The Travel Maven: Some of a Travel Writer’s Favorite Places and Things

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By Richard Levy

Richard Levy

When I tell folks I’m a travel writer, they often say, “Oh, I’m so jealous.” Since I can’t invite you on my next trip, I thought I’d share my favorite places and things from New York and around the world.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski: Finest 5-Star hotel in Berlin. Views of Brandenburg Gate next door. Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer, a 2-Star Michelin Restaurant, my favorite in Berlin.

She-Crab Soup: Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. Chucks of real crab in an amazing soup is like fine wine. Freshest oyster and clams ever.

Crab-Pork Soup Dumplings: Drunken Dumpling, New York City. Secret: They freeze soup in an ice cube tray, cover with dough and boil.

Ravello, Amalfi Coast: My favorite Italian town with incredible vistas. From Amalfi below take a ferry ride to Capri and Positano.

Jean George Restaurant: My favorite place to celebrate. Order a prix fixe lunch. The ambience, service and food are incredible.

Amawaterways River Cruises: The only river cruise to take. Crew is incredible, like being on a private yacht. Like a floating Michelin Guide restaurant.

Curacao: Unequivocally the best island. Uncrowded, unspoiled great beaches, hotels, diving, food and very Dutch.

Russ & Daughters: Whether it’s the store on East Houston Street or the café on Orchard Street, the best smoked fish and old-fashioned delicious Jewish treats that I grew up with.

Lodge at Woodloch Spa: Getaway for a weekend in Hawley, Pa. Recharge your batteries with OMG! massages and spa cuisine.

Shelter Island: Escape for a seaside weekend and travel back 200 years. Stay at Ram’s Head Inn. Classic luxury.

Casini Firenze: Unequivocally the finest and most fashionable leather store in Italy. Buy something for your significant other.

Jet Blue: I go out of my way to fly them. They treat you like family. No airline comes close.

Harvest on Hudson Restaurant: The best restaurant and scenic views of the Hudson in Westchester. Located in Hastings-on-Hudson, but more like being in Bellagio on Lake Como.

Spinoza Café & Restaurant, Budapest: Try the three-course goose dinner with Klezmer concert. The New York Café is the most beautiful art deco cafe in Europe and the “Shoes on the Danube” is such a moving memorial.

Atlantis Hotel, Bahama: Actually, stay at Comfort Suites next door. Affordable and includes Atlantis facilities free. Best deal in the Caribbean.

Ricardo, Beverly Hills (Luggage): Cupertino is my favorite carry-on luggage. Two handy sleeves outside and the interior design is genius. Has a USB port, super light with magical wheels. Great price.

Majorelle Restaurant: New York City’s best kept dining secret. One of the finest restaurants in the chic Lowell Hotel. RSVP required.

Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni: My favorite luxury 5-Star hotel in Italy and Europe. Breathtaking views of Lake Como surrounded by Italian Alps. Splurge, life is short.

Firstleaf Wine Club: The best wine club. Very affordable. Every bottle is spectacular – and not just the first promo.

Cambodians: My favorite people, always smiling, happy, yet endured wrath of Khymer Rouge who murdered three million while the world did nothing.

Lobster Roll: Luke’s Lobster, New York City. Mounds of claw.

Cote d’Azur: La Colombe d’Or outdoor restaurant, hotel above Nice, walls covered with Legers. Where Chagall and other artists bartered paintings for room and board.

Peter Luger Steak House: Located under the Williamsburg Bridge, the best steak in New York.

The High Line: My favorite place to escape New York City madness. A true oasis. Walking mindlessly on it is like a dream.

Point Zero Backpack: My favorite backpack in every possible way. Compact, lightweight, incredible design.

Katz’s Pastrami Sandwich: For my “New York Jewish sandwich fix,” nothing does it like their overflowing delicious pastrami on rye with Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda.

Hastings-on-Hudson resident Richard Levy is a former advertising “Mad Man” creative director and now prolific travel writer. He’s also an inventor of innovative new products and is writing and illustrating a new children’s book. You can contact him at

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