At Travel + Leisure, we love hearing about services that bring a refreshing level of ease and flexibility to booking travel. Enter OptionsAway.com. Started by Rob and Heidi Brown, a team of financial experts-turned-travel addicts, the site was born from their frustration over missing great travel opportunities because of fluxuating airfares. They used their knowledge in options pricing and applied it to air travel—and it's working. We sat down with co-founder Brown to find out more.
Q: How is Options Away disrupting travel? A: Options Away is offering an opportunity that has never been available to consumers before—the ability to lock-in airfares while they finalize their travel plans, and do so across multiple airlines. It is disruptive in the sense that we have actually begun to transform the way people plan and book travel. Travelers can hold prospective flights by paying a small fee and eliminating the need for immediate booking. With such a low cost and no commitment to purchase plane tickets, Options Away travelers can hold several flights at once.
With an unintentional Radiohead reference for a name, and a rapidly expanding fan base that includes the prime minister of Ireland, The Gloaming is not your typical world music chart-topper.
In just the past three years, the five-man, Irish/American group (Dennis Cahill on guitar, Martin Hayes on the fiddle, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh on hardanger fiddle, Thomas “Doveman” Bartlett on piano, and Iarla Ó Lionaird providing vocals) has played to sold out crowds at international venues like Dublin’s National Concert Hall, won the approval of mainstream critics at The Irish Times and The New Yorker, and most recently, put out a debut album that simultaneously pays homage to Celtic melodies and innovates Irish folk music for the modern ear. Bag pipes and Riverdance, this is not.
This summer, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson adds yet another restaurant to his growing Georgia empire. Following in the footsteps of his four existing Peach State successes, The Florence, Acheson's highly anticipated take on Italian cuisine, opened this June in a former ice factory, just minutes from Savannah College of Art and Design's campus.
Serving a menu of contemporary Italian fare infused with Southern ingredients (think a Sicilian fisherman's stew filled with fresh Savannah seafood or Neapolitan-style pizza piled high with local cheeses), the restaurant is a welcome addition to the coastal city's growing food scene.
Below, the Top Chef judge fills us in on his favorite Savannah spots, travel tips for foodies, and what diners can expect from The Florence.
Chef Thang Pham—born in Vietnam, raised in America, running a kitchen in Barcelona— presents the world on a plate, the summation of his influences wrapped in a banana leaf: his mother; his childhood best friend who welcomed him into an African American southern home; Washington, D.C.’s Anne Cashion; his Catalan present. Pham’s restaurant “Me” (Vietnamese for Mother), is in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood. Here, this architect-turned-Cordon Bleu graduate presents nimble plates for a sophisticated audience.
Q: How did you end up in BCN?
A: Having studied architecture, I came here because of Antonio Gaudi and I stumbled upon Ferran Adria and all those fantastic chefs—it was a very creatively rich atmosphere. My plan was to stay here a year—13 years ago! Spain has an absolutely amazing the sense of passion for and quality of product that is unrivaled—the black pork, all the seafood, even the artichokes. The reverence for simple, quality food is unique.
Berners Tavern, under the direction of much-celebrated chef Jason Atherton, is the most glamorous (and hard-to-get) reservation in London these days. Atherton is known for his fresh approach to traditional British cuisine, while steadfastly using only the very best ingredients. Now he’s showing the world just how fantastic British food can be, opening nothing less than a mini-restaurant empire that extends from London to Dubai to Shanghai to Singapore to Hong Kong.
Celebrity sightings abound at this, Atherton’s latest London opening. Housed in the Edition Hoteljust North of Oxford Street, it is jaw-droppingly beautiful, the walls crammed with artwork, framed by ornate plasterwork that seems to ooze off the walls. It’s a bit like sitting inside a Faberge egg.
Entre Cielos, which translates to “between heavens” and “between skies,” isa holistic hospitality concept nurtured to life by three Swiss friends in the foothills of Mendoza, Argentina.
Daniela Wäger-Spreafico, David Wäger, and Cécile Adam dreamed of a wine hotel and spa where guests could reconnect with themselves, commune with nature, sip wine, and delight in impeccable gastronomic experiences. A worldwide pursuit for the perfect location led the group of three to Vistalba, Mendoza, where they invested their savings to purchase a 20-acre plot of land with sweeping views of the Andes mountains.
After more than a decade at Goldman Sachs, Scialla left his position as partner to focus full time on Delos. The company, founded in 2007, pioneered wellness-driven real estate, or housing that keeps health and quality of life in mind during its design and construction process. Along with a soon-to-open residential community in Greenwich Village, Delos has transformed 42 units at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas into Stay Well Rooms—design details include water and air filtration systems, natural cedar closets and minibars packed with healthy snacks—and 142 more rooms are in the works. Below, Scialla tells Travel + Leisure more about Delos, and gives us tips for staying healthy on the road.
Q: What got you interested in wellness real estate?
A: A few years ago I was renovating my loft in New York City’s Meatpacking District, and I wanted to enhance the space by adding in some spa-like wellness amenities. I began doing some research and quickly discovered that no one was offering this type of wellness solution for homes. While there was such a large focus on green building and environmental sustainability, I started wondering, “Why stop at environment sustainability? Why not focus on human sustainability, as well?”
In February, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, is honoring a hometown girl made good, Jane Holzer, who went to New York in the early 1960s and dazzled Andy Warhol, Diana Vreeland, and the known pop universe.
To Jane, Love Andy: Warhol’s First Superstar (February 2–May 25, 2014) includes the high-1960s outfits Holzer—then known as “Baby Jane Holzer”—modeled, as well as Vogue spreads shot by David Bailey and Irving Penn. It’s Warhol-palooza, starring films with Holzer (Screen Test: Jane Holzer, Kiss, etc.) and iconic Warhol pieces like Flowers, Round Jackie, and Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box. These days, Holzer is all grown up but still in love with art, fashion, and sweet home Palm Beach.
Q: When did you first meet Andy Warhol?
A:I was on the street one day, near Bloomingdales, with David Bailey; Andy was on the opposite street corner. After we were introduced, Andy took one look at me and immediately said `Want to be in the movies?’
After a slew of food industry jobs, including a stint as the director of Slow Food Nation in San Francisco, Anya Fernald turned her attention to Belcampo, a food and agritourism company that owns and sustainably manages farms in California, Belize and Uruguay. The Belize property, located in Punta Gorda, is also a 16-room resort where guests can learn to harvest coffee beans and roast their own blends, or pick cacao to make bars of chocolate.
Below, Fernald, who travels up to two weeks of every month, tells us about her jet-setting style—and her favorite in-flight foods.
Q: What is Belcampo best known for in the U.S.?
A: Meat! We produce excellent grass-fed and finished beef as well as pork, poultry, lamb, and goat on our 20,000-acre farm in Northern California. All of our meat is sold through our own shops. The first one is open in Marin County, and we’re opening five more in the Bay Area and greater Los Angeles area in the next few months.
McCready thinks of his 18-month-old company as the Match.com of the music industry: Instead of potential lovebirds, though, Music Xray connects musicians with industry professionals who are looking for single song licenses or record deals.
McCready travels all over the U.S. and Europe for meetings with music companies. Below, he tells us more about Music Xray, and how he navigates life on the road.
Q: How does Music Xray work?
A: We build tools that help industry professionals—radio program directors, producers and managers, for example—glean high potential songs and talent from among the vast amount of independent music that’s available. Professionals can collectively filter through thousands of songs per day, identify quality material and pool their screening efforts. In other words, we empower our members to sort through a large haystack of music, pull out the needles and create a “needlestack” which other music pros can then cherry pick for the best songs and talent.