__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

ISSUE #26 | WINTER 2018-19

COLUMBUS

ConnextionsMagazine.com

SCOTTSDALE

DELUXE-LIFE

SOUTH BEACH

1


Connexting CONTRIBUTORS

Connextions Magazine issue #25: The Parent-HOOD!: LGBTQ Families Spread Love takes a closer look at the bonds of families. Featuring our readers and their families. We are living in challenging times, we have made some great strides as a community around the world, and at the same time, we are experiencing so many backlashes from governments that we felt the need to just put out beautiful images of loving families.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Manny Velasquez-Paredes CREATIVE DIRECTOR Xioger Sandoval FEATURED WRITER David Duran CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lilly Chris Ross Christianson Clark Harding H. Luiz Martinez Carlos Mayorga David Perry Ali Rothlizzi JJ Vega Manny Velasquez-Paredes Sarah Stanley-Evan

Cover Photo courtesy of: Andaz Scottsdale Resorts & Bungalows Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows offers 201 guestrooms and suites within a 23-acre desert oasis with unparalleled views of Camelback Mountain. Artists used the desert as a creative landscape for expression, and the result is a stunning homage to the mid-century artists, architects and designers including Alexander Girard, Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri.

Read Connextions Magazine online: ConnextionsMagazine.com Write to us: Have a question or comment regarding this issue or future issues of Connextions Magazine? We would love to hear from you! E-mail responses and press releases are always welcomed. mvp@connextionsmagazine.com All submissions become the property of Connextions Magazine. The views and opinions stated throughout this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of staff at Connextions Magazine. Connextions Magazine, LLC publishing mailing address: PO Box 242 Calverton, NY 11933 Connextions Magazine and Connextions Magazine en EspaĂąol will not knowingly publish or advertise text which is fraudulent or misleading. The publisher reserves the right to edit, limit, revise, or reject any text without cause. Connextions Magazine assumes no financial responsibility for typographical errors. If any errors are found, please notify Connextions Magazine immediately. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2160-4347 (print) ISSN 2160-4355 (online)

2

Read more on page 48

Find us, Follow us, Like us, Tweet us, Pin us, Share us on all Social Media sites @ConnextionsMag #ConnextionsMag

International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association

Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler since 2010, is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Gay European Tourism Association & National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, as well The travel Media Sponsor of HRC Greater New York.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Letter from the Editor

LIVE | TRAVEL | CONNECT

Connextions Magazine issue #26: Deluxe-Life takes a closer look at luxury vacations and venues. Where can we visit when budget is not an obstacle, the places we can visit with our LGBTQ friends and relatives, and make sure everyone is accepted, not just our credit cards. These are the topics we explore in this issue from a personal perspective. As always, the only places we recommend and write about, are places we have visited and experienced for ourselves, to ensure that LGBTQ people are not only accepted, but welcomed! There is a huge difference when people tolerate you, accept you or welcome you. These are all degrees of the willingness to be genuine and the indifference because of our social status and/or sexual orientation. As a gay man, married with children, I have seen and experienced the indifference when certain places we visit, realize we are a gay couple. In some places, I have chosen to stay and provided them with some tips on how to deal with members of the LGBTQ community. Other places, those who simply refuse to listen, I have pointed out their homophobia and walked away. They don’t need my money. I refuse to bring attention to those negative interactions, and therefore, chose not to write about them - they don’t need any free publicity for being homophobic. I prefer to reward those places who are completely welcoming and chose to describe them to you and provide you with their information, in the hopes that you will visit them and enjoy yourselves in places that are completely safe to be you. The places in this issue are magnificent and super welcoming, which is why we wanted to highlight them. We hope you enjoy our work, we love to read your letters and emails. Don’t forget to find us on social media channels under our handle @ConnextionsMag. MVP

Editor In Chief

ConnextionsMagazine.com

3


Contents Winter 2018-2019 LIVETRAVELCONNECT Family Outings Discovering Columbus

08

Luxe South Beach - The Betsy Hotel Glam & Luxe = Happiness

26

Luxe Scottsdale Experience Scottsdale, AZ

40

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows A Better Version of You

48

Arizona By Water Arizona Outback Adventures

66

Arizona By Air Hot Air Expeditions

70

Luxe Miami - InterContinental Miami Will Inspire You

76

40

94 26

24 76

08 4

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


48

Luxury and Complete Relaxation ANDAZ SCOTTSDALE RESORTS & BUNGALOWS ConnextionsMagazine.com

5


WE HAVE YOUR

Fort Lauderdale MarriottÂŽ Pompano Beach Resort & Spa, a beachfront hotel located in a charming quintessential South Florida harbor town, invites you to relax, unwind and experience life at its best. Say your vows with the warm sand between your toes or on the second floor outdoor Ocean Terrace with the Atlantic Ocean as your backdrop. 194 spacious guest rooms and 25 suites, a full-service spa, elegant dining options both indoors and out will enable you and your guests to celebrate in elegant Atlantic style. And with Certified Wedding Planners ready to make your dreams a reality, the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort & Spa is the ideal location to begin your happily ever after. FORT LAUDERDALE MARRIOTT POMPANO BEACH RESORT & SPA

6

120 0 NO RTH O CE AN BO ULE V ARD, P OMP ANO BEACH, FL Connextions Magazine 954 .782.0100, PO M PANO M ARRIOTT.C OM

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


SOMETHING BLUE

YOU’VE WAITED LONG ENOUGH. TO START PLANNING THE DAY OF YOUR DREAMS, CALL 954.782.0100 OR VISIT POMPANOMARRIOTT.COM

ConnextionsMagazine.com

7 © 2016 Marriott International, Inc.


Travel: Vieques

Things to keep in mind:

Pack sneakers: some ships have zip lines, but you an only use them if you are wearing sneakers. If you think you may drink more than 5-6 tropical concoctions a day, then spring for the alcohol package. It’s so much easier to try new drinks and not care if they suck whn you are not worried about the cost. Disconnect! It’s surprising how liberating it is to be cell-free. Bring a walkie talkie with a decent range to stay in touch with family on the ship. It’s fun and different enough to be cool for the kids. You can honestly skip all the expensive specialty restaurants and still have reat meals. They are alluring, but you can get a buffet, and different sit-down options We did do one night of specialty French (just because it is rare for us), so if you are going to do it - then make it count! Schedule excursions for your last days or your shortest port days. It takes the stress out of getting back to the boat on time. Wear shorts under sundresses on deck. It gets windy! For more LGBT Family-Friendly Travel & other writings by Ali Polizzi check out: http://alirothlizzi.blogspot.com

Photo courtesy of: Hotel LeVeque

8

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

9

ConnextionsMagazine.com

9


DISCOVERING 10

COLUMBUS Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19

Photo courtesy of: Hotel LeVeque

FAMILY OUTINGS:


