Category Archives: Hotels

Gay Travel and Places to Stay in Berlin

Gay travelers to Berlin can now check out the Pink Pillow stamp of approval for hotels and places to stay. 

Berlin has launched the world’s first  (?) ever LGBT hotel network. Pink Pillow Berlin Collection by visitBerlin. – I am not sure why they call this worlds first?  It sounds like Tag Approved and similar programs. 

The pink pillow Berlin Collection brings together hotels that believe with all their heart that all guests should be welcomed exactly as they are.

All participating hotels recommend themselves to gay and lesbian guests. They emphasize a professional and relaxed service.

Enjoy Oahu Without The Car Rental Expense


With
gas prices what they are, renting a car on your vacation can prove to be one of
the larger expenses that you’ll face. Fortunately, you have options when
visiting Oahu, and you’ll quickly find that getting around without a rental car
is simple. The island features public transportation methods that can deliver
visitors to every corner, while renting bikes and cruising along one of the
many palm tree-lined boulevards to one of the many attractions around Waikiki
is also a great way to scratch things off of your itinerary. If you’re hoping
to keep travel costs down, consider the following options when visiting the
Gathering Place to make sure you’re able to see all that this dynamic island
has to offer on the cheap!


Staying Around The Capital

Picking a central location, such as the Ewa Hotel  in the thick of
Waikiki, will ensure that you’re never far from a good time. With beach
activities, historical sites, and fantastic hiking just minutes away, hoofing
it won’t be a problem, helping you cut down on those gas expenditures and
giving you the opportunity to walk off that dinner while being bathed in the
light of a Hawaii sunset. Don’t miss Kapiolani Park, Waikiki Beach, or the
Honolulu Zoo while you’re making your way around one of the preeminent vacation
spots in the world.


Heading East To Kailua

Headlining the marquee for things to do on the Windward (Eastern) side of the
island is the charming city of Kailua. Home to some of the most pristine and
sought-after beaches, getting to this slice of paradise by bus from your hotel
in Honolulu or Waikiki is a breeze. The Bus system can carry you and your group
out to Kailua from Ala Moana on the Route 56 bus for $2.50 each way! Pack
yourself a picnic, hop on some eco-friendly public transportation, and go have
yourself a time at Kailua Beach.


Making It To North Shore

You won’t want to head back home without first heading to Oahu’s North Shore.
The promised land for surfers due to its absolutely awe-inspiring waves of
incredible force, watching people zip back and forth across these faces of
water will definitely give you a thrill. Once again, relying on the bus system
is no problem; it may take a bit longer, given the distance, but the ease of
the trip and the views that will accompany you along the way make this ride a
breeze. Bus 52 will get you there in no time so you can see what all of the
fuss is about!

Marriott CEO is Anti Gay Marriage

DID YOU KNOW that Marriott CEO does not support gay marriage? So why are we staying there??

Bill Marriott is the chairman and former CEO of Marriott
International, a Mormon owned business.  Because of his devotion to
separating personal beliefs and business, he has expressed his views on
gay marriage without backlash,(WHY IS THAT??) unlike president and COO of Chick-fil-A,
Dan Cathy.

Marriott personally believes marriage is a union between a man and a
woman, but he has kept this belief from affecting how his business is
run.

He explains his views of the church to Diane Brady at Bloomberg Businessweek:

Bubble hotels in Popping Up in France and Estonia

We first came across Bubbletree’s playful transparent tents sometime  last year.

 Now they are being used to create an entire hotel in France! Just 12km from Marseille, a handful of these bubble tents have been placed amidst the beautiful forests of Bouches-du-Rhone,
allowing guests of the Attrap’Rêves Hotel to experience nature up close
and personal. 189 euro a night! 

They are popping up everywhere. You can also watch the stars right from a comfortable bed without having to sleep
in a sleeping bag.

Now in Estonia, one of the three so called “Baltic states”, now features its
own unique hotel – A Bubble-hotel “Mullihotell”. The hotel is situated
near the beach in Rannakula district. It resembles a tent, which is
partially transparent and has a rounded shape. “It’s a unique
opportunity to stay in the pristine nature and enjoy the beauty right
out of a comfortable bed,” – states Mullihotell website.  $116 – 129 euro per night.

The diameter of the bubble is 4 meters, height – 3 meters. The room has a
comfortable bed, table and chairs. Executive Director of Mullihotell
company Ermil Miggur said that the tent holds its shape due to the air
pumped into it. The round part of the tent does not have any support,
only the corridor is strengthened. If the generator stops working, then
the “bedroom” part of the bubble deflates, but the corridor not so it is
easy to leave the room.

Watch a video  now on YouTube

Ideas for Exploring Hawaii

Hawaii attracts visitors of all kinds throughout the year,
and with the vast array of shops, nightclubs, and activities forming a
conglomeration of possibilities, it is not a stretch to suggest that there
truly is something for everyone. The island of Oahu’s LGBT community has built
a particularly active and thriving scene, which has made it one of the most
popular gay friendly tourist destinations over the years. Waikiki, with its
buzzing beach and active nightlife, features a large array of gay friendly Hawaii
hotels and plenty of gay bars and clubs waiting to be explored. The rest of
the island follows suit, with plenty of gay friendly
activities that are aimed at locals and visitors alike, ensuring that the Aloha
spirit is felt regardless of where you’re from! And with the recent recognition
of same-sex unions in Hawaii, why not come and celebrate under the island sun.
As is the case with any vacation, the problem is finding time to take it all
in, and for someone hoping to experience the vitality and energy of Hawaii,
here is a list of some of the favorite LGBT activities and hangouts so you can
streamline your schedule while meeting fun and interesting people from all
over!

 

The Right Starting Point

A close proximity to the sights and sounds of this dynamic island
will ensure that your schedule is fast and action packed. A series of boutique,
LGBT-friendly Waikiki hotels offering
comfort and luxury just minutes away from the best spots are there for your
choosing, and are a great place to call home during your island visit.

