Trvlbees

We sat down to chat with the wonderful Olivia Sewell, mum of 2-year-old Max and baby girl Kitty, and co-owner of The Caperberry Collective. Today, Olivia tells us all about her company, what’s important to her when picking her next getaway, and about her best family travel tips for the UK.

Olivia & Max

Founded in 2016, Caperberry is an online platform that provides a stunning collection of hand-picked products, fashion, food, destinations, ideas, interviews, and brands; in other words, a gem that will inspire you endlessly. Caperberry is for the mums who adore the world of motherhood, as much as they love a good Vietnamese-style chicken and noodle salad. It’s a dream for those who can’t resist a sweet little knitted baby bonnet, as much as they love scrolling through eBay on the hunt for an old Celine bag or the perfect vintage wallpaper. Caperberry is here to feed all of your cravings and to keep your entrepreneurial streak alive and raring. 

Why did you create The Caperberry Collective and where do you see the company five years from now?

“Oh gosh, 2016 feels like such a long time ago! Before and during the ‘creation process’ of Caperberry Collective, I stumbled upon brand after brand, every recipe and restaurant out there, and about a million travel destinations, each of which were bucket-list material. I couldn’t help but wish that I had somewhere (other than the album full of screenshots on my phone) to store and share these amazing brands and dreamy potential vacay destinations. That’s when Caperberry came about.”

“After having my son in 2018, the beautiful and diverse world of motherhood opened up to me and, naturally, Caperberry leaned towards this lifestyle too. In terms of the platform, nothing changed too drastically, but certain features, brands, and particularly travel destinations, gradually became more baby-friendly. As most mamas will know, when your little one enters your life, you start to approach everything through a baby-oriented lens. Still, Caperberry was, and is, no ordinary mama and baby site. It’s all about keeping things relevant, but fun! Caperberry places little emphasis on motherly ‘advice’  (there’s too much of that on the internet already), and more on staying true to yourself, continuing to get inspired, feeding your interests, and taking the trips you always dreamt of (with the kids in tow, of course)!”

Olivia & Max

“Five years from now, Caperberry will be every mama’s favorite platform! We’ll be throwing events, checking out more travel destinations and, who knows, maybe we’ll even have launched a little line of our own. Stay tuned!”

TRVLBEES focuses on family-friendly, boutique-style, and conscious hideaways – so let’s chat about that.

Family-friendly: when looking for your next family holiday destination, do you specifically focus on this feature? How and why?

“Absolutely! How family-friendly a destination is, plays a big role. If I’m looking at hotels, I need to know if it’s child-friendly, especially when I have my loud (and rather mischievous) 2-year-old by my side. I don’t think kids clubs or creches are a necessity (although occasionally it also wouldn’t go amiss), but I find friendly staff that are welcoming to children very important. What I don’t want is to, let’s say, have to roam the entire resort for a baby-changing spot when things are about to get messy, or to feel pressured during breakfast when toast suddenly flies across the room. After all, things like these are part of motherhood, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed of them!”

Olivia & Max

“I try to look for family-friendly stays where little ones have enough freedom and space to run amuck (with nothing left unthought of: pool fences, safety features, you name it), whilst us mamas (and papas) watch over them and sip on a glass of something refreshing.”

Boutique: does this category appeal to you? How would you describe ‘boutique’ in terms of stays?

“100 percent yes! To me, a boutique-style stay means gorgeous interiors, seriously good food, breathtaking scenery, and, of course, all the savvy little extras. If a hideaway has all of this and is family-friendly, it’s a dream come true for us and definitely Caperberry-approved! After all, the platform is all about being true to our identity (mixed with a perfect dose of the sweet chaos that comes with the kids), and one thing is for sure: our love for stunning hotels, retreats, and stays is not going to change anytime soon, regardless of the number of kids we bring along!” 

TRVLBEES Property Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom

Conscious: is this a factor you consider when you and your family book a getaway?

“Yes! Last year, in particular, was all about conscious travel for us. We went to explore several parts of the United Kingdom – including the Isle of Skye, Cornwall, and Bath – which meant fewer air miles on our conscience, with absolutely no compromise on adventure and fun-filled family time. This year, our trips will take us a little further afield, but of course, we’ll still factor in conscious travel by eating locally and opting for stays that work with the surroundings and minimize their footprint on the landscape they reside on.”

Last year, you visited Cornwall in the United Kingdom. Our TRVLBEES members would love to hear more about this great destination with kids. Please spill the beans and let us in on your best family travel tips for the UK!

The Coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom

What is an absolute must-do, -visit, or -eat when visiting this area? Visiting the beach? Going fishing perhaps?

“Although I have an endless list of best family travel tips for the UK, one stood out in particular. Cornwall has an absolutely incredible coast and like most kids, Max already loves spending time outdoors. Having the beach in front of our doorstep was, hence, more than enough to satisfy a little boy’s love for sandcastles, rock pooling, and paddling.”

