Carlos Melia, 49. Travel Expert, Luxury Travel Blogger and Curator, Niche Marketing Consultant, Jetsetter, and Bon Vivant. All my reviews and tips worldwide based on my own travel experiences as an OUT Gay Traveler can be read and followed at CarlosMeliaBlog.com
The Venetian Resort & Casino
Last week during my stay in Las Vegas for the YLC 2013 Conference and the LTX 2013 Convention, I was hosted at The Venetian Resort & Casino. Reviewing and experiencing hotels in Las Vegas, is always a daunting task, due to the size and number of outlets, attractions and restaurants within each property. So I decided to keep it simple and to just comment on what I’ve got to experience and see. Since I was busy with the convention and conference, I was not able to enjoy much of the resort, featuring signature Canyon Ranch SpaClub, Venetian Pool Deck (which I tried but it was way too overcrowded for my taste), and the TAO Beach. Let’s say that all I got to experience, was my suite on The Venetian Tower, a few of their restaurants, their featured show Rock of Ages and some strolls along the streets of Venice (which by the way were dry!!!). I was hosted at a Suite at The Venetian Tower. 36-story four-stats resort, The Venetian features all suites accommodation, I would say being the biggest entry level suites in The Strip. I was very happy with my suite, although of course, me being me, I would have preferred to stay at their Palazzo Tower. I was hosted (video above) at a Luxury King Suite - 650 square feet - Roman tub, plush king-sized bed with Egyptian cotton sheets to the sunken living area complete with HD TVs and plush furnishings. My concerns with this suite were: Lightning concept: I could not see anything. Low lights, I assume to save energy. Color Palette: too rustic, sad and outdated to my own taste. You can pretend to be in a Tuscan Villa, but even those have been refurbished. Bathroom amenities were a total disappointment for such an all-suite property. Unfortunately I was never able to see the suites at The Palazzo Tower, but I heard great things about them. TIP. !!! If you go Palazzo, the way to go is PRESTIGE. You will thank me. As for my gourmet experiences within The Venetian Resort, I must highlight three of them. Pinot Brasserie, located on the Restaurant Row. Classic French bistro fare with a West Coast accent, by celebrity chef Joachim Splichal. Intimate setting, exquisite cuisine. More @ CarlosMeliaBlog.com
Hôtel Americano NYC
Last week, I had an express 24hrs stay at the Hôtel Americano in New York City, member of the Grupo Habita and Design Hotels, as part of my Stay & Dine OUT New York for locals, a different way to experience your own city. Located in the heart of the Chelsea between the High Line and the Hudson River. Quaint small hotel, very happening, on a rather quiet street, only two blocks from the Hudson River Park over 27th Street, between 10th and 11th. Hôtel Americano takes design by simple choices, infused with a modern mix between nordic-japanes approach. Urban ryokan with wooden platform beds, warm lighting, natural materials, some with fireplaces, and although small bathrooms, some featuring soaking tubs. We were hosted at a STUDIO KING Room (video below). My comments on the room are… I quite like the concept, but I was a bit disappointed by the lack of external views, having an entire wall in-front of us which could have been a full window. The bathroom was very small, and I quite did not find an use, other than decorative purposes, for such a fireplace. I loved the ryokan style of the bed, but I would personally have updated the phone sets, to match and blend with the concept. The experience on the Food & Spirits outlets was not the best to be fully honest, but I will be fair, the setting is quite interesting, although too happening and overcrowded to my personal taste. I would personally prefer more quality and less quantity. We were invited to try The Grill at La Piscine, a year round grill on the rooftop of the hotel, but in the end after a long wait and a rather rude host, we decided to move on to another option within the neighborhood. This was an isolated incident, and I must say that I have been re-invited to join them for dinner next week, so I might have more to share on this after my second, hopefully more welcoming, experience. I must mention that the hotel also features a second restaurant on the ground floor, which is very popular among locals for brunch. French fare with a Latin flair. Chef Joseph Buenconsejo, presides over West Chelsea’s dining room with outdoor patio. Some of the featured amenities for those staying at the hotel are: Soft washed denim bathrobe by Loden Dager. Aesop bathroom products. iPad customized with in-room controls and guest directory. Guest bicycles. I would recommend this hotel for young travelers, who are not on the budget, and are looking to explore Manhattan with a hip sexy happening approach. CarlosMeliaBlog.com
La Esquina a hidden Mexican secret
La Esquina a hidden Mexican secret ( NOLITA, New York City ) I wont say much about the place because otherwise I would break the spell of the hidden Mexican secret, and I would spoil the whole experience that even I went through when I was invited to come over this restaurant and I found out it was just a Luncheonette stand for hot dogs and beer. Well the next was yet to come, that if you are lucky enough to be on the list. Only a few snapshots since I wont say anymore. If I reveal too much they will take me out of the circle of trust and wont be able to ever come back again. NOW be aware that if you trust my judging and you happen to send customers or guest to this restaurant, expect them to call you and say Are you F*** crazy, I am not going to have dinner here. Well just tell them to calm down, relax and go with the flow. I would risk to say was the best Mexican dinner/food I have had in year. The Ceviche Acapulco market fish, fresh tomato, avocado, jalapeno, lime (USD 12), Quesadilla de HUITLACOCHE mexican truffle, roasted corn, mushrooms, queso oaxaca (USD 11), Camarones a la Plancha grilled gulf shrimp, butternut squash, spanish chorizo, cherry tomatoes, chayote (USD 22), Pollo Dominguero Tradicional 1/2 traditional sunday rotisserie chicken, papas fritas, string beans (USD 22) but the star of the night were the Roasted Corn with cheese and mayonnaise OMG it was literally a Mexican Orgasm. The dessert highly recommended by our waitress was the Pastel de Chocolate Cafe de Olla warm chocolate cake, espresso, cinnamon, creme fraiche ice cream.