Deli. It's a loop on the Cotswolds Way called "Broadway Tower Walk" - and I suggest picking up Batford's Walking Guides The Cotswolds book to discover more great trails in the area. The trail starts walking through the town's Main Street, then heads into more residential lanes before ascending up the hillside to the Broadway Tower, passing peaceful little lambs and the occasional black sheep.

Rousham House: Rousham is more castle than house. It's less visited than some of the more famous estates in the area and lacks facilities like a tea room or shop, which keeps it off the radar from the tourist routes. It is the perfect place to bring a blanket, basket filled with Daylesford goodies, and plop down for a picnic all to yourself. Feel like a princess in wonderland, enjoying your picnic amidst the rose covered walled garden. The grounds are stunning, with Venus statues, porticos and grottoes, secret gardens, and labyrinths.

Sezincote House: Bollywood palace in the English countryside, this house was built in the early 1800s when India was the crown jewel of the British Empire. An example of Neo-Mughal architecture, it's a modern interpretation of typical Indian design from the Mughal period (16th-17th century). May sound tacky, but it's actually quite beautiful. The piece de resistance is the curving orangery, all white and windows and arches. Yes, there are elephant statues and temples in the gardens, but with grottoes, ponds, fountains, and waterfalls it's a fun place to explore.

Bibury: unless you're dying to get that photo (I'll admit I did... later regretfully) you can skip this. Save yourself the lines of tour buses, filled with selfie-stick wielding tourists. There's nothing else to see here other than Arlington Row, quite possibly one of the most photographed sites in England.


Cutter Brooks - Stow-on-the-Wold: the shop everyone is talking about, tastemaker Amanda Brooks’ new store is putting the Cotswolds back on the map. Chicly decorated, well curated, this is a must-stop destination for design inspo and home décor.

Laurie Leigh Antiques – Stow-on-the-Wold: nobody does vintage glassware better than Laurie Leigh. The absolute authority, come prepared to spend and send. Hard to find pieces from the Georgian up to Art Deco period, specializing in English and Irish glass.

Cotswold Cheese Company - Stow-on-the-Wold: more than cheese, you can pick up biscuits and crackers, jams and chutneys, and the fantastic Cotswolds Distillery small batch gin to take home. It's still relatively hard to find stateside.



Casa Mae: Malibu meets Portugal. This place oozes with California cool vibes. But the design is all local --the French hotelier partnered with hip Portuguese artisans to create custom furniture, pinterest-worthy fabrics, and iconic jungalow plants peppered throughout. A dreamy palette of white with millennial pink, cornflower blue, and saffron yellow offers décor inspo from day to night. The drinks and food also reference surfer chic, with inventive cocktails and pretty plating. The hotel was built on Lagos’ old orchard; the vegetable garden is still going strong and supplies the chef with fresh, organic goodies. This place is perfectly located near downtown Lagos yet right inside the medieval city walls. It’s a little oasis to serve as your home-base to explore the best of Algarve’s beaches, with rocky formations and small coves.

Casa Modesta: A sleek, whitewashed retreat near the Ria Formosa Park in Olhao. This is a fun place to book with friends and live la vida villa. 

Casa Luum: Brand new, an architect’s dream. Bright white, sharp lines, minimal design, maximum impact. Pops of color and geometry play for a highly photogenic space. Stay here and daydream of living in a house like this one day.

Vila Monte Farmhouse: conveniently located near Faro, where the region’s main airport is located, this is a large property spread over lush, landscaped grounds. The hotel rooms vary by building, with several different styles of rooms. This hotel is very appropriate for families, with a dedicated pool, children’s activities, attentive staff. Their concierge has an excellent menu of excursions and set calendar of events. The nightly outdoor cinema is fun with popcorn and all – just remember mosquito repellent!


Orta at Casa Mae - Lagos:  garden-fresh, California and Australia-inspired dishes. They occassionaly hold pop-ups with other chefs (like Carbon Paris), and bring in live music (bohemian bossa nova) to fire up the Churrascaria grill in the patio.

Mar D’Astorias - Lagos: this concept store also has a little mezzanine tavern great for lunch or snacks, and a rooftop for pre-dinner drinks.