Max on the Beach, Cornwall, United Kingdom

“My partner loves to fish so he’ll go out for the afternoon and come back with a bass or two and bucket loads of mussels that we’ll either grill or whip up into something ridiculously fresh and tasty. Our Caper Guide on Cornwall has it all, so make sure to check that one out if you’re planning a trip to this great destination!”

The Coast of Cornwall, United Kingdom

Which hotels, apartments or hideaways would you recommend?

“First up, there’s the Trebetherick’s St. Moritz Hotel. With the stunning Polzeath beach to its right and pretty little Daymer Bay to its left, this hotel bounces off its idyllic location. Very family-friendly, equipped with a gorgeous spa, and the choice of a hotel room, apartment or self-catering villa.”

Surfing Lessons at St. Moritz Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom

“Next up: Kudhva. In a high location nestled amongst tall trees in a 45-acre disused quarry, surrounded by willow groves, gorse bushes, and wildflowers, you’ll find this stunning little haven. This place will satisfy your and your little one’s dreams about treehouses, glamping, and last but not least, wood-fired hot tubs. A real gem, if you ask me!”

Kudhva, Cornwall, United Kingdom

“Although these stays are beyond fantastic, there are so many other hideaways that we could recommend in this great little corner of the world: from the luxurious and very family-friendly TRVLBEES property Fowey Hall Hotel, to the super sweet Primrose House just seconds away from Porthminster Beach in St. Ives.”

Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom –
Best Family Travel Tips for the UK

Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom –
Best Family Travel Tips for the UK

Fowey Hall Hotel, Cornwall, United Kingdom –
Best Family Travel Tips for the UK

Any ideas on where to have the finest food and drinks? Do you have any specific restaurants that you recommend for with the kids and maybe also for on a parents’ night out? 

“The food scene just gets better and better every time! Think huge amounts of fresh seafood, locally-grown veggies, cheese, honey, and so on. You name it, and they’ll have it: whether home-grown or fished out of the big blue! There’s a handful of great vineyards to hop over to for a little bit of tasting, with stunning on-site restaurants that are well worth a visit. Trevibban Mill (not far from Padstow) should be at the top of your list (with or without the kids)!”

Trevibban Mill, Padstow, United Kingdom

Any personal and/or professional plans for the (near) future? What are you looking forward to?

“Personally, the near future is all about the imminent arrival of baby number two, whilst keeping baby number one happy, fed, and watered! As for Caperberry, it’s a platform that will continue to be all about sharing great stories, wonderful brands, and delectable recipes, with a couple of dreamy destinations on the side! What more could I possibly wish for?”

Olivia & Max

At TRVLBEES, we have always been very fond of Italy. It’s a destination that simply has every ingredient necessary for a perfect family getaway. Culture, food, history, vibrant cities, and fascinating medieval villages. Not to mention the countless lakes, beaches, and superb fashion, as well as the fact that it’s an incredibly family-friendly place. That explains our rather extensive file on Italy! We wanted to take an even closer look at this fabulous country through the eyes of a true native, which is why we asked one of Italy’s proudest ambassadors to let us in on all her secrets, and show us some hidden gems off the beaten track. Introducing: the wonderful Margherita Missoni.

Margherita Missoni

Please tell us something about your life journey so far- were you born and raised in Italy? Have you lived abroad as well? And if so, what made you return to Italy? 

“Yes, I was born and raised in Italy, in Varese, as you may know, till I was 20, then I moved to New York.”

Varese

“When I first moved to New York, I had a really hard time. I was at Columbia University after transferring from the University of Milan and I was there to study philosophy even though I really wanted to be an actor. It was one of those very cold New York winters, I think the year was 2003. Even though I really wanted to be in New York, I was only doing university to please my grandmother. I was a really good student in high school and my teachers thought it would be a waste to pursue acting, which is where my heart was. One day, my mom called and asked why I hadn’t asked her to send me any clothes. To her, it was really symptomatic of my state of mind.

I look back on that time period now and I think I just wanted to understand who I was outside of my family. I grew up in the countryside, and the company [Missoni] workplace was next to our house. We’re an entangled bunch of people. I always felt like a branch on a tree, not like my own person, and going to Milan and New York symbolized breaking away.”

Margherita Missoni & her family

“I decided to study philosophy because I guess I felt it was the closest thing to acting: thinking about life and its meaning and why I’m here and what I’m doing. But I was so unhappy—here I was in the place where I wanted to be (I had been dying for city lights after growing up in the countryside) but I didn’t want to be there. I’m much lighter now on life and choices, but when I was younger it felt as if every single choice I made would have long-term consequences on my life and the smallest wrong decision could fuck everything up and there would be no way to fix it. 

I studied philosophy, went on to study acting and then left for Paris to act. Afterwards I moved to Rome for a play and while there, it hit me: Fashion is what comes out most naturally and spontaneously for me. That’s what I want to do. It’s always what I wanted. I just had to get there myself.

When I think about it now, I’m really happy that I went through all those bits before starting my own family. I have two sons now with my husband.”

