Top Gay Friendly Hotel Chains

Gay travelers want to know that when they travel they are treated with respect. Some hotel chains do a better job of focusing on the needs of the gay traveler or at least promoting diversity in their corporate culture. Favorite chains for GLBT travelers range from the small boutique brands to the largest worldwide chains, each with their own amenities and character. From hip and funky to decidedly upscale and luxurious there is something for every kind of traveler.

Axel Hotels has won several awards as the best gay friendly hotel chain. Axel has only three hotels; Berlin, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona. The boutique Axel chain focuses on the needs of gay travelers but they bill themselves as “heterofriendly” due to their tolerant attitude towards all guests. The hotels are decidedly modern and upscale. The all boast a rooftop Sky Bar and a wellness club with spa treatments and fitness options.

Ace Hotels is a small chain with hotels in Portland, Seattle, Palm Springs, and New York. They say they are both modern and bohemian and they are serious about being eco friendly.The hotels are not only gay friendly but pet friendly too. The small Portland hotel is in the historic downtown. This hip hotel has a bar with good local bands and a black and white photo booth in the lobby. The hotel near the Theatre District in New York is tiny, only 12 rooms, with some of the best rates in the area. The Palm Springs hotel is the biggest with 180 rooms in a midcentury modern motel. They are known for their minibars with cheese popcorn, patios and fireplaces. They have DJ’s at the pool, hip music in the bars and celebrations for GLBT events.

Andaz Hotels are part of the Hyatt chain. Hotels are in the chicest places; London, New York, Los Angeles, and San Diego. They cater to a cosmopolitan upscale customer. One of recent promotions at the Andaz West Hollywood was to give each guest an all access VIP pass to live entertainment venues on the Sunset Strip. Over the top theater nights in the London hotel draw many GLBT guests. In the 5th Avenue location the closets have rolling garment racks, luxurious marble bathrooms with footbaths, and a fashionable lounge bar.

Kimpton Hotels cater to the GLBT community with special promotions like their crush contest with a winning prize of a weekend at a Kimpton Hotel. Kimpton started in San Francisco so they have been gay friendly for over 20 years. They support local GLBT organizations and participate in the annual Red Ribbon campaign. They have over 50 hotel properties in major cities across the United States. A few hotels are resort and spa properties.

Four Seasons hotels are luxury properties in locations across the globe. They host LGBT events at the hotels. Four Seasons hotels are known for their spas, their incredible locations, and their legendary service. Their fitness centers have personal trainers and classes like yoga and Pilates. Four Seasons doesn’t shy away from hosting events for the gay community such as Gay Travel Expos at their hotels.

Hyatt has been voted one of the best places to work for LGBT employees. They have 16 Hyatt resorts in the United States and the Caribbean. Regional architecture, gourmet cuisine with fresh local ingredients, and spa treatments are all part of the experience. Hyatt has a reputation of being gay friendly for guests and trains employees to welcome diversity. The Park Hyatt in Paris has been selected as one of the top ultra luxury hotels in the world by gay travelers.

W Hotels have 37 locations. They offer a glamorous contemporary experience that they say is “centered around fashion, music and entertainment”. They all have acclaimed restaurants, posh shopping and luxurious spas. The hotels have the latest technology to keep you fully plugged in. From spa products in the rooms, luggage forwarding, pet amenities, gourmet meals for you to take on your flight and even being able to choose the perfect pillow style the W is famous for their guest services.

Sexiest Gay Destinations

Planning a vacation this year? Want to go somewhere different? What’s top of the list for gay destinations around the world? When considering the Top gay destinations for 2010 you should definitely take a look at the meat in Brazil.

Rio De Janeiro. Well, it was in 2009 according to Trip Out Gay Travel. Their 2009 awards are a good guide to what’s currently top of the polls for gay travellers. Rio De Janeiro, ‘Brazil’s sexiest city’ is a bit of a mix. Yes there is the huge Pride celebration and Mardi Gras, yes there are the beaches and the clubs, the party atmosphere and of course those oh so sexy Latin men, but it is not without its drawbacks. It’s not as cheap as it used to be, global currency rates are constantly changing though, and it is not without its dangers. Go, party, but be safe, is the advice.

The Trip Out Gay Travel awards last year also had Buenos Aires as a nominated top destination, another Latin country, Argentina, and another one that is easier to get to if you are in the States, than if you are in Europe. But not to worry, voters put Barcelona in their top list too, along with London. You may note a recurring theme in these destinations, the Pride celebrations. Which is why Sidney was also up there towards the top in the nominations. But there is more to a vacation than a Pride march and party.