Calhou – Lagos: teeny tiny restaurant, this feels more like a little chalet. Home cooking and great fish, located in a residential area. This is a fun place for dinner when you want to dine like a local.

Coffee & Waves – Lagos:  a surfer café serving up hip travelers, good breakfast or lunch option

A Terra at Vila Monte – Faro: charcuterie and cheese plates to start, followed by grilled meats and fish - the name of the restaurant derives from the earth so think simple, hearty seasonal cuisine. But save room for the dessert: their signature chocolate mousse is divine!

Casa Tella – Tavira: inventive takes on local cuisine, in a charming square. Casa Tella is also a boutique hotel. One of the smarter places to eat in Tavira.

Dgusta – Tavira: along the riverfront, a casual tapas place

Brisas do Rio – Tavira: local fish in a casual, low-key setting. On a nice day dine up on the rooftop terrace, or take cover down in the cozy dining room.


Lagos: busy enough to have a scene, but small enough to feel like you're in a vacation village.

Tavira: beautifully preserved Algarve town, fairly unspoilt by tourism in the way many of the other seaside towns have along this coast. It’s particularly pretty with a river running through it, lovely squares and outdoor café scenes all around.

Olhao Farmer’s and Fish Market: one of the most bustling markets in the region, come by on Saturday morning to see neighboring villagers sell their harvest alongside the fishermen’s bounty.

Ilha Culatra: rent a boat with Salt & Sea docking at Olhao port; you can choose the hop on/hop off option to visit a few of the islands and deserted beaches, or rent their pristine catamaran for a private tour of the isles. The staff is top notch and gets you access to unique, authentic spots in Ria Formosa Park area.



Santa Clara 1728: set in a building dating back to the 1700s, this hotel is all about the minimalist design, where sparse equals stunning and austere luxury. Scandi furniture populates the bare Portuguese palace, against a backdrop palette in shades of white. Operated by the same group who runs the high-end equestrian center in Comporta, Cavalos na Areia. A chic bed & breakfast option in historic Alfama.

The Lisboans: Brand-new apartments furnished in mid-century modern style with antique decorative objects - think old globes and back issue National Geographics - this option is centrally located, and next door to the hip restaurant Prado. They actually run the place, and stock the apartments with fresh breakfast goodies. When you need to fill your pantry, just hop around the corner to their elevated version of a bodega.

Memmo Principe Real: if you prefer a full-service hotel, this option is in a cool part of town, and features contemporary architecture and happening public spaces with great views to people watch while sipping sunset cocktails.

Verride Palacio Santa Caterina: stylish interiors in a renovated townhouse, featuring fabulous stucco work, blue and white tiles dating back decades, and lots of windows that allow the Lisbon light to shine bright. There's a small pool on the rooftop too overlooking the Bica neighborhood below.

The Lumiares: boutique hotel amenities with apartment-like accommodations. Sleek design, lovely spa and a central location make this an all-around good choice.


Prado: hipster, farm-to-table in Chiado with jungalow style decor

100 Maneiras Bistro: inventive, sleek, less formal than the 100 Maneiras Restaurant in Barrio Alto

Cantinho do Avillez: elevated take on traditional Portuguese by star chef Jose Avillez in Barrio Alto - get a table in the dining room with open kitchen to watch the action and take a photo of the cute plate wall art.

Cantina ze Avillez: if you’re in Alfama, this is Jose Avillez’s take on hearty homestyle cooking

Cafe com Calma: super cute cafe between Alfama and the aquarium, a place where locals dine on fresh versions of typical light dishes. Have to love the insta-friendly setting with pink walls that feature the area's signature plates arrangement as art.

Barrio Avillez: multi-level destination for Jose Avillez’s casual dining. Try the Taberna for Portuguese tapas or the upstairs Pateo for Peruvian favorites in Chiado/Barrio Alto.

Alfonso e Gordo: traditional Portuguese dishes in a cozy, rustic setting - Chiado

Aqui ha Peixe: fresh fish, upscale in Chiado/Barrio Alto

Cervejeria Ramiro: probably the most famous restaurant in Lisbon thanks to Anthony Bourdain's (R.I.P.) visit in one of his No Reservations episodes, this place is a mecca for fresh fish. Very casual, and just a bit north of the town center.