You are a very outspoken ambassador of your country, and never fail to mention your place of residence: Varese. Were you raised to be a proud citizen? What is it that makes both Italy and Varese so special to you?

“My mum moved here from Gallarate when she was 13. At the end of the sixties my grandparents decided to build their own factory in a place where they loved to spend their weekends. First they built the factory, and then in 1972 they moved into the house, at a walking distance to the factory. We all have this addiction to the view of the Monte Rosa that we can see from the factory, from the office at the HQ, from my grandparents’ house, from my previous house where I was raised; and both me and my sister Teresa, have the same view from our houses.”

Varese Lake

“When I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to get out. It was only when I was living in the biggest city of them all, New York, that I realized how lucky I was to have these roots and such a deep sense of belonging. When I got pregnant, we didn’t even question where we were going to settle our family—it was going to be back in #VareseThePlaceToBe.”

What are your favorite places in and around Varese to unwind and recharge with your family? Any special places we can’t miss while visiting the region?

“I like small museums off the beaten track. Villa e Collezione Panza is a real gem. Count Panza was the first collector of conceptual art in the world.”

Villa e Collezione Panza

“The permanent collection is incredible: site-specific Dan Flavin works that are even better than what’s in Marfa, Texas. It’s a very special place. I love seeing art contextualised in real places, not just against white walls. The sense of colour that Count Panza had is the only one I ever envied. 

There is another special museum in Varese, Museo Baroffio, which also used to be a collection. It’s a very special place to me. Museo MAGa in Gallarate is bigger but it’s also a must visit, on the top floor it also houses a permanent collection of Arazzis by my late grandfather Ottavio Missoni.”

Santa Caterina del Sasso

“Santa Caterina del Sasso is a must visit monastry on lake Maggiore, as is Isola Bella on lake Maggiore; Villa Taranto, with its exotic and magical gardens on lake Maggiore should be on your list, too, just like Villa della porta Bozzolo- a must see villa and garden towards Piemonte.”

Which locations/areas/properties (hotels and villas) should be on our wish list – both in your region and other areas of Italy?

“Sometimes decadence feels right, like at this old, family-run hotel. Nothing’s too square or too perfect, and our balcony jutted out over the sea, so you felt as if you could jump straight off.”

Hotel Santa Caterina

“This is one of those magical places where time stops and you feel as if you’re stepping into history. It’s classic without being pompous, ethnic but not overly so. I’m such a regular they named a vodka cocktail after me – the Angurita.”

Il Pellicano, Tuscany

“This is the best hotel in the world, hands down. I love the old-fashioned feel of it: the piano playing during aperitivo, the waiters who have been there forever, and the dock where you can leave your little boat; it was always full of beautiful old Rivas.”

Villa d’Este, Lake Como, Italy

TRVLBEES focuses on family-friendly, boutique-style, and conscious hideaways – so let’s talk.

Family-friendly: When planning your own family holiday, do you specifically focus on this feature? How and why? 

“I firstly pick some countries or areas that we want to discover, then evaluate the winner depending on how challenging the traveling bits will be and then pick the best place in the area to accomodate our needs, such as: proximity to beach or slopes, fun activities for my boys (snorkeling, skiing, riding).”

Isola Bella, Lake Maggiore

Boutique: Does this category appeal to you? 

“With kids I prefer bigger  places where we have a higher chance to meet other children.”

Consciousness: Is this important for you and your family while booking a hideaway?

 “Yes, it is, but still comes after the kids’ needs.”

Margherita Missoni

Now that we are talking consciousness: you recently made headlines by launching a new capsule collection for Missoni, entirely created using upcycled Missoni fabrics from the archives. How did you come up with this idea? 

Is sustainability something that plays a significant role within your company and family?  Do you think that this will be(come) a trend in the coming years – in your company but also nationwide?

“When I was asked to reinvent and give new purpose to the M Missoni collection, I decided that this brand would be about giving new life to the disregarded parts of Missoni’s history – whether it be re-interpreting the prints that never quite became iconic, giving new context to designs born from the 80’s licensing craze and since cast aside as cheesy, or using the stocks of yarns and textiles that filled our warehouses. I wanted to dust off the overlooked B-side of the Missoni legacy – twist it upside-down, inside-out and layer it with new perspective.”

M Missoni’s mission is to remix, re-use, and respect – both literally and conceptually: we pride ourselves with being playfully derivative and authoritatively appropriative.   We are constantly experimenting with bits and pieces that are recycled, repurposed, and upcycled – scarves turn into dresses, leftover yarns into sweaters, and upholstery fabrics from the Missoni Home collection into a capsule outerwear collection. 

Three seasons in, I’m proud to say we’ve re-purposed 26 thousand meters of Missoni stock fabric and 12 hundred kilos of stock yarn.  In this sense, sustainability is part of our aesthetic – that said, it would have been utterly inconceivable to create a new brand without taking sustainability and social responsibility into consideration.  This is why we prefer eco-sustainable materials even when not recycled and we choose to geographically dislocate some of our production in order to create jobs in other countries such as Ethiopia, Peru and Ghana.

