Search Results for: caribbean

By @ 14/09/17 in Caribbean/Latin America, Gay travel, Travel

Help Rebuild LGBTI lives in the Caribbean through Alturi via ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineMost relief work in the Caribbean is administered by religious organizations, which often leaves LGBTI people without help. Our friends at Alturi show a way to directly fund the Caribbean’s most vulnerable communities:

From Alturi: In the Caribbean it can be extremely difficult to reach members of the LGBTI community, but in the wake of Irma’s destruction, reach them we must. Alturi is raising funds for CVC: Caribbean Vulnerable Communities. CVC has worked for 12 years to better the lives of the Caribbean’s most vulnerable communities, who in this case are even more vulnerable than before.

Emergencies often exacerbate prejudices and make marginalized people more vulnerable. In the 2008 Haiti earthquake, CVC witnessed first-hand the challenges faced by gay men who were blamed for the disaster by fundamentalist religious groups, and were denied food and water aid due to a ration plan that excluded households without females.

Help Rebuild LGBTI Caribbean Lives 

CVC and The Rustin Fund are offering support through their Emergency Relief Fund to people who have suffered from hurricane Irma. This Fund will help CVC’s partner organizations provide desperately needed vital services that address immediate basic needs for people who suffer discrimination. Please donate today, your help will help those who most need it after the destruction of hurricane Irma.

How Your Donation Helps

  • $15 – Provides Emergency Food and Water
  • $25 – Provides Emergency Clothing for Dislocated Folks
  • $50 – Helps Locate Long-Term Shelter
  • $100 – Supports On-the-Ground Organizers Assist Those in Need
  • $250 – Helps Rebuild the Homes of Dislocated Folks
Help Rebuild LGBTI Caribbean Lives 

 

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By @ 01/02/16 in Dennis Hensley, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel
Paddleboard yoga prep with Dennis Hensley in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Paddleboard yoga prep

I love to take yoga classes when I travel especially if the setting is somewhere really unique, like a skyscraper in Dubai or a beach in Zihuatanejo. My favorite travel yoga experience to-date came courtesy of Sup Fit on the island of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. What made the class special was not just the gorgeous locale — near the Marriott resort beach — but the fact that we were on paddleboards. [This story is written by ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent, Dennis Hensley, who is shown in these photos posing up a yoga storm.]

After getting a quick lesson in how to navigate, our teacher Katie paddled with us from the beach to an anchored rope line in the bay where we attached our boards. Then the class proper started with no gongs, no Enya, just the sound of the wind and the waves and Katie’s expert instruction. As a semi-experienced yogi, it was interesting to discover what poses were feasible on a paddleboard and what had to be modified. You’re thinking, ‘Please don’t go into Crescent, Katie. There’s no way.’ Luckily, there was no Crescent but we did do a twist of Warrior 2 on one knee with a foot hooked over the board’s side that I kind nailed. I fell in five times while my yoga pal Scott only fell in once but when the water’s that gorgeous and refreshing, falling in is half the fun.

Yoga paddleboard requires balance, strength and focus, as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

These yogi make it look easy!

My favorite part was at the end when you lay there like you’re dead AKA savasana. You’re facing the sky with your hands dangling in the water while Katie says a few inspiring words about the “ebb and flow” of life and it just doesn’t get any better than that. Scott told me after that a fish brushed up against his hand during savasana as if to remind him exactly where he was. I tried not to be jealous.

So if you find yourself in St. Thomas—perhaps on a cruise—and want to do something unique for your body, mind and soul, check out Sup Fit VI paddleboard yoga. Our class was $29 for 75 minutes and they also offer a Sup Fit resistance training class that if that’s more your thing. Getting touched by a fish is extra.

Yoga paddleboard requires balance, strength and focus, as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Upward facing dog

.

Ready for your own yoga paddleboard experience?:



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By @ 22/06/18 in CheckOut, Dominican Republic, Gay travel, Hotels, Ivan Quintanilla, Travel

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado sits on its own island, accessible only by ferry, off the secluded Samana Peninsula in the Dominican Republic. This luxury all-inclusive resort is a good choice for couples seeking a romantic escape away from a gay party scene.

