From the rich history of Jerusalem’s Old City to the coral reefs of Eilat, the salty shorelines of the Dead Sea and the booming contemporary art scene and nonstop nightlife of Tel Aviv, Israel offers something for everyone. But what many people don’t know is that the real heart and soul of Israel is captured in its food. With its melting pot of influences from across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and its emphasis on fresh ingredients—especially vegetables, breads and grilled meats—Israeli cuisine having a “moment” around the world. You can sample it at hotspots like Nur in New York, London’s Palomar and The Barbary, and Balagan in Paris), but I decided to spend a week tasting its delights at the source. Here are some of my favorite discoveries.
Thomas Hobbes once described the human condition as "nasty, brutish and short," but he may as well have been talking about the month of February. Winter is still howling, but the holiday glow has faded, as has your New Year's resolution resolve. (Still getting up at 5:30 every morning for SoulCycle, hmmmm??) The solution? Book a trip! The shortest month has it perks for travelers, being the sweet spot between the peak of high season and spring break. Beach lovers can head to the sun-kissed tropics, while those of us who aren't ready to give up the mulled wine and fig-laden brie can book a ski trip in a winter playground. Of course, this month also brings Valentine's Day, which means you're allowed to travel for romance without feeling corny about it. Here are a few places with the ideal February combination of good conditions and great deals.
With a diverse landscape, from the ocean to the Andes to the Amazon; a burgeoning culinary scene; and Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Peru is a huge draw for many travelers. It’s ideal for outdoorsy types, history buffs, cultural explorers... and anyone with a camera.
The fascinating narrative of the Incas—who, despite existing for less than a century, achieved incredible technological advances in architecture, agriculture, even medicine—colors any visit to Peru. But it’s not all about the past: The food scene, for one thing, is a vibrant mix of global influences (South American, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese) that’s garnered accolades around the world.
That said, Peru is a complicated place, with multiple attractions spread around the country. Logistics can be thorny—not only are there the train schedules and entry times to decipher, but it’s important to order your activities carefully to avoid altitude sickness. We strongly urge you to use an experienced travel advisor to plan your journey to Peru. Here’s the basic outline of the itinerary we usually recommend for Skylark clients. If it sounds appealing, get in touch with one of our agents and we can tailor a trip to your exact needs.
Once the gingerbread crumbs are swept up, the eggnog hangover has dissipated and the family has gotten out of your hair (sorry, Aunt Marie, but those jokes are just not funny), it’s ready to kickstart your 2018 travel. Not only does everyone need a vacation by January, but it’s also a good month to hit the road—fine weather in the tropics, excellent powder on the slopes, calmer airports and, often, great deals. We’ve gathered up some solid options.
With winter blustering its way up the East Coast, two Skylarkers—director of industry and marketing partnerships Jes Ware and editorial associate Esther Ro—headed to warmer climes. Their destination: Los Cabos, where the sunsets are pure magic and the landscape evokes the land before time. Here’s their report:
First the bad news: If you haven’t booked a holiday trip in the tropics yet, you’re probably out of luck. Hotels in the Caribbean, Mexico and Hawaii filled up faster than usual this year, thanks to Mother Nature. The good news? The world is a big place, and there are plenty of other amazing destinations with room for your end-of-year celebrations. We’ve chosen four unconventional spots that have availability over Christmas and/or New Year’s. And we guarantee your January water-cooler chat will be more interesting than “I sat on a beach.”
We get it—thinking about Spring Break right now, when holiday travel has barely begun, seems bizarre. But we guarantee that once you spend a few days escaping the early-winter blues, you’ll start thinking about your next sun-soaked getaway—and you’ll be glad if those March plans were already in place. That’s why we’ve identified a few places that, if you book now, will bring that enviable combo of higher temperatures and lower rates. Whether your Spring Break involves kids or not, here are a few places to consider.
Not to deny Barcelona’s many cosmopolitan charms (or pounce on its recent political turmoil), but I’ve always found Madrid to be the more alluring Spanish city. With its beaches, its sinuous Gaudí buildings, its cafés tucked away in the Gothic Quarter’s cobblestoned labyrinth, Barcelona seems too easy to fawn over—just note the roaming packs of visitors on Las Ramblas. On the other hand, Madrid, while hardly immune to tourism, somehow feels populated less by foreigners and more by Madrileños. These lucky souls live their everyday lives in a city filled monumental architecture, casually superb restaurants and a veritable trove of art. My partner and I recently spent a week moving among them.
At Skylark, even our interns travel well. Our own Alex Swanson, who while not toiling in our New York City HQ is studying for a degree in classics and history at Columbia University, recently returned from an enchanting trip to Athens, the homeland of democracy. He found a city brimming with both history and a colorful contemporary spice, plus a Mediterranean brand of luxury that’s one of Europe’s best steals. Here are his favorite ruins and reminiscences.
Winter is coming… and it’s time to get packing. Many people assume December is always peak season travel—and the Christmas rush certainly brings higher prices and more crowds. But early December is a travel sweet spot: rates are lower but most destinations are already steeped in the holiday spirit. Here are a few of our favorite spots to send clients in December—paired with impressive deals at top luxury hotels.