Friday, February 23, 2018

The best things to do in New York: where to go, what to eat and what to do

Jessica Festa, travel writer, photographer, blogger, and editor of Epicure & Culture, is the perfect resource person for new ideas on how to spend 36 hours in New York City. Born and raised in the Big City, this certified travel bug describes herself as someone who travels “as much as humanly possible.” A licensed tour guide, Jessica Festa founded NYC Tours & Photo Safaris so that visitors can experience the city’s various facets from a different perspective. Here’s an inside look into what’s currently in Jessica’s little black book.

Quirkier side of New York City
Photo by Jessica Festa

The BEST PLACE FOR A CERTIFIED FOODIE is Smorgasburg on the water in Williamsburg. The best time to go there and explore is Saturday around 11 AM.

For A LATE NIGHT MEAL in the city, head to Artichoke Basille’s Pizza which has numerous locations, each open late. I love their artichoke wedge topped in a spinach artichoke dip.

The MOST LUXURIOUS MEAL in the city can be found at The NoMad.

For A ROMANTIC DINNER, take your date to TØRST.

Cochinita Pibil Tacos, Horchata New York
Photo by Noah Fecks

A MICHELIN-STARRED RESTAURANT I LOVE is Laut and my favorite dish there is the spicy Tom Kha with chicken.

Beauty & Essex is THE IDEAL SPOT TO PEOPLE WATCH New York’s most fashionable. Plus, they have free champagne in the women’s bathroom!

My LATEST FOOD DISCOVERY is Birds & Bubbles for a fried chicken and sparkling wine pairing.

LOCAL FOOD TRENDS TO TRY ARE Unique pairings, like beer and homemade cupcakes at Sweet Revenge or wine-inspired combinations at Jill Lindsey.

The Back Room
Photo by Troy Hahn

The BEST BREAKFAST PLACE is Jimmy’s Diner where I always order the Tater Heaven Breakfast Bowl.

The BEST PLACE FOR AN ICE COLD BEER after a long summer day is at Barcade. It has arcade games and delicious craft beers, mostly from the United States. 

You can find NEW YORK’S BEST AND COOLEST BARTENDER at Mayahuel. You should ask him to make you a spicy “Herb Alpert” with mezcal and a jalapeño-infused blanco tequila cocktail/drink.

TAKE A COFFEE BREAK at Maman NYC and make sure to get the Lavender Hot Chocolate.

I love BARHOPPING around Williamsburg or SPEAKEASY TOURING in the East Village.

Lavender Hot Chocolate, Maman
Photo by Jessica Festa

The CHICEST PLACE TO UNWIND IS AT the 17th-story rooftop of Pod 39, which has delicious Mexican food — they have a taco cart — and aerial views of the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, the Chrysler Building and the East River.

I am CURRENTLY IN LOVE WITH The CityReliquary, an uber-quirky history museum in Williamsburg with everything from an old rotting birthday cake to historic subway rock pieces and lots of interesting rotating cultural exhibits.

A favorite ART MUSEUM I like going to is The Frick Collection.

ONE PLACE THAT AWAKENS MY CREATIVE JUICES is the High Line Park, a repurposed elevated railway track with greenery, public art, food carts, and fun events.

Photo by Jessica Festa

For A CULTURAL IMMERSION, go to The Art StudentsLeague of New York.

I like going to The Journal Gallery to see new WORKS FROM UP-AND-COMING ARTISTS.

The THE BEST WAY TO SEE THE CITY AT ITS MOST BEAUTIFUL IN THE EVENING is by walking over the Williamsburg Bridge.

JIMMY at The James Hotel in Soho is the MOST FASHIONABLE PLACE to be seen.

Central Park
Photo by Claudia Altavas

I LIKE BRINGING FRIENDS TRAVELING TO NYC TO Nitehawk, an indie movie theater with fun events like Nitehawk Naughties and Country Brunchin’.

THE HIPPEST PLACE TO BE AND BE SEEN is The Standard Biergarten.

PARK YOUR PICNIC BASKET for a lazy afternoon at Belvedere Castle at 79th. It has an awesome skyline and castle views.

AN ACTIVITY THAT MOST LOCALS LOVE TO DO and foreign visitors must try is choosing a random subway stop, getting off and wandering without a plan.

