Traveling in Style: 4 Luxury Travel Blogs We Love

Wendy Perrin's blog showcases interesting places and smart ways to get there.

Wendy Perrin’s blog showcases interesting places and smart ways to travel.

What do you do with all the extra interest – found money – that you earn from your Max membership? Many Max members put it toward their travel itineraries. We’ve put together a list of our favorite luxury travel blogs and sites.

Wendy Perrin’s Blog
Travel expert Wendy Perrin — you know her from her years at Conde Nast Traveler — shares her experiences and those of her husband and kids on this blog. Aimed at families who want to travel in style with a twist, Wendy’s blog spotlights destinations you hadn’t considered and other tips from travel pros: “Would You Take the Plunge Into an Icelandic Volcano?” Wendy’s team of writers and photography contributors also gives you the inside scoop on adventures that look too crazy to try: “I Can’t Believe We Did This: Mountain Climbing in Whistler.” The blog is a smart traveler’s guide to issues such as what to do in Barcelona and the best places to go in September.


Bringing a new dimension to luxury travel is Equitrekking, which discusses horse-related travel of all kinds. Darley Newman, a rider and journalist who hosts the Equitrekking TV series, blogs about trends in equestrian excursions, from Assateague Island in Maryland and Virginia, famous for its herds of wild horses, to the Dublin Horse Show. Max Luxe did a Q&A with Darley on what she’s seeing on horseback, including Botswana riding safaris. Whether or not you have experience riding, a trip by horse can be a fun and novel way to see the world.

Luxe City Guides
We love these petite and chic city guides, which fulfill their promise of telling it like it is about the some of the world’s most interesting places. Not only do they tell you where to go, they tell you where not to go, which is often more valuable. You can buy or download the guides or get the app, but the site also features takeaways like where to shop in Miami for hot shoes (Del Toro) or how best to see the Great Wall of China: “Its status as one of the 7 new wonders of the world (and its sheer magnificence) means this stone fortress is a must see… But it doesn’t mean you have to put up with busloads of yelping tourists and queueing with the hordes to climb the endless steps.” This signature tone — like a snarky but always in-the-know friend — imbues Luxe’s work. If you typically reach out to your besties for this kind of advice, Luxe is a site for you.

Monocle Travel
The luxury-lifestyle magazine Monocle has a line of paper travel guides which get you from city to city with verve. Online, the site also offers quick takes on individual destinations to read or download. In Aspen, for instance, Monocle tells you where to buy unique boots (Kemo Sabe) and offers advice on restaurants by occasion, including “Leisurely breakfast,” “Lunch on piste,” or “Big dinner with friends” (Matsuhisa, naturally). Each destination has five “Essentials,” the top things to know, and an archive of related magazine articles, posts, and podcasts from Monocle.

Luxury Horseback Tours: Q&A with Equitrekking’s Darley Newman

For those who love to ride, seeing the world from the back of a horse makes for a perfect vacation. Darley Newman, who hosts the PBS show Equitrekking as well as several other travel-related shows and web-video series, has been riding since childhood. On her show, she takes viewers along on horseback through some of the world’s most exotic places. Her travel company also arranges horseback tours around the globe for vacationers.

Newman talked to Max Luxe about what drives her, what her days are like on the road, and where she’d like to go next.


– How did you get interested in luxury riding trips? 

Horseback riding is such a great way to see a new place and really immerse yourself in nature and culture. There are amazing luxury riding vacations all over the world in destinations as far flung as Jordan and as close to home as Virginia.


 – What’s your favorite place to ride on vacation?

I have a few favorite riding destinations in Ireland, Botswana, Turkey and throughout the American West and Southwest. In Ireland, Castle Leslie is wonderful and unique. The horses and riding are exceptional with hundreds of cross country jumps built by Willis Bros. of Badminton Horse Trials fame sprinkled throughout the private estate, which is still inhabited by its eccentric founding family. You can hang out with Irish aristocracy, unwind in the Victorian-themed spa and spend nights in this splendid castle. Each room is richly decorated with family antiques and fireplaces, great for relaxing after a day on horseback. Past guests have included Irish poet WB Yeats, Prince Pierre of Monaco, Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and members of the Churchill family, to whom the Leslie family is related.


– What is your typical day like while you’re on the road shooting an episode?

Every day is different and an adventure when we’re filming for Equitrekking. We’re normally in some exotic destination riding horses and trying other adventures with locals, who are passionate about their home area and sharing its rich culture, cuisine and history. When we’re filming, days are long, as we’re always trying to take advantage of the light and capture the diversity of the destination so the viewer feels like they’ve come along for the adventure. We’ve filmed in some extraordinary locations, including the Royal Stables with HRH Princess Alia in Jordan, historic Blair Castle in Scotland’s Highlands and the wild lava fields of Iceland.


