Category Archives: Travel

JetBlue announces new nonstop service between Boston and Paris in the summer of 2023

It will get a little easier to visit The City of Lights next year. Earlier this week JetBlue announced new nonstop service from JFK and Boston to Paris will begin in the summer of 2023. Similar to their London flights from Boston, JetBlue will use the narrow body A321 with 114 seats in the core as well as 24 Mint seats.

No word on when ticket sales will begin or starting prices but stay tuned. I’m sure more information will be forthcoming over the next month or two.

2022 Summer recap

Labor Day Weekend officially brings the summer season to a close in New England. The warm weather will continue to bring people to the beaches but the summer-state-of-mind shifts back to reality when I return to the office on Tuesday so I thought I’d recap what has been a wonderful summer.

MAY: Hello Captiva Island
Our first large group vacation since the COVID-19 outbreak took place over Memorial Day Weekend. Our friends David (taking the selfie), Mark (next to him in the green polo) and Rodney (in the back with the I ❤️ Fig Newtons shirt) organized this amazing trip. It was a great start to the summer season.

JUNE: Summah in the City
We spent most of June in Boston and highlights included going to a few Red Sox games at Fenway Park and going to M Street Beach (a.k.a. Kiki Beach) in Southie on the weekends. I love Boston in the summer.

@Fenway Park with Paul
Goofing around before the crowds arrive

JULY: Ptown & Brazil
We spent the July 4th holiday in Provincetown relaxing at our friend Marco’s beautiful home, and seeing friends, including the proud new owners of the Crown & Anchor, Paolo Martini and Jonathan Hawkins. They’ve done an amazing job since purchasing this inn, restaurant and entertainmnet complex, and I couldn’t be happier for them.

New owners of Crown & Anchor, Paolo Martini and Jonathan Hawkins
Hanging with DJ James Cerne at July 4th Crown & Anchor Pool Party

Then it was off to Belo Horizonte, Brazil to celebrate Sergio’s Mom’s 90th birthday at the end of the month. Kudos to Sergio for pulling off an amazing party. Below is a selfie I took to show off Belo Horizonte (Sergio’s hometown).

Belo Horizonte, Brazil

AUGUST: Back to Provincetown for Carnival
After unpacking from Brazil, we turned around a week or so later to go to Provinctown. We spent Carnival Week enjoying drinks and meals with friends, seeing a few shows, and visiting “Boys Beach”. Below are a few photos from our week at Carnival. BTW, Carnival 2023 theme is Land of Toys so start thinking about your costumes.

I’ll definitely miss the summer of 2022. Much thanks to Mother Nature for giving Boston and much of New England one of the best summers in recent memory.

2022 Provincetown Carnival: Monsters, Myths & Legends is August 13-20, 2022

Saturday, August 13th, Carnival Week returns to Provincetown (August 13 – 20). After a two year hiatus, the parade will also return on Thursday, August 18th.

This year’s celebration will include more than 20 events over the week and this year’s theme ICYMI is Monsters, Myths & Legends. Here is a partial listing of some of the many featured events. Note that many events require tickets and may have already sold out so don’t delay.

SUNDAY: “Let’s Get Kraken” Carnival Cruise @3:15PM
SUNDAY: Miss Swamp Thang Opening Party at Crown & Anchor @10PM
MONDAY: Myth of Medusa Carnival Pool Party at Brass Key @1PM
TUESDAY: “Horny” Dance Party at A-House @10PM
WEDNESDAY: “Kapow!” Lycra Party at Red Room at Velvet @10PM
THURSDAY: 44th Annual Carnival Parade on Commercial Street @3PM
FRIDAY: SLURP: Paige Turner’s Tawdry Pool Party at Boatslip @12PM
FRIDAY: Monster Mashup Closing Party at Crown & Anchor @10PM

For more information and to purchase tickets to these and other events taking place over the week, visit the 2022 Provincetown Carnival events page, here.

Pay less, play more on PLAY Airlines now flying out of Boston

Last month, PLAY, an European-based lowcost carrier started flying out of Boston. The new airline based out of Iceland is offering low-cost flights on their new and comfortable Airbus fleet between Boston and 20+ cities in Europe including Barcelona, Copenhagen, and Prague. All flights appear to connect through Reykjavik, Iceland much like WOW Airlines and Iceland Air.

You can learn more about PLAY and the many European destinations you can fly to by visiting flyPLAY.com.

Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path that winds through several downtown neighborhoods in Boston, identifying 16 historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

The Freedom trail meanders through Beacon Hill, the North End and Charlestown but it can be a bit repetitive with multiple cemeteries and churches each with a slightly different historic significance. To liven things up, over the years, I’ve provided friends a modified version of the Freedom Trail. All that walking and learning works up a thirst so I “enhance” the walk by strategically selecting hydration stops and pointing out unique (but historically irrelevant) sites. Below is the Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy, which uses the city’s official Freedom Trail map.

One can start the Freedom Trail from either the Boston Common or Bunker Hill Monument. I suggest starting in Charlestown so you are back in the center of Boston when done. Grab a ride to Bunker Hill in Charlestown (pronounced, CHARLES-TOWN, unlike the city in SC) or hop on the Orange Line to the Bunker Hill Community College station and walk there. Feel free to walk up the 221 foot obelisk designed to commemorate the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. I’m slightly claustrophobic so I prefer to sit on the hill and look out at the harbor.

After, walk down to the U.S.S. Constitution (commissioned in 1797). I enjoy going aboard but you can get a better selfie from the dock so if boats aren’t your thing, snap a photo then walk over the N. Washington Bridge to the North End (you’ll pass the Converse HQ on your right – in case any of you are fans of their classic Chuck Taylor sneaker). The next stop on the trail is Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, but I skip it since there are other burying grounds on the tour, and I walk friends down Hull Street to show the “House of Spite” a.k.a. Skinny House on the way to the Old North Church.

The Old North Church is probably best known for alerting Paul Revere on how the English would attack, hanging lanterns in their steeple, “one if by land and two if by sea”. From the church, walk down the Paul Revere Mall on your way to Paul Revere’s House. Dating back to 1680, it is one of the oldest buildings in Boston. This home is interesting because of its history but if you’re getting hungry skip going inside and walk to The Modern Pastry on Hanover Street. Buy a cannoli or some other sweet (this is a cash-only establishment) and enjoy it on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It makes for an ideal resting place. From that vantage point, I like to show friends the Union Oyster House, which has been operating since 1826 and has a booth on the second floor where President Kennedy liked to dine with Jackie and others.

Faneuil Hall, the next stop on the tour is a tourist trap but deserving of a visit. Despite having just finished a cannoli (I strongly recommend eating desserts first), if hungry the neighboring Quincy market and (the slightly less busy) Boston Public Market offer many options for lunch. If you’re not hungry but all that walking has made you thirsty take a photo by the Sam Adams statue and pop into the Sam Adams Boston Tap Room.

The next two stops are close to the Sam Adams Tap Room and essentially one in the same. The Old State House and Boston Massacre Site are photo worthy but require nothing more. The ground floor of the Old State House is now a MBTA T stop for Boston’s Orange and Blue Lines. About two blocks away are the Old South Meeting House and the Old Corner Bookstore both of which I routinely skip and walk up School Street to Boston Latin School Site & Ben Franklin Statue. This also happens to be Boston’s Old City Hall, and is a gorgeous example of French Second Empire architecture. Back in the day I’d bring friends to The Littlest Bar (which sadly closed). Walk up School Street to King’s Chapel and Burying Ground. It’s interesting to see the cemetery and the chapel that dates back to 1686, although this is a newer building that opened in 1754.

The Parker House Hotel is next to King’s Chapel and has the distinction of being the longest continuously operating hotel in the US. It happens to be where the Boston Creme Pie was invented in 1856 and where both Ho Chi Minh (from 1912-1913) and Malcolm X in the 1940s worked briefly. The first a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician and the other, a prominent African American muslim minister and activist.

The next stop, Granary Burying Ground, is one block down on Tremont Street. This cemetery has many famous graves including the Franklin (as in Ben’s parents) family grave, an ostentatious tomb for John Hancock and a grave for Samuel Adams but my favorite is the tiny grave for Elizabeth “Mother” Goose (1665 – 1758). Next to the cemetery is the next stop on the Freedom Trail, Park Street Church, which I typically skip. Perhaps it’s my Catholic roots, but I find old Protestant churches stark and uninteresting on the inside.

The second to last stop on the Freedom Trail is one worth entering, The Massachusetts State House. While this isn’t the largest State House it is architecturally beautiful and has many historical points of interest. You can sign up for a building tour, here. The top of the state house dome is capped with a pine cone. For those who enjoy trivia, the reason for that is explained here. After finishing the tour, go next door to the 21st Amendment Pub. Toast the repeal of prohibition and for completing the Boston Freedom Trail. The final stop, The Boston Common, established in 1634, is one block away.

Perdido Puerto Vallarta

Sergio and I recently returned from Puerto Vallarta. This was our second time visiting the Mexican city on the Pacific. Our first visit in March of 2019, I wrote about here.

