Gay Reykjavik – Carlos Melia

Iceland. It is like living in Jurassic World. One Glacier after the other, Volcanos, Geysers, hundreds of breathtaking Waterfalls, Lava Fields…. Still debating why Iceland is green and Greenland is covered on Ice, but from what I gather after my week research, this originated in a group of Vikings, trying to keep other to come to Iceland to enjoy the spectacular landscapes and taking over the lands.

During my week in Iceland, I took Reykjaivik as my base and from there I took day tour to different locations, to be: Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon + Golden Circle + Snaefellsnes Peninsula & National Park and beyond. I also spent one night at the Blue Lagoon – where I stayed at the newly opened The Retreat Hotel & Spa.

While in Reykjavik I spent my nights at the following hotels. EXETER Hotel + APOTEK Hotel + BORG Hotel all three by KEA Hotels Group. Now the highlight of my stays in the main capital, was the very exclusive Tower Suites Hotel, feature only 8-Suites and the the only one offering panoramic views over Reykjavik’s Peninsula and City.

Full Story at Carolis Melia

Reykjavik Gay Travel Resources

Santiago de Compostela in Spain – Carlos Melia

Santiago de Compostela

Two weeks ago, I joined a week trip by Relais & Chateaux Hotels and Restaruants, to visit all their current properties in Galicia, Spain and all over Portugal. Our first stop was Santiago de Compostela at A Quinta da Auga Hotel & Spa. This is my report on that first night.

A Quinta da Auga charm and boutique hotel, with a luxury Spa and gastronomic restaurant to discover the luxury and the beauty of Santiago de Compostela, Galicia. A Quinta da Auga, the only Hotel Spa Relais & Châteaux of Galicia, is one of the hotels with more charm of Santiago de Compostela. A Quinta da Auga design hotel stands out by his carefull restorage and decoration, a unique 5 stars Spa and the high quality of The Filigrana Restaurant a real Relais & Châteaux gastronomic experience through the “Galicia Haute Cuisine”.

Our stay and visit, was warmly hosted and coordinated by no other than Mamma Luisa and her charming daughter Luisa – owners of A Quinta da Auga. These two ladies are the sweetest ever, and if you are lucky enough to meet them, they will make your stay even more special. But I must say that their energy and hospitality, extends to all their staff. THANK YOU Mamma Luisa, looking forward seeing you soon again, in Compostela or anywhere in the world.

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for Spain gay travel resources.