Photo courtesy of: Hotel LeVeque

By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

W

hen I was invited to visit Columbus, Ohio, I was not sure what I would encounter since I wasn’t familiar with the city. I mentioned to a few friends that I was going and everyone’s reaction was “what’s in Columbus?” Other than it’s the Buckeye State, none of my friends knew anything else about Columbus, so I truly didn’t know what to expect. Instead of researching the city, I opted to be completely surprised with this trip because I really wanted to discover Columbus in real time. As we were driving to our hotel, I noticed a weird coincidence, our hotel was just a few blocks away from the corner of High Street and Gay Street. This was enough to make me laugh out loud – like seriously loud, I had a Beavis and Butthead ConnextionsMagazine.com

moment all by myself. At that moment, I knew this trip would be unlike others. We arrived at the gorgeous Hotel LeVeque, housed within the historic LeVeque Tower, which has been a shining star lighting up the skyline of downtown Columbus, Ohio since 1927. The Tower exudes an air of royalty on the horizon and demands immediate attention, its triangular-like lit shape make it a prominent bright point in a sea of otherwise square roofs, which immediately begs for an Instagram moment. From the moment you enter the lobby, you’ll be greeted by staff whose goal is to exceed your expectations and ensure your stay is a success. The chic style of the uniforms, which are hip, classy and atypical for a luxury hotel, the staff is noticeably present and set the tone for your stay – luxury, comfort, class and style. As an homage to Columbus’ standing as the No. 3 fashion capital in the US, Hotel LeVeque called on local fashion

11


Family Travel: Columbus, OH designer Liz Bourgeois to create bespoke uniforms for Hotel LeVeque staff. Inspired by the hotel’s celestial theme, Bourgeois’ designs reflect its sophistication and high style in the hotel’s signature midnight blue and subtle, starry accents.

Surrounded by stunning interior design that seamlessly blends the original architectural features with contemporary design, the lobby feels like you are entering a celestial-inspired, deco-style magnificent work of art. Because the tower stands tall as an icon of the Columbus skyline, the firm incorporated a star motif into the hotel as a revitalized “beacon of hospitality.” The team embraced the structure’s art deco-style, pairing celestial and astrological themes with deep blues and dazzling golds, reminiscent of a night sky. Everything seems to be a conversation piece, from the art, to the rugs to the shinning stars behind the fabulously dressed staff. You are immediately drawn in and feel transported to a different time, perhaps in the past or the future. An Autograph Collection property, Hotel LeVeque is part of Marriott International’s boutique collection of hotels, each of which is carefully selected for its quality, bold originality, rich character and uncommon details that embody an extraordinary sense of place. Autograph Collection Hotels celebrates individuality by curating one-of-a-kind travel experiences at more than 100 luxury lifestyle hotels found in the world’s most desirable destinations. Exactly like nothing else, Autograph Collection properties are hand selected for their rich character and uncommon details. A personal realization of an individual founder’s vision, these hotels are defined by unique design, differentiated guest experiences and their meaningful role in locality. “Hotel LeVeque is a truly unique property. We are proud to provide memorable experiences to our guests every day,” said Robert Habeeb, president and CEO of First Hospitality Group, which owns and

12

operates the property. “It is no easy task to take such an iconic and historic landmark and reinvent it into a modern hotel, while ensuring the integrity of the space remains, but Hotel LeVeque shines as a world-class hotel that is uniquely Columbus— and our guests appreciate that.” Originally built in 1927 as the American Insurance Union Citadel, the LeVeque Tower was architect Charles Howard Crane’s masterpiece. At the time, the LeVeque Tower was the tallest skyscraper between New York City and Chicago, and the fifth tallest building in the world. It was home to the graceful Deshler Wallick Hotel. It later became known as the Lincoln LeVeque Tower, then simply the LeVeque Tower, after its purchase in 1945. The LeVeque Tower’s remarkable art deco architecture remains the city’s most recognizable feature and is among Columbus’ most photographed and revered architectural treasures. Illuminating the night skyline as a soaring tower bathed in light, its architectural beauty is carefully preserved and highlighted in elegant design by Columbus-based Schooley Caldwell architects. “Beyond the hotel’s stunning design, we’ve carefully curated an experience that’s reflective of both this gorgeous, historic building and the fresh, creative energy of the city,” said Hotel LeVeque General Manager Geri Lombard. “From a gracious welcome and excellent service and amenities, to a starry goodnight at the end of their day, we ensure that our guests relax and unwind as they escape the frenetic pace of daily living.” With sweeping views of the Columbus skyline and the its Scioto Mile riverfront, the 149-room boutique hotel occupies floors five through 10 of the striking LeVeque Tower. The recent addition to the property of The Keep Liquor Bar and restaurant, a 108-seat modern French brasserie offering fresh and current fare and led by Executive Chef Jonathan Olson, has rapidly made it one of the hottest drinks and dining spots in Ohio’s capital city.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


FAMILY OUTINGS: COLUMBUS, OHIO

ConnextionsMagazine.com 13 13

Photo courtesy of: Hotel13 LeVeque


Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

And, in keeping with a commitment to immerse guests in an experience that’s uniquely Columbus, Hotel LeVeque offers locally made amenities in each guest room. Columbus-based personal care products brand Cliff Original created a line of all-natural soaps, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer and lip balm just for Hotel LeVeque guests using a custom blend of bergamot and lavender essential oils. Local favorite The Candle Lab then hand poured companion scented candles, which burn throughout the hotel. Every night upon returning to your home away from home, you will be surprised with your very own constellation show – you’ll have to experience it for yourself. What To Do! Step away from Hotel LeVeque and walk over to the downtown Columbus riverfront, the Scioto Mile, which stretches from the vibrant Arena District on the north end to the natural beauty of the Whittier Peninsula on the south, and is comprised of more

14

than 145 acres of lush parkland, fountains, scenic overlooks and a riverfront promenade. The Scioto Mile was built through a major, $40 million-plus public-private partnership, which resulted in 33 new acres of parkland, as well as a mile and a half of multi-use trails, to connect the network of parks in the Scioto Mile. It has also allowed easy access to the river, including three launch points for canoes, kayaks and other hand-powered watercraft. Overlooking Bicentennial Park, Milestone 229 is a state-of-the-art, glass-enclosed restaurant featuring a one-of-a-kind covered outdoor dining terrace. Offering panoramic views of the Scioto Mile Fountain and riverfront, Milestone, which opened its doors in 2011, is open daily for lunch and dinner. An architectural icon along the riverfront, the building design includes rooftop solar panels to help power the fountain and restaurant. Great place to enjoy a delicious weekend brunch with the family.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Designed by The Waterworx Company of Toronto, Ontario, the Scioto Mile Fountain is both an architectural marvel and interactive area for aquatic play. This awe-inspiring fountain is the centerpiece of Bicentennial Park and the Scioto Mile. At night, the fountain viewing experience is enhanced by unique lighting and fog effects and during a hot day, the kids can play with the water. It’s a soaking experience, so be sure to bring towels with you. After brunch and a dip, walk to COSI (The Center of Science and Industry). COSI, about a 5 minute walk from Hotel LeVeque, is a dynamic, hands-on science center with more than 50 years of award-winning expertise in providing engaging, inspiring, and transforming learning experiences. COSI cultivates a vibrant learning ecosystem for all people, helping ensure we are scientifically literate, critically aware and thoughtfully engaged. From hands-on interactive exhibits in themed exhibition areas, and state-of-the-art planetarium,

Discovering Columbus

to traveling and education outreach programs, COSI delivers science and science educational experiences both in its building and far beyond its walls. With unprecedented and one-of-a-kind partnerships, including New York City-based American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), COSI has positioned itself as a national powerhouse museum with content and experiences for people of all ages. COSI stands as a leading cultural institution and destination attraction for regional, national, and international audiences. COSI opened to the public on March 29,1964. That first day, COSI welcomed more than 5,000 guests, who paid 50 cents for an adult and 25 cents for a youth admission. After 35 years in Memorial Hall, COSI moved to its current location in downtown Columbus. Internationally renowned architect Arata Isozaki designed the 320,000 square foot building to showcase the future of COSI. COSI has welcomed more than 33 million visitors from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries.

