Top 3 London: A Full List

At Synergy, London holds a special place in our hearts. Besides being a dream vacation for many members of the team, three members in particular have a special connection with the English capital. Ms. Denise D’Mello, the Director of Global Solutions calls this city her home. Amy Ramskill, an integral part of the L.A. sales team, lived in London for seven years, and Paige Gildner, a marketing intern, graduated high-school from The American School in London. Denise, Amy and Paige co-created this post because Synergy is internally intwined with this fabulous city, and is making great strides to increase the properties available for our guests and clients. We hope this “Top 3 London” tour guide will lead our guests to the best places to eat & drink, shop, stroll and explore in London.

Top 3 Items to Pack

Womens:

1. Smart Trench Coat: Think in layers when traveling around London. Amy says, “It can be hot on the Tube, cold outside, and comfortable in the attractions.” A smart trench coat like the Banana Republic Classic Belted Trench is an attractive outer layer which you can shed easily, and check at a museum’s coat-check.

2. Comfortable Flats: Whether you are commuting to work, or walking around the city on the weekend, a pair of comfortable yet trendy flats is a must-have for any fashion-savvy woman. Denise says, “When I see clients I wear my flats then slip my heels on at the bus stop.” A metal toe like the Kate Spade Eddie Flat is a fresh fall twist on the classic pointed toe flat. Looking for a less expensive option? Try the Mia 2 Jay Flat to get the same look.

3. Sunglasses: Denise says, “I know it sounds mad [to pack sunglasses] but the winter sun is so bright and when the sun comes out after it rains, it’s blinding!” The stylish “cat-eye” lens, shown on the Tom Ford Matina Sunglasses, is funky and fun and looks good on all face shapes.

Mens:

1. Smart Pea Coat: For men who do not want to wear a full trench-coat, a pea-coat is a smart alternative. While wool might be a heavy material for everyday wear, it is a classic look and will last for multiple falls and winters. The Bayswater Pea Coat from J.Crew is a timeless investment.

2. Brief Case: For a business man in the city, an attractive leather brief case is a must. The Trafalgar Arlington Briefcase allows you to travel comfortably on public transportation and will conveniently hold everything you might need during a day at the office.

3. Jeans: Dark wash jeans like the 7 for All Mankind  Standard Pacificka Jean are a wardrobe staple and will allow you to easily transition from a business casual work-day to an after-work pint at the Pub.

Top 3 Quintessential London Activities

What do you think of when you think of London? The Royal Palace? Afternoon tea? Black cabs and double-decker buses? Whatever it may be, here are our top three choices for capturing that quintessential London moment.

Enjoy an Afternoon Tea at The Dorchester.

1. Afternoon Tea at the Dorchester

2. Fish & Chips at Poppies: Fish and chips (the British slang for French Fries) is an inexpensive and authentic way to enjoy one of the most famous meals in the United Kingdom.

3. Sunday Roast & Yorkshire Pudding at The Montague Arms: Sunday Roast and Yorkshire Pudding will keep you full and warm on a drizzly Sunday afternoon. The cozy decor of The Montague Arms pub will add lasting effect.

Top 3 Tourist Attractions

With so much to see in the city, the choices of what attractions to spend money on and which ones you should hold off on may seem daunting. We’ve tried to narrow down what we think are the tourist attractions well worth the money.

1. Tower of London: Adults and children alike will be enthralled during the tours led by the Tower’s own Yeoman Warders, also known as the Beef Eaters. The history behind this mighty tower encapsulates the rule of the monarchy in England, not omitting the gruesome stories of famous beheadings or spooky ghost stories. As Paige’s favorite tourist attraction in London,  the Tower is one spot you can absolutely not miss.

2. The London Eye: For some of the best views of the city and an enjoyable experience on-board one of the largest Ferris Wheels in the world, take a ride on the London Eye.

The image which made Abbey Road famous.

3. Red Bus to Abbey Road: Seeing the Abbey Road crosswalk is a must for any Beatles fan or music lover. Locals are used to pausing for tourists in the crosswalk, giving you the chance to snap your own rendition of the famous album cover.

What do we think you can afford to miss? Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, The London Dungeon and The Changing of the Guards Ceremony which Amy says is better on T.V.!

Top 3 Museums

View of the Tate Modern crossing the Millennium Bridge.

