Category Archives: CheckOut

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

Four Seasons Orlando in ManAboutWorld gay travel magzineCheckOut: Four Seasons. Geared 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 @ 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 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 @ 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 @ 06/06/18 in CheckOut, Gay travel, James Careless, Toronto, Travel

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe brand-new, stylistically-striking Hotel X Toronto in Toronto, Canada is anything but yet another cookie-cutter urban luxury hotel crammed into a downtown lot. Hotel X Toronto is a very short taxi/Uber/Lyft ride from everything that Toronto has to offer; making it an ideal headquarters for enjoying Pride Toronto or any other event in Canada’s largest city. Story by ManAboutWorld correspondent, James Careless.

Amenities

Worth noting: The 404-room, 30-storey Hotel X Toronto is likely correct in claiming that it offers “a wealth of amenities unrivalled by any downtown hotel, including four indoor tennis courts, a full-service spa, two year-round heated swimming pools and TEN X TORONTO—a 90,000 square foot athletic centre with its own children’s area.” In addition to its restaurants (with options for vegetarian, gluten free, and vegan diets), Hotel X Toronto has an art gallery, beer garden, stadium-style movie theaters, event spaces, historical exhibits, and the three-storey rooftop SkyBar with – again – unparalleled views of downtown Toronto and the lake. The multi-story ‘living wall’ at the Front Desk – literally a vertical surface of plants rising high above one’s head – is impressive in its own right.

Rates

Hotel X Toronto is currently in what is known as a ‘soft opening’ until the end of July 2018, when it will officially open. This means that the hotel is still in the process of getting everything running – and giving guests price breaks as a result of it. (Note: Everything I experienced while there gave me the feeling that the hotel was fully operational.)

The good news: “During the soft opening period of Hotel X Toronto, you will find rates reduced as much as 30%,” said Celso Thompson, the hotel’s director of Sales and Marketing. “At any time, the hotel offers a prepaid, non-refundable option which clearly is the best deal if you are certain about your travel plans. Rates start at $350 for the entry level rooms.”

The bad news: You’ll have to go through Hotel X Toronto’s booking sites to get actual prices. Still, 30% is 30% off – and that is on top of the US dollar being worth about $1.20-$1.25 Canadian.

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Location

Located at spacious Exhibition Place (home of the Canadian National Exhibition – CNE — every summer, and various Class A events and conventions year-round), Hotel X Toronto is right on the shore of Lake Ontario. It is far enough from the downtown core to have a clear, unobstructed view of the lake, the nearby Toronto Island with its parks and airport, and Toronto’s major buildings; plus the lakeshore’s Ontario Place and the 1840s-era stone Stanley Barracks at Fort York.

Having grown in Toronto and spent many summers at the CNE in all its gaudy midway glory, I could never have imagined a true luxury hotel being located on the fair grounds. But much has changed at Exhibition Place. New convention/display buildings have been added (like the Enercare Centre) and older spaces renovated, while the rundown Exhibition Place grandstand has been replaced by the modern BMO Field (home of the Toronto FC pro soccer team). The historic Stanley Barracks next door has been restored and softened with the addition of gardens.

Add the fact that Hotel X Toronto is right on Lake Ontario, yet so close to the downtown hub (transit is available, in addition to taxis and walking), and this hotel combines the best of open waterfront breeziness with downtown urban access. It is a welcome alternative to the very best downtown cor hotels that are crammed together, through no fault of their own. (Runners will particularly like the quick access to the lakeshore and its open spaces, rather than being confined to car-packed downtown sidewalks.)

Room/Bathroom

I was fortunate to stay in a corner suite, on the 18th floor of Hotel X Toronto. I walked into an entrance hallway that angled left to the spacious modern bathroom (including a glass-walled shower with space for more than one), then turned right into a truly roomy bedroom with floor-to-ceiling full glass windows on two side.

