Author Archives: edsalvato

By @ 05/07/19 in Gay Illinois, Gay travel, LGBT Illinois, LGBT travel Illinois, Personified, Travel

Josh Laskowski, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineJosh Laskowski is the sunshiney morning voice of WQQB FM “All the Hits on Q 96” in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. His parents have owned a record store in Decatur for 30 years and still going strong, something that’s fueled his appreciation for every genre of music imaginable from death metal to Motown; but didn’t provide a straight path to his DJ career. After working a corporate gig in Chicago, Josh became promotions director at WQQB. As luck would have it, an on-air position opened up two weeks later. Despite his early morning wake up — his first alarm goes off at 4:25am weekdays! — he remains a cheerful morning voice for all his Champaign-Urbana listeners.

Josh always sits on the board of directors of Champaign-Urbana Pride & Parade, an event he helped significantly expand. Josh also leads tours of kids and young adults to historic places across the United States. We caught up with Josh after a recent morning show to discuss how Champaign-Urbana inspires him and what makes it so friendly for local and visiting LGBTQ+ people.

What inspired you to become a DJ?

I always knew I wanted to be in media. I tried TV, but didn’t like it.  I like to talk, and I’m loud. Someone gave me a shot on a late night show on a Decatur radio station. Two weeks in, my promotions director was fired and I took over. That lead me to doing community events that bring people together, which lead me to emceeing Champaign-Urbana’s Pride celebration. The event has become a staple for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in September. It’s fun for those who wish to dance and party to the wee hours, but also fun for the family.

Tell us about life as an LGBTQ person in Champaign. Is there a strong sense of queer community here?

Yes, and having the University of Illinois in our backyard helps tremendously. I came from a more blue-collar area in Decatur, which wasn’t as accepting as it is here in Champaign-Urbana. The only gay bar here closed but its closing hasn’t really harmed the local queer community. We’d love to have such a space here but I still feel accepted everywhere. “Midwest Nice” is real. In terms of diversity, it doesn’t get as diverse in Illinois as it does here.  I feel I can go anywhere and be accepted.

How does Champaign standout from the rest of Illinois?

Part of it is the university. Another is the wonderful food scene. The breadth of local farm-to-table restaurant options is amazing. I Josh Laskowski, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinecould go out every day for a month and never go to a chain and never go to the same place twice. Also of course the Pride celebration which was the first Pride parade downstate in Illinois outside of Chicago.

What are some places in Champaign that inspire you?

Because I go back to my music ties, the Virginia Theater is a gem in our community. I’m inspired by all the music coming through from 38 Special to Manhattan Transfer — a great spectrum of musical genres that comes to see us. I can see major performances including the Russian Ballet at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. We have an amazing monument of Lincoln near me in Urbana called “The Lincoln Lawyer” statue, which is is located in Carle Park across from Urbana High School. I’m inspired by all the learning that happens here. Champaign-Urbana is cultivating the next generation of leaders. We have an area called Research Park with many major companies recruiting here.

How can LGBTQ visitors support the queer community when they visit Champaign?

They should make plans to come down and see how we celebrate in September for Champaign-Urbana Pride Festival. Pride has become a staple for not only the community but also for University of Illinois faculty, staff and students. We celebrate Pride in September because the students are gone during the summer. Come and see how accepting people are no matter what you look or sound like. It’s an open and loving community. You can get that feel in general all over Champaign-Urbana but especially so in September for when we celebrate Pride in CU.

How would you like to see the LGBTQ community evolve, if at all, in Champaign?

We’d love to have rainbow sidewalks or cross walks! If Chicago and other large metros have them , why can’t we?! But I digress, I’d love to see a dance club open. C Street was the gay dance club and it closed so I feel like that’s missing. I’d love to see that club where it’s easy to go mingle with people looking for the same thing I am. We are only two hours from Chicago and Indianapolis and three from St. Louis so we have the best of both worlds, corn fields and small towns where everyone knows you and a quick drive to the city!

Tell us your perfect Champaign day.

It starts with brunch at Prairie Fruits Farm, a lovely farm whose restaurant (unsurprisingly!) offers a farm-to-table menu. You can also take a tour of the creamery. Then I’d go for a midday movie at the Virginia. We also have a great sports scene here with the fighting Illini. Then we end up downtown Champaign with a fresh meal at a local restaurant.

What local tips do you have for people visiting Champaign for the first time?

For the first time check Visit Champaign County and request a visitors guide ahead of time. Read it and follow it. It focuses on cool stories.  See a sporting event at the university. Go to the local theater. We have a reindeer farm in the county where you can interact with reindeer. Make sure to eat and drink locally. There are great local brews and extraordinary restaurants. Go local with more of my specific recommendations.

More Gay-friendly Illinois

This is just one of our many favorite stories and hotspots to help you discover gay-friendly Illinois for yourself. Continue your exploration here.

Enjoy a more immersive Illinois experience in the magazine:

ManAboutWorld is an app-based travel magazine by gay men which provides travel inspiration and trip-planning information for all whether you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or are an ally. It’s built exclusively for mobile devices and is not available in print. We first published these articles in the spring 2019 issue and make them available here for your enjoyment. The app and issues are all free. Download it for Apple devices or Android devices.



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By @ 05/06/19 in Gay travel, Gay-friendly Illinois, Illinois, LGBT Illinois, LGBT travel Illinois, Personified, Travel

Douglas and Richard in Galena Illinois and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineDouglas and Robert, owners of the Aldrich Guest House in gay-friendly Illinois, have been together for just over 12 years. They had their Civil Union on their fifth anniversary, shortly after those were legalized in Illinois. A couple years later, when marriage equality passed, they converted it into a marriage. 

Both have been in the service/hospitality industry their entire lives – nearly 50 combined years. They both grew up in the Midwest — Douglas in Indiana, Robert in Michigan.

They initially considered Chicago’s Andersonville or Edgewater neighborhoods for their B&B, but after 11 years in Chicago, they wanted to get back to small town living. When they came to Galena, they found a community where everyone was open and welcoming and extremely friendly! They discovered the Aldrich Guest House on their first trip to Galena and it ticked all of the boxes.  They made an offer and a couple months later, they were the proud owners of Aldrich Guest House!

Built in 1845 as a one room, two-story house by a man named Cyrus Aldrich, a congressman and friend of Abraham Lincoln, the guesthouse is steeped in history. Now, Aldrich Guest House has five guestrooms and can accommodate up to 10 guests.

They’ve been voted one of the top 15 best bed and breakfasts in the entire United States and won first national runner up in a Breakfast at Aldrich House, Gelena, Illinois and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinenationwide breakfast competition. They’ve renovated the entire house (no more of that crazy wallpaper!) with the goal of creating a feeling that is relaxing yet elegant.

What they’re most proud of, though, is their unique style of service that is intuitive, personal, and professional yet unobtrusive. They’re always honored that guests choose to stay with us since they’re choosing to make us part of their story, plus guests are our favorite part of what we do.  We recently caught up with Douglas and Robert to chat about Galena, Illinois, small-town life, and the burgeoning LGBTQ community throughout the state.

