Category Archives: Hotels

IQ in EDGE: Puerto Vallarta’s Almar Resort

Couple at Pool at Mantamar Beach Club

The Mantamar Beach Club at the Almar Resort

The newest and only luxury beachfront LGBTQ hotel in Puerto Vallarta will make your tub bubbleth over. With hot tubs in 29 of its 78 suites; an infinity pool (featuring swim-up bar and more hot tubs) off the sands of Los Muertos Beach; member access to Mantamar Beach Club, the premier beach club in Zona Romantica; and a rooftop bar with heart-warming sunset views, drag shows and — yes, even more hot tubs — the Almar Resort is making sassy classy in Mexico’s favorite gay beach retreat…

Click here to read the full article published in EDGE.

Ivan Quintanilla published in Edge Media

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Filed under Gay, Hotels, Mexico, Publications, Restaurant

A Case for the Gay Hotel

Pool at gay hotel

A Perfect Day at the Almar Resort in Puerto Vallarta

I’ve recently had conversations with several gay men in their 20’s about the necessity, or lack thereof, of the “gay hotel.”  First, I think it is truly amazing that many of our younger gay peers feel so completely comfortable in their skin in any surrounding.  I think it is tangible evidence of progress.  And one I celebrate—wholeheartedly—as I toast with my frozen cosmopolitan, pomegranate margarita or glass of crisp sauvignon blanc. But these conversations have made me examine why I personally am still drawn to the congregation of gay.  Now, I love to travel often and on many different types of trips, frequented by many different types of people.  And I don’t ever want that to change.  But yet I find myself consistently drawn to the comradery of the gay hotel.

I’d guess this is greatly generational.  Perhaps it’s the childhood years of being schooled in the appropriate ways boys gesture. Or the exhausting energy expended in youth hoping no one will figure you out.  Or the many times you heard the f-word and continued walking pretending you weren’t the subject.   And I am thrilled if kids these days don’t grow up with any of these same concerns.  Because though I have never been targeted or mocked as a traveling adult, this well-adjusted gay New Yorker still can’t wait to return to Puerto Vallarta or Key West or Provincetown.

There is a world of difference between not feeling endangered and feeling truly welcome.  I am so accustomed to my life in New York City, where I never worry about holding my boyfriend’s hand as we stroll through Hell’s Kitchen or fret if my shorts are the appropriate length on a hot, summer day (I’m bringing the 5” inseam back!).  With so many elements of which to keep track on vacation—currency exchanges, language barriers, convoluted directions—watching yourself so you are not watched seems like wasted energy.

I prefer to spend that time meeting new friends—many of whom, especially now in the age of social media, will continue to be part of my life beyond my departure from the destination.  I have been fortunate to share unforgettable moments with some pretty fantastic people who I may or may not ever see again.  But if I ever visit their home cities, I guarantee you they will be my first call.  Because they are now part of my community.

So, I will continue to travel everywhere and stay anywhere, but I will always have a soft spot for the gay hotel.  And I hope all of our generations can join in the spirited, tipsy conversations which could never be replicated on an app or anywhere else, other than at that pool, with that fruity cocktail in hand, while blasting that Deborah Cox remix that will forever give us life.

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A Nightlight at the Top of the World

Aurora Wilderness Camp 6 190318A new hotel concept in Finland features the Northern Lights as the ultimate nightlight.

Three private cabins on skis have been stationed deep in the Arctic Circle, for a glamping experience like no other. The glass-roofed cabins for two include a bed on which to lie back and enjoy the night sky, a table, dry toilet, and gas heater and stove.  Together, the mobile rooms create the Aurora Wilderness Camp, near the Finnish Lapland town of Kilpisjärvi.  Now available to book through Off the Map Travel, the camp is welcoming guests through mid-April of this year and will reopen in January 2019.

According to Arctic travel expert and Off the Map Travel founder Jonny Cooper, “The wilderness surrounding Kilpisjärvi is known for its remote and uninterrupted Arctic tundra… giving guests the best possible opportunity to experience the Northern Lights and simply enjoy the silence of the Arctic plains.” Statistically, the Kilpisjärvi area boasts more clear nights than any other place in Finland, with more than a 70 percent chance of seeing the Northern Lights.

Your adventure starts at 6pm when an experienced guide transports you by snowmobile to your private cabin.  After your guide teaches you how to make a campfire and grill local meats, you will have the camp–and the Northern Lights–to yourself.  Evening drinks, snacks and next-day breakfast are included in the experience, along with use of the cabin’s snowshoes and kick-sleds for exploring the icy tundra.

This hotel concept delivers a distinct new brand of adventurous comfort:  the opportunity to tour the Arctic wilderness and hunt for the Northern Lights from the peacefulness of your warm bed.

For more information and tailor-made itineraries, visit offthemap.travelAurora Wilderness Camp190318Photo credit: Kilpissafarit

 

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U.S. Tourism Welcomes a Tentative World

21-nyc-official-guide.nocrop.w710.h2147483647.2x

You are welcome here—no really, you are, we promise—has been the predominant U.S. travel campaign theme of 2017.

The travel industry has been working overtime to offset a negative international perception of the United States since the presidential election. Cities such as Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco (to name a few) have invested in various versions of “Welcome” campaigns. In February, Hyatt Hotels launched the “World of Hyatt” integrated marketing campaign during the Oscars® broadcast, with a video celebrating empathy and multiculturalism. In June, Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the United States, announced their “One Big Welcome” strategy, using personalized video invitations from “real people” to attract potential visitors.