The view alone from this suite justifies the price of admission. It is one of the best that I have seen in Toronto’s many downtown hotels. But the quality of Hotel X Toronto’s modern furniture and appointments is also worth mentioning: The wood, metal, leather and fabric far are above the usual hotel fare. They and the room’s fabric walls make you feel like you are staying in someone’s elegantly-decorated high-end condo; rather than yet another unsuccessfully pretentious hotel.

I was also struck by the bathroom’s elegant fittings, and the little details that were tended to; such as having two bathrobes and slippers available rather than just one. The room service was also a treat: What a luxury to have smoked salmon Eggs Benedict delivered to one’s room for breakfast!

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay Factor

If ‘Gay Factor’ translates into superb modern design with no false flash, elegance and quality in all things, and the sense that staying here somehow raises one’s game and sense of self, Hotel X Toronto has tremendous Gay Factor. That said, what I have just said applies to anyone, regardless of gender or orientation – as long as they have class, style, and a sense of how to comport themselves in public.

Meanwhile, Hotel X Toronto is a quick taxi/transit ride to everything in downtown Toronto; be it the city’s famous Gay Village, the Rogers Centre (home of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club), the Theatre District, the business core, shopping, or the Toronto Island (accessible by an underground tunnel at the nearby Island Airport, or a short ferry ride across the harbor; well worth it).

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 @ 01/09/18 in Cape Town, CheckOut, Gay honeymoon, Gay travel, South Africa, Travel

Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe luxurious but relaxed Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town, tucked into a lush national park, fronts the South Atlantic Ocean and is near vibrant communities with beautiful wide beaches — including Sandy Beach, the gay nude beach and Clifton 3rd Beach, the gay strand — and scores of cafes, markets and restaurants where you can sip a South African rosé and do some serious people watching. It’s a 15-minute drive from the city center so it would require some planning if gay nightlife is a priority. Twelve Apostles Hotel makes a good base to explore wine country.

Location

Located on a rise southwest of downtown Cape Town overlooking the dramatic swells of the South Atlantic, the hotel is flanked by Table Mountain National Park and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. Facing due west you’re almost guaranteed spectacular sunsets nightly, which you can enjoy with cocktails on the pool-side Azure Deck. The gorgeous hotel is convenient to bustling Camps Bay and Green Point, communities with numerous options for enjoying the delicious farm- and sea-to-table cuisine and wines for which South Africa is known; sunning, swimming and flirting at Clifton 3rd Beach, the gay beach and the nearby gay, nude Sandy Beach; taking in in the beautiful scenery; or frolicking in the chilly water (if you dare).

Downtown Cape Town’s tourist attractions are a little farther away but the hotel offers a complimentary shuttle to town center till around 9:30pm. After that it’s an inexpensive Uber ride back to the hotel.The hotel may be better suited to a couple seeking a romantic getaway than gay visitors wishing to experience gay nightlife and meet locals since there are a few logistics involved. Best to enjoy the incredible amenities of the hotel and also the proximity to wine country. We arranged a day-trip visit to Bouchard Finlayson, which is under the same family ownership as Twelve Apostles Hotel. Wine-tinted memories are a tad hazy but the drive was lovely, the vino was flowing and the views were eye-popping on this 308-acre vineyard which also offers beautiful botanist-led nature walks.

Amenities

The Twelve Apostles operates a 16-seat screening room available to guests with a new schedule of complimentary movies each month. There’s a small but very well-equipped gym with several machines and free weights; It’s covered on nearly every surface with mirrors (including the sloped ceilings) so you can snap a few cool pumped-up photos for your, ahem, travel apps. The hotel features several dining and drinking options including a casual pool side open-air cafe, a fine-dining restaurant and a beautiful bar, all taking advantage of the incredible ocean views. We loved just hanging out on the Azure Deck by the pool noshing and sipping the hours away while enjoying the ocean views.

The spa in a lower level is a mix of African and Eastern styles. It’s small but intimate and the salt soak is a great way to detox after a day of all that pool-side wine-sipping. It also offers the Rasul Chamber where couples can rub mud on one another and then shower off (in privacy). There is also a private gazebo overlooking the ocean for couples massage.