Greece may not strike you as the place to go, at the moment at any rate. But don’t believe all you see on the news. There was a riot recently, the country is struggling with debt and so on, but then many other countries in Europe are facing the same things. Meanwhile, small and idyllic islands sit in the cool Aegean Sea, their people welcoming and friendly, and their prices still reasonable – again depending on your currency exchange. A tiny island called Tilos made the headlines a while back for hosting the first gay civil partnership marriage in the country, controversy and publicity followed. Mykonos is still a popular island for visitors after a lively time, and the recent news from the island of Rhodes is that Faliraki, long thought to provide British lout hell, has cleaned up its act and is now a more tranquil place to be, as it once was. Nearby you have the neo-classical island of Symi, for peace and calm and quiet, and this island is typical of many that appeal to the more discerning gay traveller.

How does Curaçao sound to you? ‘One of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets’ won the award for the best ‘breakout’ destination last year. It is a Dutch island not far from the coast of Venezuela, maybe tricky to get to, but worth the visit we’re told. And if you want the sexiest city? Then it has to be Paris, again as voted for in the 2009 awards. It’s busy, it’s beautiful especially at night when lit up, and it’s crowded. I have to say it’s also not that cheap, but you can’t beat a romantic cruise on the river, at night, a walk along the tree lined boulevards, and the wealth of museums and galleries. Sit with your coffee at a café on the sidewalk and drink in the views, the people and the atmosphere. You can find tranquillity inside the city and just outside, it or you can party the night away. It does have a lot to see and do.

Of course these destinations are only one set of suggestions, based on what the users of one top website had to say about things. Everyone has their own favourite place to go, just as everyone has their own wish-list of destinations. But if you want something really special: Machu Picchu in Peru, a night at an eco-hotel, sunrise over the ancient Inca city and a night-time blessing by a shaman (of your gay relationship is fine), is my personal top of the poll recommendation. (See Amro Holidays for more.)

Photo: Courtesy of OUT Magazine cover of a hot, hot Brazilian boy.

Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn Shuffle

map-hotels-gaydaysThinking back to all the Gay Days Drama of 2009 we saw so many changes good and bad.  2010, seems to be no less a shocking set of new hotel rooms.  First you have the original host hotel of Gay Days changing from their long time friend close to Disney moving all the way over to Sea World.  Next you have no word at all from One Mighty Weekend and the Johnny Chisholm group so I suspect that there is one more announcement coming.  This one came from Mark Bakers facebook page which said their hotel pic will be the Holiday Inn.

The Holiday Inn is known for some fun songs and all but will this go over with the Gay circuit crowd the same way the Buena Vista Palace did?  Well this hotel is newly renovated with a $35 million dollar makeover.  Rooms at this Holiday Inn include pool views but I see no suites which we were used to at the Buena Vista Palace.. Does this Hoooliday inn have such things?

The Doubletree hotel, a Hilton family hotel, is the host hotel for the Gay Days event where they have an expo center.  They made a drastic move for 2010 to run from Disney over to SeaWorld area on International Drive.  Not so sure this is the smartest move since it’s supposed to be Gay Disney.  Why not just move things downtown orlando while your at it?

If you are contemplating which hotel to stay at the Doubletree offers smoking or non-smoking rooms and they start at $99 and they do have suites but they are mostly sold out of the best ones facing the “interior” of the “resort”.   The Mark Baker events host hotel will start out at $159 with the highest room at $179, a bit steeper than the Doubletree rooms.  Who knew a Holiday Inn costs more?  Maybe the pool area is bigger?

There is also the Parliament House which the rooms are still available if you book them now.  This resort has not-so-sleek rooms but they do the job.  We spend most of the day out at the pool parties anyway don’t we? Until we want to take someone back to a motel, hotel, or a Holiday Inn…

The Mark Baker host hotel will be closer to the Arabian Nights events but if you are worried about that you can always get a hotel next door so you do not have to deal with buses or cabs.  The Seaworld hotel is close to Wet N’ Wild which might be fun but Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon I am sure is much funner.

I have a feeling we will all be missing the Buena Vista Palace when this is all over, but I am willing to give the newly renovated hotel a try on Hotel Plaza Blvd.  Hopefully, the crowds will still come to the event in 2010 and the music will be just as fierce as it was the past few years!

Celebrities in Vancouver

I first heard about this club from a Facebook post from the Perry Twins saying they were spinning at a place called Celebrities in Vancouver BC Canada. I thought if these talented dj’s are performing there then it must be a hot place to party. We checked out this club just a few days before Christmas at a party that looked hotter on the flyer than could ever possibly be in real life. The party was fun but hey I thought there were going to be boys in thongs or without clothes wrapped in chocolate. This was the hottest flyer of the year it turned us on…

I stayed over at the Sheraton hotel Wall Centre just a block from Celebrities. The perfect hotel if you plan a trip to Vancouver and wish for a Starwood location close to the gay bars. Once I walked in the club I could not take my eyes off the dj who resembled Nick Lachey. He had his shirt off and was hella hot but I think that was his gf on the lights from the vibes they gave each other.

