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By @ 11/17/17 in Ed Salvato, Gay honeymoon, Gay rights, Gay travel, St. Lucia, Travel

Dominic Fedee, tourism minister for St. Lucia in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The Honorable Dominic Fedee visited New York this month with his marketing and public relations team to launch a new campaign for St. Lucia and to assure Americans that this lush Caribbean nation was not affected by recent hurricanes. The small country depends on tourism, and he asserts that “The best way to help the Caribbean is to visit the Caribbean.”

In St. Lucia, as in a number of Caribbean countries, same-sex relations between men are illegal though there are no laws against lesbians. We caught up with Minister Fedee to ask him whether LGBTQ visitors are welcome in St. Lucia. The interview, below, is part of a series with senior tourism leaders about LGBTQ travelers, including our recent interview with Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, MP.

Interview with the Honorable Dominic Fedee, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting by Ed Salvato

ManAboutWorld: Sometimes the LGBTQ media cites the Caribbean as an example of a region that is unfriendly or unwelcoming for gay travelers. Would you say LGBTQ traveler are welcome in St. Lucia?

Dominic Fedee: Well, everyone is welcome in St. Lucia. Absolutely. I can tell you there is a comprehensive constitutional review taking place in a number of Caribbean countries. Sometimes the books don’t reflect the pulse or where the population is and a lot of our law is based on old antiquated British law. For example, capital punishment is still in the books. You must remember that we are small jurisdictions. A lot of us only got independence in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and we don’t have the economic might to reform our legislation and make the changes necessary to move forward as fast as we would like.

But the question is, “As humans, how do we appreciate differences in one other? How do we respect each other and not allow those differences to divide us?” I think that is the key. I don’t think any of us will be extreme about any position. I think it is our responsibility to be patient and understanding with them and to keep giving them opportunities to understand us.

ManAboutWorld: Do you think that is a sentiment shared by yours fellow St. Lucians, especially in the hospitality industry, for customer-facing service workers? It feels like that may be the culture there.

Dominic Fedee: Well, I worked in the hospitality industry. I had 16 long years in the specific company and we welcomed many gay couples, and it is a practice.

ManAboutWorld: Is the government giving serious consideration to removing antiquated anti-sodomy laws? It sounds like the country doesn’t necessarily have the resources to move as quickly as it wants.

Dominic Fedee: Well, there’s a lot of discussion and debate. I mean I just got back and two weeks ago, the news was talking about whether marijuana should be legal — another subject that divides us. Also whether capital punishment should be legal. So it’s not just about same-sex marriage.

ManAboutWorld: A lot of countries and marketers are seeking gay travelers for the economic and social benefits that the group provides and the positive PR message it sends by welcoming them. Does St. Lucia actively seek to attract LGBTQ travelers?

Dominic Fedee: No, though everyone is welcome. I think of tourists are tourists. I don’t want to differentiate between Muslim and Black and White and Christian and fat or gay and straight. We welcome everybody.

ManAboutWorld: I interviewed a couple of hotel marketers in St. Lucia and one thing that came up a was that there seemed to be restrictions on marriage officiants blessing same-sex couples because they’re afraid that they could have their license revoked. Is that something that an officiant should be concerned about?

Dominic Fedee: Well, in the absence of a definitive policy, I can understand one would be cautious. I mean even in this interview — I can’t remember my cabinet ever sitting down together to talk about this specific problem. We have discussed the judicial system in general but we have not looked at whether we look specifically at gay marriages or marijuana. When do we make them legal? That discussion has taken place whether we disregard capital punishment. In some jurisdictions, that has been outlawed. It will take a lot of time for the Caribbean.

ManAboutWorld: Let me ask you this final question. Hospitality companies and brands are among the most progressive in the world, scoring high in the Human Right Campaign Corporate Equality Index which rates most large hotel companies 100% in terms of their support for their LGBTQ customers and employees. Is St. Lucia’s hospitality industry looking at LGBTQ issues in terms of any sort of sensitivity training or awareness as far as you know?

Dominic Fedee: We have a very active civil society group and we leave that — it is still a contentious issue even here in the United States. And so civil society drives that and I can’t remember government ever actively taking it on. I think the St. Lucian LGBTQ movement is very courageous. [editor’s note: Led by executive director, Kenita Placide of United & Strong (LGBTQI) St. Lucia.] I wish it all the best. It’s very welcoming and that’s why I love democracy where people can default on different things and people can still respect each other’s differences and people must not allow those differences to divide them. But the differences in us should inspire us and the differences in us should — we should all take away from the differences in us.

St. Lucia in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine



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By @ 11/16/17 in Dane Steele, David Alport, David Rubin, Gay honeymoon, Gay marriage, Gay travel, Hannes Pálsson, Jonas Rask, Paul Bachant, Travel, Zachary Moses

New Free Guide to Same-sex Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel by ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineOur new and expanded free Guide to Same-sex Honeymoons, Weddings and Celebration travel — our biggest issue ever! — is now available in the ManAboutWorld app, which you can download via the App Store or Google Play. The updated guide is our largest free guide yet covering a wide range of topic areas, featuring 11 of the world’s most romantic venues plus the expert advice of Intentional Travel expert David Alport; “Fascination Personality” expert Sally Hogshead; and legal expert Elizabeth Schwartz.

Advice to plan the best weddings, honeymoon or celebration travel

If you’re thinking romance or marriage or celebration: Download our free Guide to Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel. We included our own expert advice as well as that of a number of our Global Correspondents and other travel and wedding experts and advisors who specialize in LGBT group travel to help us sort through the process, and help you plan your own memories-of-a-lifetime trip.

New Free Guide to Same-sex Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel by ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineTopics

All you need is an iPhone, iPad or Android tablet to view it. Go to the App Store or Google Play to download the ManAboutWorld app. Here are some of the topics we covered:

  • Deciding on an experience/style
  • Timing your trip
  • Finding and working with an expert
  • Planning your budget
  • Choosing a destination
  • Managing a guest list
  • Communicating excitement
  • Social media strategies
  • Planning a ceremony
  • Keeping track of the little details
  • Packing for your trip
  • Preparing for your departure
  • Enjoying the moment
  • Managing group dynamics
  • Embracing the unexpected
  • Easing your return
  • Sharing your memories

Chill the Champagne

Whether it’s a honeymoon, wedding or other romantic or celebratory travel occasion, don’t even begin to start planning till you read this free guide to Weddings, Honeymoon and Celebration Travel! Besides romance, all you need is an iPhone, iPad or Android tablet to view it. Go to the App Store or Google Play to download the ManAboutWorld app. The guide is free. Champagne is on you!

