Scroll To Top

Gay dream hotels

Gay dream hotels


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

Check-in time can be the most exhilarating moment of your vacation. No matter how much drama is going on in your everyday life, when you make your grand entrance into a hotel lobby you enter another world-- and can even become another person if you so desire.

In every sense of the word, you have arrived. We hopped around the globe to scope out hotels that offer distinctive experiences that we can't help but love. Now let's go jump on some beds!

Where We Go For a Roll in the Hay Farmer's Daughter (800-334-1658; Los Angeles

Some of L.A.'s more hipster-ridden boutique hotels take themselves too seriously -- with burned-out models masquerading as hotel staff members. We love the country-themed Farmer's Daughter, not only for its fabulous new restaurant, Tart, but for its tongue-in-cheek blend of hip and wholesome, catering to a healthy mix of gays, straights, and wannabe Price Is Right contestants (located across from CBS Studios, the hotel lobby features a Polaroid shrine to contestant guests of yore).

A face-lift in 2000 took the 40-year-old property from a run-down whore of a motel to her current incarnation as sassy blue-ribbon beauty queen. The No-tell Room -- with its mirrored ceiling and full wet bar -- is a nod to her sordid past. (Psst...the busiest bars in West Hollywood are just a mile away.)

Where We Get Down (To Business) Great Eastern Hotel (+44-20-7618-5000; London

"You make my heart go boom-boom," reads the red neon sign above the reservation desk at the Great Eastern Hotel. Situated within the square mile of the city (the main financial district within greater London), this Victorian-era gem, polished up in 2000 with subtle modern touches like, oh, a six-floor atrium is ideally suited to satisfy the business-meets-pleasure demands of the gay or lesbian business traveler.

Private turn-of-the-century dining rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art teleconferencing systems. And although all 267 bedrooms come with an ergonomically designed workstation wired with two-line telephones and high-speed Internet access, no two rooms are alike. The four (count 'em!) bars and restaurants are also refreshingly distinct--from the Fishmarket, a sea-green room decorated with plaster cherubs, to the Temple, a former Masonic temple with mahogany-paneled walls and an overhead zodiac.

The giddy gilded age comes alive--drowning out all thoughts of merger deals, buyouts, and other bothersome business transactions--when Immodesty Blaize, dubbed the "queen of British burlesque," hits the stage. Boom-boom, indeed.

Where We Go to Cozy Up to the Slopes Adara Hotel (604-694-2139; Whistler, Canada

We love that Adara Hotel has taken the quirky-minimalist boutique hotel aesthetic found in major urban centers and transported it to the heart of Whistler Village, just steps from the Blackcomb and Whistler Mountain gondolas. (Instead of a trophy deer hanging from the wall, antler insignias are etched into the mirror in the elevator vestibule and stitched into gray wool throw pillows.)

During Whistler's gay ski week in February, you can count on Adara attracting a style-conscious queer crowd looking to up the ante on the ultimate ski-trip fantasy. Rooms contain Werner Panton desk chairs, huge walk-in showers, and a "floating fireplace" that seems suspended in midair. Preloaded iPods and laptops are available for complimentary use if guests demand a reality check.

Where We Go After a Gondola Ride Corte Gherardi Bed & Breakfast (+41-523-7376; Introduction.html) Venice, Italy

If you ask to see a map at most hotels and inns, the concierge will whip out a dumbed-down brochure. Ask for a map at the Corte Gherardi and you'll be pointed toward a detailed 9-by-41/2-foot 16th century De Barbari map of Venice. "It's amazing to see how little that Venice has changed over the past 500 years," says owner Sosthen Hennekam, who lived in this 13th century palace with his boyfriend for 12 years before converting it into one of Venice's grandest B&Bs. Built in 1260, the roof, wooden beam ceilings, and early Gothic windows are all original. Inside, the vibe is more contemporary, with free wi-fi, modern furnishings, and a Mac Mini computer in the hallway for making Skype calls or downloading your photos onto a CD.

Breakfast is served in your room or on the wooden roof terrace that overlooks the famously sinking fairy-tale city. "Giving special attention to our gay and lesbian clientele was only natural," Hennekam says. "Venice hasn't got much gay life going on, and it's about time that changed. We have only three rooms, but there are other gay couples who offer spare bedrooms." He didn't name names. For gay nightlife, take a 10-minute stroll to St. Mark's Square for Aurora, a cute little bar with a gay night every Wednesday. Of course, true romantics will just keep walking, getting lost in the magical maze that is Venice.

Where We Go For Bathhouse Chic Standard Hotel (305-673-1717; Miami

Far removed from the cacophonous buzz of Collins Avenue, Ocean Drive, and Lincoln Road, the Standard Hotel Miami offers a million and one ways to relax and rejuvenate. Everything seems to be geared around the healing properties of water in all its various states. We love the Roman waterfall hot tub, the arctic plunge pool, the cedar sauna, and the "wall of sound" shower, which pumps a rotating selection of global DJ sounds into the H2O.

Instead of a cheeky bar or pool scene, the hotel's lavish Turkish hammam is the real centerpiece of this spa playland, encouraging marathon social sessions with its heated marble seats and late-night operating hours. With all this hydrotherapy, you'd think booze would be banned from the premises. Think again. This is Miami.

Where We Go to Rough It Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle (+66-53-652-189; Chiang Rai, Thailand

Guests arrive at the Four Seasons Tented Camp in an exquisitely crafted long-tail boat, floating down the Ruak River in the remote Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet. The camp's 15 cream-colored canvas tents, inconspicuously perched on stilts amid a lush bamboo jungle, have all the amenities of a five-star hotel: fully stocked minibars, wi-fi, air-conditioning, and hand-beaten copper bathtubs for two.

The all-inclusive rate, though certainly not cheap, covers everything from wine and spirits to excursions down the Mekong River and a day of elephant riding taught by a fraternity of extremely friendly and helpful mahouts (elephant handlers). Dressed in cute blue uniforms, the mahouts tend to the camp's six enormous pachyderms.

After a jostling elephant safari, followed by afternoon tea, make your way across the suspension bridge that leads to the spa and luxuriate in a traditional Thai healing treatment while you overlook the magnificent San Valley. You'll probably think to yourself, This is hardly camping.

Where We Go For Siesta W Hotel (+52-55-913-81-899; 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; 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; 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.)

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Darren Frei