For many years, women have taken girl’s only holidays, spa weekends, city breaks, beach breaks and all manner of trips catered exclusively to spending time being women, in the sole company of other women. For men though, man-time has never been given quite the same amount of attention – going to the pub, watching sports, going to the gym, and for those who play, there has always been the golf course!
Lately however, a new wave of modern men have embraced the idea that men should spend more dedicated time together, taking men-only holidays, long weekends, mini adventures – Introducing, the Mancation!
A Mancation is exactly what it sounds like, a Man Vacation – Mancation! Every day, more and more men are embracing their manliness with their friends, by organising men-only trips filled with all their favourite food, drinks and activities!
My Hilton Mancation Story
Kach and I have been living and travelling together full time for three years now and we do almost everything together. When we’re travelling we spend even more time together, practically 24 hours a day together! So when we arrived in San Diego, we decided it was time for my first ever mancation.
Since Kach and I are both big fans of luxury, I decided that my mancation should be no different. On a sunny Friday afternoon, I arrived at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, a luxury hotel located on the hillside in scenic La Jolla in San Diego, California, with panoramic views over the world famous Torrey Pines Golf Course and the Pacific Ocean beyond. I checked into one of their La Jolla Terrace Suites – 850 sq. feet of designer bachelor pad, with a 400 sq. ft. private balcony and an unbeatable vista over the perfectly manicured, rolling golf course and the Pacific Ocean. The open plan living room, large dining table and separate king bedroom looked like they were purpose designed for a mancation – a huge L-shape sofa, designer furnishings and a 42″ Flat-Screen TV!
The first thing I wanted to do on my mancation, was to relax, and to me that means one thing – the bathrobe, nothing feels more luxurious than standing in a thick bathrobe, looking out over an amazing view!
As well as a world-class golf course, the outdoor heated pool and whirlpool, the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines links straight onto the Torrey Pines State Reserve, with a network of hiking trails through stunning Californian nature! As someone who likes a combination of luxury, the outdoors and adventure, this was my perfect mancation destination.
After relaxing for a while, I decided to get out into San Diego to check out a ball game in the city’s baseball stadium with a local San Diegan friend, James, where the pre-season Fan Fest had already started. The city center was alive with people and I loved kicking off my first ever mancation with my first ever baseball game and a couple of good craft brews!
The next day I woke up early and ordered room service for breakfast, a full platter of mixed tropical fruit, yogurt, and 4-grain oatmeal with a large mixed berry smoothie – in a king size bed!
Then I headed out for my first mancation adventure. Since I was mancationing alone (I like to have some me time!) I decided to take a group tour where I would get the chance to hang out with some guys – A beer tasting tour of some of San Diego’s best craft breweries! The craft beer industry in San Diego is one of the biggest in the world, with over 100 breweries in the city. The tour started at 10 am, which is a little early for me to start drinking, but this was a mancation after all! On the tour with me was a group of six guys from San Jose, visiting San Diego on a mancation of their own, plus a local couple and three guys on a stag party. We visited three of the best breweries in the city, each with a vast selection of beers to try from. Each issued with a tasting glass, we were free to sample every beer on the menu, or however many we could handle! The best part of the beer tour was having a ready-made group of people to hang out with!
While I was out all day drinking beer, it was only fair that Kach should have some fun too, so she checked into the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa for a full spa day experience – a special facial treatment and a Hilton signature massage.
After I had finished the beer tour, still standing and with my eyes fully open thankfully, I made my way to the Embassy Suites by Hilton La Jolla, another luxury Hilton hotel in the La Jolla area of San Diego, a luxury suite hotel located just a few minutes away from La Jolla, with its hilltop position giving great views across the city. Here I also had a two-room suite, with separate living room and king-size bedroom. Embassy Suites offered something very different from the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, being much more of a ‘city building’, the atmosphere was focused more within the hotel, with it’s a full height central atrium stretching all of the hotel’s 12 floors, with a fish pond, fountains and planted water garden winding through the bar and lounge area on the ground floor.
With a massive 49 inch TV in the bedroom, a full gym, an indoor pool, a hot tub and a sauna, not to mention a selection of quality restaurants to dine in, Embassy Suites by Hilton La Jolla makes a great mancation destination for the mancationer who likes to have everything in one place, with no need to go outside if you really don’t want to!
Since Embassy Suites is only a 20 minute drive from downtown San Diego, I wanted to check out the restaurant scene in the city, because San Diego is well-known for amazing dining, with hundreds of independent eateries offering everything from simple, traditional home cooking to fine dining and gourmet fusion cuisine. Being right next to the ocean, I went big on seafood, with a huge plate of Drunken Clams, shrimp and grits and pan-fried scallops, with a kale salad on the side. A mancation wouldn’t be a mancation without food, and this was some of the best!