 

Bars and Nightclubs

Honolulu features a host of gay bars and nightclubs that,
depending on your mood, can either energize you or help you unwind after a long
day. In Between, a karaoke bar near the famous Kuhio and Kalakaua Avenues, is a
favorite for those hoping to relax, have a drink, and sing in a very casual,
friendly environment. Locals and tourists mingle here in perfect harmony.
Fusion, on the other hand, is a high-energy, buzzing night club that promises a
late night of fun and dancing. Open till 4am, this locally-owned club is sure
to entertain with its drag show, loud music, and diverse crowd.

 

Beaches

While all beaches on Oahu promise a fun time in the sun,
Queen’s Surf Beach has emerged as one of the best-loved gay beaches on the
island. Work your tan to a state of perfection while enjoying the warmth and
endless bliss of the water!

 

Hiking clubs, shops, and other gay-friendly ventures help
make Oahu the accepting, diverse paradise that it is. Come forge memories and
friendships that you’ll never forget!

Amazing Deals with AirBNB Apartment and Vacation Rentals

While this is not  a gay specific  service, it’s a COOL service a lot of my gay friends have tried.  (Once you create an account, you can join a  LGBT group – and search for LGBT places, if you wish).

You have heard of couch surfing, and home sharing – now come AIRBNB.  A community marketing unique places to stay, at all price points.

Airbnb makes available a platform or marketplace with related technology
for Guests and Hosts to meet online and arrange for bookings of
Accommodations.

We connect people who have space to spare with those who are looking for
a place to stay. Guests can build real connections with their hosts,
gain access to distinctive spaces, and immerse themselves in the culture
of their destinations. Whether it’s an urban apartment or countryside
castle, Airbnb makes it effortless to showcase your space to an audience
of millions, and to find the right space at any price point, anywhere.

1. Use the search page to find a property. Enter the dates you need and
browse by availability. Message hosts with any question through the
onsite messaging system.

2. Enter your credit card information and click Book It! A host will accept
your request within 24 hours and at that point contact information, the
address of the property and other important information will be shared. You payment is held until 24 hours after your arrival – to make sure there are no problems.

3. Get your itinerary details immediately upon host confirmation of your
request. Contact your host to confirm arrival details. After the trip is
over,  share your experience by leaving a review.




As the host, you can list your place for free. AIRBNB takes a small percentage from the renter and the lister, after a transaction takes place.

LOTS to choose from. New York City is the biggest market and  has over 2500 listings!  But other places like Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington DC , Hawaii, Paris,  Italy – just about everywhere,  have inventory to select from.

  • +19,000 cities
  • 192 countries

Since its debut in 2008,  AIRBNB, 
based in San Francisco, has booked more than two million nights of
lodging all over the world. People  rent out their entire home or apartment — or just a room or a
bed — to others who find Marriott boring or want to see life in a new
area as a local would. And some of the spaces are very cool!  Stay on Yacht, stay in a tree house, find a place with a hot tub, or simply find a bed to crash on.

My only caution is to be sure to check out reviews / ratings. Since this is an unregulated situation, one must keep in mind, you are not renting a hotel room. The mattress may not be a deluxe pillow top. It could be in a noisy neighborhood. But they are trade offs, as with anything. You must be a flexible traveler – or stick with the chain hotels.

Check out AIRBNB for your next trip!

Holidays and Christmas in Prague

Prague is the proud capital of the Czech Republic that is one of the most alluring and captivating destinations in the heart of Europe.  It is beautiful and its culture is quite significant in some ways with the traditions that is totally that of Prague’s. 

Holidays in Prague also play some important historical background that   can inform you more about Prague.  There are also some places in Prague that you may want to visit in connection with the holiday that might be particularly being celebrated in that area of Prague.

Some of the Holidays in Prague that can raise the curiosity of one are “Struggle for freedom and Democracy Day”, “The Burning of the Witches”, “Easter” (a different kind), and “Day of Love” (not in February).   The people of Prague are proud about their culture, traditions, and their holidays which others may find rather odd but the Holidays in Prague also molded the people to what they are now.

The “Struggle for Freedom and Democracy Day” comes every 17th of November.  On the said day of 1939 a student named Jan Opletal was shot when a group formed a demonstration versus the Nazi occupation.  After that fateful event, the universities were closed by the Nazis and mercilessly persecuted and killed students whom they believed opposed them.

“The Burning of the Witches” might just be the catchiest one of all and happens every 30th of April.  No, they don’t burn real witches on that day in one of the peculiar Holidays in Prague it was just simply named that way and with that is a weird practice in Czech to bid their goodbyes to winter.  Czech used to believe in witches and the witches’ power is stronger when the weather is colder and if they can make things warmer then the power of the witch will weaken.  On the night of 30th of April, the Czechs would prepare a bonfire and a witch’s effigy.  They tend to make it so realistic that they would dress their witch and stuff it with old clothes until the effigy takes form and tie the whole thing to a broomstick and when the darkness fall they would brought the witch out and toss it on the bonfire and as the witch burns it marks the end of the long cold winter. People would gather around the bonfire and roast sausages and share some good songs at the strum of the guitar.  That is one Holidays in Prague that is hard to forget.

The “Easter” in Prague is also called Easter Monday and you guess it, it’s being done on Monday instead of the usual Sunday that most people know.  Boys and men visit in the morning and they have pomlazkas which are willow sticks in braids with ribbons of different colors at the ends keeping it together.  They lightly whip the women and the girls and chase them out of the house that they have visited.  The women and the girls are to give colored eggs to the men and the boys and the custom was really for fertility, another one of the Holidays in Prague that is uniquely their own.

The Czechs celebrate the “Day of Love” every May 1st.  If most nations dedicate the day of love to St. Valentine (hence the name Valentine’s Day), Czech devotes the day to Karel Hynek Macha, the poet of love in Czech.  On the said day, couples usually go to the statue of the poet and give flowers where they would spend some moments in the park when the cherry trees can create some romantic atmosphere with its branches in full bloom.