1. Tate Modern: Amy says, “Have a cappuccino or glass of wine on Level 7, overlooking the Millennium Bridge.”

2. British Museum: Rotating exhibitions, including the Shakespeare exhibit currently on display, keep this museum one of the most interesting museums the city has to offer.

3. Natural History Museum: Free entry and loads of kid-friendly exhibits will keep you and your family entertained for hours.

Top 3 Weekend Markets

1. Portobello Market in Notting Hill: You will be amazed by the huge variety of fresh produce, clothing, jewelry and antiques the stalls on Portobello Road have to offer. Do not miss stopping into the Notting Hill Bookstore, made famous by the 1999 Romantic Comedy starring Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, “Notting Hill”.

2. Camden Market: For those with artsy and eclectic taste, Camden Market will become a haven.

3. Borough Market: Denise suggests a weekend visit to Borough Market during lunchtime, followed by a walk down the Embankment up to Westminster Bridge. This is a great day itinerary to catch some of the many sites along the waterfront.

Rainy Day Activities

While it isn’t always rainy and cold in London, it is important to have some back-up activities on days when your umbrella is your best friend, and the gray sky is drizzling.

1. Catch a Matinee at the Royal Opera House

2. Explore Harrods and dine in the Market Halls: Amy’s favorite tastes in the Market Halls are the seafood and champagne.

The lights of Harrods at night.

3. Take the Eurostar to Paris: Amy suggests escaping the rainy city altogether and taking short train trip to la ville de l’amour.  She adds, “I love the train in the rain!”

Top 3 Dinner Spots

1. Belgos: This chain restaurant with three locations in London offers beer, mussels and “all things Belgian”. For a fun and unique dining experience at a reasonable price, Belgos is the place to be. $$

2. Nobu Park Lane: In London, Nobu is synonymous with mouth-watering Japanese food and sushi. Denise recommends the signature Black Cod which she says is “melt-in-your-mouth amazing”. $$$

3. Fifteen by Jamie Oliver: This retro-style, “Italian-led” restaurant by renowned chef Jamie Oliver donates profits to the Better Food Foundation. $$

Please share your London experiences with us and enjoy your time in this amazing city!

A Day in Cambridge, MA

Corresponding with a few new Synergy units in Cambridge, Massachusetts, we are excited to create a tour guide for any and all of our guests who might find themselves in this town in New England known best for the Ivy league college, Harvard, which calls it home.

The Harvard Book Store in Harvard Square.

Cambridge is a true gem in Massachusetts. Boston neighbors this city of over 100,000 residents, but there is enough to do in Cambridge alone that makes a trip into the capital an afterthought. To begin your day, start by walking around the Harvard campus and check out the Harvard Museum of Natural History. This kid-friendly museum is best known for its dinosaurs and amazing exhibit of over 4,000 glass flowers. After you’ve gotten your learn on, venture into the bustling Harvard Square, which includes the infamous Harvard book-store and some great shopping.  If you are hungry, stop for lunch at the trendy Wagamama Noodle Bar, which originated in London but recently opened a few locations in the Boston area. Order the Yaki Soba or Yasai Katsu Curry, and wash it down with a fresh juice. You won’t be disappointed.

Views of Boston from the Charles River.

In the afternoon, make your way to the Charles River and soak in some views of Boston. If you are feeling energetic, crossing the river on one of the many footbridges is a quintessential thing to do in this city. Or, just set up under a shady tree and watch the activity on the river. Keep an eye out for the crew teams from Harvard & MIT, and watch for the boats of the world famous Boston Duck Tours.

When dinner time rolls around, head to the Miracle of Science Bar & Grill, for an amazing burger and pint. The crowd here is what you would typically expect to find in an intelligent college town; a mixed crowd of geek-chic, artsy folk, and musicians all enjoying themselves make this an ideal place to casually grab dinner and have some intellectual conversations.

The funky and independent Brattle Theater.

After dinner, head to the Brattle Theater, a beautiful and funky independent movie theater which is known for its repertory program of showing films for an extended period of time that all fit a particular genre or subject. If you are interested in seeing a classic or foreign film, Brattle Theater should be where you look first.

To round out your perfect day in this New England city, grab a pint at The Druid, a stellar Irish pub. Cambridge has always had a large Irish population, and they know how to create a token Irish pub experience. With a full day of sight-seeing, shopping, and eating behind you, we hope you have enjoyed your day in Cambridge!