A Cevicheria: Peruvian ceviche at its best, good for a light lunch at the bar counter in Principe Real

Cantinho do Aziz: for a taste of Portuguese East Africa, or Mozambique, head to this up and coming neighborhood (Mouraria) for spicy fish dishes deep in the heart of Lisbon.

Solar dos Presuntos: good, old-fashioned food. This is fine traditional Portuguese cuisine in Santo Amaro.

Hello Kristof: café for hipster coffee and pastries - Barrio Alto

Dear Breakfast: café serving breakfast all day, think avocado toasts and pretty lattes  - Barrio Alto

Copenhagan Coffee Lab: of course anything Scandi is cool, and of course the coffee is top!

Nicolau: the only decent café in the midst of tourist central in Chiado

Manteigaria: the best Pasteis de Nata in terms of flavor, eat your pastel while it's hot and taste the delicate vanilla flavor that only this places knows how to infuse.

Pasteleria de Belem:  the second best Pastis de Nata, served with little bags of powdered sugar and cinnamon to "make it your own", a special treat when visiting the Monastery of Jeronimos.

Pasteleria Alcoa: for a fancier take on traditional pastries, good option if you're being hosted for dinner and need to bring dessert.

Nannarella: for the tastiest gelato - Principe Real

Maria da Mouraria: old brothel-turned-fado restaurant, the charming and rustic decor sets the stage for fadoistas tunes and hearty local dishes.

Pao de Trigo: near Cabo de Roca if you’re driving out of Lisbon to the Western tip of Portugal, charming and rustic with excellent fish and meat.


Loja das Conservas: destination for all kinds of conserved fish, not just sardines, and with cool vintage packaging

Ceramicas de Linhas: ceramic tableware in a variety of styles and prices

Cortico & Netos: ceramics, ceramics, and more ceramics - this place specializes in both vintage and modern tiles.

Solar Antiques: for centuries-old tiles, museum-like quality...think an Aladdin's cave of tiles!

A Vida Portuguesa: architecture recalling historic shops, showcasing the best of Made in Portugal lifestyle goods

The Feeting Room: multi-brand boutique featuring upscale local designers

Livraria Ler Devagar: beautiful bookstore at LX Factory with high-ceilings opening up several stories of shelves lined with books of all genres. A unique bicycle work-of-art hangs from the ceiling punctuating the space.

Puro Cal: cool interior design store at LX Factory for modern decorative objects, a curated selection of blankets, pottery, furniture, and paintings by local artists.

Chi Coracao: colorful wool blankets and jackets in the tradition of Serra da Estrela region

Burel Mountain Originals: for modern and chic wool blankets honoring heritage craftsmanship

Embaixada: pop in if you have time to quickly peruse the concept space, but it’s not a must

Claus Porto: beautifully designed outpost of the Porto-based apothecary selling high-end, niche perfumes, soaps, lotions; the mini soaps make a great souvenir.


Museu Calouste Gulbenkian: off-the-radar museum in a more residential area just outside the center, this is Lisbon’s best kept secret. Beautiful gardens, stunning architecture, phemonomal curation of artwork spanning thousands of years. Don’t miss.

Monastery of Jeronimos: yes it’s touristy but it’s a downright beautiful example of Manueline late Gothic architecture. And it happens to be right next to the famous Belem pastry shop to taste some of the best Pasteis de Nata and as well as near MAAT -- the museum of art, architecture, and technology.

LX Factory: a bit of Williamsburg in Lisbon, formerly an industrial district turned arts compound with studios, fun cafes, hip restaurants, and interesting boutiques. The Livraria Ler Devagar bookstore has a spectacular design, and the Pura Cal boutique has great local home goods.

Topo: bar terrace in Chiado for sunset drinks

Monumento dos Restauradores: for views of the city and water in horizon

Santa Justa: you don’t necessarily need to pay the lift ticket to enjoy the wonderful view from this tourist elevator high above the historic center. Peeking through the net fence makes for more unique photos and you save spending on the entry fee.