Location

Remoteness is part of the allure of the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado. With no direct flights from the United States and about a 2½ hour drive from Santo Domingo, the Samana Peninsula has remained a hidden gem in the Dominican Republic. The destination is more popular with Canadians and Europeans, who enjoy direct flights into the region’s airport from Toronto, Montreal and Frankfurt. A fifteen-minute ferry ride from Samana Bay Marina, the resort is the sole occupant on the island of Cayo Levantado. From here, you are perfectly positioned to explore the natural beauty of the Samana Peninsula, on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. The resort’s concierge can arrange any of the following excursions:

  • Los Haitises National Park: A half-day boat tour meanders through 618 square miles of lush islets home to rainforests, hiking trails and limestone caves.
  • Salto el Limon Waterfall: A 20-minute horseback ride through hilly terrain reveals a 130-foot waterfall from Sierra de Samana—a perfect photo backdrop, with its own natural dipping pool.
  • Humpback Whale Watching: These giant mammals are just like us and want to winter in the warm waters of the Caribbean. From January to March the Samana Bay boasts one of the largest concentrations of humpback whales in the Atlantic.
Room/Bathroom

The Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has 268 rooms of ranging categories, including Superior with two full-sized beds, Suites with king-sized beds and Beach Villas with their own terrace and access to the private beach. All have romantic canopy beds, hydro-massage tubs and 24-hour all-inclusive room service and minibars.

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAmenities

Though there’s much to explore in Samana, the Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado has you covered should you want to stay put on your own little Caribbean island. The all-inclusive resort offers 6 restaurants, with buffet and international a la carte options; and 4 bars, including a beach bar and a pool bar. Guests have full access to the resort’s relaxing private beach with kayaks and paddle boards available for use. There is also a public beach for day-trippers with lively beachside restaurants and bars. The resort even includes a scuba diving lesson in one of its 2 pools, should you want to prepare for deeper sea exploration. At night, you can hit the disco or enjoy nightly entertainment, ranging from acrobats to dance troupes. During our stay they even featured a synchronized swimming performance. Or you can wind down a romantic evening in your room with a specially prepared bath, from their butler services menu.

Gay Factor

At the resort, all guests are welcome and should not experience any issues, but this isn’t a gay party destination. Though homosexuality is legal in the Dominican Republic, gay travelers should still be cautious with public displays of affection. For non-gay-specific nightlife, the best option is the town of Las Terrenas, about a one-hour drive. This old fishing village is home to many French and German expats, making the town the most cosmopolitan of the province. At Las Terrenas, start your evening at the gay-owned Mi Corazon restaurant, serving international cuisine infused with local flavors.

Rates

All-inclusive rates start at $200 per person, per night, depending on the room selection and season.

Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineABOUT THE CHECKOUT

ManAboutWorld highlights properties we have recently and personally stayed at, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

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By @ 17/11/17 in Ed Salvato, Gay honeymoon, Gay rights, Gay travel, St. Lucia, Travel

Dominic Fedee, tourism minister for St. Lucia in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The Honorable Dominic Fedee visited New York this month with his marketing and public relations team to launch a new campaign for St. Lucia and to assure Americans that this lush Caribbean nation was not affected by recent hurricanes. The small country depends on tourism, and he asserts that “The best way to help the Caribbean is to visit the Caribbean.”

In St. Lucia, as in a number of Caribbean countries, same-sex relations between men are illegal though there are no laws against lesbians. We caught up with Minister Fedee to ask him whether LGBTQ visitors are welcome in St. Lucia. The interview, below, is part of a series with senior tourism leaders about LGBTQ travelers, including our recent interview with Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, MP.

Interview with the Honorable Dominic Fedee, Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism, Information and Broadcasting by Ed Salvato

ManAboutWorld: Sometimes the LGBTQ media cites the Caribbean as an example of a region that is unfriendly or unwelcoming for gay travelers. Would you say LGBTQ traveler are welcome in St. Lucia?