M Missoni is not yet a fully sustainable brand although we constantly strive to improve and move forward in that direction.  I like to think that we are a brand of the 2020’s in touch with our times and needs – and as such sustainability must be a priority.  The good news is that fashion is all about the zeitgeist and soon what’s non-sustainable will be out of fashion and will no longer have a reason to exist.”

Do you still have a (family) bucket list in terms of travel or experiences? What would be your top 3 of favorite destinations within Italy? 

“Bomarzo, Cavallino Bianco and Capalbio.”

Bomarzo, a small town in northern Lazio in Italy, famous for its park of stone monsters.
Cavallino Bianco in the heart of the Dolomites
The beautiful beaches around Capalbio

What do you want to teach and show your kids during travels and in life? 

“Getting exposed to different possibilities opens up to free choices.”

Want more Italian inspiration? Take a look at our Italy Destination page!

As we are fully aware of the COVID-19 situation, we will not actively promote traveling at this moment. However, being an international travel platform, we will continue to do what we do best: inspiring you with stories about and images of beautiful destinations worldwide.

Please remember to travel and act responsibly. Stay home when possible, or consult your authorities for up-to-date information and travel advice.

Something that we love about our TRVLBEES community is experiencing the power of like-minded traveling parents coming together to give each other tips for the best kid-friendly hideaways, whether they are about stylish accommodations, things to do in the area, or simple good-to-know’s.

Charlotte’s favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

Last week, we had the pleasure of meeting wonder-mum Charlotte Burgoyne, co-founder of Little Voyageurs – a travel community for parents, similar to TRVLBEES – and chatting with her about her favorite kid-friendly hideaways. To inspire you even more, we’ve included some of our personal favorites, too.

You are a true citizen of the world. Born and raised in France, living in the US for several years, and now based in Algiers. Can you tell us something about your life journey?

“I remember being 12 years old, staring at the sea from the back of a sailing boat and thinking “the world is my oyster, and my home.” I got this all-engrossing feeling that I would never want to stay in one place for the rest of my life. To me, discovering new countries and adapting to unfamiliar cultures is the most amazing way to grow and get to know yourself.

Charlotte’s favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte

When I graduated from journalism school in Paris, I decided to launch my career in the field right away and moved to Syria. I started freelancing for French media from Damascus, and gradually from the entire Middle East. I LOVED it. A few years later, I changed my base to Yemen, doing the same thing, and ended up meeting my husband there.

We continued our journey in the region for several years, after which we decided to move back to the US to start our family. With kids, my thirst for other places grew faster than ever. I remembered thinking that I would never live in my birth country again, because the world is simply too big, and there is too much out there to explore. Being able to combine my lifestyle and work with my blog, City Guides and Instagram Little Voyageurs, encourages me even more to continue down this path.”

TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaway – Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Ojai Valley Inn, USA

We’re firm believers in a travel community for parents who share the best kid-friendly hideaways. Do you see any difference with TRVLBEES? And where do you see Little Voyageurs in five years from now?

“I believe that parents need more than an amazing accommodation for a successful family vacation. A comfortable and stylish stay definitely sets the foundation for a delightful trip for the adults, but how suitable are certain destinations and accommodations for kids? And how are parents supposed to obtain stylish and authentic advice to eat out, play, and discover a place with the whole family? The TRVLBEES team truly simplifies this process and, more importantly, makes it enjoyable!

Parents become part of an inspiring and nurturing community that is open to parents of all kinds, whether they are experienced or inexperienced travellers, and whether they are completely clueless, or know exactly what they want to get out of a vacation. Everyone’s welcome! And that’s exactly what community and travel should be about. Parents are ‘spoon-fed’ a bunch of amazing destinations, homes away from home, and, with all the tips and advice they receive from the TRVLBEES website and community, they have practically nothing to worry about.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

What’s your fav travel destination with your kids?

“I absolutely adore Portugal because it checks almost every box. You can easily combine an urban trip and a nature-centered escape in a week. I suggest heading to exciting Lisbon for a short city trip, and then venturing along the renowned coast, where you’ll find countless beautiful sights, surf hotspots, cafe’s, markets and so on.

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

The food, first and foremost, is fantastic. The people are remarkably welcoming to families, and you’ll never feel out of place with (agitated) toddlers. In terms of accommodation, I’d recommend The Martinhal, which is actually one of my favorite kid-friendly hotel collections in the world. We had a wonderful stay!”

TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Casa Mae
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Craveiral Farmhouse
TRVLBEES’ best Kid-Friendly Hideaways in Portugal – Vila Monte Farmhouse,

TRVLBEES focuses on family-friendly, conscious, and stylish hotels and hideaways, so let’s talk. In terms of family-friendly, what are you looking for when planning your own family holiday? Any must-haves?

“As I mentioned, the accommodation is key to a successful trip. Of course, every child and family is different, but typically, when you break your routine with kids, you need to feel at home somehow in order for your kids to feel comfortable too. Your stay is, thus, really important.