How is Galena different from other places you’ve lived/visited?

Living in and visiting Galena helps you remember what a human pace is. Having lived in Chicago for so long, we had almost become immune to the hustle and bustle of the city along with the noise and crowds. It wasn’t until we went back to Chicago after our first trip to Galena that we noticed all of those things. Being in Galena definitely helps you slow down and appreciate the people and things around you.

Describe the impact the LGBTQ community has had on Galena over the years you’ve been coming here?

In Galena, we’re very fortunate as part of the LGBTQ community since there have been many before us setting the foundation for a culture of acceptance and equality.  In the 1940s, Galena was a small artist colony which was inherently very open and welcoming. One of the things that’s great for LGBTQ visitors is that there is NOT a ‘gay part’ of town or any ‘gay’ bars etc.  The reason that’s great is because the entire city is open and welcoming so we don’t need a gay section of town – it’s the entire place! There are several small lodging properties in addition to many shops that are owned by LGBTQ folks and even if the innkeepers, shopkeepers, or restaurants aren’t specifically LGBTQ, everyone is welcome. Truly, in Galena, being LGBTQ is a complete non-issue which is just how it should be as that’s what equality looks like!

What are some places in Galena that inspire you?

What we find most inspirational is the outdoors. Galena is situated in what is called the ‘driftless zone’ meaning that the glaciers never scraped the landscape into a pancake like in much of the Midwest. We have hills and valleys, the Mississippi River is just 3 miles away, along with miles and miles of great hiking trails.  Being able to connect with nature in such a grand way is a very special part of living and visiting Galena.

How can LGBTQ travelers support LGBTQ community here and Illinois in general?

The best way for LGBTQ travelers to support the LGBTQ community both in Galena and Illinois is simply by living however you’re most proud. By being you and being confident and proud of that, stereotypes, misinformation, and the taboo of being LGBTQ will continue to disappear as hearts and minds are changed little by little. Thankfully Galena is ahead of the curve, so the opportunity to support LGBTQ businesses by staying at welcoming bed and breakfasts, patronizing supportive stores, etc. is a very real thing in here and is greatly encouraged!

Do you have any tips for people coming to Galena for the first time?

Although there are less than 3,500 people that live here, Galena is not a one trick pony!  We have over 130 mom & pop shops and restaurants along our half mile long Main Street – the Helluva Half Mile! In addition to that, there’s an awesome history that can be experienced through tours of Grant’s Home, the Washburne House, and the Belvedere Mansion as well as the History Museum and Old Market House. If that’s not enough, the great outdoors can keep you busy as well from canoeing/kayaking on the Galena River to biking, hiking, and both cross country and downhill skiing in the winter…and that’s just in Galena not to mention all of the other wonderful places to experience that are within a short drive.  We’ve been here for nearly 5 years, and we still have a long list of things we want to do. So our biggest tip is to plan more than a day…or plan a day, but know that you’re going to want to come back again and again!

What are a couple of your personal hidden gems in Galena (and Greater Illinois, ideally outside of Chicago)? 

In Galena, there are two things that we love – Fritz and Frites Bistro and the P.T. Murphy Magic Show. If you only have an evening in Galena, those are two things not to miss!  Just 15 minutes outside of Galena is Elizabeth which has the Elizabeth Grand Antique Mall and Common Cents both of which are great places to find hidden treasures if you’re into antiques.  While you’re there, stop at E-Town for a great sandwich and visit the Apple River Fort where you can learn how, during an attack by Blackhawk in 1832, the men of the fort had to swallow their pride and let the women help defend the settlement and how the women’s participation is what actually kept the outpost from being destroyed.

What’s been your most embarrassing moment as a guest house owners? Any funny stories you can share?

This is a tough one! Having been in hospitality for so long, nothing really fazes us or surprises us anymore.  That’s part of what’s so great about being innkeepers and in hospitality – no two days are ever the same!

More Gay-friendly Illinois

This is just one of our many favorite stories and hotspots to help you discover gay-friendly Illinois for yourself. Continue your exploration here.

Enjoy a more immersive Illinois experience in the magazine:

ManAboutWorld is an app-based travel magazine by gay men which provides travel inspiration and trip-planning information for all whether you’re in the LGBTQ+ community or are an ally. It’s built exclusively for mobile devices and is not available in print. We first published these articles in the spring 2019 issue and make them available here for your enjoyment. The app and issues are all free. Download it for Apple devices or Android devices.



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By @ 05/06/19 in CheckOut, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, Orlando, Travel

Four Seasons Orlando in ManAboutWorld gay travel magzineGeared towards families with children, this Four Seasons is the best resort in the area for visitors who need an oasis to retreat to after a day at the theme parks. A contemporary, airy 443-unit hotel set amidst 26.5 lush acres, this Spanish Revival property offers gorgeous vistas, a beautiful running area, five pools (including an adult’s only one), an outdoor lakeside restaurant and incredible views from many rooms and from the rooftop bar/restaurant of the theme parks in the distance — especially appealing during the nightly fireworks displays

Location

Orlando has a good amount of airlift from many major hubs making it super easy to access all year round and incredibly tempting during the interminable, dark winters in the northern U.S. Orlando airport is easy to access from the hotel. Once in Orlando you realize that — like Los Angeles — according to locals, everything is 20 minutes away by car. That more or less proved true during our recent visit. The charming lakeside downtown area is a touch farther and some of the theme parks are a little closer; but count on 15 to 30 minutes to get to most places. You can easily take an Uber. For the Disney theme parks, the hotel offers frequent free shuttles. Considering the gorgeous nature surrounding the hotel, it is best to plan to stay mostly on property with forays to the nearby parks.

Room/Bathroom

Standard rooms and bathrooms are big, airy and light drenched. The closets are spacious, and you’ll find plenty of shelf space in the bathrooms. We scored a one-bedroom King suite (room 1506) which was also quite large and offered a pull-out sofa in the living room. We loved all the little touches like a Nespresso machine for coffee and a wine-by-the-glass machine in the living room. And we especially loved the balcony with full view of the parks’ nightly fireworks extravaganzas. On a minor note we appreciated the free shoe and computer screen wipes in the rooms.

Four Seasons Orlando in ManAboutWorld gay travel magzine

Amenities

The range of amenities should tempt anyone to visit for a quick weekend whether or not you have kids and whether or not you Four Seasons Orlando in ManAboutWorld gay travel magzinegive a rat’s tail about Mickey Mouse. Luxuriate in the spa whose services are topnotch and whose prices aren’t as sky high as in other resorts in major cities. (Ask for Les, a very strong massage therapist.) The gym is huge with floor-to-ceiling views of the verdant property and has everything you need for a great workout. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the running course that laps around the lush, green property. We took a tennis lesson with the pro. Or rather one of us, ahem, watched while our partner took a tennis lesson. Hey, someone had to hand out the lemonade after the lesson! The property is so big and spread out that you don’t even notice the presence of children. Still, the adults only infinity-edge pool allows guests without kids to enjoy some nice 18+-only time, refreshing beverages and lunch.