I woke up on Sunday ready for the final and most adventurous day of my mancation. The plan started with a private surfing lesson down on one of San Diego’s sandy beaches, providing a nice safe beach break with small waves that were perfect for getting back onto a surf board again for the first time in nearly three years! The water was pretty cold, but it felt exhilarating to get out in the ocean again.
From the surf school, I headed up to a local paragliding center at the top of the cliffs in La Jolla. Unfortunately the ‘June Gloom’ had set in early this year, causing thick morning fog to blanket the hillside, reducing visibility to zero and making it impossible to take off, so the flight was called off. Luckily I had already had an amazing surfing lesson and beer tour the day before, on top of the luxury surroundings of two Hilton hotels, so I still felt like I had an amazing mancation!
I really enjoyed my first mancation experience and I’m definitely looking forward to planning more of these. I love traveling as a couple but a short mancation break once in a while is something that every man needs!
Now, chances are, if you haven’t already been on a mancation, then you’re probably planning one, or trying to figure out how.
Here are my Top 7 Tips for Planning an Awesome ‘Mancation’!
1. Decide what a Mancation is to you
While there are many things that all men have in common, we are still unique individuals, with our own interests and styles. So to get the most of your mancation, try to figure out what type of ‘mancationer’ you are. Here are some examples:
- Luxury Man – You like the finer things in life, fine food, good wine, luxury hotel suites, people to open doors for you, all of that. As such, you have a sizeable budget for your mancation and so do your friends.
- All about the boys – The most important aspect of your mancation, is your fellow mancationers, not expensive surroundings. In this case, let your budget guide you, because your mancation will be amazing as long as the boys are together!
- Adventure Man – You crave adrenaline, you connect with others through the pursuit of danger and the rush of driving fast, jumping off bridges and out of planes, or anything that reminds you what it is to feel alive. Plan your mancation in a foreign land full of adventure!
- The Lone Ranger – We don’t all have to be pack animals all of the time It’s ok, essential even, to spend some quality time alone, in peace and relaxation. Close your eyes and imagine feeling completely relaxed, comfortable, stress free and happy. Then picture what might be around you – wherever that place is, that’s your perfect mancation!
- Party Guy – Some men just want to let off a load of steam in the best way they know how – put on their favourite shirt and hit the town with their favourite guys. Choose a city that’s geared up for a good party, but also has a bit more to offer, just in case you don’t fancy drinking all day, every day!
- Pamper Man – For the man who likes to treat himself to a massage, a facial treatment, a body scrub, and a long soak in the hot-tub. That’s right, you can do it too!
By no means an exhaustive list. What type of mancationer are you?
2. Set the Mancation ground rules!
A mancation is a young, but very important and sacred tradition, which must be upheld and protected! There are no specific rules for a mancation, but the purpose is clear – to indulge in and express your inner man, through activities and adventures that encourage the indulgence and expression of your inner man! In fact, there is only one true rule of mancation – No women! At least not wives, girlfriends, or ill-advised phone calls to ex-wives-and-girlfriends!
3. Don’t neglect the woman in your life
If you are lucky enough to have a wonderful woman in your life, then it’s important that she is understanding and supportive of your mancation. You could suggest that she take a girls’ weekend with her friends while you’re away, or treat her to something, like a spa day, a nice meal, or an adventure activity she’s always wanted to try!
4. Do something adventurous
A big part of any mancation, is to put yourself outside of your comfort zone, to try something new, get the blood flowing and give you and the guys something to laugh at each other about at night over a few beers. There are so many options depending on where your mancation takes you – Surfing lessons; paragliding; bungee jumping; sky diving; a race track experience – literally anything!
5. Destination your Mancation
One of the best ways to enhance your mancation experience is to travel somewhere new. Sights, smells, sounds, people, food, culture, language, all awaken the senses and make you feel like an explorer!
6. Always have a backup plan
Don’t let your entire mancation hinge on just one event or activity, because if that doesn’t work out, then you just might be left trying to find last-minute ways to fill your time. Like my paragliding experience, the weather can turn on you at any time, but luckily I had already enjoyed loads of great craft beer, great food, awesome surfing and a lot of luxury!