Equitrekking host Darley Newman riding in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Equitrekking host Darley Newman riding in Botswana’s Okavango Delta.

– What are the most popular trips that riders book with Equitrekking?

North American ranches and riding tours in Ireland are really popular. These trips are great for both first time riders and more experienced equestrians and can be a great choice for mixed groups, where some people want to ride horses and others want to fish, golf, go to the spa or do other sightseeing. We started and the Equitrekking Vacation Guide to catalog some of the exceptional ranches and riding vacations we’ve discovered and make it easier for other people to find these often lesser publicized experiences.


– What’s a luxury destination for people interested in riding that’s under the radar?

If travelers want to combine some of the most amazing wildlife viewing with a luxury, classic safari camp, Botswana has great choices and is lesser known. I’ve traveled throughout, enjoying exciting riding and some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. One amazing place that is definitely lesser visited is the Makgadikgadi Pans, one of the world’s largest salt pans. You feel like you’re riding the surface of the moon in this remote, otherworldly locale, which has the best stargazing I’ve ever experienced. A great time to visit is during the wet season, when you can observe the last surviving migration of zebra and wildebeest in Southern Africa. I even got the chance to gallop with a herd of zebra and wildebeest. This is not for the faint of heart! For guests who want a truly memorable, stylish safari experience, stay at Jack’s Camp, an opulent tented oasis complete with Persian rugs, unusual African art and artifacts and private butler service.

Must-See Sights in Hoi An, Vietnam

Endless tropical pools at the Nam Hai resort.

Endless tropical pools at the Nam Hai resort.

Looking for your next Southeast Asian beach resort — with a deeply local history? Hoi An, a small trading port in Vietnam’s Quang Nam Province, could be your pick. We asked friends of Max to tell us what they liked about their luxury vacation in the South China Sea beach town.

– Stay

All signs point to the opulent Nam Hai Hoi An, one of the GHM Hotels and a Leading Hotel of the World. This all-villa beach resort boasts tranquil private pools and stunning views. Feel free to bring children, who will enjoy the resort’s kids’ club. The food is one of the high points, our informants say. If you fall in love with the place, the villas (up to 5 bedrooms) are for sale, with personal butler service included.

– See

The resort is situated close to three UNESCO World Heritage sites: the old town of Hoi An, My Son and Hue.

Hoi An, UNESCO says,  is “an exceptionally well-preserved example of a small-scale trading port active from the 15th to 19th centuries” revealing the influence of  Japan, China, and Europe. The town has an abundance of temples and features a noted Japanese-style covered bridge with a pagoda.  Lanterns illuminate the town at night, and a special night market is devoted to lights.

Hoi An is an old trading port and life there still revolves around the water.

Hoi An is an old trading port and life there still revolves around the water.

My Son, a day trip from Hoi An, is the ancient capital of the Champa Kingdom, which flourished from the 4th to the 13th centuries. The site includes 71 stone towers dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva. It’s comparable in quiet magnificence and worldwide significance to Indonesia’s Borobudur temple and the Cambodian holy complex at Angkor Wat. Hue is another former capital, the seat of the Ngyuen dynasty, which ruled Vietnam from the early 1800s until 1945.

– Do

If lounging by your own pool is too passive for you, rent bikes and ride into the surrounding rice paddies or the local markets. You can also try a cyclo, a three-wheeled bike, which is ideal for touring the Old Town.

Locals traditionally fish using giant baskets. The hotel or a tour agency can arrange an outing where you can try this technique yourself.

For foodie travelers, the Nam Hai offers cooking classes that include excursions to market stalls with the hotel chef. Other culinary seminars off the resort are easy to find and can introduce you to local styles of cooking.

The area is famous for its tailors and some 400 of them are in business here. Stop in with a picture of your favorite dress, or any clothing item you love, and have a tailor replicate it for you.


Postcard from Stockholm: What Not To Miss in Sweden’s Capital

Photo credit: Fatima Holmgren

Photo credit: Fatima Holmgren

Stockholm – a walkable, genteel city featuring royalty, cutting-edge design, and a fever-pitch foodie scene — is gaining attention as a luxury destination. Team Max visited some years ago, and we asked some friends of Max who are Stockholm natives to help us shape an itinerary for a trip to Sweden’s capital.