Unfortunately, the President’s “America First” political message is translating to “America Alone” when attracting international tourism. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1.3 million fewer foreigners visited the United States during the first half of 2017. The New York Times  reported that European readers overwhelmingly cited the Trump administration and its policies as reasons for avoiding travel to the United States. And last month, the National Brands Index, a global survey measuring perception of fifty nations, saw the U.S. drop from No. 1 to No. 6, in overall nation brand.

International travel is America’s number one service export, boasting an $87 billion international travel trade surplus last year.  In an article in Worth, Roger Dow, the president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association writes, “The Trump administration has yet to convey a sustained message of welcome to international visitors. Long-term failure to do so will unnecessarily deter travelers, which could have disastrous consequences for the U.S. economy.”

While we wait….
and wait…
and wait…
Let’s take a look at a few of my favorite, inclusive travel campaigns of 2017:

Los Angeles: #EveryoneIsWelcome

Hyatt: “World of Hyatt”

San Francisco: #AlwaysWelcome

(Photo via NYCgo.com)

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The W Mexico City Satisfies

W Mexico City View

When was the last time someone promised to satisfy your every wish?

The W Mexico City will be your swanky genie-in-a-bottle. Whether you want a mariachi band performing in your bathtub or VIP tickets to a private club, the W concierge will make it happen through their “Whatever/Whenever” service (legally permitting, of course). Located in the Polanco area, steps from luxury shopping, galleries and Bosque Chapultepec, the largest city park in Latin America, the W Mexico is the place to indulge.

With the AWAY Spa and Fitness Center, Whiskey Bar, Solea restaurant at your fingertips–and spacious rooms that feature a hammock in your shower (should you be exhausted from your hygiene regimen)–you may have to force yourself to venture beyond the hotel’s colorfully accented lobby.

W Mexico City exterior

Read my full Mexico City travel article on Edge.

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Mexico City’s Ravishing Renaissance

Big and gritty and complex and glamorous, Mexico City defies categorization. El Distrito Federal or DF, as the city is commonly called, is far more nuanced than many of the country’s famous resort towns, where the tourism bubble stays easily intact.

Here, you are in it; it’s real life in a real, big city. This is where people work, live, eat… and, yes, party. Spending a few days among DF’s 20 million people, you’ll discover a vibrant culture, delicious food, a hoppin’ gay scene, and a colorful whirlwind of unexpected surprises…

*Read my full article published in EDGE by clicking on the photo below:

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Rock the Vote with Hard Rock Hotel

To help you celebrate Election Day in the United States, the music-inspired Hard Rock Hotels chain is keeping you inspired with a free “Rock the Vote” playlist, made available exclusively to the readers of USA Today (and by proxy, Traveling IQ).  For more information on how to download the free playlist, visit “Hotel Check-in” on USA Today

(Photo courtesy of Hard Rock)

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Innkeepers Thank Veterans

B&B for Vets

Innkeepers in the United States and Canada are thanking the brave men and women who have served in their country’s armed forces the best way they know how… with hospitality.

On November 11, (Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada), an estimated 1,000 inns and bed & breakfasts in both countries will offer complimentary stays to veterans and current military personnel.

Entering its fourth year, the B&B for Vets program aims to offer a much-needed break to veterans who may not otherwise be able to afford a vacation.   Many of the participating inns and B&Bs are donating guest rooms for free stays on November 11, and others are offering special military discounts throughout the weekend.

Veterans (with military ID) interested in reserving a room should contact the inn/B&B where they wish to stay.

For a complete list of participating inns and B&Bs visit http://www.bnbsforvets.org (U.S.) or http://www.bbcanada.com/bbforvets (Canada).

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IQ in New York Magazine: San Antonio

With new museums and riverfront projects, San Antonio is finding new ways to celebrate its international history…

Click on the picture below to read the article published in New York Magazine:

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Filed under Hotels, Publications, Restaurant, U.S.A.

Lords Pops Big Apple

Lords South Beach celebrates NY Pride, polar bear and all

The Lords South Beach is making a colorful splash on New York’s Lower East Side this gay pride.  From June 18-24, Miami’s gay boutique hotel will invade the Hotel on Rivington, creating New York City’s first ever Pride pop-up hotel:  Lords New York.

And pop it will.  The Lords New York will feature a hot pink lobby, a New York version of the Lords South Beach beloved polar bear sculpture, and pop art portraits of Elizabeth Taylor (who watches over guests in every room of the Miami property).

The Lords New York is also bringing the party up north.  The Lords Penthouse series will occupy the Owner’s Suite of the Hotel on Rivington to host “Proud to Party”–a fetish beach party–with DJ Vito Fun on Friday, June 22.  The next morning, the hotel joins OUT Magazine in hosting the “Proud to be Creative” brunch at the hotel’s CO-OP restaurant with food, drink, music, and a special art installation.

The Lords New York at the Hotel on Rivington LGBT Pride Package Includes:

  • 15% Savings off the Best Available Rates
  • Exclusive access to the “Proud to Party” event on Fri., June 22nd
  • 2 welcome cocktails in CO-OP Food & Drink
  • Lords New York welcome gift bag
  • Priority reservations to the “Proud to be Creative” Brunch on Sat., June 23rd

Want to make more of an impact on our community?   Put your money where your pride is.  The Lords is introducing a New York version of its “Rooms that Matter” program.  Upon check-in, guests can choose to donate $10 to either the Aqua Foundation or Hetrick-Martin Institute. Last year, a similar Lords South Beach program raised over $10,000 for designated LGBT charities.

For more information on all the events or to book your reservation, visit LordsNY.com.

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