Carmo Convent: head over to see this picturesque square and convent, with small kiosks in the plaza to grab an aperitif and soak in the impromptu concerts held by the talented street musicians. It's on the way to Topo terrace or Santa Justa lift.

Barrio Alto and Principe Real: walk around these neighborhoods for more independent shops and photogenic streets without the crowds of Alfama and Baixa/Chiado. For even less commercial streets, head to the medieval lanes of Mouraria.

TimeOut Market: skip this unless you enjoy throngs of tourists. Overrated and not worth it.



Sublime: hotel options are limited in Comporta, still very much a villa-oriented destination. This is pretty much the only place with full-service amenities. While the grounds are lovely and the food is excellent, the hotel seems to still be working out its staff training. Service was inconsistent on several accounts, so just chill out and remember it’s Portugal.

Casas Na Areia: whitewashed, minimalist designed villa hotel experience, operated by the Cavalos Na Areia group who also have the uber-chic Santa Clara 1728 hotel in Lisbon.


Museu do Arroz: an elegant restaurant on the edge of the rice paddy, specializing in you guessed it...rice! The carabineros are the local specialty - giant red shrimp the size of small lobsters. A sophisticated setting for dinner as most other places in the area are quite casual. 

Comporta Cafe: at Praia Comporta, where the locals go for sunset drinks and chill-out music on the sand.

Cavalarica: set against a bright decor of white with pops of blue stripes, this restaurant housed in former horse stables serves an inventive take on local cuisine with a chef who worked alongside the best in London (Chiltern Firehouse) and Sao Paolo (DOM).

Sem Porta at Sublime: nice for lunch, but the lights are too bright and the acoustics too poor to make this an option for dinner. They serve delicious food though, so sitting at the bar ordering from the smaller appetizers menu is a great way to sample the top-notch dishes in a cozier ambience.

Restaurant Sal: must-stop at Praia Pego, for fresh fish in a fun setting. Nautically-inspired decor sets the backdrop to long afternoon lunches filled with local rosé.

Sal Burger: brought to you by the Restaurant Sal crew, when you're tired of fish, this burger joint doesn't disappoint.

Gomes Casa de Vinhos e Petiscos: cute wine bar smack in the center of Comporta village, great for small plates and an informal dinner.


Loja do Museo do Arroz - Comporta: a mix of local and imported (mainly African) decorative objects, this shop is full of curios.

Cote Sud: in Comporta center, where you'll find the perfect boho-chic dress and floppy hat.

Stork Club: boutique by famed architect Jacques Grange for elevated home decor in Carvalhal.

Harmonia: from the outside it looks more like a souvenir shop, but this home decor store is actually filled with great antiques and local crafts at decent prices in Carvalhal.

Rice - Comporta: concept store by Marta Mantero, a well-curated boutique selling both home and fashion items from local artisans.

Casa da Cultura: a collective of emerging local designers with pop-up shops in an open industrial space in Comporta's center.


Praia do Comporta: the busiest of the area's beaches, stroll a bit down in either direction and you'll find your own expanse of sand given the area's endless kilometers of undeveloped beaches.

Praia do Pego: this is a pristine empty beach, a nice walk before or after lunch at Restaurant Sal.

Cavalos Na Areia: for horse-riding excursions, this center is the best. Polite and dapper gauchos lead expeditions, crossing through rice paddies, up the sand dunes, and onto deserted beaches for an exhilarating and scenic ride. Cavalos Na Areia also operates guesthouses in the area, a boutique hotel in Lisbon, and in Comporta arranges all kinds of outdoor activities.


Stay, eat, shop, see - all in one place...

Casa Do Rio: if you’re into getting away from it all, are a fan of sleek architecture, vintage décor, and properties that feel like you’re staying in someone’s home vs. a hotel – then this is heaven on earth. With just six rooms and two villas off the main lodge, and yet three pools, personal space is abundant here. There are open living rooms and dining areas surrounded by nature. When you’re not lounging around the chicly decorated spaces, you can make use of kayaks, paddle boards, fishing rods, and bikes for your athletic adventures. The hotel also offers boat trips and spa treatments. It’s not easy to reach – about three hours inland from Porto at the far end of Douro Valley, but it’s well worth the nausea-inducing windy road. This is isolation bliss, where living like a hermit is pure luxury. There is no sound or light pollution here, just peace and quiet with star-filled skies. By the way, the free mini-bar is stocked with the winery's own bottles of reds and whites, refilled each morning. The set-course dinner features two pairing options, with delicious meals of farm-to-table cuisine and free-flowing wine. After you’ve tried the winery’s variety of options, you can purchase bottles in the reception-cum-shop to ship home.