The second visit didn’t disappoint. We revisited many of the places we enjoyed on our first visit and stumbled upon some places that were new to us, starting with our stay at the Pinnacle 179. Located just a couple blocks from the beach and near some of our favorite places to eat and drink, the location was perfect for us. We splurged on this trip and reserved a corner suite which offered beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.

Pinnacle 179 – Puerto Vallarta

Visiting Puerto Vallarta in April was the right choice for us. The weather was perfect (mid 80s and sunny) but the crowds had thinned, which allowed us to make last minute dinner reservations, enjoy the beach and our hotel’s roof deck inifinity pool without having to wake up early or rush to reserve chairs.

We ended up returning to many of the same restaurants we enjoyed on our first visit. We had most of our breakfasts on the beach at La Palapa. Nearly every morning we enjoyed our coffee and breakfast with our toes in the sand, but we did venture to other favorites such as Coco’s Kitchen, which continues to be a favorite breakfast destination for gay men of all ages.

La Palapa Restaurant

We also enjoyed two excellent dinners on this trip. We returned to P.V.’s Cafe des Artiste, dining in their garden, and Sergio surprised me by suggesting we order from the chef’s tasting menu. The service and food lived up to our memories and solidified our emotional bond with the space ensuring we will return on future visits to P.V.

We also discovered The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar. The restaurant which overlooks Banderas Bay has an interesting history to Hollywood legends, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton who discovered the place in 1962 when Burton starred in John Huston’s The Night of the Iguana.

The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Casa Kimberly’s history begins in 1962, when Burton came to the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Vallarta to star in director John Huston’s classic The Night of the Iguana. Although Burton and Taylor were married to other people at the time they clearly had a thing for each other and Burton arranged for Elizabeth to stay in Casa Kimberly, directly across the street from his own casita. He built a bridge connecting the two and gave Casa Kimberly to Taylor for her 32nd birthday in 1964. In 2010 the entire building was renovated and the restaurant was added.

We did more than just eating while visiting but I do admit P.V.s dining scene is one more thing I really enjoy about visiting the city. Most afternoons we’d take a break from sunning ourselves to walk around. Inevitably we’d find ourselves at Blondie’s enjoying a cold beer or two in the shade provided upstairs.

Happy Hour at Blondie’s

I wish JetBlue or Delta (or anyone really) would consider a nonstop flight from Boston to Puerto Vallarta. The only downside in visiting this place which reminds me of a much larger and more rustic, Mexican version of Provincetown is that it takes an entire day of travel. I’d encourage guys from Boston who are reading this to write to their preferred airline and make the suggestion. Perhaps if enough people ask, an airline may consider flying the route. I know we’d certainly go back more frequently if a nonstop flight became an option for us.

Goofing around at Pinnacle 179 roof deck pool

Hasta la proxima!

Gay travel tips for Aruba: One Happy Island

Sergio and I just returned from a vacation to the Caribbean island of Aruba, and I wanted to share some of our photos and impressions while we still have the tan lines to prove we were there.

We spent five nights in Aruba exploring parts of the island, checking out different beaches, and eating. The island has many reefs and the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean make it ideal for snorkeling and SCUBA, but Sergio and I opted to forgo such activities. This was truly a “fly-n-flop” holiday as my friend Tracey put it.

Where the gays are: I have a hunch one reason gay Caribbean cruises are so popular is because with the exception of Havana, Cuba and San Juan, Puerto Rico, there is no “gay life” to speak of on Caribbean islands, and Aruba is no exception. We didn’t see a single beach, bar or space the LGBTQ+ community shared or called their own. However, we did spot and chat with a few gay travelers, and we never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. However, I did notice at times we did pull back and were less affectionate than we might have been if we were in Provincetown, SoBe, or another more outwardly gay friendly destination.

The lack of an LGBTQ element didn’t take away from the fun and we both returned from Aruba refreshed, tan, and happy. Below are some details about our trip, and observations about Aruba.

Aruba’s beaches: We did not visit the undeveloped East Coast but there are many half and full day tours to this part of the island that are very popular. We opted to drive up and down the West Coast from the Arashi Dunes behind the California Lighthouse in the North down to Rodger’s and Baby Beach in the South. We made a number of stops at small beachside groves and larger beaches but our favorites were Arashi Beach, Flamingo Beach on Renaissance Island, and Baby Beach.