New Free Guide to Same-sex Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel by ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

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By @ 11/08/17 in Gay travel, Portland, Travel

Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineHere a few Portland, Oregon insider tips from a reader. We occasionally hear from our readers about their favorite spots in our favorite gay-friendly cities. This was submitted by loyal, long-time subscriber Deborah Wakefield.

If you’re heading to Portland and staying downtown, here are some nearby recommendations. On the MAX light rail system, you can ride over to the Lan Su Chinese Garden (the blue, red and yellow lines all stop at the Old Town Chinatown stop, which is the one you want to use for the garden). The garden is one block west (away from the river) of the MAX light rail station. The garden is beautiful and there is a nice tea house on-site that I recommend.

Powell’s City of Books is about a 10-12 minute walk from Pioneer Courthouse Square, which is is the center of downtown. If you love bookstores, I would definitely check this one out—it’s the world’s largest. It’s open until 11 p.m. every night, so you could go after dinner even. If you’re interested in rare books, take a peek into the Rare Book Room (it closes at 7 p.m.). I recommend using the entrance to the store that is located at the corner of Couch Street (pronounced “Kooch,” if you want to talk like a local) and N.W. 11th Avenue. There, you’ll see the Pillar of Books sculpture that includes the ashes of one very loyal Powell’s customer. He wanted to be buried at Powell’s, so his ashes were mixed into the concrete used to make the sculpture. That entrance also takes you directly into the Orange Room, where you can pick up a map of the store.
Two blocks from Powell’s is Cacao. If you like chocolate, it’s a great place to stop.  I highly recommend the drinking chocolate, but get the small-sized cup, as the chocolate is super-rich.
Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine
Further afield, I recommend seeing the Japanese Garden, located in Washington Park. They are close to downtown (about a 7-minute drive from downtown hotels). You can get there on public transportation too, but you’d have to ask your hotel concierge to sort out the route for you).
For shopping close to downtown, there’s the Pearl District, which you can get to on the Portland Streetcar (catch it going into the Pearl District on Southwest 10th Avenue; it comes back downtown on 11th). There are stops for the streetcar every few blocks on 10th and 11th and the cars run repeatedly, so you can show up at any stop and usually never wait more than 15 minutes. There is also a lot of great dining in the Pearl. If you want to try a good Portland microbrew, Portland’s oldest craft brewery—BridgePort Brewing—is in the Pearl.
Portland, Oregon in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine
A little farther out is Northwest Portland/Nob Hill. This is also reachable via the streetcar, which goes through the Pearl and then on to Northwest/Nob Hill. If you get off at the streetcar stop on Northwest 23rd Avenue and walk toward Burnside Street, you’ll pass dozens and dozens of great shops and restaurants. Jo Bar & Rotisserie is a good one for lunch, and its sister restaurant (and next door neighbor), Papa Haydn is the best for desserts. Another of my favorites on this shopping strip is Moonstruck Chocolate, a Portland-based chocolate company.

If you’ll have a car and can get to the east side of town, I recommend Biwa Izakaya (Japanese small plates; get the black cod, if they have it that night), 215 S.E. 9th Avenue, Portland, OR 97214; Toro Bravo (Spanish), 120 N.E. Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212; and Pok Pok (Thai street food; the chicken wings are fantastic), 3226 S.E. Division Street, Portland, OR 97202.

If you have tips to share, please let us know! And don’t forget to subscribe to ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine. And here are a few more Portland, Oregon-related pieces in our blog.



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By @ 11/07/17 in Australia, Gay cruise, Gay travel, John Walker, Sydney, Travel

ManAboutWorld correspondents John Walker and Gavin Patterson are constantly crisscrossing the globe to update our readers on gay-friendly travel opportunities all over the world … on land and on sea, including a recent experience crossing the equator. They recently sailed on the Radiance of the Seas. Here are a few of their highlights from their experience. You can read more of their adventures on their blog, GayMenOnHoliday.com.

Crossing the equator in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

King Neptune summons the crew who need to be punished when crossing the Equator.

Evening Sail Out, Sydney Harbour
There are few better sights in the world than an evening sail out from Sydney Harbour on a luxury cruise liner with the brilliantly lit sails of the Opera House as a cruise curtain raiser. The shimmering waters of the harbour reflected a million dazzling lights of Australia’s biggest city adding to the spectacle of this fairytale farewell.

Sydney Harbor in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Spectacular views of Sydney Opera House on sailout

Marlborough Wineries, New Zealand
Close to Picton, the Marlborough region is a rich, fertile landscape dotted with over 100 wineries producing premium Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay varietals. World famous Cloudy Bay is the best known winery but we enjoyed the clear, crisp selections from Spy Valley and a smoky, dry Riesling from Framingham Wines. Delicious!

Marlborough wine region in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The crisp, classic tastes of the Marlborough wine region, New Zealand

A Mystery Dinner At Sea
During days at sea there’s sometimes a murder mystery to be solved at dinnertime. The scene is set with multiple villains, screaming slapstick and a gunshot. Guests piece together the clues while enjoying gourmet food and wine pairing. Of course it is the wife, but the whole experience is a tantalising specialty theatre restaurant on the high seas.

Radiance of the Seas performers in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Hilarious and delicious Mystery Dinner Theatre at sea

Tahiti
The jewel of all the destinations included stops in Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora. We were greeted at every port with crystal, fluorescent waters, succulent seafood lunches, wide, beaming smiles and exotic, island culture with a French twist. This charming Polynesian cocktail is worth sipping slowly but unfortunately our ship had to sail.

Crossing The Equator
Crossing the Equator by ship means rituals are performed. King Neptune and his entourage held court on the pool deck pardoning lowly ship hands for dastardly deeds to ensure a safe passage into the northern hemisphere. Punishment was a spectacular shower of raw eggs, flour and spaghetti sauce followed by kissing the dead fish.

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By @ 11/07/17 in Dennis Hensley, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, Key West, Travel

Dennis Hensley Key West update on a podcast and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley was recently in Key West, Florida. He had planned to post a collection of short interviews he did with the people he met. Then Hurricane Irma happened. He did manage to organize two interviews: One with an openly gay man who ran a small tour company. And another with a woman who’s been tirelessly working to promote Key West for years. Here’s Dennis’ report.

