five reasons

Five reasons to visit the Lower East Side, NYC (by a journalist and director)

Journalist and video director Sophia Li gives us five great reasons to visit NYC’s Lower East Side when the city reopens its doors after Covid-19. Read on for her favorite spots to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

We started Safara because we love to travel. We love that it opens our minds to new people, cultures, and ideas. It builds human connection. Travel sparks creativity, and fuels the global economy. We live and breathe this ethos –  we’re a global, remote team with a unified goal: to make travel easier, more efficient, and barrier-free. 

During this crazy time, that human connection we mentioned is a little compromised, right? While we all stay put, we want to be your window to the world, bringing you stories and inspiration from our global community of travel lovers. Our Insiders, who are also stuck at home and pining for their usual local haunts, have been thrilled to share reasons to add their neighborhood to your post-Covid travel plans. We’re going for the gold re: global coverage, and hope that you’ll find some new locals to try ASAP, wherever you are.

Next up in our ‘Five Reasons’ series is Sophia Li. This formidable Chinese-American calls herself a ‘citizen of the earth’, growing up between two countries and four states, but now calls the Lower East Side home. The names on her resume are v impressive: she’s former Entertainment Media Editor at Vogue.com and has directed conscious campaign videos for brands such as Adidas, Maybelline, and Theory. She’s also a long-time Safara Insider (read more about her here).

Like Sophia, we’re armchair traveling a lot these days, and planning for the future. We’re taking this time to build out our bucket lists, not just because it’s fun, but because it helps the industry we all love. By following and engaging with unique and local hotels, small businesses, and restaurants, we can collectively give them much-needed hope and encouragement during this strange and abnormally difficult time. 

Read on to travel (virtually) with Julie to the best spots in Park Slope, NYC…

NameSophia Li

Where you live: Formally East Village, Now Brooklyn.

Where you’re from: I’m a citizen of the earth!

What you do: Tell stories, interview people, direct documentaries, live for the ultimate survival of Mother Nature.

Follow Sophia on Instagram here.

Five reasons to visit the Lower East Side

The Food: Is a city a city without its corner, independently-owned neighborhood restaurants? Nah. If you also cried over Gabrielle Hamilton’s first-person NYTimes narrative on her restaurant Prune during the age of Covid and whether or not it will survive, then you are a true east villager. Then, head down the block for the most authentic Indian takeaway at Punjabi Deli. Go around the block again for vegan Divya’s Kitchen and vegan pizza at Double Zero.

There’s a reason we all wait outside for brunch at Cafe Mogador on the weekends followed by dinner and noodles at Madame Vo or Hanoi House. Oh and date nights at Wildair and Davelle during the sweaty summer months… love this hood. I might get sad at times but the belly stays happy here.

The hotel: Sister City NYC and the Ludlow Hotel. Dirty French is the bar attached to the Ludlow – great for fries and wine during a brisk evening, as is the fireplace in their lobby.

The store: Kallmeyer for your hot pink power dressing suit moments and Chop Suey Club for the most unique and creative designers hailing from China. ‘Made in China’ will never mean the same to you again.

The thing to do: Hot yoga hip hop flow at Y7 Studio followed by a sunset kundalini meditation at Ra Ma Institute to let out all the stagnant energy.

The New Museum

The culture: Because, now more than ever, we need to be supporting the Asian community amidst Covid-19, visit the Museum of Chinese in America. Also, The New Museum for a ponder, the International Center of Photography for nostalgia and wanderlust.

Read more from our Five Reasons series here.

Donate just $25 to the WHO with us here, and we’ll give you a FREE Safara Travel membership (worth $195!).

Five reasons to visit Park Slope, New York City (from a hotel marketing guru)

Vice President of Marketing at Ian Schrager Company Julie Wells gives us five great reasons to visit her neighborhood of Park Slope, Brooklyn after Covid-19. Read on for her favorite spots to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

We started Safara because we love to travel. We love that it opens our minds to new people, cultures, and ideas. It builds human connection. Travel sparks creativity, and fuels the global economy. We live and breathe this ethos –  we’re a global, remote team with a unified goal: to make travel easier, more efficient, and barrier-free. 

During this crazy time, that human connection we mentioned is a little compromised, right? While we all stay put, we want to be your window to the world, bringing you stories and inspiration from our global community of travel lovers. Our Insiders, who are also stuck at home and pining for their usual local haunts, have been thrilled to share reasons to add their neighborhood to your post-Covid travel plans. We’re going for the gold re: global coverage, and hope that you’ll find some new locals to try ASAP, wherever you are.

Next up in our ‘Five Reasons’ series is Julie Wells. She’s an Aussie, but now calls Park Slope, Brooklyn home. She runs marketing and brand experience for Ian Schrager Company, which includes the likes of the indomitable PUBLIC Hotel. Prior to working at ISC, Julie ran marketing for hospitality brands like Soho House, Spring Place, NeueHouse, and more. We always trust her tips, girl’s got taste in spades!