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

ConnextionsMagazine.com

15

ConnextionsMagazine.com

15


Family Travel: Columbus, OH The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is home to nearly 10,000 animals representing over 600 species from around the globe. The Zoo complex is a recreational and education destination that includes the 22-acre Zoombezi Bay water park and the 18-hole Safari Golf Club.

The Zoo complex spans 588 acres, more than 200 of which have been developed as animal habitats and public spaces. The Zoo habitats are organized into six geographic regions: Asia Quest, Australia and the Islands, Congo Expedition, Heart of Africa, North America and Polar Frontier, and Shores. Heart of Africa, which debuted in 2014, is designed as a mixed species savanna spanning 23 acres. While the Zoo continues to financially support a large number of conservation projects around the world, now more than ever, staff members are leading or participating in field conservation, breeding and reintroducing threatened species,

inspiring and educating others, and making the facilities even greener through sustainable environmental practices. Through restoring wild animal populations such as lemurs in Madagascar, giraffes in Uganda, North American migratory songbirds, and corals in the reefs of the Atlantic and rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing manatees in Florida and reintroducing scimitar-horned oryx born at The Wilds to a protected area in Chad. From breeding, releasing, and studying important rare species like Plains gartersnakes, burying beetles, hellbenders, and freshwater mussels. For over 25 years, the Conservation Program has protected gorillas and other species in Rwanda and surrounding countries by working with local people to improve their lives so that they and wildlife can thrive. Even the Safari Golf Club is an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary! When visitors go to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, The Wilds, Safari Golf Club, or Zoombezi Bay, they are supporting these programs that make the world a better place for all of us.

Photo courtesy of: Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

16

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Photo courtesy of: Hillary G. Misner, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

ConnextionsMagazine.com

17


Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is Central Ohio’s premier botanical garden and home to the iconic John F. Wolfe Palm House which dates back to 1895. Situated just east of Franklin Park, the Conservatory is approximately two miles from downtown Columbus. Inspired by horticulture, it elevates quality of life and connects the community through educational, cultural and social experiences. The visitor experience spans about 13-acres and is comprised of the Conservatory building, The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden and the Grand Mallway. Botanical biomes, lush gardens, special horticulture, art exhibitions, make up the experience. The Conservatory also owns and displays the largest collection of glass artwork by Dale Chihuly in a botanical garden and is home to internationally recognized light artist James Turrell’s Light Raiment

18

II, which illuminates the John F. Wolfe Palm House every evening. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company Community Garden Campus is free, open to the public from dusk until dawn, and features a sprawling 4-acre garden adjacent to the visitor experience that encompasses an apiary, rose pavilion, berry house and 40 community garden plots as well as, a demonstration kitchen and Live-Fire Cooking Theater. Seasonal exhibitions currently include Orchids, and family favorites Blooms & Butterflies, Topiaries at the Conservatory and Conservatory Aglow. The Conservatory hosts special, temporary exhibitions by national and international artists each year. A variety of special events and activities are available throughout the year, as well as, a full menu of classes, workshops and camps focusing on gardening, cooking, fine art and wellness.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Family Travel: Columbus, OH

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

With its natural surroundings, both indoors and out, the Conservatory smashed attendance records totaling 353,399 guests in 2018. In May of 2018 the Conservatory opened The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden. Through exploration and unstructured play the Children’s Garden connected its’ youngest demographic with nature, art and the outdoors. Since its opening the Children’s Garden has welcomed over 75,000 children.

“We were thrilled to welcome so many guests to the Conservatory in 2018” said, Bruce Harkey, President and CEO of Franklin Park Conservatory. “The Conservatory’s vision is ‘a world that celebrates nature as essential to the human experience,’ we strive to connect people and nature every day and will continue to provide excellent visitor experiences in the years to come.”

While opening a major attraction certainly increased visitation it wasn’t the only reason guests were flocking to the Conservatory, its seasonal exhibitions also played a large part.

Where To Eat When visiting Columbus, OH, you will find no shortage of food options. The area is full of flavorful options from casual to the most sophisticated palates. From farm-to-table, to gastropubs, from the classical to the innovative, from the budget to the elegant, your cravings will be fulfilled.

Regardless of the weather, visitors always had something new to experience through its seasonal exhibitions, Orchids; Columbus Blooms; Blooms & Butterflies; Topiaries; Harvest Blooms and, the hugely popular, Conservatory Aglow.

The following is a list of some of the places we highly recommend based on our experiences. We had the opportunity to spend a few days in Columbus, and enjoy the different dining options near Hotel LeVeque.

ConnextionsMagazine.com

19


Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine - Scioto Mile

Best Brunch We highly recommend Milestone 229, which is a glass-enclosed restaurant featuring covered outdoor dining terrace.

Founder Gary Callicoat explains, “we make our menu from scratch because food just tastes better that way. Cooking is like a dark alley. Bad things happen when you take shortcuts.”

Its prime location in Bicentennial Park, offer panoramic views of the Scioto Mile Fountain and riverfront. This is a great spot for brunch.

Callicoat began his restaurant career as a dishwasher at age 15, eventually ascending to operational roles within Cameron Mitchell Restaurants and others. While serving as general manager of Cameron Mitchell Restaurants’ Martini Italian Bistro in downtown Columbus, the concept for “Rusty Bucket” was born.

Try the “Really Good Hummus,” which truly is good, followed by the Cinnamon French Toast or Belgian Waffle and top it off with Bread Pudding, which was heavenly. Best Casual Dinner For a casual dinner, we recommend the Rusty Bucket. With several locations, the Rusty Bucket is a casual American restaurant and tavern to share laughter and great conversation over food that makes everyone happy. Super friendly service and a relaxed setting, this is great spot for families or to enjoy with friends.

20

Under Mitchell’s guidance, Gary opened the first Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Ohio in 2002. Since then, The Bucket has grown from a single restaurant to 23 locations in six states—and counting. Where To Eat Dinner - Special Occasion Our kids love to dress up for dinner, so one night we decided to “get pretty” and went to eat at

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


a gastropub called The Pearl. It’s a restaurant for people who love food, The Pearl, pairs innovative culinary technique with traditional tavern fare. Made-from-scratch comfort food, everything from the hand cranked sausage to the chorizo dust on the clam chowder is simply great. They also offer 10 unique draughts, 40 bottles of ales, lagers & stouts and two revolving taps of rare, limited and often local taps. Classic cocktails are created with barrel aged spirits from their in-house infusion locker. Guests can also enjoy housemade seasonal punches served tableside in classic punchbowls. We ordered one of these delicious punchbowls, and it honestly felt like the never-ending drink – it was blue, delicious and kept us very happy. Next to our table was a young lady celebrating her 21st birthday and she had ordered a glass of

Discovering Columbus

the same drink we had. Well, we invited her to join our punchbowl, and she gladly did – like I said – never ending punchbowl! If you like seafood, we highly recommend the Shellfish Tower: Dozen Oysters And Clams On The Half Shell, Half Pound Peel & Eat Gulf Shrimp, Louie Dressed Colossal Crab, Cocktail Sauce, Pickled Horseradish. Best Overall & Best South American Food By far the best place we found to eat was El Arepazo Latin Grill. This is a casual place to eat South American cuisine and enjoy some great tapas and drinks. Owners, Carlos and Carolina Gutierrez, started selling arepas (sort of bread made of ground maize dough served with accompaniments such as cheese, avocado, and/or meats), at the Columbus Latin Festival.

