The Gay Montreal Hot List

1 09 2017

Arsenal Antonio Roberts in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe 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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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 »





Sip Bubbles. Spy Yachts. Live the Life at the Wine Palace Monte-Carlo

19 07 2017

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.





May Day is Lei Day in Kauai

25 04 2017

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 May Day is Lei Day in KauaiRaymond 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.

TTap here for more information about Lei Day in Kauai.  Lei day in the state of colorful 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 Kauna’o 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.

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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.

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