Six Senses Douro Valley: a world-class property, with all the amenities. If you need the reassurance of a luxury chain, this full-service resort provides everything at your fingertips. It's location is also not too far from Porto, on the Eastern side of Douro Valley close to the big wineries.

DOM: a gastronomic experience combined with stellar dining design. Star chef Rui Paula serves creative yet traditional plates in a dreamy setting along the river. Major wow factor.



Rosa et al Townhouse: minimalist design leveraging the bones of good architecture and vintage furniture. This is like you’re staying at someone’s home, in a more residential area.

1872 Riverhouse: conveniently located on the Ribeira, it’s walking distance to everywhere you want to go. Service is friendly, breakfast is abundant, rooms are cute and quaint. Perfect for those who don’t require a lot of facilities (it’s a boutique hotel) and only staying a couple nights.

Miss Opo: it's a restaurant, it's a gallery, it's a shop... and it's also a small guesthouse. A handful of rooms mixing antiques with contemporary build, a hip place to stay surrounded by cool interiors.

The Yeatman: your luxury standard, here you’ll find everything you need if you’re a demanding traveler but still like an authentic experience. On the other side of the river behind the winery cellars, with great views of Ribeira, a pool, high-end dining, and spa.


Ostras e Coisas: fresh fish, minimal and sleek design

Museu d’Avo: hipster den great for drinks or a dinner date

Epoca: lovely, healthy dishes in a cool yet casual setting, amazing coffee and they have oatmilk! Homebaked bread too! Handwritten menu changes daily.

Cantinho do Avillez: elevated take on traditional Portuguese by star chef Jose Avillez - this is the Porto outpost of one of Lisbon's favorite restaurants.

Caffe Vitoria: sleek all-day hangout, from morning to night this is the place to be. Scandinavian design with pops of color and jungalow vibes. Grab a coffee or a drink and stay awhile.

Oficina: along the artsy Rua Miguel Bombarda this concept restaurant greets you with neon art sign reading "Fuck Art Let's Eat" - the decor is chic industrial meets pop of mustard yellow leather. Creative Portuguese cuisine for a fun night out.

Base: it's garden cafe sitting atop the Passeio dos Clerigos urban shopping/park - the boutiques sit below while the grass-covered rooftop serves as an oasis above.


Claus Porto: quite possibly one of the most beautiful boutiques in Europe, this is home to the historic Claus apothecary specialized in perfumes and soaps. It houses a museum showcasing the story of their products and packaging design.  A must visit.

Hats & C.A.T.S.:  uber chic shop for panama hats, straw bags, linen scarves, and niche Portuguese outerwear - get ready to shop!

A Vida Portuguesa: offering a wide range of gifts and chic Portuguese souvenirs in a stunning space, this branch is much nicer than the one in Lisbon. Don't miss!

Santo da Casa: cute shop with traditional wool blankets, panama hats, straw bags, small locally made home goods

Coracao Alecrim: hip concept store selling homewear, vintage items, plants, clothing and accessories from local designers

Burel Mountain Originals:  for modern and chic wool blankets honoring heritage craftsmanship


Casa Serralves: a millennial pink modernist palace designed by Alvaro Siza Vieira with a sculpture park garden, need I say more?

Casa da Musica: Rem Koolhaas' designed concert hall lined with traditional blue and white tiles inside.

Riverside: walk along the Ribiera to cross the Ponte Luis bridge to the side of Porto where all the winery cellars can be found. 

Quinta dos Corvos: visit this Port cellar to have a more personalized tasting. This generations-old family winery doesn’t export, and focuses on quality over quantity. Much more of an authentic experience than one of the larger Port houses.

Igreja do Carmo: beautifully tiled church in the Vitoria area, an alternative "azulejo appreciation moment" to the more touristy Sao Bento station.