For park enthusiasts, you’ll find a Disney Planning Center on the Lobby Level just across from the front desk, facilitating guests’ plans to experience the Disney parks, from tickets to dining reservations and special character events. We arranged our DISNEY FASTPASS+ selections  here and that really seemed the way to go in the park, allowing us to pretty much waltz by long (and sometimes very long) lines. Definitely plan your FASTPASS+ selections, or even better, book a VIP Tour Guide.

Gay factor

Four Seasons Orlando in ManAboutWorld gay travel magzineIt’s a Four Seasons so you can expect the same excellent, professional,  gay-friendly service that you always find among the team members of this global brand. The two of us enjoyed a romantic dinner at the restaurant, and the staff made it special. We also encountered a lot of other LGBTQ guests, a number of whom were attending a wedding with two Instagram-famous men who got hitched right there on the expansive lawn in full view of oohing and ahhing guests enjoying brunch on the terrace. We snapped on our “travel” apps (Grindr and Scruff) and found a number of other guys on property as well as many gay men throughout the area — both locals and visitors. Note that if you invite someone over they’d have to contend with parking which isn’t cheap. Orlando is super popular with LGBTQ people especially during the annual One Magical Weekend celebration the first Saturday of June and Gay Days which is in August. Also, the hotel doesn’t advertise it, but they have supported the victims of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy with donations.  

Rates

The rates can be high of course especially in summer and during school vacations but we found lots of times with relatively affordable rates ($300-400 per night). January through mid-February rates are often more affordable as is the month of May which features fabulous weather — not too hot or humid. Also visit the hotel site for special offers https://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/offers including 20% off advanced purchases and a “fourth night free” program. The hotel also offers a new “Explore a New World” Disney Gift Card Package, https://www.fourseasons.com/orlando/offers/disney-gift-card-package/ offered for May-Sept, inspired by the Disney classic Aladdin.

Ready to go

Click/tap here for rates and reservations at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World® Resort.  

About the CheckOut

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please  let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

Photos by Ed Salvato

 

 

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By @ 05/06/19 in Cape Town, Correspondent, Gay travel, John Walker, South Africa, Travel

Top 5 south africa experiences in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThese are the top 5 Cape Town experiences from our Australia correspondents John Walker and Gavin Patterson who visited last year.

Table Mountain Cablecar 

Carried to the top of this spectacular mountain by a state of the art revolving cable car, this iconic vantage point allows visitors to drink in the unsurpassed vistas of Cape Town’s breathtaking coastline. Free guided tours present an informative overview of the fascinating flora and fauna. Weather permitting, you might choose an abseiling adventure or a hike for your return journey

Gold 

Offering a traditional theatre restaurant experience in the heart of the De Waterkant district, Gold is a memorable evening of melodic tribal voices, colourful costumes, striking masks, and rhythmic folk dance. A visit here includes a selection of African foods, interactive performances and face painting by the friendly and attentive staff, offering exceptional photo opportunities.

Bo Kaap Street Tour

The pastel, candy coloured houses are the main feature of this photogenic quarter of the city. Our local guide Shiralene revealed a personal history of the descendants of the Cape Malay, muslim slaves, who settled here after emancipation in the early 19th century. We were treated to a traditional dinner in a family home as part of our tour. A unique experience not to be missed.

District 6 Museum and Company Gardens

If the fascinating and sometimes sordid history of Cape Town is your interest, don’t miss the tour of District 6 Museum recounted by locals who grew up during the time when thousands of people from this area were forcibly relocated under apartheid laws. 1n 1994 this museum became a place for reflection and contemplation of discrimination and injustice.

Cape Town Gay Bars

There is something for all tastes in this vibrant gay scene. Your night will be off to a great start with a meal at the Manhattan Club or a burger at Beefcakes before a more serious selection from some of the cheekiest nightclubs on offer. Crew Bar provides a shot of shirtless staff fraternisation while Versatile Bar offers a semi-naked tryst with patrons stripping to their bare essentials.

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By @ 04/16/19 in Gay travel, Prague, Travel

We love the Czech Republic. We visited last spring and keep thinking about it. Download our (FREE!) guide via bit.ly/mawapple and enjoy 15,000 words on the Czech Republic and a whole lotta words on the other fabulous destinations in the latest issue.

Czech Republic in ManAboutWorld

Czech Out the Czech Republic

Most travelers equate the Czech Republic with Prague, this proud nation’s capital and largest city. Prague is one of the world’s must-visit cities, providing a glorious walk through history and a satisfying taste of urban sophistication. However Czech (as the cool kids say) is much more than the City of a Hundred Spires (in fact, at last count there were 500). This tiny country — roughly the size of South Carolina — packs in a wide range of experiences in a small area from gastronomy and outdoor opportunities to castles, spas, hiking, biking and cave exploration.

We spent a week exploring the Czech Republic with a visit to Brno, the second largest city, and the undulating Moravian countryside in the nation’s southeast. You could easily spend another week or two exploring other parts of this diverse land but for most North Americans a seven-day itinerary provides a whole lot of fabulous Central Europeanness to “Czech” off your travel to-do list.

Is it safe for LGBTQ travelers?

In a word, absolutely! A number of Central and Eastern European countries are tainted with the reputation for anti-LGBTQ Czech Republic in ManAboutWorldsentiment and even violence. Not so Czech. In fact there is some legal recognition of same-sex couples. And in society, the word we kept hearing was ‘tolerance.’ That’s not the prettiest of words, however it means something slightly different here. Local LGBTQ people are tolerated as long as they respect the overall culture, as long as they don’t try to attract attention to themselves as special. This is partially a legacy of the communist era when perceptions of even slight differences among comrades could elicit curiosity, envy or resentment. Also, Czechs aren’t deeply religious so there’s little anti-gay animus fueled by churches.

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By @ 01/31/19 in CheckOut, Gay travel, James Careless, Quebec, Travel

CheckOut: Hotel Frotenac, Quebec in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe word ‘chateau’ is French for ‘castle’ and the magnificent Fairmont Le Château Frontenac is truly that. First built in 1893 as a French chateau-inspired railway hotel, the regal Château Frontenac towers over the still-walled compound of old Quebec City, alongside the St. Lawrence River. The latest round of renovations have ensured that the Château Frontenac’s hundreds of elegantly-appointed rooms are all unique and memorable; a variety made possible by the hotel’s many turrets and towers.

Story by ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, James Careless.
Rates

Thanks to its towers, various seamless additions, and history of playing host to royalty and heads of state, the Château Frontenac’s roster of rooms range from premium singles to full-sized multi-room suites.

The ‘basic’ Fairmont Room (akin to a basic Mercedes-Benz) starts at C$249/night. (In US dollars, this rate works out to 20-25% lower, depending on the Canada/US exchange rate). For more money you can get a Fairmont City View Room (C$289) or a Fairmont River View Room (C$309; my recommendation). If you can afford it, spending C$2500/night will get you a multi-room suite decorated to match the ambiance of past guests ranging from Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth to Celine Dion and Prime Ministers Trudeau (Pierre and Justin).