My Rio de Janeiro – Carlos Melia

Carlos Melia - Rio de Janeiro So I landed in Rio de Janeiro, for two weeks, during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. I have been in Rio countless times, but always discovering new locations, hotels, restaurants and attractions. These are some of my findings during my recent visit. Also see all my minute-to-minute past/current/future posts and experiences in Rio de Janeiro. Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroI came to Rio de Janeiro, commissioned by my corporate client NBCUniversal, to create bespoke experiences for the VIP guests and executives during the course of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Two full weeks of hard work, but also with time to explore the city on my own and discover new options to share with you all. I was lucky enough to take part of most of the main Olympic events, like the Opening Ceremony at the Maracana Stadium and some of the Gymnastics Competition at the Olympic Village. Rio de Janeiro is destination with such sex-appeal and so many layers to be explored. Of course during my time either working or on my own private time, I have enjoyed most of them. Of course during my time there, I came 4 times to the Corcovado to see the Christ Redeemer on a private experience we’ve created for our guests. Or spent time walking by Botafogo overlooking the Bay of Guanabara , Urca and the Sugar Loaf or walking by Copacabana and Ipanema Beach while enjoying a fresh coconut. But most of you know this side of Rio de Janeiro. I had to repeat some of the top experiences I have scouted in the past, for my clients to enjoy and embrace the soul of the Carioca spirit. One of them, which BTW I strongly recommend, is the behind the scenes Samba City Experience, where you can see the world of Samba from the backstage. My choice is Escola de Samba Pimpolhos da Grande Rio. See more here. Nobody should leave Rio de Janeiro, without at least mastering a few basic Samba moves. Also, an obligated stop, is always Lasai Restaurant, which we privatized for our group, for the opening Gala Dinner. A MUST try when in Rio de Janeiro. But enough with the basics – which you can read more on my previous posts on Rio de Janeiro – and on to the new discoveries. It is not a secret, that my favorite district in all Rio de Janeiro, is Santa Teresa. A bohemian enclave, located atop Morro Santa Teresa. Originally an upper class borough famous for its winding, narrow streets and many opulent villas. Santa Teresa aristocratic past is long gone,but it has been revived as a fashionable hotspot. Home to several artists and art studios and galleries. The offer of restaurants and bars is also varied. Most of you might have heard of Aprazivel Restaurant, a lovely local gourmet option with panoramic views. But during my last visit, I’ve discovered some alternative options, which I consider most original and charming. Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroFirst was Espirito Santa Restaurant by Chef Natacha Fink. where you can not only try the traditional Moqueca, but also amazing fresh options and traditional recipes from the Amazons, created using international gourmet techniques. And trust me, the fusion is impeccable. Another fantastic option, only steps away, will be Bar do Mineiro Restaurant. Perhaps this one more local and daunting, if you venture to try the classic Feijoada. Make sure to spend sometime exploring the center of Santa Teresa, it is very interesting and its bohemian personality is rather contagious. Just walk around and do not forget to visit the famous Escadaria Selaron ( the famous stairs of Santa Teresa ). Once ready to move on, get back to the center of Santa Teresa, to take the Tram all the way to Lapa and thought the aqueducts dating from the 18th century. Next stop upon arrival to the Lapa Tram Station, would be the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, only five minutes walk away. Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroThe Tram service in Santa Teresa is free of charge, and it will take you on a 10 minutes ride, from Morro Santa Teresa, all the way down to Lapa neighborhood and Terminal Tram Station, after crossing the Lapa Aqueducts. The tram has been designated a national historic monument and it ranks as one of the oldest city trams in the world plus the oldest electric railway in all of Latin America. Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroThe Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro. Designed by Edgar Fonseca in a modern style based on Mayan architectural style of pyramids. Built between 1964 and 1979. But the adventure continues, if you wish to do so. Next take a stroll across Downtown all the way to the new district of Puerto Maravilha. There you will find the Museu do Amanha, by Santiago Calatrava. ( I strongly recommend buying your tickets for the Museum online ). Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroSunset was about to hit, it was time to look for the best options to enjoy a beer o r caipirinha, with an amazing view, followed by a nice meal. And, indeed, I found two options, totally new to me. The first one very casual and simple, but featuring stunning sunset and panoramic view at the Forte de Copacabana at Copacabana Beach. The second one, more formal at the brand new Hotel Yoo2 Rio in Botafogo. As I’ve said, I have been many times to Rio de Janeiro, and have never before paid attention to the Forte de Copacabana, at the end of Copacabana Beach towards Apoador and Ipanema Beach. And wow, I could not believe how I have missed this place for so many years. What I did like most about it, is that like me, many other tourist are not even aware of it, therefore it is very quiet. Since it was still early, and sunset still was minutes away from hitting Copacabana Beach, I decided to explore the Forte de Copacabana, which was very interesting. OK – 5.30PM and it was the perfect time to seat over a chilled local beer and some of my favorite cod fish balls with lime, and enjoy the sunset. Of course after sunset, once it got dark and the lamps went on, we stayed there over Caipirinhas and shrimp moquecas till 10PM. There are two restaurants, and you may choose the one that is best to your liking. The other options I tried, on a different evening, was this time the Rooftop overlooking Botafogo, the Sugar Loaf and the Christ Redeemer, followed by dinner at their restaurant, at the brand new Yoo2 Hotel Rio in Botafogo. The hotel is lovely, the rooftop is fantastic with a nice menu of Tapas and drinks. The restaurant, on the other hand, hmmmm nothing special to be honest, decent food but totally forgettable. Let’s give them sometime to settle-down, since they have just opened. Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroAnother day was about to begin. The sun was rising and I was awake for an exciting – still way too early – morning, scouting new venues to host a private Champagne Brunch with breathtaking view of Rio de Janeiro. Not an easy task, but we did find the perfect one, and I must say, it is my new hotel crush in Rio de Janeiro. The rest of my time in Rio de Janeiro, went along reining the world of luxury travel – literally, planing unique and bespoke travel experiences for my clients. Oh yes … and also eating as many Cod Fish fried balls as I could… ha ha ha …. Was time to say goodbye to Rio de Janeiro and head to my next destination…. Quite an experience attending my first ever Olympics Games.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Brazil Gay Travel Resources


