I am so grateful to have helped my client/friend/amazing human being, Mr. Anthony Demby, founder of www.humbleriot.com, plan an incredible trip for him and his girlfriend to visit Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. I learned an unbelievable amount in the planning process and feel lucky to have lived vicariously through his journey. If anyone reading this has ever thought of visiting this part of the world, PLEASE DO IT. If you have questions, please email me: email@example.com.
Mr. Demby was kind enough to send me a snapshot of his visit to Hanoi and Siem Reap. Here it is.
December 21 - 26, 2013
When we arrived in Hanoi, we were struck by the overwhelming amount of traffic, specifically people on scooters. It is the main method of transportation there and seemed to possess an element of organized chaos, - especially to us, as first time visitors..
We stayed at a very cool, modest, 102 room hotel called the Mercure Hanoi La Gare, located in a busy business district.
It was interesting to see that the kids in Hanoi all ran together in packs and had their own distinct individual aesthetic.
We ate at an AMAZING Indian restaurant called Namaste Hanoiwhich had a truly authentic feel as we were the only non-Indians there. The food was incredible. Great place if you like it Spicy.
While we were there we hung out with a super cool cat named Phu who owns a SICK performance venue/club called Hanoi Rock City.
He brought us to a local fish spot called Cha Ca La Vong. . Everyone should have this experience at least once in their life. They feature only ONE menu item: GRILLED FISH. This was my favorite meal in Hanoi - possibly of the entire trip.
From Hanoi, we headed about 3 hours away and hopped on a traditional Vietnamese Junk Boast and did a peaceful relaxing overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay.
The boat traveled amongst beautiful islands, some inhabited only by monkeys, and a few included legendary caves and day hikes. Definitely a must for anyone traveling to the area.
We said goodbye to Hanoi and took a quick 1.5 hour flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia where we relaxed as soon as we arrived. The vibe was immediately different from the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
We stayed in a VERY nice resort called the Borei Angkor which was off of the main road in town. Great customer service, beautiful rooms, and fantastic value.
We went to Siem Reap primarily to tour Angkor Wat which is a mystical temple complex. It is something I have always wanted to see and we got a chance to spend Christmas there. I met yogis who extended blessings to me and I was able to meditate amongst some life-changing energy. It is beyond words so I included a few photos below.
We hired a local tour company, there are several to choose from, and we spent 6 hours there with a great guide named Mr. Darund who gave us an enlightening history lesson of Angkor Wat, sharing tales of the sometimes tumultuous relationship between Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia.
We later hopped on a tuk tuk and went to a very good open air modern bistro calledViroth’s. Great food and great atmosphere with amazing music.
This is definitely an area that I wish I could have spent more time in and hope to return. Thank you Sorted Travel for planning an incredible trip!
I have re-written this post 35 times and still don’t think I will ever fully be able to articulate the impression that this breathtaking little mountain village has left on me. But here goes..
A few weeks before I visited, I was speaking to a very seasoned travel advisor, a woman who has been EVERYWHERE. When I asked her about Megève she said “ Rachel, this is my absolute favorite place on Earth. My husband thinks I lived there in my past life. You are going to love it”
She was right and I have not been able to stop talking about it since my return.
I flew nonstop from Newark to Geneva, and just an hour’s drive from the Geneva airport sits the picturesque village of Megève.
Megève developed into a very popular, posh ski community during the 1950’s as the Rothschild family frequented the area after “becoming disenchanted with St. Moritz”. While at one point, Megève catered to the aristocracy, it now possesses more of an accessible-to-all sort of feel. You cannot escape the ever-present feeling of being “welcome” here.
Although Megève is primarily thought of as a ski resort town, it is beautiful in any season. In summer, spring and autumn there are hiking trails, concerts, golfing, festivals, mountain biking and beautiful waterfalls and streams to explore. Not to mention fantastic off-season rates to take advantage of ..
After being picked up byElite who are THE BEST for luxury car rentals, driving experiences and ground transportation in Europe, a quick drive into the French Alps and we arrive at Hotel Les Fermes de Marie
A beautiful, boutique, romantic, family-friendly property, part of Maison & Hotels Sibuetcollection, Les Fermes de Marie has 70 rooms and 2 (gorgeous!!!) private, 5 bedroom chalets.
The hotel offers: A full spa with an extensive menu of massage and beauty treatments, indoor/outdoor saunas, indoor/outdoor Jacuzzis, indoor , glassed-in pool, kids’ concierge, adorable après ski program for children and is a quick 5 minute walk or 1 minute drive to the village center and ski lifts.