Location, Frontenac, Quebec

The Château Frontenac’s location is one of the best in all of Canada. Located above the St. Lawrence River on a steep cliff alongside the vast Dufferin Terrace, this hotel is surrounded by centuries-old historic buildings that will whisk you straight to Europe – because when this area was settled by the French, European design and architecture was their touchstone.

The hotel is located next to the Citadel fortress. Built by the French in 1673 to ward off the English, it is the oldest operating military installation in Canada.

The Château Frontenac’s own site was previously occupied by the Saint-Louis Forts and Châteaux, where 400 year-old artifacts displayed in the hotel were found. Now covered by the Dufferin Terrace, the forts’ archaeological sites are open to visitors during warmer weather.

CheckOut: Hotel Frotenac, Quebec in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Room/Bathroom

The rooms within the Château Frontenac’s are tastefully decorated in a modern traditional style, with premium beds, furniture, and modern electronic amenities.

The end suite that we stayed in was a very large studio with river and city views, lots of light, and extra couches and chairs to stretch out on. The bathroom was modern with lots of white marble, glass, and chrome.

Amenities

The Château Frontenac has an impressive selection of restaurants, bars, and lounging areas. They include the Place Dufferin overlooking the river, which offers the best hotel breakfast buffet I have ever tasted (and I’ve had quite a few.) The elegant Champlain Restaurant offers the latest in distinctive Quebec cuisine under the leadership of Chef Stéphane Modat. The 1608 Wine & Cheese Bar has access to an impressive wine cellar — and cold room of top Quebec cheeses in Canada. Or you can grab a drink and quick bite at the Bistro Le Sam; again with a great view of the St. Lawrence.

As well, this hotel is home to the Club Frontenac health club (gym and indoor pool with view of Old Quebec); the Moment Spa Le Château Frontenac for massages, skin, and body treatments; and the Coiffure de Château par Angela Baughman hair salon.

Gay Factor

As North American cities go, Quebec City is pretty low-key when it comes to its gay factor. There are only a handful of ‘truly gay’ bars and health clubs; this ain’t San Francisco.

This said, the Saint-Jean neighbourhood close to the Old City is known for its many gay-friendly restaurants, bars, and clubs. Places to check out include Club ForHom (221 rue St-Jean) and the historic Fou-Bar (5252 rue St-Jean).

Consider a Side Trip to the Hôtel De Glace

Usually we stick to one hotel in The Checkout. But if you make it to Quebec City this winter, you should check to see if the amazing Hôtel De Glace north of the city is still in season.

This is an astounding multi-room palace of carved snow and ice with many themed rooms, bar, and even a chapel for weddings. Located at the Village Vacances Valcartier resort – itself a wonder of chic, stylish all-season resort living – the Hôtel De Glace lets you camp out in an ice palace overnight. And if you get too cold, the package comes with a room in the adjacent Valcartier hotel included.

 

About the Checkout

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

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By @ 11/12/18 in Gay travel

Gay foodie dream trip at Cucina Sabina and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Here’s a gay foodie dream trip it’ll be hard to top. Celebrity Chef Art Smith and co-host international rugby star Ben Cohen team up with YouTube sensation Adrian De Berardinis aka The Bear Naked Chef for an LGBT-friendly culinary adventure at La Cucina Sabina, a private luxury villa in the Roman countryside. (Of course, note that Adrian is fully dressed when cooking!)

Book by Nov 30 and receive a $250 discount!  For more information or too book email info@lacucinasabina.com or call (U.S. number) 727-560-7430.

This special gay foodie dream trip is during one of the most beautiful weeks in Italy,  May

Gay foodie dream trip at Cucina Sabina and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Rugby star Ben Cohen

19-25, 2019. You’ll join these successful, talented and hunky men as they tour the Roman countryside cooking and exploring during this highly acclaimed vacation.

Past guests thoroughly enjoy this week and always remark that it is much more than they expected and that it feels so authentically like Italy. You may know successful restaurateur Art Smith as former personal chef to Oprah, and now caterer for Lady Gaga and other celebrities. Straight ally Ben Cohen is not just a handsome rugby star, he is also a gay icon and founder of The Ben Cohen Stand Up Foundation dedicated to anti- bullying .
This all-inclusive vacation includes:
  • 7 Days and 6 nights at a luxurious and spacious 8-bedroom villa, located in the tranquil foothills of the mountains just 30 minutes north of Rome, Italy and surrounded by olive and cherry groves
  • The villa features an Olympic sized pool, sauna and tennis court
  • Excursions to discover the beautiful Lazio region, tranquil Sabine Hills and its medieval villages, vineyards, castles and culture
  • Plenty of action in the kitchen with four hands-on cooking lessons, including both Adrian and Art, a pizza lesson in an outdoor, wood-fired pizza oven
  • Italian fried chicken party hosted by Chef Art Smith and Rugby Star Ben Cohen.
  • Private bedroom and bath with king or two twins
  • Optional massages available on site
  • Transfers to and from Rome’s main airports, train stations or hotel
  • A visit to the Umbrian town of Orvieto, olive oil tasting
  • Private winery tour with lunch with the owners in their beautiful home
  • Tivoli gardens tour with lunch at world renowned restaurant next to an ancient Roman temple
  • Dinner in a medieval castle with a sunset Prosecco reception
  • A day in Rome including: guided art and culture tour, free time for shopping, dinner at trendy restaurant roof top deck with a 360 panoramic view of the skyline and sunset over Rome.
Book by November 30 for a $250 spa package per couple (massage, Presecco and Tuscan olive oil lotion). For more information or too book email info@lacucinasabina.com or call (U.S. number) 727-560-7430.
This post is brought to you be our partner La Cucina Sabina.



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By @ 11/12/18 in CheckOut, Gay travel, Toronto

CheckOut Hotel Chelsea Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineToronto’s tastefully-decorated Chelsea Hotel Toronto has three big things going for it. First, it is located close to Yonge Street (33 Gerrard Street) in the heart of downtown Toronto. This puts the Chelsea Hotel Toronto close to everything that’s going on. Second, with a whopping 1,590 rooms and suites to choose from, the Chelsea is Canada’s largest hotel — and has been since it opened in 1975. Third, even though the Chelsea has been recently renovated and offers a full range of guest amenities – including restaurants and a pool whose ‘Corkscrew’ enclosed water slide goes briefly outside the building – it is very reasonably priced compared to the nearby competition.

Rates

Without taxes and fees, the Chelsea’s rates vary from US$140 per night for 275 sq. ft. “Chelsea Room’, to US$331 per night for the 600 sq. ft ‘Family Fun Suite’ with two bedrooms. Then the sales kick in. At the time this was written, the Chelsea was offering 20% off its best daily rate during its Fall in Love With Toronto sale, and 25% off its best daily rate during its 4-Day Cyber Sale. Now both these sales were time-limited, but that’s the point: This hotel is willing to discount its room to make sales, which is why checking current deals at www.chelseatoronto.com is worthwhile,

The Chelsea will knock 15% off its best daily rate for customers who pay upfront online, under the hotel’s ongoing Pay Now & Save 15% Sale. (Be aware that once booked, this rate is not refundable.) Just because the Chelsea offers such good prices, doesn’t detract from the quality of this hotel. It is modern, well-appointed, and very pleasant to stay at. (When you have 1,m590 rooms to fill, you’d better be prepared to make a few deals!)

