The Advocates: Travel, September 2009

By Ed Salvato

Originally published on Advocate.com August 05 2009 12:00 AM ET

Home Away From Home

Chill at a Zen-cool hideaway in Buenos Aires's stylish Palermo Viejo neighborhood

less than a mile southeast of the 20-room boutique Home Hotel, boho-chic Plaza Cortázar bustles with the trendy cafés, shops, and galleries that lend Buenos Aires's Old Palermo neighborhood its cachet. But behind Home's glass front doors is a chill zone so inviting that locals often drop in for brunch overlooking the fern-, jasmine-, and fruit tree-laden rear garden or cozy up to the bar for one of the signature cocktails, ranked among the best in the city (cucumber bellini, anyone?). The property also bests other small boutiques in the neighborhood with a heated infinity pool that extends into the on-site spa, where tantalizing massage treatments ease long-haul flight stress. Plays on vintage decor -- restored 1950s Scandinavian chairs, 1926 French wallpaper -- heighten the feeling of slipping into a hip private residence. After a crazy twirl through B.A.'s sizzling gay nightlife, checking in here is like coming home -- only better. HomeBuenosAires.com

Q&A

Q: Are there reputable gay tour operators that arrange safaris in Africa?

A: Yes! One of the best is Gay 2Afrika (Gay2Afrika.com). This 13-year-old company, whose founder and president was born and raised in Africa, organizes expeditions -- from budget to luxury -- to 16 African countries, including Egypt, South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zanzibar. Venture Out (Venture-Out.com) offers scheduled departures to southern African countries, including South Africa and Botswana. Luxury gay travel operator Out2Africa (Out2Africa.com), an upscale Africa specialist, is an excellent choice for safaris to South Africa's Pilanesberg National Park and the incredible Madikwe Game Reserve.

HOT LIST

Bid jet lag bon voyage with an Asian staycation

• Japantown, San FranciscoNihonmachi (Japantown) abounds with colorful sweets emporiums, seemingly infinite sushi options, and bustling malls. The communal baths of Kabuki Springs ( KabukiSprings.com ) offer serenity in busy J-Town and draw many lesbians and gays on designated women-only and men-only days.

• Koreatown, New York CityNeon lights glow over 24-hour dumpling dens and karaoke caves along West 32nd Street, epicenter of Koreatown. Explore intriguing turn-of-the-last-century architecture in between sampling flavors of Seoul, from Korean drumsticks to green tea frozen yogurt. Then grab a cab to the Web ( TheWebNewYork.com ), an Asian dance club.

• Chinatown, Vancouver, CanadaLesbian visitors to this city should soak up the ambience of historic Chinatown in gorgeous Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden (VancouverChineseGarden.com) before going to girl-popular Wild Rice (WildRiceVancouver.com) to devour contemporary Chinese fare. Sashay around the corner to sexy Lick ( LickNightclub.com ), a gay women's lounge, for drinks.