– Eating

 Where to start in a city with 8 Michelin stars? Celebrity chef Mathias Dahlgren has two restaurants in the renowned Grand Hotel: Matsalen, which boasts 2 stars and a new-every-day menu of seasonal New Scandinavian dishes, and one-star Matbaren, a more casual gastro-bar. Also try two-starred Frantzén, the brainchild of chef Bjorn Frantzén,  which boats what the Guide Michelin called a “particularly interesting wine list.”

Locals point in the direction of Gastrologik, run by Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr with a produce-first philosophy: “The potato is worth exactly as much as the truffle. It is not nature that decides what´s good or bad, it’s you and me,” reads the manifesto on the restaurant’s website.


Photo credit: Fatima Holmgren

Photo credit: Fatima Holmgren

– Excursions

Start by walking around Gamla stan, the old town center, which is lined with coffee bars and small boutiques. Head down Strandvägen to Djurgården, a leafy island bound by bridges to the rest of the city. There’s enough to do for a whole day: the Grona Lund amusement park; Skansen, an outdoor museum dotted with historic houses moved from all around the country; and the iconic Vasa Museum, which boasts a preserved Viking ship.

 Elsewhere in the city, locals recommend the Hallwyl Museum, in a former Victorian-era castle, and the Modern Museum in Skeppsholmen. Once you’ve taken in the quaint blocks and arching bridges, hop on a ferry to one of the outer islands for a trip to the country.


– Shopping

 Looking for Swedish-born design? Stop in at Svensk Tenn, the venerable home-decor house known for its colorful prints and seen in chic homes around the world. Another destination is Design Torget, which features high-design items from a variety of famous and undiscovered designers, often for a limited time.

If you’d like to take home some of the crystal for which Sweden is famous, try the grand old department store NK, which stocks local favorites Orrefors and Kosta Boda. They have a range of crystal goblet sizes not found elsewhere.



Postcard from Bodrum: Must-See Sights in Turkey’s Top Beach Resort

The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum from the air.

The Mandarin Oriental Bodrum from the air.

Bodrum, the chic Turkish seaside resort, is known for its sparkling beaches and relaxed vibe. We asked friends of Max Luxe who have summered in the area for years to tell us what to visit on this picturesque Aegean Sea peninsula.

– Yachting

Yacht owners aren’t the only ones excited about Bodrum’s new Palmarina, a mega-yacht basin ringed by hotels, restaurants, and luxury shops. The complex includes an outpost of Italian billionaire Flavio Briatore’s night club, somewhat eponymously named Billionaire, as well as Nobu and Cipriani restaurants. Owned by an international shipping conglomerate, the marina has all the services yacht owners need — and a brokerage in case you’d like to pick up a new boat while there.

– Hotels

The chicest hotel in the Bodrum area is the new Mandarin Oriental, which opened in July 2014. The 109-room beachfront property is built into a hillside forested with olive trees. Visitors get the usual plethora of luxury services, including impossibly stunning pools, a spa, and ten restaurants and bars, which often feature international DJs. Jetting in with a large crowd? See if you can book the 4-bedroom, 7-person duplex suite with private pool (from 2000 euros per night).


– Beaches

If sand is your favorite part of a luxurious vacation, you have two choices: beach clubs, which offer full-service amenities, and quieter stretches of coast that you can reach by boat.

The area’s beach clubs typically welcome day visitors, who can get access to restaurants, beach chairs and umbrellas, pillows, drinks, shower and changing facilities, and even cooling mists. Some of these clubs are on the beach in front of hotels. They tend to get crowded, so arrive early.

Those in the know single out the beach clubs at Xuma, Dodo, Kuum, Maki, Maçakızı, Bej, and Moon Beach.

To visit several of the area’s beaches and the nearby islands, consider chartering a captained boat for a few days’ cruise. Beaches you may want to visit include Kisebükü, which can only be reached by sea. Several luxury charter companies offer crewed itineraries on sailboats, motor yachts and traditional Turkish gullet boats, including stops at some of the prettiest beaches like English Harbor. Among them: Europa Yachting, Blue Cruise Bodrum, and Akasia Yachting.

20090830 Boat to Bodrum_dsc6651

– Antiquities

The Bodrum peninsula boasts some spectacular ancient sites, as do many of the towns in coastal Turkey. A huge amphitheater from the fourth century BC graces the town, as well as St. Peter’s Castle, a Crusader-era fortress, which is now the Underwater Archaeology Museum. History scholars will note that the town, once called Halicarnassus, was home to the noted Mausoleum, a king’s tomb, now in ruins, that was one of the ancient world’s Seven Wonders.