Gay Buenos Aires – Carlos Melia

Gay Buenos Aires - Carlos Melia So once again I am back in, my home town, gay Buenos Aires – Argentina. These chronicles, as a matter of fact, are the result of my last two trips, with a very small time lapse in between. The main reasons of my trips were, ( first trip ) surprise and celebrate my mother for her Birthday and ( second trip ) connecting from New York to Rio de Janeiro, were I will be during August, attending the RIO 2016 Summer Olympics, as the official travel agent for NBCUniversal’s VIP Guests and Executives. Let’s begin and hope you enjoy my insider tips of my city , chronicles of my recent visits to Buenos Aires. I departed as usual, non-stop from JFK New York ( where I have been living for the last 10 years ) to Buenos Aires, onboard American Airlines Business Class. A 10-hour flight door-to-door. Carlos MeliaThis time dinner had a very special reason, and the main purpose of my trip… To celebrate my Mom’s Birthday, celebration which lasted a full week, spoiling her with some of the best Buenos Aires has to offer. Lovely dinner in Puerto Madero district, with my entire family. The following morning I woke up very early, in the neighborhood of Belgrano – where my parents live, facing the Palermo Parks – aka. The Central Park of Buenos Aires, I love going there for a run. Art District of Villa Crespo - Carlos MeliaAfter breakfast, I was ready to spend my morning and part of my afternoon, exploring the new Art District of Villa Crespo, on a 4 hours Private Art Tour of this new and alternative artistic destination, showcasing local Contemporary artists. A hopping tour of Galleries which are literally changing the paradigm of art in Buenos Aires. Some of the artists and galleries I truly enjoyed, whic I did not know from before were: Vicente Grondona at SLYZMUD Gallery. Marcelo Grosman at Galeria Nora Fisch and Liliana Porter at Ruth Benzacar Gallery. I very much recommend this tour. The Birthday celebrations continued… for tonight I had planned an evening at the FAENA Hotel & Universe – yes the same one that has recently opened its doirs in Miami. Read my review and recent stay at FAENA Miami. To include, dinner at Bistro Sur Restaurant followed by my favorite Tango Show in Buenos Aires, the ROJO Tango Show at their decadent-chic Cabaret. At Bistro Sur Restaurant, savor a meal worth remembering in one of Argentina’s most spectacular settings. Bistro Sur’s whimsical Philippe Starck decor will fascinate guests just as much as the delicate menu prepared by Faena’s local chef, Rodrigo Vazquez. Modern techniques combined with Argentina’s bests seasonal products, give birth to dishes like Beef Carpaccio with Bacon Milk, Mint and Potato Chips or Sweetbreads with Lemon Puree, Grilled Grapes and Pine Nuts. Tango gay Buenos Aires - Carlos MeliaRight after dinner, we walk down the striking corridors of the FAENA Hotel & Universe, to our next destination, ROJO Tango Show. I have been to this show countless times, but recently they have premiere a brand new repertoire, and I was invited to see it. I must say I was very much pleased with the new show, the flow through the many faces of the developing of Tango in Argentina. Buenos Aires is the world capital of Tango, and Faena Hotel experiences the nostalgic mood with intensity through music, dance, clothing and poetry. Lively and ethereal, El Cabaret is the vibrant dance of the award-winning show Rojo Tango. A dazzling live orchestra, great dancers, traditional Argentine cuisine, and a fine selection of local wines and cocktails; makes it a must see production. Teatro Colon - Carlos MeliaThe next day, I spent my late morning exploring the Teatro Colon, the Opera House of Buenos Aires. Been here many times for live performances, Opera, Ballet and so. But this was my first time taking a tour, to learn more about the history, facts and myth of the Grande Dame of South America. Teatro Colon, located off Avenida 9 de Julio, steps away from the iconic Obelisco, is ranked the third best opera house in the world by National Geographic, and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. The present Colon replaced an original theatre which opened in 1857. After this period of huge international success, the theatre’s decline became clear and plans were made for massive renovations. After an initial start of works to restore the landmark in 2005, the theatre was closed for refurbishment from October 2006 to May 2010. It re-opened on 24 May 2010, with a programme for the 2010 season. Learn these and more during the tour. Visit the auditorium, in a horseshoe-shaped, with 2,487 seats. Luciano Pavarotti, said the Colon’s acoustics were are so good as to place it in the top five performance venues in the world. I strongly recommend booking your tickets online at It was time to eat again, so on this rainy Winter afternoon in Buenos Aires, I took a 30 minutes was from Retiro to Recoleta, to meet my parents at the iconic Alvear Palace Hotel, to do one of my favorite things, Afternoon Tea in style. Yes, the