Cody White, passionate Key West resident

One of the people I met and interviewed while I was there was Cody White who until recently ran a small tour company with his husband RyanListen to the podcast here. In the wake of Irma, the pair decided to focus on other endeavors … but I spoke to Cody before the storm over blizzards at a Dairy Queen not far from the gay resort I was staying at, The Equator. We talked about how he ended up in Key West, what it’s like to have an Airstream trailer, Key West’s passion for costume parties, how tourists react when they learn he’s gay and why Key West is the place for him. Listen to the podcast here.

Dennis Hensley Key West update on a podcast and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineCarol Shaughnessy, Newman Public Relations, Key West

Met lots of awesome people on my trip to Key West, FL in August for Man About World magazine. One of them was local writer and publicist Carol Shaughnessy. Listen to the podcast here. Over breakfast with our small group of journalists, she regaled the table with the story of Mel Fisher, the legendary treasure hunter who spent 16 years combing the waters around Key West for treasure from a Spanish ship that sank in the 1600s.

It was such an amazing tale–complete with a $450 million ending–I asked Carol to tell it again on the podcast. We also talked about the giant rainbow flag that went from the Atlantic ocean to the Gulf of Mexico down Key West’s main boulevard and the spirit of Key West and how the community supports people in their dreams, no matter how out there they may be. I’ve heard from Carol since Irma and she said that Key West’s motto of “One Human Family” if in full display as everyone works together to get back to normal. Listen to the podcast here.

More from Dennis Hensley on ManAboutWorld here.



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By @ 11/07/17 in Gay travel, Hotels, James Careless, The CheckOut, 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 @ 11/06/17 in Aaron Drake, Charleston (SC), Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, Gay travel magazine for iPad, ManAboutWorld

Middleton Place in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineWelcome to Charleston, South Carolina, y’all. Down South you’ll find an unexpectedly fun LGBT travel option, one where horse-drawn carriages wheel down cobblestoned streets lined by stately Antebellum mansions. This city has a storied past and a bright future, filled with thoughtful perspective of its deep history dating back to 1650 and a rich LGBT life. It boasts fine luxury accommodations, delicious Southern cuisine, lively nightlife and a wealth of activities that will give you the true Charleston experience. Here are our favorites from our visit to the heart of the Lowcountry.

Belmond Charleston Place

The Belmond Charleston Place located in Charleston’s downtown historic district combines top-of-the-Belmond Charleston Place Suite in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineline amenities with a decidedly Southern flare. Upon check in you will see the hotel lobby’s 17th-century Georgian open-arm staircase, 12-foot crystal chandelier and Italian marble throughout. Guests with a little extra budget should consider a room on the Club Level; here, along with a great city view from the hotel’s top two floors, you’ll get special perks like exclusive access to the lounge for complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon tea and an ideal spot for a nightcap. Visitors can look forward to the hotel’s full-service European-style spa and the hotel’s award-winning Charleston Grill. The knowledgeable staff will help you find your way around Charleston. You’re immersed in the city’s history as soon as you step outside the hotel’s doors.

Charleston Grill

Rated as the third best fine dining restaurant in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, Charleston Grill serves a menu of contemporary Southern and cosmopolitan cuisine created by Executive Chef Michelle Weaver, with seafood and local ingredients, paired with a list of more than 30 wines. Dishes such as the seared foie gras with blackberry preserves and signature crab cakes offer a unique take on traditional options. Dinner is accompanied by a live jazz band nightly. Oh, and don’t skip dessert—the Brown Butter Apple Cake alone is worth the trip South.

Bulldog LGBT History Tour

A new addition to the city’s offerings is a look at Charleston’s history from the LGBT perspective. The Bulldog LGBT private walking tour takes visitors on a walk through history—one that’s ripe with LGBTs who were instrumental in shaping the city, living and dead. You’ll hear stories from the scandalous account of Dawn Langley Simmons, a well-known transgender author who turned society on its head by transitioning and marrying an African American man, to the infamous backstory of a familiar name forever memorialized in the words of Edgar Allen Poe—the beautiful Annabel Lee.

Bulldogs Ghost Tour

Of course as one of the oldest cities in the country, you know there will be ghosts. The Bulldog Ghost Tour takes visitors into the city’s original jail. Going in at the dead of night—in pitch dark—is terrifying enough, but along with the guide’s true-to-life stories of the prisoners that found their way here (including common criminals and prisoners of war), you’ll learn all about executions that took place here and who is said to still be walking the halls.Belmond in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Dudley’s

At Dudley’s, the city’s sole queer hangout, expect a night packed with high-energy drag performances and a dance floor with a diverse crowd of the city’s inhabitants and international visitors alike moving en masse to a live DJ spinning pop favorites. Enjoy nightly drink specials and a changing calendar of weekly events. (We recommend getting there early as it fills up fast and there will likely be a line to get in.)

Middleton Place

At Middleton Place visitors can take a stroll through the nation’s oldest landscaped gardens, catching colorful azaleas and camellias in full bloom. But this National Historic Landmark also gives a peek into a four-generation span of American history. Once owned by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, Arthur Middleton, the property was formerly a working rice plantation. Though the plantation’s main buildings were set ablaze after the Civil War, visitors can still see the house museum where antique furniture, porcelain dishes and portraits from the family’s collection were saved and put on display, along with a dedicated museum to the African American slaves who worked there.

Lewis Barbecue

A visit to the South wouldn’t be complete without some authentic barbecue and all the fixins at Lewis Barbecue. John Lewis, former pit master at award-winning Texas BBQ joint La Barbecue, brings his custom smokers to prepare the perfect BBQ’d beef brisket, pork spareribs and beefribs.

Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineHominy Grill 

James Beard Award-winning Chef Robert Stehling sets the scene of a scrumptious Southern meal with his take on classic Southern dishes like shrimp n’ grits, Charleston Nasty Biscuit and signature cocktails. The Hominy Grill is housed in a charming single family home that only makes diners feel even more like they’re enjoying a home-cooked meal.

Magnolia’s Uptown Down South

Also located downtown in Charleston’s historic district, Magnolia’s Uptown Down South‘s chef duo Kelly Franz and Don Drake created a delectable menu of true Lowcountry cuisine infused with contemporary elements and fresh ingredients. Try the Fried Green Tomatoes or boiled peanut hummus for starters.