Food & drink We really liked the food on the island. Aruba may be a Dutch colony, but its cuisine is more influenced by Venezuala and Colombia. The seafood is excellent and nearly every night we ate on or near the beach. Some of our favorite places to eat and drink were:

  • Azia is located across from the Hilton at the southern end of Palm Beach. The menu is pan-Asian and everything we ate was excellent. This place also made the best cocktails and had a cool bar / lounge for pre- or post-dinner drinks.
  • Barefoot was a favorite spot to dine in part because most of the tables are on the beach. We made reservations about 30-minutes prior to sunset, and it made for spectacular dining. The only deterrant is the beach club next door which played rather loudly, 90s Hip Hop and R&B.
  • Pelican Nest is a rustic restaurant on a pier on Plam Beach. I very much appreciated the shade and cold beers they served at lunch to escape the heat and sun.
  • The West Deck has picnic tables on the beach or tables on their deck with very nice and attentive staff who offered some great suggestions for our stay. It’s also a great place to grab a Balashi (Aruban lager) and waste away a few hours after the sun goes down.

Observations about traveling in Aruba

  • Currency: You can get money from the airport ATM if you want Aruban Florins, but the island uses US $ and you are more likely get your change in US currency than Florins so no worries about converting currency if coming from the US.
  • Weather: In late January it was warm and sunny with temperatures in the low 80s F / 28 C. The big surprise was how arid is Aruba’s climate.
  • Customer Service: Everyone from hotel staff to taxi drivers to waitstaff was friendly and helpful. It really does seem like one happy island.
  • Getting Around: We rented a SUV for two days to visit beaches and restaurants up and down the island. The heat makes biking impractical and while taxis are plentiful it does get expensive. Parking was free everywhere we went so the car rental became a no brainer.
  • Taxis: You must have cash because taxis do not accept credit cards and ride sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are not on the island.

If you are planning a trip from Boston, I’d encourage you to book JetBlue’s nonstop flight. At the moment, they are the only carrier offering nonstop service to the island. If you’re contemplating a trip and have questions about Aruba, reach out to me at bosguymail@gmail.com or leave your question in the comment section.

Vacation on the brain

handsome, hairy, hunk

As Sergio and I prepare to get away for our first proper vacation since December 2019, I can’t help but wonder where you might like to go if you had the chance?

Suspend reality for a moment, forget your responsibilities, budget and anything that might make you hesitate and share where you would like to go for a few nights to relax and recharge. Would you sun yourself at a beach, hit the ski slopes, or visit a city?

We will be spending time in the Caribbean where I plan to spend as much time as I can at the beach without burning – not easy to do when you’re natural skin tone is so pale you’re actually semi-transparent but I’m up for the challenge.

As a result, I may be slow to respond or approve comments, but as always, thank you for visiting my little corner of the Internet.

ISO recommendations when visiting Aruba

Sergio and I will visit Aruba for the first time later this month. We’d welcome any suggestions from anyone familiar with the island.

Mobility: To rent a care or not to rent a car (that is the questions), or can we rely on taxis & Uber? Alternatively, is the island bike-friendly, and if so, can you recommend a place?

Beaches: We will be staying near Flamingo Beach but would like to explore other beaches and see different parts of the island Is there one we should definitely see? And is there a gay beach worth checking out?

Activities: Parasailing, snorkeling, hiking, jet skiing – we are open to all suggestions. If you had a great experience, let us know and we will pass along your recommendation when we make our reservation.

Dining & Drinks: When you opt to vacation on small island overrun by tourists every place is essentially a tourist trap, but all the same, we’d welcome suggestions for meals and places to get drinks.

2022 North American gay ski week calendar

After last year’s hiatus, I wanted to resume my tradition of sharing a calendar of ski weeks organized here in New England and North America. However, it goes without saying that you should continue to check ahead because of COVID.

Here is the 2022 calendar of gay ski celebrations as the circuit moves from beaches to slopes. I also want to give OutRyders – New England’s largest gay ski club a shout out to those in the area. If I’ve missed a ski week, please share in the comments.

Aspen Gay Ski Week: January 16-23, 2022  This week long celebration is the biggest and oldest of its kind starting back in 1977 and has grown significantly over the years.

Winter Rendezvous at Stowe, VT: January 19-23, 2022 This is New England’s largest (and longest running) gay ski week. Boston’s  gay ski club, OutRyders (mentioned above) will help members organize and logistics.

Whistler Pride & Ski Festival: January 23 – 30, 2022  This annual tradition started 30 years ago in 1992, and it offers plenty of activities. If you’re coming from the US enjoy the favorable exchange rate.

