Travel company, Bruvion, has just launched ALT By Bruvion, a new company catering to the travel needs of the LGBT community. Alternative Luxury Travel (ALT) appeals to “open-minded individuals looking for life-enriching and memorable travel experiences.”
“With ALT by Bruvion, we can now offer the same great travel service but tailor it even more to our LGBT clientele,” says Co-Founder Jason Couvillion. ”Different destinations are great for different types of people. As a gay owned and operated company, our experience affords our clients an insight that they won’t find at other travel companies.”
Drawing on their years of travel experiences, ALT’s team has compiled a list of 8 places for LGBT to avoid or to visit in 2013.
Most Opulent Destination: Sardinia, Italy
A playground for the social elite who flock here with their yachts each summer to see and be seen, Sardinia offers many luxurious 5-star hotels featuring the most expensive rooms found anywhere.
MAHE ISLAND, The SEYCHELLES
Hottest New International Destination: Bhutan
This small Buddhist country in the Himalayas is opening their arms to tourist, but only to a certain number each year.
Most Dangerous U.S. City To Visit for Gay Travelers: Detroit, MI
A slumping economy, increase in crime, high number of landmark gay bars closing and a severe lack of smart accommodations puts Detroit at the top of our list of U.S. cities to avoid.
Best Destination For Gays & Their Girlfriends: Istanbul
Good-looking men both gay and straight, centuries of history and culture on every corner, Istanbul is perfect for a gay guy and his gal pal.
Best Gay Family Destination: Copenhagen, Denmark
A very open and accepting culture, an amazingly beautiful city and sites for kids and adults. Plus there’s nightlife once the kids go to bed.
Most Overrated Destination: Dubai
Full of hype and far removed from reality, Dubai is a big city in the middle of a desert with little charm, less visible history and antiquated laws.
Best Destination For Singles: Paris
With its opulent hotels, amazing food and fashions, Paris offers more than enough distractions to keep any single person occupied and carefree.
Hottest Gay Event Destination: Sydney/Cairns
Let your hair down at Sydney’s Mardi Gras then escape to recoup at The Great Barrier Reef.
If hotels were food, the Ritz Carlton in San Francisco would be caviar: luxurious, five-star Russian caviar. From the minute you walk in the marble lobby and they hand you a glass of champagne, to when you check out with a CD of SF classics, it’s a culmination of perfect tastes.
Opened in 1991 in the former Metropolitan Insurance headquarters, the neo-classic building was updated with fine furnishings, fabrics, and artwork, including a pair of Louis XVI blue marble urns with gilt mountings, and 19th-century Waterford candelabras. In 2008 the rooms were also completely upgraded at a cost of $12.5 million, and last year the lobby and restaurant were re-imagined. For all the modern conveniences, it’s a close as you can get to staying in your own castle.
Located on famed Nob Hill, it’s close to Union Square, China Town, and a short cable ride away from Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Known for it’s service, this Ritz did not disappoint. Friendly, helpful and genuinely concerned that we have a great stay in City By The Bay, everyone went out of their way to welcome and help us. We threw a couple of curve balls at the concierge Daniel, who handled them with aplomb, securing us tickets to a show and last-minute dinner reservations to a popular new restaurant.
Club rooms, on the top floors – part of the executive package – have a dedicated concierge, separate elevator-key access, and complimentary small plates throughout the day, wine tastings, and a fabulous desert spread in the evening, plus wine, beer, champagne coffee and other beverages.
The 336 luxurious guest rooms have featherbeds with 400-thread-count Egyptian-cotton linens, down duvets, LCD TVs, DVD/CD players, in-room coffee makers, wireless Internet access, and most have views. Guest rooms start at $555 and Junior Suites at $655. The hotel gift shop has all the necessities, plus our favorite fragrance line, Kai, in case you forgot something.
Parallel 37 Restaurant
The stately “Dining Room” is now the modern, casual Parallel 37, Chef Rotondo’s new restaurant inspired by ingredients found on this geographic latitude. Featuring a 46-seat bar and lounge that opens onto the main dining room, modern glass wall treatments and even communal tables, it screams “modern.” It’s a culture shock walking from the grand lobby to the brown, rust and cream-colored simple restaurant, which would be more at home in a 3 star hotel.
