Where to Stay in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has one of the most dynamic hotel scenes in Europe, with a slew of new boutique properties—reflecting the city’s obsession with design—joining a host of luxury entries, many of them recently revamped. What they all share: great locations (Amsterdam is compact and blissfully walkable); attentive and friendly service; and that ineffable Dutch charm. So what’s the difference? Here’s our guide to the top choices.


The Right Way to Do Napa

Is there any other place in America that celebrates The Good Life like the Napa Valley? Extraordinary wines, impeccably prepared food, hotels that epitomize laid-back luxury, and spas that help you recover from all of the above. Those are also the reasons why Napa can sometimes feel excessively crowded, overly commercial and punishingly expensive. How to avoid those pitfalls? Here's the advice we give Skylark clients who are headed to California for a wine-country weekend. Cheers!


How The Hurricanes Changed The Winter Vacation Map

Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria wreaked havoc on the Caribbean and Florida, and many of the top resorts in the region remain closed (see our updated list for the latest status). One indirect result is that other sun-and-sand destinations are busier than ever, as travelers whose plans were thwarted by the storm are now looking to book elsewhere.

That’s especially true for the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s, always the most popular time of year to visit the tropics. If you haven’t made plans for a holiday trip, NOW is the time to do it! Our list of places that remain unaffected by the hurricanes is below, along with information on availability for the “Festive” season.


How to Do Japan

If you want to experience all the eye-widening intellectual havoc of culture shock, with none of the physical discomfort, visit Japan. A trip here delivers plenty of topsy-turvy difference, from the food to the etiquette to the way residents shop and consume—but in an atmosphere that’s hyper-civilized. Everything in Japan is spotlessly clean. The cuisine is exquisite (and not just the sushi; they do everything well). Crime is pretty much unheard of. Personal interactions can be baffling, but the Japanese are ultimately friendly and eager to show you their country. Their culture seems like our own in many ways, but beneath the surface you’ll realize it’s very, very different—in ways that are a joy to discover. 

The itinerary here is one we typically use for clients on their first trip to Japan. It includes the main highlights, but it’s also infinitely adaptable, and there are plenty of add-ons not shown here. Use it as an inspiration and foundation for your own trip. As always, our advisors are happy to help you plan your exploration!


Updates From Hurricanes Irma and Maria

As Florida and the Caribbean recover from the one-two punch of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, we want to keep our members up to date on the status of our many hotel partners. The list below represents the latest reports we have received, but information is subject to change. If you have questions about a specific property, please get in touch.

We will keep updating this post as news continues to come in. 


9 Art Shows Not to Miss This Fall

Fall: The time of year when we remember that “culture” can mean more than swatting bugs at an outdoor concert or sitting through yet another superhero reboot (although: Wonder Woman? Not bad!). Yes, autumn means art, and our calendars are already filling up with exhibitions, gallery shows and opportunities to glimpse rarely seen masterpieces. Here are a few of the highlights we’re looking forward to in six cultural capitals (and our recommendations of where to stay for each). 


The Best Places to See The Northern Lights

Were the Northern Lights jealous of the solar eclipse? After all the hoopla generated by this summer’s celestial syzygy, the aurora borealis made a rare appearance in the contiguous United States earlier this month, showing its stuff in places like New York’s Catskill Mountains, rural Illinois, even as far south as Arkansas. The cause was an abnormally large solar flare, which may not happen again for many years. 

Missed it? Fear not—we’ve selected the best places to see the lights around the world (although, as with all natural wonders, aurora sightings are never guaranteed). 


The Best Places to Go in Europe in Fall

Here’s a little secret: The best time of year to travel to Europe is...right now! September (and even early October) still has beautiful weather, but crowds are fewer and prices generally lower. And now that the tourists have gone home from the major destinations, the locals come back out to enjoy festivals, harvests and cultural events. Here are six places to consider a trip this fall:


Where to Stay in the Riviera Maya

One of our top recommendation for a quick dose of Vitamin D is always the Riviera Maya: An easy hour or so’s drive from Cancún, which has nonstop flights from just about every major airport, its string of resorts has something to suit every type of traveler. Here’s our rundown of the best options.


The World's Best Film Festivals

Red carpets unfurl, beautiful people appear and lights flash. Film festivals aren’t just celebrity parades and previews for the next big hit, they’re celebrations of culture and beautifully crafted storytelling—and well, they’re also awesome opportunities to hop on a flight and spend time in a new city. But, plan ahead—hotels are booked solid by film studios and celebrity personal assistants far in advance—and you don’t want to get there when the credits are rolling. Here are Skylark’s picks for where to stay for the world’s top film festivals.