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On the List

Founders Note Christine June 5 2024

Some days, it’s like being the cobbler with no shoes. As in, our team has sorted you all out for your summer travel plans, yet my plans are still up in the air. Luckily there are perks to owning a travel company; my summer somehow always naturally evolves into epic travel. So, these are the places on my list, that some of you will not want to try at home.

Lost in Translation

One destination that should be on your list – and would make a top way to spend the New Year – is Japan. I was recently in Tokyo, and I can attest that the city is better than ever. I did a little old and new, as I have been to Tokyo half a dozen times, but not since the pandemic. On the first leg of my trip, I stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, which is my go-to hotel in the city. It’s always been lively but recently they’ve made the hotel a destination for trendy dining. Two notable additions are a Spanish tapas molecular tasting and The Pizza Bar on 38th.

One of the Most Sought-After Seats in Tokyo

I was skeptical too on why I should have pizza in Japan. The Pizza Bar on 38th, is the city’s first pizza omakase. Italian Chef Daniele Cason may be credited for actually creating the trend of top pizza in Tokyo, as plenty of other places have followed suit. At The Pizza Bar,  the experience is ten courses, eight slices of pizza and no, it’s not just for tourists. Besides the couple from the Middle East next to me, it was all locals from Tokyo. The Pizza Bar has a wait list of three months, and I was just lucky to squeeze in. I’ll have a full review of the experience. For now, I’ll say that it is one of the most unique meals I’ve had around the world.

Something New

I am an Aman Junkie, and while I spent some time at Aman Tokyo, I stayed at the new Janu. Janu is the sister hotel of Aman, billed as the more social and in theory less elevated version of Aman. Think of it as the bridge line of Aman in terms of the fashion world. Instead what I found though was a hotel that could have been an Aman. The rooms were lux max; most had balconies and some had a direct view of the Tokyo Tower. I’ll be writing a review on Janu soon as there’s just so much to cover that won’t fit in this note. Just know this is a hotel to put on the list and would be a fun place to celebrate New Year’s.

My Current NYC List

There is no place like home for me, and while I’ve been working on a side project, I’ve had the fortune to be home for a few weeks. We have also expanded our NYC reviews, which I’m doing for the pure love of the game. The following restaurants are on my rotation right now. This is not meant to be a hot spot list, though a few of them certainly qualify for the coolest new restaurants in NYC. But rather, when I’m in the mood for a drink, ceviche, a quick dinner, or sushi, these are the places where I like to drop in at the moment.

Quique Crudo
The Grill
San Sabino
Polo Bar
Avra Madison
Maison Barnes
Demo West Village
Nami Nori

Travel + Hotels on My Radar

This year has been an interesting one for me, where I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my entire life. It’s mostly been midnight and 1 am evenings, which means that I am ready for my summer travels. I have no plans yet, but on the unique side, Cape Verde in Africa is on my list. As a former Portuguese colony, it’s also where a number of Portuguese are retiring for the white sand beaches. There’s a direct flight from Lisbon or you can fly to Senegal and hop over from there.

I’m also feeling Lake Como this summer, where Tremezzo and the Mandarin Oriental are on my list. Lately, the MO hotels are aligning with my travels, and it’s good to be back with them. This year I also want to make sure that I get to the Hotel du Cap in Antibes. It’s the only place where I put the computer away and turn on my out-of-office.

The World is an Oyster

Or I may also just throw all caution to the wind and add on the Six Senses and Luacala Island in Fiji or French Polynesia for The Brando. I know this isn’t my usual Eritrea and Yemen list. But it’s really interesting that where you are in life and who you’re with, directs where you want to travel. Right now I’m feeling beautiful, serene, and peaceful places. There’s a lot going on in the world beyond the scope of my work days. Vacation has never been about an escape for me but right now I’m feeling how nice it would be to be in a bubble.

Wherever your travels take you this summer, wishing you those moments in your own bubbles. You deserve it.

All the Best,

Christine Drinan, Founder

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