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine - The Pearl

ConnextionsMagazine.com

21

ConnextionsMagazine.com

21


Travel: Columbus, OH

The popularity of their booth enocuraged them to open El Arepazo Latin Grill. A few years later, they decided to open a second location, Arepazo Tapas & Wine. This location serves lunch, an expanded dinner menu and a full bar.

Photo courtesy of: El Arepazo

In 2014, their newest location, in the Brewery District Neighborhood of Columbus, opened. This time around, they picked a much bigger place, with two dinning rooms, a large bar, and a party and event space. This location also allows patrons

22

or Arepazo-fans, as they are dearly called, to try different Latin American dishes. Despite its quick growth and immense popularity, Arepazo has stayed true to its original goal: to provide afforadable, authentic, Latin American food to Central Ohio. When going to eat at either of their locations, look out for Carlos or Carolina, as they are usually around and be sure to let them know you read about them in Connextions Magazine!

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Join the conversation online ConnextionsMagazine.com Join us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest @ConnextionsMag

ConnextionsMagazine.com 23 23

23


24

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


THE

HUMAN

ORGANIZATION TRANSGENDER

RIGHTS

CAMPAIGN

WORKING EQUALITY.

TO BY

IS

AMERICA’S

ACHIEVE INSPIRING

LESBIAN, AND

LARGEST

CIVIL

GAY,

BISEXUAL

ENGAGING

ALL

RIGHTS AND

AMERICANS,

HRC STRIVES TO END DISCRIMINATION AGAINST LGBT CITIZENS AND REALIZE A NATION THAT ACHIEVES FUNDAMENTAL FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY FOR ALL.

HRC SEEKS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF LGBT AMERICANS BY ADVOCATING FOR EQUAL RIGHTS AND BENEFITS IN THE WORKPLACE, ENSURING FAMILIES ARE TREATED EQUALLY UNDER THE LAW, AND INCREASING PUBLIC SUPPORT AMONG ALL AMERICANS THROUGH INNOVATIVE ADVOCACY, EDUCATION AND OUTREACH PROGRAMS. HRC WORKS TO SECURE EQUAL RIGHTS FOR LGBT INDIVIDUALS AND FAMILIES AT THE FEDERAL AND STATE LEVELS BY LOBBYING ELECTED OFFICIALS, MOBILIZING GRASSROOTS SUPPORTERS, EDUCATING AMERICANS, INVESTING STRATEGICALLY TO ELECT FAIR-MINDED OFFICIALS AND PARTNERING WITH OTHER LGBT ORGANIZATIONS. ConnextionsMagazine.com

WWW.HRC.ORG

25


Travel: Vieques

26

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

27


THE BETSY HOTEL E S GLAM & LUXE = HAPPINESS HA

P G N I N N A L P E H T

28 28

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos courtesy of: The Betsy Hotel

R

esting royally on the north end of Ocean Drive in the heart of South Beach, Miami’s colorful Art Deco District, The Betsy-South Beach is mere steps away from the Atlantic Ocean and its white sand beach, and an easy walk to nightlife, shopping, museums and cultural events. Imagine waking up, opening the shades to let the sun rays in and looking at the ocean, while the waves call your name. Your only option is to run out of your room in your bathing suit and go for a swim, then go back to The Betsy and enjoy a scrumptious breakfast. The Betsy-South Beach opened in March 2009, after a multi-million dollar restoration of the historic Betsy Ross Hotel. In December 2016, the hotel debuted an Art Deco wing expansion after ConnextionsMagazine.com

merging with the (former) historic Carlton Hotel to become a single unified property. Following its 2016 expansion, The Betsy now offers an additional entrance on Collins Avenue as part of its Art Deco wing, accessible for private events and entry to the Conservatory, a refined Espresso and Wine Bar. The structures are joined as one unified hotel by a bridge conceived as a piece of public art known as “The Betsy Orb.” It’s like walking into a modern, stylish and sophisticated movie scene, with a glare of the golden era of Hollywood, the present stylish glamour of the trendiest South Beach fashion shows and the midas touch of luxury. Independently owned (Jonathan Plutzik, Chairman and Principal Owner) and operated, The Betsy-South Beach is the only Forbes Four Star and AAA Four Diamond rated boutique hotel in Greater Miami. Located in the heart of the Art Deco District on Ocean Drive, The Betsy’s 130 guestrooms include 25 suites, three distinct

29


Travel: South Beach, FL food and beverage outlets under the direction of famed Chef Laurent Tourondel, a 3,200 sq. ft. rooftop complex with swimming pool, dedicated traditional library, and nearly 15,000 sq. ft. of special event space to scale the celebrated PACE (Philanthropy, Arts, Culture, Education) program. Known widely as one of the world’s great literary arts hotels, a poetic line from Pulitzer Prize finalist Hyam Plutzik (The Betsy-South Beach owner’s father) describes the experience and serves as its tag line: Expect no more. This is happiness. With visionary direction from Italian designers Diamante Pedersoli (private residences for Ralph Lauren) and Carmelina Santoro, The Betsy-South Beach embraces the natural heritage of its location to offer a timeless style. In the Colonial wing, dark wood Venetian blinds cover floor-to-ceiling windows that reflect light off the Atlantic Ocean and ensure a guest-to-city transparency that brings the outside in by day, and the inside out by night.

30

Lighting fixtures include Fortuny Sheherazade chandeliers hanging from coffered ceilings complemented by colonial style fans and other custom design reminiscent of world culture. Historical terrazzo flooring is accented with natural fiber area rugs surrounding seating areas that have a comfortable, residential feel of a home owned by a global traveler in the British Colonial era. Zebra framed mirrors, coffee table art books, a public poetry library with vintage typewriter, and wood chess sets give the property an international feel. The public spaces in the Art Deco wing echo the overall beach-chic theme with similar hues, walnut wood floors, and raffia displays, paying homage to the building’s historical time period. Custom-designed furniture and fixtures adorn the multi-functional spaces with a diverse blend of wicker and teak bases fused with decorative brass and mirrored features. Hand-selected velvet, cotton, and linen fabrics bring gentleness to the pieces in soft, ocean inspired palettes.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


The Betsy-South Beach offers a variety of room types and suites, including the Skyline Penthouse & Terrace with capabilities for up to four bedrooms. There are an additional seven rooms on the Skyline walkway, which can be utilized with the Skyline Penthouse. Each of the hotel’s rooms and suites are private, beachside havens where business and leisure travelers are enveloped in beachfront comfort, complete with a library from which to read a curated collection of books. Every room features hardwood floors, white or washed oak lacquered dressers, cabinetry and desks, stately poster beds, raffia ceilings, Sferra® linens, oversized plush robes, MALIN & GOETZ designer bath products, creative private bar offerings, and gentle splashes of inspired colors from the hotel’s eclectic neighborhood. The Betsy-South Beach’s corporate culture celebrates diversity, embraces community, and shares fruits of its success through social entrepreneurism and venture philanthropy. Direct ConnextionsMagazine.com

programs include sustaining support for Zara’s Center for Aids-impacted youth in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, as well as outreach in education, the arts, conservation, youth, and families in Miami – and beyond. The Betsy-South Beach’s visitors and clientele are made up of charitable-minded travelers, arts creators, and arts appreciators from around the world with a desire to make a difference. Through a range of programs, the hotel invites social networking to revisit its roots in the cultural salon by transforming public spaces into gathering places for travelers, visitors and residents to coalesce. Programs include live music in all genres, art exhibitions, poetry readings, book signings, individually-curated libraries in each of the hotel’s 130 accommodations, poems placed on pillows at turn down each night, and charitable collaboration with more than 250 service driven organizations since 2009.