Birthday celebration continued, this time over Tea at L’Orangerie restaurant at the Indoor Gardens of the ground floor. The Alvear Palace Hotel is a unique place to spend a special afternoon tasting delicious cakes, mini patisserie, fresh fruit tarts, warm scones and other delicacies especially prepared by their Chef Patissier. Fine selection of teas, including a variety from limited harvests and the most precious aromas of green, black and blended teas, as well as the traditional flavoured tea of the L’Orangerie selection. A tea specialist created their exclusive “Alvear Blend” which recreates the essence of the Alvear Palace Hotel in aromas and flavours; with the most noble of black tea leaves, almonds, and Mediterranean citrus and rose petals. Open Monday through Saturday: 4:30 to 7 pm. Sundays from 5 to 7 pm. The L’Orangerie restaurant at the hotel is a traditional meeting place in Buenos Aires. A splendid breakfast and international buffet lunch, which includes a great variety of exquisite local products, can be enjoyed daily in a delicate environment with natural lighting and meticulous decor, presented with the mastery of international culinary techniques. Right after our Afternoon Tea, were were invited for une Coupe de Champagne, at their recentlyinaugurated CHAMPAGNE BAR. The Alvear Palace Hotel opened the new Champagne Bar, the only one in Buenos Aires. Renowned bartender Ines De Los Santos has created the Champagne Bar’s menu featuring fine and classic combinations using Moet Hennessy champagne and sparkling wines. Delicate food choices are available for pairings. The Art Deco style of the Champagne Bar creates a splendid atmosphere for the enjoyment of clients and guests. Everyday from 6PM to 02AM. After our glass of Champagne, my parents decided to head back home. Since I was meeting a friend for dinner later nearby the hotel, I had the perfect excuse to linger by my favorite bar in Buenos Aires. As many of you know, my absolute favorite spot within the Alvear Palace Hotel, a classic and my water hole when in Buenos Aires, is the Lobby Bar. I love just seating there, watching people pass, while zipping through my Vodka Dirty Martini. From 1932, this has been a meeting place for businessmen and celebrities of Buenos Aires’ society. The heart of Recoleta beats in this exclusive place in the hotel, decorated with original French style wood panelling. The Lobby Bar of the Alvear offers delicious appetizers and the best international drinks, paying homage to the great cocktail masters. Gay Buenos Aires - Carlos MeliaThe next morning, it was time to pay a visit to the very lovely Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires. If you have never been, you should keep in mind their gastronomic scene, which is very good. Been to their main restaurant ELENA before, and this time we were visiting to try their autochthonous Sunday Brunch at a very unique setting. Nuestro Secreto Restaurant offer the traditional Sunday Brunch reinterpreted by an Argentinean classic. A major social event in Argentina, the asado (an open-fire barbecue) marks a time when friends and family gather around a traditional outdoor fire pit and spend an afternoon catching up. It is as much about tradition and being together as it is about food. It all begins with the coal; made from hand-picked woods of local tree varietals, each one providing a unique flavour. Cooking whole animals is quite common at the asado, but there is always plenty of variety to choose from – embutidos, meats, red wine and salads. With a casual eclectic backyard esthetic, Nuestro Secreto transports guests to a “secret garden” urban retreat within a bustling cityscape. Typical courtyard decorations abound, with porous stone floors, the grill and clay oven, even a cross on the wall. Outdoor-style furniture made of wood, glass and iron lends an antique but fresh look. All of the tableware is made locally in Mendoza, with exclusive designs by Aji Diseno available for special occasions. What is most unique about this space, however, is that the roof and walls are made of glass and can be opened to create an entirely al fresco space, perfect for stargazing on clear nights.Sunday menu features a variety of dishes typically served among families on the weekend. And since the menu is designed to resemble the most-read newspaper in Buenos Aires, it will look to passersby like restaurant patrons are all relaxing with the Sunday paper. The rest of my stay… I’ve decided to chill and be under the radar, being a local and wnjoying spending time with my parents at home. Eating as much home-made food by my mother, BTW the best Chef in town. Very busy week ahead of me in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as the official travel agent for NBCUniversal’s VIP Guests and Executives, during the RIO Summer Olympics 2016. So the plan was relax, recharge, EAT and DRINK. How does that sound. Getting ready for my next adventure… Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog Click here for gay travel resources in Argentina.  ]]>

