Category Archives: Mexico

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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Floating over Puerto Vallarta

The closest I’ve ever come to flying: parasailing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was gorgeous and peaceful (and very comfy in that harness). And those views of Bay of Banderas and Playa de los Muertos were stunning. The entire ride lasted about 10 minutes but I would’ve stayed up there all day….

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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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Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Really?!?

Few things appeal to me less than being trampled by a half-priced mob on the day after Thanksgiving.  I will go on record admitting I have never understood the appeal of Black Friday.  On “the biggest shopping day of the year” I prefer to sit at home in my Snuggie, turkey leg in hand.

Still need a shopping fix?  Relax.  Our modern world-wide-world now offers a side dish of savings from the comfort of your home or office.  This Cyber Monday—online shopping’s answer to Black Friday—resorts in Mexico, Costa Rica, Aruba, Curaçao and Puerto Rico are warming up the season with more than just leftovers.

Remember, these deals must be booked on the Monday following Thanksgiving–CYBER MONDAY, November 28, 2011.

CASAMAGNA MARRIOTT CANCUN RESORT – 65% Savings
www.casamagnacancun.com 
Offer: Book your 2012 vacation on Cyber Monday and pay $99/night + tax, plus get a $50 resort credit and free room upgrade (subject to availability)
Savings: 65%
Details: Valid for travel Feb. 16, 2012 – March 31, 2012
Reservations: Visit www.casamagnacancun.com and input promo code D50
 

JW MARRIOTT CANCUN RESORT & SPA – 58% Savings
www.jwmarriottcancun.com
Offer: Book your 2012 vacation on Cyber Monday and pay $179/night + tax, plus get a $50 resort credit and free room upgrade (subject to availability)
Savings: 58%
Details: Valid for travel Feb. 16, 2012 – March 31, 2012
Reservations: Visit www.jwmarriottcancun.com and input promo code D50

ARUBA MARRIOTT RESORT & STELLARIS CASINO – 50% Savings
www.arubamarriott.com
Offer: Buy 2 nights and get 2 nights free
Savings: 50%
Details: Rates start at $359/night. Valid for travel from April 22, 2012 – December 21, 2012.
Reservations: Visit www.arubamarriott.com and enter promo code D52

MARRIOTT HOTELS & RESORTS OF COSTA RICA – 35%-55% Savings
www.marriott.com/costarica 
Offer:  Book your 2012 vacation on CyberMonday and receive $79-$129 nightly rates.  $79.00 plus tax per room/night at Courtyard San Jose Escazu (standard room) and Residence Inn San Jose Escazu (studio); $99.00 plus tax at Costa Rica Marriott Hotel San Jose (deluxe room); and $129.00 plus tax per room/night at Los Sueños Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort (standard room)
Savings: From 35% – 55%
Details: Valid for travel from January 1, 2012 – December 20, 2012, except for a few blackout dates.
Reservations:  Visit www.marriott.com/costarica and enter promo code PR5 

 KURA HULANDA RESORTS, CURACAO – 35% Savings
www.kurahulanda.com 
Offer: Buy two nights and get third night free
Savings: 33%
Details: Valid for travel through Dec 23, 2012.  Black out dates: Dec 24, 2011 – Jan 02, 2012
Reservations: E-mail reservation request to reservations@kurahulanda.com or call 877254 3106 and request Black Friday special

 SAN JUAN MARRIOTT RESORT & STELLARIS CASINO, PUERTO RICO – 30% Savings
www.marriottsanjuan.com
Offer: Receive 30% off all reservations
Savings: 30%
Details: From $132 per night. Bookings cannot be combined with any other offers. Valid for travel through Dec 24, 2011 and from April 10 – Sept. 30, 2012. Not valid for groups of 10 or more rooms.
Reservations: Visit www.marriottsanjuan.com and enter promotional code D3Q

Really!!!*

(*Lodge Kura Hulanda)

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Filed under Caribbean, Events, Hotels, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta: Vacation Versatile

Activo o Pasivo?  Regardless of your preference, Puerto Vallarta will satisfy.  Whether swinging through treetops above mountainous jungles or cruising hidden coves off Mexico’s Pacific rim, Puerto Vallarta provides a vacation of complete versatility.  Flaunting its natural beauty, colonial charm and cosmopolitan sophistication, Mexico’s premier gay destination will quench both your thirst for adventure and desire for relaxation.

Read the full article on Fuerte Men by clicking on the photo below:

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IQ on the Radio!

IQ is the featured travel expert on Toronto’s Proud FM “Your Morning with Richard & Chris.”
Click on the link below to listen:

Proud FM: Puerto Vallarta

And click here to learn more about gay Puerto Vallarta.

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A Vacation Package For You, Princess

Always a bridesmaid, never a bride? Don’t worry. Someday your prince will come. Chances are, however, it won’t be on April 29. So as Kate Middleton becomes the newest member of the British royal family, forget about letting down your hair, Rapunzel, or laying down for a nap, Ms. Beauty. Instead, power up that computer with a little 21st century independence, and book yourself a royal vacation at one of these amazing beach destinations.

*Important to note, these deals can only be booked on “Williamton’s” special day, April 29, 2011.