Williamsburg Bridge
Photo by Jessica Festa

If I want a NIGHT OUT WITH THE GIRLS, we go to The Back Room for swing dancing or Mayahuel for amazing spicy mezcal cocktails. Tourist should not miss Industry City in Sunset Park, right on the water and full of local purveyors with open factories. Don’t miss the outdoor Mister Sunday party in the summer!

I LOVE SHOOTING IN Brooklyn around the murals of the Bushwick Collective (St. Nicholas Ave, Brooklyn) for a truly photogenic New York shot. So colorful and inspiring! For my NYC Tours & Photo Safaris, I lead a Beer, Bites and Street Art #InstaWalk that takes people through Bushwick. This is a must-visit for street art lovers. The buildings and walls along the streets are covered with all kinds of art that go beyond just murals.

The MOST INSTAGRAM-WORTHY SPOT that most tourists don’t know about is at the Glade Arch at Central Park. It’s a great place to take fun silhouette shots.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Bespoke tailor TIÑO in the Philippines celebrates partnership with Holland & Sherry from Savile Row, London

Last February 19, bespoke tailoring company, TIÑO and textile company from Savile Row London, Holland & Sherry co-hosted a night of an exclusive trade event showcasing luxurious fabric selections of Holland & Sherry and bespoke creations of TIÑO.

L-R: Josh Lane, Holland & Sherry’s Regional Sales Manager, Far East; Napoleon “Nap” Arienza, Master Tailor of TIÑO; Vishal Advani from NJ Bhagwan & Co Pte Ltd, exclusive distributor of Holland & Sherry in Southeast Asia; Tristan Ramirez and Eilene Ramirez, co-owners of TIÑO

Holland & Sherry constantly travels around the world in search of crafted tailors and partners to present their quality fabrics. Vishal Advani from NJ Bhagwan & Co Pte Ltd, the exclusive distributor of Holland & Sherry in Southeast Asia, shared with the TRAVELIFE team that, “We hope to increase brand awareness in Southeast Asia. Holland & Sherry is a luxury fabric so you need an accredited tailor or craftsman to do justice to these fabrics.”

Josh Lane, Holland & Sherry’s Regional Sales Manager, Far East, emphasized this and said, “Holland & Sherry is quite conservative, but we’re considered as one of the best in the world. So we want more people to recognize our logo and know what we do as a company.”

Holland & Sherry fabric collections

This time, Holland & Sherry showcased their cloths in Manila, with excellent bespoke tailor, TIÑO spearheaded by Master Tailor Napoleon “Nap” Arienza. TIÑO has been a creator of bespoke suits with Holland & Sherry’s fabrics for almost two years, but this event strengthened ties between collaborative companies of textile and tailoring industry, particularly since TIÑO is the first tailoring shop to have Holland & Sherry fabrics in the Philippines.

“Master Tailor Arienza’s name is quite legendary in the Manila bespoke industry,” said Advani. “And we partner with top-tier tailors, so he’s definitely one of our preferred partners here in Manila. It’s quite synergetic; letting us leverage off with TIÑO’s network in Manila with this event while at the same time TIÑO being a partner of Holland & Sherry and having access to the fabric collections.”

TIÑO Master Tailor Napoleon “Nap” Arienza

TIÑO’s aim is to be known for its quality suits handcrafted with the most premium fabrics, such as those from Holland & Sherry, created for the stylistic gentleman of today. Master Tailor Arienza mentioned that, “I’m hoping for a long-term partnership with Holland & Sherry and that they bring us more high-quality material from Europe that we can introduce here not only in the Philippines, but in Asia. Since we also have a lot of clients from outside the country, such as Europe and Australia.”


Through the course of the Sartorial Symphony event, TRAVELIFE Magazine learns the diversity, versatility, and the practicability of bespoke suits. “There is more interest in bespoke men’s wear. More young people are taking interest in customizing their own clothes, moving away from ready-to-wear and toward made-to-measure or bespoke,” Lane mentioned.

And contrary to popular belief, a suit is no longer just corporate attire for office or work. With Holland & Sherry, you can have a variation of color-and-texture combinations for different occasions.