Amalfi Coast – Carlos Melia

Amalfi Coast - Carlos Melia My day took me from my base at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento, all the way to Ravello and back along the stunning panoramic road of the Amalfi Coast, with stops in Amalfi, Praiano and Positano. From the distance, I was also able to catch a view of Maiori and Minori, and drive by Atrani, which I thought I was very charismatic. Amalfi Coast - Carlos MeliaDriving along the Amalfi Coast for us was rather easy, since we were there during the off-season, but during Summer time you better be patient. Distances are not to long, I mean from town to town, there is 25 to 30 minutes drive, without traffic. First stop was Ravello, which is the furthest point I have explored Amalfi Coast. I only did a quick overview, since I would be staying later during the week, for a night at Belmond Hotel Caruso. So I will leave this open to my next upcoming post. But most definetely a MUST visit. Amalfi Coast - Carlos MeliaLunch at Trattoria pizzeria Cumpa Cosimo was just perfect. Unlike many other dinning experiences I had during my time at the Amalfi Coast, it was very local, rustic, grewat Italian food and and very charismatic owner and Chef Netta Bottone, who tours the tables to ensure her clients are content. Her family has owned this cantina for more than 75 of its 300. Not only I tried her cooking, but also got plenty of love and kisses from her. ADORABLE. Next stop was Amalfi, a brief walk around, at the foot of Monte Cerreto. The town of Amalfi was the capital of the maritime republic. Amalfi is included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The highlight other than the spectacular panoramic views, which you will find all along the way, is the Amalfi Cathedral di Sant’Andrea. Next stop, for many, the star of the Amalfi Coast, beautiful – but very crowded and over the top touristy – Positano. I mean, it is GORGEOUS, the views are all you would expect when visitin the Amalfi Coast and more, now it is very hectic and happening. I came to do a walk around Le Sirenuse Hotel, and I deeply fall in love with the property, the panoramic views and the lovely Michelin starred restaurant La Sponda. I was so pleased, that right away booked my clients there for their upcoming Summer stay in Positano. Dinner was at this quaint ristorante called KASAI, in Praiano. Again, just what I needed, great local food and great company, along the owner of the restaurant and my new – fabulous and fun friend – Fiona Fava. Lots of loval delights and even more bottles of local white wine. Literally eating and drinking my way across Italy. This was my full day discovering the many charming towns of the Amalfi Coast.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Campania Gay Travel Resources


