Madrid embraces a world of diversity
(Photo above: Scott Fordham, choreographer; Nino Montagnese, Air Canada Vacations; Armando Mendonca, lifestyle & diversity writer; and Peter Salituro, Mosaic Hair Group.)
As the city prepared for the inﬂux of tourists to celebrate World Pride (June 23 to July 2), I managed to ﬁnd refuge compliments of Monograms, a Globus family of brands independent travel your way division. Their preferred property in Madrid is H10 Puerta de Alcalá, a boutique hotel centrally located in the upscale Salamanca neighbourhood. This charming property, to my delight, offers a view like no other appropriately named El Cielo de Alcalá Rooftop Bar overlooking the city’s breathtaking land-scape. Nothing compares to sharing a meal or a beverage of choice rooftop with your travelling companions as you plan your day.
The Monogram representative’s tour desk is onsite awaiting your arrival with a personalized welcome package complete with destination information, local map and helpful tips to help plan your stay. A half day sightseeing tour of the city and visit to the Prado Museum is a nice introduction to get your bearings and a stop to one of Madrid’s most iconic attractions. I’m acclimatized and ready to explore the many sights, attractions and areas like the Chueca neighbourhood known for it’s vibrant LGBT scene as the city hosted World Pride Madrid 2017.
Checking out the scene
Chueca is located in the city centre and named after the main square, Plaza de Chueca, just off Calle Gran Via known for being one of the main shopping streets with a variety of local designer shops. The area offers many dining choices, cool bars with entertainment, artisan shops and street vendors with tapas to go. One of my favourite spots is just off Chueca called Plaza de Santa Ana with great outdoor patios offering local cuisine and not as busy as some of the other main plazas. In addition, the ME Madrid Reina Victoria opposite the plaza is a great property with a rooftop terrace restaurant called Radio, where glamour takes new heights while sipping on a fancy cocktail. This property seems to be a favourite among LGBT tourists wanting to be just off the main drag and only a 15-minute walk to the village.
Back to where I was staying which is the Salamanca neighbourhood, this can easily be another favourable area to stay for a higher end experience considering the dining and shopping choices. This area is rich in authen-tic cuisine hangouts and chic boutiques that can burn a hole in your pocket but well worth every euro. I had the distinct pleasure of meeting the chef and owner of Ten con Ten restaurant, Sandro Silva, born in Brazil and now a resident of Madrid. In addition, attention to service and how your meal is presented was topnotch and highly recommend any of the restaurants that is associated with Silva and his team of culinary dynamos.
Madrid hosted Europe Pride in 2007 and a decade later World Pride 2017 and the time in between has seen increasing interest in visiting Madrid during pride season from around the world. Madrid Gay Pride 2018 also known is Madrid Orgullo 2018 will take place from June 27 to July 1, with the parade on June 30 and is considered to be one of the largest in Europe.
For more information please visit:
• Monograms (Globus family of brands) – www.monogramstravel.ca
• H10 Puerta de Alcalá – www.h10hotels.com/en
• LGBT and Madrid Pride – www.gomadridpride.com
• Sandro Silva Restaurants – www.restaurantetenconten.com
• Tourist Ofﬁce of Spain – www.spain.info/en_CA/consultas/espana-para/viajes-gay-friendly.html
Armando Mendonça is a tourism entrepreneur, philanthropist supporting HIV/AIDS charities and LGBT travel expert. He can be reached at: [email protected] .