Room/Bathroom

There are 55 deluxe guest rooms and 15 luxurious suites overlooking the mountains or the sea. Whichever direction you face, the views are stunning. The light and airy rooms are an eclectic mix of contemporary African and classical European styles (the combination of local and European styles typifying the Red Carnation aesthetic) with the modern amenities you’d expect in an upscale hotel. The bathrooms are modern and spacious and very comfortable. We love the plush bathrobes.

Twelve Apostles Hotel, Cape Town in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Presidential Suite

Gay factor

The hotel is consistently included in lists of best and most romantic hotels in the world. Family-owned luxury brand Red Carnation Hotels purchased the hotel in 2002 and painstakingly restored it and the surrounding gardens. The result is a laid-back luxury, with lots of lovely decorative touches and friendly but relaxed service.

If your  primary goal is nightlife or meeting locals, this hotel may not be the best choice for you. Nightlife is a good drive away and there aren’t that many guys conveniently nearby as you’ll quickly see on Grindr or Scruff. This is a better choice for those seeking to enjoy a romantic getaway, celebrating a milestone with another couple or small group or capping off a fun few days at a hotel closer to the action.

Rates

Rates range from US$600 and up, and include a very good breakfast.  With the U.S. dollar still very strong against the South African rand, with $1 fetching over 14 rands, accommodations, restaurants, wine and activities are a very good value. The hotel offers a range of special offers. https://www.12apostleshotel.com/offers

About the CheckOut

ManAboutWorld highlights properties where we have personally and recently stayed, 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 @ 11/28/17 in Budapest, CheckOut, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, Ronnie D'Amico, Travel

Kapital Inn, Budapest, Hungary gay-owned B&B in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineCHECKOUT: Kapital Inn, Budapest: Top/bottom line

The Kapital Inn, Budapest, Hungary reigns as the #1 bed and breakfast on TripAdvisor for the past 10 consecutive years. That might be because it’s gay owned/operated by Albert, a local Hungarian and former 5-star hotel exec and Paul, a South African and former advertising exec. You’ll find the Kapital Inn on the penthouse floor of an elegant 19th century apartment building. They recently renovated the Inn blending the neo-renaissance architectural interiors with contemporary furniture, to create modern living spaces. This is the place to stay when you are in Budapest, and here’s why:

Location

Nestled in the 6th district of the Pest side (east of the Danube River), the Kapital Inn is set one block back from the city’s Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Budapest’s answer to Paris’ Champs-Elysées. The Avenue is home to an abundance of upscale shops and restaurants and it’s side streets have just as much action. The Millennium rail line, the first subway line in continental Europe, is just steps away to access the entire city.

Here are just some of the top attractions within walking distance:

Hungarian State Opera House: Um. Madonna filmed the balcony scene from Evita here. If that’s not enough, there’s vocal and orchestra performances throughout the year.

  • The House of Terror Museum: The only of its kind dedicated to those victims of two terror regimes.
  • 360 Bar: An iconic Budapest rooftop terrace with 360° panorama views atop the tallest building on Andrássy Avenue. They recently installed six themed heated igloos with designer furniture to sip cocktails in during the winter months.
  • Széchenyi Thermal Bath: Budapest is known for their baths and this one is the largest medicinal bath in Europe. Tip: Dip in once the sun goes down to let the steam rise around you into the night sky.
  • Jewish District: Emerged as one of Budapest’s hippest neighborhoods, known for its quirky ”Ruin Bars”, cafes, art galleries and design shops.

Room/Bathroom

The Kapital Inn is a quintessential BnB boutique housing just seven rooms. Each is spacious, clean and smartly renovation and designed. The best I’ve seen in Europe. Even with an intimate feel, you won’t find yourself uncomfortably close to any other guests. And you’ll get a good night sleep; there’s a refined and calming stillness from being up in the penthouse that silences the bustle of Budapest below.

