CheckOut: Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami

30 10 2017

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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LGBT FAMILY CRUISE UPDATE: PORT (AND LIFE) LESSONS IN JAMAICA

31 12 2015
Gay blended family in Jamaica and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay blended family in Jamaica

From Jamaica: Our Go, Daddy writer, gay-dad Paul J. Heney, his partner and kids are on their first-ever family cruise on Carnival Cruise Line. Here’s an update from their first port of call. Our first port of call on this Carnival cruise was Falmouth, Jamaica. I was a little conflicted about this stop.

Jamaica is one of the most stridently anti-gay countries on the planet, and so I felt somewhat opposed to giving any of my tourist dollars to the local economy. In the end, I decided to not make any sort of crusade out of it, and instead tried to use it as a teaching moment for our kids. While I’ve told them in the past about areas of the country or the world where LGBT people aren’t liked or tolerated, this was more real to them. They seemed shocked that such an innocuous looking place–and somewhere that we actually were–was such a “bad” part of the world, at least in one respect. 

We devised a back story that Lance was my brother-in-law–married to my fictional sister Maureen. (They do have an Aunt Maureen, so that made it easier for them to remember.) I told them the chances of us getting in trouble for being gay was about zero, but that locals might treat us poorly or give us dirty looks if they found out. 

As we had an excursion booked through the cruise line the next day in Grand Cayman, I suggested we try a different route in Jamaica. We merely walked off the ship with no firm plans and wandered into the tiny port town. Locals selling all sorts of brightly colored clothing lined the narrow streets. The kids, Matthew in particular, seemed a little taken aback at the poverty. After walking down a few streets, one of the locals named Dennis approached me with an offer to take us to Montego Bay and back, tell us about the island, take us to a good beach and a city overlook, etc. He described himself as “a family man” like me and a Christian. We listened to his story about charging us $100 instead of the normal $120, but kept walking and showed only minimal interest. Eventually he came down to $80 and I said it was Lance’s decision because he had the wallet. Lance then got him down to $70–a pretty good deal for the 4 of us!

We spent 90 minutes at the Doctors Cave Beach Club beach, a gorgeous crescent of sand with light blue green water. A huge inflatable trampoline about 100 feet offshore was all that Josh needed to make his day. It cost us $21 (cash) to access the beach and $12 for an umbrella and a chair. Matthew quickly made friends with a little Jamaican boy and they had a splendid time playing in the waves. Lance and I enjoyed people watching and goofing in the water a bit. There were some downright amazing bodies walking about, and I could see how Stella could get her groove back on a place like this!

Afterwards, Lance showed the boys his incredible bargaining skills in a few of the local shops in Montego Bay and then Dennis drove us to a lovely overlook before heading back to the ship. He did start up a conversation about where mom was today—Matthew started to answer that she lived at home and I interrupted and said something to the effect that, “The ladies wanted a spa day on the ship.”

Friends will vouch that I’m pretty militant and am usually the first one to fight the good fight. So it was hard to bite my lip even for a few hours, but I suppose I need to pick my battles—while keeping the kids’ eyes wide open about the bigger battles we still have to face.

 





Gay Family Fun in Baltimore

30 09 2015

Gay families in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

ManAboutWorld correspondent Paul J. Heney, his partner and their two growing boys brought back this report from Baltimore after a recent visit. No kids? No worries! You don’t need progeny to enjoy this article or learn practical and important trip-planning information about Baltimore, like the use of Old Bay. You don’t know what that is? Read on!

WHERE

Baltimore has always seemed to me to be a bit misplaced — it has that “big city with a small town feel” that so many Midwestern cities tout. But this metropolitan area of 2.7 million people is strategically placed on the East Coast, about 45 minutes north of our nation’s capital. It’s easily accessible from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. And its modern airport has always gotten our family through efficiently. It’s not much more than an hours flight from places like Chicago or Atlanta, so it’s a nice option for a long family weekend.

WHY GO TO BALTIMORE

Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor is the center of its attractions, and the density of things to do in such a small area makes it Gay family fun in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinean ideal vacation spot for families of all shapes and sizes. The collection of museums, variety of restaurants, and waterfront activities can quickly fill up a weekend, making you wish you’d planned a few more days in this aptly named “Charm City.”