 

Christmas in Prague is a magical time and December is undoubtedly one of the nicest months of the year in this beautiful city. Christmas markets are up, shop windows are bright and beautiful, Christmas trees adorn the town squares and the early dusk is filled with warm light. People are nicer to each other, the mood is festive. And if all is covered in fresh, white snow, what more can you ask for?

You will see the signs of Christmas approaching as early as October when Czech Christmas ornaments start appearing in shop windows. Around the end of November, Christmas markets open up and a large Christmas tree is erected and lit on the Old Town Square.

The markets start every year four Saturdays before December 24, which is the Christmas Eve, and run until the beginning of January. They are open every day of the week and still they are always busy despite the weather!

Prague Christmas markets are not mainly about the shopping. It is all about the special Christmas atmosphere that is there. The markets offer you not only a great opportunity to buy some unique gifts, but especially the experience of nice traditions that are still alive. They bring the true meaning of Christmas to life.


The most popular markets are on the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square where Christmas items are sold in 70 to 80 stands. Smaller ones are located on Namesti Republiky, Havelske Trziste and Namesti Miru. They are all easily accessible by subway.

The markets themselves consist of traditional wooden chalets that line the market squares and are nicely decorated. You will find there traditional Christmas decorations, holiday items and hand-crafted gifts together with fresh food and drinks. They are usually open from 9am to 7pm.

A Magnificent place to stay right near everything is  HOTEL JEWEL PRAGUE. Originally build as a old bourgeoisie house. Some of the original brickwork from the beginning of 13th century can be found in it’s basement.Over the centuries the house was rebuild many times and therefore many architectural styles can be found here. The gold painted ceiling with the motifs of jewels in the ground floor is very unique and is also heritage listed. This decoration was created at the beginning of the 20th century when a prestigious jeweler come into the building. The repair of the crown jewels of Czech Monarchs was one of his many commissions. Therefore the name – Jewel (U Klenotníka). The whole building was reconstructed and turned into a hotel in 1994. The house kept it’s historical look, but at the same time it is elegantly furnished with modern interior and some art pieces of contemporary artist were installed.

They also offer special packages, like a
Wine Appreciaition package, Girls Getaway package,  and  a Romance gift basket. Jewel Café Bar and Restaurant is connected to the hotel. It  will absorb you with its uniqueness and ambient atmosphere. More than 10,000 crystals will attract your eyes. Sense of smell and taste will be satisfied with our fine modern cuisine. Every two months  a new menu is created  by the chefs. Amazing food – reasonably priced. Check availability and book online! Holiday discounts start  NOV. 21st!

 

Gay Travel to Prague – Still Wonderful and Affordable


 PRAGUE PRIDE
 is happening for the first time this week!  Wish we were there….but we were just in Prague in June, and then went over to Budapest Pride. (American Airlines now flies JFK to Budapest. Then we got a small plane to get over to Prague).


It was our third time in Prague and we just love it there. Prague got a lot of bad press this last week as the President of the Czech Republic and Deputy Chancellor made some very negative comments towards the gay community and gay pride.

HOWEVER, Prague Mayor Bohuslav Svoboda (Civic Democrats, ODS) said last night he will NOT  withdraw the auspices he granted to the August 13 Prague Pride march of homosexuals!  Kudos  to him!!


“I considered it my duty to secure that the minority’s right to be tolerated did not end in front of the mayor auspices’ gate,” Svoboda added.


 But back to why we love Prague…it’s beauty, it’s people and it’s still a terrific travel value for the US dollar.

The official currency used in Prague, the Czech Republic, is the Czech crown (Kč, CZK). The Czech Republic has slowly been preparing itself for its transition to the euro, which is expected to happen around ….who knows when?! Some rumors say it may never happen. Some countries that have transitioned to the Euro, are not happy they did so.
 
Nonetheless, it is already common today that many shops and restaurants will accept payment in euros (but the exchange rate is less favorable than in exchange bureaus), or even in U.S. dollars. SO BE SURE TO CHANGE YOUR MONEY TO CZK.


For instance, we saw one sign that said entry was  $10  US or   100 CZK   or  10  Euro. 
10  euro  is about  $14  and   100CZK  is about  $6  in  US.  So  CZK is always the best way to pay.

There are many exchange bureaus in the Czech Republic. Exchange services are of course provided by banks and at most hotel receptions, but the exchange rates are not very good. The best exchange rates are offered by private exchange offices, but you should always compare their current rates and fees that may apply. There are a few  really good ones right in/near Old Town that charge 0%  fee. I feel it is best to take US dollars over there  and exchange them over there.  Your credit card and bank cards WILL  CHARGE fee’s to withdraw and convert the money for you. Chase charges  $14 in fee’s  for every  $300  you withdraw!



 There are so many reasonable places to eat and drink. Especially if you like beer or wine.  Many places offer beer and wine for $2 !  Mixed drinks will cost a lot more. $6-$10  on average.

On this recent trip, we wanted to go somewhere 5 star…a little on the fancy side. Dancing House (Tančící dům) occupies a fine position by the Vltava River. This stunning building, constructed between 1992-1996, is somewhat of a rarity in Prague; a modern, glass building surrounded by historic architecture.

Dancing House has daring, curvy outlines, which led its architects, Vlado Milunc and the American Frank O Gehry, to initially name it the “Astaire & Rogers Building”, after the legendary dance duo.


The top floor of Dancing House is home to one of the city’s leading restaurants, Celeste Restaurant. Diners can enjoy delightful cuisine and magnificent views over the river and up to Prague Castle. You can have a lovely prix fixe lunch there for about $32 US. Dinner Tasting Menus can run $100. Wine here can run $10+ a glass EASILY. But the atmosphere and views are worth it.