CheckOut Hotel Chelsea Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineLocation

The Chelsea is right in the heart of downtown Toronto, with easy access to everything that matters. This includes access to Toronto International Airport, because the train from the airport in Toronto’s west end goes straight to Union Station on Yonge Street; just a few subway stops south of the Chelsea. (Ride the TTC north to College Station; walk south on Yonge Street to Gerrard and then turn west/right to reach the hotel.)

Granted, Gerrard Street itself is slightly more sketchy than major cross streets further south or north off Yonge Street, so it is wise to keep your wits about you when walking outdoors late at night. But anyone who is comfortable moving around New York City will find this area to be a breeze. And thanks to taxis and Uber, you can go straight from the hotel to wherever you’re headed and back, with no hassle any time of the day or night.

CheckOut Hotel Chelsea Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineRoom/Bathroom

The Chelsea’s rooms are modern, well-appointed, and comfortable. Many of them have balconies with views of the downtown Toronto skyline. Guests can rent everything from a standard Chelsea Room to a larger Deluxe Room with two double/queen/king beds; a Club Room with nightly rundown service and access to the Chelsea’s private 27th floor E|CLUB Lounge; kitchenette-equipped studios, one bedroom suites, and two-bedroom ‘Family Fun Suites’. All rooms come with complimentary Wi-Fi and wired high speed internet access. The 16th floor Chelsea Room this writer slept in was low-key, comfortable, and clean.

CheckOut Hotel Chelsea Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAmenities

The separate adults-only health club includes cardio and weight-training equipment, a heated indoor pool, hot tub, and sauna. The indoor pool with the Corkscrew slide is part of a family complex that includes the Club 33 Teen Lounge and the Kid Centre. So if you’re an adventurous adult, the Chelsea is right for you. But the same is true if you’re a family man.

The Chelsea’s restaurants include the Market Garden (grab-and-go), express|o coffee and wine bar (sitdown), and T|bar (a varied a la carte menu featuring local ingredients; sitdown). All menus are optimized for people with vision impairment and Dyslexia. Add ballrooms and salons, indoor underground parking, and laundry/dry-cleaning services, and the Chelsea Hotel is a very complete place to stay. The hotel’s “Show Your Key & Save” program also gets guests price breaks at many Toronto attractions.

Gay Factor

The Chelsea’s downtown location makes it close to all the action in Toronto that’s worth taking part in. You can walk, taxi/Uber, or transit to the Gay Village at Church and Wellesley, the Air Canada Centre (home of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team), the Theatre District, the business core, and lots of shopping. Worth checking out: El Convento Rico with its mix of Latin and Top 40 dancing, and eye-catching drag shows. You’ll find them at 750 College Street; one street north of the Chelsea at Gerrard, and then just over two miles west on College. To plan for your visit, check out www.churchwellesleyvillage.ca/copy-of-events-1 .

About the Checkout

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

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By @ 10/04/18 in Billy Kolber, Boston, CheckOut, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, Hotels, Travel

Boston’s seaport is the city’s hot new neighborhood, and YOTEL Boston is at the heart of it. Built on a platform of design and technology and inspired by first-class airline suites, Yotel delivers modern luxury in compact “cabins” whose ingenious use of space offers everything you need, at remarkably affordable prices. It’s a perfect match for the spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship and artistic endeavor that characterize the neighborhood. This CheckOut was originally published in ManAboutWorld’s summer issue and republished here. 

Location

Located between the beautiful waterfront and the historic Fort Point District, the seaport integrates repurposed 100-year old warehouses with modern architecture to create a vibrant, exciting new neighborhood that is home to some of the city’s best dining, shopping and art. The hotel is built atop the Courthouse Station of the Silver Line  — a free 15-minute transit from Logan Airport. And many important locations are within walking distance: Boston’s South Station, serviced by Amtrak and Bolt Bus is a 10-minute walk. The Convention Center is about 12 minutes and the Institute of Contemporary Art is six minutes away, as is the Boston Harbor Ferry to Provincetown (The Bay State ferry is 15 minutes away). The gay bars of the South End are a best accessed by Lyft — a 10- to 15-minute ride depending on traffic.

Room/Bathroom

YOTEL’s cabins start at 154 sqft — about the size of a standard cruise cabin but filled with savvy design features that make it feel much more spacious and luxurious. At the heart of the room is the adjustable SmartBed – like a cross between a futon, a luxury mattress, and a lie-flat airline seat. It slides from a couch-like reclining position to a queen size bed with the touch of a button. Set it to the perfect angle for lounging, and lay it flat for sleeping. Like a yacht, space is maximized with built-in furniture and storage solutions. Plenty of room is left for the bathroom, including a rainfall shower that could easily fit two, and stocked with premium amenities. If you require more space, upgrade to a Premium Queen Plus at 201 square feet or a First King at 318 square feet. If you’re really feeling royal, there’s a VIP suite with 487 square feet of space and a stunning 180º view of the city and harbor.

Amenities

Technology is at the heart of everything YOTEL, and while the “Mission Control” staff is always available to help you, check-Boston Yotel in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinein/check-out is handled  primarily by App and Kiosk; and emergency supplies or extra towels are delivered by YO2D2, the house robot! A Club Lounge on the ground floor and Sky Lounge Rooftop and Terrace offer casual dining, drinks and comfortable indoor/outdoor places to relax or work. The gym is open 24/7, and features free weights and  cardio machines. A guided meditation is offered every Tuesday morning, and the wifi is free and fast.

Gay factor

We wouldn’t stereotype you by saying that the design, style and technology were clearly designed with gay travelers in mind, but YOTEL’s modern stance is perfectly suited for us, and we’re betting you too. It’s a bit farther than our old haunts from the (not-quite-so-gay-anymore) South End, but we’d rather be close to all the new excitement of the seaport, and we’re betting you would too.

Rates

Rates in Boston can be shockingly high when conventions roll into town, but figure a Queen Premium cabin is around $160 in the dead of winter, typically closer to $250-350, and as high as $550 (when a generic Hilton room might be $700). Save 10-15% and earn Flying Blue or Flying Club miles when you join Club@Yotel for free.

Ready to go

For rates and reservations at YOTEL Boston, visit the website.  

About the CheckOut

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please  let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure.

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By @ 09/27/18 in Gay travel, New York, Travel

Ed Salvato and boyfriend at Mean Girls on BroadwayIf you’re in New York, try to catch Mean Girls on Broadway. What a fun show with a lot of gay subtext and a gay character who is terrific. Remember “On Wednesday we wear pink.” Also remember that October 3 is Mean Girls Day. What, you ask? Recall “On October 3 he asked me what day it was.” Check out all the businesses in NYC celebrating the day.

We got to see it on Wednesday. You don’t see it in the photo but we were both wearing pink:) The audience seemed to include mostly gay men and high school and college age young women. And women their moms’ age.