There weren’t many people when we were there but it was still loud and I can’t imagine what it would be like when it’s packed. The chef does an innovative “small plates” menu ( which our dining partner nicknamed “Tiny Plates”) and the waiter recommends ordering at least 3 per person.
For instance, I had the duck breast ($28), which was delicious but not enough to satisfy, and the rib eye in Pinot Noir sauce ($29) was just a mouthful. At these prices, it becomes a very expensive dining option. However, the service was attentive and not the least bit obsequious.
We were much happier enjoying small snacks and tea and cocktails in the stylish Lounge which has a stunning view of the courtyard and garden.
When the Ritz sticks to it’s caviar tastes, it’s gets everything right.
It’s the newest thing in spa treatments – facials in a bubble filled with oxygenated air. Not exactly. For the opening of the Spanish themed Spa Nautica at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey, they offered facials in a Natura Bissé bubble filled with purified air but normally the bubble isn’t open for business. But there are plenty of treatments to tantalize you, and the location – on the water in the Marina – can’t be beat.
Featuring an exotic array of massage treatments, body wraps, facials, manicures and pedicures, there is something for everyone on the menu. Hot Stone Infusion, anyone?
Spa Nautica offers 7,000 square feet of serenity featuring eight treatment rooms including one couple’s suite along with a full service manicure and pedicure salon. Customize your experience in a refreshing eucalyptus steam room, sample Mediterranean figs while curled up in our tranquility lounge, stretch out and bask in the sun on a comfortable lounge chair by the pool.
Want a vacation that will have all your friend’s talking about it on social media? Bored of the standard plush hotels? Well, these odd locations could be just what the adventurer in you is looking for.
From the Desert Cave Hotel in Australia and the Magic Mountain in Chile to the Tree House Hotel in Sweden and the Dog Bark Park Inn in Idaho, there is something in this list below, to tickle everyone’s strangest fancy.
This hotel is perfect for those who just love airplanes so much, they never want to get off one. The hotel on the west coast of Costa Rica features a Boeing 727 “fuselage home”. The pimp pad has an ocean view terrace, a private entrance up a river rock, spiral staircase, and a 360-degree view of the surrounding gardens.
For £380 a night, you too can sleep 509ft underground! The Sala Silvermine Hotel, in Vdstmanland County, Sweden, has created a room so far beneath the earth’s surface that it can only be accessed through a mine lift shaft. The bizarre bedroom comes complete with a luxurious double bed, silver furnishings and champagne platter…. but worth a side note, cell phones don’t really work down there.
There is no doubt the location is ideal: The complex is located on a 10 acre ocean front property in the famous Punta Uva beach, just south of Puerto Viejo in the province of Limon. Sure, you have total privacy and a natural tranquil atmosphere, but the bathroom at the Beach Suite is designed to feel like an alien craft on the inside.
If you are a fan of winter, you will love this hotel. The authentic Hôtel de Glace in America, has seduced over half a million people around the world since its opening in 2001. With its huge snow vaults and its crystalline ice sculptures, the Hôtel de Glace impresses by its dazzling decor. Your night at the hotel comes complete with a Nordic sleeping bag!
Giraffe Manor is set in 12 acres of private land within 140 acres of indigenous forest and is only 20 kilometres from Nairobi city centre. Built in the 1930s, this luxury boutique hotel has maintained all the charm of the era and is now famous for its resident herd of Rothschild Giraffe. Giraffe Manor offers you an unparalleled experience of the giraffes, with them vying for your attention at the breakfast table, the front door and even your bedroom window.
Giraffe Manor is also home to many characters including warthogs, bushbuck, dik dik and more than 180 species of birds and has a striking view of the Ngong hills.
The smallest city in the world contains this dream house, set amid lush greenery, far from the madding crowd. Behind the garden gate is a Provençal-style chalet, which is an ideal spot to relax and enjoy the quiet. Each of the 10 rooms at this converted farmhouse serves as a classic tale.
Located in the port of Colchani, on the eastern shore of the Great Salar de Uyuni and just 25 kms from the city of Uyuni, the Hotel Palacio de Sal Hotel & Spa, recently remodeled, is built entirely of salt: Walls, floors, ceilings, and much of its implementation and decoration. That is why it is considered so unique.
Tianzi Hotel, Hebei Province, China
Built in 2000, this 10-story building depicts Fu, Lu and Shou—Chinese gods symbolizing good fortune, prosperity and longevity. Shou, on the left, is holding a peach that contains a suite. Enter the hotel through his right foot.
