Let’s face it, in the past air travel may have been glamorous but whatever mystique it once had is gone, despite Richard Branson’s best efforts. The indignities that accompany air travel are only exacerbated by delays that can result from mechanical, weather or to too much air traffic.
If you happen to find yourself stuck in an airport needing to rebook or talk to someone for help, chances are the customer service desk and phone lines will be overtaxed and frustratingly slow. It never ceases to amaze me how veteran travelers shout into their phones or wait in endless lines but never once consider Tweeting the airlines for assistance.
Last week I arrived at LaGuardia airport only to find out my 4PM shuttle had been cancelled. The befuddled agent smiled as she gave me a new ticket for the 9PM shuttle. I didn’t bother to say anything as I could hear to my left and right agents sharing the same unwelcome news. Instead I hopped on Twitter and contacted the airline. Within 10 minutes (from the comfort of my seat at the bar) I was placed on standby for the 5PM and guaranteed a seat on the 6PM shuttle. Not ideal, but I leaped a line of angry fliers begging for special treatment that was never going to happen.
My travel tip to everyone is to know your airline Twitter handle. Some airlines are better at this than others; two that I’ve used that are very responsive are JetBlue (@JetBlue) and Delta Airlines (@Delta Assist).
Have you used Twitter to help you avert any travel nightmares? Do share.
Last summer I wrote a hotel review for The Setai Fifth Avenue. This posh independent hotel just steps from the Empire State Building was recently purchased by Langham Hotels. On my recent visit to New York City I happened to stay in the newly branded property that officially changed names approximately two weeks ago.
For those familiar with The Setai, you will be pleased to note on your return visit to the property now called Langham Place, Fifth Avenue, service remains impeccable. The rooms are laid out to maximize the space and the quality of the materials used add a touch of luxury.
Sleek, elegant design is how I would characterize the rooms.
The TV, work space and closet are comfortable and practical in their design.
And the over sized shower and bath tub make you feel like you are at a spa.
While travelers will like the convenient location of the hotel, the perks like the free shoe shine service and even the comfortable slippers that are laid out for you as part of the hotel’s nightly turn down service, I especially appreciated the deliciously brewed coffee in the morning from my room’s Nespresso machine.
With the Memorial Day weekend now within sight, the summer travel season will begin in earnest.
Cape Cod, the islands and all of the New England coastline will be open for business as tens of thousands of Gay and Lesbian travelers come to get married and or visit places like Provincetown and Ogunquit.
If you have questions about organizing a trip to a location here in New England or if you will be spending a night or two in Boston and have questions about logistics, places to stay, eat, stuff to do, etc… feel free to reach out and I’ll do my best to provide you with a local’s perspective.
The adorable gay model, Max Emerson, has created a very cute 2 minute video about life in NYC with a quick visit to the Chelsea Piers, dancing in Hell’s Kitchen at The Ritz, The West Village, Harlem and much more… Enjoy.
Recently I wrote about Merchant’s Row at the historic Concord Colonial Inn, which is situated in Concord, MA quaint town center. Concord is approximately 30 minutes northwest of Boston by car and is also easily accessible by commuter rail. After spending a night at the Colonial Inn, I started to think about how this New England town makes for a romantic overnight or day trip.
Earlier this year I wrote about how more gay and lesbian couples are opting for different travel destinations. While most of my travels showcase larger cities and more traditional gay destinations, for those looking for an easier and more affordable get away, Concord, MA may appeal. Steeped in history, The Concord Colonial Inn will be celebrating its 300th Anniversary in just three years.
If an overnight isn’t feasible, try the Inn for lunch or dinner, although there are several other dining options in the town center too. In addition to food and shops, historic Walden Pond is just a short distance away and easy to get to by bicycle. I’m still a city kid at heart, and I’ll be obsessing about getting to Ptown once summer hits but Concord was more fun than I would’ve ever expected. If you are new to New England or curious to explore the area, consider heading up for a night or an afternoon. The town is very progressive and LGBT-friendly.