Pride “WOW” weekend at Sunday River, ME: February 4 6, 2022 Hosted by OutRyders this weekend is light on programming and heavy on getting outside to enjoy the snow. This is mostly attended by the New England LGBTQ community.

Elevation Utah Gay Ski Week at Park City: February 23 – 27, 2022 While Utah isn’t exactly “gay friendly”, this will be the 12th anniversary and each year the event grows in popularity.

Elevation Mammoth Gay Ski Week: March 16 – 20 2022 The Elevation Ski Week brand started 20 years ago at Mammoth Mountain and attracts mostly a west coast crowd.

*** *** ***

Elevation Tremblant Gay Ski Week takes place in late January in Quebec, but it will not occur this year. The website indicates this fun gay ski week will return in 2023.

Big Gay Jay Weekend at Jay’s Peak, VT no word on if this annual ski weekend run by The OutRyders at Jay’s Peak in southern Vermont will occur but it typically takes place in March.

Boston hotel spotlight: The Langham

I’ve written a four-part series featuring different luxury hotels in Boston for gay travelers who may be visiting the area. These articles are also for locals who may want to pamper themselves with a posh stay-cation and even for those who may never spend a night but would like to treat themselves to hotel services and or dining. We can all do with a little pampering and these hotels are ready, willing and more than able to help you feel special.

lux·u·ry ˈləɡZH(ə)rē/
noun: the state of great comfort and extravagant living.

Luxury hotels in Boston for gay travelers

Over the past few years several luxury brand hotels in Boston have opened and / or undergone significant renovations and are now open for business – like the Langham Boston Hotel. Even if you don’t have the budget to fully experience the ammenities, it is possible to experience luxury in doses.

The Langham, Boston Hotel’s address in Post Office Square has made it a favorite property for business travelers, but the hotel’s convenient location to many points of interest make it an ideal property for visitors coming to Boston for fun. The building first opened in 1922 as the Federal Reserve Bank and was declared an historical landmark in 1978. The granite building was inspired by the Palazzo della Cancelleria, in Rome and is considered an excellent example of Renaissance Revival architecture.

The 300+ room hotel closed in April 2019 to undergo a significant renovation that cost more than $150 million and reopened in June 2021. According to The Boston Globe, the hotel’s billionaire chairman, Lo Ka Shui, incorporated his collection in the Boston property along with a number of commissioned pieces specifically for this hotel from the Copley Society of Art.

Langham Boston Hotel dining and things to do

If you’re unlikely to book a room in this beautifully renovated Boston hotel, there remain several ways to appreciate this property. As part of the renovation, a new Italian restaurant called Grana, and a London-inspired cocktail pub called The Fed (which has an outdoor terrace) will open shortly after the hotel’s reopening I’m especially intrigued by The Fed because there are so few pubs and bars with outdoor space in the Financial District.

Grana is Langham Boston’s new Italian restaurant
The Fed is Langham Boston’s London inspired cocktail pub

For many gay travelers who plan on visiting Provincetown, The Langham might be a good choice. It is a 10-minute walk to either ferry service company or an easy ride from a taxi or Uber driver. Additionally, the hotel is close to points of interest, including the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall as well as Beacon Hill and the North End.

The Langham Boston
250 Franklin Street, Boston 02110
617.451.1900
langhamhotels.com/boston

Boston hotel spotlight: Four Seasons One Dalton

I’ve written a four-part series featuring different luxury hotels in Boston for gay travelers who may be visiting the area. These articles are also for locals who may want to pamper themselves with a posh stay-cation and those who may never spend a night but would like to treat themselves to hotel services and or dining. We can all do with a little pampering and these hotels are ready, willing and more than able to help you feel special.

lux·u·ry ˈləɡZH(ə)rē/ noun: the state of great comfort and extravagant living.

Boston luxury hotel spotlight for gay travelers

Over the past few years several luxury brand hotels in Boston have opened and / or undergone significant renovations and are now open for business. Even if you don’t have the budget to fully experience the ammenities, it is possible to experience luxury in doses at these properties. The Four Seasons One Dalton in Boston’s Back Bay is one such newcomer worth checking out.

The 61-story five star hotel and residence, which opened in May 2019, is Boston’s third tallest building. This is the second Four Season’s hotel in Boston and the glass and steel elliptical design hints at a more modern property than its sister property, the Four Seasons Boston located across from the Public Garden. While the 160 private residences located on the uppermost floors have the best views, the 215 room hotel offers a great vantage point with views of the Charles River, Back Bay and points south and west.

All rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and come with iPads, premium bedding, 65″ plasma televisions and complimentary Internet access to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The muted colors in the guest rooms are intentional and designed to help guests relax, and the rooms’ furnishings have clean and simple lines consistent with the building’s modern design.

Four Seasons restaurants and more

Some of the amenities available to guests who stay at this sleek property include The Wellness Floor (on the 7th floor), which includes a worldclass spa, fitness center and salon facilities along with a stunning indoor pool that has great views of the city below. However, you don’t need to be a guest to make an appointment which is now open Friday through Sunday. Call and make a reservation.

If a stay at this new hotel is unlikely, it is still worth coming to see the property. Located off of the hotel lobby is a vibrant installation of the British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare’s Great American Library. The captivating bookshelf installation brings a smile to my face when I walk through the room to take the stairs up one flight to the contemporary Japanese restaurant, Zuma. However, if contemporary Japanese cuisine isn’t your thing visit Trifecta, the Four Seasons cocktail lounge serves light bites. It is also here that weekend tea service is offered from 11:00am – 3:00pm on Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re looking for something to do during the day and you’re not tempted to make use of the 7th floor pool, gym or spa, head out to Newbury Street for some retail therapy. The hotel is just a few blocks from Boston’s shopping district. Just a few blocks beyond Newbury Street is my favorite park in Boston, The Esplanade. Here you can go for a walk, run or bike ride.

If the dining options at the Four Seasons One Dalton are not of interest, read my post about the Back Bay and South End, which have more LGBTQ+ tips and places to eat or enjoy a few cocktails. The closest gay bar, Club Cafe, is a 10 minute walk. There you can have a meal, check out a cabaret show or go dancing.

Four Seasons
One Dalton Street, Boston 02115
617.377.4888
fourseasons.com/onedalton

Boston hotel spotlight: XV Beacon Hotel

I’ve written a four-part series featuring different luxury hotels in Boston for gay travelers who may be visiting the area. These articles are also for locals who may want to pamper themselves with a posh stay-cation and those who may never spend a night but would like to treat themselves to hotel services and or dining. We can all do with a little pampering and these hotels are ready, willing and more than able to help you feel special.

lux·u·ry ˈləɡZH(ə)rē/ noun: the state of great comfort and extravagant living.

Boston luxury hotel spotlight for gay travelers

Over the past few years several luxury brand hotels in Boston have opened and / or undergone significant renovations and are now open for business. Even if you don’t have the budget to fully experience the ammenities, it is possible to experience luxury in doses. The XV Beacon in Boston’s Beacon Hill is one such property worth checking out.

Although it is not part of the definition, exculsivity is often associated with luxury. For that reason, XV Beacon stands out as the only boutique property in this series.

XV Beacon first opened on Beacon Hill in 2000 and is consistently noted as one of Boston’s preeminent places to stay. It has earned the admiration and respect of Bostonians, guests and the travel industry. It was named by Condé Nast Traveler’s annual Best Hotel or Resort in every state and has many rave reviews on Trip Advisor.

This 63-room boutique property is in a beautiful ten story Beaux Arts building of iron, limestone and brick. It is capped with a copper cornice exterior and exudes great curb appeal. The hotel rooms were individually designed and have four-poster queen bed classic rooms or queen and king-size bed studio rooms that include whirlpool baths, heated towels, in-room fireplaces, complimentary high-speed Internet access, 400-thread-count linen sheets, and museum-quality artwork throughout. 

XV Beacon goes the extra mile by providing helpful guest services like their fleet of chauffeured Lexuses for complimentary trips around Boston. Their superb conceirge services can arrange for on-site massages in your rooms, private tours to places of interest and of historical significance, tickets to shows as well as airport transfers. Tempted? Check out one of XV Beacon Hotel Packages & Promotions and treat yourself.

XV Beacon Hotel restaurant and more

However, if a stay at this beautiful property is unlikely, one can appreciate this unique property’s excellent restaurant (also part of the Columbus Hospitality Group), MOOO. The modern steakhouse is perhaps best known for their private dining room ‘The Wine Cellar’, with double vaulted ceilings and 4,000 bottles of fine and rare wine dating from the 1700s to present day. For an additional private dining option, XV Beacon’s Parlor Suites can be booked, but a more realistic option for those seeking luxury on a budget is to visit MOOO for a cocktail at their bar with a few apps. The staff is superb and the cocktails delicious. Also be on the lookout for MOOO to (hopefully) bring back their acoustic jazz brunch this fall.