31


32

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

33


The Writer’s Room is a cornerstone of the hotel’s PACE program and has already welcomed more than 500 creative artists. Launched in April 2012, designed in cooperation with an advisory team from Craig Robbins’ Design District and the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation Challenge grant, it is a space for respite and retreat (in homage to historic artist retreats like MacDowell and Yaddo) for visiting writers to ‘do their best work’ in an atmosphere where they are treated with great respect. The room was also created to recall the many ‘writing rooms’ that existed in prewar hotels where guests recorded memories and linked to home – yet another example of the ownership team’s commitment to linking past and present in an exciting new dimension. Since its opening the room has hosted two US Poet Laureates, the 2013 Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco, and many other emerging and established writers, all of whom have participated in Betsy-directed community service programming during their stay.

34

Believing that public spaces can be more than waiting areas, The Betsy-South Beach has been uniquely recognized by global patrons and media for programs that champion the power of community by cultivating the sights and sounds of art, music and literature. Robust programming includes poetry readings, jazz, opera and piano performances, exiled writers in residence, literary salons, Writers for Young Readers, April Poetry Month, Global Jazz Party, the Accelerate Literacy Symposium, LGBT programming, the JAHLIT (Jewish American and Holocaust Literature festival), Miami’s TRANSART festival, annual A Cappella festival, IberoAmerican literary festival and more. Carefully curated programming creates community partnerships, gives a voice and stage for underserved artistic communities and opens the hotel’s doors for all to enjoy. Elevated three stories above Ocean Drive with an unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean, the

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


E S A H P G N I N N A L P E H T

ConnextionsMagazine.com 35

35


Travel: South Beach, FL 3,750square foot rooftop Ocean Deck is a bright, open space for guests to enjoy a comfortable social environment, quiet relaxation, spa treatments and therapies from the rooftop Wellness Garden and Spa, and complimentary sunrise yoga sessions on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. An oasis of calm, the Ocean Deck is a powerful place to gather for groups, events or weddings. Miami’s only fully outdoor spa offers a range of spa treatments and therapies with sweeping, unobstructed views of the ocean peeking just above the palm trees. The Zen-inspired sanctuary was designed to soothe the senses with the incorporation of earth born elements - including liberal use of wood, stone, bamboo and natural fibers. Shielded by retractable sails set horizontally in the sky, private cabanas capture a light ocean breeze and are the setting for relaxing treatments and massage therapies. In keeping with a commitment to literature, the global spa menu presents poems from around the world with each treatment.

36

Located off the Lobby Salon and open since June 2016, LT Steak & Seafood by Chef Laurent Tourondel, serves a seasonally inspired menu combining the beloved aspects of steak and seafood housed together under one roof. With diverse dishes that draw inspiration from the distinctive energy of Miami in an updated and modern setting. Outdoor terrace seating on Ocean Drive and sidewalk seating is also available. Designed with a hint of vintage glamour by world club designer Cal Fortis, B Bar unveils an exclusive and discreet venue reminiscent of speakeasies of the past, offering a multi-sensory experience for Betsy poetry readings, special events, luxurious dinners, private occasions and intimate weddings. With 26 light boxes created to exhibit fine art or simply light up the room, an undulating vinyl ceiling that reflects the installations, two built in video screens intended for movie premieres or power points, a 21st century sound system complete with built-in DJ booth, and an exquisite bar set-up, B Bar is a unique space for business and pleasure.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Open 24-hours, the fitness center is a space with modern cardio equipment, integrated televisions with complimentary headphones, a full weight training area and a yoga or stretching zone, complimentary water and towels. Trainers are booked by the concierge team at guests’ request for private sessions in the Center, on the beach, or in-room. The Alley includes a classic Italian Pizzeria + Gelateria situated in the 14th Place breezeway connecting Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue. The Alley is a destination where family and friends can share a perfect pizza, enjoy other Italian specialty dishes, experience wine, spirits and a selection of international and local beers, revel in the preparation of freshly made crepes, and gelato, right in the heart of South Beach, just steps from the beach and Lummus Park. A short walk from The Betsy-South Beach, the eclectic designer boutiques along the 10-block ConnextionsMagazine.com

pedestrian promenade of Lincoln Road offer the latest in fashion, accessories, swimwear, jewelry, shoes, and more. Just 20 minutes from South Beach, the world-famous Bal Harbour Shops and The Village of Merrick Park present the most recent collections of top designers from across the globe. Miami Beach offers incredible proximity to the cultural and entertainment events of South Florida, including Art Basel Miami, Miami Boat Show, and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. The Betsy-South Beach is just steps away from the area’s newest treasure – the New World Symphony. Other nearby cultural destinations include the Arsht Center (home of the Florida Grand Opera and Cleveland Orchestra), Bass Museum of Art, The Jackie Gleason Center for the Performing Arts, Colony Theatre, Miami Beach Convention Center, Miami Art Museum, Miami Museum of Science, The Miami Design District, Carnival Center for the Performing Arts, Bayfront Amphitheatre, or Bayside Marketplace.

37


Capturing Your Love

38

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine| |The DELUXE Parent-HOOD! LIFE | Winter | June 2018-19 2015


The Photographer’s Portrait GAY, LESBIAN, BI-SEXUAL & TRANS COUPLES

Wedding Professionals Proud to Provide Services and Support to

Wedding

Plan Your Perfect

100% VERIFIED

WORLDS LARGEST PREMIERE ConnextionsMagazine.com Online LGBT Wedding Planning Directory

LGBT

FRI EN39D LY


Photo courtesy of: Lonna Tucker for Experience Scottsdale Connextions Magazine | 40

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

41


EXPERIENCESE A H P G SCOTTSDALE, AZ N I N N A L P E TH

Photo courtesy of: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess provided by Experience Scottsdale

42 42

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Photo courtesy of: Experience Scottsdale

W

hile many people dream of a white Christmas, people in Scottsdale, Arizona experience a cool 40 to 50 degrees during the winter months; not enough for snow, but just enough for comfy and cozy hoodies and sweaters. The weather starts rising around April and climaxing into three digits during the June to August months. This is why many locals love living in the area. From candlelit dinners crafted by recognized chefs to hand-in-hand strolls through dozens of downtown art galleries, Scottsdale is a getaway for lovers. Couples have fallen in love with this Sonoran Desert destination and choose it for proposals, honeymoons, babymoons, weddings, anniversaries or weekends to reconnect. The restaurant scene is an ever increasing array of tastes and smells, from classic dishes to the new and adventurous, your taste buds will scream ConnextionsMagazine.com

for more. While farm-to-table is all the rage in the culinary world, Scottsdale has taken the concept one step further – from vine-to-table – by introducing five Arizona wine tasting rooms in Downtown. These tasting rooms tell the story of the state’s nearly 100 award-winning wineries. Overflowing with outdoor adventure, fun in the sun, and thrilling Western-style escapades, Scottsdale is the ultimate destination for a family-sized vacation. Families can relish in resorts with year-round programming, rough-and-tumble Sonoran Desert romps, and hands-on experiential art exhibits. The art scene in Scottsdale is a very innovative, talented and unapologetic community. While strolling along Main Street and Marshall Way, couples may encounter special cocktail receptions, artist appearances, or live music in the galleries.