Dominic Fedee: Well, everyone is welcome in St. Lucia. Absolutely. I can tell you there is a comprehensive constitutional review taking place in a number of Caribbean countries. Sometimes the books don’t reflect the pulse or where the population is and a lot of our law is based on old antiquated British law. For example, capital punishment is still in the books. You must remember that we are small jurisdictions. A lot of us only got independence in the ’60’s and ’70’s, and we don’t have the economic might to reform our legislation and make the changes necessary to move forward as fast as we would like.

But the question is, “As humans, how do we appreciate differences in one other? How do we respect each other and not allow those differences to divide us?” I think that is the key. I don’t think any of us will be extreme about any position. I think it is our responsibility to be patient and understanding with them and to keep giving them opportunities to understand us.

ManAboutWorld: Do you think that is a sentiment shared by yours fellow St. Lucians, especially in the hospitality industry, for customer-facing service workers? It feels like that may be the culture there.

Dominic Fedee: Well, I worked in the hospitality industry. I had 16 long years in the specific company and we welcomed many gay couples, and it is a practice.

ManAboutWorld: Is the government giving serious consideration to removing antiquated anti-sodomy laws? It sounds like the country doesn’t necessarily have the resources to move as quickly as it wants.

Dominic Fedee: Well, there’s a lot of discussion and debate. I mean I just got back and two weeks ago, the news was talking about whether marijuana should be legal — another subject that divides us. Also whether capital punishment should be legal. So it’s not just about same-sex marriage.

ManAboutWorld: A lot of countries and marketers are seeking gay travelers for the economic and social benefits that the group provides and the positive PR message it sends by welcoming them. Does St. Lucia actively seek to attract LGBTQ travelers?

Dominic Fedee: No, though everyone is welcome. I think of tourists are tourists. I don’t want to differentiate between Muslim and Black and White and Christian and fat or gay and straight. We welcome everybody.

ManAboutWorld: I interviewed a couple of hotel marketers in St. Lucia and one thing that came up a was that there seemed to be restrictions on marriage officiants blessing same-sex couples because they’re afraid that they could have their license revoked. Is that something that an officiant should be concerned about?

Dominic Fedee: Well, in the absence of a definitive policy, I can understand one would be cautious. I mean even in this interview — I can’t remember my cabinet ever sitting down together to talk about this specific problem. We have discussed the judicial system in general but we have not looked at whether we look specifically at gay marriages or marijuana. When do we make them legal? That discussion has taken place whether we disregard capital punishment. In some jurisdictions, that has been outlawed. It will take a lot of time for the Caribbean.

ManAboutWorld: Let me ask you this final question. Hospitality companies and brands are among the most progressive in the world, scoring high in the Human Right Campaign Corporate Equality Index which rates most large hotel companies 100% in terms of their support for their LGBTQ customers and employees. Is St. Lucia’s hospitality industry looking at LGBTQ issues in terms of any sort of sensitivity training or awareness as far as you know?

Dominic Fedee: We have a very active civil society group and we leave that — it is still a contentious issue even here in the United States. And so civil society drives that and I can’t remember government ever actively taking it on. I think the St. Lucian LGBTQ movement is very courageous. [editor’s note: Led by executive director, Kenita Placide of United & Strong (LGBTQI) St. Lucia.] I wish it all the best. It’s very welcoming and that’s why I love democracy where people can default on different things and people can still respect each other’s differences and people must not allow those differences to divide them. But the differences in us should inspire us and the differences in us should — we should all take away from the differences in us.

St. Lucia in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine



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By @ 23/10/17 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineAn interview with Jamaican Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, MP by Billy Kolber

Next month, Jamaica will host a tourism conference on jobs and inclusive growth. Tourism jobs and training have been an important source of economic empowerment for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) people all over the world, and Jamaica’s focus on providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs to create experiences for visitors is particularly promising.

Jamaica is the most cited example of places that are not friendly for LGBTQ people — In 2006, Time Magazine labeled it “The Most Homophobic Place on Earth.” Much progress has been made in the last decade, and indeed, Bloom Jamaica will also be in Jamaica next month, for a seventh time as the largest annual LGBTQ trip in the Caribbean.