With the month of June just weeks away, I cannot help but think about summer and that got me to thinking about –where else?– but Provincetown.
Last summer a number of readers emailed me with questions about Ptown so I thought I’d write a post to include some of the information I was most often asked. Email at BosGuymail@gmail.com if you have any other questions.
When to go to provincetown
I think Provincetown is a great destination nearly year round, but most travelers visit during the most popular theme weeks in the summer months. For a more complete listing of events and theme weeks this summer link here.
International Film Festival presents an array of narrative features, documentaries and short films. This year’s festival runs from June 19-23rd.
Independence Week possibly the busiest week of the year in Provincetown so make your reservations ASAP - July 1-7th.
Bear Week one of the most popular weeks to visit, this year the week has been pushed back and runs from July 13-21st.
Carnival is a week long celebration from August 18-24th with the parade scheduled for Thursday, August 22nd. This year’s theme is “Viva Las Vegas”.
how to get to provincetown
Driving is a popular but stressful way to get to Provincetown. Without traffic, travel time from Boston is approximately 2+ hours, but traffic remains a constant in the summer and can sometimes take 3+ hours.
One may also fly from Boston’s Logan Airport to Provincetown on Cape Air in less than 30 minutes. However, my preferred mode of travel between Boston and Provincetown is the ferry service provided by BHC and Bay State. Note that both companies have different arrival / departure times.
Boston Harbor Cruises (BHC) $85 Round Trip - more information here.
Bay State Cruise Company $85 Round Trip - more information here.
Provincetown has an incredibly diverse number of lodging options for such a tiny town. Many people will rent houses and apartments which typically run from Saturday to Saturday. However, there is a long list of Bed & Breakfasts, small inns and camp grounds that cater to all price ranges. Ptown’s Chamber of Commerce has a listing of many (but not all) options here.
Feel free to shoot me an email at BosGuymail@gmail.com if you are planning a trip to Provincetown and have questions. I’ll be happy to do my best to answer any questions as you plan your trip to one of my favorite destinations.
The Welcoming Committee fresh off its successful Foxwoods Casino Takeover recently announced another trip that will take place June 22-23rd (Saturday and Sunday) in Montreal. Thanks to a lot of planning on their part, the cost of the trip can be as affordable as you like, allowing you to reserve a room for yourself (perhaps you anticipate late night entertaining) or you may share a room with one other or for those truly on a budget pile four friends into a room with two beds.
June 22 – 23 Montreal Take Over – TWC Style
Who wouldn’t want to travel with such an attractive, fun crowd
Prices for this #DestinationTakeover as TWC refers to it are downright affordable starting at $199.99, but because those kooky kids at TWC love me and my blog so much they’ve offered to give any of my readers who register a $75 discount. Don’t procrastinate if your interest is piqued because this wicked awesome bargain (please pronounce as baaahgen) ends Thursday, May 9th.
Discount Code: BosGuyTakeover
Good for a $75.00 discount through Thursday, May 9th
More details about the trip and where to buy your tickets found here.
Queerty recently posted The World’s 10 Best Gay Beaches. While I don’t take these sort of lists seriously, I do find them entertaining and I’m assuming you do too. Interestingly, I’ve only been to four of the ten named beaches which span the globe. Which of these beaches have you been to?
Ipanema Beach (Rio de Janeiro) – Brazil*
Fire Island (NY) – USA
Gran Canaria – Spain
North Bondi Beach (Sydney) – Australia*
Sebastian Beach (Fort Lauderdale FL) – USA*
Elia Beach Mykonos – Greece
Herring Cove (Provincetown MA) – USA*
Hilton Beach (Tel Aviv) – Israel
Manuel Anotonio Beach – Costa Rica
Clifton 3rd (Capetown) – South Africa
I’ve been to the beaches asterisked, and although some are nicer than others, I’ve enjoyed all of them. I’m surprised San Francisco’s clothing optional Baker Beach didn’t make the list. What beaches would you add to this list?