Expect a story that reflects the movie but includes an amazing original score and a lead narrator character, Damian Hubbard, who’s gay and steals whatever scene he’s in.

Mean Girls is a musical with music by Jeff Richmond, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, a book by Tina Fey, based on the 2004 film of the same name written by Fey, which, in turn, was inspired by the book Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman.

The musical premiered at the National TheatreWashington, D.C., in October 2017 and opened on Broadway in April 2018 at the August Wilson Theatre.

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By @ 09/22/18 in Dining/food/wine, Event, Gay tours, Gay travel, Travel
Bear naked chef cooking up a storm at la Cucina Sabina and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineTHE BEAR NAKED CHEF IS BACK!

Adrian De Berardinis, AKA “The Bear Naked Chef,” is a naked bear chef. What he lacks in clothing he more than makes up for with exquisite culinary skills. (Be sure to note though that while he’s cooking, he’s dressed!)

From November 11-17, 2018. our favorite bear is hosting a gay cooking week at a La Cucina Sabina, a luxurious Italian villa, in the tranquil foothills of the Monti Lucretelli mountains, just 30 minutes north of Rome.

Book by September 30, 2018 and receive a special Couple’s Spa Package — a $250 added value.

Chef Art Smith

This all-inclusive vacation trip includes a week at the luxurious villa; four hands-on cooking lessons, including The Bear-Naked Chef in action along with local Italian trained chefs. Adrian is bringing his friend Chef Art Smith to join for the week to add an additional dimension of fun in the kitchen.

Art Smith was previously Oprah’s personal chef and currently works with Lady Gaga, has a chain of successful restaurants, and provides private catering to the Hollywood set and music industry.

It’s much more than cooking; you’ll also experience exclusive guided excursions to medieval villages, vineyards, dinners in castles, a day in Rome and rooftop dinner, which all embraces authentic Italy, and so much more.

This post is brought to you via our partner, La Cucina Sabina.



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By @ 09/19/18 in Canada, Gay travel, Nova Scotia, Tom Goss, Travel, Traveling Tom

 Join Tom (and his husband Mike) as they explore the Canadian wilderness in Nova Scotia. They find the best drives, hikes & viewpoints, a secluded monetary, a boatload of snow crabs and even a dancing moose!

Tom Goss is a ManAboutWorld global correspondent. He travels with his husband, Mike, all around the world and sends us these video updates. Click on his video and follow his KinosakeOnsen adventure. Follow Tom’s other video adventures here.

TOM’S ALSO A TALENTED PERFORMER

Tom is also a singer, songwriter, and filmmaker whose concerts and projects keep him constantly moving. When not traveling for work, Tom is usually traveling for fun. Check out his music at TomGossMusic.com and more Trav’lin Tom videos on YouTube.

Also connect with Tom on the following social media platforms:

Meet all of our Global Correspondents hereSubscribe to ManAboutWorld here and find insights from Tom, our global correspondents and the staff writers at the magazine Ed, Billy and Kenny.

Tom.Square.Bed

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By @ 09/12/18 in Dublin, Gay travel, Michael Siebert, Travel

Oscar Wilde's new hat is rainbow colored Oscar Wilde’s New Hat has a rainbow design. It’s by acclaimed hat maker Margaret O’Connor at the Fringe Festival according to ManAboutWorld global correspondent Michael Siebert. According to the website:

Dublin’s statues are getting a head-turning makeover. Acclaimed hat maker Margaret O’Connor is taking her haute couture creations to the streets as she designs bespoke hats for the heads of some of our city’s icons. Drawing inspiration from the lives of the statues’ subjects, O’Connor’s decadent and mischievous street art millinery will make you look twice at some familiar landmarks and help you discover new ones.

Sir John Gray Monument (O’Connell Street Lower, D1)
William Smith O’Brien (O’Connell Street Lower, D1)
Daniel O’Connell (O’Connell Monument, O’Connell Street Lower, D1)
Four Angels Fountain (College Green, D2)
Molly Malone (Suffolk St, D2)
Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture (Oscar Wilde and Constance Lloyd, Merrion Square, D2)
The Kiss (corner of Earlsfort Terrace and Hatch Street, D2)
Anna Livia (Wolfe Tone Quay, Arran Quay, D7)

Countess Markievicz’s hat has been removed from the statue to keep it safe. It is on display at the Dublin Fringe Festival Box Office (2 Curved Street, Temple Bar, D2) from 13 September.

About Michael Siebert

Born in, Topeka, Kansas of all places, Michael Joseph Siebert is a seasoned traveler thanks to life itself. Initially, Michael got “bit by the travel bug” as a clinical instructor at an optometry school in Utrecht, The Netherlands. A few years later, Michael lived in South America and volunteered  as an optometrist with OneSight.org, which took him all over the world for the past 10 years.

Currently, Michael is living and working in Australia, as an independent traveling optometrist throughout Australia and New Zealand, where all his passions, patient care, photography, philanthropy and travel are merged into one.

Connect with Michael on Instagram, at www.drmichaelsiebert.com or viaFacebook.

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By @ 07/27/18 in Gay travel, Japan, Tom Goss, Travel, Traveling Tom


Konnichiwa from Kyoto, Japan! For thousands of years, Kyoto was the cultural center and capital of Japan — and It shows. Kyoto boasts expansive temples and a deep sense of tradition. As Kyoto modernized, it never lost its sense of culture and history, making it a fascinating example of modern and ancient Japan living side by side.

Join Trav’lin Tom for a fun, fast-paced tour of temples, bamboo groves, food markets, and even Japanese karaoke.

Tom Goss is a ManAboutWorld global correspondent. He travels with his husband, Mike, all around the world and sends us these video updates. Click on his video and follow his KinosakeOnsen adventure. Follow Tom’s other video adventures here.

TOM’S ALSO A TALENTED PERFORMER

Tom is also a singer, songwriter, and filmmaker whose concerts and projects keep him constantly moving. When not traveling for work, Tom is usually traveling for fun. Check out his music at TomGossMusic.com and more Trav’lin Tom videos on YouTube.

Also connect with Tom on the following social media platforms:

Meet all of our Global Correspondents hereSubscribe to ManAboutWorld here and find insights from Tom, our global correspondents and the staff writers at the magazine Ed, Billy and Kenny.

Tom.Square.Bed

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By @ 07/17/18 in Barry Joy, Canada, Gay pride, Gay travel, Montreal, Party, Travel

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy, left (and his partner) in Montreal's Gay VillageWe all know Montreal has a reputation for being a place of acceptance and inclusion, especially in Montreal’s Gay Village, which is is just east of downtown around Beaudry Metro station, running along Saint Catherine Street. Montreal’s Gay Village is where most of this year’s Pride activities will happen. Whether you are visiting for the parties or shows, you still need to know the best spots to get yummy cocktails and, of course, where to fill up. We got your covered! Here are the village’s top bars and restaurants:

Top bars in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 bars in Montreal’s Gay Village

Sky Complex – This is the city’s most popular gay club/bar and it has several spaces, from a dance clue to a male strip bar, to a cabaret. The rooftop terrace is also amazing.

Bar Renard – This sexy cocktail bar and lounge has a great selection of spirits and happy hour.