Water-resistant fabrics from Holland & Sherry

“There’s a misconception that wool is itchy. But what Holland & Sherry is offering is not. There are different kinds of wool that make it more practical and versatile. It’s not necessarily boring and heavy. It can be a combination of wool and different fabrics like cotton, linen, silk, or cashmere. So it gives people freedom to express their identities in the way they dress while still remaining formal,” said Lane.

Another misconception that Holland & Sherry readily shatters is that suits are solely for men. One of the highlights for their Spring-Summer fabric collection this year is Holland & Sherry’s renewed women’s wear collection. “Although it’s the first time we’ve done a ladies wear specific collection, there’s no reason that you can’t use these [existing] fabrics for ladies wear,” said Lane. “People assume, because of our Savile Row and suiting heritage, it’s just for men. But actually we do a lot of businesswomen suits, especially in the United Kingdom. Particularly when you start adding silk and stretch, since it is more suitable for ladies garments, for a slimmer fit and softer handle. This just demonstrates that there’s so much variety and choice.”


The Spring-Summer collection of Holland & Sherry will include fabrics suitable for lighter jacketing and lighter business suits. Many of the fabrics have exquisite blended compositions – such as wool-silk, wool-silk-linen – that make for a very comfortable and unique texture.

TIÑO is also offering their very own Neopolitan Jacket and Safari Jacket. The Neopolitan Jacket originated from Naples and is starting to trend in Manila. It’s a wrinkled type of jacket perfect for traveling because it’s light and breathable. As Master Tailor Arienza put it, “You can even put it in your pocket then take it out and wear it.”

TIÑO Master Tailor Napoleon “Nap” Arienza with homegrown tailors
Photo by Metrophoto

As one of their proud partners, Urban Traveller & Co. offers TIÑO’s Neopolitan Jackets in sizes, but clients can have it altered at the bespoke tailor shop. The Safari Jacket, on the other hand, is unstructured and without lining. Made out of a blend of cotton and linen, this light jacket is another perfect travel wear.

With the arrival of the new season, it's definitely the perfect time to upgrade your wardrobe.

Tiño Bespoke Suits:
G/F Herco Center, Benavidez St. Legaspi Village, Makati City

Tiño Casual Classics: Safari and Neapolitan Jackets
Urban Traveller & Co, 2nd Floor, Greenbelt 5, Makati City

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila named Five-Star Hotel by Forbes Travel Guide in its Official 2018 Star Rating Announcement

Forbes Travel Guide today unveiled its annual Star Rating list, naming Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, for the second time, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel. Marco Polo Ortigas Manila will be showcased with all of the Star Rating recipients on

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila

At Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, embrace Asian warmth with a blend of Western comfort will ultimately give meaning to guests’ travel experience. Luxury is all in the details as expressed through the tasteful selection of art pieces, rich layered finish and unique textures, muted neutral tones, chic interiors and fine furniture that are interpreted in a timeless design concept to create a serene and intimate atmosphere. It is a unique concept that perfectly blends modernity and nobility through design. Certainly, Marco Polo Ortigas Manila will appeal to the new-age traveler, on business or leisure, who appreciates elegant design, avant-garde food & beverage offerings, sophisticated style, modern comforts and essentially the impeccable service accorded to them.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Continental Club Lounge

“It’s our second consecutive time to be on list. We are very grateful to have been recognized once again as one of the finest. This really shows how we provide only the most exceptional service that create meaning with every encounter,” says General Manager Frank Reichenbach.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Lung Hin Restaurant

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila is the latest addition to the luxury travel ratings that have been the gold standard in the hospitality industry since 1958. “We are pleased to honor the 2018 Star Rating recipients, an exceptional collection of hotels, restaurants and spas that demonstrates a strong culture of service,” said Gerard J. Inzerillo, Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Travel Guide.

Marco Polo Ortigas Manila, Executive Suite

“In an online environment of confusion and clutter, Forbes Travel Guide is the most trusted source of information to assist guests in making informed decisions,” Inzerillo said. “These properties, the largest and most global group in the company’s history, achieve an impeccable standard of excellence in hospitality, underscoring our overall mission of positively contributing to the international tourism industry as well as individual hotel experience. We are proud to congratulate everyone associated with the prestigious properties recognized today.”