The hotel holds the Guinness World Record for the “biggest image building” in the world.
You have two options here: The Mirrorcube, which offers an extraordinary opportunity
to experience nature on nature’s terms, without compromising on design or comfort, or the UFO Room, which is suspended in trees and looks as if it’s about to land.
The Desert Cave Hotel allows you to experience dug-out style living, underground shops, bar and opal display areas – all within sandstone surrounds in the heart of Coober Pedy.
Visitors can stay underground, or if they prefer, above ground rooms are also available. Sleeping underground is a unique experience. Quiet, cool, dark and airy – the rooms are spacious with high ceilings. Most visitors say that sleeping underground gives them the best night’s sleep they have ever had!
In Southern Chile there is not that many true four star hotels. The Magic Mountain Hotel and Hotel Baobab are in the heart of the Huilo Huilo nature reserve. The architecture, combined with the forest setting, makes this truly a magical mountain and forest. The rooms are built into an artificial mountain, topped off by a waterfall that blows like a volcano. You will have to cross a monkey bridge, first, to get there.
A room with a slanted floor which makes grandma’s bed seem to fly. The wardrobe comes out of the wall. In the rustic bathroom of natural stone you will find eggplant-coloured slate. Hey, and what about the room with two coffins? In this hotel, each room is crazier than the next.
Dubbed “The Crazy House” during its construction, this bizarre guesthouse is the creation of Vietnamese architect Dang Viet Nga. The most common description is “Gaudi meets Disneyland,” with more than a little of Dali thrown in. The Bear Room has only a slight lead over the Kangaroo Room for weirdness.
The Sandcastle Hotel was built on Weymouth beach, Dorset, Britain, 23 July 2008. The idea was owned by LateRooms. The main architect-sculptor of the project Mark Anderson headed a team of 4 sand-sculptors and built the world’s first sand castle, working 14 hours a day for seven days. The 50 square meters fantastic hotel was built from 1000 tons of sand and offered a twin and double bedroom with minimal amenities, but the problem of the toilet facilities remained unsolved. To spend a night in this hotel one needed to pay $21.
Welcome to cave living! This one-bedroom cave home was blasted out of a cliffside in 1980, with three holes drilled for ventilation and electricity. There is a short ladder at the bottom of the path with three wooden steps that land you on the flagstone porch and the front entrance to Kokopelli’s “digs.”
Guests must sign a liability waiver in order to stay.
Godiva designed this suite entirely from chocolate—including the armchairs, the bed, the artwork, the lamps and the walls. The chocolate room was moved to the Bryant Park Hotel for Valentine’s Day in 2008. But unfortunately, as sweet as this suite sounds, the room is for eating, not sleeping!
Finally, you can pay money to sleep in a park! Das Parkhotel in Essen, Germany offers rooms in the form of barrels, each one housing a double-wide Eurofoam mattress. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much leftover space for a TV, but watching feral squirrels through a skylight beats anything Chuck Lorre has to offer anyway.
And if you really want a vacation you won’t forget, then this one is just for you;
Karostas Cietums Hotel, Latvia
Why not spend the night in prison, but pay for the experience? The Karostas Cietums started as a Russian prison and remains much the same now as it was then. Your stay includes being handcuffed and led to your jail cell, stripped of your belongings, fed bread and water and allotted a bed of wood or iron mattresses. The hotel is only open from May 1 to October 1 each year. It is also said to be haunted. Double bonus, right?
The weather outside may be frightful, but we have a secret summer escape: Dorada Beach situated 15 miles west of San Juan in Puerto Rico’s Northern Coast.
The just-opened Ritz-Carlton is steps away from the beautiful Caribbean Sea and surrounded by acres of tropical forest. Not many people know about it. Yet.
Dorado Beach is located on a 1,400 acres reserve, which is highlighted from every aspect of the luxury hotel.
Pick one of the 100 guestrooms or 14 one-bedroom suites (all directly on the beach) or for the ultimate experience, book the plantation hacienda, Su Casa, renovated back to its original 1920s style to serve as a four-bedroom beachfront VIP villa. Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors entirely disappear onto seamless ocean views, while outdoor shower gardens, indoor showers with deep soaking tubs, individual infinity-edge pools, rooftop pools and cabanas create a memorable luxurious experience.