7. Book the right accommodation
The place you choose to stay is important in any trip, but choosing the right hotel can also make sure that no matter what happens your mancation will never be ruined. Staying at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines, if the weather had closed in, or something had been cancelled, I could have gone hiking through a state park, played golf on a world-famous course, swam in the heated pool, relaxed in the outdoor hot tub, or even played a game of tennis. Quality always counts!
My first mancation experience was incredible and now that my eyes have been opened to how amazing the mancation is, I’m ready to plan my next one! I hope my own experience and these 7 tips to plan the perfect mancation, help you to have your own amazing mancation!
Here are some of the Hilton properties that I would like to try during this around the world journey which I think would also suit different “Mancationers” too!
North America: USA – East Coast
- Rhode Island – Hilton Providence
If your idea of a great Mancation involves golf, Hilton Providence puts you in prime position close to at least 3 extensive courses, the closest being Mulligan’s Island. Even better the Dunkin Donuts Center is the place to get your sports fix with local teams competing in ice hockey and basketball regularly.
- North Carolina – Hilton Greenville
Greenville, North Carolina takes its place on the Mancation map for its proximity to so many cycling trails in both North and South Carolina. With Hilton Greenville as your base you’ll head out on the road on a great breakfast with the welcome luxury of a heated indoor jacuzzi on your return.
- The Catskills – Hampton Inn Kingston
In the foothills of the Catskill Mountains, the Hampton Inn Kingston is situated perfectly for guys looking to lose themselves in the beauty of the outdoors either through skiing, cruising along the Hudson or hiking mountain trails. Top off the ultimate outdoors Mancation with a soak in their salt-water pool.
What more could a Mancation offer than gambling, biking and Bourbon? Well a stay at DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Lexington brings you closer to all three while with the distilleries of the world famous Kentucky Bourbon Tour and the Keeneland race course all close by. Once your legs, livers and wallets are sufficiently exhausted you can come home to the comfort of the heated outdoor pool and home style food at Angies Kitchen.
USA – West Coast:
- Colorado – Valdoro Mountain Lodge
A year-round Mancation destination with a landscape that offers extreme rock-climbing, white-water rafting and golfing in summer and world-class ski and snowboard runs in winter, Colorado and its Valdoro Mountain Lodge in Breckenridge should be on every man’s get-away list. Not only does the resort offer equipment rental and shuttles to facilitate your action-packed trip but it’s facilities are second to none so you can unwind in style after a hard day on the slopes.
- Las Vegas – Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa
A Mancation to Las Vegas does not have to end up like the Hangover movies, choose your hotel wisely with a resort away from the chaos of the strip like the Hilton Lake Las Vegas Resort and Spa safe in the knowledge that whatever happens at the poker table your night will end in luxury and comfort. Their transport service can bring you right into the action and take you out of it as soon as you’re ready.
- Hawaii – Hilton Garden Inn Kauai Wailua Bay
A homely cottage style option away from the crowds at Waikiki, this beachfront location is walking distance from waterfalls, parks and sacred historical sites
- Los Cabos, Mexico – Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort
The world is every man’s oyster here on the Sea of Cortez where a stay at Hilton provides you access to white sand beaches, scuba-diving, whale watching, sea turtle spawning and possible dolphin sightings. If those don’t tick off your Mancation list the championship golf facilities and infinity pool that overlook the turquoise waters certainly will.
All inclusive resorts don’t have to cater exclusively to families and if you plan to spend your Mancation lounging in the tropical paradise of Costa Rica why not do it with the backdrop of the Pacific and its black, volcanic sands with every whim attended to by the the staff at the Doubletree Resort. If you can be tempted away from the excellent spa services and delicious seafood a world of wildlife awaits you just a short drive away from the resort.
- Cartagena, Colombia – Hilton Cartagena Hotel
Colombia is fast becoming the destination of the moment and the beautiful colonial port of Cartagena will show you why, with its Caribbean heat, charming old town and buzzing nightlife. After a night showing off your new salsa skills to the local ladies, Hilton Cartagena’s private stretch of beach is the perfect spot to rest your feet.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina – Hilton Buenos Aires
With great steak and a passionate football culture, Buenos Aires easily fulfills many men’s Mancation dreams. Aside from the obvious though it’s also a destination of great beauty both in the people and the architecture which is best viewed from the rooftop pool of Hilton Buenos Aires.
With the Olympic Games coming up in August, their host Rio de Janeiro is the hot new Mancation destination and those lucky enough to have tickets would be wise to book early for a luxury stay just moments from the stadium. Hilton Barra Rio de Janeiro also offers a shuttle to other areas of the city if visiting outside of the games.
