Friday, April 18, 2014

The Garden of the City---Villa Devoto, Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale

Tree-Lined Streets
A short train ride from the heart of downtown Buenos Aires is the upscale neighbourhood of Villa Devoto which is also known as ‘El Jardin de la Ciudad’----The Garden of the City---due to its tree-lined streets. In fact, Villa Devoto famously boasts more trees than any other barrio of Buenos Aires. It derives its name from Count Antonio Devoto, a member of the Buenos Aires elite society from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Devoto, an Italian immigrant and philanthropist, owned the majority of the land that today makes up the barrio, which he acquired in 1888 when sections of the town of San Martin were incorporated into Buenos Aires Capital Federal.

In 1910, Count Antonio Devoto commissioned the building of Palacio Devoto, one of biggest mansions in Buenos Aires spread over more than 10,000 square meters. An icon of the barrio, the palace was designed by Italian architect Juan Antonio Buschiazzo and adorned with Florentine mosaics and gold, silver, and bronze trimmings. Unfortunately, Devoto died in 1916 before Buschiazzo had finished his work and completed the construction.

Today, Villa Devoto is famed for being the home of football icon Diego Maradona’s family members and the childhood neighborhood of tennis star Gabriela Sabatini.

Plaza Arenales

At the heart and center of Villa Devoto is Plaza Arenales, a large public square and park occupying the equivalent of four blocks. Here you will find a vast array of pine, walnut, eucalyptus, and magnolia trees, and history proclaims that at the turn of the 20th century the plaza was a popular meeting place of the Italian mafia. The plaza is named after General Juan Antonio Alvarez de Arenales, to whom a commemorative monument was built in 1958. There is also a statue of Antonio Devoto. Today, the plaza is a favorite evening and weekend hang out spot of Villa Devoto residents. Walking one block north along Nueva York street from Plaza Arenales you will discover the imposing Palacio Devoto.

Many other historic and grand mansions known as palacios can also be found in this barrio as you wander around the tree-lined streets. Of particular historic interest is the ornate, decorative style of Palacio Ceci built cerca 1895 and located on Lincoln between Gualeguaychú and Havana.

Palacio Ceci

Visit the Café de Garcia (Sanabria 3302) which opened in 1900 and is like a journey back in time as little has changed since its early beginnings. With walls adorned with football and tango memorabilia, it is as porteño as a café can get.

Café da la Plaza

The Café da la Plaza (Lincoln and Nueva York) offers a superb bistro-styled menu mixing Argentine, Armenian, and European ingredients. Overlooking the Plaza Arenales, it has become a Devoto institution for coffee, lunch, or dinner since opening in 1988.

A final delight can be found at the Vagon Devoto Bar and Restaurant beside the train station. Enjoy this unique dining experience on board an old historic British 1906 train wagon from the original Kassel Express. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is charming in this antique dining car. Choose from appetizers including bruschettas, pate de maison, or smoked salmon with cream cheese. Then enjoy traditional Argentina parilla cooked meats of beef, pork or lamb. For lighter appetites there is a selection of fresh salads, pastas, or fish dishes. The desert selection is varied and includes a wonderful cheesecake with red berries sauce.

Vagon Devoto Dining Car

Discover the proud inhabitants and a classic Buenos Aires lifestyle in Villa Devoto which is served by both the FC Urquiza and FC San Martin train lines with frequent service to the city center. A few hours spent in the Garden of the City Villa Devoto barrio will make for a unique Argentine experience undiscovered by most tourists but a genuine local education to be enjoyed.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

An Afternoon in Vicente Lopez, Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale
Sometimes an escape from the heart of the city of Buenos Aires and the traditional tourist attractions can be a welcome relief on a hot summer afternoon. If you are feeling adventurous then a short twenty minute train ride from the Retiro station will take you to the Barrio of Vicente Lopez and the expansive coastal parkland and beaches.

                                            Paseo de la Costa
Just a few blocks from the train station is Carlitos restaurant where you can enjoy a refreshing brunch of crepes, omelets, sandwiches, or salads accompanied by freshly squeezed juices or beer and wine. The excellent service and home cooked meals are a delight at economical prices. Start your visit here and then take the short two blocks walk to the coastal promenade.

                                           Carlitos Restaurant

                                          Carlitos Patio

The Paseo de la Costa is an expansive riverside green space with different sectors and is ideal for enjoying the outdoors with family or friends. During weekends the Coastal Promenade is closed to vehicular traffic and welcomes thousands of people who come to walk, jog, roller blade, and bicycle alongside the Rio de la Plata.

