An Must-visit Gay-owned Restaurant in Phuket, Thailand

7 09 2017
Restaurant Royale Nam Tok in Phuket, ThailandGay Phuket update: Restaurant Royale Nam Tok in Phuket, Thailand is a class act from start to finish. The sumptuous dining space, superb service by host Corry and the culinary distinction of Chef Marc are usually hallmarks of the finest European Michelin Star restaurants. Their exquisite home by day and restaurant by night, with only six tables, lavishly set with fine French napery, antique silver cutlery and elaborate glassware, could only be described as distinguished opulence.

On arrival we enjoyed the sultry sounds of famous French divas while sipping pre-dinner champagne cocktails in the tropical pool garden before being served an amuse bouche of mushroom cappuccino.

The menu varies throughout the year. An appetiser of large plump scallops fried in ginger and served in a rich pumpkin soup was delectable. The house speciality, Champignons á la Madeleine, features mushrooms stuffed with a secret recipe belonging to Marc’s aunt and they are seriously delicious.

Grandmother’s Pot-au-Feu (rabbit stew) in a white wine sauce with two mustards and tarragon was a wild French treat and the sauce was so good you could have bathed in it. Canadian Lobster and fried turbot filet in lobster bouillon sauce, with coconut milk from Marc’s own garden, was also sensational.

Restaurant Royale Nam Tok in gay Phuket, Thailand and in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineSipping French Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley we studied the á la carte dessert menu. What a dilemma, everything sounded so enticing. Marc suggested the surprise dessert medley to share. How could we go wrong with a master chef in the kitchen? Luscious petit fours served on top of an ornate glass bowl containing Siamese Fighting Fish was a touch of finesse to complete a perfect dinner.

Story and photos by John Walker & Gavin Patterson, ManAboutWorld correspondents who blog here and on GayMenonHoliday.com. They visited this restaurant in Phuket and found it wonderful and quite unique. It is owned by two lovely Belgian men who packed up their European restaurant and transported it to their new home in Thailand.
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For more gay Phuket and Thailand recommendations, download the free ManAboutWorld guide to Thailand available for iOS and Android devices.
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CheckOut: Blue Waters Resort & Spa in Antigua

25 08 2017

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. Read the rest of this entry »





CheckOut: Chicago’s Palmer House, A Hilton Hotel

21 08 2017

Chicago's Palmer house, A hilton Hotel in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThis 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. Read the rest of this entry »





Berlin, Germany By Bike

9 06 2017

Berlin bike tour by Dennis HensleyOne of my favorite ways to get to know a new city is to take a bike tour. You get a lay of the land, are able to cross off some major tourist attractions of your to-do list and are able to justify any and all tasty treats you eat before, during and after, because hey, you’ve been pedaling all day. On a gorgeous spring day in late March, I took the 3 and a half hour, 15-kilometer “Berlin’s Best Bike Tour,” one of several tours offered by the company Berlin on Bike. Annd I’m so glad I did. Story and photo by ManAboutWorld correspondent Dennis Hensley.

The bike tour set off from the Kulturbrauerei, a charming complex of red brick buildings that during the Industrial Era was home to a beer factory but now houses restaurants, beer gardens and theaters. The sites we saw and learned about on the tour included a preserved section of the Berlin Wall complete with watchtower, the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, the Spree River, Tiergarten Park, the Victory Column, the hauntingly powerful Holocaust Memorial and the oh-so posh Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled his baby Blanket out the window. Along the way, we took a rest stop at a currywurst stand where I sampled Berlin’s most popular street foods, the currywurst, and a bottle of Club Mate, a trendy cold tea-like drink that packs quite punch.

The facts our guide Sebastian Becker shared about the city were fascinating and surprising, like that Chancellor Angela Merkel just lives in a regular apartment with neighbors above and below her, not a fancy government building. But what really made the tour special were the personal stories he shared. When he was a child, Sebastian’s parents were taking the family into the GDR (communist East Germany) to visit relatives, which you were allowed to do on special occasions and they snuck in a Monopoly game as a gift. When they got to the checkpoint, the GDR guards searched their car and found the game. Not only was it confiscated, but Sebastian’s parents had to be interrogated and body searched for hours in a private office while the children waited outside. I guess when you consider how Monopoly is all about American-style capitalism, it’s so surprise the GDR authorities didn’t want their citizens exposed to it. But you can bet the enjoyed playing it themselves.

The tour I took costs 21 Euros, 17 with the tourism board’s Welcome Card, which I highly recommend as it allows you to take public transportation and has many discounts for museums and so forth.

After the tour, Sebastian agreed to let me interview him for my Dennis Anyone podcast over lunch at a nearby sidewalk café, Pane e Vino, where you can get a delicious pizza or pasta dish for under 4 Euros.

You can listen to the podcast here. Dennis, Anyone in Berlin

 





Basque Country Foodie Road Trip by Paul Bachant

18 04 2017

Basque Country Foodie road trip by 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. Read the rest of this entry »





Versailles, France: A Queen’s Theme Park

13 04 2017

Jason Paul visited Versailles for ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe Palace of Versailles is an hour away and yet very far from the streets of Paris. Once the massive gilded gates come into view it’s like Oh, that’s why there was a revolution. 

We walked and walked and walked. The “Palace” of Versailleis really several huge buildings and many gardens across many acres, so it just goes on and on. From one opulent room to another intricate hedge. But my favorite example of decadence and whimsy of the ridiculously rich was the Queen’s Hamlet.

Bored from all the other palaces and gardens she could go to, Marie-Antoinette decided she wanted something quainter, rustic even. So, like you do pre-revolution, she had a village built in Norman style around a big lake. Before there was Real Housewives to join or being able to buy an island, I guess you just built your own theme park.

And I loved it. There’s a windmill and farm and fields full of animals. It does give the sense of stumbling into a lovely village from far from all the grandeur. Which of course was completely manufactured for that effect. But if you make it to Versailles and want a break from all the gold and marble (and your feet haven’t fallen off yet), walk on over and try out the Hamlet. It is a lovely little getaway from the getaway.

Story and photo by ManAboutWorld correspondents Jason Paul.

Subscribe to ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine here.





Visit our Booth and Attend our Travel Panel at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show April 1-2

28 03 2017

Meet LGBT travel experts at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show, April 1-2Come meet the ManAboutWorld team at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show April 1-2 at the Dallas Market Hall.

ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato will moderate a fun, information-packed LGBT travel panel at the Show on Sunday, April 2 11:45 AM-12:30 PM.

Register here for a free ticket but hurry we only have a limited supply.

All are welcome! Our booth provides information (and free guides) for all travelers (gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and our straight ally friends). The panel is designed for LGBT travelers as well as travel professionals interested in learning about trends, destinations, tours, cruises and events. All you need is an open mind and the passion to travel. Join this interactive and informative panel with leading experts in gay, lesbian and LGBT family travel.

Our moderator, ManAboutWorld’s Ed Salvato leads a very well-traveled group in a lively discussion touching on new cruises and tours, not-to-miss events and up-and-coming hot spots around the world. Come with your travel questions. This is a session you won’t want to miss!

We’ll be covering the world of LGBT travel, which is big! But among the many takeaways, here are three:

  • Destinations to put on your must-go list in 2017 and beyond
  • Events around the globe that are popular with LGBT travelers
  • Travel opportunities for LGBT families
  • Cruises, tours and how best to work with a travel agent or tour operator
THE LGBT TRAVEL DREAM TEAM AT THE DALLAS TRAVEL SHOW!

Travel experts include:

Meet LGBT travel experts at the Dallas Travel & Adventure Show, April 1-2








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