How a Designer Vacays

How a Designer Vacays

How a Designer Vacays

We asked our designers what destinations were inspiring enough for a flight, from awe-inspiring locales to bars with interiors as intoxicating as the drinks.

What is your go-to vacation spot?
Michelle Dokey: Just a quick getaway from LA is Palm Springs. I’ve been dying to stay at Korakia Pensione in one of their Mediterranean or Moroccan Villas. They are so beautifully designed and a great spot to just escape the traffic and the bustle of Los Angeles.

Galina Holechek: Ojai, Ojai, Ojai! I have a whole routine planned out. One trip is more of a hiking/outdoorsy getaway and the other is a spa/cocktails/foodie/great literature getaway.

Lorenzo Cota: I would have to Cyprus is my favorite summer spot. I go every summer for a month or so. I am currently designing my boyfriend’s apartment there. The beaches are amazing, and the food is to die for.

Colin Fuda: South of France!

Mandy Cheng: Big Sur! The Treehouse accommodations at Post Ranch Inn are pretty unreal for special occasions.

Breanna Williams: Savannah, Georgia has a charm to it that keeps me coming back. It’s a nice break from the hustle of New York. Plus there are amazing vintage and antique stores where your guaranteed to find some amazing things. It’s a truly beautiful city that I recommend everyone visits at least once.

Barbie Palomino: Paradise found in Moorea, Tahiti. It’s not yet a go-to but I’m working on the hubs to make that at least our biannual vacation spot!

Claire Hung: I love to camp. My husband and I reserve an island in the middle of a lake upstate, and canoe out there for a week. It’s absolutely the best recharge. Plus, we’ve got our glamping on fleek, so it never feels like we’re roughing it.

Kerry Vasquez: I’ve never been more blown away by the vibrancy of a city than Mexico City. The colors, the food, the art, the architecture, the people . . . Everywhere you go there people are dancing, singing, eating, making art and enjoying life. I’m ready to move!

The Amangiri Suite Desert Lounge; Image courtsey of Aman

Anywhere new you are itching to go?
Maggie Burns: I am dying to go to Jaipur, India! The colorful buildings look like something out of a Wes Anderson movie and any place that is referred to as the “Pink City” gets moved to the top of my list!

Amy Courtney: Oia, a Greek Aegean island is like nothing I’ve seen in person. The town has whitewashed houses carved into the rugged clifftops and overlooks the Aegean Sea. It looks like pure heaven to me!

Allie McMunn: I am currently obsessed with going to Morocco. I turn 30 this year and am trying to convince my family and friends it is the perfect spot for us to celebrate!

Ashlie Broderic: I am excited to visit Helsinki. The city has an edgy arts scene and really interesting public spaces. Also, it’s so far north that the sun does not set until 11 pm in the summer, which makes the trip feel longer.

Megan Crawley: Lisbon: Is it just me or is everyone going there? I want see the bold use of color on the architecture—vibrant house colors against all the terracotta rooftops.

The Long Bar in the Puli in Shanghai.

What’s the last place you stayed that took your breath away from a design-perspective?

Larisa Barton: Cavo Tagoo in Santorini. Every detail is perfectly thought out to create a modern romantic dream. Also the sunset from every room is unbeatable.

Allie McMunn: We stayed at the Amanruya in Bodrum, Turkey on our honeymoon. You stay in a private stone cottage overlooking the Aegean Sea. The designers let the views speak for themselves and kept the interiors minimal, clean and bright. Truly a perfect combination!

Ashlie Broderic: Barcelona is the most visually interesting city I have visited. The surreal, bordering on bizarre, design vision of Antoni Gaudí shapes the city’s aesthetic. The Sagrada Familia is like a five hundred foot high coral reef crossed with a cathedral that towers over the city.

Megan Crawley: My husband and I did a staycation for our anniversary at the 1 Hotel in Brooklyn Bridge. The design is impeccable and the use of sustainable/recycled/natural materials was inspiring.

Jennifer Wallenstein: Milan. I went to Salone last year and loved every second of it. The show itself was really cool to see, but the Brera Design District and the canal zone had so many stunning showrooms, galleries, restaurants, shops, bars, etc. I don’t know if they really do it up when the design world descends on their city, or if it’s like that year-round, but it was inspiration overload.

Melissa Mascara: Hotel Wailea on Maui. Everything about it was extraordinary. Plus, it was so incredibly quiet there. For an LA person who’s almost always surrounded by noise, the quiet made it easier to take in the surroundings visually and really become part of the spaces. Sounds woo-woo, I know, but it was magic.

What’s the best-designed place you’ve visited on vacation—this can be anything from a gorgeous restaurant to a sleek bar to an incredible museum?

Larisa Barton:  The best-designed place I’ve visited is the Principote Panormos beach club in Mykonos. It’s bohemian heaven. (Pictured as the opening image of the article)

Maggie Burns: I recently traveled to Utah with my husband and stayed at the beautiful Amangiri Resort. The hotel was designed to blend into the landscape, using materials and textures that matched the natural surroundings. Totally took my breath away!

Allie McMunn: I love the Long Bar in the Puli in Shanghai. It runs the entire length of the massive lobby. It is bright and cheery during the day for a quick breakfast and then transforms at night into a dark and sexy bar for a cocktail. Plus, they always have the most incredible floral arrangements that help to soften the modern decor.