One of our favorite restaurants is right in the gay district.  CELEBRITY  CAFE serves up amazing good food for breakfast lunch and dinner.  A swell-elegant gay restaurant in heart of the Vinohrady nightlife district, right next to Club Valentino, Celebrity Cafe (Vinohradska 40, 420 222 511 343) is a wonderful, atmospheric place with a couple of rooms lighted by candle and dim lamps, fun-kitschy faux-leopard walls and chairs, gilt mirrors, cozy round tables, and disco balls – it’s a study in high camp, yet it’s surprisingly cozy and tasteful.  In warm weather they have a great outdoor patio and sit on the street and watch the boys going by.

Two people can eat and drink like a king (or queen) for less than $30US.  Excellent!



 Another favorite spot we LOVE  is  PIZZERIE ROMA UNO  – which is near Alacatraz bar/club. AMAZINGLY good  thin crust pizza and very tasty beef carpaccio. And open 23 hours! (They close for 1 hour) I think this is the ONLY place in Prague serving food and drinks round the clock.  Jagellonska 16, Prague 3 , Tel: 222 714 154
We love it here. And so affordable!


Sauna’s / Bath Houses are very big in Europe, and Prague is no exception. A favorite of our is Sauna Babylonia.  It’s big, it’s clean, it’s nice, people are very friendly. It’s about $12 US  entry fee and they offer a full service bar inside.


Leaving the Sauna one evening, we were hungry and just 2 blocks away found this amazing hidden gem of a restaurant/cafe  called  JEWEL.  Delicious food and great wines. Very reasonable and 5 star presentation.  The aroma’s wafting out into the streets lured us in. We’ll that, and the hunky blonde waiter standing in the doorway!

Jewel Café Bar and Restaurant is  a place that will absorb you with its uniqueness and ambient atmosphere. More than 10,000 crystals will attract your eyes. Sense of smell and taste will be satisfied with modern cuisine. Every two months you can look forward a new menu prepared by their chefs. Similarly, famous cocktails and special collections of Martinis will fulfil your passion for taste.

So on our third meal there we had the opportunity to met the manager Jakub, who gave us a tour of the attached Jewel boutique hotel!  Which we had no idea was even there!

The hotel is situated in historical building and besides the unique design and comfort it also offers a great location – only 1 minute walk to Wenceslas Square and 3 minutes from Old Time Square. With its 11 boutique rooms, Jewel Hotel offers a high-end LUXURY  design accommodation for sophisticated customers. Each room in Jewel Hotel has a unique personal atmosphere. The Café and Restaurant with breakfast service are located on the ground floor.


Jewel – design boutique hotel (U Klenotníka) was originally built as an old bourgeoisie house. Some of the original brickwork from the beginning of 13th century can be found in it’s basement. Over the centuries the house was been rebuilt many times and therefore many architectural styles can be found here.

The gold painted ceiling with the motifs of jewels in the ground floor is very unique and is also heritage listed. This decoration was created at the beginning of the 20th century when a prestigious jeweler come into the building. The repair of the crown jewels of Czech Monarchs was one of his many commissions. Therefore the name – Jewel (U Klenotníka).

The whole building was reconstructed and turned into a hotel in 1994. The house kept it’s historical look, but at the same time it is elegantly furnished with modern interior and some art pieces of contemporary artist were installed. very nice indeed!



On this most recent trip, we stayed with our dear friend Joseph Brewster who owns Club Temple and Hotel Temple. And now Little Temple bar, right next door.  It’s in a great convenient location.  Seifertova 32/3,  130 00  Praha 3. Close to Old Town and close to the gay district, plus lots of hot young gay guys – and straight guys, all over the neighborhood.

Temple is like staying in someone’s home, not a hotel. And it has a  very “old world” feel. Old Europe.  Huge ceilings! (15ft?) and big large windows, which you never see in a hotel.  There is a large community dining room and a TV area and lounge area also for you to enjoy. They offer a selection of suites and standard rooms to match all tastes and budgets. The  friendly and helpful staff are on hand to take care of your every need round the clock, 24/7.

Downstairs is a big nightclub – but you never hear the music in your room, not to worry. Club Temple has superb state of the art sound and lightshow, along with live DJ’s playing a wide variety of music both old and new. The interior is like being inside an ancient stone Temple. Very cool!




The nightclub is open in the evenings, and during the day, there is Little Temple, right next door, where many locals come and have afternoon and early evening drinks.

I love Prague for it’s amazing architecture. In 1992 the historical core of the city covering 866 hectares was listed in the UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Register.

Prague represents a unique collection of historical monuments dominated by the Prague Castle which towers high above the city. It is a display of all artistic styles and movements.


More than 20 years after the fall of communism and the Velvet Revolution, the popularity of Prague (Praha in Czech) as one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations shows no signs of slowing down. And while it’s no longer the travellers’ bargain it was in earlier days, the Czech capital’s combination of a thrilling history and glorious architectural overachievement remains as compelling as ever. It is still much much cheaper than say London or Paris, both of which are on the Euro!

While the city centre is a mélange of stunning architecture, from Gothic, Renaissance and baroque to neoclassical, art nouveau and cubist, beyond the medieval lanes of the Old Town and the Castle District, there’s an entire other cosmopolitan city to explore. Search out the riverside parks, lively bars and beer gardens, music clubs, museums and art galleries!   The people are nice and welcoming and there are many gay establishments.

There is so much to talk about, we could go on for pages!

More soon!


Prague Tourism  GAY PAGE


Prague Tourism regular pages

Gay Key West – Island House Celebrates 35 Years with Sweepstakes

Island House Key West,
the longest continuously operated gay guesthouse in the world, proudly announces its 35th anniversary in business and its 10th anniversary under its current owners, Jon Allen and Martin Kay, who transformed it into a leader among the world’s premier gay guesthouses.
 
