On Being Gay by the Strait

BY C Brian Smith

August 11 2011 8:30 PM ET

COSTA DEL SOL 01 X560 | ADVOCATE.COM I follow a gaggle of drag queens to an after-party for the Gay Visión Song Festival at Home Gay Club on Calle Casablanca. Torremolinos feels fiery and dangerous in all the right ways (much like the Andalusían men). Forty-five gay bars and clubs, all within 500 meters, line the open-air Nogalera District. Just as I order a drink, the club (along with most of La Nogalera) loses power. Unfazed bartenders pour tanks of booze on the house, and unfazed patrons dance to acoustic flamenco guitars and make the most of what is now, essentially, a very large darkroom. Three hours later, inebriated and mildly manhandled, I’m a little disappointed when power finally resumes. The after-after-party is scheduled to stretch well into the afternoon, but I decide to call it an early night at 7 a.m. On the way home I stop to watch the sun creep onto the Mediterranean horizon at the Cabopino gay nude beach, the grassy dunes of which (I’m told) serve as one of the world’s most picturesque cruising spots.

Several hours later I’m seated next to a real-life count at the Marbella Club Hotel (MarbellaClub.com) on the Costa del Sol’s “Golden Mile,” which actually spans about five kilometers from Marbella’s idyllic seafront Old Town to Puerto Banus, a luxury marina teaming with multimillion-dollar yachts and high-end boutiques. I’ve been extremely hungover in some of the most beautiful places on earth, but the Marbella Club’s $125 beachfront buffet takes the cake (and the crab legs and the gourmet cheese pyramid and the cava Bellinis). Founded by Prince Alfonso von Hohenlohe in 1946, the club has served as a meeting place for aristocrats, entertainers, and heads of state for over half a century. Not surprisingly, the Marbella Club and its neighboring sister hotel, the Puente Romano (PuenteRomano.com; both properties of the Leading Hotels of the World), cater to international, high-fashion gays with very deep pockets.

After a three-hour meal with the count, I excuse myself to the Thalasso Spa. It turns out the €385 Jet Lag Pampering Break doubles as an ideal hangover remedy. Over the next three hours, the sins from last night in Torremolinos are washed away thanks to Thalasso’s Dynamic Sea Water Pool Session, Aquatic Floating Experience, Multijet Bath, Algae Detox, and Vichy Shower.



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