If lounging on the beach gets old, there are 3 spectacular 18-hole golf courses, The Beach Club featuring adult and family pools, and the historic Rockefeller Nature Trail – an open-air sanctuary from land to sea. Explore the historic 11-mile Rockefeller Trail on foot, by bike or even golf cart.
Famed chef José Andrés, pilots Mi Casa, his first restaurant outside the United States. Inspired by Puerto Rico’s diverse culinary landscape, guests are treated to a menu of locally caught seafood and avant-garde dishes, with a breath-taking view of the Caribbean.
We’ll meet you for a massage at the Tree House, part of the spa experience, located in the midst of tropical trees where the trade winds waft through. Maybe a nap afterwards in a hammock?
Whenever we hear the word “Bangkok” we can’t but think of the infamous song” One Night in Bangkok,” (The Frankie Goes To Hollywood) version:
Bangkok, Oriental setting And the city don’t know that the city is getting The crème de la crème of the chess world in a Show with everything but Yul Brynner
The age-old city is still mysterious and mystical but now also modern, with buzzing businesses of steel and glass juxtaposed against the century-old Thai buildings. It’s also becoming known for its luxurious resorts, most recently the W Bangkok which is slated to open on Dec. 7.
The luxury hotel will combine a 31-floor modern glass tower with a century-old, European-inspired heritage building. Set in the heart of Bangkok’s bustling commercial district with direct access to Skytrain, the city’s elevated rail system, the rooms and suites look stunning in the sneak peek photos: gold, blue or magenta floors, colored glass planks ( see how the panels have been used to create privacy between the master room and the bathroom )and custom designed chrome furniture and padded leather beds. Each room has been designed with the international jet-setter in mind, with state-of-the-art in-room technology.
After a busy day exploring temples and shopping in the Phra Nakhon district, the W Bangkok will be a home away from home.
At the SLS Hotel South Beach Grand Opening you could only expect the best– and that is exactly what they delivered.
The SLS hotel, located in Miami’s South Beach, hosted a high-octane party with a slew of celebs, loaded with tasty cocktails (Grey Goose offerings) and delectable hors d’oeuvres by José Andrés (of Bazaar) but the night creatures, including a giant bull and dragon were a surprise!
Nearly 1,000 guests mingled in all areas of the hotel designed by icon Philippe Starck, and were instantly enveloped by the Le Cirque de Rêves theme. Seductive Geishas served drinks, while projections of monkeys scaled the walls of the hotel along with state of the art digital mapping and life-size holograms throughout the property.
We spotted Madame de Pompadour, along with other characters, portrayed by the Gallim Dance Company, engaging guests in a playful theatrical experience while they elegantly traveled through the hotel and began their journey. An exuberant sbe founder Sam Nazarian – along with partners Philippe Starck, José Andrés and Lenny Kravitz—lead the carousing.
Miami’s finest were treated to a special performance by Rumer Willis and her band; their first big debut performance. The crowd absolutely loved her and her boyfriend, Jayson Blair, was so supportive the entire time and was front and center for her performance, taking pictures of her.
Who we weren’t surprised to see there? Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Miami” Adriana De Moura, Ana Quincoces, Lisa Hochstein and Lea Black. Fortunately, none of them tried to upstage the drama already taking place at the grand opening.
To escape the cold and head into the heat at the hottest hotel in South Beach, simply click here for reservations.
You can thank us later when you’re bronzed, beautiful and relaxed….
If you’re on the East Coast, you have probably already had enough of the extreme weather conditions and we are only in the first weeks into November.
So, why not escape it all– even if it is only for the weekend.
The Venetian and The Palazzo Las Vegas are home to “Winter in Venice”, the second-annual celebration of the winter holiday season on the Las Vegas Strip, dubbed “A Gift of The Venetian.”
With 50 days of seasonal experiences throughout both resorts, “Winter in Venice” is the ultimate destination for a holiday getaway, running Nov. 18, 2012 through Jan. 6, 2013.
In its first year, “Winter in Venice” captured the attention – and the hearts – of visitors around the world, includingTravel + Leisure magazine. In fact, the prestigious publication touted the “Winter In Venice” skating rink in its feature on the “world’s coolest skating rinks.”
Additional fans of “Winter in Venice” last year included Jordin Sparks, Holly Madison, Karina Smirnoff, and Melissa Rycroft.