To mark this milestone, Island House is offering all 39 rooms at $13, the price it charged when it opened in 1976, for the night of June 25, 2012. The special offer is available exclusively through a special sweepstakes. 39 winners will be chosen randomly among those who complete the entry form at http://apps.facebook.com/sweepstakeshq/contests/141910. Sweepstakes participants are also encouraged (but not required) to “like” Island House Key West at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Island-House-Key-West-Gay-Hotel-Resort/56402142064 and post a comment with the phrase “35 and fabulous.” The offer is valid through midnight on Labor Day (September 5, 2011).
 
Island House Key West began operating as a modest, 16-room all-men’s guesthouse in 1976. When Allen and Kay took possession in the late ’90s, the ramshackle 39-room guesthouse sprawled languidly across several dilapidated buildings, sorely in need of abundant TLC.
 
“We are honored to have served more than 125,000 guests in more than a third of a century,” says Allen, “We’ve never rested on our laurels. We pride ourselves on our focus on customer satisfaction and professional, attentive service. We’ve invested well over two and a half million dollars since purchasing the property. If you haven’t visited us recently, come see all that’s new at Island House Key West.”



 
After a massive investment of capital and time, they unveiled the new and much improved Island House Key West in 2001, transforming it into Key West’s most luxurious and pampering oasis for men. Having spent $2.5 million in award-winning upgrades over the past decade, Island House is unmatched in its class. Recent upgrades and renovations include:

Transformed rooms with new ceilings, walls, floors, furniture, bathrooms and beds;
The poolside Café and Bar, including an extensive wine list, serving continuously 24/7;
A well-equipped gym and health club with Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna;
Spa services available at the resort or en suite;
An extensive clothing-optional sundeck on the 2nd floor with a refreshing misting system; and
One of the highest staff-to-guest ratios among any resort in Key West.
 
With rates ranging from $124 in low season to $529 for the largest suite in high season, the resort is packed with upscale amenities at rates far less than comparable mainstream hotel properties, including: WiFi throughout the property, parking (as available), coffee, tea, an evening social hour (with wine and cocktails) and purified water – all available on a complimentary basis. The luxurious value offered by the resort has been noted in the foremost LGBT travel media, which has bestowed the following accolades:
“Best gay resort in the world” (OutTraveler.com)
“Gay travel’s first five-star resort” (Passport Magazine)
“Four Crowns,” their highest rating (Spartacus Hotel Guide)
 
In parallel with Island House’s stunning transformation, Key West has also undergone a quiet metamorphosis. America’s most beautiful tropical island is becoming a must-stop destination for connoisseurs of sophisticated yet relaxed tropical getaways boasting dozens of casual yet topnotch new dining spots; urbane wine bars and cocktail lounges; new galleries and performance spaces; and luxurious new mainstream hotel resorts.
 
“Come experience the new-and-improved Key West,” says Steve Smith, Sales Manager at Florida Keys Tourism. “Just be sure to sample a little of what makes this a special destination for LGBT visitors, like our hot gay bars and clubs, snorkeling and kayaking adventures, Fantasy Fest, Gay Spring Break, Key West Gay & Lesbian Visitors Center and Tennessee Williams Museum, the AIDS Memorial, and more.”
 
To book, call 800-890-6284 or visit IslandHouseKeyWest.com.
 
Join the online discussion with Island House Key West:

Sweepstakes entry form
FACEBOOK PAGE 
Twitter     @IslandHouseKW

Gay Travel to Playa Del Carmen Mexico

 


Just 60 kilometers from Cancun, a similar distance from the archaeological Maya site of Tulum, is Playa del Carmen, an old fishermen’s suitege known as Xaman H’a in the Maya language.

Playa, as it is called by its inhabitants and visitors, has now become the second most popular destination on the on the Riviera Maya. Look at that water!! 

 


Playa del Carmen provides everything one could wish for in a Caribbean location with all the amenities that international travelers require, as well as smaller personalized establishments, numerous bars and discotheques, shopping centers, restaurants serving traditional and international cuisine, cultural centers, water sports and golf.



  It is a fascinating town that attracts visitors from all over the globe who want to see for themselves what it’s all about: to immerse themselves in its atmosphere, feeling the soft white sand underfoot, enjoying the bohemian nightlife on sandy shores and listening to waves break on the beach of Playa del Carmen as they sip a tropical drink. Young people all over the world identify it as the place to go to get to know other cultures and ways of life.


 


Playa del Carmen lures painters, musicians, dancers and poets looking for ways to leap the boundaries of the every day and enter a fantastic universe, where ideas flow like rivers and creativity springs inspired by nature. The streets of Playa del Carmen are the favorite stage for anyone with a mission: folk dancers, concheros in pre-Hispanic costumes executing their mystic ritual dance, street performances, strolling minstrels who narrate local legends and artisans working at their craft to the fascination of passers-by.





 All along its busy promenades lined with handcrafted stores a mere sampling of Mexican and International creativity and on the city’s famous Playa del Carmen Fifth Avenue, meeting place of extravagant characters, visitors can taste the delicious local dishes at any of numerous sidewalks cafes, where a marimba, trio from Veracruz or heavy rock band entice diners inside. Playa del Carmen, once a sleepy fishing suitege, ensconced in the very heart of the Riviera Maya, Mexico is now one the fastest growing communities in the world. Playa del Carmen has a first-class hotel infrastructure and all the services of a cosmopolitan tourism destination.


 



On the horizon, the hazy outline of the legendary island of Cozumel beckons. Regularly scheduled ferries take visitors from Playa del Carmen to the Mexico’s largest island and world renowned diving site, where turquoise blue waters entice divers to discover the coral wonders hidden beneath the surface.

Playa del Carmen has been transformed in recent years in the most popular destination for the gay community. This   Mexican paradise offers the gay community all the services necessary for their stay, from hotels, restaurants, private beaches, bars and discos.  Mexico is considered a destination gayfriendly, and Playa del Carmen is adding gay clubs and restaurants, all the time.