Some of the places that stand out in the Paseo de la Costa are the pedestrian bridge, the amphitheater "Arturo Illia " the memorial of the millennium, the Arenales Peninsula, and Vito Dumas tribute monument to the " Lone Sailor ".

                                          Treed Areas Providing Shade
The Children's Park with its thirty-two acres is an ideal walk for everyone to enjoy, especially on hot sunny days. From the coastal walk enjoy the Rio de la Plata vista with numerous sailboats and where fishing enthusiasts along the riverbank try their luck with their fishing rods and lines.

                                          Outdoor Sports
The park has areas with trees, picnic tables, and sports fields for soccer and more. There are also restrooms, a nursing station, kiosks, drinking fountains, family playgrounds, and parking for cars. In recent years the city government has installed artificial sandy beaches with umbrellas, chairs, showers and sports activities for families to enjoy in the sun and fresh air. In addition there is free Wi Fi Internet for those who need to stay in touch.

                                           Vicente Lopez Café

On your return journey allow enough time to visit the Vicente Lopez Cafe on the north side of the train station. This delightful café is perfect for a light breakfast or afternoon tea, coffee and fresh pastries. The baked goods are a delight and prepared every day to ensure a tasty treat. They have a courtyard patio across the street, outdoor sidewalk tables, and a large indoor restaurant. The short menu offers a variety of teas, coffees, sandwiches, salads, and of course freshly baked delights. The service is impeccable, efficient, and friendly. It's a great place for a snack or light meal and is conveniently located to start your visit with a traditional Argentine breakfast of medialunas or to enjoy your last few moments in Vicente Lopez with a sweet treat.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nuvo Hotel, Calgary, Canada

 Nuvo Hotel Suites
By Roy Heale

In the heart of Calgary's downtown is the trendy residential community known as the Beltline where comfortable and safe urban living is a recognised characteristic of the neighbourhood. Modern new high rise apartments blend with older historic buildings and everything architecturally in between to form a truly pleasant living environment for those who want to be close to the downtown commercial district. Naturally, this community is home to several new boutique hotels for the convenience of business and leisure travellers who want to share this urban experience. One of the most popular is the stylish Nuvo Hotel Suites which is perfect for a short visit to Calgary or an extended stay in the city.

This small boutique hotel is in an ideal location to walk a few blocks to the downtown business sector of Calgary, or the trendy and renowned 17th Avenue entertainment district. The suites are spacious and well appointed with all amenities including a kitchen for simple meals in your room. This is particularly good as the hotel is located just across from a Safeway supermarket with a great take-out deli section. There is a small work station area for a computer enabling guests to keep in touch while traveling. The staff are very efficient, friendly and helpful. Some parking is available but needs to be reserved in advance of arrival if possible. They offer free high speed WiFi and long distance calling within North America. Some units even have their own washer and dryer for the convenience of those on long term stays.

At Nuvo Hotel Suites, the guests' comfort is a top priority and as a unique Calgary boutique hotel catering to a multitude of needs, they strive to provide an affordable, comfortable and convenient experience.

All of the hotel suites offer a spacious queen bed, with a top of the line mattress. If you require more sleeping areas, rooms are available with pull-out couches or a second bed. The property is a 100% non-smoking facility to protect the guests' health and comfort during their stay. Impressive value is available in this exceptional downtown Calgary hotel which offers executive suites displaying unique artwork and contemporary furnishings.

Many local attractions are nearby, including the Saddledome, the Calgary Tower and the Calgary Stampede Fairgrounds. After a day of perusing the city's offerings and exhibits, guests enjoy the multitude of dining and shopping options in close proximity to their Calgary accommodations. Some balcony rooms are available with a view of the breathtaking Calgary skyline, and all the rooms have windows which open to allow fresh air to circulate. Those traveling for business purposes will appreciate the complimentary Internet and phone services, and the automatic coffee maker available in each room offers the perfect beginning to your day in the privacy of your own room. Numerous local restaurants and bars, shopping amenities, recreational facilities and cultural experiences are easily accessible from Element Hotel. Just a few short blocks from the hotle is The 17th Avenue Entertainment District which is recognised as the heart of Calgary for dining and shopping.

Some Local Dining Options Include:

* Balo Vietnamese Restaurant

* The King and I

* Brewsters 11th ave

* Ric's Grill

* Janice Beaton Fine Cheese and The Farm Restaurant

* Laurier Lounge

* Bonterra Trattoria

* The Coup + Meet

* Bumpy's Cafe

* Nellie's Cosmic Cafe

* Blowfish Sushi

Nuvo Hotel Suites offers the unique combination of contemporary styling, modern connectivity, and sophisticated, stylish decor to make your stay easier and more enjoyable. The friendly, knowledgeable staff is ready to help you with everything from a local restaurant recommendation to a last-minute photocopy need.