Darling Oyster Bar

Take full advantage of Charleston’s close proximity to the Atlantic and enjoy fresh seafood—specifically Darling in Charleston, SC and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineoysters at Darling Oyster Bar. Executive Chef Jo DiMaio has it all covered for the picky eaters; you can order them fried, baked or raw. We highly recommend popping in for brunch and ordering The Captain. You may not even need to order oysters after that!

Aaron Drake, correspondent for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineStory by ManAboutWorld correspondent Aaron Drake.

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

 

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 @ 10/24/17 in Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, New York

Halloween Parade in New York and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineHalloween is gay Christmas—a veritable holy day for a large portion of the LGBTQ community. When the Village Halloween Parade started in 1974, the Stonewall Riots had recently happened and queer people were gaining visibility in a new way. While mainstream culture wanted LGBTQ people to stay quiet, the community wanted to get loud. And what’s louder than an unruly queer Halloween parade? Ever since, the parade has been the City’s most over-the-top costume party.

So here’s how to do Halloween in New York City the right way. You’ll need to know where to party and how to recover once it’s all over, and we’re here to help.

Getting in the Spirit

Before the parties and the costumes, you have to set the mood. Luckily, a city like New York has so much history that it’s bound to come with a few ghosts…if you know where to look. The “House of Death,” for instance, on West 10th Street in the Village, is an old brownstone that is often considered the most haunted place in NYC with residents claiming ghost sightings that go back decades. Then there’s the Chelsea Hotel on West 23rd Street, famous for being the site of many celebrity deaths: the poet Dylan Thomas and Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy Spungen both died here. Back in the Village, there have also been rumblings of the Gay Street Phantom, a cloaked figure that may be a socialite from the Prohibition era when a popular speakeasy was located at 12 Gay Street. We can’t say for sure the ghost is gay, but any supernatural being who goes by the name of the Gay Street Phantom is at least questioning. (For other ghostly locations, see NYCgo’s guide to haunted New York City.)

Ghost Tours

If you don’t want to go looking for ghosts yourself, you can hire a tour guide to do it for you. The two-hour Greenwich Village Ghost Tour takes you through the historic Village tracking ghost sightings, murder scenes and burial grounds. Even spookier is the Haunted Lantern Tours at Fort Totten Park in Queens. The Urban Park Rangers give you lanterns to explore Water Battery Gate in the dark while sharing spooky stories.

Stonewall Happy Hour and Costume Party

OK, so you’ve set the tone and heard some ghostly tales. The Halloween weekend is here and you’re ready to party! We suggest you start where it all started—The Stonewall Inn. On October 29, they’re hosting a Halloween happy hour and costume party that shouldn’t be missed. The very talented Veronica Scorcia and The Cake Boys will perform, with a costume contest and raffle for prizes. It’s a great chance to visit this landmark of LGBTQ history and see it at its most fun and carefree.

Biggest Gay Halloween Party

On the Saturday before Halloween, set sail on a three-hour midnight cruise aboard the Haunted Ghost Ship. You’ll dance in the shadows of the skyline to DJ Danny Verde, and you can enter a massive costume contest. The ship offers dramatic views of the City, plenty of heated indoor space and special features like a full laser/EDM show.

LGBTQ Halloween in New York and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The Night Of

You’ve got your costume (something Game of Thrones, perhaps?); now you need to show it off. The classic Village Halloween Parade is the place to see and be seen on Halloween. It started small back in 1974 and now has some 50,000 people jammed into the Village to see revelers and paradegoers in their best creepy outfits. The parade takes place Halloween night from 7 to 10:30pm, running up Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to West 16th Street.

Take Wednesday Off

Halloween is on a Tuesday this year. That really isn’t fair. May we suggest you take the next day off for recovery? Your morning-after hangover could be intense and, according to science, there’s only one cure: carbs! And nobody does carbs like Rosemary’s in the West Village. This gay-popular Italian spot does an excellent breakfast full of pastries, croissants and pancakes; for lunch there are panini and pastas. And there should be plenty of cute guys to ogle.

Heeling Power

And you thought going as a slutty nurse for the third year in a row was a good idea! Turns out 18 hours in heels can be rough. But this is why spas were invented. When our bodies need some serious care and rejuvenation, we disappear into the Ritz-Carlton Spa in Battery Park for its experienced therapists who perform a wide variety of massage, facial and body treatments. It’s one of our favorite New York day spas.

Shhh…

After a long weekend of crowded streets, packed bars and sharing a hotel room with five of your best buddies, you just might need some peace and quiet. To get away from it all, we like to go way uptown to The Met Cloisters, a beautiful museum featuring medieval art in a rebuilt monastery and serene gardens near Washington Heights. Or you can take a peaceful stroll through the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. Neither will be overly crowded on a weekday, and each offers a gorgeous respite to the hectic “holiday” weekend you’ve just survived. You’ll be guaranteed some silence.

Photos: Top Arbolito via Flickr; middle Istolethetv via Flickr

# # #

This article originally appeared on NYCGo.com. ManAboutWorld is a proud partner of NYC & Company, the official destination marketing organization for the five boroughs of New York City.

 



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By @ 10/23/17 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAn interview with Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, MP by Billy Kolber

Next month, Jamaica will host a tourism conference on jobs and inclusive growth. Tourism jobs and training have been an important source of economic empowerment for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people all over the world, and Jamaica’s focus on providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs to create experiences for visitors is particularly promising.

Jamaica is the most cited example of places that are not friendly for LGBTQ people — In 2006, Time Magazine labeled it “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth.” Much progress has been made in the last decade, and indeed, Bloom Jamaica will also be in Jamaica next month, for a seventh time as the largest annual LGBTQ trip in the Caribbean.

We caught up with Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Honorable Edmund Bartlett, MP  at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit to ask whether LGBTQ visitors are welcome in Jamaica. Check out the interview below.

And for more information, recommendations and commentary on Jamaica and the Caribbean, check out our 15-island feature in the February/March 2017 issue of ManAboutWorld.Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The Interview

ManAboutWorld: Outside voices in the news media’s frequently cite Jamaica as the best example of a country that is unfriendly and unwelcoming for gay travelers. So, what would you say to LGBT travelers, are they welcome in Jamaica?

Minister Bartlett: We say that Jamaica is open to all travelers. We have a diversified offering that the extent to which we go to embrace various passion points is equal. We have no laws which prevent people of any orientation to come in and to enjoy the benefits of the destination. The ethics which guide tourism guide everybody, and so it is within that tourism ethic that we will operate with all the visitors that come to our country.