TO STAY – we recommend  Acanto Boutique Hotel, known as one of the best boutique hotels in Playa del Carmen. Set behind Hacienda style gates and built around a lush tropical courtyard with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sun decks and chaise lounges for sunbathing, we offer a cozy Romantic yet family friendly atmosphere where their  experienced staff will cater to your every need.

All of the guestrooms are very deluxe!  And include Full kitchens, Granite counter tops, air conditioning, ceiling fans, Plazma TVs and phones, balconies or terraces and private bathrooms. There is  free wireless Internet access in the lobby area, free on-site parking beach club access and discounted Gym and spa rates.

 

Just one block from the beach which is adorned with miles of powdery white sand and clear blue waters and just 1/2 block from Playa’s popular 5th Avenue which offers an array of shopping and dining experiences!



Playa del Carmen, magic, eclectic and yet steeped in tradition is the doorway to those who want to enjoy the natural beauty and culture of the Mayan World, explore the region, mingle with its people and discover the parks of the Riviera Maya.

Today, the new alternative to traditional tourism is eco-adventure travel that offers everything from walks through exuberant jungles to millenary cenotes (sinkholes) and Mayan suiteges, cave diving in the underground river system to solitary lagoons, refuge of monkeys and other marvelous wildlife.

Try it!  You will love it!

Playa Del Carmen Acanto Boutique Hotel

Gay Maui Hawaii SunSeeker Getting Bigger and Better

GROWING BIGGER
AND BETTER
THAN EVER!

You may remember, when we reported that  the staff and owners of  Maui Sunseeker  were ecstatic because they had bought the property behind the three buildings we all know and love as the current Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, pictured here.

That ‘new’ property is known as ‘Serenity’, located at 20 Wailana Place. At one time, Serenity was a ‘wellness center’ and rumor has it that even Whitney Houston stayed there at one time. (OK, so you say she’s been in and out of so many places, that any dive can make that claim…..point taken).

But hang in, the story continues.

We talked of great dreams of spas and even an outdoor jacuzzi.
We also asked for  opinions in the last newsletter. Some said… ‘We want a 24 hour jacuzzi!’ Others said ‘We want a pool!’ And yet others said, ‘Build us a SPA!’
‘  says a spokeperson for Maui Sunseeker.

We can now say that the property behind Serenity (which is behind Sunseeker) known as Sugar Beach, a property located at 26 Wailana Place, is in escrow to be bought by Maui Sunseeker!  We are just as thrilled!!”

Imagine a contiguous 1 acre gated compound of adults-only property right on the North Kihei shore that is fully dedicated to the LGBT Community!

 “If all goes according to plan, we will close escrow in THIS MONTH  and hope to have the ‘Sugar Beach’ property online in May with 4 poolside full suites, upstairs is a 2,000 sqaure foot Penthouse unit with an adjacent junior suite. The addition of these two properties will literally double the amount of land that currently comprises the Sunseeker resort.

Most exciting….in addition to giving the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort much more land, we will now have, most importantly, a pool!! Many guests just want a place to relax on property without all the Little Beach brouhaha, now they will have it.”

When all is complete, we will increase from a 17 room resort to a 31 room resort with breakfast service, a pool, an in-ground outdoor jacuzzi and a total of 6 buildings on one acre of land with much more planned.

We would like to hear what your thoughts are for what’s important in our design and policies as we go forward. Please take a moment to complete our development survey.   We want to know what you think of our clothing optional policy and what amenities YOU want to have. Your opinions matter to us, so please share them now as we go through our design.”

It’s going to be an AWESOME 2011 at    MAUI SUNSEEKER

Looking for a Friendly Gay Hotel During Amsterdam’s Gay Parade? Here are the Top 5:

By Guest Author Yuli Linssen-Kaminitz

Amsterdam’s Gay Parade has always been one of the most spectacular events in Europe. What makes this parade so special and popular among gay and straight people from all over the world, is the fact that the entire event takes place in Amsterdam’s stunning canals. The parade starts on the 5th of August and last until the 8th. Not only the canals will be packed with more than 100 extravagant decorated boats which will play pumping dance and house music, the whole city will transfer itself into a gigantic street party!

Amsterdam is known to be an extremely open minded city which accepts and embraces gay people and that is why the city offers plenty of gay friendly hotels. Here are the top 5:

1. Hotel the Golden Bear- Address: Kerkstraat 37, 1017 GB Amsterdam

 

This super cozy hotel is located just few steps away from the beautiful flower market and next to Amsterdam’s lively gay area which includes quite a few bars and some trendy clubs. Because the Golden Bear Hotel is situated in a historic building from 1737, the general feeling is very unique and warm. An additional benefit to this lovely hotel is the fact that breakfast is being served between 8:30- 12:00 which allow you to sleep late- for sure you will need a lot rest during the parade weekend!

Some guest reviews:

  1. “Good location to various activities. The atmosphere felt more like home than a hotel. Was pleased with having my own shower and toilet. Breakfast service was very tasty and filling!”
  2. “The staff was very professional and friendly. The room was private, quiet, and clean. You could not ask for a better location.”

2. ITC hotel- Address: Prinsengracht 1051, 1017JE Amsterdam

 

 

This hotel will surly make you feel quickly like you are at home. The building is basically an old monumental canal house- extremely authentic and with a lot of personality. For those of you who arrive mainly for the gay parade this location is more than perfect: exactly on one of the most central canal: the famous Prinsengracht. The room prices are relatively low and you can be certain you will get great value for money.

Some guest reviews:

  1. “ITC is well-situated, quiet + a perfect base. Most of the staff is very helpful (5 gold stars to Michel). Our room was small + simple but we loved it as our pod. Luxury shops around the corner + many good restaurants + corner coffee houses.”
  2. “Nice location, friendly staff, beautiful view on the channel”

3. Freeland hotel- Address: Marnixstraat 386, 1017 PL Amsterdam

 

This lovely little hotel is owned and managed by Pascale and Rick- open minded and welcoming couple. Located in the centre of the old city makes it very easy to get to the:”Jordaan” area- maybe the nicest area in Amsterdam. The “Jordaan” district has plenty of small cozy cafes, unique restaurants with extraordinary dishes, designer’s shops and vintage boutiques.