The village is beautifully designed with gorgeous wooden chalets, cobblestone streets, beautiful boutiques, cafes, restaurants, bars, a casino (!!!), horse-drawn carriages and 42 working farms surrounding the city centre, providing local kitchens with some of the most delicious ingredients you will ever have in your life. You can see the amazing preservation of history in Megève’s pristine setting.
I cannot wait to return.
I would like to thank my beautiful hosts, Mathilde Tissot and Marion Rouauxfrom Maison & Hotels Sibuet.
Thank you Marion and Mathilde for this beautiful journey and for making me feel “at home”. Je n’oublierai jamais.
Here are some articles on the amazingness of magical Megève.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in planning a visit. It is truly an incredibly special place.
Some people cringe at the thought of switching hotels during their stay.. And then there are some (like me) who love exploring new properties, comparing the upsides, downsides, the service to the non-service, the toiletry labels, the linens, room square footage, bathroom configuration, views, dining options, neighborhoods. There are so many pieces to the perfect hotel-stay puzzle and since customization is Sorted Travel’s #1 priority, we feel that matching a hotel property to our clients’ preferences is key.
The more we know about what is most important to you as the traveler, along with insight on the properties we sell, the better experiences we create!
After mapping out six hotels in 18 days for a client who frequents New York on business and is “shopping” for her “go-to” hotel, we asked our hotel-hopping sweetheart to please share some of her feedback.
Here is a peek into The Gramercy Park Hotel, Trump Soho, The Surrey, The Mercer, The James New York and The Smyth.
The breakfast here was by far the best of any other hotel. Bread pudding French toast on their gorgeous leafy terrace = bliss.
Amazing bath products : LE LABO Bergamot shower gel and Davinesshampoo (replenished daily!!)
Downside: Rooms are in desperate need of an update. Carpets are worn, cable service is spotty and there are not nearly enough available outlets for the business traveler.
The lobby staff seemed to have a bit of an air of ‘above it all’ which was slightly off-putting
THE SURREY20 East 76th Street between 5th Avenue and Madison, New York, NY 10021
A very different feel as its located on the Upper East Side as opposed to downtown Manhattan. They have done a good job of infusing a chic aesthetic to the hotel with artwork.
A much more spacious room with lots of natural light. Plenty of outlets and master switch.
Overall just loved it!! I do wish there were more tubs, specifically in their entry-level category salons.
Fantastic custom bath products
TRUMP SOHO246 Spring Street between Varick and Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10013
They have a master ‘wake up’ and ‘good night’ switch by the bed, which is AWESOME and controls all the lights and drapes in the room.
The top floors have the best view but it means waiting longer for an elevator ride down and likely having to stop on multiple floors. Not such a big deal when you’re sharing that elevator with an A-list actress..
Paparazzi often linger outside which makes you feel like a celeb… Except when they totally ignore you!
Tubs are great- ask for one of the rooms with the bathroom window and have a total ‘lost in translation’ experience
JAMES NEW YORK27 Grand Street between Avenue Of The Americas & Thompson Street New York, NY10013
Perfect Soho location. Simple and clean aesthetic. Loved the fresh baked cookies in the lobby at night! And Jimmy on the rooftop was great.
Rooms have lots of natural light with huge floor to ceiling windows and gorgeous views on higher floors.
Love that they have an electric kettle in each room for us tea drinkers :)
Another perfect Soho location - right in the mix of it all. Spent a bit of time doing work in the lobby. They have an amazing collection of coffee table books and magazines. Very very cozy.
Rooms are small and basic. Could use some art work or something to liven them up but I guess that’s part of the look.
The electrical outlet situation is not great here. There was one behind the TV which meant unplugging some things and then one by the door which meant needing to unplug my computer from charging every time the door opened!
Room service was very good as was breakfast.
SMYTH85 West Broadway between Chambers and Warren, New York, NY 10007
Amazing huge soaking tub. Loved the simple modern aesthetic of the bathroom.
The woman we checked in with was pretty unfriendly but everyone else at the hotel was very sweet, young and good looking (a plus).
Similar to Gramercy Park Hotel, the Smyth has a distinct smell when you walk in (in a good way).. As if someone is running a bubble bath nearby. This was very comforting as it was the end of my trip and I was feeling extra run down.
Loved Tiny’s and the great restaurant options nearby. I hadn’t spent much time in Tribeca so it was fun being in a new area. Getting a cab was never much of a problem.
