Great Escapes When You Need a Break

A little trip away in the summer is exciting and rejuvenating, especially if you can’t take all of August off like the Italians/French do. Always looking for a new idea or two, we asked some cool travel experts to point us in the right direction.

A Few American Getaways

We asked the gang at Black Tomato, a very hip UK and US based travel agency known for truly tailor-made trips around the world, to suggest some of their favorite spots for escaping in the US right now.

Where to go in Texas:

A real Texan ranch

“For a true taste of Texas, visit The Inn at Dos Brisas. Set within 300 acres of lush green meadows and rolling countryside, Dos Brisas is a Spanish-style ranch offering up a little bit of rural Texas (with plenty of foodie and outdoor activities) but with all the amenities you’d expect in the city.”

Come here for:

  • cheese making courses
  • cooking classes
  • wine tastings
  • fly fishing
  • horseback riding
  • hiking and mountain biking

Where to go in New Mexico:

Santa Fe

Black Tomato recommends staying at the Inn of the Five Graces. “This is a luxurious resort and spa, with only 22 rooms, located in the artsy town of Santa Fe.”

Come here for:

“Take the 67-mile road trip from Santa Fe to Taos on the ‘High Road’, as it’s known, that runs along the crest of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains passing through villages first colonized by the Spanish in the 17th century. One of these, Chimayó, is home to the church of El Santuario de Chimayó, where pilgrims scoop up the sacred earth in the hope of curing disease. (You might also stop for the stellar New Mexican food at the Restaurante Rancho de Chimayó). Allow three hours for the drive, if not longer, so you can take in the views of the desert valley far below.”

Where to go in South Carolina:


“We’d recommend staying at Charleston Place (right) for your visit to the city and then going to the Inn at Palmetto Bluff in Lowcountry on the river for plenty of family activities, including Lowcountry field trips and horseback riding. There’s also an excellent spa here.”

Come here for:

“Charleston’s gorgeous antebellum homes make it one of the most well-preserved cities in the Deep South. Here we’d recommend walking tours or horse drawn carriages. We also recommend taking a drive through the area and visiting the plantations, halls, and homes located in the original walled portion of the city, including the Heyward Washington House – the former home of Thomas Heyward, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.”

Where to go in Utah:


Black Tomato recommend both the Zion Lodge and the Sorrel River Ranch in Utah for impressive landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities at both locales.

Come here for:

“We’d send you off to Zion Mountain Ranch for canyoneering, night campfires and horse back riding, as well as incredible landscapes and scenery. Then, we’d recommend you drive onto Sorrel River Ranch right in the middle of the dramatic cliff tops. This resort has farm-to-food plates, a great spa as well as national park walking, river rafting, off road touring and family friendly activities.”

Five-Star Camping in the USA

An ideal situation for a camping trip for two, Shelter Co. kits customers out with “European style” tents (which means they’re more like a room at a cool hotel), a bed and mattress, a comforter and pillows, bedside tables, rugs, a fully carpeted floor and much more. Each experience can be completely tailor-made to become even more deluxe. They’ll set the whole kit up for you in the place you choose to camp. Kelsey, one of the founders, sends us her recommendations for a few great West Coast campsites.

  • “For groups, River Edge Campground in Oregon is awesome. You can have up to 100 people in total privacy.”
  • “Another one of my favorites is Big Basin in California. Redwood trees galore.”
  • Mono Lake is another great spot. Gorgeous.”

Sojourns in Italy

Welcome Beyond is a company that curates luxury boutique hotels and homes around the world. Each property is carefully selected by the co-founders, who also happen to be brothers with a passion for travel. They have a great, modern aesthetic and an eye for design – from rustic to over the top – that makes these places truly unique and memorable. We asked Chris Laugsch, one of the brothers, to give us ideas for special getaways at two Welcome Beyond spots in Italy.


Monaci delle Terre Nere is located in the heart of spectacular rolling hills on the foot of Mount Etna with incredible views of the Mediterranean Sea. The owner, Guido Coffa, spent five years rescuing this villa from ruin, creating six guest rooms each individually styled with a mix of antiques and contemporary art.

Come here for:

A scenic road trip…

View of Mt. Etna from a Randazzo street

“One of the most beautiful and scenic roads in Sicily runs along the foot of Mount Etna. Start in Zafferana Etnea and drive to Randazzo with views of the volcano and the Mediterranean on the horizon. You will pass through many small and beautiful villages like Milo, Sant’Alfio or Linguaglossa and great scenery with vineyards, olive and fruit orchards and hazelnut trees.”

“Highly recommended: have lunch by the old monastery at ‘San Giorgio ed il Drago’ in Randazzo. They have top homemade cuisine and house wine.”


Torre di Moravola is a boutique hotel with a structure dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries that was carefully restored just a few years ago by its owners. Guests come for the views, the food and relaxing at the spa that offers treatments from pre-Roman times.

