Area: Riviera Nayarit, Mexico
Vibe: Natural luxury
Fun Fact: Villas have an outdoor shower or outdoor soaking tub
Don’t Miss: Staying in the 40-foot-high treehouses
This Riviera Nayarit resort in Mexico, which opened in November 2020, takes nature to a whole new—and gorgeous—level. Along with the jaw-dropping setting (you can’t beat beach, mountains, and rainforest), you can stay in a 40-foot-high treehouse, relax in one of the outdoor soaking tubs, pools, or at the spa, and of course, enjoy everything nature—from ocean to hiking—has to offer.
Location: The resort describes itself as “wrapped in rainforest, lapped by ocean, framed by mountains”—which paints a perfect picture of the 81-acre beachfront property. Located in the Riviera Nayarit region of Mexico, the resort is about an hour from the Puerto Vallarta airport and about 45 minutes from Punta Mita.
Vibe: The natural elements take center stage here, with lots of greenery, pops of blue from both the ocean and pools, and calming neutrals in various textures. The resort pays homage to its location and the culture, using local Cumaru wood and clay, the latter of which was used to create tea sets and some of the in-villa tables, as well as other area elements, like stone. When it comes to where to stay, options abound with 105 villas to choose from. Want to really get in touch with nature? Consider the treehouses, which each sit about 40 feet off the ground, have their own plunge pools, and offer a true “indoor/outdoor” feel with floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor soaking tubs. Closer to the ground, you’ll find numerous villas that range in size from the about 900-square-foot Cliff Villa, which includes a private pool and outdoor shower, to the 2,250-square-foot Villa Banderas, which has two bedrooms and outdoor dining area, to the biggest of the bunch, the 18,000-square-foot Villa One, which is great for up to 8 people and includes a screening room, spa, gym, wine cellar, and infinity pool.
Why we love it: The resort draws you in with its location and relaxing ambiance and then truly wows with all the amazing amenities. Outdoor enthusiasts have the chance to hike and bike everywhere from beach to flatlands, as well as plenty of activities, like stand-up paddle boarding, tennis, archery, and even the “Mandarina Jungle Course” zip-line. Plus, don’t miss checking out “La Abuela,” a 500-year-old tree. Want to relax? The One&Only Spa—set in a volcanic rock garden (!)— has six treatment rooms, where you can have a mud bath, massage, or locally-inspired treatment, using Tata Harper products. Or, take a yoga class, try a sound bath, swim in one of the six pools, or even go for a jungle workout to really become one with your surroundings. Dining your thing? You’ll find it in spades here, with a number of different restaurants and dining options, including the resort’s signature restaurant, Carao, featuring locally-inspired dishes with an open kitchen. There’s also the outdoor Alma that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as restaurant’s bar, The Treetop, for fun drinks. Plus, The Jetty Beach Club, which has an open grill, water views, and day beds for prime unwinding.
Why Go F1rst: XX NEED TO ADD
F1S tips: While this property gives off major honeymoon vibes, it’s not just for couples: There’s plenty for families to do too, including a 42,000-square-foot kids club—which, fun fact, was designed by the Oscar winning art director for “Moulin Rouge” and “Romeo + Juliet”. There, kids between the ages of 4 and 11 can enjoy playing in a collection of treehouses, checking out the nature hut, and so much more.
The Standard London
The Standard, London
Area: London, England
Vibe: Cool and trendy
Fun Fact: Some rooms feature outdoor bathtubs
Don’t Miss: The Sounds Studio
This London property marks the first non-U.S. based hotel for The Standard—and they’ve gotten it so right. Along with the stylish building itself — which has been completely renovated — you’ll find great restaurants (and a Michelin-starred chef), colorful rooms, and the unique Sounds Studio, plus so much more.
Location: The 10-story Brutalist-style building is located in the revitalized neighborhood of King’s Cross in North London. It’ll take you about 40 minutes to reach the hotel from Heathrow Airport and once there, you’re close to public transportation, including St. Pacras International station—and about 15 minutes from most of the major hot spots, whether you’re looking to visit the Tate Modern or Buckingham Palace.