Exploring Pompeii in Two Hours – Carlos Melia

Pompeii - Carlos Melia Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 13 to 20 ft of volcanic ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Pompei - Carlos MeliaIf you are staying either in the Amalfi Coast or Naples, it is an easy and interesting half day experience. In my case I did it after checking out my hotel in Sorrento – Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, and on my way to my next destination in Ravello. BTW both scenic drives – Sorrento to Pompeii along the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii to Ravello through the montains, were breathtaking. Mind I was there during off-seasons, therefore my drives were approx. one hour each way. During high season, drives might take up to 3 hours each way. By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was estimated at 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium, and a port. The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash. The objects that lay beneath the city have been preserved for centuries because of the lack of air and moisture. These artifacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana. Pompeii - Carlos MeliaDuring the excavation, plaster was used to fill in the voids in the ash layers that once held human bodies. This allowed one to see the exact position the person was in when he or she died. My favorite part of my visit, with my private guide, was visiting the houses – like Casa del Menandro, learning about their ways of leaving, preserved mosaics and frescos, and the intricated and advsnced hydraulic system and impluvium. The impluvium is the sunken part of the atrium in a Greek or Roman house (domus). Designed to carry away the rainwater coming through the compluvium of the roof.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Campania Gay Travel Resources


Capri, Anacapri and Monte Solaro – In the Footsteps of an Emperor

Capri - Carlos Melia Emperor Augustus might have been the first to land in Capri, but I was determined to conquer my day experience exploring the Island upside down in five hours. so I had to commit to my pace, and have a quick glimpse of the main atractions. and of course, find an amazing local restaurant to enjoy true Italian flair. This was my first time visit to Capri. For those of you unfamiliar with the island, it is divided in three regions, by elevations – Capri, Anacapri and Monte Solaro. How do you get from one point to the other on the Island of Capri? There are four main modes of transportation: bus or taxi, funicular, single chairlift and if you have the time… by foot. You can also read more tips and recommendations by checking and following me on Instagram to see all my past-current-future posts and experiences while in Italy. Capri, an island in Italy’s Gulf of Naples, is famed for its rugged landscape, upscale beach resorts and high-end shops selling handmade leather sandals and signature limoncello liqueur. One of its best-known natural sites is the Blue Grotto, a dark cavern where the sea glows electric blue, the result of sunlight passing through an underwater cave. ( Which you nay or not be able to visit due to weather conditions, winds and tides. In my case I just didn’t have time to do it). Capri - Carlos MeliaAfter a lovely breakfast at my hotel in Sorrento, the Grand Excelsior Vittoria, we went down the private elevator and passage to Marina Piccola, to board the Jetboat that in just 15 to 20 minutes, accross the Bay of Naples, would have us at the very lovely Capri. Another way, as I usually plan it for my clients, I to rent a private yacht for the day, to enjoy a full day sailing, stopping at Fontelina Beach Club and Restaurant and so forth. Upon arrival to Capri, at Marina Grande, we disembarked, and right away took the Funicolare that would take us on an uphill beautiful scenic ride through lemon groves to the heart and main Piazzetta of Capri. Capri itself is charming, but quite frankly wasn’t the highlight of my visit. It is very commercial and overcrowded with tourists that flock for the day. And I was there during off peak season. One thing I truly enjoyed, was the bruef visit to Giardini Augusto. The Gardens of Augustus, originally known by the name of Krupp Gardens, are botanical gardens with breathtaking 180-degree panoramic views of the island of Capri, Mount Solaro, the bay of Marina Piccola, and the Faraglioni. Of course I could not help myself being me, and I had to stop and check some hotels while there. I came to visit the following: Quisisana Hotel ( which I found lovely, but not quite the island experience I would go for ). A refreshing stop for a Lemonade at Jacky Bar at the Tiberio Palace Hotel. Unfortunately, I did not have time to see the JK Place Capri, but you most definetely should keep it in mind. Capri - Carlos MeliaI was ready to move on the a higher altitude, and away from the hordes of tourist, onwards to Anacapri. There are three ways, again to get there, bus, taxi and walking. Of course I took a taxi – ha ha – which was approx. EUR 20 each way. Of course, I did not have much time, so I had toprioritize. First stop was lunch at Barbarossa Ristorante – for a fabulous and simple, local Italian lunch. After so many days of Michelin starred dinning experiences, going local was just what I wanted. After lunch, I took a stroll around Anacapri, and off to the last destination on my exploration of Capri, and I must say, was my favorite. Mount Solaro, the highest point in Capri, accesible by single chairlifts or by a long panoramic hike. The views are spectacular over to the NW of the Tyrrhenian sea, the gulf of Naples. Up the mount there is a statue of Emperor Augustus who first landed on Capri. 5PM was time to say GOODBYE to Capri, and head back to Sorrento and to Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, to get ready for our evening out in town and dinner at Michelin starred restaurant Il Buco Ristorante.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Campania Gay Travel Resources