Facilities of NUVO Hotel Suites: 

Bedroom: Alarm clock, Wardrobe/Closet, Extra Long Beds (> 2 metres)

Kitchen: Dishwasher, Microwave, Coffee machine, Kitchenware, Refrigerator, Oven, Stovetop, Toaster, Kitchen

Living Area: Seating Area

Media & Technology: Radio, Cable Channels, iPod dock, Flat-screen TV, Telephone

Food & Drink: Breakfast in the room

Internet: Free WiFi is available in the hotel rooms

Parking: Guest parking is possible on site (reservation is not needed) and costs CAD 18 per day.

Services: Express check-in/check-out, Laundry, Fax/photocopying

General: Non-smoking rooms, Family rooms, Heating, Allergy-free room, Non-smoking throughout, Air conditioning, Fan, Ironing Facilities, Iron

This is an affordable boutique hotel option in a perfect Calgary downtown location providing spacious, reasonably priced accommodations for short or extended visits.

For More Information Visit:

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Great Boutique Hotel in Beltline Community

Hotel Elan, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

By Roy Heale

In the heart of downtown Calgary the trendy, residential community known as the Beltline is close to the business center of the city plus the hip restaurants, clubs, and boutiques of the 17th Avenue Entertainment District. For this reason a number of boutique hotels have recently located themselves in this area providing accommodation options for business and leisure visitors to Calgary. Perhaps the newest addition is the Hotel Elan which opened in June 2013 after an extensive period of renovations converting an apartment building into luxury suites for discriminating travellers.

Spacious Living Area

At Hotel Elan no detail is overlooked when it comes to comfort, luxury, and space. From the custom designed bathroom fixtures to the stylish furniture that has been imported directly from Italy, each suite has been created to make your stay unlike any other hotel you’ve ever experienced in Calgary. This is the only boutique hotel in Calgary to offer combined accommodation and private in-suite meeting spaces designed specifically for business travellers but also appreciated by vacationers to the city.

Large Bedrooms

Situated just one block from Calgary’s renowned Uptown 17th Avenue SW, Hotel Elan is in a vibrant part of the City that is home to over 200 boutique shops as well as numerous restaurants, lounges, and pubs. The downtown business district is just a short walk from the hotel. If you have your own vehicle, you can enjoy the benefits of their heated, secure underground parkade for a moderate nightly cost. It is also situated in the heart of the car-2-go zone---Calgary’s newest mode of transportation.

Hotel Elan has been designed to make you feel pampered and well looked after whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure.

Balconies For A View

Hotel Amenities:


All suites offer meeting spaces for 4-6 people

•47″ flat screen TV in the meeting space/living room

•Complimentary High Speed Internet – Secure Wireless and Hard Wired

•Complimentary, unlimited calls anywhere in North America

•Natural light with access to a private outdoor balcony

Fitness Centre:

•Google map enabled treadmill – you can go for a run on a wide variety of trails all over the world

•Elliptical trainer

•Recumbant Bike

•Weight machines

•Bosu Ball

•Stretching area with free weights

Complimentary Deluxe Continental Breakfast Buffet

•Delicious, fresh, and healthy breakfast offered weekday mornings from 7:00am to 10:00am and weekends from 8:00am to 11:00am

The spacious rooms and suites offer the perfect combination of contemporary style and thoughtful functionality. The simple elegance of this boutique hotel will ensure that you stay in comfort and style. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure, you’ll find everything you need.

Well Appointed Kitchens

Room Amenities:

•Complimentary Dedicated 15 MB secured wireless and hard wired internet access for the most secure highspeed connection in each room

•Multi-layered walls that provide incredible soundproofing between all rooms and halls to ensure a restful and quiet night’s sleep

•Luxurious pillow top mattresses

•Italian furnishings throughout the bedrooms

•Thermostatic temperature control water valves in all showers to ensure the perfect water temperature every time

•Heated floors and toilet seats in all bathrooms for added comfort

•Dimmable light fixtures in every room ultimate lighting control

•Windows that tilt open in every suite

•All suites have bedrooms separate from the living/meeting space

•All rooms and suites have Lavazza Luxury Italian Coffee brewed in a Cuisine Art machine

•Complimentary local and North America wide calling

•Wake up call system that guests can use to set their own alarm each day

•iPod and iPad dock

•Luxurious contemporary sofas in suites
Convenient Work Areas

So whatever the reason for your visit to Calgary the Hotel Elan is sure to please and satisfy every travellers needs. The ultimate luxury of the heated toilet seats is truly unique and very welcome on a cold winter Calgary day!