The central location of XV Beacon makes it easy for visitors to enjoy some of Boston’s most popular attractions. From the historic Freedom Trail to biking and walking paths by the Esplanade to Fanueuil Hall and shopping in the Back Bay there are plenty of ways to spend your time. If you have limited time and unsure what to do, speak to the concierge team at XV Beacon who have an impeccable reputation and can tailor suggestions to your interests.

After you are done sight seeing, perusing the unique shops on Beacon Hill’s Charles Street or strolling down Newbury Street, head over to Club Cafe for a cabaret show or dancing in the back. For more information about places to shop, dine or go out read my post about the Back Bay and South End which include more places to eat or enjoy a few cocktails at Boston’s gay bars.

XV Beacon Hotel
15 Beacon Street, Boston 02108
1.877.XVBEACON
xvbeacon.com

Boston hotel spotlight: The Newbury Hotel

I’ve written a four-part series featuring different luxury hotels in Boston for gay travelers who may be visiting the area. These articles are also for locals who may want to pamper themselves with a posh stay-cation and those who may never spend a night but would like to treat themselves to hotel services and or dining. We can all do with a little pampering and these hotels are ready, willing and more than able to help you feel special.

lux·u·ry ˈləɡZH(ə)rē/ noun: the state of great comfort and extravagant living.

Boston luxury hotel spotlight for gay travelers

Over the past few years several luxury brand hotels in Boston have opened and / or undergone significant renovations and are now open for business. Even if you don’t have the budget to fully experience the ammenities, it is possible to experience luxury in doses. The Newbury Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay is one such newcomer worth checking out.

When I think of luxury, The Newbury Hotel, (formerly the home to the Ritz Carlton for 75+ years) comes to mind. In 2019 the luxury hotel chain Taj Hotels closed the property and extensive renovations have recently finished. The elegant building that first opened in 1927 has been lovingly updated and reopened to the public as The Newbury Hotel in late May.

For those familiar with the property, the most notable change from the exterior is the hotel’s main entrance which moved from Arlington Street to Newbury Street. The Newbury Street entrance provides greater curb appeal and is easier for those arriving or leaving by car. The other significant change to the building are the enhancements made to the guest rooms. When the building first opened in the 1920s, many guests traveled with large steamer trunks and the hallways were much wider to accommodate them. By modernizing the width of the hotel hallways the Newbury was able to give more space to the guest rooms.

Photo from Newbury Hotel Instagram

Newbury Hotel restaurants and more

If a stay at The Newbury is not in the cards, you can still admire and enjoy this beautiful place and the excellent service from the staff by visiting The Street Bar (see below). The street-level bar looks out across Arlington Street and has nice views of the Public Garden. If you’re familiar with the previous bar, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the redesign which is filled with rich jewel-tone colors, comfortable club chairs and plush banquettes.

At the time of their opening, the bar was serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, but I think it makes for a great jumping off point for a fun night out in Boston or for a nightcap before heading home. I love restaurants and bars with a fire place and this cozy new bar is a welcome addition to the Back Bay.

Photo from Newbury Hotel Instagram

Above The Street Bar, tea service shall begin in July on the second floor. The views overlooking Arlington Street and the Public Garden are difficult to beat and provide plenty to see while indulging in the finger sandwiches, treats and tea. At some point I plan on bringing my niece to enjoy what she will likely refer to as a “fancy” day out with her uncle. Unfortunately the tea service menu is not currently available.

Ken Fulk Interiors [Official Rendering]

If you want to spend more time on the property, make reservations at the newly renovated glass rooftop restaurant called Contessa, that is expected to open before the end of June 2021. The rooftop restaurant with sweeping views of the Public Garden and Boston Common is unique and will be a place to add to your list of restaurants to try. Contessa’s menu will be Italian. The executive chef Mario Carbone is known for 1950s-style red-sauce dishes, according to this article in The Boston Globe.

If you’re idea of a luxury comes in the form of retail therapy, The Newbury Hotel sits at the top of Newbury Street, which offers some of Boston’s most exclusive brands and designers. However, you don’t even have to set foot outside the hotel. You can shop at the Tiffany’s store in the hotel, which means you can shop for some bling then wear it at the roofdeck restaurant over brunch as you live your best life and channel your inner Audrey Hepburn.

After you are done sight seeing, shopping or however you choose to spend your time while staying at the Newbury Hotel, head over to Club Cafe for a cabaret show or dancing in the backroom. For more information about places to shop, dine or go out read my post about the Back Bay and South End which include more places to eat or enjoy a few cocktails at Boston’s gay bars.