Please contact us with any questions or to check preferred pricing for your travel dates. Until next time, my Sorted travelers! Stay tuned for updates from my trip to France this week.
Rachel Scatton, Personal Concierge, Sorted Travel Founder
As we work to recover from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy (and now that I have regained electricity and consequently internet service) I’d like to share a picture of the city I call home and undoubtedly one of the world’s most exciting and ever-changing destinations: New York City. Feeling truly grateful for things I sometimes take for granted and heartbroken for friends and families that have lost so much.
Donate to the Red Cross Hurricane relief efforts HERE.
Stay tuned for Sorted Memoirs new post. Coming soon.
Safe travels everyone,
Rachel Scatton, Personal Concierge, Sorted Travel Founder
I recently arranged three days in Chicago for two clients who had never been before. When they returned they told me how much they loved their trip. <— This means so much to me. Every time!
They flew nonstop on JetBlue from JFK to Chicago’s O’Hare (ORD) and stayed 3 nights at Public Chicago an Ian Shrager Hotel, about a 40 minute cab ride from ORD in a neighborhood called the Gold Coast, right along the coast of Lake Michigan. This property reopened in 2011 after a huge renovation which worked to preserve and highlight the structure’s original design as the historic Ambassador East Hotel. Two weeks later, I went to Chicago for one of my best friend’s baby shower and stayed at Public as well. We all agreed, we loved this hotel!
Candle-lit reception desk, attentive, kind and welcoming service (as it should be!) STUNNING lobby
and our room was perfect.
The hotel’s restaurant called The Pump Room is right off the lobby and was packed when we arrived late on a Friday evening. The Pump Room, originally opened in 1930, has hosted some of the most recognizable people in the world.. Look at their website - David Bowie, Tina Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman. They say Frank Sinatra would call in unexpectedly, pay for everyone’s bill that was dining there, wait for them all to leave so he could have it shut down for his own private party (debauchery). I asked them to show me where Ol’ Blue Eyes liked to sit.. It’s the elevated booth on the left in the back of the room. Turns out he always wanted to be facing the front doors so he knew who was coming in and out.
There are all these incredible photographs of patrons from over the years posted up on walls throughout the space. And the food is delicious. Made with love! Thanks to a newly designed menu by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
The hotel also has house bikes that are complimentary for guests. We took advantage of this and rode along the water over to Navy Pier. Such a great way to spend an afternoon and explore the gorgeous lake-front scene.
You may have gathered by now that I take eating very seriously.. So we also made sure we got in a meal at Shaw’s Crab House. This fabulous restaurant is known for its seafood. If you have the opportunity - please go! They have a more formal dining room and a less formal bar area/dining room. Both serve the same menu :)
I always ask clients to send me pictures from their travels. Here are a few moments captured by my Chicago-ers.
I am so excited to present Sorted Memoir’s very first Guest Editor post! Written by my lovely, well-traveled friend with exquisite taste, Joanne Woodhead. Jo and I worked together atQuintessentiallyin NYC while she was visiting from London for 6 months. You know that instant/easy friendship connection? That’s what we had! You may recognize her from my London post. She and her boyfriend Jonny took us to Sunday Roast :)
Joanne currently works as a Sales and Marketing Executive for an incredible Brand Communication & Creative Live Event Management Agency called Concerto Live.
She travels all the time and when asked to pick a destination she’d love to return to, she chose the gorgeous Icelandic city of Reykjavik..
THANK YOU JO for writing this <3
”I’ve recently returned from my first trip to Icelandand it was so magical and romantic, like nowhere else in the world!It actually felt more like how I imagine life on the moon. Icelandairflies direct from London to Reykjavik in approximately 2.5 hours. It also flies to New York, Boston, Berlin, Seattle and Orlando to name a few. From the airport to Reykjavik city center takes around 45 minutes by car.
Three packing essentials for your trip:
1. Layers of clothes as temperatures are changeable and can get very warm inside.
2. Swimsuit for the blue lagoon
3. Wooly socks. (camera is a given, and you’ll regret it if you forget it!)
The best time to see the phenomenal Northern Lights is between November and March, however Iceland is a great place to visit all year round. The ‘summer’, June to August, has the longest and warmest days, however snow covers the glaciers all year round. Due to its close proximity to the Arctic Circle, the winter can be bitter. Days of darkness and cold weather dipping to minus 25ºC are perfect conditions for excellent snow sports. Almost every cold, clear night shows the Northern Lights at their best.