Jennifer Wallenstein: The Bocci showroom in Berlin. They took over an old courthouse and basically turned it into a space to showcase their experiments with materials and lighting. The building itself was beautiful, and the perfect backdrop for some jaw-dropping designs.

Melissa Mascara: The Tate Modern museum in London. The building was once an old factory and still has that gloomy, industrial old London feel. The art inside is an incredible collection (modern art is my fave) and is displayed with a timeline on the wall above each piece so that the viewer can get a sense of its historical context.

Carisse Lynelle: Alhambra in Grenada, Spain was truly one of the most spectacular places I’ve ever seen.

Kerry Vasquez: The last time I was in Palm Springs I visited the new wine bar at the Parker. It was designed by the Jonathan Adler team and they nailed it! It’s sophisticated yet laid back—just dark enough to really lose yourself in a conversation and the wine and food are perfect too!

Where’s your favorite destination for souvenirs?
Maggie Burns: I am a sucker for flea markets no matter where I travel! I recently traveled to Marrakech on my honeymoon and stocked up on some amazing rugs—not the easiest thing to fly with! Flea markets are a great way to find products that are local and unique to the land.

Allie McMunn: I could spend days at the Bazaar in Istanbul. It is endless rows of vibrant textiles, pottery, and culture. Next time I am packing an empty duffle so I can bring more home!

Colin Fuda: Paris—discounted shopping!

Cristi Renee: I bring back one piece of art from trips otherwise I don’t buy souvenirs. I got some surprisingly great art in Vietnam.

Melissa Mascara: San Francisco is usually food souvenirs. Seattle is usually art souvenirs.

Anything you collect on vacation?
Larisa Barton: I take a pack of matches from every restaurant we go to as a little memento.

Michelle Dokey: Whenever I go on vacation, I try to come home with a piece of art from wherever we went. My husband and I started this tradition on our honeymoon and we love looking at the pieces of art hanging in our home that remind us of our travels together.

Amy Courtney: Rocks, shells, hotel keys, MetroCards.

Ashlie Broderic: Instagram photos.

Jennifer Wallenstein: It’s kind of random, but bud vases! For myself, friends and family, and also for clients. I use them all the time when styling accessories and they are small enough to pack easily.

Breanna Williams: It may sound strange, but I bring back rocks and stone. It’s an inexpensive (usually free) way to bring back a memento, plus they look good with all of my plants.

Where do you travel to when you want to get inspired?
Galina Holechek: I think the key is to try a new place every time you travel. Paris and anywhere in Italy are always amazing and can never get old, but I love to mix in a new country or two on those jaunts to experience a bit more of the world.

Cristi Renee: Burning Man, Barcelona, Singapore, Brussels.

Mandy Cheng: I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock house. It’s a great place to stand in and remember that ingenuity and every single detail always matters. If I’m leaving town, Palm Springs is an amazing place to be surrounded by mid-century design. If I’m leaving the state, New Orleans is a fun place to get lost in whimsical designs, vibrant colors, and anything from Baroque to Modern architecture. If I’m leaving the country, Europe or Japan, because duh.

Brittany O’Brien: Anywhere in Europe

Kerry Vasquez: I went to New Mexico for the first time last year, and that trip is still influencing all of my design work. Visiting Georgia O’Keefe’s house felt like my version of Mecca—the intention and simplicity behind every choice was awe-inspiring. The colors the adobe takes on have so much depth I am still trying to capture that in all my projects! The desert palette as well – white rocks, burnished clay, and charcoal. OBSESSED!

How do you find new and unique spots when you are traveling?
Larisa Barton: I look at geotags on Instagram before I travel to a new place. You can usually find some cool travel pics and reviews.

Ashlie Broderic: To find unique spots while traveling, I strike up a conversation with a local and ask where they hang out. In Copenhagen, the woman at my hotel’s front desk clued me into Norrebro, which is a hip, gritty, vegan-friendly neighborhood.

Jennifer Wallenstein: A combination of techniques! I always do a little research beforehand, but usually try to limit that research to more general information about neighborhoods and “can’t-miss” sites so I don’t get a set itinerary in my mind. And then I walk, a lot. If there’s a long way to walk to dinner, I take it. If something comes up on my searches that tells me there’s a cool shop a couple blocks out of my way, I go. Nothing beats being among the locals to get a sense of your destination. Finally, I ask around. Sometimes your waiter knows the best spot to grab a cocktail, the local shopkeeper has a favorite restaurant, or the bartender knows of a really cool gallery opening happening across town.

Natalie Tiller: For longer trips, I only book a hotel for the first few days. Then I book the rest of my trip after getting tips from locals and exploring the area. Always makes for an exciting adventure!

What are you must-haves for vacation?
Amy Courtney: Money to burn (oh, and my good camera)!

Lorenzo Cota: A smile and Aesop Flight Therapy—I never leave home without it!

Carisse Lynelle
: Sabbah shoes: you can walk in them forever and they go with everything.

Clarie Hung: I always need enough skincare. With varying climates and plane cabins, skin can get cranky, so I make sure I have a variety of skincare items to cleanse and moisturize. It seems frivolous, but when you’re taking tons of pics, having clear skin is a plus.

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