The Newbury Boston
One Newbury Street, Boston 02116
617.536.5700
thenewburyboston.com

Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5 mile path that winds through several downtown neighborhoods in Boston, identifying 16 historic markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

The Freedom trail meanders through Beacon Hill, the North End and Charlestown but it can be a bit repetitive with multiple cemeteries and churches each with a slightly different historic significance. To liven things up, over the years, I’ve provided friends a modified version of the Freedom Trail. All that walking and learning works up a thirst so I “enhance” the walk by strategically selecting hydration stops and pointing out unique (but historically irrelevant) sites. Below is the Boston Freedom Trail according to BosGuy, which uses the city’s official Freedom Trail map.

One can start the Freedom Trail from either the Boston Common or Bunker Hill Monument. I suggest starting from Bunker Hill so you are back in the center of Boston when done. Grab a ride to Bunker Hill in Charlestown (pronounced, CHARLES-TOWN, unlike the city in SC) or hop on the Orange Line to the Bunker Hill Community College station and walk there. Feel free to walk up the 221 foot obelisk designed to commemorate the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. I’m slightly claustrophobic so I prefer to sit on the hill and look out at the harbor.

After, walk down to the U.S.S. Constitution (commissioned in 1797). I enjoy going aboard but you can get a better selfie from the dock so if boats aren’t your thing, snap a photo then walk over the N. Washington Bridge to the North End. The next stop on the trail is Copp’s Hill Burying Ground, but I skip this site since there are other burying grounds on the tour, and walk friends down Hull Street to show the “House of Spite” a.k.a. Skinny House on the way to the Old North Church.

The Old North Church is probably best known for alerting Paul Revere on how the English would attack, hanging lanterns in their steeple, “one if by land and two if by sea”. From the church, walk down the Paul Revere Mall on your way to Paul Revere’s House. Dating back to 1680, it is one of the oldest buildings in Boston. This home is interesting because of its history but if you’re getting hungry skip the inside and go to The Modern Pastry on Hanover Street. Buy a cannoli or some other sweet (this is a cash-only establishment) and enjoy it on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It makes for an ideal resting place. From that vantage point, I like to show friends the Union Oyster House, which has been operating since 1826 and has a booth on the second floor where President Kennedy liked to dine.

Faneuil Hall, the next stop on the tour is a tourist trap but deserving of a visit. Despite having just finished a cannoli (I strongly recommend eating desserts first when on vacation), if hungry the neighboring Quincy market and (the slightly less busy) Boston Public Market offer many options for lunch. If you’re not hungry but all that walking has made you thirsty take a photo by the Sam Adams statue and pop into the Sam Adams Boston Tap Room.

The next two stops are close to the Sam Adams Tap Room and essentially one in the same. The Old State House and Boston Massacre Site are photo worthy but require nothing more. The ground floor of the Old State House is now a MBTA T stop for Boston’s Orange and Blue Lines. About two blocks away are the Old South Meeting House and the Old Corner Bookstore both of which I routinely skip and walk up School Street to Boston Latin School Site & Ben Franklin Statue. This also happens to be Boston’s Old City Hall, and it is a gorgeous example of French Second Empire architecture. Back in the day I’d bring friends to The Littlest Bar (which sadly closed). Walk up School Street to King’s Chapel and Burying Ground. It’s interesting to see the cemetery and the chapel that dates back to 1686, although this is a newer building that opened in 1754.

The Parker House Hotel is next to King’s Chapel and has the distinction of being the longest continuously operating hotel in the US. It happens to be where the Boston Creme Pie was invented in 1856 and where both Ho Chi Minh (from 1912-1913) and Malcolm X in the 1940s worked briefly. The first a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician and the other, a prominent African American muslim minister and activist.

The next stop, Granary Burying Ground, is one block down on Tremont Street. This cemetery has many famous graves including the Franklin (as in Ben’s parents) family grave, an ostentatious tomb for John Hancock and a grave for Samuel Adams but my favorite is the tiny grave for Elizabeth “Mother” Goose (1665 – 1758). Next to the cemetery is the next stop on the Freedom Trail, Park Street Church, which I typically skip. Perhaps it’s my Catholic roots, but I find old Protestant churches stark and uninteresting on the inside.

The second to last stop on the Freedom Trail is one worth entering, The Massachusetts State House. While this isn’t the largest State House it is architecturally beautiful and has many historical points of interest. You can sign up for a building tour, here. The top of the state house dome is capped with a pine cone. For those who enjoy trivia, the reason for that is explained here. After finishing the tour, go next door to the 21st Amendment Pub. Toast the repeal of prohibition and for completing the Boston Freedom Trail. The final stop, The Boston Common, established in 1634, is one block away.