Like Julie, we’re armchair traveling a lot these days, and planning for the future. We’re taking this time to build out our bucket lists, not just because it’s fun, but because it helps the industry we all love. By following and engaging with unique and local hotels, small businesses, and restaurants, we can collectively give them much-needed hope and encouragement during this strange and abnormally difficult time. 

Read on to travel (virtually) with Julie to the best spots in Park Slope, NYC…

NameJulie Wells

Where you live: Park Slope, New York City

Where you’re from: Melbourne, Australia 

What you do: Marketing & Brand Experience at Ian Schrager Company 

Follow Julie on Instagram here.

Five reasons to visit Park Slope

The Food: Mariella – this place has so much heart and soul. Every pasta dish is sensational. My go-to is the Bolognese with gluten-free pasta, a glass of red wine, and the tiramisu. Far from regular, Café Regular is the greatest morning experience – you’ll feel like you’re in France with a cup of tea (or coffee) and a croissant. 

The bar: The Monro is a low-key British bar. I go there for the sausage roll when I’m feeling homesick. It’s also where I can find my husband when he’s not home.

The store: A beloved Park Slope bodega owner renamed his store The Bad Wife – but he insists that his spouse is anything but! Everything you need can be found here –  shop local! Sounds has a neighborly atmosphere and meticulously curated goods. The in-house cafe and backyard is a great place for sunshine and conversation. 

Brooklyn Botanical Garden

The thing to do: I’d recommend Prospect Park  farmer’s market and Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

The culture: Go to Public Records for music, Littlefield for comedy shows, the Greenwood Cemetery for the Sophie Calle Installation and concerts in the catacombs, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Wait, what about a hotel? There are no hotels I’d recommend in Prospect Park itself, so check in to The New York EDITION, The Times Square EDITION, or PUBLIC of course!

Read more from our Five Reasons series here.

Five reasons to visit Oud-West, Amsterdam (from a content creator and entrepreneur)

Content creator and entrepreneur Rachel Laurey gives us five great reasons to visit Oud-West, Amsterdam after Covid-19. Read on for her favorite spots to eat, drink, stay, and shop.

We started Safara because we love to travel. We love that it opens our minds to new people, cultures, and ideas. It builds human connection. It sparks creativity and it fuels the global economy. We live and breathe this –  we’re a global, remote team with a unified goal: to make travel easier, more efficient, and barrier-free. 

During this crazy time, that human connection we mentioned is a little compromised, right? While we all stay put, we want to be your window to the world, bringing you stories and inspiration from our global community of tastemakers. Our Insiders, who are also stuck at home and pining for their usual local haunts, have been thrilled to share reasons to add their neighborhood to your post-Covid travel plans. We’re going for the gold re: global coverage, and hope that you’ll find some new locals to try ASAP post-lockdown, too. 

Next up in our ‘Five Reasons’ series is Rebecca Laurey. Based between New York City and Amsterdam, she shares beautiful snippets of her life, style, and new motherhood with her 185k+ followers on Instagram. She’s an awesome content creator in her own right, but has also collaborated with brands such as Hermes and Armani as a social media and brand consultant, digital influencer, guest designer, and ambassador. It’s fair to say she stays busy!

Like Rebecca, we’re armchair traveling a lot these days, and planning for the future. We’re taking this time to build out our bucket lists, not just because it’s fun, but because it helps the industry we all love. By following and engaging with unique and local hotels, small businesses, and restaurants, we can collectively give them much-needed hope and encouragement during this strange and abnormally difficult time. 

Read on to travel (virtually) with Rebecca to the best spots in Oud-West, Amsterdam…

NameRebecca Laurey

Where you live: Oud-West, Amsterdam

Where you’re from: Leiden, it’s like a miniature Amsterdam, 30 minutes away.

What you do: I am a content creator and entrepreneur working on an exciting start-up (more to share soon!)

Follow Rachel on Instagram here and learn more about her here.

Five reasons to visit Oud-West, Amsterdam

The Food: Levain et le Vin has the best cinnamon buns in town. Fijnkost is on my street, it’s so underrated–  it’s the cutest neighborhood restaurant with the yummiest food.

The hotel: The Pillows Hotel is so cozy and chic!

The store: I love the Gekaapt concept store, I usually pop in once a week or so to see what’s new. Their kid’s store is pretty fun too!

The thing to do: The Vondelpark has an entrance at the end of my street. It’s the greatest luxury – especially when you don’t have an outside area of your own. It feels like my really big backyard… that I happen to share with other people! I go there every day and plan to do a lot of picnics there when this is all over.

The culture: The Kahmann Gallery is not actually in my neighborhood, but so good. Also, visit the Stedelijk Museum –  my favorite museum in Amsterdam.

Read more from our Five Reasons series here.

Book Hotels. Earn Points. Travel for free.


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