Some guest reviews:

  1. Wonderful and helpful staff and nice breakfast. I chose this place based on my desire to have a non commercial, family type place and this was just that.”
  2. “The owners welcomed my partner and I on our 16h anniversary with open arms. We couldn’t have been more comfortable with our stay.”

4. Mauro Mansion- Address: Geldersekade 16, 1012 BH Amsterdam

 

One of the nicest looking hotels in the city- a boutique style accommodation with extra attention to the little details. The property is located in a traditional 16th century canal house and it is owned by Berry and Marcel, an unbelievable pleasant duo.  Each one of the hotel rooms has its own modern decoration and striking interior.

Some guest reviews:

  1. Excellent location, hosts are extremely hospitable and helpful. Breakfast each morning was excellent with fresh breads, cold cuts, cheese, yogurts, cereal and special treats.”

5. Hotel Orfeo- Address: Leidsekruisstraat 12-14, 1017 RH Amsterdam

 

This is another brilliant located hotel; short walking distant from the: Leidseplein, Vondelpark and Amsterdam museums square. Whenever you get too tired from all the partying you can easily find a chilled out restaurant where you will be able to enjoy a good meal in a relaxed, quiet atmosphere.

Some guest reviews:

  1. ” Cheap and cheerful *sports bar round the corner which was quality” 
  2. “Staff is helpful”

The above list indicates all the top hotels in Amsterdam for gay people. We have gathered this information from review exports we collected in the year May 2009 until May 2010. The famous gay parade is approaching quickly; make sure to book your hotel in advance.

Travel and the Evolution of Room Keys – New Phone App Being Tested

  

Technology.
For better or worse,
 things change!

Airlines have replaced some airport check-in agents with self-service kiosks. Will hotels be next to eliminate the front desk? Well, they probably won’t go that far.

Some hotel companies are investing in ways to make the check-in process faster.

The InterContinental Hotels Group is testing  a digital application that can turn your cellphone into your room key.

Guests at two  of their hotels, in Chicago and  Houston, will be able to download and test an application to their phone. 

The guests are given  a code from the front desk, their phones can play a tone that opens the sound-activated locks on the doors to their rooms. Under a second phase, guests would be able to get the code sent directly to their phone, eliminating the need to stop by the front desk.

But what if I leave my cell phone in my room?

Gay Travel in Morocco with Edmund White

In the new issue of PASSPORT Magazine , author Edmund White raves about Morocco and a special  property called La Gazelle D’Or  .

It’s sounds enchanting and magical!  He says, “La Gazelle D’Or is outside the town Taroudant, a walled city. It’s like the Middle Ages, nothing has changed, filled with friendly people and almost no tourists.
 
It is a  very luxurious, French-owned hotel where you have your own little house in the woods with a fantastic swimming pool, fantastic meals and it’s very luxurious and expensive.

It looks beautiful.
 It sits on a 200 acres organic orange grove.
I’ll have to put that on my bucket list!

Check out the Passport VIP Lounge , where celebrities share some of their insights. 

Last month Joan Rivers was asked, If you could own any hotel room in the world which would it be and why?

She answered, “The Grand Ballroom of the Plaza in New York. It’s so elegant and grand and has nothing to do with reality. I would take the stage and make it into a bedroom.”

  

Let Fabugo Be Your Gay Travel Booking Agent!

 



GIVEN THE CHOICE,
DON’T YOU CHOOSE GAY?  
                       OVER STRAIGHT?

                     (“not that there’s anything wrong with that!”)

I always support other gay businesses. When I go to the bar, if there is straight bar and gay bar to choose from, I choose the gay one. When choosing a doctor, if given the choice, don’t you choose the gay doctor, who can better understand gay health issues? My hairdresser is gay, my real estate agent is gay, and my dentist is a lesbian. I want a service provider who understands me and my needs.


Sure Orbitz has a “gay section” on their website. So does American Airlines and even car insurance companies have become “pro-gay”, offering discounts to couples and  trying to get that almighty gay dollar. 


So is your travel provider any different? Don’t you want someone who understands and can meet ALL OF YOUR NEEDS?!



Fabugo.com  is the creation of a team of dedicated gay and lesbian employees of  a successful tour operator for more than 35 years.  Recognized as a world leader in leisure travel, they are  trusted by the world’s leading airlines and hoteliers to manage their vacation brands and care for their customers.

 


Established in 2008, Fabugo  is designed to provide the gay and lesbian traveler with quality travel products worldwide, at competitive prices, as well as exceptional End-to-End customer service.



“We identified a need for an online travel provider that was truly 100% dedicated to their gay and lesbian customers.” said Jason Rhen, Managing Director of Fabugo.com.

 


GayComfort Accredited Hotels, Hot Deals, Travel Tips, Fabulous Stuff, Let’s Get Married, Special Events, FabuGuides and coming soon, a social networking area where members can share their trip photos and reviews.  The Fabugo  site offers lots of useful information for the gay traveler.


Looking to whisk your partner away on that long overdue romantic get-away?

Maybe you’re ready to finally ‘elope’?  There are nearly 2 dozen choices for your marriage / union. Countries like Spain, South Africa and Mexico!  Maybe now is the time to pull out your tux, try on your gown, polish your rings and say your ‘I dos’. Plan your wedding trip and honeymoon with Fabugo.com!


Not sure where to go? Fabugo  is there to help!



Fabugo has put together a list of the best Hot Spots for lesbian and gay travel. From romance to wine ‘n dine; spa to sports…whatever type of gay vacation you’re looking for, they help make planning your trip easier than ever! That’s something you can not get from Orbitz, Travelocity or Expedia.