Vibe: The recently restored building itself, with its great architecture and bright red elevator that can be seen from the outside, gives off a stylish and trendy vibe right from the start. And it only continues inside. There are a total of 266 rooms. That includes The Single, which has a studio-like feel for when you’re traveling solo, the King’s Terrace which comes complete with an outdoor bathtub (!) and the Suite Spot, which at 861 square feet is the largest of the rooms, and features floor-to-ceiling windows and “emperor-size beds.” Though it’s slightly smaller at about 732 square feet, the Suite Terrace has many of the same amenities as the Suite Spot, but also includes a huge terrace with outdoor seating and great open-air views. The rooms are bright, with a mid-century California vibe—and come with great amenities, like Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speakers and custom-made Craig Green robes.
Why We Love It: There’s so much to love about this property—from the rooms to the restaurants. On the food front, there are three unique spots on-site. Isla, which has an outdoor garden area, “offers an approachable seasonal menu featuring light proteins and a predominantly natural wine list.” Breakfast is available in the morning, and then the kitchen is open until almost 11 p.m. every day of the week. Then there’s Double Standard, the casual, ground floor restaurant that—like Isla—is run by chef Adam Rawson. For dinner, there’s Decimo, which occupies the enviable top floor of the hotel (the views!)—and can be reached from that red elevator. Opening in October 2019, this marks the first London outpost for Michelin-star chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias and “merges the Spanish cuisine of his family with his love of Mexico.” Also cool? The Sounds Studio. Here’s how they describe it: “A recording booth, a performance pod, a living magazine—the Sounds Studio is a broadcast recording venue that with the open of a window can act as a public stage to hotel guests and beyond.” You’ll find it in the Library Lounge—which also features a great book collection—and you can visit their website to see what’s on tap.
Why Go F1rst: TBD
F1S Tips: Don’t worry about leaving your pup at home—all the rooms are pet-friendly.Mandarin Oriental Lake Como
Mandarin Oriental Lake Como
Area: Lake Como, Italy
Vibe: Sophisticated and stylish
Fun Fact: Most of the rooms have balconies or terraces
Don’t Miss: The outdoor pool sits right on Lake Como.
Ready for some lakefront relaxation? Then the Mandarin Oriental Lake Como it is. Located right on Lake Como, in the town of Blevio, about an hour outside Milan, this property is primarily housed in a 19th century villa and features stunning lake views throughout. With two distinct restaurants, a huge spa, gorgeous gardens, and a pool that will leave you feeling like you’re floating on the lake itself, you’ll be able to sit back, relax, and take in all the beauty that abounds.
Location: With its enviable location on the banks of Lake Como, this property is mostly located within Villa Roccabruna, a building (the stonework alone is amazing) that hails from the 1800s. The hotel is close to the town of Blevio, which makes it easy to enjoy all that Lake Como itself has to offer. It’s about 50 minutes from Milano Malpensa international airport—plus about an hour from Milano Linate airport and 90 minutes from Bergamo airport.
Vibe: Sophisticated and stylish, the hotel feels historical and old-world while still being modern and contemporary—a juxtaposition that works well. The property is also enveloped by verdant botanical gardens. There are 75 accommodations, divided between rooms, suites, and private villas. They all make great use of the lake, and most of the rooms and suites—which are well-appointed and outfitted in a neutral color palette—have their own balcony or terrace. For something a little different, there are two villas: the one bedroom Villa Della Rocca, which has stunning views from its floor-to-ceiling windows (even the soaking tub has its own view!) and the three-bedroom Villa del Lago, whose entrance is just steps from the Lake and includes an outdoor Jacuzzi and its own private dock.
Why We Love It: The property truly makes use of its lakeside location—from the rooms and suites to the dining options. In fact, both of the restaurants on the property offer amazing views of Lake Como. There’s the hotel’s signature restaurant, L~Aria, which is “tucked away within a lakefront building in the heart of the gardens” and has a huge terrace that overlooks the water and offers stunning views from its outdoor tables. The restaurant, featuring gourmet Mediterranean cuisine, serves breakfast and dinner every day, plus lunch on Sundays. Then, you can snag lunch and dinner, plus afternoon tea and aperitivos at CO.MO Bar & Bistrot. With its cool blue sofas and opulent feel, the restaurant’s outdoor terrace is also lined with tables overlooking the water. But it’s not just water views and great dining, the hotel’s spa—a whopping 13,000 square-feet—is also impressive: there’s a fitness center, beauty studio, and you can enjoy water-themed treatments like “On the Lakeshore” or “The Power of Water,” a 3.5-hour treatment that includes a massage, full-body exfoliation and more. There’s a Thermal Area offering plenty of heat and water experiences, an indoor pool as well as an outdoor pool that juts out right into the lake and includes lots of lounge chairs for relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere. The hotel also has space for meetings and events—and a quick scroll through the gallery of photos on their website will give you an idea of the gorgeous events they can host.
Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive a complimentary buffet breakfast for two every day of your stay, a $100 resort credit, and early check-in/late check-out as well as an upgrade, if available.
F1S Tips: There are plenty of wellness options, including a Finnish sauna and Himalayan salt room, to help you truly relax and unwind.Why You Should Consider a Family Vacation Now
How Our Partners Are Keeping You Safe
How Our Partners Are Keeping You Safe
Borders and cities are beginning to reopen, and demand for travel is improving. The result: the travel industry is – slowly but surely – sparking back up. So when you’re ready to travel again, we’re ready to guide you again. Deciding how to get there and where to stay is just as important as deciding where to go in the first place. Which airline should you choose—and are they regularly disinfecting their planes? Should you stick with a car service over public transport once you land? What happens if you forget your mask? Here at F1S, our travel advisors can answer all these questions—and lots more!We partner only with the best of the best, especially when it comes to safety. And it’s no surprise our partners have stepped up in a big way. Here’s a look at some of the ways three of our select partners are working to keep you safe, across all types of travel.
“EmpireCLS has always maintained an extremely high level of duty of care to our guests,” says David Seelinger, Chairman and CEO of the company, which provides chauffeur services in more than 700 cities around the world. “While previously this had to do with the safety and security of the driving experience, the Covid situation has prompted us to extend that duty of care to providing the best possible environment from a cleanliness standpoint.”
And they are doing just that—extensively sanitizing their vehicles, car seats, and other communal items, like chargers, between uses. “We have gone above and beyond with our safety and cleanliness protocols, working with International SOS to develop new regimens, which include electrostatic spraying—which lessens the chances of the virus sticking to any surface—outfitting our vehicles with three-layer air filtration, limiting chauffeur-guest contact, and so much more,” explains Seelinger.
Among other measures, drivers wear N-95 masks, use gloves when touching guests’ luggage, provide masks and sanitizers for passengers, removemagazines from vehicles, and skipp the front seat for passengers. (For a full look, the company created a video highlighting many of these updated protocols.)
“We have been the leader in our industry in terms of developing cleanliness protocols for ground transportation,” says Seelinger. “If someone needs to be driven in a car, the ride-share services simply do not have the control [that] we do over the in-car environment or the cleanliness protocols our chauffeurs must maintain worldwide.”
Whether hopping on a plane was something you did every week for work pre-Covid, or just every few months for fun, you may be hesitant to board a plane these days. But let what Delta is doing ease your fears: “The travel journey from airport curb to baggage claim has been reimagined to provide a safer and cleaner experience, both during and after Covid-19,” explains Matt Kutches, General Manager-Global Sales, Delta Air Lines.
To that end, the airline employed the Delta CareStandard, which includes additional hand sanitizers and plexi-glass shields at boarding, cleaning communal surfaces like kiosks and security bins (they also partnered with Lysol), plus completely sanitizing—via electrostatic spraying—the entire plane. Middle seats are left empty to help with social distancing, pillows are tossed post-use, and you’ll find Care Kits filled with a mask and hand sanitizer and, on some flights, snack bags too.
Also great? Not only did Delta create a Global Cleanliness Division, but they also partnered with the Mayo Clinic. “Deepening our relationship with [the] Mayo Clinic provides additional safety and Covid-19 infection control measures for customers and employees,” says Kutches. The medical center has “developed and will oversee Covid-19 testing of Delta’s full workforce,” he says, as well as advise in a variety of other ways, from helping the customer experience team to creating an advisory council including both Mayo Clinic and Delta execs.
And if you’re still hesitant, Kutches recommends talking with your travel advisor. “Do your research, consult your travel advisor to hear more details on what initiatives Delta has deployed to keep customers and our employees safe throughout the travel ribbon,” he says.
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Ready for a hotel stay—even in your own city? (Us too!) Many hotels have upped their safety game, including Four Seasons. “As the significant impact of COVID-19 on global travel became clear, we very quickly understood that our guests would want measures in place to create a safe, worry-free environment when they decided to travel again,” explains Ben Trodd, Senior Vice President, Sales and Hotel Marketing, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “This insight helped guide the creation of our enhanced global health and safety program, Lead With Care, which builds on our already stringent health and safety measures.”
