Slideshows

Staff Travels Summer 2014

A family-run lunch spot tucked into a glorious nature preserve on Sicily's eastern coast; a Southern African safari camp where you get to walk with the elephants; ancient stalagmite caves on a tiny island less than a mile off the coast of Greece's Paros; the newly opened private gardens of the Pope now accessible to Rome visitors. These are just a few of the favorite finds of Indagare's well traveled staff, whose recent journeys include Spain, Italy, Greece, Thailand, Mexico, Dubai, Oman and Botswana. Indagare members can contact our Bookings Team for help with their next trip.

Melissa Biggs Bradley: Botswana

Favorite Discovery

In Botswana there are so many great areas for game and special experiences like Abu where you get to ride and walk with the elephants, but Chitabe was a new revelation with fabulous game, including lots of cheetah and leopard.

Good to Know Botswana is blessed with an incredible variety of landscapes and wildlife, but you need to know when and why to go where. For instance, the Kalahari desert has the most big game in its summer months, but it is at its most beautiful landscape-wise in winter. Since you will see great game in Savuti and the Delta on a well-mapped-out safari, ending in the Kalahari with its small creatures and dramatic vistas is magic.

Simone Girner: Sicily

Favorite Discovery

My favorite meal, possibly of all times, was in the simple outdoor restaurant il Bagliotta at the entrance of the stunning Vendicari Nature Reserve. There was no menu, just two pasta and fish dishes to choose from, and while the food was being prepared you lounged in the beautiful garden surrounded by fields laced with enormous yellow flowers. The pasta sauce made with sardines, tomatoes, breadcrumbs and (incredibly) raisins made me tear up. Authentic, fresh, simple: It was the Italian lunch you know only from movies.

Good to Know One thing to know about Sicily is that it's not a high-luxury destination. Most of the hotels are family run places but what you compromise in terms of in-room amenities/comfort you are paid back thousand fold in the experiences you're having on an island that feels like you are time traveling in 1970s Tuscany. A place utterly unspoiled and with incredible treasures.

Monique Brendel Thofte: Thailand

Good to Know

Exploring Bangkok with a trusted and vetted guide through one of our partners is essential. Very few locals speak English and navigating efficiently on your own can be a major challenge. For the more adventurous, the subway system (bts skytrain) is efficient and clean and a great way to avoid spending hours sitting in traffic. Subway stops are in Thai so be sure to sort out where you're going in advance.

Favorite Discovery While staying at the Four Seasons Elephant Camp in Chiang Rai we enjoyed sundowners and a private dinner set on a cliff overlooking the lush Golden Triangle. It was a magical setting complete with candle lanterns, torches and elephants roaming the pastures. It's an experience not to be missed.

Alex Erdman: Dolomite Mountains, Italy

Favorite Discovery

The Rosa Alpina has two small cabins where guests can either stay overnight or have a BBQ during a day of hiking.

Good to Know That the drive from the nearby airports to the property can be treacherous in the winter. Hire a car through the hotel and enjoy the scenery while en route.

Amelia Osborne: Mallorca, Spain

Favorite Discovery

Too often, after touching down in Mallorca's airport, visitors rush directly to their country- or beach-side resort, bypassing the island's capital of Palma. This is a mistake as Palma is a charming, historic city with a rich Old Town of cobblestoned streets, quiet courtyards and meandering alleyways offering excellent shopping.

Travelers can choose to stay in town at a boutique hotel like Hotel Can Cera or Convent de la Missiò, the former set in what used to be a private home, the latter in a renovated convent. Hotel guests will fall asleep to the sound of footsteps on streets, Spanish conversation over tapas and the universal language of laughter. Alternatively, those staying in a hotel outside of town (favorites include Castell Son Claret and Gran Hotel Son Net) shouldn't miss an opportunity to come into Palma for an afternoon of shopping and sightseeing and evenings full of spectacular dinners and cocktails.

What to Know Palma offers great shopping and favorites include Estilo Sant Feliu for Mallorquin textiles and Rialto Living for chic and funky fashion and home decor. Restaurants range from casual tapas spots such as La Bóveda to haute dining at Simply Fosh and hot spot lounges such as the new Tast Club. Many of the roads in Mallorca are narrow, windy and poorly lit so it is recommended to take taxis around.

Barkley Hickox: Greece

Favorite Discovery

The stalagmite caves on Antiparos, a tiny island less than a mile off the coast of Paros. Sailing from one island to the other on a traditional Greek caique is not to be missed!

Good to Know One thing to know about the Greece is that getting off the beaten path, while often times less convenient, is well worth it. The lesser-known Cycladic islands, such as Ios, Sifnos, Folegandros, Naxos and Paros, have few luxury hotels, so renting a villa or traveling via sailboat or yacht charter is preferable. Steer clear of large ports, where ferries and cruise ships (in the tens) dock in peak season (July-August).

Janine Yu: Mexico

Favorite Discovery

The bohemian surf town of Sayulita, about an hour from Puerto Vallarta, is absolutely charming. Over the years, the town has grown from a sleepy fishing village to a fun little community with great restaurants, bars and stores. The shopping is spectacular, as many creative locals have set up shop and sell all manner of hand-made arts and crafts, jewelry, textiles, home decorations and clothing. My favorite discovery was a hand-painted ceramic sink that I took home with me!Good to Know

The hotel options in Sayulita are limited and more suited to budget travelers. For more luxurious choices, look twenty-five minutes away to Punta Mita's Four Seasons or the St. Regis or to the chic boutique resort Imanta.

Brooke Pearson: Rome 

Favorite Discovery

After just 24 hours in Rome, several people (from Samuel Porreca, the plugged-in GM of JK Place to our distinguished gentleman driver) suggested a visit to the Roman Castles outside of the city. So we did as the Romans do, and ventured 40 minutes southeast along the Appian Way to the lakeside towns near the Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence. We had a long lunch on a flower-covered balcony overlooking the lake, and felt as though we were miles from the bustle of the city. Garden lovers shouldn't miss the Pope's private gardens which have recently been opened to the public.

Allison Reiber: Cabo

Favorite Discovery

At once an accessible and high-luxury destination, Cabo has the perfect resort to suit every traveler. Whether you're looking to retreat into your villa and never leave or spend your days making new friends by the pool with a margarita in hand, there is a place for you (and we can help you find it).

Melissa Biggs Bradley: Madrid

Favorite Discovery

The shopping in Madrid was a welcome surprise. There are some gorgeous Spanish boutiques and trendy shopping neighborhoods which made it a great place for me to shop with my daughter.

Good to Know

The art collections are amazing but you need to space out visits so you can properly appreciate them. Don't try to do the big three (Prado, TNT and Reina Sofia) in one day; save each for a separate day and leave plenty of time for great meals at places like Luzi Bombon.

Published onJune 10, 2014

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