We caught up with Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism, the Honorable Edmund Bartlett, MP  at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit to ask whether LGBTQ visitors are welcome in Jamaica. Check out the interview below.

And for more information, recommendations and commentary on Jamaica and the Caribbean, check out our 15-island feature in the February/March 2017 issue of ManAboutWorld.Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

The Interview

ManAboutWorld: Outside voices in the news media’s frequently cite Jamaica as the best example of a country that is unfriendly and unwelcoming for gay travelers. So, what would you say to LGBT travelers, are they welcome in Jamaica?

Minister Bartlett: We say that Jamaica is open to all travelers. We have a diversified offering that the extent to which we go to embrace various passion points is equal. We have no laws which prevent people of any orientation to come in and to enjoy the benefits of the destination. The ethics which guide tourism guide everybody, and so it is within that tourism ethic that we will operate with all the visitors that come to our country.

ManAboutWorld: Others countries that has been similarly pillared by the media — the Bahamas, Grand Cayman — have made greater public strives in reversing their reputation and being seen as more welcoming, and some of that is started directly with public statement from those tourism ministries. Is Jamaica looking at its reputation in the LGBT community as something to be remediated and if so are you doing that?

Minister Bartlett: To begin with, we think that policy initiative from government, legislative arrangements go a long way in defining how peoples actions will develop. One cannot say that an instant statement is going change because people’s attitudes are a time-related matter. But the narratives are changing, and Jamaica is in fact having far more congenial types of narrative to enable a greater feeling of comfort by a wider group of people.

ManAboutWorld: We’ve seen that. I know your prime minister has said “No one should be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.”

Minister Bartlett: So the narratives are improving. We are country with a long history and a culture that is embracing, especially that we are an amalgam of many kind of strains, many ethnic and cultural strains, and within that there are lifestyle issues that we are contending with every day and I believe that Jamaica has come a long way in terms of a more embracing approach for lifestyle issues.

ManAboutWorld: I think we’ve seen that. One of the things that turned up in our research the largest annual gay Caribbean trip occurs in Jamaica [Bloom; November 29-December 4, 2017]

 Interview with Jamaica's tourism minister in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Minister Bartlett: And yet no great big statement is made about it. So this is the point we are making. People are happy, people are enjoying the benefits of a great country and they have not felt discriminated against. What happens is you end up with advocates who sometimes are just riding the rewards of the advocacy and the sort of skewed opinions in relation to how their own agenda is structured.

ManAboutWorld: The hospitality industry has been among the most progressive in the world. In fact all of the largest hotel companies scored 100% on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index. Is Jamaica’s hospitality industry looking at a LGBT issues in terms of sensitivity training for employees in terms of employment non-discrimination?

Minister Bartlett: Well. I must said that there is not a structured approach in terms of it, but there is a regular sensitization which happens within the entities themselves and I think that has gone a long way in reducing the level of negative matters flowing now with regards to that community. And I’m comfortable that this is going to continue and it’s going to only get better.

ManAboutWorld: Good. Thank you very much. It’s been a few years — probably six — since I’ve been to Jamaica. So I look forward to coming back.

Minister Bartlett: You need to come back.

# # #

***
Note that many communities are still rebuilding after recent devastating storms. Help rebuild LGBTQ lives in the Caribbean through Alturi

Here is more Caribbean coverage on ManAboutWorld’s blog.

 

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By @ 24/08/17 in Antigua, Gay travel, Jeffrey James Keyes, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThere’s a gorgeous gem of a resort tucked into the northwestern corner of Antigua, just where the Caribbean Sea seduces the shore. The elegant resort recently completed a major renovation and presents a refreshing mix of luxury and seclusion with 69 rooms & suites, 28 Cove Suites, and three unique villas. Prince Harry recently stayed at the idyllic tropical paradise sprawling across seventeen acres of perfectly manicured and blissful paradise.