Its location is fantastic, the hotel has a very cool atmosphere and beautiful rooms which were similar in style to some of Morgans Hotel Groupproperties. White drapes a plenty, open fires in the bar, a small but perfectly formed buffet breakfast and a naturally hot shower that left you wanting to stay in it all day – which you could if you wanted as the water is geo-thermal and the hot water never runs out.My bedroom had a king bed, the softest sheets, a roll top bath and separate shower, and a view of the ‘art wall’ and restaurant. This sounds unusual but was a blessing as my internal facing room escaped the street noise of habitual Saturday night partiers. I slept perfectly!
SM: Tell us about where you ate, what were your favorites.
Joanne: Grill Marketwas one of the best restaurants I’ve eaten in. The basis of the food was fresh, Icelandic ingredients, with an Asian twist. Their salmon was amazing. It came with a cream sauce, roasted crispy corn, and cherry tomatoes. The steak and lamb were also very good. Delicious cocktail menu, the Raspberry Cosmo was my favorite!
On our final night we went to Vid Tjorninawhich is a very old, traditional restaurant that you definitely wouldn’t stumble across - it is at the far end of town, through two doors and up two flights of stairs. The décor was very traditional and had the feeling of dining at your Grandma’s house – warm and very cozy (there was even an organ you could play in the bar!). The fish soup was mouthwatering and the experience was felt truly authentic.
SM: If a traveler only had only 1 day to spend in Iceland, how would you design their day?
2.Supertruck transfer to visit the geysers
3.BBQ lunch at Haukadalaur (half way to the glacier in the countryside)
Usually around October is when Matt and I begin planning our escape from the misery that is Winter in the US Northeast (No offense to those who love freezing cold temps, chapped lips and pale skin :)
This year, we decided on Turks and Caicos because it’s a quick, direct flight from NYC, we had never been and everything we’d read about it sounded like a perfect fit for our beach-starved souls.
Turns out, Everything we read is/was 100% true! Picture perfect beaches, weather and the sunsets!!! The moments when the sky turns from orange to red to purple to blue. So incredible.
Provo is what locals call Turks & Caicos’ most populated island. We stayed in Provo and here is what the descent into Provodienciales International Airport PLS looks like
PLS has a rooftop lounge with music that you can have drinks at if your departing flight is delayed!! We took full advantage of that the day we left.
In order to see all of Provo, I definitely recommend renting a car. We rented from Caicos Wheels. They were fabulous but please know before you go, you drive on the left side!!
There is a beautiful beach that you can snorkel off of called Coral Gardens. You can rent equipment right there and they have a cute little tiki bar/restaurant called “Somewhere”. We spent our 2nd day here, exploring the reefs and making friends with the bartenders at “Somewhere”.
We decided our favorite restaurant was Mango Reef at the Alexandra Resort. It sits right on the beach and you can tell that the food is made with love <3 One of the chefs is Filipino! We ate almost all of our meals here. Everything we ordered was delicious. The menu changes but the Vietnamese Chicken Salad and the Coconut Shrimp I will remember FOREVER.
Safety tip: Do not wear jewelry while snorkeling! Barracudas are attracted to sparkly jewels, HOW SCARY. And Iguanas like red painted toenails. I learned this from the tour guide while on Iguana Island, with my toes painted red.
Nightlife tip: There pretty much is none! I remembered that there was a Nikki Beach in Provo, thinking we might be able to get our party on there. When I asked about it, I learned it’s now closed because it went bankrupt due to major corruption. I became obsessed with the story. The property now lurks in the distance like a big haunted, deserted“if these walls could talk” hotel!! I kept trying to take a good picture of it. As you can see, I was not successful but still want to share.
There is a gorgeous restaurant/bar/pool called Las Brisas (they don’t have a website), we rented kayaks and had drinks at their bar. Drinking + kayaking = fun. This is Las Brisas and the surrounding water you kayak in, it’s really shallow and calm.
My top three property recommendations in Providenciales:
$ The Atrium Resort This is where we stayed! A friend of ours recommended and it was FABULOUS! We had a beautiful 2 bedroom suite for under 200USD per night. There is no restaurant, no Concierge desk. It is more of a collection of private condos. I was a little nervous at first because I love “being taken care of” at hotels but after the 1st day, I was in love!! You definitely need a car if you stay here and it is not a full-service resort. There do have a gorgeous pool and they have just opened a Jazz Club on property as well.
$$ The Alexandra Resort. Gorgeous, right on the beach! Pool club, great amenities, child-friendly. Jetsetter just featured them and if for no other reason, stay there because Mango Reef is their restaurant!
$$$ AmanyaraThis is secluded, five star, magical paradise. It has its own private beach, villas and spa. I could spend a few days here but I personally prefer to be around people and “life”. It’s a bit too quiet for me but breathtakingly beautiful and impeccable service.
