Gay Friendly – What Does That Mean? Let the LGBT Buyer Beware

WE were just talking about this the other day; how so many companies are coming forward, some very sincere,  some not so sincere, in wanting to be “gay-friendly”. 

Karen Ocamb from the  Los Angeles  Frontiers Magazine , tells of recent not so “gay friendly” incident  that happened in Cancun.  A California gay couple had relied on a gay-friendly travel agency (Expedia) to select a gay-friendly hotel — which turned out not to be gay-friendly at all.

While in Cancun at their hotel, “At lunch Eric and I were holding hands. A waiter came over to our table and told us that public displays of affection were not allowed at the Gran Melia since it was “family hotel.” When we pointed out the straight couple holding hands across the room he reminded us that it was over the fact we are gay.  The waiter became very hostile towards us and I had to step in the way to cool down both Eric and the bigot waiter.

We then went to the front desk and told them the situation.  We were promised an upgrade to a suite over our whole ordeal.  The general manager of the hotel followed us to our room and told us that the Gran Melia is not a gay friendly hotel.  It is a “family hotel” and if we wanted a gay friendly hotel to go down the road.  He even gave us a list of other hotels.  I asked him to refund our money and we would be glad to make a reservation at one of the other hotels.  He said he was not willing to do it.”

“On our check out the last day the general manager tried so hard to get every dollar out of us that he could.  He tried to charge us for food and drinks that had been included in our all inclusive stay.  He made us wait to leave until the room was checked for any damages.  And he threatened to call the police if we left before that.  He and Eric got into a verbal altercation in the lobby, and he again threatened to call the police.  I have heard the stories of people being thrown in Mexican jails for no reason with no way out and I was scared for my freedom.  I paid whatever nonsense charges he threw at me so that I could ensure my safety and leave the hotel as soon as possible. This weekend was not a vacation for me.

 We have since spoken to Expedia who has removed the hotel,  Gran Melia Cancun off of their gay friendly hotel category.  They spoke to the hotel who stood strong on their homophobic stance, claiming that it is a “family” hotel. “

I am curious to know if there was any discussion or problems upon arrival and  check-in?

Read their whole story on Huffington Post .

The bottom line is how did this hotel get on their list?
Someone needs to be held accountable but also, do your homework.

Big players  like  “W” and Kimpton, we know are LGBT friendly places.  Smaller properties, I would beware. I would have checked the hotel out better, before booking it. HUGE companies like Expedia and Orbitz are trying to be everything, to everyone, I think.  You need to look  for  things like IGLTA and  TAG  APPROVED  logos   and  also  cross check with sites like Purple Roofs , and even Pink Choice.  Heck, you can even email us  and check out our Best Gay Cities  site. We are more than happy to point you in the right direction to the right sources.

It is my understanding, Expedia just started working with IGLTA ,  so maybe  Expedia has now realized they need some kind of criteria to follow so this doesn’t happen again.

New Gay Travel Guide