First of all, I always make sure that the setup of the rooms suits my family. Ideally, we need connected rooms or a suite with a closed area for the kids. Not only is that fun for them, but being able to have some peace and quiet with my husband after the kids’ bedtime is also important for us as parents. After all, we are on holiday too! Remember, it’s no shame to grant yourself some well-deserved down-time. 

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte

In terms of other amenities, I always try to pick a place that allows for boundless relaxation, that means comfortable beds, lounge areas, a good pool; just somewhere where both kids and parents instantly feel ‘zen.’

On the other hand, considering that you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to select a destination and accommodation that have plenty on offer in terms of activities. Can we rent a car to explore the area? Can the kids take a surf-, cook-, or even dance lesson? Is there a kids’ pool? A playroom? Is there a spa and gym on site (for the parents)? You name it! Luckily, the TRVLBEES collection is versatile when it comes to these things.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

In terms of stylish, how does this category apply to you? How would you describe your ideal ‘boutique’ stay? What should a boutique stay entail?

“Stylish stays are very important to me, and they are, in fact, the only kind of accommodation I feature in our City Guide. The aesthetic of a place is as important to me as its kid-friendliness. Part of a great vacation is the feeling that you’re escaping from home. Not because you resent your own home or daily life, but because you allow yourself to immerse in some luxury and stay at a place whose interior you’ve fantasized about.

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Charlotte & Kids

You don’t go on holiday every week, so when you do, you want to be ‘wowed’ by a destination and the accommodation you’re staying at. You want and deserve to feel a little ‘spoiled.’ For a stay to be “boutique,” I consider the number of rooms, the type and quality of services, and the general ambiance.”

In terms of consciousness, how important is this to you and your family? Do you consider a hotel’s / hideaway’s social and environmental footprint when booking?

“Of course! It’s always a nice addition to our family trips, knowing that we’re staying at an eco-friendly place and thereby minimizing our impact on our surroundings. With the world facing a climate crisis, it’s – perhaps now more than ever – incredibly important to continue enjoying your travels, but doing so in an environmentally-conscious way.”

What would you consider the top 3 TRVLBEES stays (hotel/villas/B&B’s) that you’ve visited as a family?

“I adored Haus Hirt in Austria, and not just because of its amazing views of the renowned Alps landscape. This is a place where both children and adults will feel at rest the moment they enter the boutique hotel. It’s sleek and stylish, but also incredibly cozy; a perfect combination of modern and classic with every Austrian luxury within reach.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – Haus Hirt, Austria

“We had to pinch ourselves a couple of times to make sure the Ekies All Senses Resort was real. We crushed on every detail in the hotel, starting with its fantastic location: an authentic, raw, and truly breathtaking part of Northern Greece. You will love the earthiness of the surrounding pine trees, combined with the iode of the sea.

The kids will definitely enjoy spending time at the well-equipped kids club, or otherwise soaking in the retro-chic ambiance of the pool. This place triggers all of your senses, most remarkably, with its 6 restaurants serving fresh and locally produced goods.”

“The stunning 4-hour drive from Athens – through mountains, wildflowers, and fig trees – was totally worth it. This one is a gem! The Kinsterna Hotel Monemvasia is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and citrus trees.

You will spend your days relaxing at one of two marvelous swimming pools or at the exciting outdoor playground. The beach and several historic Greek sights are just around the corner. I doubt you’ll get bored here!”

Last summer, you visited New York and Cape Cod. Our TRVLBEES members would love to hear the ‘What to do’s’ and ‘Where to stay’s’. Please spill the beans and let us in on your best tips!  

“In New York, I would start the day by a brunch at Dimes and its stack of bright green matcha pancakes, check out the funny curiosities that radiant Chinatown has to offer, head for a restorative stroll on the High Line, spend one hour vintage shopping at the Soho Market, and another one at Camp, the newest family concept store in a town filled with kids’ entertainment.

After a full city day, I would cross the Brooklyn Bridge and rest your little heads on the soft pillows at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge or in a family Suite at the NU hotel.”

Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA
Charlotte’s Favorite Kid-Friendly Hideaways – 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, USA

“The best way to enjoy Cape Cod is to rent one of the many houses lost in the woods for a week. This will give you just enough time to check all these must do’s and see’s. Ride a bike along the Cape Cod National Seashore until Coast guard beach, take a swimming class at Great Pond, chase crabs and watch the tide roll in and out at First Encounter Beach, drive around the Provincetown’s dune, and catch a movie at the Wellfleet drive-in theater.”

More travel inspiration? View more member stories.

In today’s member interview we talk to Amelia Edelman. Traveling conquered a big place in her heart ever since she went on a class trip to France when she was 16. And ever since – the lust to wander, discover and learn new culture hasn’t stopped.

Amelia Edelman

Together with her 3-year-old son Silas she travels all around the world. Today she tells us all about her travels and let’s us in on the best tips and tricks for visiting Havana with kids.

Please tell us something about your life journey- Where are you born and raised?