43


Travel: Scottsdale, AZ

Scottsdale may be smack in the middle of one of America’s largest deserts, but families are never left high and dry. Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is home to six pools, 830 tons of white sandy beach and two of Arizona’s longest resort waterslides. At Hyatt Regency Scottsdale, a sprawling aquatic playground is decked with a “beachside” putting green, 28-foot rock climbing wall and Fun Zone where guests can play giant Jenga, Chess or Connect Four. The Phoenician’s Oasis Pool Complex has water volleyball, a splash pad and 165-foot slide that morphs into an “electric waterslide” with fog, lasers and pulsating music on summer holidays. And then there’s Westin Kierland’s Adventure Water Park that includes a lazy river, water slide, pop-jet fountains and FlowRider surfing simulator. Scottsdale has been long been touted as a spa mecca. Its reputation as a place of health and wellness dates back hundreds of years to the Native Americans, who took into account the

body and spirit when assessing overall health. Today, Scottsdale’s spas are drawing upon lessons learned by native ancestors and offering programming that seeks to not only heal the body, but also the heart and mind. And while Scottsdale has more resort-spas per capita than any other city in the United States, no two spas mirror each other. Pair that with the Sonoran Desert’s timeless landscape, spirit-stirring sunsets and crisp desert air, and Scottsdale is a spa destination unlike any other. Outdoor enthusiasts can join one of the conservancy’s stewards on private guided interpretive hikes throughout the year. Try the three-hour Geology Story hike to examine the area’s geological history, from the mountains’ bedrock to the scenic skyline. Or embark on the three-hour, 4-mile Nature’s Pharmacy hike to gain insight into how American Indians used plants for food, shelter, rituals and medicines. No matter what time of the year you go – there is always something for everyone.

Photo courtesy of: FNB Cuisine provided by Experience Scottsdale

44

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Photo courtesy of: Scott McGinty for Experience Scottsdale

ConnextionsMagazine.com

45


10

TOP ACTIVITIES TO DO IN SCOTTSDALE 1

Dining & Drinking: world class restaurants, over

2

Spas: with over 50 resort and health spas – you better

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

46

800 restaurants to be exact, Scottsdale is raising the bar! find your inner peace.

Desert Activities: it’s all about the fun of enjoying the weather year round.

Native American Culture: missing the vibrant

Native American arts and culture would be a mistake.

Downtown Scottsdale: a must experience for every visitor.

Shopping: lots of local shops, everything your heart desires.

Day Trips: balloon rides or perhaps kayaking? Golf: over 50 golf courses in Scottsdale and over 200 in the surrounding areas.

Art Galleries: over 150 art galleries, art dealers, and museums within the city.

Events: always something happening for people of all ages.

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.comPhoto courtesy of: The Boulders Resort & Spa provided by Experience Scottsdale 47 ConnextionsMagazine.com

47


48

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

49


ANDAZ SCOTTSDALE RESORTS & BUNGALOWS: A BETTER VERSION OF YOU

By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos courtesy of: Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows

The guestrooms are situated in unique bungalow clusters, is reminiscent of an artists’ colony, connected by meandering pathways with native desert landscapin, each with an outdoor terrace,

W

and private patio, overlooking the communal

hen in Scottsdale, there is only one name to

remember, Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows.

courtyards, which provide guests a unique and intimate desert experience.

The choice is clear. As soon as you enter the property, you embark on a path to relaxation.

The spacious bungalows and suites feature a mid-century modern design and vibrant colors

Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows offers 201

inspired by the desert and renowned designer

guestrooms and suites within a 23-acre desert oasis

Alexander Girard blend seamlessly with eclectic

with unparalleled views of Camelback Mountain.

works by local artists from the nearby Cattle Track

Artists used the desert as a creative landscape for

Arts Compound.

expression, and the result is a stunning homage to the mid-century artists, architects and designers

Bungalows feature a combination of patios, private

including Alexander Girard, Frank Lloyd Wright

terraces, and oversized bathrooms and showers,

and Paolo Soleri.

and a premium in-room cocktail program.

50

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com 51

Connextions Magazine

|

Travel Heels

|

September 51 2016


Travel: Scottsdale, AZ THE PERFECT PRIVATE GETAWAY AT THE RETREAT

You are then knocked out by the vibrant vibes

The Retreat is a private cluster of accommodations

of the Turquoise Pool and the Turquoise Pool Bar,

separate from the rest of the Resort comprised

which are located at the center of the resort, just

of 20 bungalows, including the Albers House

steps from the Guest House.

Presidential Suite, surrounding a private pool. Whether you sit by the pool, lounge in one of the The Retreat is perfect for an intimate wedding,

private cabanas, go for a swim or bask in the sun,

corporate retreat, or multigenerational getaway,

the poolside atmosphere is essentially sinful fun.

this secluded enclave offers an exclusive resort experience with unparalleled privacy and service.

Inspired by the splendor of the Sonoran Desert, the Palo Verde Spa & Apothecary wellness

THE RELAXATION BEGINS HERE

program is based on the natural healing powers

Instead of walking to a counter to check-in,

of the earth’s most sacred resources. Personalized

you enter the Guest House, sit down and are

treatments blend desert elements in a range of

immediately welcomed by a helpful staff member

locally-sourced botanicals and natural aromatics.

who asks if you want champagne or water; and

A tranquil meditation lounge, private spa pool

while you’re enjoying your drink of choice, they

with spacious lawn, and state-of-the-art fitness

check you in and give you all the information

center feature panoramic views of Camelback

needed to make your stay an unforgettable one.

Mountain.

52

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com 53

Connextions Magazine

|

United by Love

|

January 53 2018


54

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine| |Travel DELUXE Heels LIFE | | September Winter 2018-19 2016


The resort is within walking distance of many

PALO VERDE SPA & APOTHECARY FEATURES:

well-known Scottsdale/Paradise Valley restaurants

•Custom-crafted lotions and aromatics blending

and entertainment venues and is two miles north

desert elements

of Old Town Scottsdale and Scottsdale Fashion

•Relaxation lounge with refreshing beverages,

Square shopping destinations.

fresh fruit, and local provisions •Full-service salon

Get away and stay in the middle of all that

•Couples treatment suites

Scottsdale has to offer at the Andaz Scottsdale

•Women’s and men’s steam rooms

Resort & Bungalows. With picturesque Camelback

•Private pool, deck, and lawn

Mountain as the backdrop, enjoy eclectic mid-century modern design inspired bungalows,

SOME OF RESORT AMENITIES & INCLUSIONS:

vibrant dining experiences, and a serene spa.

