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Skyscanner x Exceptional ALIEN

Gems in this


Explore Playbook

Welcome to our ‘Exceptional City Guides’ series. We teamed up with Skyscanner to give you the ultimate insider lens into six iconic cities you thought you knew. Twenty-one exceptional creators in Rome, London, Sydney, Paris, New York and Los Angeles have shared their playbooks of favorite recommendations and experiences, taking you into the creative underbelly of each city. 

Unlock the hidden gems, restaurants, nightlife, events, nature, music, markets & more that make each city so inspiring.



Beau Nielson, Creative Director, Phoenix Central Park

One of Australia's most renowned curators and creative directors, Beau Nielson is a passionate advocate for Sydney’s culture and arts scene. We chat with Beau about the inner city's cutting-edge creative scene of Chippendale, and her most recommended places to visit.

‘There's this burst of energy in Sydney where people want to experience the world around them.’

Simon Lister, Photographer

Simon Lister is a renowned photographer who travels the likes of India and Bolivia by motorbike, documenting both the hope and hardship he finds on the way. Simon shares his personal lens on creative life in Sydney and where to find the cafes, cliff walks, beaches and restaurants that he recommends to friends.

'I have been lucky to travel a lot and see different cities around the globe, but I have this calling back to Sydney because of what it offers as both a city and a lifestyle.'

Nash Edgerton, Director, Actor & Stuntman

With an international list of credits in movies, TV, music videos and commercials, Nash Edgerton moves between Sydney and Los Angeles working as a director, actor and stuntman. We sat down with Nash to hear why Sydney inspires him, his favorite neighborhoods and a hidden track to one of the city's best-kept natural secrets.

‘No matter how much I travel, there's something special about coming back to Sydney.’

Collette Dinnigan, Designer

Creativity and curiosity have taken iconic Australian fashion designer Collette Dinnigan around the globe. Go on a journey south-west of Sydney as Collette shares her favorite places to experience the raw beauty, creativity and community of Australia’s scenic Southern Highlands.

‘The Southern Highlands are a sanctuary for me.’


Saghar Setareh, Writer & Photographer

Rome’s aesthetics and natural world get the creative juices flowing for renowned food writer and photographer, Saghar Setareh. Travel is also a core part of her identity. In Saghar’s first cookbook, she retraces her move from Iran to Italy and the foods she has discovered along the way. Let Saghar’s adventures be your guide to discovering the heart and soul of Italy's vibrant capital. 

‘Rome grabs you and never lets go of you.’

Alice Pasquini, Artist, Illustrator & Designer

Italian artist, illustrator, and designer Alice Pasquini draws from the vibrant life in Rome to create. Her subjects reflect the city's colors and stories of people she encounters in its unique neighborhoods — from installations to large-scale murals around the globe. Discover Alice’s must-experience Roman neighborhoods, food experiences and creativity as she takes us on a journey through the streets of the Italian capital.

‘Lose yourself around the city — it's so big and beautiful. This is the magical way to discover Rome.’


Alex Trochut, Graphic Designer

Design is a passport to the world for iconic graphic designer, Alex Trochut. Born in Barcelona, he calls New York home and credits the fast and demanding pace of the metropolis as an engine for his creativity. In this Exceptional City Guide, we chat with the award-winning talent about his top NYC travel gems, including a Quentin Tarantino-inspired cinema and must-eat Chinese chicken noodles.

‘If you’re asleep, New York will expel you very quickly. If you snooze, you lose.’

Mara Lecocq, Creative Director & Entrepreneur

Creative director and entrepreneur Mara Lecocq was brought up in the Philippines and France, then worked in Paris and Toronto before the lure of her dream job with a digital advertising agency saw her relocating to New York, where she's now a director and brand creative at Glassdoor and Fishbowl, Mara recommends her favorite things to do in the city, from walking around neighborhoods to cultural venues.

'The diversity in New York is incredible. My favorite place is inside a subway car. I love seeing people from everywhere.'

Michael Yamashita, Photographer

When not traversing the mountains of Tibet, retracing the journeys of Marco Polo or dodging danger in Afghanistan, National Geographic photographer and Sony Ambassador for China, Michael Yamashita, can be found exploring New York from above or hitting his favorite New York restaurants. So it goes without saying, we were beyond curious to know where Michael recommends experiencing when in NYC.

‘If you want to see New York in a unique way, just get in a helicopter. There is no other city like New York for skyline.’


