Mother's Day

With Mother's Day fast approaching, here are a few great gifts for mom.

Come Sail Away

Friends and I are renting a sailboat in early September to admire Manhattan's gorgeous skyline while the sun sets. Tribeca Sailing offers a great affordable option at $70 per person and takes up to six people.  If you go after 6pm, it's private! We'll dock at Pier 25, just next to Grand Banks, the latest Tribeca oyster bar that resides on a 142' wooden schooner on the Hudson River. Oysters, tarragon lobster rolls, fish crudos and a few cocktails are on the post-sailing agenda. I can't think of a more perfect way to embrace NYC and say farewell to summer.

For the Outdoorsman

They say it's hard to find presents for guys. Why? Because men tend to buy what they want, when they want it. Not that women aren't guilty of the same but our purchases are more frequent, generally take up less space and constitute less commitment. Handbag verses surf board- while they may cost the same they are totally different animals. 

My friend Adam requested I post more "dude" friendly things.  So I thought for all you outdoorsmen, I would post a selection of toys you already own or are vying for!  If the latter is true, pass this list along to your significant other- we are always trying to find the perfect present for you!!

Summer Travel

While I love to travel, I have found planning it on my own can be quite time consuming. I wanted to share a few of my favorite travel agencies, advisors and internet sites that have been useful in making the planning process more expeditious, seamless and enjoyable.

For Luxury Travel

Smart Flyer is a global luxury travel firm that focuses on both corporate and leisure travel. Their clients range from A-List celebrities to business executives and families. I was introduced to Susan Duffy, their head point of contact in charge of client development, through a dear friend while skiing in Colorado this spring. Once I met her I was sold on SmartFlyer. They were recently named one of the World's Top Travel Agent's by Travel + Leisure. I find there is great value in being able to put my trust in someone who is adept at getting what I want while at the same time offering reasonable, if not bargain prices. Smart Flyer has a stock pile of great relationships with some of the top hotels so they get their clients the same, if not better, discounted rates. They are an amazing company- the one we all want o have in our rolodex. Contact, Susan Duffy who can guide you through the process.  Susan@smartflyer.com

For US Travel 

I met Elan & Norman, two of the founders of Excursionist, 4 years ago on a puddle jumper flight to Siem Reap to see the various Khmer Empire temples including Angkor Wat. They were in the process of launching their company while doing field work in South East Asia. Excursionist works with travel agencies, advising them on trips filled with great hotels, tour guides, cooking classes and access to some of the top restaurants world wide. Last June they helped organize my trip to Spain which was fantastic. Right now they are focusing on US travel, bringing their attuned eye to American soil.

For Active Travel

I took one of Erica’s Escape To Shape retreats a few years ago, which was paired with one of my favorite work-outs, SLT. It was a weekend at The Surf Lodge in Montauk. Erica not only offers great work-outs in stunning, often exotic, locations, but she also brings in her own chef so the food is always delicious and nutritious. 

Additional Tips

Tablet has some of the best listings for boutique hotels which is always my preference over staying at larger hotels. I like to cross reference the hotels on Tablet with TripAdvisor to make sure that the often staged hotel photos are on par with snapshots taken by recent travelers.

 

Casa Magna, Tulum

I ventured back to Tulum, Mexico in late January with some friends and stumbled upon this little hotel while walking on the beach. Back in the day it was Pablo Escobar's villa.  Casa Magna is the prefect get-away hotel, fabulous to host a party with friends or even an intimate wedding. The new owners have done an amazing job sprucing up the place with their bohemian yet sophisticated decor.  They do not have a website up yet, but check them out here. The photos don't do it justice.  Note: Amasala's Melissa Perlman had originally renovated the villa so don't be fooled by the old website which is still up on Google.  

Casa Magna Tulum
Casa Magna
Casa Magna, Tulum Mexico

While I was content to sit on the beach reading, my friends Sarah & Taylor were venturing about Tulum.  Thanks to their curiosity, they showed me the best of Tulum.

  DINING OUT

  • Pre-dinner drinks at Casa Jaguar- try their house mezcal served with an orange wedge, or their tamarind margaritas which have a perfect tangy sweetness. 
  • Dine at Hartwoodowned by former chef from Vinegar Hill in Brooklyn, who recently opened a new restaurant in the meatpacking, Heartwood
  • For a refreshing fresh pressed green juice served in a glass milk bottle head to Pousada Margarita.  While their food is overpriced their antipasto of pickled cauliflower, olives, almonds and focaccia is a nice accompaniment.
  • For great local cuisine, head into town to Loncheria el Aguacate a few blocks off the main drag in Tulum.  If you have any dietary restrictions, the owner/chef will make you anything you want.  He's friendly and boisterous and looks like he should be in one of Fernando Botero's paintings.  
  • For late night cheap, tacos at Antojitos La Chiapaneca.
  • If you can't get to Tulum anytime soon, head to Narcissa for their awesome tequila cocktail appropriately named Fly Me To Tulum.

 RETAIL THERAPY

 MOVING ABOUT

  • Work up a sweat Sunday nights at Le Zebra with salsa dancing on the beach.  
  • Rent bikes and head down the dirt road marred with potholes toward the biosphere.  After a few miles there will be a parking lot on the right- follow the walking path which will lead you to the most tranquil thatched roof pergola overlooking the bayside of the biosphere (see below).  A little heaven on earth.  If you're hungry or thirsty there is a restaurant not far on the ocean side that has great tuna ceviche and hummus.  
  • If you want to venture off the Tulum peninsula, go snorkeling at one of the local cenotes. The dripping limestone formations make for a surreal & enchanting underworld. I would advise to avoid swallowing any water while in the bat cave...guano!! 
tulum
tulum 2