Author Archives: Steve’s Special Places: El Pedral Lodge

What: We know we need to ‘wow’ the follower with our first Latin America property we are featuring. This Special Place is a destination some could only picture in their wildest dreams much less visit. El Pedral Lodge is the ultimate utopia for the adventure traveler or someone who wants to get away from it all. The lodge could be described as simple elegance, which doesn’t try to compete with the natural beauty and marine wildlife you will experience being here.

Where: El Pedral is located on Punta Ninfas on the Patagonian coast in Argentina. This Norman style house was built in the 19th century has been in the family for four generations. As the owners of the lodge tell us “It’s name comes from a very special formation, a large area covered by stones which ends in the sea framed by spectacular cliffs.” This is a relaxed, sophisticated and authentic place is the quintessential boutique destination. We love this place for the “harmony between man and nature.”

Who: Those who wish to be submerged in Patagonian life will discover the magic of this place. It has the ‘best seats in the house’ on Peninsula Valdes for whale watching and the whales will sing you to sleep at night. Almost as if on cue, a pod of killer whales will appear near the beaches for your observation and marvel. Sea lions will delight you with their curiosity and playfulness. Elephant seals and penguins are also a part of the spectacle, which is accessible from the lodge.

When: The activities are plentiful and vary depending on what time you visit. August and September you can watch as the Southern Right Whales swim very close to the beach for mating and birthing. In November, March and April, Orcas are known to be searching for prey. They will amaze you as they come flying onto the beach to hunt sea lions then retreat back into the water. September through March visitors can tour the Penguin Rockery, which has been growing since 2009 and is protected as a Punta Ninfas Wildlife Natural Shelter. This is just a handful of the activities El Pedral offers.

For more information on El Pedral Lodge click here:
El Pedral Lodge

An interview with Sarah Fazendin: Co-Founder of

How did you dream up

For 10 years my co-founder and I were working to market hotels to safari operators and increasingly noticed the way that business transactions took place was super inefficient. Not only were travellers not able to book online but also the amount of emails among travel agents and the whole process was massively inefficient. We wanted to make it more efficient.

Tell us more about your background:

In 2001 I was working for the Tourism Board of Kenya and I took my first trip to Africa. Like many people on their first trip to Africa, I fell in love and was committed for life. I’ve spent the last 13 years traveling Africa and while there I make time to listen to hotel owners and their concerns. Through those conversations over a glass of wine, I collected valuable insights from hotels looking to sell their amazing experiences. I realized there was a really special opportunity.

What makes different?

When people think about where technology is going in the travel industry, the logical route is always having consumers book everything online. In emerging markets this is more complicated because travellers need a bit more help and support along the booking path.

We are creating B2B technology, which supports, strengthens and grows distribution partnerships, which is what makes unique. We are the first company to go in and digitize hotel inventory, focusing on boutique hotels in exotic destinations, to enable distributors to more easily book these rooms.

Where did the name come from?

(Laughing) We were trying to find a cool URL that wasn’t taken. We wanted our company to reflect the mind set of experiential travellers thinking globally. Our customer is not going to New York for spring break they are going to Bali. Our brand is truly global exploration and that is why we liked the name.

What is your biggest challenge?

Our biggest challenge is something we are challenging ourselves with- developing technology for the best user experience possible. We want to create tools, both the software itself as well as mobile applications, for hotels and help with the business challenges they face.

What stresses you out?

Travel is a super complicated industry. Nothing is linear and there are a lot of players and opportunities. My head hurts at the end of the day thinking about how can we streamline such a complicated industry, with lots of layers and cooks in the kitchen.

How can we make this as simple and intuitive as possible when the industry is anything but?

Which professionals do you admire?

As I mentioned, over the years I have had the opportunity to interact with countless small hotel owners across Africa. These small business owners are some of the people I admire most. These boutique hotel owners have dedicated their lives to a lifestyle and destination that is meaningful to them. These people have not only built something amazing, out of nothing, often in a remote and harsh part of the world. But they also are quietly working to support conservation, enable healthy and sustainable local communities and are certainly not in the business for fame or fortune. They are committed to a personal vision, and this is what drives them through the inevitable highs and lows of the travel industry.

Where is your favorite place you’ve ever been?

That’s a tough question. I would have to say Masai Mara in Kenya- it’s where I go for personal (non-work related) safaris. I’ve shared that experience with friends and family and hopefully next summer my kids. It’s a very cool and special place for me.

What is your favorite part of the day on safari?

Without a doubt, the evening Sundowner.

Where is the next place you want to travel?

There are so many places- for some reason beaches are on my mind. Lamu in Kenya and the Seychelles are definitely on my list.

Any last thoughts-

Hotels and travel agents/tour operators can register now for a Beta invite on our site here:

Fire up the “Combinator”

Have you ever been contacted by one of your top clients wanting to book a customized exotic luxury trip for her family of five to East Africa during high season? And they want to leave in less than a month?

On the one hand, amazing! A $30,000 booking just fell in your lap! But you have to move fast and the idea of being able to pull this together in enough time for your clients seems pretty daunting.

So where do you start? You obviously have dates and places these people want to visit, but how will you ever find out what hotels have inventory during high season? Forget it, this may be an impossible feat.

The team at isn’t a stranger to these issues. Co-founders Sarah and Maisa have worked for years watching tour operators, hotels and travel agents scramble and work long hours, puzzle-piecing complicated FIT itineraries together. They knew there had to be a better way. was created specifically for these types of trips. Thanks to the platform’s patented multi-hotel search process, booking agents have a much simpler and faster method to view availability, quote SPECIFIC hotels and book these special hotels online. allows agents to search for hotels with availability in multiple regions, cities, hotels…the works, all in a combined space. Additionally, it provides an easy marketplace for agents, operators and DMC’s to connect to hotels, all while maintaining valued distribution channels.

Now, instead of travel companies having to call or email hotels directly or checking a number of random URLs and websites, agents can view ALL hotel availability in one place. And since it’s, it is the best of the best inventory.  We are currently testing the “ Combinator” in Africa and will be rolling out in Latin America very soon.

We are thrilled to share this groundbreaking technology and would love to hear from you.  Tell us what you think!

We welcome hotels and travel agents, tour operators, travel wholesalers to sign up for a FREE.