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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 @ 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 @ 11/11/14 in Aaron Drake, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta, Travel

casa-velas-puerto-vallarta-mexico-home-top11Our correspondent Aaron Drake checks in with a new Check Out, this time focusing on his latest trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and the romantic Casa Velas.

Top/Bottom line

Casa Velas is ideal for gay honeymooners, those looking for a place to say ‘I do’ (wedding packages are available), or those just looking to get away. If you’re flying solo this trip you may not encounter many other singles — but if it’s rest, relaxation and a refresh from the daily buzz you’re after, you won’t find a better option offering optimal comfort and opportunity for pampering yourself.



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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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