Hayden Cox, Designer & Founder

Sydney-born surfer Hayden Cox has gone from shaping surfboards out the back of his parents' house to running cult classic brand Haydenshapes. We sat down with the powerhouse designer, entrepreneur and author to talk about chasing swells and his personal recs for Los Angeles.

'For me, a great day in LA starts with a good early surf, then going for a mid-morning hike.'

Oye Diran, Photographer

Fine art and fashion photographer Oye Diran draws on the regality of Nigeria’s Yoruba people and takes cues from his art-filled childhood home in Lagos. From his home base in New York, Oye also regularly travels to Los Angeles to tap into the city’s creative melting pot. We chat with him about the city’s great outdoors and scenic diversity.

‘Brightness, inspiration and optimism. That’s what I feel in LA.’

Adele Lim, Screenwriter & Producer

One of the most electrifying voices in Hollywood today, screenwriter and producer Adele Lim, behind ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and Disney’s ‘Raya and the Last Dragon’, has the goal to globalize authentic Southeast Asian culture and celebrate Asian female “kickass-ery”. We chat to Adele about her favorite pockets of Los Angeles.

‘It’s a patchwork of a myriad of different communities. If you are adventurous, if you're open, and if you're really into food like I am, LA is the city for you.’


Joey Yu, Illustrator

British illustrator Joey Yu is a born-and-bred Londoner whose brightly coloured sketches are often an ode to her hometown. Her work depicts scenes like the flow of shoppers on Oxford Street, the regal interiors of the Royal Opera House and Tube carriages of eclectic commuters. Joey shared her inside travel hacks for London and favorite spots to get lost in nature.

‘A great travel hack for London is to walk as much as you can, it will enrich the experience’.

Ali Alvarez, Documentary Director

Mexican–born, LA–raised documentary director Ali Alvarez traverses the globe and gives voice to many communities. She has produced work for the BBC, Nike, and Range Rover, been recognized at Cannes and nominated for an Emmy Award. In this Exceptional City Guide, uncover Ali's London — her local favorites and hidden gems from  strolls through markets and green spaces, top  spots to catch a movie, enjoy a bite to eat and down a cocktail while in the British capital.

'One thing that I love about London is the local markets. On Sundays, right at the end of my road is a coffee stand, street food, fashion, people creating, setting up stalls and doing their thing.'

Mariano Vivanco, Photographer

One of the world’s most respected fashion photographers, Mariano Vivanco has worked with everyone from Rihanna to Cristiano Ronaldo. Born in Peru and raised in New Zealand, he traveled the world in pursuit of his art, eventually settling in London. Step into Mariano’s creative lens as  he shares his inside playbook of favorite cafes, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and vibrant neighborhoods.

‘Coming to London peeled me like an onion.’

Astrid Stravo, Graphic Designer

Internationally renowned graphic designer Astrid Stavro is a highly esteemed lecturer and guest speaker within the global design community. Currently based in London as president of the International Society of Typographic Designers, Astrid shares with us her unique architectural gems to visit in the British capital.

'London in one word, for me, is effervescence because it is just nonstop, like a glass of champagne.'


Ramesh Nair, Creative Director

Renowned fashion designer Ramesh Nair has been drawing inspiration from the creativity and culture of Paris for over 20 years. Uncover his personal recommendations to experience the French capital that you won't find anywhere else.

‘Paris is my source. It’s like a fountain, it provides me with creativity.’

Ruba Khoury, Chef

Dubai-born, Palestinian chef and owner of Dirty Lemon bar in Paris, Ruba Khoury, is something of a lucky charm in the kitchen. She trained in Paris’ best kitchens and each went on to win a Michelin star during her tenure, or shortly thereafter. We spoke with Ruba to get her insiders playbook of favorite cultural gems and off-the-tourist-track spots to eat and get under the skin of the city.

‘Paris is where I want to be. It’s the best place to be a chef.’

Camille Tanoh, Fashion Designer & Founder

Camille Tanoh, aka The Proper Kid, is at the forefront of sustainable design in the fashion industry. The Paris-born talent works alongside his sister Sonia to design sneakers and everyday basics for their brand, The Proper Label. We caught up with Camille to explore the creative underbelly of Paris. Discover his top spots to find inspiration, art spaces, luxury brands and where to you’ll enjoy a most-have mille-feuille.

‘Paris is a beautiful eye on the world, where you can meet so many cultures.’


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