Fathom is a wanderlust-inducing, information-packed travel resource—and it all started back in 2011, when former DailyCandy alums Pavia Rosati and Jeralyn Gerba turned an off-the-cuff business idea into a reality. As Rosati puts it, "I figured I was going to go to Tokyo one day, and the research was going to be a pain. So I better launch a website so I can read it and know where to go." Earlier this year, the site debuted digital honeymoon guides, starting with Italy ($25 each or $85 for the set). These in-depth, three-day itineraries for Florence, Rome, Venice, and the Amalfi Coast include insider tips, recommendations on hotels and restaurants, and day trip ideas. (Paris is coming soon.) Read on for Rosati's romantic hotel and restaurant picks, go-to gadgets, and more.
Monique Lhuillier Talks Honeymooning
Aisle or window?
Aisle, preferably exit row (through any means possible).
Check or carry-on?
Carry-on bag—but I usually check it. That's how much I hate jockeying for overhead bin space.
What gadgets do you always pack?
My MacBook Air, because everything I do for Fathom and my life is on that machine. My beloved Panasonic Lumix camera, though I'm increasingly using the iPhone for that. A Marantz digital recorder since I started corresponding for the podcast Prince Street, to capture impromptu interviews with chefs and good kitchen sounds. And a tangle of headphones, USB chargers, and electricity converters. I anxiously await the glorious day when someone invents weightless chargers.
What are your tips for fitting souvenirs in your suitcase?
For starters, don't buy bulky things (which isn't easy when my colleagues request potato chips from Australia). Then, think flat: stationery and textiles like napkins and hand towels. Chocolate bars are easy to pack, as is spaghetti. And who doesn't love chocolate and spaghetti?
Favorite souvenir from your travels:
Despite what I just said about souvenirs, I'm a sucker for ceramics. Plates, vases, tiles, and especially bowls. If it's incredibly impractical to lug across the ocean in a tote bag, then it's hanging from my shoulder.
What destinations are ideal for an easy, pre-wedding getaway?
For cities, I like Amsterdam. Easy to get to, beautiful to explore (so many pretty canals), and fun by day (bikes, boutiques, art, parks) and night (great bars and cute boys to flirt with). It has two hotels I adore, The Dylan and Conservatorium. Cartagena is another great city—and it gets bonus points for being on the Caribbean. For country, I'd go to Aspen at any time of the year: skiing in the winter, paragliding in summer, excellent nightlife year-round.
What is the most romantic destination you've visited?
Anyplace can be romantic if you're with the right person and in the right mood. Places that are constructed to be romantic tend to be contrived. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than being in a dining room surrounded by a dozen other couples. I savor quieter moments—a hilltop walk in Umbria, a drive through the Hudson River Valley, a rococo hotel room in Venice.
Most romantic hotel?
La Reserve in Paris and La Scelta de Goethe in Rome for the same reasons: Every detail is gorgeous, sumptuous, hidden, incredible, and thoughtful. You start to lose track of the adjectives. You know that Paris and Rome in all their splendors are right outside the front door, but it's so hard to tear yourself away. And for overall stunningness of setting and originality of structure, La Chèvre d'Or in Eze, France, and Tarobane Island in Weligama, Sri Lanka.
Most romantic meal?
I spend a disproportionate amount of time eating, so the list is long and incomplete. For the food, the atmosphere, and the charm, I savor Don Alfonso in Sant' Agata Sui Due Golfi, Italy; Casa Coppelle in Rome, The Odeon in NYC, and The Palomar in London. Not all strictly romantic, and that's how I like it.
How do you prepare for a long flight?
All I need to survive a long flight are snacks, a stack of glossy magazines, and three bad movies. I never eat airplane food (except pretzels) and typically pack sautéed chickpeas and raw vegetables like fennel and red peppers. If I'm leaving from Heathrow, Rome, or Venice, I buy two excellent sandwiches at the airport, because they're delicious and not outrageously priced. (Hear that, JFK?)
What are your tips for planning a once in a lifetime trip?
For starters, try not to think of it like that, because that's way too much pressure. Do a lot of research (especially on Fathom!), find nice accommodations, and—the most important part—be prepared to toss it all out the window and go where the spirit takes you once you've arrived. Be open to being spontaneous. That's where the best memories are waiting for you.
What are your go-to travel apps?
Fewer than you'd think, and they aren't necessarily travel apps: Google Maps, Expensify, Uber, Instagram.
What are your in-flight beauty tips?
Moisturize obsessively with a cocktail of water mist, serums, and face oils that I repeat every few hours. Drink lots of water. Do a funny stretching routine in the back of the plane on long hauls.
How do you look refreshed after a long flight?
I splash cold water on my face at the airport, do a quick downward dog, and wear the flush of excitement that I'm in a new place about to do great things.
Best ways for killing time during a layover?
Go through the New Yorker magazines that have been stacking up next to my bed for the last three years. Do jigsaws on my Magic Jigsaw Puzzles app. And podcasts like The West Wing Weekly and Here's the Thing.
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