 


June may be Gay Pride Month, but there are events all over the world all year long that brings out the gay and lesbian community. Whether you’re traveling specifically for a gay event or you’re just trying to find something that might be going on while you are in your destination, Fabugo’s Calendar of Events is a great tool  to make your travel planning easier.


Upcoming  GLBT  Winter/Spring
events around the world –

Intn’t. Bear Rendezvous 
 02/12 – 02/16/09  San Francisco 
Int’l. Mr. Gay Competition 
 02/19- 02/21/09   San Francisco
High Lights Festival 
 02/19- 03/01/09  Montreal
Gay Mardi Gras 
 02/19 – 02/24/09  New Orleans
Telluride Gay Ski Week 
 02/21 – 02/28/09  Telluride
Laugh OUT Loud 
 02/24 – 02/24/09  New York 
Winter Party
  02/25 – 03/02/09  Miami


Lake Tahoe WinterFest
    03/01 – 03/08/09  S. Lake Tahoe
Winter Heat  03/12 – 03/12/09 New York
Elevation 2009  03/18 – 03/22/09 Mammoth Lakes
Miami Fashion Week  03/19 – 03/22/09 Miami


Savannah Music Festival 
 03/19 – 04/05/09  Savannah
The Black Party
  03/21/09  New York
Pride Under the Sun 
 03/21 – 03/22/09  Ft. Lauderdale
GLBT Expo 
 03/21 – 03/22/09  New York
Tour of Homes & Gardens 
 03/26 – 03/29/09  Savannah
Kinkfest 2009 
 03/27 – 03/29/09  Portland

The Dinah 
 04/01 – 04/06/09  Palm Springs 
The Painted Boy 
 04/04 – 04/05/09  New York
White Party 
 04/10 – 04/13/09  Palm Springs 
DatBoi Weekend 
 04/10 – 04/13/09  Las Vegas 
World Ski & Snowboard Fest. 
 04/17 – 04/26/09 Whistler
Phoenix Pride  04/18 – 04/19  Phoenix

Whether you travel for business, to visit friends or family, or just to get away from it all for some serious relaxation (or some serious partying!), Fabugo.com is committed to bringing you the best in lesbian and gay travel!

By offering unique tools like the Gay Comfort accreditation program, gay and lesbian hotel listings, and FabuGuides for destination content, Fabugo.com is the number one online source for lesbian and gay travel.


Call toll free: 877-FABUGO1

                                                                   Connect  with  Fabugo on Facebook


Starwood and W Hotels spin off new hip chic ALOFT Hotels – Luxury at a Discount?

 


From the pictures I have seen, most of the rooms look kind of plain….but the open areas, lobby, food  service areas, fitness center and such look pretty cool and hip. And that’s the idea.

 


For the traveler open to possibilities, ALOFT is a fresh, fun, forward-thinking alternative. Breeze into a hotel that offers more than a comfy bed and a friendly smile, and enjoy a whole new travel experience. Energy flows and personalities mingle in a setting that combines urban-influenced design, accessible technology, and a social scene that’s always abuzz.


Energizing public spaces draw you from your room to socialize, or just enjoy the hum of activity as you do your own thing. Sip a drink, read the paper, or work on your laptop in the re:mix(SM) lobby or w xyz(SM) bar, where lighting and music change throughout the day to set the perfect mood. The hotel’s open flow of features and help-yourself services inspire you to step outside the one-size-fits-all travel routine. Customize your stay and celebrate your style in a place where anything can happen.


So far there about 20 hotels open with another 70! scheduled over the next 3 years. Allegedly, they want to provide the equivalent of a $350 a night hotel for about half price. Bring the comforts of luxury hotels to those who enjoy “suites” but who could otherwise only afford a standard room.

Check them out and give us your feedback!



YOTEL is Invading Airports for Pod People – The Future Has Arrived!





How  about a posh little pod pad for $50 -$100   as opposed to the airport chain hotel for $200 a night?
During at dreaded overnight  layover at many airports, you are forced to stay at an over-priced chain hotel on or near the airport property. Or worse yet, have you ever tried to catch a few zzzz’s on an airport hard-as-rock bench? You just want to freshen up and rest your eye’s for a few hours, for Gods sake!

What if you could sleep in comfort in a luxurious pod for a fraction of the price the hotels charge?

The future has arrived! Pay by the hour – not by the night –  and get well rested. Everything you would expect from a luxury hotel in a small space. Located uniquely inside the airport terminal buildings at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4 and London Gatwick’s South Terminal.  Amsterdam Schipol is coming this summer. YOTEL  plans to be in every major airport eventually!




Of course, much smaller than a standard room in a hotel, these little 23-33 square foot pods have a bed, (complete with plush mattresses) television complete with about 60 international channels, 80 radio stations and 5000  music tracks, desk and chair, free Wi-Fi, and a private shower with monsoon showerheads. AND 24-hour room service with snacks and small meals.

Prices start  at  $35 and go up from there. FABULOUS! Yotel was the idea of Simon Woodroffe, founder of the U.K. chain YO! Sushi restaurants. – “I was lucky enough to get an upgrade to the sleeper bed in British Airways first class. I went to sleep with the conundrum of how to make a Japanese capsule hotel acceptable in the west and woke up realising the solution was around me: all I needed to do was find the designer of the BA first class cabin and ask them to help me design a hotel.” – The rest as they say, is history! In 2003 he partnered with a designer, in 2005 built a prototype, 2007 opened their doors!


BOOK ONLINE or find out more! Coming soon, to an airport near you!

yotel pod rooms airport travel yo! sushi airport layover gay travel Turbo Tagger

Luxury Gay Hotel in Buenos Aires Opens



     Reuturs/UK, – In a country better known for machismo, Buenos Aires is building a reputation as a Latin American gay destination. It was the first city in the region to legalize gay unions and the city government proudly touts the capital as “South America’s most important destination for gay travelers” on its Web site.