- Puerto Rico – El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
A Mancation in the Caribbean can hardly be a bad experience, but with the addition of an in-hotel water park it can’t be beaten and that is exactly what you’ll find at the El Conquistador Waldorf Astoria Resort in Puerto Rico, as well as seven different pools and its own island of water sports
- Curaçao – Hilton Curacao
This impressive resort is built on a 16th century Dutch Colonial Fort and houses On-site water sports and PADI diving center
- Santo Domingo Dominican Republic – Embassy Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo
Although part of the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic’s capital city offers much more than beaches and tropical scenery. Here you will experience a Mancation of great culture, history and breathtaking nature beauty with a visit to Los Tres Ojos Park (the Park of the Three Eyes) strongly recommended to witness limestone caves, clear natural springs and many stalagmites and stalactites. Embassy suites’s location serves the island perfectly and as it is designed for long-term business travellers will feel like a home away from home.
- Jamaica – Hilton Rose Hall Resort & Spa
Guests can take advantage of the private golf course and waterfall park
To add to its luxurious setting and service Hilton Aruba also has an In hotel casino
- Sofia, Bulgaria – Hilton Sofia
Free bicycles to rent during the summer season to explore the city freely
- Munich, Germany – Hilton Munich Park
Munich hotel only yards from the peaceful Englischer Garten and walking distance to the world famous Oktoberfest
- Antwerp, Belgium – Hilton Antwerp Old Town
It has its own Belgian brasserie and private roof terrace
- Dublin, Ireland- Conrad Dublin
Access to an extensive gym, scenic running green and large golf course to stay active between Guinness tastings
- Innsbruck, Austria – Hilton Innsbruck
Great proximity to Bergisel ski jump and Europe’s largest casino as well as in-house Austrian steak restaurant
- Conrad Peninsula South Africa – Conrad Pezula
Hotel organises activities like nature trails, canoeing, hiking and helicopter rides
- Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Hilton Addis Adaba
Attractive facilities include a geo-thermal outdoor swimming pool, an 18-hole mini golf and a squash court
- Tangier, Morocco – Hilton Garden Inn Tanger City Center
Make the most of the all day garden grill or venture out to explore Hercules caves or grand bazaar
- Nairobi Kenya – Hilton Nairobi
Relaxation facilities and close proximity to Masai market while scenic flights can show you the beauty of Kenya from above
A two room suite here comes with 30-minute massage, fully stocked bar and fruit basket provided daily. Situated directly on the beach offering snorkelling and scuba diving
- Windhoek, Namibia – Hilton Windhoek
Great stopover if travelling to Etosha National Park with a rooftop pool and Barnhart gives panoramic views over the capital
- Tokyo, Japan – Hilton Tokyo Odaiba
Airport shuttle service and free bicycle rental makes the city completely accessible
- Bali, Indonesia – Conrad Bali
The Conrad Bali organises a cultural immersion experience for its guests
- Hanoi, Vietnam – Hilton Hanoi Opera
Sightseeing tours organised at your ease in luxury transportation
- Macau, China – Conrad Macao, Cotai Central
24-hour buffet restaurant and in room digital entertainment systems with iPod docks
- Manila, Philippines – Conrad Manila
20 minutes from Manila Ocean Park and also easy reach of the fascinating Intramuros, Conrad Manila also helps maintain your fitness regime with high energy workouts and a stunning infinity pool.
- Pune,India – Hilton Shillim Estate Retreat & Spa
Ayurvedic rejuvenation programmes and many outdoor activities like forest trekking
Australia and Oceania
- Adelaide – Hilton Adelaide
A great base to visit the South Australia wine region, just one hour’s drive. An impressive feature is the heated outdoor pool with hot and cold plunge pools
- Queensland, Australia – Hilton Surfers Paradise Hotel & Residence
Right on iconic surfers paradise beach with heated indoor pools and spa facilities to unwind after. Rooms with full length windows overlooking the sea to survey the day’s waves.
- Perth, Australia – Parmelia Hilton Perth
Centrally located for the nightlife of Perth, with a spacious and ambient piazza for some early evening drinks
- Queenstown, New Zealand – Hilton Queenstown Resort & Spa
On the shore of Lake Wakatipu this natural paradise is just 5 minutes from the airport and their relaxation rooms come with lake views and private hot tubs.
- Auckland, New Zealand- Hilton Auckland
Features an outdoor lap pool with underwater views at one end it will feel as though you are swimming right into the harbour!
Aside from its seven pools within the complex (one adults only) the beachfront location is made full use of with two restaurants on the sand and many watersports on offer.
Note: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hilton. The opinions and text are all mine.
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