I was born in NYC, inthe Bronx. My dad was a voice actor and my parents used to be in a ‘70s rock band ha. I lived in Connecticut as a teen and went to college in the Hudson Valley. This before moving back to the city for grad school at NYU.

Then I started my writing/editing career as a speechwriter and letter-writer for the Dean of NYU Medical School. Then I went to do communications for the drug rehab nonprofit Phoenix House for 4 years while freelance writing/editing on the side.

I “sold out” (lol) aka moved into digital publishing in 2014 editing wellness, home and travel for Refinery29. I lived in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn until I ran out of boroughs I could afford (sorry Staten Island) and my son was almost a year old.

Amelia and her son Silas

That’s when we were officially priced out of NYC and relocated to Nashville. Since landing here three years ago I started working at SheKnows. I’m now Senior Editor of the Parenting vertical and launched/manage our family travel series, Mom Voyage

Where did your passion for travel and sharing travel stories start? 

I did not travel growing up, and I always wanted to. We didn’t have the money for it, and my friends who did have the money went on cruises or to resorts and I thought that was kind of boring.

I left the country for the first time on a French class trip to France at 16, and that was my first taste of the idea that travel could be about wandering and learning and culture, not just sitting at a pool. I bought my first plane ticket when I was 19 — to Mumbai, India, three weeks after my dad died. I’ve been traveling ever since.

TRVLBEES focuses on family friendly, boutique and green hideaways- so let’s talk:

Family friendly: when searching for your own family holiday, do you specifically focus on this feature? How and why?

Oh for sure. As a single mom, I’m pretty much always traveling with my 3-year-old son Silas. I often don’t have another adult traveler along to help. Thus I’m always looking for hotels where both him and I will be able to relax. Oh, and get some sleep! Silas will NOT take a shower… yet. So I want there to be a bathtub, and usually one big bed for both of us. A kids’ menu is huge, too.

Bedroom Paseo 206

Stylish: does this category appeal to you? How would you describe ‘stylish’ in terms of stays?

Absolutely. I love unique, mindful design. The feeling of coming “home” to a beautiful hotel space while on the road. For me this makes a huge difference in the vibe of your trip. I’d say my personal design vibe is boho minimalist; simple with a lot of organic shapes, plants, natural materials. But I can also certainly get on board with more maximalist design when it’s not MY home; I love The Gilded Hotel in Newport, RI, for that very reason.

The Gilded Hotel, Newport RI

Green: is this important for you and your family while booking a hideaway?

For sure. Flying is bad enough for the planet; the least we can do is choose an eco-conscious place to stay when we get there! I have a feature on SheKnows about eco-resorts and I’m always poking around hotel websites looking for ways they’re working to conserve and preserve the environment.

The Greenhouse, Babylonstoren

Which locations/areas should you visit when you are in Havana with kids?

Habana Vieja 100% — the old town, which has a central square where there are a bunch of sidewalk cafes and always competing bands (son, salsa, rhumba, you name it) and folks hawking toys and whatnot. I actually loved Vedado, the less-touristy area where our favorite hotel, Paseo 206 is. And for kids, the Parque La Maestranza costs pennies to get in and is an extravaganza!

What are the 10 unmissable things to do in Havana with kids?

1) Walk through the winding alleys of Habana Vieja and ogle the old cars and pastel walls

2) Eat fresh seafood and dodge the waves on a beach in Playas Del Este 

3) Learn about Cuba’s fascinating and tumultuous history at the Museo de la Revolución

4) Go to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes to dive into Cuban art (it’s worth paying the slight extra admission to see the 2nd building, the world collection, which has a stained-glass ceiling to die for)

5) Watch the sunset from the rooftop pool at Hotel Saratoga

6) Drink a canchancharra (Cuban rum cocktail made with honey and lemon and mint) or four — it’s better than a mojito 

Canchancharra, typical Cuban drink

7) Go for a jog or a stroll along the Malecón 

8) Take a short cab ride west of Havana to check out Fusterlandia, José Fuster’s home and art gallery, which is basically a wonderland of funky colorful mosaic sculptures (and a live pet tortoise)

Fusterlandia

9) Eat at Porto Habana, a weird but wonderful (and absolutely delicious) restaurant located on the 11th floor of an apartment building. You’ll second-guess yourself all the way up the elevator, but I promise it’s worth it.

10) Stay at Paseo206, a beautiful boutique hotel that will make you feel like family. Oh, and they have the best bathtubs too.

Any practical tips for traveling to Havana with kids?

If I’m going somewhere like Cuba or Africa where I’m not CONVINCED I’ll be able to find stuff my kid will eat, I bring a case of Clif bars. Not the most nutritious, but they’ll keep him alive in a pinch 😉 Cuban grocery stores do NOT have a lot of variety (because, you know, communism) so don’t expect that yu’ll be able to find a favorite snack.

However dishes like rice and beans, fresh fruit, grilled chicken, and pasta/pizza are pretty plentiful around Havana, so it wasn’t a problem even with my picky eater. Oh, and don’t you dare bring a stroller; either wear a tot in a carrier or carry them on your shoulders, whatever you gotta do. The crowded cobblestones make a stroller not worth it (I was really glad we didn’t bring one).