ManAboutWorld: Others countries that has been similarly pillared by the media — the Bahamas, Grand Cayman — have made greater public strives in reversing their reputation and being seen as more welcoming, and some of that is started directly with public statement from those tourism ministries. Is Jamaica looking at its reputation in the LGBT community as something to be remediated and if so are you doing that?

Minister Bartlett: To begin with, we think that policy initiative from government, legislative arrangements go a long way in defining how peoples actions will develop. One cannot say that an instant statement is going change because people’s attitudes are a time-related matter. But the narratives are changing, and Jamaica is in fact having far more congenial types of narrative to enable a greater feeling of comfort by a wider group of people.

ManAboutWorld: We’ve seen that. I know your prime minister has said “No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.”

Minister Bartlett: So the narratives are improving. We are country with a long history and a culture that is embracing, especially that we are an amalgam of many kind of strains, many ethnic and cultural strains, and within that there are lifestyle issues that we are contending with every day and I believe that Jamaica has come a long way in terms of a more embracing approach for lifestyle issues.

ManAboutWorld: I think we’ve seen that. One of the things that turned up in our research the largest annual gay Caribbean trip occurs in Jamaica [Bloom; November 29-December 4, 2017]

 Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Minister Bartlett: And yet no great big statement is made about it. So this is the point we are making. People are happy, people are enjoying the benefits of a great country and they have not felt discriminated against. What happens is you end up with advocates who sometimes are just riding the rewards of the advocacy and the sort of skewed opinions in relation to how their own agenda is structured.

ManAboutWorld: The hospitality industry has been among the most progressive in the world. In fact all of the largest hotel companies scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Is Jamaica’s hospitality industry looking at a LGBT issues in terms of sensitivity training for employees in terms of employment non-discrimination?

Minister Bartlett: Well. I must said that there is not a structured approach in terms of it, but there is a regular sensitization which happens within the entities themselves and I think that has gone a long way in reducing the level of negative matters flowing now with regards to that community. And I’m comfortable that this is going to continue and it’s going to only get better.

ManAboutWorld: Good. Thank you very much. It’s been a few years — probably six — since I’ve been to Jamaica. So I look forward to coming back.

Minister Bartlett: You need to come back.

# # #

***
Note that many communities are still rebuilding after recent devastating storms. Help rebuild LGBTQ lives in the Caribbean through Alturi

Here is more Caribbean coverage on ManAboutWorld’s blog.

 

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By @ 09/14/17 in Caribbean/Latin America, Gay travel, Travel

Help Rebuild LGBTI lives in the Caribbean through Alturi via ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineMost relief work in the Caribbean is administered by religious organizations, which often leaves LGBTI people without help. Our friends at Alturi show a way to directly fund the Caribbean’s most vulnerable communities:

From Alturi: In the Caribbean it can be extremely difficult to reach members of the LGBTI community, but in the wake of Irma’s destruction, reach them we must. Alturi is raising funds for CVC: Caribbean Vulnerable Communities. CVC has worked for 12 years to better the lives of the Caribbean’s most vulnerable communities, who in this case are even more vulnerable than before.

Emergencies often exacerbate prejudices and make marginalized people more vulnerable. In the 2008 Haiti earthquake, CVC witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by gay men who were blamed for the disaster by fundamentalist religious groups, and were denied food and water aid due to a ration plan that excluded households without females.

Help Rebuild LGBTI Caribbean Lives 

CVC and The Rustin Fund are offering support through their Emergency Relief Fund to people who have suffered from hurricane Irma. This Fund will help CVC’s partner organizations provide desperately needed vital services that address immediate basic needs for people who suffer discrimination. Please donate today, your help will help those who most need it after the destruction of hurricane Irma.

How Your Donation Helps

  • $15 – Provides Emergency Food and Water
  • $25 – Provides Emergency Clothing for Dislocated Folks
  • $50 – Helps Locate Long-Term Shelter
  • $100 – Supports On-the-Ground Organizers Assist Those in Need
  • $250 – Helps Rebuild the Homes of Dislocated Folks
Help Rebuild LGBTI Caribbean Lives 

 

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By @ 09/01/17 in Gay travel, Montreal, Travel

The renaissance of Griffintown and Little Burgundy, along the Lachine Canal, is in full swing. Trendy stores and restaurants have been opening and luxury condos are rising on the shores of the canal, as the city tries to retain the neighborhood’s industrial “charm” while accommodating the gentrification resulting from Montreal’s influx of tech/AI companies.

For visitors, these neighborhoods offer a uniquely local and culturally diverse experience. Airbnb is currently the only accommodation option here, though these neighborhoods are easy to visit from downtown. Wherever you stay, it’s worth spending at least a half-day to explore Montreal’s new hot neighborhoods.

Here are our Gay Montreal Travel Tips

1. Atwater Market

This bustling farmers’ market is busy year round, though especially in the summer, when the parking lot overflows with fresh produce. Don’t miss Chocolats Privilège for their decadent sweets (the chocolate covered marshmallows are a favorite), and the Première Moisson bakery inside.

2. Junior

Filipino cuisine may not have the pedigree or popularity of its Asian brethren, but a visit to Junior will leave you wondering why. Influenced by Malaysian, Chinese and Spanish cuisine, Filipino dishes mix sweet, salty and sour in gratifying ways. Opened by two local brothers and well-known DJs, Junior’s serves up traditional Filipino dishes during the week, and a Filipino-fusion brunch on the weekends.

3. Boucherie Grinder

If Anna Wintour opened a butcher shop, it would look like Grinder. This tip-to-tail butchery displays meat like jewelry, hung in refrigerated display cases along the shop windows. It’s worth a trip just to see it, though you can sample their meats at their restaurant of the same name just down the block.

4. Arsenal

With 50,000 square feet of exhibition space in a former 19th-century shipyard, Arsenal is the largest private art center in Canada, and the heart of Montreal’s contemporary art scene. (See photo above; credit: Antonio Roberts.)

Le Petit Navare in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine5. Le Café Bloom

A little off the beaten path in the Point St. Charles neighborhood, this is our favorite brunch spot. With a handsome crowd and a menu of updated, stylish comfort food. Be sure to try the spruce soda — a refreshing bubbly Christmas in a bottle.

6. Bixi

Montreal’s shared bike system is great for exploring Griffintown and Little Burgundy, with lots of docking stations to pick up/drop off a bike. Enjoy the bike paths all along the Lachine Canal, into downtown and the Old Port and around town.