The boys in this town were loud and fun it seemed. Just not a mass orgi of hotties by any means. This was a Wednesday night club night so it may have been much jucier on a Saturday night. I would have expected more from a club that was 18 to enter and drink with more hottie action. They had an upstairs that was sort of a walk around but there was really nothing up there but a red light… maybe it was a babylon type area that I did not know about 🙂

When in Vancouver Canada you should check out Celebrities. We did not get a chance to check out the other gay bars in Vancouver but plan to sometime next year. Vancouver is such a beautiful city!

Rio De Janeiro gay pride and clubs

Fancy a holiday south of the border, as they say? Heard something about Rio de Janeiro but want to know more about the gay life? Well, I did and so I did some searching around to see exactly what was on offer for the gay traveler.

First things first: Rio is a great destination for a holiday, combining sun, sea and sand with bars, clubs and an annual pride event. So get you timing right and you can will able to find the famous carnival, the famous beaches and many other attractions with a gay theme. Many people there will speak English so you don’t need to now the local lingo, though it always helps, and I am sure most men will understand your body language when the time comes.

Rio’s Gay Carnival happens in he height of summer every year. It starts on a Saturday and finishes on Fat Tuesday, when Mardi Gras takes place. So expect to party for a full weekend and more. Thousands of people come from all over the world for this event so we’d recommend finding accommodation early. Actually the carnival has been taking place for hundreds of years, the first recorded event being in 1723, so it’s certainly a well established parade, made more glamorous by today’s lust for costumes, music and wild and outrageous people.
Continue reading Rio De Janeiro gay pride and clubs

Sao Paulo Pride and clubs

This is the first in our part of the Brazil gay scene on gaypartyblog.com.

Sao Paulo is the richest and most populated city in Brazil. Sounds like the perfect place to find your Latin sugardaddy doesn’t it? And where else are you more likely to do this that at the annual gay pride event.

They say that the Sao Paulo gay pride event is the largest of its kind on the planet: back in 1997 there were 2,000 people attending, it hit the Guinness book or records in 2006 when 2.5 million attended and… wait for it, the 2010 event is expected to top the 4 million mark for participants and spectators. Best not go if you don’t like crowds!

There’s a theme for next year’s (2010) pride: “Without Homophobia, More Citizenship – By isonomy Rights” and that last part refers to the constitutional rights that have long been denied to Brazil’s (and other countries’) LGBT community; things like civil partnerships and adoptions. Let’s hope that 4 million people marching in support makes their government sit up and take notice.

But apart from the political message – which always used to be and should still be the main thrust and purpose of any gay pride march methinks – what else can visitors expect from this massive event? Well, everything kicks off at 12 noon on Sunday June 6th, in case you want to plan a trip. The parade is followed by debates on the 7th, an awards ceremony on the next day, a cultural fair the day after and the ‘must go’ event on June 13th the Gay Day. You will need a ticket, but these can easily be arranged, for the big dance and music party to which free transportation is provided. Check out http://www.gaypridebrazil.org/sao-paulo for full details of all events and the biggest gay parade in the world’s background information.

And while you’re there in that rich and diverse city what else is there to do? As if attending the parade was not enough? http://www.sao-paulo.info/gay-sao-paulo.html has a neat and well presented set of pages that list the places to go and be seen. You will want to experience the Latin music wherever you go surely, so we’re advised to check out Azucar which starts late and goes on all night; it has a ‘drink minimum’ police which appeals to older folk –or those who don’t drink much. Grazie a Dio! Has live music and is one of the more well known clubs to attend. Like many establishments around the city it starts late, around 10.00pm, and goes on until well after midnight.

You can also take dance lessons at some of the famous salsa clubs, learn how to movie your hips and then, when you go out later, you can really get into the swing of things. The Sao Paulo info site (mentioned above) also has lists of these clubs and even private tutors for you to visit and learn from.

Looking around at other sites that talk about this amazing city it occurred to me that Sao Paulo has been overlooked. When you hear about Brazil and carnivals and gay life, you think of Rio don’t you? I’d not heard much about SP, but once I started looking into it I found it sounded more appealing than Rio. I think that was because I’d also heard, and seen on TV, much about the rougher side of Rio, the crime and squalor. I dare say it exists in Sao Paulo too but I got the impression that if it does then it is more hidden. For some reason I felt that Sao Paulo would be a safer place to be.

The proof of the spicy pudding, of course, would be in the eating. But don’t eat too much or you won’t be able to salsa!

Vegas Cheaper and Free Krave VIP

krave-planet-hollywood-offerEverybody loves Las Vegas and I happened to find a really good offer for those who like to go clubbing and stay at the hotel/casino with the only gay club on the strip. This is what you call perfect gay travel booking. I will say if you are going to Vegas for your gay honeymoon or for a romantic time you might want to do the Bellagio or the Paris hotel but to party down single style then why not book a hotel walking distance to the Krave Nightclub?

Planet Hollywood happens to not only house the only gay nightclub on the strip but they are also the only hotel rewards program on the strip. Planet Hollywood is part of the Starwood program and you get basically miles for each stay for staying at this Sheraton managed property. There is a shopping mall outside the casino which walks you to the club called Krave.

The shopping mall in the Casino building, The Miracle Mile, has a Sephora, MetroPark, and FCUK. Can it get better than this? Well its just down the street from the Fruit loop which has you close to Piranha 8 1/2 nightclub.

How do you save money by doing this? You take less cabs and they are even offering a special for free VIP entrance to Krave and a special rate at this Casino. This is actually the best rate I have seen for this casino compared to all the other promotional rates and you even get a free bottle of Vodka, Wine, or spirits. The strange thing is that it did not take the promo for Friday night so I had to book that separately but it did take it for Saturday and Sunday but that may change every week because they sell out some nights. You have to play around with it some if you book last minute like I do.

What you need to get this gay fabulous rate is to goto this link for the Starwood website and pull down the rate preferences menu on the advanced search and type in SKRAVE. You can also try going to the Planet Hollywood website directly.

Package Includes special Room Rates, 2 Complimentary Admissions to Krave Nightclub, 2 Complimentary Admissions to the Planet Hollywood Spa by Mandara, Guests will also receive one complimentary bottle of their choice from the “Drinks Are On Us” menu per stay at Planet Hollywood and a $40 Gaming Bonus.

Gay community Toronto

torontoworldpride-dykesonbikesToronto hosts the World Pride in 2014 starting June 20-29. 

“Toronto’s gay village, the Church and Wellesley neighborhood, is alive with a diverse G.L.B.T. community. It has an array of dance clubs, cafés, restaurants, community centers, and many other gay-owned businesses catering to the gay community and tourists…” So says Toronto Tourism and who are we to argue? But what exactly is this community, what is there for gay and lesbian residents and visitors to do? I had a bit of a virtual look around and here are some of the things that I came up with.

Toronto’s gay ‘village’ is situated right in the heart of the city in ‘The Garden District’ as it is called. It is said to be one of the biggest gay villages in the world, rivaling Sydney in Australia and Manchester in England. It’s close to Chinatown and the university, the fashion district and the theaters, so you can expect a diversity of villagers and visitors alike.

Normally there are at least three major events in the community. Folsom Fair took place in July. This fair, or expo if you like, is for sellers of leather, fetish and other sex gear to get together to not only show off what they produce but to let the local community get to see it, and, we assume, to buy it. It sounds a bit like having a traveling salesman come to your street, only here there are loads of salesmen and you don’t have to buy anything. It’s a really popular event in Canada and even draws visitors from the USA.

Mister Leather Toronto takes place annually in the village too. It started as a single event in a single bar back in 1988 and has now grown to the size where over 2,000 people come to see it and the event requires 350 volunteers to run it. And now it isn’t just one show but takes place over an entire weekend and attracts both men and women alike. In 2008 the event was staged in November.

While back in June, Toronto Pride took place. The summer is usually Pride season around the world and there is no difference here. Pride Toronto has an annual theme, this year it was ‘Unified!’ and, like Prides around the world, it started small (in 1981 when 1,500 people turned up) and is now huge – about one million people this year. It culminates in the famous parade and encompasses all of the LGBT community.

So there are three major events taking place in Toronto’s gay community but there must be other things going on? Smaller events and gatherings? Yes of course. Toronto has its shares of bathhouses, saunas and massage parlous, plus cafes, bars and clubs. Villagers can dance the night away at clubs like Fly, with its 10,000 feet of ‘pure vibe’; there is the Pegasus Bar too and several themed clubs and bars such as Black Eagle for leather and denim guys and Crews/Tango for women. Eating is catered for by a wealth of restaurants and cafes with a worldwide fare from English food to Korean. There are also piano bars, shops and places to stay in the village.

Having had a quick look at some of what’s going on in the Toronto Gay Village I came away with a feeling that this is a place that knows what it is doing. The needs of the GLBT community seem well catered for but it’s not simply geared up to grab their money. It sounds like a friendly and welcoming place and one that also offers support, with community venues and sexual health education. It’s not often that a web-browse inspires me to actually visit a place but this time I think I will put Toronto on my list of places to visit as soon as possible.

gaytorontotourism.com
churchwellesleyvillage.ca