Bar Aigle Noir – Traditionally, the Black Eagle bar for the leather enthusiast. The crowd is now getting more diverse serving up beer and drinks in a classic setup with guest DJs and a buzzy patio.

Stock Bar – One of the more popular male strip bars in Montreal where you can grab a drink and watch hot buff men dance around you!

Le Stud – Le Stud is more of a dive bar with cheap drinks and great happy hour.

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 restaurants in Montreal’s Gay Village

O’ThymAsophisticated French bistro that uses seasonal ingredients and has a relaxed, yet cute ambiance. You can also BYOB!

Saloon – This campy restaurant has a great outdoor terrace so that you can people watch. They also serve amazing martinis!

Kitchenette – Located just outside the village, in case you want to escape for a more intimate dining experience. They offer a great 5 course tasting menu where you choose 2 starters, 2 main dishes, and a shared dessert!

Bato Thai – A casual BYOB setting with the best Thai food in the area. This is a great place for a quick bite if you want something yummy but not too formal.

Le Red Tiger – Le Red Tiger offers Vietnamese affordable street food that is both delicious and unique. Portions are small but shareable, so order at least a few items per person.

Add a few, or all, of these spots to your list and you are bound to have an amazing trip. For more things to do and places to visit in Montreal, stop by www.asianmapleleaf.com

 

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By @ 07/09/18 in Gay travel, Hotels, Ronnie D'Amico, San Francisco, Travel

Proper Hotel rooftop in San Francisco and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineSan Francisco has an overabundance of many things: boys in hoodies, cable cars, and public parks to sip rosé.  What the city hasn’t been home to is a sophisticated proper rooftop lounge with sweeping views incorporating fire pits, thoughtful cocktails and an attractive crowd that leaves its active wear at home. Story by Ronnie D’Amico. Photo by Proper Hotel.

Meet Charmaine’s: A proper rooftop bar and lounge 120 feet above the newly opened mid-Market Street Proper Hotel featuring all of the above. For a night out, arrive early before 7pm to avoid the line. Head on up through the McAllister Street entrance where you’ll meet a doorman who takes himself too seriously. Don’t let him deter you. Remember this is SF. Not LA. Once you get past him, you’ll be lead down a corridor to the elevator.

When the elevators empty you above, your senses will heighten with the rush of fresh air on your face, the sight of an energetic crowd of all demographics, gay and straight (who put an effort into their look), and the sound of moody French-pop playing over it all. You’ll feel a sign of relief that such a space exists in San Francisco.

Grab a seat at any of the seating areas with fire pits as soon as you see an open spot. The cocktail menu offers inventions from the city’s well-known bartenders Josh Harris and Morgan Schick (of Trick Dog and The Bon Vivants). The food menu offers classic comfort bites, but also healthy California options by James Beard Award–nominated chef Jason Franey (Monterey’s 1833 and Eleven Madison Park in New York). The décor is what you want: swanky, comfortable and sophisticated. A welcome addition to the city’s nightlife options.

  • Proper Hotel
  • 1100 Market Street,
  • San Francisco, CA 94102
  • (628) 895-2055



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By @ 07/09/18 in Ed Salvato, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, New York, Travel

Skintight at the Roundabout Theater with Idina Menzel in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineWe recently enjoyed seeing Idina Menzel, a gay fan favorite, perform a non-singing role in “Skintight,” which has her surrounded by a bevy of gay men who discuss youth, beauty and the nature of love. If you’re visiting New York through August 26, 2018, this is fun performance to see.

The performance space Roundabout reunites writer Joshua Harmon and director Daniel Aukin (the team behind Bad Jews and Admissions) for Skintight, a scorching examination of beauty, youth and sex. Reeling from her ex-husband’s engagement to a much younger woman, Jodi Isaac (Idina Menzel) turns to her famous fashion-designer dad for support. Instead, she finds him Our very own Ed Salvato and his partner at Skintight at the Roundabout Theater with Idina Menzel in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinewrapped up in his West Village townhouse with Trey. Who’s 20. And not necessarily gay. But probably an adult film star. At least, according to Jodi’s son. Who’s also 20. And definitely gay. Skintight assays the nature of love, the power of attraction, and the ways in which a superficial culture persists in n teaching its children that all that matters is what’s on the inside.

Note that Google Maps gives multiple locations for the Roundabout Theater. This performance is at 7:30pm at the Laura Pels Theatre, 111 W. 46th Street.

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By @ 06/22/18 in CheckOut, Dominican Republic, Gay travel, Hotels, Ivan Quintanilla, Travel

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado sits on its own island, accessible only by ferry, off the secluded Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. This luxury all-inclusive resort is a good choice for couples seeking a romantic escape away from a gay party scene.

Location

Remoteness is part of the allure of the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. With no direct flights from the United States and about a 2½ hour drive from Santo Domingo, the Samana Peninsula has remained a hidden gem in the Dominican Republic. The destination is more popular with Canadians and Europeans, who enjoy direct flights into the region’s airport from Toronto, Montreal and Frankfurt. A fifteen-minute ferry ride from Samana Bay Marina, the resort is the sole occupant on the island of Cayo Levantado. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore the natural beauty of the Samana Peninsula, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The resort’s concierge can arrange any of the following excursions:

  • Los Haitises National Park: A half-day boat tour meanders through 618 square miles of lush islets home to rainforests, hiking trails and limestone caves.
  • Salto el Limon Waterfall: A 20-minute horseback ride through hilly terrain reveals a 130-foot waterfall from Sierra de Samana—a perfect photo backdrop, with its own natural dipping pool.
  • Humpback Whale Watching: These giant mammals are just like us and want to winter in the warm waters of the Caribbean. From January to March the Samana Bay boasts one of the largest concentrations of humpback whales in the Atlantic.
Room/Bathroom

The Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has 268 rooms of ranging categories, including Superior with two full-sized beds, Suites with king-sized beds and Beach Villas with their own terrace and access to the private beach. All have romantic canopy beds, hydro-massage tubs and 24-hour all-inclusive room service and minibars.

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAmenities

Though there’s much to explore in Samana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has you covered should you want to stay put on your own little Caribbean island. The all-inclusive resort offers 6 restaurants, with buffet and international a la carte options; and 4 bars, including a beach bar and a pool bar. Guests have full access to the resort’s relaxing private beach with kayaks and paddle boards available for use. There is also a public beach for day-trippers with lively beachside restaurants and bars. The resort even includes a scuba diving lesson in one of its 2 pools, should you want to prepare for deeper sea exploration. At night, you can hit the disco or enjoy nightly entertainment, ranging from acrobats to dance troupes. During our stay they even featured a synchronized swimming performance. Or you can wind down a romantic evening in your room with a specially prepared bath, from their butler services menu.

Gay Factor

At the resort, all guests are welcome and should not experience any issues, but this isn’t a gay party destination. Though homosexuality is legal in the Dominican Republic, gay travelers should still be cautious with public displays of affection. For non-gay-specific nightlife, the best option is the town of Las Terrenas, about a one-hour drive. This old fishing village is home to many French and German expats, making the town the most cosmopolitan of the province. At Las Terrenas, start your evening at the gay-owned Mi Corazon restaurant, serving international cuisine infused with local flavors.