For More Information Visit:

Monday, December 9, 2013

Gay Pride 2013 Mendoza, Argentina

Photos from Gay Pride in Mendoza, Argentina from Saturday December 7th., 2013 provided by: Modigliani Art and Design Suites---the best gay accommodations in Mendoza.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Parks and Plazas Abound in Buenos Aires

By Roy Heale

One of the beautiful aspects of Buenos Aires is the numerous parks and plazas that allow for outdoor enjoyment and relaxation.

The lush park Barrancas de Belgrano was designed by the famous French-Argentine landscape and park architect Carlos Thays, who designed many open spaces in the city. It spans several city blocks and is overlooked by highrise apartment buildings. The same neighborhood had an ancient eighteenth century Franciscan chapel close to where now stands a City Government building. Currently a memorial plaque marks the place where the chapel was located.

Las Barrancas de Belgrano is located on the slopes of the old river banks which, until the early nineteenth century, delineated the River Plate when it was in flood.

With mature trees and grassy slopes, the Plaza has over sixty species of trees and plants including ombúes, palms, magnolias, paradise, lime, oak, honeysuckle, coral trees, banana trees, and more. It also has laneways built with nineteenth century cobblestones, benches for resting, a playground for children, tables for playing board games. Many people meet there for various exercise routines including gymnastics, Tai Chi, and aerobics. Among the sculptures is an exact scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, produced by the same creator of the statue of the same name in New York---Frenchman Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. It also has a large bandshell where neighbors gather to dance the tango, musicians perform, which hosts frequent music recitals on warm summer evenings.
For more about the green space options in Buenos Aires visit my application at: or search iTunes for Gpsmycity applications.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

From Hetero-Friendly to Gay-Friendly, Axel Hotel Buenos Aires Changes Hands

Buenos Aires, Argentina
BeHotel Entrance
By Roy Heale

In a surprise move during the first week of October the Spanish Axel Hotel Group announced the sale of their Buenos Aires property to a group of Argentine investors and henceforth it will be known as the BeHotel. The former owners did not give any reasons for this unexpected move but local travel industry speculators blamed the decrease in LGBT visitors to Argentina during recent years and the national Government's foreign exchange controls. However, the new owners and management assured that LGBT visitors will still be welcomed with a gay-friendly reception at the new BeHotel. No major changes or renovations are planned for the facilities but the food and beverage plus customer services will be upgraded for a more enjoyable stay.

Outdoor Pool and Sun Decks

The Catalan Group, based in Barcelona, commissioned the design and construction of the hotel and it opened as the Axel Hotel in 2007 developing into a major institution of the Buenos Aires LGBT community. BeHotel Buenos Aires is the first establishment of the Argentine investment group, which plans to expand in 2014 with another location in the City of Buenos Aires and other main tourist destinations like Iguazu, Bariloche, or Mendoza.

Indoor Spa

Uniquely designed with the guest rooms located around a large central atrium and a spa on the top floor, the spacious designer suites and rooms with the creative use of glass and mirrors have proved extremely popular. The large heated swimming pool at the rear of the building offers plenty of sundecks on multi-levels for summer outdoor enjoyment. Whilst the top floor spa includes fitness equipment, two jacuzzis, sauna, and a swimming pool with a translucent floor.

Designer Rooms & Suites

Terrace, Outdoor pool (seasonal)
Sauna, Fitness centre, Solarium, Spa and wellness centre, Hot tub, Turkish/steam bath, Indoor pool (all year)
Food & Beverages:
Restaurant, Bar
WiFi is available in all areas and is free of charge.
No parking available. Other parking garages are close by.
24-hour front desk, Luggage storage, Room service, Meeting/banquet facilities, Business centre, Laundry, Dry cleaning, Ironing service, Tour desk, Shuttle service (surcharge)
Non-smoking rooms, Facilities for disabled guests, Lift/elevator, Safety deposit box, Heating, Design hotel, Air conditioning
Languages Spoken:
Portuguese, Spanish, English, German, Italian, Hebrew, French


The hotel's location in the heart of San Telmo, close to the subway (Subte) and buses (colectivos), is perfect for exploring all of the Buenos Aires tourist attractions. Nearby are the numerous cafes, bars,and restaurants of historic San Telmo and of course Tango shows. The world renowned San Telmo market occurs every Sunday, all year long, and the BeHotel is just a five minute walk to all of the merchants and antique vendors.

So whether straight or gay, visitors will enjoy any stay for leisure or business at the new BeHotel in the heart of all the excitement for which Buenos Aires is famous.