Gay factor

It can be challenging to find a gay friendly vacation in the Caribbean but the Blue Waters Resort & Spa is safe and completely gay friendly boutique resort (and who doesn’t love a boutique resort?). The property is considered one of Antigua’s pioneers of hospitality and has a great deal of loyal British and European guests who are friendly and social. Rockstar General Manager Alistar Forrest remains committed to making all guests feel comfortable and rolls out the azure blue carpet for at Bartley’s Restaurant, across the lobby, and Pelican Bar and the hotel staff is personable, kind, and accommodating.

Rates

Blue Waters Resort & Spa offers competitive rates for such a luxurious property. Superior Hillside rooms range from $656 to $992 depending on the season. Deluxe Beachfront rooms are slightly higher, from $910 to $1146. If you wish to stay on an All Inclusive Basis the supplement is $173 per night. If you’re looking to stay in one of the Blue Waters decadent suites a basic Luxury Suite is from $1,644 to $2,174 seasonally, or their famed Turtle Cottage is between $2,146 to $2,989 depending on the season. The Penthouse (which can sleep 7 adults) runs from $2,922 to $4,500). All rates are based on two adults sharing on a Bed & Breakfast basis. The Bed and Breakfast rates include: Full English Breakfast, accommodation, extensive water-sports including: Hobie Cats, Sailboats, Windsurfing, Kayaks, Snorkeling Equipment, 3 main swimming pools and 4 additional pools for Cove Suites guests only, 4 bars, 3 restaurants (Bartleys Restaurant is adults only) , indoor/outdoor dining, tennis, sun loungers, umbrellas, tables at beach or pool, beach towels, live music as well as entertainment (nightly singers/musicians) and the fitness center.

Blue Waters Resort & Spa, Antigua in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Basics

There’s no wrong time to check out Blue Waters, though you can definitely have a bit more privacy if you shy away from big holidays. If sweeping ocean views and perfectly manicured tropical surroundings is your idea of a vacation look no further than this slice of Caribbean paradise.

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By @ 23/12/15 in Gay pride, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

What a year it was! Looking back on 2015 there were plenty of gay travel stories that got us excited. Here are a few that we enjoyed. Happy holidays to our subscribers, blog visitors, friends and followers. We hope you come back and visit our blog frequently and consider becoming a subscriber if you aren’t already. iPhone/iPad users tap here. Android users here.

Thawing of relations between Cuba and the United States

The thawing of relations between Cuba and the USA

Cuba

Marriage busted out all over

This was before the legalization of same-sex marriage across the U.S. but it was a taste of thing to come and one of the top gay travel stories

Vows

Marriage busted out all over

Gay cruises are hotter than ever

This is from an Atlantis cruise

A hot couple on an Atlantis cruise as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

A very hot couple on an Atlantis Caribbean cruise.

 

The NomadicBoys served up a year of amazing (and fun) gay travel stories

If you don’t know these bloggers, go follow them now. They traveled throughout Asia and shared many memorable experiences.

NomadicBoys top 10 favorite foods in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine in top gay travel stories

 

Gracious sexually fluid winner

Conchita even helped put Vienna back on the gay travel map.

Conchita Wurst as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine and in top gay travel stories

The other lady in Gold

It was fun reviewing our photos. We only reposted a handful here. Please feel free to go back in our post.

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By @ 17/12/15 in Africa, Asia, Brazil, Gay travel, Myanmar

600x400 MailChimp Image 11up

If you’re anything like us, your bucket list of places to go never stops growing. It seems every year, a few new places capture your imagination: those photos on Facebook of a remote Caribbean beach or a friend’s trek through Nepal leave your head spinning. The bucket keeps filling, and there’s no end in sight.

Well, we’ve come to make it worse.



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By @ 12/11/15 in Ask the expert, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel
Source Events cruise to Croatia, Ask the Expert, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Source Events cruise to Croatia

Get all your gay travel questions answered in ManAboutWorld which includes an “Ask the Expert” section along with page after page of answers to questions you didn’t even know you had. Ask the expert is your opportunity to have your gay travel questions answered by well-traveled passionate globetrotters. Ask your question here.