Rates

All-inclusive rates start at $200 per person, per night, depending on the room selection and season.

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineABOUT THE CHECKOUT

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

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By @ 06/21/18 in Allister Chang, Gay travel, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Travel

Andaz Scottsdale in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineA uniquely Sonoran getaway with stunning views of Camelback Mountain, the Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa is a good choice if you’re looking for blue skies, private relaxation, and Arizonan cowboys. A close collaboration with Cattle Track Arts & Preservation, a local artists’ commune, creates a special feeling that you’re joining a close-knit community when you check-in.

Location

Located on 23 -acres in exclusive Paradise Valley with amazing views of Camelback Mountain, this Andaz is located two miles north of Old Town Scottsdale for galleries, museums, art walks, restaurants, and the Fashion Square shopping center. Less than a mile from the Cattle Track Arts & Preservation compound, you can ask for a quick shuttle over in the resort’s Teslas to check out these local artists’ studios. Great mountain hiking, biking and running can also be found in The Valley of the Sun. Nearby, it’s a short trip to go kayaking in the Salt River with Arizona Outback Adventures or to take a private hot air balloon ride with Hot Air Expedition (an activity that’s extra popular here because it’s almost always sunny!).

Andaz Scottsdale in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Cattle Track Artist Mark McDowell

The resort has an artist-in-residence program that provides guests with opportunities to interact with local artists throughout their stay. These artists create all the artwork around the resort, from painting, pottery, to photography. Once you’ve entered this secluded Andaz bubble, it’s easy to forget that you’re only 20 minutes from the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

Rates

During Scottsdale peak season (winter), rooms start at $399 per night and suites start at $2,500. The (ANDAZ)RED Cabana + XL Pool View King Package starts at $629 per night, including a snack upon arrival, a signature (RED)-inspired breakfast and a special departure gift. At the Resort’s restaurant, Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, local flavors like avocado toast with cress start at $14, and room service for fresh-creations like the AZ grass fed burger ($22) cost a delivery charge of $5. Bespoke poolside cocktails start at $10.

Room/Bathroom

Each of the 201 bungalow-style guestrooms and suites has a shower with double showerheads, with enough space to comfortably fit 8. You’ll feel serious FOMO every second you aren’t partying with college boys from ASU in this shower. Reserve a room with a private outdoor patio to keep the party going outside, with chaise lounges and high walls for additional privacy. Perfect to fill in between your tan lines. The guestroom interiors were conceived by EDG Interior Architecture + Design, with colorful nods to mid-century designers like Alexander Girard. Guestrooms and suites range from 350 to 1,800 square feet, with Spanish-style front terraces.

Andaz Scottsdale in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Amenities and services

The Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary is worth spending a full day (or ten) at. Champagne pre- and post- personalized treatments heighten your senses to take in the novel smells and textures of indigenous ingredients, like prickly pear treatment oils. The 12,000-square-foot spa includes four indoor and three outdoor treatment rooms, outdoor hydrotherapy pools, a nail and hair salon, eucalyptus steam rooms, outdoor relaxation lounges and an exclusive private pool for spa guests. Sunbathe, steam, swim, and repeat. Next to the spa is the Andaz’s gym, whose walls come down when weather permits (i.e. when it’s not too sunny and beautiful outside). Erg outdoors with a straight-shot view of Camelback Mountain.

For better people watching, take a dip in and lounge by Turquoise Pool, which has over 150 chaise lounges and day beds in addition to 13 private cabanas. Weft & Warp Art Bar + Kitchen, the Resort’s restaurant and bar, features innovative use of plancha cooking techniques by Executive Chef Adam Sheff. Delicious fresh-cooked dishes featuring local ingredients are available to eat in or order in as room service from 6:30AM to 10:00PM. For a show, order the Mercury Mirage cocktail, smoked tea infused over proofed rye whisky with smoked chili bitters. Don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary “adult treats” by the pool every day at 11:30AM.

Gay factor

Artsy and progressive, this Resort sees a diverse clientele, including many gay couples and families. Open Grindr and you’ll find a mix of ASU college students and pumped-up Arizonan daddies. In March this year, Andaz Scottsdale joined 4 other Andaz resorts to partner with (RED), the AIDS organization founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver. The (ANDAZ)RED Cabanas provide a portion of each booking to support (RED)’s fight to end AIDS.

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Spa
ABOUT THE CHECKOUT

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

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By @ 06/18/18 in Dane Steele, David Perry, Gay pride, Gay travel, Manchester, Travel
Manchester in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

When it stops being a wig and starts being a triumph of architecture

It’s the gayest city in the United Kingdom, and it is not London. Gather round, dear readers, and find out how an itty-bitty backwater named Manchester became one of the outright gay capitals of Europe.

Gay Manchester: story and photos by travel writer David Perry.

Most histories will give the quick version of Manchester’s rise; that it was born out of the Industrial Revolution. Not true; the city traces its lineage back to the Romans, circa 79 AD, when it was known as Mancunium, a name that lives on in “Mancunian,” what people from Manchester call themselves. But it is also true that during Roman rule and for centuries after, it remained a pastoral, rather backwoodsy community living in the particularly long shadow of nearby Liverpool. Nevertheless, by 1520, Manchester earned a rep for its weavers, and that is key.

Manchester in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Manchester Town Hall welcomes the world

Because by 1600, Manchester’s looms were throwing sparks thanks to cotton from the New World. Canals were dug. Warehouses, mills, and factories thrown up. A commodities exchange established. By the Victorian Era, it was “Liverpool where?” But something else was happening, something that blue-blooded London or stodgy Oxford could not have predicted: Manchester, having been built by common men (nicknamed “worker bees,”) became an incandescent hotbed of common-men ideas. Abolitionism, free trade, Marxism, women’s rights, workers’ rights, immigration, child labor, republicanism, parliamentary reform, and yes, discussions on the inherent rights and liberties for “Urianians” and “homogenic love” — early terms for gay men and same-sex affection — found fertile soil, often for the first time, in Manchester’s unions and trade halls.

Manchester in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Nice cock in the Northern Quarter

Skip to 2018, and very gay Manchester still has a decidedly anti-snooty vibe, bees are the ubiquitous city emblem, and the gay life is off the charts. Manchester Pride (August 24 – 28) is one of the oldest of its kind in the UK, and one of the biggest events on the city’s calendar. This is the city that inspired “Queer as Folk,” after all. Mancunians particularly embrace the LGBTQ heritage; you may see a few rainbow flags flying year-round in the form of small mosaics in sidewalks and facades. These are stations along the famous Manchester LGBT Heritage Trail, a historic stroll through the seminal events and places that made gay rights a “thing.” Advertisers, from mega-companies like Thomas Cook Airlines to modest self-storage warehouses, fall over themselves getting a float in the Pride Parade. It’s all very chummy. And gives “God Save the Queen” a whole new dimension.

It is also homo-concentrate! (KEEP READING… 🙂



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