Guide to Montreal’s Gay Village in Time for Pride

17 07 2018

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy, left (and his partner) in Montreal's Gay VillageWe all know Montreal has a reputation for being a place of acceptance and inclusion, especially in Montreal’s Gay Village, which is is just east of downtown around Beaudry Metro station, running along Saint Catherine Street. Montreal’s Gay Village is where most of this year’s Pride activities will happen. Whether you are visiting for the parties or shows, you still need to know the best spots to get yummy cocktails and, of course, where to fill up. We got your covered! Here are the village’s top bars and restaurants:

Top bars in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 bars in Montreal’s Gay Village

Sky Complex – This is the city’s most popular gay club/bar and it has several spaces, from a dance clue to a male strip bar, to a cabaret. The rooftop terrace is also amazing.

Bar Renard – This sexy cocktail bar and lounge has a great selection of spirits and happy hour.

Bar Aigle Noir – Traditionally, the Black Eagle bar for the leather enthusiast. The crowd is now getting more diverse serving up beer and drinks in a classic setup with guest DJs and a buzzy patio.

Stock Bar – One of the more popular male strip bars in Montreal where you can grab a drink and watch hot buff men dance around you!

Le Stud – Le Stud is more of a dive bar with cheap drinks and great happy hour.

Our correspondent, Barry Hoy in Montreal's Gay VillageTop 5 restaurants in Montreal’s Gay Village

O’Thym – Asophisticated French bistro that uses seasonal ingredients and has a relaxed, yet cute ambiance. You can also BYOB!

Saloon – This campy restaurant has a great outdoor terrace so that you can people watch. They also serve amazing martinis!

Kitchenette – Located just outside the village, in case you want to escape for a more intimate dining experience. They offer a great 5 course tasting menu where you choose 2 starters, 2 main dishes, and a shared dessert!

Bato Thai – A casual BYOB setting with the best Thai food in the area. This is a great place for a quick bite if you want something yummy but not too formal.

Le Red Tiger – Le Red Tiger offers Vietnamese affordable street food that is both delicious and unique. Portions are small but shareable, so order at least a few items per person.

Add a few, or all, of these spots to your list and you are bound to have an amazing trip. For more things to do and places to visit in Montreal, stop by www.asianmapleleaf.com

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CheckOut: Hotel X, Toronto

6 06 2018

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

Amenities

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

Rates

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

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

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

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Location

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

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

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

Room/Bathroom

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

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

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

Hotel X, Toronto in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay Factor

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

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

About the Checkout

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.





Pride LGBTQ Travel-safety Twitter Chat 🌈 Tues., Jun 5 2pm ET! Set your ⏰! #PrideGuide

31 05 2018
ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine; twitter chat on LGBTQ travel safety
Join our annual Pride LGBTQ travel-safety Twitter chat happening Tuesday, June 5. It’s hosted by Ed Salvato at ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine with our partners at the U.S. Department of State Consular Affairs via TravelGov.
We’ll discuss how to stay safe during the busy summer travel and LGBTQ pride season. Join this important conversation Tuesday, June 5 2pm-2:45pm ET by following #PrideGuide on Twitter.
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT PARTICIPANTS USUALLY INCLUDE:
Below are the topics we’ll discuss so you can think about your contributions and questions or feel free to pre-program your replies.
See you on Twitter Tuesday, June 5 at 2pm ET. And remember to set your  !
PRIDE LGBTQ TRAVEL-SAFETY TWITTER CHAT; TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2PM, #PRIDEGUIDE
2:00 pm ET
Q1: Before we get into #travelsafety, tell us … What is your next big trip this summer? And where are you traveling for LGBTQ Pride 2018? #PrideGuide 
 
2:05 pm ET
Q2: Do you feel it’s safe to travel overseas for LGBTQ Pride celebrations, gay or lesbian cruises or parties in Europe? How about in Eastern Europe? Russia? Israel? What precautions is it best to take? #prideguide
 
2:10 pm ET 
Q3: Today 74 countries criminalize same-sex relations. How do you get information in advance of a trip to help ensure your safety? #prideguide 
 
2:15 pm ET
Q4: Which travel agents, tour operators and content providers do you use for information on LGBTQ issues, destinations and events — especially in more exotic destinations? #prideguide
 
2:20 pm ET
Q5: What resources do you use from the U.S. State Department, TSA, CDC, HRW and other organizations committed to LGBTQ travel/safety in destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:25 pm ET
Q6: What are the biggest concerns for lesbian travelers (especially when going to destinations with anti-LGBT attitudes or laws)? #prideguide  
 
2:30 pm ET
Q7: What are the greatest concerns for transgender travelers heading to airports and to destinations around the world? #prideguide 
 
2:35 pm ET
Q8: How concerned should LGBTQ travelers be about health issues and what can we do to prepare? #prideguide
 
2:40 pm ET
Q9. Anything can go wrong when we travel. What’s the best way to prepare for the unexpected? #prideguide
ED SALVATO




Please Take This 5-Minute LGBTQ Travel Survey!

29 03 2018

Please take this 5-minute LGBTQ travel surveyI have the great honor of advising a talented young group of Master’s degree candidates at the New York University School of Professional Studies Jonathan M. Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism working on a project that involves hotels marketing to the LGBTQ segment.

Please take a moment and make your voice heard. They have asked me to help in their efforts to broaden their reach. They are especially interested in getting greater trans and lesbian representation. Please feel free to share the link.

The survey will take less than 5 minutes and here is a link.