7. MixxAuthentik

You’ll find a range of antique stores in Little Burgundy, MixxAuthentik skews more towards mid-century modern, and the swinging ‘60s-’80s.

8. Stockmarkt Boutique

International designer clothes at deep discounts, in a stylish boutique that doesn’t feel like you typical off-price retailer.

9. Code Ambiance

The bars in Little Burgundy and Griffintown are mostly of the pub variety, but Code Ambiance wine bar takes it up a notch with a satisfying selection of wines by the glass, and sophisticated cocktails in a chic atmosphere. Closed Sundays and Mondays.

10. Le Petit Navire

From early July through Late August, this electrically-powered boat does a daily round-trip from the Old Port (10:30am departure) to Atwater Market and back (1:00 pm departure) on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays; 105 minutes each way. You’ll learn about the 150-year history of the canal, enjoy the waterfront scenery, and pass through three locks.

To read the article and many more in the current issue of ManAboutWorld, the leading app-based gay travel magazine, head over to the App Store or Google Play.

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By @ 08/24/17 in Antigua, Gay travel, Jeffrey James Keyes, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThere’s a gorgeous gem of a resort tucked into the northwestern corner of Antigua, just where the Caribbean Sea seduces the shore. The elegant resort recently completed a major renovation and presents a refreshing mix of luxury and seclusion with 69 rooms & suites, 28 Cove Suites, and three unique villas. Prince Harry recently stayed at the idyllic tropical paradise sprawling across seventeen acres of perfectly manicured and blissful paradise.

Gay factor

It can be challenging to find a gay friendly vacation in the Caribbean but the Blue Waters Resort & Spa is safe and completely gay friendly boutique resort (and who doesn’t love a boutique resort?). The property is considered one of Antigua’s pioneers of hospitality and has a great deal of loyal British and European guests who are friendly and social. Rockstar General Manager Alistar Forrest remains committed to making all guests feel comfortable and rolls out the azure blue carpet for at Bartley’s Restaurant, across the lobby, and Pelican Bar and the hotel staff is personable, kind, and accommodating.

Rates

Blue Waters Resort & Spa offers competitive rates for such a luxurious property. Superior Hillside rooms range from $656 to $992 depending on the season. Deluxe Beachfront rooms are slightly higher, from $910 to $1146. If you wish to stay on an All Inclusive Basis the supplement is $173 per night. If you’re looking to stay in one of the Blue Waters decadent suites a basic Luxury Suite is from $1,644 to $2,174 seasonally, or their famed Turtle Cottage is between $2,146 to $2,989 depending on the season. The Penthouse (which can sleep 7 adults) runs from $2,922 to $4,500). All rates are based on two adults sharing on a Bed & Breakfast basis. The Bed and Breakfast rates include: Full English Breakfast, accommodation, extensive water-sports including: Hobie Cats, Sailboats, Windsurfing, Kayaks, Snorkeling Equipment, 3 main swimming pools and 4 additional pools for Cove Suites guests only, 4 bars, 3 restaurants (Bartleys Restaurant is adults only) , indoor/outdoor dining, tennis, sun loungers, umbrellas, tables at beach or pool, beach towels, live music as well as entertainment (nightly singers/musicians) and the fitness center.

Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Basics

There’s no wrong time to check out Blue Waters, though you can definitely have a bit more privacy if you shy away from big holidays. If sweeping ocean views and perfectly manicured tropical surroundings is your idea of a vacation look no further than this slice of Caribbean paradise.

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By @ 08/21/17 in Chicago, Gay travel, Hotels, Travel

Palmer House Hilton in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinThis year makes the 147th year the Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel is open and the rich history, distinguished service, with fine combed layers of subtle modern upgrades makes this property the place to stay in downtown Chicago. The current Palmer House is actually the third Palmer House. The first Palmer House opened in 1871 but burned down in the Great Chicago Fires. The second was completed in 1875 and the third (and current installment) was designed by Holabird & Roche and opened in 1925. One step into the decadent lobby is enough to make you gasp and grab your pearls. (Photo by David Cowan.)

Gay factor

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel is an extremely gay friendly hotel, situated in the heart of downtown and within close proximity to The Art Institute of Chicago, The PrivateBank Theatre (Where Hamilton is currently running), Symphony Center, and the scenic Cloud Gate in Millennium Park. The property is the ultimate launch pad into the artistic and cultural landscape of Chicago and also boasts it’s own unique History is Hott!!! Tour. Local historian Ken Price, named best historian of 2014 by Historic Hotels of America leads a sassy luncheon at Lockwood restaurant including a presentation of local curiosities and hotel museum relics followed by a tour of the storied art deco lobby, grand ballrooms and vintage artifacts throughout the hotel. Tours are offered Tuesdays through Saturdays.

Rates

Rooms are quite affordable for downtown Chicago, starting out as low as $102 for their special “Escape to Romance” offer for couples (Upgrade to breakfast for two for $142/night). Prices go up seasonally, starting at up to the $285 during prime summer weeks. The key? Book early (but keep an eye out for specials and fun package deals.

Basics

We can recommend visiting the Palmer House Hilton year-round as the property offers something for everyone each season. Truly a city within a city, The Palmer House captures the essence and energy of Chicago. Check out the Magic Parlour to have your mind read, explore the History is Hott Tour, sip on a glass of specialty labeled bourbon, live it up over high tea at the Metz, or simply recharge at The Spa at Palmer House. The holidays are an especially magical time at the Palmer House when guests can sip on Yuletide tea service in the lobby, munch on a special brownie on National Brownie Day (the brownie was invented in the hotel in 1893), or take in the popular “Merry TubaChristmas – A Concert of Christmas Music” an evening of 400 tuba players in the Grand Ballroom orchestrated in honor of music professor and creator Harvey Phillips. The Lockwood team curates the farmhouse-style cuisine menu for their signature Lockwood Restaurant & Bar year round. Focusing on locally-grown ingredients from the hotel’s rooftop garden & apiary, Lockwood features new seasonal butters and Chef Mathew’s crave able Cheese Curds.