Did you do something not included on this list, or stumble upon an unmentioned restaurant or experience? Don’t forget to share your find with us in the comments section, and stay tuned for our next tour-guide!

Soaking up the Sun in San Diego!

Synergy Housing opened its doors to a San Diego office nearly one year ago. Since then, we have acquired some remarkable units in this beachy California city, and are please to accommodate guests there throughout the year. Our most recent unit in San Diego is a part of the revolutionary Circa 37, an eco-friendly complex dedicated to sustainability and healthy-living. During your next trip to San Diego, we hope you will take the time to fully appreciate the laid-back and life-loving attitude of the thousands of Californians that call this city home. Need some ideas of how to best do this? Let Synergy’s first blog travel-guide lead you from the can’t-miss attractions to the yummiest restaurants in San Diego!

Beaches

San Diego boasts over 30 public beaches, all sure to please if you have a day filled with sun and sand in mind. From Pacific Beach and Mission Beach to Carlsbad, the beaches in San Diego are the perfect place for sun-bathing, sand-castle building and watching the spectacular West Coast sunsets.

Aerial of Pacific Beach and Mission Valley

Balboa Park

Balboa Park – The Art of Practice & Mediation

Balbao Park is a true gem for culture and arts in San Diego. With a rich history, and a huge selection of museums, gardens, and family attractions, the 1,200 acres which make up this lush urban park will entertain you all day long. A variety of free and paid tours are available throughout the week, or you can stroll along the many trails at your own pace. Don’t miss the fascinating art-and-craft Mingei International Museum and stop to smell the flowers in the Rose Garden. While enjoying the scenery, try and find Balboa Park’s hidden garden. Here’s a hint: think tropical! Take your time in this beautiful park, as once you step foot into this green oasis, you won’t be in any rush to leave.

 Coronado

Visiting the island of Coronado is a must for first-time travelers to San Diego. It’s own city, Coronado is connected to the main land by a two mile long soaring bridge, and the scenery from the bridge is almost worth the trip alone. Coronado is home to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado, a Victorian-style masterpiece which is sure to please your inner architect. According to The Travel Channel, “Hotel Del” is the number-one wedding spot in the US, and the Coronado beach was recently named the #1 Best Beach in America by Florida International University professor and coastal expert Stephen P. Leatherman, a.k.a. “Dr. Beach”. For a local destination with some mediterranean flare, don’t skimp on a day-trip to Coronado.

Pizza Port

Pizza Port

If your day of sight-seeing has left you famished and looking for easy bite to eat, Pizza Port Carlsbad is the answer. With a huge selection of “grog”, the local beers and draft favorites won’t leave you dissappointed or thirsty, and a unique selection of pizzas from pesto chicken to black bean and veggie will satisfy every taste-bud. Pizza Port is an ultimate family experience, with tasty grub and a lively atmosphere. Order more than you’re hungry for because the left-overs are just as good as the originals.

K’nB Wine Cellars

Thirsty? K’nB Wine Cellars is a hidden gem tucked away in the Del Cerro shopping center off of College Ave. With 30 beers rotating on tap, a huge selection of local and global wine, and a great menu of appetizers or entrees, the service and price can’t be beat. The outdoor seating area delivers some of the divine San Diego air, and you will enjoy every minute of your experience, whether it’s for a quick cocktail, or a full night out.

Truluck’s in La Jolla

If being in San Diego has left you craving seafood, Truluck’s will satisfy your tastebuds and deliver an ultimate dining experience. Consistently rated as one of the best restaurants in San Diego, Truluck’s is known for its outstanding food and excellent ambiance and service. Trulucks guarantees the freshest seafood, serving it from boat to table in a 24 hour period. Leave the kids with a sitter, and spend a well-deserved dinner at Truluck’s.

Kayaking & Paddleboarding Lessons

Kayaking in San Diego

Spend some time on the water with a kayaking or paddleboarding lesson. Make sure and go through Aqua Adventures, a company that boasts great service, a fun experience, and friendly people. Plus, they’re dog friendly! The prices are unbeatable, with kayak rentals starting at $16.50/hour. Take in San Diego in a new way on a kayak or paddleboard!

Did you do something in San Diego that you really enjoyed and isn’t on this list? Share your own experiences in our comments section, and check back for more Travel Guides to your upcoming Synergy destinations!