Gay dream hotels

The Advocate's sister site OutTraveler.com takes us around the world to show us the globe's best homes away from home.

BY Darren Frei

November 01 2006 1:00 AM ET

Where We Go For Siesta
W Hotel (+52-55-913-81-899;
http://www.starwoodhotels.com/whotels/property/
overview/index.html?propertyID=1444) Mexico City

You're sprawled
out in a hammock as warm drops of water rain down across
your body. This could be your own private island, but it's
actually your deluxe bathroom at the W Mexico City. No
matter how hard the Aztec sun sizzles outside, the two
showerheads in your bathroom ensure on-call inclement
weather. Opened in late 2003, the first W Hotel in Latin
America is a colorful oasis of cool comfort in the heart of
the Polanco neighborhood, just five minutes from the
newly restored Chapultepec Park and a few blocks from
the best new boutiques, restaurants, and bars in the
city.

But the
temptation to stay inside the hotel is intense, not only
because of the spectacular bathroom but because of the views
(the enormous Terrace bar opens up over the Polanco
area; the gym is surrounded by glass walls that put
you above the bustle) and the spa treatments (go for
their modern version of the traditional Mayan temescal
treatment). Need another reason to linger?

W's latest
"Pride 365" package, aimed at gay and lesbian
travelers, encourages guests to sleep in -- offering late
checkout at 2 p.m. (in addition to a copy of the
Brokeback Mountain soundtrack and two
complimentary cocktails, through October 2). W knows
us well. We love that!

Where We Go Grand
Waldorf-Astoria (212-355-3000;
www.waldorfastoria.com) New York City

Despite its
recent condo conversion, the Plaza Hotel may still be
regarded as New York City's quintessential hotel, but the
Waldorf-Astoria is the hotel -- for the entire planet.
When it opened on Park Avenue in 1931 the imposing
Waldorf-Astoria was the world's largest and tallest
hotel. It still feels like a city within a city. We love
this New York art deco icon for obvious reasons. It
exudes exclusivity, each room is decorated
differently, and all feature marble bathrooms.

But the hotel's
history and traditions are even more endearing, including
its cuisine (the Waldorf salad, Thousand Island dressing,
and eggs Benedict were all invented here); its glamour
(shot on location, Weekend at the Waldorf starred
Ginger Rogers and Lana Turner); and its status as a
second home to heads of state. According to legend, a
caller once phoned the Waldorf Towers (the lavish
boutique hotel that occupies the 28th through 42nd floors)
and asked to speak to the king. The operator replied,
"Which king?" Royal pedigree or not, the concierge can
score reservations at the top restaurants in
Manhattan. Now that's grand!

Where We Go Just Because
Onyx (617-557-9955; www.onyxhotel.com) Boston

It's not because
of its Britney Spears suite (a replica of the star's
childhood bedroom, designed by her mother). It's not because
of the Atomic Fireball, in lieu of a mint, on the
pillow. It's not even because of the hangover-busting
Big Fat Cheeseburger at the Ruby Room restaurant and
lounge (at right).

No, while
we certainly appreciate the delightful idiosyncrasies and
bonus services offered at Onyx, we really love it because
its corporate parent, San Francisco–based
Kimpton Hotels, is so ambitiously (and unabashedly)
pro-gay. Kimpton's InTouch loyalty program provides special
attention to gay members. Queer guests can identify
themselves and receive special offers, a quarterly
newsletter, and access to gay-themed events. The
company's annual Red Ribbon Campaign generates funds for
local HIV service agencies.

This
community outreach, combined with a strong commitment to its
gay employees, earned Kimpton a 100% score on the Human
Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index in 2005.
Hit me, baby, one more time! (OK, we do love the fact
that it has a Britney suite.)

Tags: Travel

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