There’s also no need to bring a carseat; it likely wouldn’t even fit in the wacky array of taxis available anyway! Get ready for taxi rides with a kid on your lap.

Where was your best sleep? (Why do you recommend Paseo 206 and Saratoga as the best hotels in Havana to stay with kids?)

Paseo206 hands down! It’s so beautiful and well designed. I cannot recommend this hotel highly enough; Andrea and his family and staff were so warm and welcoming and made us feel at ease. You could tell they are parents too!

They had the best tips for where to go in the city including Parque Maestranza which is an amazing playground where we saw zero other tourists. Also the Paseo206 food, drink, design, etc was phenomenal, and they had wonderful live music… We even came back for the pasta after we had checked out haha.

Paseo 206

Do you have any honorable mentions? (like tips for great restaurants, shops etc.)

We also stayed at Hotel Saratoga which is beautiful but a bit stuffy, and much colder in terms of service (especially compared to the warmth and friendliness of Paseo206). But Saratoga has gorgeous rooftop views from its pool, so can’t complain!

Saratoga rooftop

What is your favorite photograph of this trip? 

My son absolutely THRILLED to be at Fusterlandia exploring, and us on the beach Playa Megano. Traveling with a little one can be so exhausting, I love being able to look back on these moments and realize, okay, yeah, it was worth it. This kid may have fussed about the weird pizza and got frustrated about the language barrier, but he had an amazing damn time. So yeah, I would recommend traveling to Havana with kids.

What is you most beautiful memory about this family trip?

Oh gosh, there are a lot. Silas falling asleep on my lap during the middle of a live music show our first night at Paseo206’s bar/restaurant while my partner and I polished off canchancharras. Paseo staff teaching Silas to count to 10 in Spanish, and him finally gathering the courage to tell people “gracias” and “buenos dias” and ask for “helado.”

Oh, and Silas dancing around the Plaza Vieja and having play swordfights with Cuban kids. Basically anytime I can look around and feel like, yeah, I’m dragging this kid around the world — and I’m absolutely doing the right thing.

Plaza Vieja

Meet TRVLBEES member Carmen Bierens! She is here to make your family-travel plans easier and without any stress – she has done the research for you and will tell you everything you need to know about traveling to Bali with the kids. 

This Amsterdam mum is a real travel addict and she loves to travel to family-friendly, stylish, conscious places and show her kids the world. A big plus is that her husband travels around the world for his work and they can join him often. We’ll admit we’re a tiny bit jealous…

You visited so many countries in the last year, from Manhattan to Abu Dhabi, from South Africa to Indonesia. What’s your favorite travel memory with your family?  

It’s simply not possible to pick one favourite out of so many completely different experiences! We loved living and working in NYC for a few months, because only by doing that, you get to really know a city. 

Holiday wise, Morocco surprised us the most. It was incredibly child friendly, we visited Marrakech for a few days (oh, all the wonders for a child to see there!) and relaxed in a gorgeous luxury Kasbah in the Atlas Mountains. The weather was great in November. The food was to die for. We just had a perfect time; my only regret is not taking home more interior decorating accessories…. 

TRVLBEES focuses on family friendly, conscious and stylish hideaways- so let’s talk:

Family friendly: when searching for your own family holiday, what are you must haves on this feature? How and why?

I have to say I’m very picky (as well as a bit spoilt) when it comes to accommodations. I spend a lot of time looking for the right places to go and stay. What we look for in a hotel room as a family, is a separate bedroom and/or an outside space, so when the kids sleep or nap, someone can be with them without keeping the room all dark and quiet. 

Also, we look for a nice restaurant in the hotel itself, so we can go there using the baby monitor. Not a massive buffet restaurant, but something really atmospheric. My husband works in theatre, so we don’t get to spend many evenings together. The dinners we can have, need to be romantic! 

Last but not least: a pool, nowadays, is a must for the children.

Stylish stays: how does this category appeal to you? How would you describe ‘boutique’ in terms of stays? 

I’m an interior lover, so I really enjoy staying in an inspirational accommodation. If you google ‘design hotel’ you often get the standard white sleek massive hotels, that doesn’t do it for me. I love a local, traditional design with contemporary influences, blending in with the surroundings. These are usually small hotels, such as Mediterranean agritourism’s, but sometimes the big chain hotels can be stunning as well, like the Anantara Qasr al Sarab in the desert of Abu Dhabi, one of my favourites. 

Conscious traveling: is this important for you and your family while booking a hideaway?

We live in an energy neutral house in Amsterdam ourselves, and often book eco-friendly hotels. However, if you take a plane to get there, of course you can’t really pretend to be very conscious. One of the things we love about sustainable hotels, is that they often feel more authentic: for example, a restaurant serving local & organic food, hiring local staff, and the use of local building materials. 

You told us that Bali is one of your favorite destinations – reason why you stayed here for a whole month. Please let our other travelbees in on some handy tips for traveling around Bali with the kids:

What are the top things to do with kids and why?