They do not allow photography but…..
Until next time, Turks & Caicos. Thank you for having us :)
Rachel Scatton - Personal Concierge, Sorted Travel Founder
The inspiration behind Sorted Travel’s logo. My best friend Peter moved to LA about 10 years ago, which is when I first visited. It was love at first sight :) Here are just a few of the many many reasons why my heart lives in LA.
Mr C Beverly Hills - I had the pleasure of staying here recently and felt like a princess!!
Amazing 137 room property by Ignazio and Maggio Cipriani (of restaurant Cipriani), opened in 2011. Beautiful design, hardwood floors, leather details, gorgeous bathrooms, incredible service and each room has a private balcony. I love a smaller property because you get extra specialized service. There is a beautiful restaurant called Picca that is literally around the corner from the hotel and DELICIOUS - everything on the menu is ridiculous. I’m so sad I wasn’t able to get a good picture of our room at Mr C but how cute is their little logo?!
This is the view from our room
Umami Burger. Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with a (good) burger. THEY ARE MY FAVORITE FOOD!! There are 3 locations in Los Angeles, a few outside of LA and looks like they just opened one in San Francisco! I can’t bring myself to order something other than the Umami burger and I prefer the Los Feliz + Fred Segal restaurants. Umami Burger: shitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted tomato, parmesan crisp, umami ketchup. I am drooling typing this.
I will always love this hotel. The service, location, price, is always a perfect fit for me. In LA it’s tough to walk from place to place.As a New Yorker, something I love to do is walk. There is an amazing Juice Bar called earthbar and a delicious natural food restaurant called Hugo’s - both within walking distance of the Mondrian.
This is me at Skybar at Mondrian on my first trip to LA
This is an Acai Bowl from earthbar
This is what the Mondrian LA’s renovated studio suite rooms look like - so huge and that TV rotates so you can watch from bed or the living area!
Fred Segal Shopping and lunch - a perfect day! (As mentioned, there’s an Umami at Fred Segal.) I think LA gets a bad rep for its (non) fashion but I actually really like it!! With an affinity for preserved youth, the inner hippie, inner beach bum and vintage clothing/furniture, HOW CAN YOU HATE THIS!!? I’m not so much into the Ed Hardy or the plastic stripper clothes but whatever, I support looking and feeling young and fun. I love looking through the collections at Fred Segal. And the fact that I learned about this store from the movie Clueless makes it even more special.
"Lucy!!Where’s my white collarless shirt from Fred Segal?!”
I’m wearing the last thing I purchased from here.
Venice Beach - A magical beach town where you can rent bikes, ride between Venice and Santa Monica, see magicians, watch skateboarders, see where Jim Morrisson lived.. It’s kind of a freak show but in the best possible way. There’s also great shopping on Abbot Kinney which GQ voted “coolest block in America” in April 2012.
Something else I love is how well classic cars “live” in LA. You’ll see some of the most beautifully preserved vintage cars. I’m going to guess this is a 1969 Mercedes 280 SE..
Something else I love about LA is the fitness focus! While there is tons of partying going on, it feels like everyone also manages to stay in shape. Everyone is outside running or swimming or surfing or on their way to a spin/yoga/pilates/bootcamp class. You can’t help but feel inspired to work out. LA is the only destination that I can guarantee I will use the gym clothes I pack :)
A great way to see the city while getting your sweat on is to hike Griffith Park (not at dusk – there are wild coyotes), check out the observatory, watch the sunset. Great exercise, breathtaking views and good for people watching. Here are some sunset pics
Thai Massage. 40 dollars for an hour-long massage!! Be prepared for no frills, total relaxation, really strong sort of assisted-yoga-type massage and you have to change into the shirt + shorts set they give you. You will leave feeling like a new person!! I like Nuch in Hollywood. It is worth every single penny.
Spend a day (or 10) on the beach in Malibu. The drive along the PCH is gorgeous, you will see some of the most beautiful homes you’ve ever seen in your life and if you’re hungry, stop off at Malibu Seafood. Nothing like a fresh tan and some fresh seafood. Drooling again!
This sums up how I feel about Los Angeles
Rachel Scatton, Personal Concierge, Sorted Travel Founder