Kapital Inn, Budapest, Hungary gay-owned B&B in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The rooms to book:

  • Deluxe King Room: This is the largest room and boasts a relaxing contemporary design, high ceilings, large French style windows and a comfy king-size bed. It has a big en-suite bathroom, his and his or hers and hers vanity, a walk-in shower and a two-person bathtub. The shower design is sexy, sleek and where you’ll want to spend your time.
  • Deluxe King Suite: For those traveling with family or more than one couple, this spacious 65sqm suite two bedroom has a living room and a large en-suite bathroom with walk-in shower. It is furnished with an eclectic mix of contemporary furniture and lighting, and features high ceilings, queen size beds and four large French style windows for a light and airy atmosphere.
  • Deluxe Double Rooms: Very spacious rooms, each with their own en-suite bathroom fitted with “RainDance” showerheads and walk-in showers large enough to fit two. They both feature contemporary design, which blends modern and vintage style furniture.

Amenities

Breakfast: Each morning head to the elegant kitchen for breakfast (8:00am and 10:30am) where you’ll sit at the huge island with other guests from around the world. There you’ll find Albert or Paul ready to take your order for eggs, bacon or one of their must have omelets (Albert is a Hungarian trained chef). A choice of coffee or tea is available, alongside apple and orange juice, traditional pastries, a selection of cereals, fresh fruit, yogurt, cream cheese and Hungarian salami. *Breakfast is included in the price of your room. They accommodate specific dietary requests too.

Kapital Inn, Budapest, Hungary gay-owned B&B in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineRoof Top Terrace: After checking in I was completely surprised to find a 600-sq. ft. private terrace with rooftop views. Weather permitting, this is where to sip a cocktail before heading to dinner or to relax after a day of sightseeing. There’s also a fully fitted guest kitchen area located next to the terrace.

Guest Office: A private guest office comes equipped with laptop and printer if you need to connect with the real world. There’s free Wi-Fi throughout the property and the office is packed with books, games, DVD’s and more.

Other room amenities include: All air-conditioned room, daily housekeeping, hairdryer, shower gels and soaps.

Kapital Inn, Budapest, Hungary gay-owned B&B in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Local Experience

From the moment you arrive, you feel the love.

Arrival Love: Albert or Paul will graciously welcome and sit down with you to chart out your Budapest experience. They’ll pull out a map, pen and begin marking up things to do that best fit your interests.

Local Love: Albert, a native Hungarian, knows the city, it’s people and politics. You can’t ignore the passion he holds for the city. Breakfast time is when you can learn the most from Albert and Paul about Budapest and make up of its culture. You may be a thousand miles from home, but you’ll never feel you’re that far away with the conversation and hospitality provided by Albert and Paul.

Gay Factor

  • LGBT owned and operated
  • Conveniently located near gay bars and clubs (ask Albert and Paul for recommendations)
  • Started out as a strictly gay BnB, but now open to all – but still caters to many gay guests.

Rates

Rooms start at €65 for Standard rooms start and slide up to €99 for the the Deluxe Suite.

Ready to go

For rates and reservations click or tap the website for Kapital Inn, Budapest.

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 @ 11/07/17 in CheckOut, Gay travel, Hotels, James Careless, Toronto, Travel

One King West Hotel in Toronto and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineLocated at the southwest corner of King and Yonge Streets, One King West Hotel & Residence is an uber-cool, LGBTQ-friendly place to stay and eat. The hotel starts within the restored 100 year-plus former Dominion Bank headquarters’ 13-story building connecting to a super-thin (to fit within the available real estate) 51-story glass tower known as “The Sliver.” Elegantly modern suites are available in each, while the original banking hall is home to “Teller’s Bar & Lounge.” That’s right: Where one-half of today’s Toronto-Dominion Bank once drove debtors to drink, you can enjoy a chic cocktail.