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By @ 07/14/17 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Monaco, Travel

Monaco Yacht Club as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineLive like the 1% for the cost of a bottle of bubbles (or rose or any one of over 2,300 wines, Champagnes and spirits) at the Wine Palace Monte-Carlo. This hidden gem of Monaco’s glitzy Port Hercule is located in the recently inaugurated, sustainably-built, and members-only Monaco Yacht Club designed by Sir Norman Foster. Enjoy sips on the terrace while watching some of the fanciest and most luxurious yachts in the world glide in and out of this exclusive port. That giant cruise ship over there? Not a cruise ship. That’s somebody’s superyacht!

Monaco is sometimes seen as unaffordable and of course this is a playground of the rich but there’s a hidden side to this tiny principality snuggled on the French Riviera just east of Nice that’s affordable to mere

Bubbles and yachts in Monaco with ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinemortals. It’s exemplified by the Wine Palace, Monte Carlo and other insider finds. ManAboutWorld’s Monaco coverage in our Free Guide to Weddings, Honeymoons and Celebration Travel includes lots of specific tips — highlighted in this recent post.

LGBT-friendly Monaco offers trip-planning information on their site for all travelers; they’ve created a brochure for their LGBT visitors; and joined the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association in 2015.

Photo credits: Top and above.

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By @ 06/21/17 in Cincinnati, Gay travel, Miles Griffis, Travel

Cincinnati, OhioCincinnati, also known as “Queen City,” is the jewel of the midwest. In just over 10 years the area has flipped homeless parks and crumbling architecture into modish neighborhoods while simultaneously becoming one of the most inclusive cities in America with a score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign municipal equality index.

The city has a peppy food, craft beer, and cocktail scene that compliments their vivid arts sphere which hosts three museums and over one hundred murals scattered amongst the historic brick buildings. Most surprising is the city’s role in the LGBTQ historical frontier with its controversial Mapplethorpe obscenity trial in 1990 that bushwhacked the way for Jim Obergefell, a local, to lead us to marriage equality in the landmark Supreme Court case in 2015. If you’re not impressed in your first hours in Cincinnati wait until you meet the locals, they’ll persuade you.

Where we stay

Look into two locations: Downtown and Over-the-Rhine. Both are close to major attractions and are lively, walking friendly neighborhoods.

Cincinnati’s most unique downtown hotel is the 21c Museum Hotel. The entire hotel is a provocative modern art gallery dedicated solely to works of the 21rst century. The lobby has lofted white walls with art displays of multiple mediums. Exhibits change every sixth months and have featured works by artists John Waters, Kara Walker, and Nick Brandt. The four-star hotel rooms contain quirky features like 3D shower tiles of body parts, purple telephones, and donkey graphic pillows.

Over-the-Rhine hosts a wide array of apartments and townhouses available on Airbnb. The transforming neighborhood looks like old Brooklyn complete with four to five story brick buildings with beautiful fire escapes which locals lounge on during warm mid-summer evenings while others amble to quality restaurants and bars below them. Airbnbs are a steal in the area and most have been freshly renovated in the past five years.

Where we eat

Serious gourmands should visit Cincinnati in May for the annual Tastes of Cincinnati festival that usually falls on Memorial Day weekend. But no matter when you visit, the city offers premium restaurants. Try a Cincinnati breakfast classic, goetta, sausage patties mixed with steel-cut oats.

Boca is considered the top-notch restaurant by locals and features a solid French and Italian menu as well as a full and separate vegetarian menu. Service is incredible and so is the tropical pavlova for dessert, with coconut tapioca, compressed pineapple, lychee cream, meringue, passionfruit-yuzu-coconut sorbet.

Cincinnati, Ohio in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineFor a date of classic Italian try Sotto where rapper Drake and tennis player Serena Williams are rumored to have canoodled in the space’s sexy and intimate atmosphere.

If you’re on the go, walk by Gomez Salsa, an actual hole in the wall and order ‘The Turtle,” a filling quesadilla-burrito combo with the ingredients of your choice. It’s better but as quick as any Chipotle.

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By @ 05/15/17 in Gay travel, Las Vegas

Millions of people love Vegas, with its over-the-top “what happens here, stays here” spectacle. If you’re not one of them, you might still find yourself visiting, reluctantly and repeatedly. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rocket scientist or an Avon Lady — If you attend any kind of meeting or convention, you’re bound to end up in Sin City. If Vegas isn’t your thing, and you’re dreading your next visit, This guide is for you.

At least once — sometimes twice a year, I’m off to Vegas for a conference. When I choose a travel destination, I’m drawn to places rich in natural beauty, indigenous culture, and local food. Could someone like me find something to love in Las Vegas? Determined to make Vegas more tolerable – even enjoyable, I put my travel skills to the test, enlisted the help of my local friends, and discovered a Vegas I’m now looking forward to revisiting.

Here are ten ways to change Vegas haters into lovers:



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By @ 04/25/17 in Gay travel, Hawaii, Kauai, ManAboutWorld, Travel

May Day is Lei Day in KauaiYep, you read that right! May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii. But stop thinking what you’re thinking. Not that kind of lay. Sheesh. A lei is a Polynesian garland of flowers but it’s so much more than that. It symbolizes welcome, peace, love and much more (like the multifaceted word aloha).

Every May 1 the 50th state celebrates the lei with contests and events. The haku (a lei for the head) above sported by Raymond was created by Elvrine Chow, owner of Heavenly Hakus and the model’s mom.  Check out the many varieties of leis she produces on her Facebook page. She’s competing in the upcoming May Day Lei contest on Monday, May 1 at the Kauai Marriott Lihue (if you happen to be around!). If you visit Kauai, you can even book a lei-making lesson with the lovely Elvrine. Check out the Kauai Visitors Bureau for more trip-planning information about Kauai.

Tap here for more information about Lei Day in Kauai.  Lei day in the state of Hawaii has a very rich and May Day is Lei Day in Kauaicolorful history. Each island in Hawaii has a special flower that represents that specific island. The island of Hawaii, more commonly known as The Big Island, has the beautiful red blossom of the ohia tree, called the lehua blossom, for its flower. The island of Maui‘s flower is called the Lokelani and is pink. The island of Oahu‘s flower is called the Ilima. The Ilima’s color is golden and can be seen all across the island. Molokai uses a flower named the Kukui which has a green color to it. A smaller island named Lanai has a grassy flower called Kaunaoa which is a yellow color. The island of Kahoolawe and its flower Hinahina has a silver-gray color across the top. The final two islands have unique sets of flowers. The color for Kauai is purple and the unique flower for Kauai is the Mokihana berry which is green. The island of Niihau‘s “flower” is actually a shell called Pupu.