•Complimentary Tesla house car drop-off service within a 5 mile radius

Escape and rejuvenate at the perfect luxurious

•State-of-the-art indoor / outdoor fitness center in

urban oasis and discover the allure of the Arizona

the shadow of iconic Camelback Mountain

desert. After your stay, you will leave feeling a

•Exclusive yoga and meditation classes

better version of you, fully refreshed, revitalized,

•Golf concierge with preferred access and tee

and renewed.

times at premier Scottsdale area golf courses

ConnextionsMagazine.com

55


56

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

57


58

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

59


60

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

61


Photo 62 courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine| |United DELUXE by LIFE Love || Winter January 2018-19 2018


Cattle Track Arts Compound The Andaz Scottsdale Resort & Bungalows has a unique partnership with the Cattle Track Arts Compound, a nearby community of artists, musicians and craftsman who share their talents and stories with guests. It is a place significant for its national and local historic designations. It’s a collection of people who earned the historic distinction by being forward-thinking souls. The Compound provides a place for the greater arts and culture of Scottsdale. Their mission is to recognize and celebrate

Scottsdale’s

cultural

heritage

by

providing opportunities for artists, craftsmen, and students, visual and performing, individually and collectively, encourage and enhance their art forms.

ConnextionsMagazine.com

63


64 courtesy of: Connextions Magazine Photo

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

65


ARIZONA OUTBACK ADVENTURES

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

During this trip to Arizona, it became apparent

the boat through holes that are meant to be there

quickly that I was going to be facing fears fiercely

and you are likely to get wet while sitting in your

- snakes, drowning and heights! We were invited

kayak. This adds an extra level of refreshment on

by Experience Scottsdale and Arizona Outback

hot desert days!

Adventures (AOA) to a kayaking adventure. I had never kayaked, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It

Since 1997, AOA has been the Southwest’s premier

turned out to be an unforgetable experience.

adventure company, offering guided outdoor trips across the American West from road cycling

Kayaking is a great way to get out and enjoy the

and mountain biking to hiking and backpacking

lakes, rivers, and waterways near you. Kayaks

trips, and bike rentals in the Phoenix metro area.

come in one or two person styles and can be hard-shelled or inflatable. When exploring on a

AOA’s staff and guides cheekily live by the motto,

lake or river, kayaks can move in shallow water

“Of all the paths you choose in life, make sure

among plants and allow for good wildlife viewing

some of them are dirt.”

or even swimming. AOA’s goal with every tour and bike rental is to AOA’s

inflatable

provide the pinnacle of adventure experiences

“self-bailing” river kayaks. This means they are

through excellent customer service, safety, and

designed so that water gets into the bottom of

authentic interactions with the natural world.

66

guided

kayak

tours

use

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com 67

Connextions Magazine

|

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

Travel Heels

|

September 67 2016


68 courtesy of: Connextions Magazine Photo

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com

69


HOT AIR EXPEDITIONS

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

Snakes and heights - yikes! So, what the hell was

As the balloon starts to float away, you experience

I doing in the desert, about to get on a hot air

unobstructed 360-degree views, allowing for

balloon? Well, I was about to have the best time

breathtaking photographs. The pilot explores a

ever, as I continued a path to face fears fiercely!

variety of altitudes, up to 3,000 feet in the air for a marvelous overview of the valley, to just under 400

According to Hot Air Expeditions, “hot air

feet from the ground where you are able to see

ballooning can be traced back to the 13th

the sights and sounds of desert life. The pilot serves

century when Roger Bacon, the great English friar

as narrator as well, pointing out wildlife, exotic

and philosopher, wrote that man could fly if he

desert plant life below and descend within inches

was fastened to a large hollow ball of thin copper,

of trees and cacti.

filled with liquid fire or air.” Yep, sounds pretty safe to me.

Throughout the flight, the ground crew follows the balloon so they can be ready for your landing.

The entire experience begins with the inflation of

A lovely table complete with linens and china

the balloons by motorized fans. Once the balloon

awaits you in the heart of the desert, including

is filled with air, the burners are ignited to heat the

scrumptiously

air inside. Once the balloon is ready, it’s time to

champagne and you will be inducted into the

board the over-sized wicker basket and enjoy the

ballooning society and awarded the Certificate

Arizona flight to the fullest.

d’Ascension En Machine Aerostatique.

70

Connextions Magazine

|

prepared

gourmet

DELUXE LIFE

|

food

and

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com 71

Connextions Magazine

|

Photo courtesy of: Connextions Magazine

Travel Heels

|

September 71 2016


The Photographer’s Portrait

72

United States - United Kingdom - Canada - Brazil - Germany - Kenya - Indonesia - China - Russia - France Japan - Italy - Netherlands - Australia - Spain - South Korea - Mexico - Turkey - India - Philippines - South AfWe are your Connextions rica - Pakistan - Malaysia - Poland - Argentina - Beltravel- Finland & new- adventures. gium - to Sweden Norway - Denmark - Israel - TaiwanWe - Singapore - Thailand - Portugal - Ukraine are your Connextions Algeria - Ireland -readers Austria - Switzerland - Vietnam - Puerto 350,000+ in 135 countries. to Rico - Venezuela - Romania - Bangladesh - Czech Republic - Egypt - Colombia - Greece - Peru - Estonia - Hong Kong - Saudi Arabia - Slovenia - United Arab Emirates - Chile - Latvia - Yemen - Sri Lanka - Nigeria - New Zealand - Hungary - Iran - Lebanon - Morocco - Qatar - Serbia - Bulgaria - Côte d’Ivoire - Dominican Republic - Ecuador - Jordan - French Polynesia - Turks & Caicos Islands - Bahamas - Kuwait - Macedonia Oman - Slovakia - Syria - Tunisia - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bahrain - Costa Rica - Cyprus - Georgia - Guatemala - Croatia - Sudan - Trinidad & Tobago - Uruguay - Albania - Angola - Bolivia - Botswana - Jamaica - CamWe are your Connextions bodia - aLibya - Martinique - Mozambique - Namibia to 20,000+ social media followers. - Paraguay - Senegal - Uganda - Kosovo - Afghanistan We are your Connextions - Aruba - Barbados - Bermuda - Belarus - Belize - Cuba to the - Djibouti - Ethiopia - Fiji world! - Grenada - Guinea - Bissau - Iraq - Jersey - Cayman Islands - Kazakhstan - Lithua@ConnextionsMag on all social media channels nia - Luxembourg - Mongolia - Macau - Malta - New ConnextionsMagazine.com Caledonia - Nicaragua - Panama - Somalia - El Salva| DELUXE LIFE | Winter 2018-19 72 dor - U.S. Virgin Connextions Islands - Magazine Venezuela - Vanuatu - Zambia


The Photographer’s Portrait

Your What, When & Where For NYC LGBTQ Events, Arts, Entertainment, Culture & More!

NYCUpAndOut.com ConnextionsMagazine.com

73


Capturing Your Love

Photo courtesy of: InterContinental Miami

74 74

Connextions ConnextionsMagazine Magazine | DELUXELife LIFE | Winter 2018-19 2015 Connextions Magazine || Deluxe Deluxe Life || December December 2015


ConnextionsMagazine.com

75


76

INTERCONTINENTAL MIAMI WILL INSPIRE YOU

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine| |Travel DELUXE Heels LIFE | | September Winter 2018-19 2016


By: Manny Velasquez-Paredes Photos courtesy of: InterContinental Miami

elegant entrance, with its Italian marble slabs and precious African wood complementing The Spindle.

C

elebrating over 30 years as one of the

With breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean,

iconic buildings making up the Miami skyline,

Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami, The

The InterContinental®

InterContinental® Miami has hosted heads of

Miami

is

located at

the crossroads of Miami’s Business and Arts &

state, artists, and the world’s top athletes.