CUISINART RESORT & SPA
Offer: In celebration of England’s Royal Wedding, CuisinArt Resort & Spa is offering the “Royalty in Paradise Package.”
Package includes:
– 4 Nights in a beachfront junior suite
– 1 Romantic beachfront dinner for two
– 1 Bottle Veuve Cliquot champagne
– 1 Couples Rendezvous spa package:
– Couples massage
– Floral bath soak
– Anguillian coconut pineapple scrub
– Swiss duet rain shower
Rates: From $2,250 (A $925 savings)
Valid for Travel: April 30 – November 22, 2011. Based on availability, blackout dates apply.
Reservations: http://www.cuisinartresort.com

CASAMAGNA MARRIOTT CANCUN RESORT
Offer: In celebration of England’s Royal Wedding, the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort is offering the “Royal Romance Package.”
Package includes:
– Transportation from and to the Cancun Airport
– Daily breakfast buffet for 2 adults
– One bottle of sparkling wine per stay
– Free upgrade to Ocean view (room already upgraded at the time of booking)
– 40% discount on Spa treatments
– 20% discount on food and beverage, and gift shop purchases
Rates: From $149 USD per night
Valid for Travel: May 1 – November 20. Based on availability, blackout dates apply.
Reservations: Visit http://www.casamagnacancun.com and input promo code L9Z

JW MARRIOTT CANCUN RESORT & SPA
Offer: In celebration of England’s Royal Wedding, the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa is offering the “Royal Romance Package.”
Package includes:
– Transportation from and to the Cancun Airport
– Daily breakfast buffet for 2 adults
– One bottle of sparkling wine per stay
– Free upgrade to Ocean view (room already upgraded at the time of booking)
– 40% discount on Spa treatments
– 20% discount on food and beverage and gift shop purchases
Rates: From $189 USD per night
Valid for Travel: May 1 – November 20. Based on availability, blackout dates apply.
Reservations: Visit http://www.jwmarriottcancun.com and input promo code L9Z

HOTEL KURA HULANDA SPA & CASINO, CURACAO
Offer: The “Royal Treatment Package” includes three night accommodations in a Deluxe Room and a half-day of pampering at the spa for two guests. Spa treatments include a 50-minute relaxing massage, 60-minute food reflexology and your choice of a Mini Facial or Gentleman’s Total Care Facial
Rates: Three night package: $1,180
Valid for Travel: Now until Dec 23, 2011
Reservations: Call 877-264-3106 or email reservations@kurahulanda.com

SANDPEARL RESORT / CLEARWATER BEACH, FLORIDA
Offer: Enjoy a royal getaway to the Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach, Florida, when you book the “Royal Romance Berries & Bubbly Package.”
The package includes accommodations in a luxury room or resort suite category of choice, champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries on the night of arrival and complimentary breakfast for two each morning. A package savings of over 20 percent!
Rates start at: $299 per night
Valid for travel: April 29 through December 30
Reservations: Visit http://www.sandpearl.com and use promo code ROYAL in the Corporate / Promotion box, or call 1-877-726-3111 and ask for promotional code ROYAL.

MORNING STAR MARRIOTT BEACH CLUB/ ST. THOMAS
Offer: The “Royal Bliss Package” includes accommodations in room category of choice, bottle of champagne and rum punch drink upon arrival, welcome gift, $200 food and beverage credit per room for entire stay and breakfast buffet for two each morning. A package savings of 20 percent!
Rates start at: $288 per night
Valid for travel: April 29 through December 30
Reservations: Visit http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/sttfr/ and use promo code EAT in the Corporate/ Promotion box, or call 1-800-524-2000 and ask for promotional code EAT.

ST. KITTS MARRIOTT RESORT
Offer: In celebration of England’s Royal Wedding, St. Kitts Marriott Resort is offering a free room upgrade and bottle of sparkling wine with the “Escape! For Two Package.” Package includes:
Accommodations (automatic room upgrade)
1 massage per person (per room, per stay)
1 facial per person (per room, per stay)
Breakfast buffet for two, daily
1 Bottle of sparkling wine
Spa amenity basket and welcome gift
Rates: From $238 per room/night, inclusive of tax and gratuity. Based on double occupancy. Subject to availability / blackout dates.
Reservations: http://www.stkittsmarriott.com / Promo code ES8

MIAMI MARRIOTT BISCAYNE BAY
Offer: The “Royal Escape Package” includes complimentary breakfast for two and a bottle of champagne and strawberries upon arrival.
Rates: From $239 per night
Reservations: Call 305.374.3900 or visit http://www.marriottbiscaynebay.com; use promotional code ROM

Because when Prince Charming does come… you’ll look much better with a tan!

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Filed under Caribbean, Europe, Hotels, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta Gets Tastier

If variety is the spice of life, gay Vallarta just got tastier.   Casa Cupula (http://www.casacupula.com), the decidedly upscale, boutique gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta, has opened its new restaurant Taste to the public. Perched on a secluded hillside, overlooking the Bay of Banderas, Taste is all about options. Choose to dine in the newly redesigned intimate dining room or under the sunshine/moonlight on the adjoining terrace.

What are you hungry for? Taste is prepared to satisfy all your culinary cravings— serving a sampling of Mexican, American, Asian and South American cuisine, available in both entrée and tapas (or “taste”) sized portions. With options including Shrimp Stuffed Ancho Peppers, Lamb Lollipops, Chicken Curry Samosas and Traditional Peruvian Ceviche, “you can Taste your way around the world in one meal, perfect for people on vacation who can’t return frequently,” says restaurant manager Erick Martinez.

Also, for the first time, the Sunday Mimosa Brunch previously enjoyed exclusively by hotel guests, is now open to everyone. The casa will keep the bubbles flowing, while you chat with old friends or make new ones at the community dining table. Afterwards, you are invited to work on your tan poolside while Casa Cupula hosts its weekly Sunday Pool Party for the boys (and girls) of Puerto Vallarta.

*This  article was originally published in Out Traveler:

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