MORE ABOUT MANABOUTWORLD  

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By @ 04/18/17 in Gay travel, Louis Boshoff, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Gay Grand Grenada in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine
If you’re looking for a place out of the fray after having done big city Spain, the unexpected gentle jewel of Granada is an excellent option and has captivated many an adventurer with its history, proximity to the Mediterranean and its laid back attitude.

It’s definitely a destination for leisure, excitement and curiosity. The ancient city lies at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains and is the sacred heart of this warm and welcoming southern part of Spain, having been Roman, Moorish and Christian with a long history of independence, it is a tolerant melting pot of traditions, cultures and customs with warm, friendly and hot locals. Granted, the weather might play a mighty part in that, the lifestyle is ultra al fresco and suntanned; the same goes for the small delicious dishes called ‘tapas’, which is basically a selection of mediterranean starters for lack of a lengthier description; the best news however being that in Granada it is complimentary with your drink at most establishments, putting a whole new spin on pub-crawling; it’s more of a tasting adventure with bars throughout town taking great pride in their accompaniments. (Story by Louis Boshoff; photos by Dirk Wijs.)Gay Grand Grenada in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

A basic visit would be anything from 2 days minimum to a week, (ideal en-route from the Madrid Pride to the coast), centering around the major historical attractions and depending on how much time is available, a lot more. Typically one would be approaching from Seville, since it has a major airport which connects to some European and International destinations with affordable connecting flights to Granada’s Frederico García Lorca Airport; named after their famous gay-homeboy-poet. By car or train it’s about a 3 hours with olive groves dotting the scenery.Gay grand Grenada in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The season for Granada is an exceptionally long one, with the best time to visit being of course during spring, when nature is at its greenest with good weather and the almond trees flourishing in the hillsides if the Alpujarras for example. From April till June temperatures are still moderate (compared to the blazing heat of July and August) and the sunsets are particularly impressive this time of the year. Summer is naturally the ‘time of the tourist’ in most of Andalusia and Granada is no exception. Temperatures may soar into the 30’s and 40’s whilst nearly everything shuts down from 3 pm until 6 pm to take shelter. Autumn temperatures remain around 25° C till the end of October with fewer tourists and shorter queues concluding the warmer parts of the year.Gay grand Grenada in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Still when winter comes it changes quite radically, one week can make the difference, but that is of course also of interest to those who like to ski. The Sierra Nevada Mountains is particularly famous for it having hosted the ’96 World Alpine Ski Championships, so between end November and the end of April it’s definitely possible to add skiing to your things to do list.

Click “Read more” to continue this article. 

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By @ 04/13/17 in Gay travel, Paul Bachant, Spain

Basque Country Foodie Road Trip by gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld's Paul BachantA Basque country foodie road trip is not the first think people think of when planning a trip to Spain. This autonomous region in the north of Spain contains a dramatic scenery of rugged coastlines, interior mountains and rolling vineyards, with strong culinary and cultural traditions existing alongside avant-garde art and architecture, all of which is well-worth a visit. 

But let’s get right to heart of the matter: the food. We’ve sampled tapas, or pintxos as they are called here, in many parts of Spain, but nothing compares to what you find in Basque Country. The attention to eating well is part of the culture, from the simplest of snack bars to the more formal restaurants. It is said that the revolution in Spanish cuisine witnessed over the past few decades originated here and then spread to the rest of the country and beyond.

So if you don’t like great food and wine, then the essence of Basque Country will escape you. If you doPaul Bachant, ManAboutWorld gay travel correspondent, then dive in with us! Story and photos by Paul Bachant.

Day 1 – Bilbao to Vitoria-Gasteiz

After landing in Bilbao, we immediately noticed that we were in what is called the “Green Belt” of Spain. As the car whisked us to Vitoria-Gasteiz, the regional capital just one hour away, we were welcomed by the lushness of the green, forested hills. And while the rest of Spain was baking, we enjoyed the mild temperatures and a refreshing breeze.

Our first lunch in Vitoria-Gasteiz was at the intimate Taberna Tximiso where we were treated to an exquisite assembly of pintxos, each one more toothsome than the last, washed down with a crisp, local white wine. The owner explained each one with passion and even treated us to an off-menu item. The bill? A mere 23 euros for two. The evening meal consisted of a sampling of the many pintxo bars lining the streets of the medieval quarter, where the strolling and chatting and eating and drinking crowds contributed to a festive atmosphere.Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

Day 2 – Vitoria-Gasteiz

We spent the second day casually exploring the medieval quarter alternatively known as the “Casco Viejo” or the “Almendra”, almond in Spanish and a reference to the shape of the streets that radiate from the center. The tour of the Santa Maria Cathedral is a must-do while here. The church has been under restoration for many years since nearly collapsing and the tour takes you on a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the work being done.

Dinner was at El Portalon: the food here is more traditional and relatively pricey, but the setting of this 15th century inn is mesmerizing and well worth a visit.

Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

Day 3 – Vitoria-Gasteiz To Rioja Alava

After a quick breakfast, we hopped into the car and hit the road to our next stop in the Rioja Alava wine region. As we climbed the mountain range that separates the region from the rest of Basque country the forest grew thicker and the clouds heavier. But just after going through the Herrera Pass things changed dramatically. The clouds and fog dispersed and before us was a landscape more typical of Spain: rolling hills the color of honey punctuated by green bursts of scrub trees. It took about an hour to arrive at our destination, the small village of Villabuena de Alava. There is not much to see or do here; the purpose of our visit was a stay at the Hotel Viura. The hotel is tucked into the hillside at the bottom of the village and is a strikingly modern juxtaposition to the surroundings. It is one of many examples in the area of contemporary architecture, most notably seen in the hotels and wineries, some designed by internationally renowned “starchitects” (more on that later).Paul Bachant explored Basque Country for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazin

For lunch, we headed to the mountain top village of San Vicente de la Sonsierra (a lengthy name in dramatic Spanish flair) just over the border in Rioja proper and only 10 minutes away. Casa Toni is on an unassuming street at the end of the village, not a place where you would expect to find some of the most inventive cooking of the region. Soon after ordering we were presented with an amuse bouche of goat cheese and truffle between thin pastry crust, accompanied by beet sorbet presented in a lipstick tube. Amusing and delicious. And delicious and original were the appetizer – sardines with mackerel roe, garlic ice cream and olive oil – and the main dish, shredded pigeon with mushrooms, thyme and hazelnut vinegar.

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