Entertainment districts. Over 500,000 guests visit the hotel on a yearly basis, In the early 80s, The InterContinental® Miami was

which was originally designed to be a casino. The

built in an untraditional way; instead of decorating

hotel features 641 luxury guest rooms, including 34

it first, the starting inspiration point was an art

suites; 35 meeting rooms with over 100,000 square

sculpture.

feet of meeting space.

Henry Moore’s 18-foot, 70-ton Spindle sculpture,

The InterContinental® Miami has four restaurants

made of travertine marble (pictured above),

to choose from, including Table 40, the only

become the focal point on which the lobby was

Chef’s Table in Downtown Miami, and Toro Toro,

created around. The Grand Lobby presents an

the hotel’s signature award-winning Pan-Latin

ConnextionsMagazine.com

77


Travel: Miami, FL

destination restaurant; a full-service fitness center

Robert

and spa; and if that wasn’t enough – a rooftop

InterContinental® Miami explains that “today’s

pool deck with gardens.

travelers value service above all else and we

Hill,

General

Manager

of

The

are proud of our long track record providing The hotel has been the official home of the

an exceptional experience to our guests, our

Orange Drop on New Year’s Eve for over 25 years.

clients and loyal customers within our community.

Mr. Neon Orange is custom built to fit the exterior

Executing our mission to deliver top tier service

apex of the hotel.

begins with our people. We have a committed team of more than 600 people working every

The Presidential Suite and Royal Suite were

day to create a positive and inviting culture that

originally decorated and named for President

extends to our guests.”

Ronald Reagan and Princess Caroline of Monaco, respectively.

The hotel completed a $30M renovation in 2012 which captures the pulse of the new Miami –

Today, they are both known as the Royal Palm

an evolving global Arts, Culture, Culinary and

and Metropolis Presidential Suites. In 2012, Venus

Entertainment destination.

Williams, along with her interior design company V*Starr Designs, fully renovated both suites and

Conveniently

the InterContinental Club Lounge.

Financial District, the Port of Miami and a short

78

Connextions Magazine

|

located

between

DELUXE LIFE

|

the

Brickell

Winter 2018-19


ConnextionsMagazine.com 79

Connextions Magazine

|

United by Love

|

January 79 2018


drive from Miami International Airport, it is also

hand-blown light fixtures and comfy leather

within walking distance from the bustling Bayside

lounge seating. Adjacent to the dining room, the

Marketplace (an outdoor mall next to the bay of

bar is accented by rich white marble, rustic walnut

course), American Airlines Arena, Adrienne Arsht

and delicate custom sculptural pendant lighting,

Center for the Performing Arts, and Museum park,

creating a sophisticated and sultry ambiance.

home to Pérez Art Museum, and the soon Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum of Science.

The Pan-Latin restaurant was brought to Miami by James Beard. Award Winning Chef Richard

EAT IT & DRINK IT!

Sandoval, and Executive Chef Jean Delgado

Toro is the Spanish word for bull. Bulls are powerful,

oversee all culinary activities of Toro Toro Miami.

strong, and determined, which is probably why

This sophisticated and sexy concept, introduced

Toro Toro (pictured above and on the next page)

at the property as part of its ongoing $30 million

is clearly visible from the lobby lounge.

redesign, is modeled after Sandoval’s Dubai Toro Toro, which was named “Best Latin” and “Best

The dining room and bar draws inspiration from

New Restaurant” by Time Out magazine.

European and Latin interior design and is timeless in its modern interpretation. Dark wood planked

Toro

flooring and ceilings alike are accented by

flavors, indigenous ingredients and spices of the

smooth troweled concrete walls, brass finishings,

Americas. “Toro Toro Miami pays homage to the

80

Toro’s

Connextions Magazine

menu

|

combines

DELUXE LIFE

|

the

distinctive

Winter 2018-19


InterContinental Miami Will Inspire You warmth of Latin American hospitality and the

Hot plates encompass short rib arepas − crispy

tradition of lively, family-style dining. I think it’s a

corn cake pockets topped with tender shredded

great concept for a city as unique, vibrant and

short rib, guacamole and crema fresca (Latin-style

colorful as Miami,” says Sandoval.

sour cream), which Miami New Times deemed as Best Arepas in Miami in their 2013 annual “Best

The restaurant’s wide selection of small plates,

of the City” awards, and a wild mushroom coca

which are Sandoval’s upscale take on the buffet

flatbread topped with arugula, goat cheese,

classically found at a rodizio restaurant, range

caramelized shallots and truffle oil, which is also a

from cold plates such as freshly-prepared smoked

popular item on the menu at the Dubai restaurant.

swordfish dip with pickled chiles, aioli, tomato and served with crispy tortilla chips to causa

Toro Toro offers a Sunday Bottomless Buffet Brunch

Toro Toro – mashed yellow potato cake, smoked

featuring unlimited mimosas, bloody Mary’s and

trout, avocado and kabayaki sauce; and coctel

micheladas. Guests can choose from a decadent

de camarones with salsa Ecuatoriana, crispy

display of Pan-Latin choices, including small hot

malanga and avocado, and our favorite - lomo

and cold plates, a salad bar, pastries, and a

saltado empanadas, which is a playful take on

rodizio carving station with sizzling meats off the

the Peruvian dish Lomo Saltado (stir fry marinated

wood grill. We had the pleasure of enjoying the

strips of sirloin beef with oniones, tomatoes and

Brunch and not only was every dish delicious, but

French fries).

the wait staff was super adorable and helpful.

ConnextionsMagazine.com

81


In addition to its delicious cuisine, the restaurant

square foot, full-service spa, a fully equipped

draws crowds for its vibrant bar scene and

fitness studio including Technogym cardio theater,

mixologists, who shake and stir up innovative,

strength and conditioning equipment, circuit

hand-crafted, Latin-inspired cocktails, made with

training, outdoor spinning and free weights. There

ultra-premium spirits. Created by head mixologist

are 10 treatment rooms including a couples suite

Matthew Phillips, Toro Toro’s signature cocktails

and a hydrotherapy suite. Among some of the

include the refreshing Passion Fruit Pisco Sour

other amenities found in mySpa are:

made with Capurro pisco, passion fruit, lime, egg whites; the Ahumado, consisting of Mezcal Vida, Solerno blood orange liqueur, bell pepper, lime juice, agave and a jalapeno ice cube; and the must-have Negrita made with Avion Silver tequila, blackberry, lime, pineapple and agave nectar, garnished with an edible orchid.

• SpaJet Hydropod with 20 massage jets and chromotherapy • Separate couples manicure and pedicure areas • Women’s and men’s area feature spacious locker

rooms

with

heated

floors

and

complimentary personal toiletries WORK IT!

• Relaxation rooms, refreshments

If working out and relaxation are in your agenda,

• A unique steam, sauna and drench shower

then mySpa is your happy place, featuring a 15,000

82

experience

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19


Planning the Perfect Wedding

ConnextionsMagazine.com

83


The Photographer’s Portrait

LET’S STAND WITH AMERICA’S NEXT GENERATION, SO THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN. In America, it is estimated that up to 1.6 million youth are homeless each year. Up to 40% of them identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Yet, just 7% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT. The True Colors Fund is working to reduce that disproportionate percentage from 40% to none. Visit www.truecolorsfund.org to learn how you can make a difference.

84

Connextions Magazine

|

DELUXE LIFE

|

Winter 2018-19 84


ConnextionsMagazine.com

85


86

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine| |The DELUXE Parent-HOOD! LIFE | Winter | June 2018-19 2015

Profile for Connextions Magazine

Deluxe-Life