“The holidays are such a magical time for everyone and Winter in Venice offers the perfect place to truly enjoy this special time of year,” said John Caparella, president and chief operating officer of The Venetian, The Palazzo and Sands Expo.
Here are some of the highlights of “Winter in Venice”…
A New Storyline
“Winter in Venice finds its inspiration in the folklore and tales that generations of Italians have grown to know and love,” said Caparella. “Those stories have filled the imaginations of generations of Venetians with the experiences of festive holiday seasons coupled with the long-treasured spirit of giving and sharing. Within these tales are the characters that exemplify the good will, the fun and the excitement of the season.”
Throughout the 50-day celebration, guests will encounter these new characters — including the stunning Winter in Venice Queen — in entertaining ways, including the nightly parade, tree-lighting shows, and the new “Light of Venice” 3D light projection show.
Doge’s Palace and Outdoor Ice Skating Rink
The Venetian’s front exterior will be adorned in winter schemes reminiscent of the fabled city of Venice. Thousands of festooned lights will hang over the majestic ice skating rink as larger-than-life snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72-inches in diameter, surround the façade of The Venetian.
The impressive skating surface is made of environmentally-friendly material playfully called “ven-ICE,” which doesn’t require electricity or refrigeration. The surface is actually not made of ice at all, but a state-of-the-art recycled polymer, part of the resort’s industry-leading green initiatives. On the canal, romance is in the air, as skaters are invited to make figure-eights or glide hand-in-hand with loved ones.
Nearby, an awe-inspiring 65-foot LED Christmas tree presides over Doge’s Palace, and guests are entertained by strolling entertainers. With gondoliers whisking by and strolling winter characters all around, guests can enjoy the outdoor ice skating rink from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. daily. Throughout the season, special ice skating exhibition performances can also be seen on the rink, including Surya Bonaly, Olympic silver medalist on Nov. 18.
Nightly Holiday Parade, Light Show and Tree Lighting
Each evening at 6 and 8pm, a new parade will wind through The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace plaza, featuring characters from the “Winter in Venice” celebration.
The whimsical and elaborate designs will help to set the stage for the evening’s entertainment, and will offer the perfect photo opportunity for a post to Facebook or Twitter.
Preceding the parade, seasonal storylines will be projected in another way – in glorious 3D – in the technical marvel “Light of Venice.” This spectacular 3D projection show that transforms the architecture of the iconic clock tower using state-of-the-art digital technology. The show will conclude with a live finale that will illuminate the iconic plaza, including the 65-foot Christmas tree. In addition, guests will enjoy strolling musicians and special entertainment performances scheduled throughout the 50-day celebration.
Golden Spoon Chef Competition
What’s an Italian festival without food? As part of “Winter in Venice”, guests can witness the rise of a culinary legend, as one resort chef is crowned the winner of the first The Venetian Golden Spoon Master Chef Competition.
The competition, which unfolds on Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, is open to all Sous Chefs and Chefs de Cuisine at the 30+ restaurants located inside The Venetian and The Palazzo. These chefs will vie for the prestige of THE VENETIAN GOLDEN SPOON AWARD. Chefs will be challenged to create recipes using ingredients provided in a “mystery basket,” to be prepared in mobile “food truck” kitchens, located at The Venetian’s Doge’s Palace. Each chef’s creation will then be available for sale.
Expect plenty of surprises, including guest appearances by The Venetian and The Palazzo’s celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse, Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich and Sammy DeMarco.
Food & Beverage
A seasonal “Winter in Venice” cocktail menu, including holiday-inspired spiced cocktails such asGondolier Blanco, Da Vinci Remedy, and Pom Proseccowill be available throughout the resort lounges, including The Bourbon Room, Zebra Lounge, Bellini Bar, Fusion Mixology Bar and Laguna Champagne Bar.
Holiday-themed prix fixe menus and specials will be offered by select world-class restaurants throughout the holiday including Aquaknox, B&B, Bouchon, Canaletto, Canyon Ranch Café, Delmonico, FIRST Food & Bar, Grand Lux Cafe, Pinot Brasserie, Postrio, Table 10, LAVO Italian Restaurant and Valentino.
For more information on “Winter in Venice” or these exclusive suite packages, please visit venetian.com or palazzo.com.