Location

Frankly, you couldn’t get a better location for staying in downtown Toronto than One King West. Within walking distance:

  • Hockey Hall of Fame (Canada’s spiritual version of the Vatican, with equal if not more significance to Canadians);
  • CN Tower
  • Air Canada Centre for major league sports (the NBA’s Raptors/the NHL’s Maple Leafs) and popular music concerts
  • Rogers Centre for Blue Jays American League baseball, Roy Thomson Hall for classical music
  • Princess of Wales and Royal Alexandra Theatres for Broadway shows; the list goes on and on!

Add nightclubs, restaurants, shopping (including the Toronto Eaton Centre mega-mall), and much of what you want to see is close to One King West. And if it isn’t, then you can jump on the subway just outside the main door for other destinations.

Room/Bathroom

We love the 42nd floor one-bedroom suite/bathroom with floor-to-ceiling glass windows allowing views of the rest of the downtown area, the Toronto Islands, and Lake Ontario. Rooms are tastefully decorated in rich, low-key modern tones and hues. And since One King West’s suites are actually individually-owned condos that are rented and managed by the hotel, the room came with an efficiency kitchen.

The room itself had space for the elegant kitchen area, a sitting area in the sweeping curved windows of The Sliver’s skin, and a bed with high-quality linens. The bathroom comes with a glass-walled walk-in shower and long counter with sink.

One King West Hotel in Toronto and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Amenities

Amenities include a rooftop fitness center on top of the original banking tower, where you’ll find a selection of cardio machines, free weights, yoga mats and separate saunas for men and women. One King West also has full concierge services, a business center, valet and self-parking (the latter with three chargers for electric cars).

Gay Factor

Being that it is in the heart of all things cool in Toronto, One King West’s gay factor is undeniable. You can hop onto the TTC subway outside the main door and go four stops north to Wellesley station; putting you just steps west of the city’s Gay Village at Wellesley and Church Streets. But frankly, you’re in Canada, where gay marriage was embraced long before it was in the U.S.. So just Google “LGBTQ clubs Toronto” and you’ll find lots of action nearby, including Club 120  on 120 Church Street northeast of King.

Rates

The rates at One King West are not cheap. But they’re not too bad, either. At the economical end of the scale (by downtown Toronto terms) at C$189 plus 13% HST/night is a Historic Superior suite in the original 17-story tower, or a Tower Deluxe Suite in the 51-story Sliver. At the top end is the C$559+HST/night for The Pinnacle Suite: One King West’s only two-bedroom feature suite. It offers stunning balcony views, a spacious living room, sexy bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub, large-screen HDTV, and a kitchenette with fridge, microwave oven and dishwasher. You can fit four people in the Pinnacle, with comes with one king and one queen-sized bed.

One King West Hotel in Toronto and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

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 https://www.manaboutworld.com/?page_id=87 here.

Story by ManAboutWorld global correspondent James Careless.



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By @ 10/30/17 in Allister Chang, CheckOut, Gay family travel, Gay honeymoon, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, Miami

 

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineTHE RITZ-CARLTON KEY BISCAYNE: TOP/BOTTOM LINE

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami is a luxurious escape that’s great for gay families, including those of us aiming to fulfill our guncle duties with a little extra help. Drop your kids off at Ritz Kids for a kickball game or an interactive marine biology lesson, and enjoy a cocktail by the adults-only pool. Or take your princ(ess) out for a mani-pedi, complete with complimentary shirley temples. Secluded on an exclusive barrier island, this Ritz-Carlton feels far removed from the other three Ritz-Carltons in Miami – it’s more private, peaceful, and family-focused. This is not your resort to have a crazy weekend to meet new guys. It’s a tropical getaway for you to share with your partner and family.

LOCATION

Convenient and private. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is just 20-minutes from the Miami International Airport, yet feels secluded from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami. Key Biscayne is an exclusive barrier island, and this Ritz-Carlton is the island’s only hotel. Guests have front door access to hiking and biking trails of Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. It’s a 20-minute taxi or Lyft ride to the gay bars and clubs in South Beach.