Lead with Care—which is in place in all Four Seasons properties—includes a whole range of different measures, from increased sanitizing (including use of electrostatic spraying and ozone technology) to offering contactless check-in and digital menus at restaurants to “Lead with Care kits” in all rooms, which include masks and sanitizers to (of course) mask-wearing for guests and staff. And to help manage these changes, each property now has a “hygiene officer.” Plus, similarly to Delta, the hotel partnered with Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
“Guests staying at Four Seasons also have the added confidence of being able to control the level of in-person contact and engagement they have with our team through the use of the popular Four Seasons App and Four Seasons Chat,” says Trodd. “Launched in 2015 and 2017 respectively, these well-established digital platforms are a key components of Lead With Care, providing guests with contactless service options, while still fostering connections and creating highly personalized experiences.” Guests can do things like order room service and make spa reservations and, when chatting, real people—on the property where you’re staying—are behind the responses, and they can answer you in upwards of 100 (!) different languages.
“While I can’t speak to other brands, guests should have no hesitation when considering a [stay] at a Four Seasons right now,” says Trodd.
Maison Montespan Paris
Maison Montespan Paris
Area: Paris, France
Vibe: Sophisticated comfort
Fun Fact: Geared for families, there’s lots for kids to enjoy
Don’t Miss: Relaxing on the well-appointed rooftop
This residence in the 16th arrondissement in Paris offers the best of both worlds: A private home with all the comforts of a hotel—and we are here for it. With five bedrooms, great amenities (heated pool, gorgeous rooftop) and the opportunity to experience all the city has to offer, the family-friendly maison gives a whole new meaning to the idea of a “home away from home.”
Location: The home is situated in a residential neighborhood in the sophisticated 16th arrondissement. It’ll take you less than 40 minutes to get to the area from the airport, but unless you’re planning to rent a car, let the maison take care of it: They can arrange for a private car and driver to meet you at the airport and take you directly to the home. Once there, you’re close to a variety of landmarks: it’s a 10-minute drive to the Eiffel Tower and 20 minutes to the Louvre, and in the 16th arrondissement itself, you’ll find cool spots like Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Jardin d’Acclimatation and the food options along the Rue de la Pompe.
Vibe: If you walk in and it feels like home, that’s the point. With an open floor plan and contemporary décor, the home is stylish and lux, but still comfortable and welcoming. There are 5 rooms and suites, each with their own bathroom—and the whole space sleeps 10 total. There are three bedrooms, all which are sophisticated, with fun pops of color and gold accents throughout. On the top floor, you’ll find two suites. Offering similar décor to the rooms below, the suites also include their own wrap-around balconies.
Why we love it: We love that this home brings the lux—from the service to your surroundings—without feeling stuffy. Throughout your stay, you’ll have a butler on hand, housekeeping services, daily breakfast and afternoon tea service, with fresh pastries made by a French chef. Along with the bedrooms, the open-concept home has a kitchen, living room with a Steinway piano, dining room and elevator, as well as a heated indoor swimming pool and fitness center, complete with stationary bike, boxing bag, and treadmill. And with all that space, the home is very family-friendly. In fact, they say, “Ideally conceived to accommodate your family, Maison Montespan is designed for all ages. The safety, comfort and entertainment of your children are at the heart of our concerns.” And they really mean in: For the youngest family members, there are cribs, high chairs and other necessities available, and for older kids, there are all sorts of activities that can be arranged—from yoga classes to magic shows. Plus, if you prefer, they can switch the pool to a playroom or screening room. (And did we mention they can also arrange babysitting? Win-win.) The activities aren’t limited to kids, either. There are a whole slew of “experiences” that can arranged, whether you’re interested in food and wine, music, or taking tours of the city. Also of note: The great outdoor space. There’s a rooftop with a summer kitchen, as well as a dining area, lounge chairs and sofas and a bioclimatic pergola—perfect for enjoying the space any time of day. Looking for something different? The house can be used as an event space as well.
Why Go F1rst: If you book with First in Service, you’ll receive early check-in and late check-out, depending upon availability.
F1S Tips: Art lovers will be impressed by all the pieces throughout the home, all created by French artists such as Laureline Galliot, Léo Caillard and Aude Herlédan. Bonus: If you fall in love with a particular piece, you can purchase it and bring it back to your own home.