Can’t a hotel concierge help with these needs?
Hotel concierges are great, but they often have set relationships with restaurants and other service providers, which can influence their recommendations. The local Alix concierge doesn’t play favorites. Our recommendations are based on blind trials using our own money.
Also, unlike a hotel concierge, we host events for our members. Our event in April in New York, for example, was a private tour of the Whitney Biennale with an art curator, followed by cocktails at Untitled, the museum’s restaurant.
How are the needs of female travelers different from those of men?
I find that women want alternatives to dining at their hotel. They also feel more of a need to maintain personal routines such as their yoga classes or manicures.
What kinds of hotels should solo female travelers look for when it comes to safety?
They should pick a smaller boutique property where they are known to the staff because in larger properties, they can be anonymous, and the sense of security and personalization is not as strong. Also, that hotel should be near good public transportation because you want to be in an area that’s busy, not remote.
Are there certain cities you think are more suited to solo female travelers?
New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Paris would top my list. They are all walkable, which is nice because it’s easy to get around and take in the sights.
Also, they are cities with late-night activities such as theater in New York and London and museums in Paris like Palais de Tokyo, which is open until midnight. With options to entertain yourself at night, you can have a very full day and never feel alone.
Any tips for dining alone at a high-end restaurant?
Some restaurants have beautiful bar areas — a good option for those who want to have an elegant meal out.
But if you don’t want to eat at the bar and want the full pomp and circumstance, go for it. I’ve often gone to high-end restaurants when traveling because I really wanted to try the food. The staff will pick up on your interest and usually respond with warmth and extra attention. When I was at a restaurant in Düsseldorf last year, the owner was so welcoming that he even had a glass of Champagne with me.
What’s the best part of traveling without anyone else?
You set your own tempo because there’s no negotiating with another traveler. Women — me included — often have anxiety about hitting the road solo, but once they actually do it, they will realize that it’s worthwhile adventure.