I’d add Praia Mole in Florianopolis as an amazing gay beach worth checking out. It also happens to be the beach in the photo at the top of this post.
As society becomes more accepting, more gay travelers in the US are visiting places that aren’t traditional gay enclaves and the travel industry has taken note.
Scott Kearnan’s article in Boston Spirit Magazine, ‘Gay-Friendly’ is not good enough anymore, suggests the term ‘gay-friendly’ doesn’t have the meaning it once did. As people are exposed to gay characters on television and in the movies and as they get to know gay and lesbian couples, the idea of same sex relationships becomes more ordinary than extraordinary. Gay travelers are less and less interested in a destination just because it is gay he writes; these travelers also want to visit places of personal interest and I couldn’t agree more.
Artist rendering by Leo Villareal
Next Tuesday The Bay Lights will create a lighting sculpture that is 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high. The lighting celebration was inspired by the Bay Bridge 75th anniversary and will use 25,000 white individually programmed LED lights that are capable of creating dazzling displays across the bridge’s west span.
When I was in San Francisco earlier this month I had a great view of the bridge and it appeared the lights were already programmed, but according to the Bay Lights website, thebaylights.org, the program starts next Tuesday, March 5th and will shine from dusk to midnight for two years. Check out this video which explains the program in more detail.
I’m starting to feel as if I’m living in W Hotels. I have spent 9 of the last 13 days at W Hotels. Because of the snowstorm that hit the northeastern US this past weekend my quick trip to San Francisco was prolonged by a few days, affording the me the opportunity to spend a bit more time at the W Hotel in this city.
The lobby and ground floor bar have that distinctive W-vibe people either love or hate, but which I like. This particular property has a single arcade table in the bar that has a series of nostalgic games like Galaga, Packman, Dig Dug, Centipede, etc… which I enjoyed playing.
My room was on the 31st floor (3106) and had a nice view of the Oakland Bay Bridge. The room was of sufficient size and it had all the amenities that I want when I travel for business including a quiet room, comfortable bed, extra outlets at desk level, drawers and a decent size closet with more than enough hangers.
Despite my recent stays at W Hotels, I’m not necessarily one to book at these properties, preferring proximity / location over a particular brand so I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to stay here, but was comfortable and happy to have had the opportunity to check it out. South of Market – where this property is located – is near good restaurants, provides easy access to the waterfront, great shopping as well as some good gay bars.
While staying at the W Spa and Resort in Vieques, we primarily dined at the restaurant and during the day – poolside at the bar. While one can grab a sandwich or burger from the bar menu, dinners are only served at Sorce. The hotel restaurant prices are similar to what you would pay at a nice restaurant in Boston with cocktails costing ~ $15 and main dishes ranging from $22 to $38. Although the food was mostly quite good, I preferred their breakfast menu. Sadly two of our favorite items, the pancakes and the huevos rancheros I failed to photograph, partly because they were inhaled so quickly.
Our favorite meal came at the suggestion of one of the locals who told us about Sabores, a restaurant in Isabel II (a town 15 minutes away by car) or approximately $10 cab fare from the W. From the oustide, Sabores looks to be nothing special, but the inside is brightly decorated and the food is delicious. I started our dinner with the two large crab cakes shown above ($12), which were the best I’ve had in recent memory and something I would suggest to anyone who asked. After the shared appetizer was cleared, I had Mofongo ($19). For those unfamiliar with Mofongo, it is a fried plantain-based dish from Puerto Rico that is served with meat in a tomato and chicken broth sauce. The savory meal is both hearty and addicting and I’m embarrassed to admit I ate the entire meal – barely giving Sergio the chance to get a few bites in edgewise. All told, our dinner at Sabores came to $70 with tax and tip included.
