“We want to be the best hotel restaurant in the world. That’s what we’re pushing for.”
Uttering that statement as he welcomes us into HA Restaurant, Chef Carlos Gaytan sets a very high bar. He then spends the next 3 hours exceeding all expectations.
After all, this isn’t your typical hotel restaurant. Carlos Gaytan is the first Mexican chef ever to receive a Michelin Star (for Mexique in Chicago). And although HA Restaurant is located within Hotel Xcaret in Riviera Maya, Mexico, it is open to all diners with a reservation and is the one restaurant not included in the hotel’s all-inclusive package. It’s a stand-alone culinary masterpiece in a resort area more commonly associated with dinner buffets.
This month marks the 50th anniversary of New York City’s Stonewall riots, the June 1969 uprising that galvanized the LGBTQ rights movement in the United States and beyond. Each year, Pride honors those who stood at Stonewall, as well as countless others who have fought for equality throughout history.
But beyond the rainbow-themed summer parties, parades, and marches that usher in the June festivities, the rich and complex stories of LGBTQ history are honored at permanent sites around the world. Make plans to visit these eight monuments to a heroic heritage…
This past January, my boyfriend and I visited San Juan for the first time and fell in love with the capital of Puerto Rico. I feel honored to have contributed to the new LGBTQ travel portal of DiscoverPuertoRico.com and, in some small way, help guide new travelers to the Caribbean’s most gay friendly destination.
As a first-time visitor, you’ll quickly realize Puerto Rico’s capital city is the LGBTQ Caribbean destination you’ve been searching for. Rich in history, breathtakingly beautiful and offering non-stop flights from 49 destinations, it is an ideal quick winter getaway.
San Juan satisfies the desire for a culturally-unique, tropical escape, combined with the ease of never leaving the United States. You don’t need a passport, will use U.S. currency, and can easily communicate in English and Spanish. It is also exceptionally gay-friendly.
Gay travelers to Mexico are increasingly becoming bi… coastal, that is.
According to the 2018 report by Community Marketing & Insights, Mexico is the second most visited international destination for LGBTQ travelers from the United States (Canada is the first). Within the country, the areas around Puerto Vallarta and Cancun/Riviera Maya are the two most popular.
Wooing our community to Mexico’s eastern coast, the UNICO 20°87° Hotel Riviera Maya is prioritizing becoming the region’s most LGBTQ-friendly all-inclusive….
Life moves fast. Traveling IQ is here to help you travel smart, with favorite travel essentials to keep you on track for a smooth, comfortable journey.
Rest comfortably while traveling and arrive refreshed at your destination. The Trtl Travel Pillowlooks and packs like a scarf but is designed with the internal neck support needed to hold your head in a comfortable sleeping position. It is lightweight, soft on your skin, machine washable and half the size of the old-school U-shaped travel pillow. It’s the travel pillow designed for those who value looking smart and feeling awake. Price: $29.99 at trtltravel.com
YOU OUGHTA BE IN PICTURES
Life’s special moments are sweeter when shared. And more impressive when captured as stunning high-quality videos and professional grade photographs. The ANAFIis the first flying drone to offer a 4K HDR camera and the capability to tilt vertically with precise digital stabilization. It is also portable, easy to assemble and embedded with Artificial Intelligence and automated flight modes. From high above, the ANAFI will capture your special moments with cinema resolution videos and image rendering, even in dark or overexposed areas. Smile! Price: $699.99 at parrot.com
BE BEACH READY
A beautiful beach is a terrible thing to waste. But who wants to carry a bulky towel on every adventure? The Dock and Bay Classic Travel Towelsuse a unique microfiber blend which is super-absorbent, quick-drying and sand-resistant. Most important, the towels are compact, lightweight and won’t collect musty smells. They come in different colors to suit your style and in a handy pouch for easy carry. Price: $12 at dockandbay.com
A HAT FOR ADVENTURE
Fearless explorers can also maintain beautiful skin. The Alchemi Labs Expedition Hat blocks 99.8% of UVRays and reflects 80% of the sun’s heat waves. The hat’s moisture-wicking sweatband will keep you dry, while the dark olive green and khaki color-motif will keep you looking like an adventurous Indiana Jones…with a really good dermatologist. Price: $39 at alchemilabs.com
AN EAR FOR MUSIC
It’s a noisy world out there. With the Bose QuietComfort 35 IIwireless headphones, you can control the soundtrack of your journey. Their unique Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology constantly reacts to outside noise and cancels it with the opposite signal for the clearest sound around. And now the headphones are optimized with access to Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, for full control of your entertainment and daily managing duties. Price: $349.95 on bose.com or amazon.com
Is the Dominican Republic ready for its gay close-up? It’s a slow zoom, increasingly coming into focus.
Last month, the CHIC Punta Cana, the all-inclusive resort (or “all-exclusive” as the brand boasts) hosted the second annual Caribbean Pride. For one week, the expansive resort turns into an adult playground packed with pool parties, drag shows, culinary workshops, and a slew of fitness activities—all geared toward the LGBTQ traveler…
Learn more about Caribbean Pride and how the Dominican Republic is emerging as a gay travel destination, by reading the rest of my article, published in EDGE Media Network.
Aerial view of Los Haitises National Park in Samana, Dominican Republic
As your plane descends toward the Samana airport, you’ll see postcard-perfect views of a natural paradise: rolling hills of lush, green forests pressed against countless kilometres of pristine beaches. The Samana Peninsula, which juts from the northern coast of the Dominican Republic, is about a four-hour direct flight from Toronto or Montreal, but a worlds-away tropical escape for the entire family.
Partly because of its geographical positioning, Samana has retained a unique identity from its resort-packed sister cities. Up until the Samana Highway was finished in 2009, the five-hour drive from Santo Domingo kept the province isolated even from other Dominicans. Now a 2½ hour drive from its capital and with increasing flight access to Canada, Samana is ready to welcome tourism to its unique topography and cultural history. Pack your swimsuits in the suitcase and your curiosity in the carry-on, and prepare for a combination of adventure and relaxation…
This summer, the cultured traveler is looking beyond the coasts and discovering a contemporary art center in America’s heartland. With the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the city of Cleveland has commissioned more than 100 local, national and international artists to join the city’s evolving transformation into a prominent cultural center. And everyone’s invited to the party. After all, in 2014 Cleveland hosted the Gay Games, an international sporting event for LGBTQ athletes and their allies, and in 2016 hosted the Republican National Convention that nominated Donald Trump. (For the record, Cleveland voted for Hillary Clinton by 66.1%). It is the rare city where everyone is welcome, and where the moxie of its people is on par with their midwestern charm…
The Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado sits on its own island, accessible only by ferry, off the secluded Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. This luxury all-inclusive resort is perfect for couples seeking a romantic escape, away from a party scene.
Though there’s much to explore in Samana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has you covered should you want to stay put on your own little Caribbean island. The all-inclusive resort offers 6 restaurants, with buffet and international a la carte options; and 4 bars, including a beach bar and a pool bar. Guests have full access to the resort’s relaxing private beach with kayaks and paddle boards available for use. There is also a public beach for day-trippers with lively beachside restaurants and bars. The resort even includes a scuba diving lesson in one of its 2 pools, should you want to prepare for deeper sea exploration. At night, you can hit the disco or enjoy nightly entertainment, ranging from acrobats to dance troupes. During our stay they even featured a synchronized swimming performance. Or you can wind down a romantic evening in your room with a specially prepared bath, from their butler services menu…
Read the full article, published inManAboutWorldby clicking here.