Paris Update: Is the Marais Still Gay? Oui et Non … Read on!

21 03 2018
What happened to the Gay Marais in Paris?

Has the charming Gay Marais gone? If your last visit to Paris goes back to the mid-’80s or the ’90s, Is the Marais still gay? Read all about it in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinechances are you may not recognize the neighborhood. The days of first ever created gay-bars like Le-Village and L’Amnésia seem really far.

Things have changed but to understand what’s really happening now we may need to board the time-machine.

A little history

Le-Marais (marsh, swamp in English) goes back to the Middle-Age and was developed right after the Renaissance when the rich and famous started to build elegant mansions also known as “Hôtels-particuliers” to remain rather close to the king’s palace, The Louvre. When the Court moved to Versailles, the area started to lose its wealthy patrons. In the 19th century the rich inhabitants moved further West and the old Marais started to host a new population: the many Jews who had escaped cruel persecutions, frequent in the ancient Russian empire.

Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAfter WW2 Le Marais was sentenced to death, in other words: to be demolished. Too old and the bearer of tragic war memories. Thanks to a clever minister of cultural affairs, it survived the bulldozers but wont see its renaissance until the arrival of the gay community in the early 80s following the first solid renovations of historic mansions and inauguration of the Pompidou Center which will bring international light to the older part of the capital city. As often with the gay community, the street started to become prettier, flower pots popped-up in front of design stores and friendly cafés and restaurants.

The best years indeed!

Le-Marais was back, it was fashionable – luxury brands could not miss this opportunity and over the past 5 years we have seen high-end stores coming-in, replacing traditional and convenient businesses. L’Amnésia closed and so did many other gayGay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine “institutions” often replaced by luxury boutiques. Rue des Archives a whole series of top boutiques have been created by a single investor. The facades all look alike and are truly magnificent but the Givenchy, Prada, Moncler boutiques seem a bit lost and too often quite empty. They are not terribly inviting as a security guy stands right at the door and this is never a way to say “bienvenue!”. Cox, Open-Café, Raid, Free DJ are still here to welcome their gay patrons.

Plus ça change

Change everything so nothing changes (The Leopard, Visconti): in reality Le-Marais has never so Gay Marais in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinebeautiful and charming. All restaurants, cafés, wine-bars, bakeries, boutiques, art galleries – not to forget the legendary department BHV, totally revamped, all are truly gay-friendly and all know what they owe to the Gay Community. We only hope this mind set will remain but further closure would not help and may simply sign the end of Le Gay-Maris!

In the meantime, it’s never been a better time to visit. So don’t wait!

ParisMarais.com

One fantastic resource for the Marais is ParisMarais.com. Created by Pascal Fonquernie, the site — which is available in seven languages — is among the world’s most visited guides on le Marais, including a large gay community section. Not a gay guide, it’s the best of le Marais, including booking hotels; information about the Jewish quarter; recommended tour guides; restaurants; history; and interviews with famous people. Download a copy of the Marais map here.

Story by ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, Jean-Pierre Soutric, Paris, 18-March 2018, 





Welcome to our Newest Global Correspondent Barry Hoy

15 03 2018

Barry Hoy, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine correspondent

Welcome to our newest global correspondent Barry Hoy, also known as Asianmapleleaf, is an Asian-Canadian, born and raised in Toronto and transplanted to New York City. Travel is his passion, so he is always on the road or up in the air. If he’s not travelling, he’s most likely already planning his next trip. Barry fell in love with traveling the first time he flew to Asia with his family as a kid, and since then he has been exploring new destinations and meeting new friends from all around the world.

Barry Hoy is an ambassador of all things travel – he is also a travel, food and lifestyle writer who showcases great destinations, their local experiences, and all of the must see places around the world. Through his Instagram and travel blog, Barry shares these moments and his favorite destinations with his readers and followers. He is also a travel editor-at-large for Swagger Magazine, North America’s premiere men’s luxury lifestyle publication.

Follow along his adventures on Instagram and Twitter at @asianmapleleaf, or at www.asianmapleleaf.com.

Barry Hoy, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine correspondent

SUBSCRIBE TO MANABOUTWORLD! 

Download our very cool digital gay travel magazine for destinations around the globe from our correspondent Barry and our other global correspondents. Find the ManAboutWorldApp on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, Android tablets, iPhones and Android phones. 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 on, what are you waiting for!





Video: Traveling Tom Visits the Hot Springs Spas at KinosakeOnsen

8 03 2018
TRAVELING TOM VISITS KINOSAKEONSEN

Traveling Tom travels to KinosakeOnsen, a city known for its soothing and healing hot springs spas. He takes us through the countryside and to this charming town of relaxation, ancient traditions, heartfelt hospitality and delicious food.

Tom Goss is a ManAboutWorld global correspondent and a talented singer. He travels with his husband, Mike, all around the world and sends us these video updates. Click on his video and follow his KinosakeOnsen adventure. Follow Tom’s other video adventures here.

TOM’S ALSO A TALENTED PERFORMER

Tom Goss is a singer, songwriter and storyteller based in Los Angeles, CA. Tom has spent the last decade aggressively touring — performing over 1,000 shows in 100+ cities, traversing 40 states and 5 countries. An adventurer at heart, there are few places where Tom can’t find something to climb over or jump off of.

Connect with Tom on the following social media platforms:

Meet all of our Global Correspondents hereSubscribe to ManAboutWorld here and find insights from Tom, our global correspondents and the staff writers at the magazine including gay travel expert Ed Salvato.

Tom.Square.Bed








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