If you are visiting Vieques and are curious to check out the restaurant note that Sabores is open Wednesday to Sunday from 6 – 10pm. Call ahead to make reservations at, (787) 741-7000
If you do visit Vieques, nearly everyone will tell you to book the bioluminescent tour in mosquito bay. Unfortunately we were not able to capture by photo the tour experience other than the one of me goofing around before the tour started (see below) so I’ve swiped this image which doesn’t exactly resemble the kayaks we used but is close enough to give you an idea of what this is like.
We arranged our tour at the W Hotel and the cost, which included transport to and from the hotel, was $50 per person. We were picked up and dropped off about 20 minutes away from the hotel in a large field with our friendly guide who was preoccupied with getting the group assembled (there were 7 of us total). He then invited us into what he referred to as his “Shaggy” – think Scooby Doo – van; for the record it actually had shag carpeting inside. Our guide drove us through a narrow bumpy path to mosquito bay where we hopped into kayaks and spent the next 45 minutes exploring the bay. Our guide was both humorous and knowledgeable. We really enjoyed the entire experience and loved kayaking out under the stars.
Suggestions / Comments: We took the 6PM tour with kayaks and this gave us the opportunity to return to our hotel by 8:30pm to grab a dinner and talk about the experience. While I believe some still snorkel or swim in Mosquito Bay, it is strongly discouraged as it is disturbing and disrupting the ecosystem. The company we used and, which I’d recommend is called Bieque Eco Trips.
The W Hotel in Vieques includes a spa, which was directly behind our room and which I passed each day when I would go to use the property’s gym. I promised myself if I worked out each day while visiting, I would treat myself to a massage before leaving so on our final day I arranged to have a one hour massage. My masseur was a youngish looking man named Marcos. After meeting in the spa’s lobby, he escorted me to one of the private rooms. While Marcos was more than competent and worked out a surprising number of knots in my back, the experience was worthwhile because of the setting. The grounds, the private room and of course the fantastic, private outdoor shower, which I used after the massage made the experience even more relaxing and peaceful. I have to admit the rest of the day I felt fantastic and slept like a baby that night. If you are curious about visiting the property and using the spa, you can see a full range of their services by visiting their website here.
I recently returned from my stay at the W Spa and Resort in Vieques, Puerto Rico, and I wanted to share my thoughts about this property. The grounds are immaculately maintained and the property is beautiful, but if you are to book here, I would strongly recommend the rooms that overlook Whisper Beach in buildings 100, 200, or 300 — they not only have spectacular views, but are much more private. Our room (221) was on the second floor and although you cannot see it in the photos above, the balcony is quite large and fairly private. This sense of seclusion was only enhanced by the fact that the property was mostly empty while we were visiting which was more than fine with me.
Sergio spent most of his time laying out by the two beautiful pools. I spent more time relaxing in one of the many hammocks or sitting by the poolside bar, although I did make sure to spend some time each afternoon at Whisper Beach / Cove, which our room overlooked. The water was warm and shimmered with those blue-green colors you associate with the Caribbean.The property is quite expensive, but I was able to use my Starwood Points to ensure that all we had to pay for was nominal fees and whatever we ate and drank. In spite of the cost, I still am glad to have visited this property and thought spending 4-nights was the perfect amount of time. If I’d spent more time, I would have wanted to get off of the property to explore the island more. If that would be your intent, then I would suggest renting a house rather than incurring the costs associated with staying at a resort.
Getting There: We were able to fly non-stop from Boston to San Juan Puerto Rico then connect with Cape Air to the island. The W actually has a sleek lounge for guests waiting to leave or to be picked up and driven to the property which is about 1 mile away, making the entire trip really easy. The W can also easily arrange transport off the property; depending on where you go and how often you want to leave the property, renting one of the many jeeps (also available at the property) might be a better decision. For our two jaunts off the property arranging taxi transport ($10 each way for the two of us) was more sensible.
More To Come: We really did have a fantastic trip and I plan on writing a bit more about the food, the spa at the W and of course the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico.