five-star gay hotel in Latin America opened Wednesday in the
Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, an increasingly popular
destination on the worldwide gay tourist circuit.
The hotel, set
near the historic San Telmo neighborhood, is the second of
its kind developed by Spain's Axel Corp., which opened a
five-star, 66-room gay hotel in Barcelona in 2003.
''Like any other
business, we have economic objectives,'' general manager
Nacho Rodriguez said. But ''we're also about fighting to
help the normalization and acceptance of gays in
He said the hotel
was designed to be open and airy.
''Many gay hotels
and places are closed off and can't be seen from the
street,'' Rodriguez said. ''We wanted our hotel to be open
and visible. Why should we try and hide ourselves?''
Swimmers in one
of the hotel's two pools certainly can't hide themselves:
The hotel's top floor is a glass-bottomed pool that draws
visitors' gazes upward as they enter the breezy lobby.
Visitors can also
choose between the typical ''do not disturb'' sign or a
racier ''please disturb'' sign.
The 48-room hotel
is ''hetero-friendly,'' company officials say, noting
about a quarter of the Barcelona hotel guests are
heterosexual and predicting a similar pattern here.
Buenos Aires has
vied with Rio de Janeiro for the title of South
America's ''gay capital.''
Buenos Aires was host to the first international gay
''World Cup'' soccer championship. In 2002 the city became
the first capital in Latin America to legalize
same-sex civil unions. (AP)