Weather is generally pleasant from spring through fall, although humidity can occasionally be overbearing in the middle of summer, so be forewarned. Baltimore has a great variety of festivals (including gay celebrations) throughout the year, so you may wish to check out the calendar at VisitBaltimore.com before planning your visit.

GAY FACTOR

While neighboring Washington, D.C. may get more media attention for its gay life, Baltimore holds its own with its queer vibe. The “gayborhood,” if you will, is the lovely Mount Vernon neighborhood, just north of the city center, and its environs are quite LGBT popular and friendly. There are numerous theaters, art museums and gay establishments dotting this area. And who can forget that Baltimore is the beloved home of iconic director John Walters? Fellow Hollywood writers Barry Levinson and David Simon also grew up in the city. Annual LGBT-oriented events in the city include:

PLANNING RESOURCES

According to Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore, his organization has an LGBT Tourism Advisory Committee that includes many of the city’s family-focused attractions, including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and the American Visionary Art Museum. Noonan noted that there is a Baltimore LGBT Visitors Guidehttp://issuu.com/baltimoregaylife/docs/baltimorelgbtguide2014?e=1223151/7404635 that is produced by GayLife, the local gay monthly. The Visitors Guide offers a wealth of knowledge, with sections on accommodations, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, congregations, neighborhoods, and even a wedding guide.

For more about where to stay, eat, and what to do, download ManAboutWorld on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, iPhones and Android devices. There are a few FREE publications in all of the apps, and you can click here to register for a FREE three-month subscription.





Go, Daddy: Gay Family Travel in Baltimore

14 04 2015

Gay family travel as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Our Go, Daddy correspondent Paul and his son.

ManAboutWorld correspondent was invited to Baltimore on an LGBT family media visit. Below is one of his dispatches posted via his Twitter page. Check out the rest of his updates on our Twitter page (MAWtraveland read his full report in an upcoming issue of ManAboutWorld magazine

Via: Paul J. Heney @paulheney

Sightseeing is hard work!! I have one tired cookie at dinner.@BaltimoreMD @MAWtravel @TWtravelnews #baltimorepic.twitter.com/UWjUl46cxY

 





R Family Vacations Celebrates 11 years of Gay Family Travel

19 10 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 7.20.31 PMThe latest gay travel column from Global Correspondent Jeff Guaracino celebrates 11 years of gay family travel.

R Family Vacations was founded eleven years ago by travel entrepreneur Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli Carpenter and since then 19,000 people have traveled the world with Gregg and Kelli on trips designed just for our community.

R Family Vacations is unique in the travel space. The R Family experience is for everyone. Families don’t just mean children. It can be adults with their adult gay or lesbian child or childless LGBT couples who are looking for a different experience than that of Atlantis Events, RSVP Vacations or Olivia.

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ManAboutWorld’s March Issue Ready For Download!

10 03 2014

Aloha!

ManAboutWorld’s latest issue is ready for download. Subscribers: Open your iPad, tap on ManAboutWorld, go to Library, download and enjoy. Non-subscribers may find us in the AppStore. Or click on our website to subscribe and get access to all our back issues.

This is our coolest — and hottest — cover, yet.

Learn why we love Hawaii and its beautiful aloha spirit.

Other coverage includes:

  • Gay family travel to Kauai
  • Washington, DC
  • Merida, Mexico
  • Panama City, Panama
  • 6 fabulous honeymoon hotels
  • and more

Wait, not a subscriber? (Est-ce possible ?! :). Become one now and get access to all our back issues for free.





Traveling Gay Dads: Winter Wonderland Vacation in the Colorado Rockies

11 02 2014

DSC_0013Haven Caylor is a ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, father to two incredibly cute kids and one of our “Gay Traveling Dads.” He and his husband recently took Ammon and Carter to the Colorado Rockies for a family ski vacation.

I almost fell (it would have been worth it) as I looked over my shoulder at Carter and Ammon skiing down behind me on Fairway Run at Copper Mountain on February 7, 2014.  I skied ahead another 20 yards, slowed way down, started a wide turn so they could hear me and yelled up, “Great job, Carter! Great job, Ammon!” I then turned down the hill and couldn’t stop smiling. When we all stopped at the Kokomo Ski Lift, we celebrated with high fives and a group hug. We were so proud! We had another sporting activity we could enjoy as a family.

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