RATES

Ocean view guest rooms start at $400. The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is not an all-inclusive resort. For breakfast, snacks, cocktails, a private concierge, and a private kids room, add club lounge access. Offerings of snacks at the club lounge during our stay included raw oysters and sushi. Club level rooms with ocean views start around $700. If you’re bringing kids, Ritz Kids offers full-day activities for kids from 9AM to 3PM for $120. ESPA menu items include “THE Mens Facial” at $160 for 50 minutes and a deep muscle massage at $175 for 50 minutes. Our favorite, the 110-minute Tequesta Ritual is priced at $330. Prices for rooms and spa treatments lower during low-season (July to September). The Ritz Carlton Key-Biscayne spa also participates in Miami Spa Month (usually July and August) and even extends these discounted offerings to October.

ROOM/BATHROOM

Just renovated this past year, each of the 490 guest rooms now offer a lighter, more casual and open aesthetic. The new color-schemes more closely reflect the hues of blues and greens of the beach-front tropical landscape. We appreciated the convenience of bedside outlets during our stay. We also appreciated the efficiency of the layout for the marble bathrooms, though we wished there had been more space to place our champagne during our bubble bath. Rooms with oceanfront views include balconies that look over the resort’s two pools. Open the windows at night to be lulled to sleep by the waves. For the ultimate family escape, book the new Ritz-Carlton Suite, which includes 2 bedrooms, a full kitchen, a dining room, and 2 balconies offering panoramic views of the ocean.

AMENITIES

Testament to the quality of the hotel’s restaurants and spa treatments, guests return year after year, as do the local elite. The Tequesta Ritual, our favorite of the spa’s 3 signature location-specific treatments, is a 110-minute detoxifying ritual. The algae wrap, sticky at first, warmly envelopes you and awakes your skin even as your thoughts drift away. The aromatherapy massage and scalp massage bring you back into your body. Request Adrian. After getting re-centered at the spa, take a private class at the resort’s tennis center, or take a jog down the white sand beach to Florida’s third oldest active lighthouse.The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Enjoy a beachside cocktail in the St. Tropez style cabanas at DUNE, and if you’re feeling extra hungry and carnivorous, try their giant bison burger with foie gras. Keep an eye out for Gino, DUNE’s bartender who has been at the resort since the beginning, and ask him to make you his famous 3-rum mojito. The resort’s newest restaurant, Lightkeepers, offers coastal-inspired dishes, including a Sunday brunch with caviar and a full-room dedicated to desserts. Cantina Beach, the resort’s second oceanfront restaurant, offers Mexican food, South Florida’s largest tequila collection, and their own in-house “guacamologist.” Rumbar, their Cuban lobby lounge, offers rums, cigars, and live music Thursday through Saturday. Wrap-up your tropical escape with a complimentary photo shoot with staff photographers.

GAY FACTOR

This resort may not look like a typical gay getaway. Key Biscayne was Richard Nixon’s favorite vacation destination, no gay weddings have yet been hosted at the resort. But look closer, and you see that the resort has been made with a gay touch. Take a complimentary workout class with Mauricio, or ask Omar at the spa front-desk for some green-tea scrub he stashes away for family. Timothy Williams, the Spa Director, who is currently leading a re-imagination of the resort’s shops, tells us that part of why he has enjoyed working here is that the “Ritz Carlton has always focused on equality.” Tim adds that as our community starts to think more about where we want to take our children, nieces, and nephews on vacation, “nothing else compares to this property… nowhere else in Miami has a kids program like here.”

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Ready to go

For rates and reservations check out the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne,  Miami’s 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 here. This hotel was reviewed by ManAboutWorld correspondent Allister Chang

 

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By @ 09/23/14 in CheckOut, Dennis Hensley, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel, Vienna

Sans Souci Wien_Superior_3Top/Bottom Line:

Relatively new on the scene, the Hotel Sans Souci Wien combines modern sophistication with a refreshing touch of whimsy, from the yoo Studio-designed furnishings in shades of cream and purple to the clever, oversized Vienna-set selfies by Austrian skier-turned-art photographer Hubertus von Hohenlohe that adorn the lobby and many rooms. This 63-room boutique hotel serves up some serious swank without taking itself too seriously.