We decided not to go to all the big famous places, but to take it easy and enjoy a bit of ‘slow living’. Bali is super child friendly, and safe as well. If it’s the first time for your kids in Indonesia, they won’t need big activities, because every street corner is a little miracle.

Canggu

We stayed in a villa with pool in Canggu first, which is a blend of upcoming tourism and hipster and local life. Taking your kids on a scooter is not done in Amsterdam, but in Canggu it’s the way to go and nobody will bat an eyelid (we did get helmets, though!) The kids loved every second of just getting around driving past the rice fields, having a foot massage, eating a smoothiebowl, looking at all the little temples with ‘scary’ or ‘funny’ statues of Balinese Hindu Gods, eating sateh at a Warung (local restaurant) at the beach, etcetera. 

Ubud

We wanted to visit Ubud as well, and we opted to stay in a gorgeous hotel in the middle of the jungle, 30 minutes outside town. Ubud can be very hot and busy, so this was the right decision for us. I loved the temples and shopping, the kids were more into the Monkey Forest 😉 A bicycle tour (child seats and electric bicycles possible) is nice to do as well, it really gets you off the beaten track. 

Gili Air

Our last destination was Gili Air, a very small tropical island, technically in Lombok but only 2 hours by boat from Bali. The beaches in Bali are golden, so if you want a white-sand turquoise-sea kind of holiday, this is your place. No cars, very laid-back. We spent our time at the beach playing with a SUP board and the drone, in old boats doing some snorkeling. And ended the day with early sunset dinners and our feet in the sand. We absolutely love visiting Bali with the kids.  

Which hotels/villas may not be skipped? What were the pros and cons?

Canggu Villas

This is one of the nicest villas we’ve ever stayed in. Very spacious with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, beautifully designed. It has a private pool, daily cleaning, on-demand taxi drivers, babysitters, located next to a great yoga school with vegan restaurant and organic food market and not too expensive. We highly recommend. 

This is the perfect luxury jungle resort. Completely secluded, a gorgeous infinity pool looking out over the jungle mist, sunset yoga with animal sounds in the background. A high quality spa and even a small but very professional kids club. This resort is very secluded and 30/40 minutes from Ubud and everything else, so only recommended if you don’t mind that. 

Gili Air: Scallywags Joglo

An Indonesian open-style villa with 3 bedrooms, private pool, great location, and daily breakfast delivered. The owners also have a beach club with free beds and umbrella’s a 10-minute walk away. 

Looking for more inspiration? Find all TRVLBEES properties in Bali below

2-12 persons | Canggu, Bali


2-5 persons | Buleleng, Bali


2-4 persons | Canggu, Bali


2-6 persons | Ubud, Bali


2-16 persons | Canggu, Bali


Wonderful restaurants enough in Bali – any tips for stylish-family friendly places (= read great for kids and heaven for parents), delicious (organic) food and sublime sunsets?

Everywhere we travelled, we found both really nice modern organic & vegan hotspots, as well as cheap & cheerful local Warungs with the best Indonesian food. Some of our favourites: La Brisa, Echo Beach, Canggu. Our favourite spot to go with or without kids. It’s everything you need in one place: beach club, pool, restaurant, cocktail bar and with breathtaking Balinese décor. The menu is fingerlicking good and organic. Kids can play on the beach or in the pool while you look at the surfers or the fabulous sunset. 

  • The Lawns, Canggu. If you want a more relaxed ‘clubbing & dj’ experience. Not really made for kids, but you sit picnic-style on the lawns, so they can run around freely, or play in the pool. 
  • Milk & Madu, Canggu. This all-day restaurant is tailored to families with small children and we loved it here. It’s fresh, modern and relaxed. It has great service, delicious food and a playground with sweet nannies to watch and entertain the kids (!). 
  • SizzleWraps, Canggu. Mexican food in Bali? Oh yeah. This little Mexican is super relaxed, romantic (you sit under the trees with little lights), cheap and very tasty. 
  • Mama Pizza, Gili Air. Wood fired pizza, and a few tables in the sand, plenty of space for the kids, watching the pink sunset. Love it. 
  • Mowies, Gili Air. Hip and cozy ambience, with large bean bags placed on the beach, soft music, overlooking the bluest ocean. Lots of vegan options.

What not to miss if you have ‘only’ a couple of days in Bali with the kids?

I would visit Canggu for the laid-back surf & yoga vibe, and Ubud for culture – while staying a little out of town for nature. And if you prefer it super easy with the kids: Sanur is close to the airport, has some nice 5-star hotels (we stayed in the Maya for 2 nights) and golden beaches. It’s touristy, but nothing like the mass tourism you’ll find in places like Kuta. 

Last travel tip for Bali with the kids  : we flew with Qatar Airways, and were able to have a 4-day stopover in Doha, Qatar on the way back. Doha only has a 3-hour time difference with the Netherlands, so this was a great way for all of us to beat the jet lag while still being on holiday.