Come here for:

  • A truffle hunt with owners’ local friend.
  • Take an architectural tour of the region with the hotel owners.
  • Take a cooking class at the Torre di Moravola kitchen.

Further Afar…

We asked the destination experts Cazenove & Loyd to give us their suggestions for family and teen friendly adventures in a couple of unlikely and slightly further afar destinations for the summer time.


“One of the most stable countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Botswana has been careful to put conservation first in the way that it has developed its tourism. This means some of the best wildlife habitat and game-viewing in the whole of Africa.”

Where to stay:

San Camp

“The uber-stylish classic tented camp is on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pan in the Kalahari desert in Botswana. Recently refurbished, San Camp evokes a feeling of Morocco meeting India in the African desert. Calm, spacious, white tents with dreamy interiors, it is our new favourite. Explore the salt pans by quad bike in the day or spend time with the meerkats. At night, soak up the atmosphere of the retro chic tented rooms lit by paraffin lanterns. “

Little Vumbura

“The Okavango Delta is one of the most beautiful wildlife habitats in the world. Right in the heart of this wetland paradise lies Little Vumbura. As well as being very stylish without being over the top, this camp has a very cosy intimate feel – perfect for families or honeymooners. It has one of the best locations and you can approach the plentiful game by traditional canoe (mokoro) as well as by motor boat and by 4×4. Access to the camp when the waters are high is only by boat, which only adds to its romantic feel. “


“Most people think of Peru for its history: historic Inca sights like Machu Picchu and Pisac, and classic Spanish colonial architecture in Cuzco, Lima and Arequipa. But for families, especially in June, July and August when the vacations are long and many like to travel together, we like to take in the great outdoors. Mountain biking, trekking, horseback riding and rafting can all be arranged in the dramatic Andean landscape.”

Where to stay:

Sol y Luna

“Right in the middle of the breathtaking Sacred Valley of the Incas lies the Sol y Luna lodge, a collection of luxury casitas spread out over beautiful gardens peppered with exquisite flowerbeds. This is the ideal base from which to go riding (on Peruvian Paso horses from the hotel’s own stables), river rafting, trekking, or just simply wandering around the endless Inca ruins and villages dotted about.”

Palacio Nazarenas

“This brand spanking new hotel in Cuzco can proudly say it has the only outdoor swimming pool in Cuzco (heated of course) and, with the building having been so beautifully restored from the Colonial palace and convent it once was, you can relax in luxury. Private butlers are available at the touch of a button through every room’s iPad. Also, it’s a stone’s throw from the main square of the city for easy access to the most mouth-watering of up and coming restaurants.”

Low-Key Greek Island Hop

The Greek islands have always been a popular destination, for great reason: sun, beaches, vistas, seafood and reasonable rates. This week, we take you on a three-stop island hop, to some of the lesser known names in the Cyclades, highlighting great places to stay on each.


Milos is known for its beaches. The island boasts a pretty incredible variety, from white snow beaches to red and multi-colored sands, volcanic beaches and even a beach with sulfur mines. For a cultural fix, visit the Christian catacombs, the statue of Aphrodite, ancient theater in Tripiti, the Venetian castle, monasteries, the island’s awesome rock formations and more. For a perfect Greek island meal, find a taverna on the shore and sample the right-off-the boat seafood.

Where to stay:

Melian Boutique Hotel

Located in the small fishing village of Pollonia on the northeastern tip of the island, Melian is situated on the shores of the Pelekouda volcanic beach overlooking the Aegean Sea. Ocean views are complimented by the white guest rooms, a serene spa, an outdoor terrace and more.

Next, hop on a ferry to…

Sifnos is a quaint island full of traditional Cycladic villages sloped on the mountains and nestled by the sea, with whitewashed cubic houses and churches, brightly colored flowers growing on balconies and town squares boarded by olive trees. Much like Milos, the beaches are many, varied and beautiful. The cuisine in Sifnos is particularly good, with a strong regional tradition, as residents have been stewing in clay pots at a time when other Greeks where still roasting on spits.

Where to stay:

Elies Resort

Located on the idyllic bay of Vathi, Elies Resort combines modern minimalist luxury with a traditional Greek island feel, including the stunning views of mountains on ocean.

Then, take a boat to…

When you arrive in the port town of Livadi, drag your bags to one of the nearby ouzeries in the sand for mezedes (small plates) and ouzo. This unpretentious and laid-back Serifos vibe attracts artists, musicians and poets to keep summer homes on the beautiful island with some of the best architecture in the Cyclades. The lack of hype has kept many a tourist at bay, which, if you’re looking for a relaxed and authentic getaway, is very much a good thing.

Where to stay:

Studios Amfitriti

Just five minutes from the Livadi port are these studios that feel more like staying at a really cool Greek friend’s house than a hotel. Each room is adorably decorated and themed, like the sea bottom room with white sails hanging from the ceiling and a drawn mermaid on a reclaimed white wooden door. This is great for those looking for a more casual yet still beautiful stay in a place with a lot of character.