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By @ 07/17/14 in Aaron Drake, CheckOut, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

wildcatter

By ManAboutWorld Correspondent Aaron Drake

Top/bottom line

The slow pace of Wildcatter Ranch is a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life. It’s a lovely spot for a romantic getaway or outdoor adventure destination or if you and your man like a little action (hey, we’re talking about archery or Skeet shooting!). While you can come to simply relax at the pool or spa, you’ll definitely want to partake in the activities here to get the full ranch experience.

Rates

From $149 to $449 a night depending on room selection. Check the website for special getaway packages for two.



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By @ 06/11/14 in Aaron Drake, CheckOut, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

harrah's

By ManAboutWorld correspondent Aaron Drake

Harrah’s Resort Southern California

Top/Bottom line

Harrah’s SoCal is great as a weekend destination for a group of friends or getaway for couples. The resort offers wedding packages, having played host to many ceremonies on property, and happily welcomes California (same-sex) honeymooners or his-and-his bachelor parties.

Rates

From $150 a night depending on the room size, occupancy and season. Find the best deals by booking online.

Basics

Harrah’s Resort Southern California, formerly Harrah’s Rincon Casino & Resort, is a year-round gaming resort, including smoking and non-smoking gaming areas, a variety of delicious dining options on-property, a trifecta of fabulous pools, award-winning spa and a brand-new state-of-the-art events center, featuring well-known acts. Harrah’s recently welcomed the grand-opening of the new 21-story, 403-room Resort Tower North after a $160 million renovation, and expansion of the resort to a stunning 1.2 million square feet.



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By @ 05/27/14 in CheckOut, Europe, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

leroyalmeridienhamburg

Le Royal Meridien Hamburg is a gay-perfect location with sophisticated modern style, professional friendly service and a lake-front view make Le Méridien Hamburg an ideal choice for visiting this dynamic city.

Rates: We found rates starting as low as €119 per night during periods of low demand, and starting as high as €372 for peak demand. Free nights for Starwood Preferred Guest members start at 10,000 points.

Location: On An der Alster, the broad lake-front promenade on the east side of the lake, Le Méridien is in St. Georg, the city’s gay neighborhood. It’s within easy walking distance to the city’s most popular gay nightlife, restaurants and cafés, and also convenient to the train station, museums, the central shopping district and Hafen City. St. Pauli, the red light district that is home to the other concentration of gay nightlife, is a 10 minutes away by taxi, or 20 to 25 minutes by public transportation.



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By @ 05/21/14 in CheckOut, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

buddha

 

THE CHECKOUT: Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest

Top/Bottom Line:

The city’s most stylish hotel, with striking modern design and the most convenient central location. Ironically, the only thing missing is the vibe: the lounge and restaurant just haven’t found a following in this city.

Rates:

Standard rooms start at €102/night, but spend the extra €35 or so to upgrade at least to an Executive Room, with 430 sq. feet of space (vs. 270 in the Standard). Move up to a suite (approx. €220-320) for even more space, views and oversized soaking tubs.

Location:

Built in a century-old palace just a few blocks from the Danube River and Elisabeth Bridge on Váci Street, one of the city’s main pedestrian shopping thoroughfares. It is about as central to the city’s variety of attractions as you can possibly be.

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By @ 02/24/14 in Cancun, CheckOut, Correspondent, Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, Gay travel magazine for iPad, ManAboutWorld, Mexico, Paul VanDeCarr, Travel

Oasis Sens 4 gays at poolOur ManAboutWorld correspondent Paul VanDeCarr visited the Oasis Sens, an adult-only, all-inclusive resort in Cancún, Mexico. Was it as gay friendly as they promoted? Read our new column CheckOut and, well, check it out.