A Layover in Milan – Carlos Melia

Carlos Melia - Milan I was invited by Emirates Airlines to try their new non-stop flight from New York to Milan, Italy on their Business Class, so I decided to pit together a 10 days itinerary exploring Italy, which took me to my first visit to the Amalfi Coast, onwards to yet another lovely visit to Venice and to London, aboard the overnight luxury train Venice Simplon Orient-Express. Since I have not been in Milan for quite sometime, I’ve decided to take a suite for the day at the gorgeous Mandarin Oriental Milan, and explore a few higlights, after a lovely and relaxed lunch. Here are my comments, photos and videos. Hope you enjoy my post on this experience. So I flew Emirates Airlines, non-stop from New York JFK to Milano Malpensa. It was on their Airbus 380, and it took approximately 7 hours, which went by very quickly. Meal service consisted by drinks at the onboard lounge bar, followed by a three-course dinner. One hour upon arrival, breakfast was served. Great entertaiment system, screen, movie selection, headseats. Full flat – comfortable – bed, as a matter of fact I passed out for 3 hours on it, and I rarely sleep when flying into Europe from New York. My only comment would be the crew. Compared to other similar airlines, I felt they weren’t that friendly, engaging nor attentive to service, which in the end makes it for the entire experience, doesn’t it?. Regardless, the best option, today, to fly non-stop from New York to Milan. Upon arrival to Milan Malpensa, I had my VIP Service and Transfer, by Milano Luxury Services. A Mercedez E-Class and private chauffer that in no time, had me at my hotel in the heart of Milan. Mind I was in Milan, only for six hours, connecting flights to the Amalfi Coast, each minute counted. When I travel overseas, and have connecting flights, I usually enjoy taking a hotel room at the connecting destination, and exploring for a few hours. In this case, I landed in Milan at noon, and my flight to Naples, was at 8PM. Giving me plenty of time to enjoy my gorgeous suite at the Mandarin Oriental Milan, have a nice lunch at the Mandarin Bar and Bistro by Michelin star awarded and acclaimed Chef Antonio Guida. At the Mandarin Oriental Milan, I checked in at the fabulous Milano Suite, decorated in true Milanese style, dedicated to the designer Piero Fornasetti – was an Italian painter, sculptor, interior decorator and engraver. The Milano Suite is located on the second floor of the hotel, also known as the ‘noble’ floor because of its high ceilings and abundant natural light. Furnished with original Fornasetti pieces, accommodation consists of a living area, bedroom, master bathroom and a separate guest bathroom. The living room is divided by a pillar, adorned with wallpaper aptly named ‘Riflesso’ (reflection), with the ‘Ultime Notizie’ table and ‘Capitello’ chairs in the dining area, and the ‘Fly’ coffee table, ‘Guscio’ sofa and ‘Boss’ black leather armchair on the other side. Accessed via a corridor with its ‘Architettura’ console table, the king size bedroom is dressed with ‘Chiavi Segrete’ wallpaper and furnished with a writing desk, a small table from the ‘Farfalle’ collection and two large interfacing mirrors. A vast ensuite bathroom features a walk-in shower, twin vanity unit and a much-admired ‘Spoon XL’ bathtub from Agape. After a lovely shower and a glas of local chilled white wine, I joined the General Manager and Public Relations team, for a relaxed lunch at the colorfull Mandarin Bar & Bistro. Mandarin Bar offers a seductive mix of contemporary music, delicious dishes and bespoke cocktails. The black and white marble mosaic covered floor and walls combined with a large central bar and eclectic mix of furniture creates the perfect backdrop for drinking and dining. Catering both to guests and the city’s discerning style crowd, Mandarin Bar enjoys a relaxed atmosphere with three distinctive areas; the bar bistro, an inside lounge and an outside courtyard area featuring lounge sofas, tables, cabanas and soft lights. The bar bistro menu features a mix of Italian dishes, salads and Antonio Guida’s reinterpretation of traditional sandwiches, served with a modern twist. The octopus was delicious, and the Tiramisu, was totally worth of each calorie. I followed with a quick tour and walk around the entire property, including Entry Level Rooms, Presidential Suite, spa, fitness center and funtion rooms. With an enviable central location, Mandarin Oriental, Milan is a 5-star luxury hotel, just steps from La Scala. And with spacious rooms, elegant suites, innovative dining and a fabulous spa, we are the perfect urban retreat. With interiors by acclaimed Italian designer Antonio Citterio, their 104 rooms and suites exude a wonderful sense of luxury. What I liked the most, is how cozy and private the whole experience felt. Given the privileged location, I decided to go for a two hours walked around the area, and visit the Duomo, La Scala, Via Montenapoleone, and Via della Spiga, Milan’s most exclusive shopping streets, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle and Santa Maria delle Grazie, which hosts Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. By 5.30PM – sharply – I was ready to continue my journey onwards to the Amalfi Coast. Once again my private car and chauffer by Milano Luxury Services, took me – this time to Linate Airport, to board my Alitalia flight to Naples. This was my fantastic six hours layover in Milan.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Milan Gay Travel Resources


Summer in Fire Island – Carlos Melia

Fire Island - Carlos Melia Lovely week – as every year – at our Beach House in Fire Island PINES. filled with beach walks, quire relaxing time, friends and family visits, cooking and glasses of wine and lots of breathtaking sunsets over the bay. Lucky enough 6 more weeks ahead await for Rubin, Bruna and I. Very few places in the world give me so much peace and happiness. Fire Island is one of them, and lucky enough this island is only two hours away from New York. No need for long-haul flights. Hope you enjoy my report in photos on this experience. You can also check and follow me on Instagram to see all my past-current-future posts and experiences while in Fire Island.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia blog

Long Island Gay Travel Resources

Other Gay Travel Events

Photos and Videos property and credits to CM by Carlos Melia / /]]>

Old Bagan and Ananda Temple – Carlos Melia

Carlos Melia Carlos MeliaOff the luxury and comfort of Belmond Road to Mandalay for an afternoon exploring Old Bagan and Ananda Temple, which ended on a marvelous Sunset gazing over the Archeological Site atop a Pagoda. First we took the small boats off our luxury cruiser, and to the banks of the Ayeyarwady River and a private bus took us to the entrance of Old Bagan. From there we went on a full visit of the Ananda Phaya or Ananda Temple.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Myanmar Gay Travel Resources