Basics
An “adults-only” resort hotel on the beach featuring outdoor pools, multiple restaurants with various cuisines and a friendly but not obsequious staff. Plenty of entertainments and activities such as Spanish lessons, yoga sessions, stage shows at the “Kinky Club” and cheesy but fun Mayan dance performances out by the pool. Small-to-moderate complaints like problems with the key cards or untidy spots in the common areas prevent the Oasis Sens from being a luxury hotel, if that’s what you’re looking for. The feel here is of folks splurging on a little easygoing beach vacay: the straight lady from Kansas who seemed to relish going topless, the college boy recommending “Dude, you totally have to go into the ocean wasted!!”, the middle-aged Russians in on the direct flight from Moscow, the trash-talking dykes from Dallas and the cute queeny 20-something gay friends from New York.

Location
In Cancún’s hotel zone, which feels about “authentic” Mexican as a Taco Bell. But the real attraction here is the beach, which is gorgeous. To go directly to and from the airport you have to take a shuttle (about US $15) or taxi (about US $30) respectively. Or you can take a US $1 bus ride downtown, and from there catch a cheap “colectivo” van to the airport. Downtown itself is a bit of a hike—too far to walk—though it sports a couple fun gay clubs. Don’t confuse the Oasis Sens with its sister property down the road, the Grand Oasis Cancún, which has the reputation of being a party hotel for drunk college students.



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By @ 08/04/13 in Boston, CheckOut, Ed Salvato, Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, Gay travel magazine for iPad, Hotels, ManAboutWorld, Travel
Perfect for a grand entrance!

Perfect for a grand entrance!

Rates
From $239 per night, but deals are available on their website as well as offers, including free WiFi when booking direct.

Basics
Formerly the Meridien and before that the Federal Reserve, this fabulous property comes with a rich history and luxurious touches from an elegant entrance and professional service to a really nice fitness facility and pool all in a convenient downtown location.

Location
Located on a beautiful oasis of green (the tiny but stunning Post Office Park), the Langham is truly meant for the business traveler but with easy access to the Orange Line subway stop at State St. (a three-minute walk), it’s an easy jaunt to gay-centric South End (get off at Back Bay Station and walk south along Clarendon or Dartmouth Streets). There’s also a Hubway bike station just outside so you can peddle pretty much anywhere in Boston, Cambridge or other nearby towns for dollars a day. It’s also within walking distance to South Street Station (Amtrak/busses) and the two high-speed Provincetown ferry lines.

Room
The rooms are spacious and have big windows. The lighting is terrific: easy to figure out and within easy fumbling distance in the middle of the night. There’s a light in the closet and lots of hangers. There are plenty of outlets in handly spots for easy re-charging of your electronic gadgetry.

Bathroom
Luxurious. Plenty of counter space to spread out your toiletries. Lots of extra towels because you know how dirty us gay travelers can be.

Amenities
We love the fitness center. Big for an urban hotel with great equipment. The pool is a luxurious treat. There’s also a sauna and jacuzzi. Bond Restaurant is a nice option and serves full meals till 10 p.m. then a lighter menu. The space becomes a nightclub/lounge on the weekends with a DJ and attracts beautiful young straights — good-looking men and women dressed to the nines. It offers great people and a really nice atmosphere and great food. If they’re on offer, try the duck flat bread and Thai spring rolls. The spa looked nice but we didn’t get an opportunity to enjoy it during our all-too-brief stay.

Room service
Available 24/7.

Bottom line
This is a great choice if you’re either on business during the week and want to stay an extra night or if you’re heading to or from Ptown or New York via the ferry or Amtrak.

Gay factor
Not the gayest hotel we’ve stayed in though Grindr showed a few people 18 to 35 feet away which sounded awfully close and likely in the hotel. This being Boston, Massachusetts, which has always been at the vanguard of progressive LGBT politics, it is of course super comfortable. No one bats an eyelash at two guys or two gals holding hands or enjoying a romantic dinner.

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