QUESTION: A little bit of long-range planning. I’m planning to travel next summer or fall on my own for the first time since my partner of 26 years died. I would like to be among fellow gay men though not in a huge crowd of them,  and I’m not necessarily looking to hook up or meet a new potential boyfriend. I’m really just looking for camaraderie. Do you have any recommendations for travel opportunities that are single-person friendly? Any other advice for a newly solo traveler?

— Dennis F. in-person question

ANSWER: One of the most satisfying tours I took as a solo traveler recently was on a Source Events cruise aboard the Star Clipper, a five-masted luxury yacht along the Dalmatian Coast (Montenegro and Croatia). It was manageably small though not too small: 250 passengers. I found everyone friendly and approachable. It was my second Source cruise and the vibe was the same both times so I’m confident you’ll be very comfortable. I spoke to so many men who say that this is one of the prime sources of meeting new friends and maintaining friendships. One note: Cabins and pricing is based on double occupancy so you’ll have to ask to be placed with a cabin mate or pay the “single supplement,” the additional price for traveling alone.

QUESTION: My partner and I live outside of Boston and are looking for a quick but dependably warm-weather getaway for New Years. We don’t have much time but we already anticipate needing to escape the gray and cold of New England in late December.

— Bart W., via email

ANSWER: Check out the Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda. It’s located in Hamilton so you don’t really need a car if you stay just for a couple of nights. It’s a direct 1.5-hour inexpensive flight from Logan Airport. Marcus, the new eponymous restaurant by chef Marcus Samuelsson, is fabulous. And we checked availability at the hotel. It’s pricey but not as expensive as some of the equivalent resorts in St. Barths and other tony Caribbean locales which are a lot farther and more difficult and expensive to fly to. For more information about Bermuda, download our May 2013 issue.  Note that at this time of year, the temperatures are really nice for outdoors activities (70 degrees Fahrenheit) but not ocean-swimming weather!

 

Hamilton Princess, Bermuda, Ask the Expert, ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Hamilton Princess

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You can check out our cool, digital gay travel magazine for savvy gay travelers by downloading the ManAboutWorldApp on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, Android tablets, iPhones and Android phones. There are a few free guides in all of the apps, and you can click here to register for a FREE three-month subscription. Go on, what are you waiting for!

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Comments Off on 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards

2015 Editors’ Choice Awards

By @ 09/10/15 in

Editors' Choice Awards 2015, the best of the best of gay travel from ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Today we announce our 2015 Editors’ Choice award winners.

These are, simply put, the destinations, hotels, tour operators and other travel and hospitality suppliers that we consider the best of the best in gay travel today. It’s not a scientific survey but rather the opinionated perspective of the ManAboutWorld staff of three along with our network of global correspondents. We’ve crisscrossed the planet, slept in a lot of beds, jumped on planes and trains, ocean liners and luxury yachts, rickshaws and jitneys, participated in river cruises, events and parties and talked with 100s of other gay travelers to come up with this list. These are the ones that resonated with us — the ones that truly shared our valuesThe ones we would go back to … and sometimes do, when we’re not busy searching out new and different places to recommend.

With 44 new award winners this year, there’s so much to explore … Check out the returning winners and the new ones below or, better, download the issue directly to your iPhone, iPad or Android device today and check them all out.

A big congratulations to this year’s winner! (If you’re a member of the media and would like to speak to us about the awards, please contact Ed Salvato.)

Editors’ Choice Awards: Destination of the Year

IRELAND: Last May, Ireland made history by becoming the first country to legalize gay marriage by popular vote. Taoiseach (prime minister) Enda Kenny described the Irish as “a generous, compassionate, bold and joyful people who say yes to inclusion, yes to generosity, yes to love, yes to gay marriage” It was a decision that seemed impossible just a few years ago, and one that opened the door to gay people, and showed a compassionate and welcoming side of Ireland for people of all genders, races, and sexualities.

And while it’s historical political feat has earned our top prize for destination of the year, it turns out, all politics aside, Ireland is a spectacular country of ancient castles and rolling green hills, of rugged coastlines and dynamic cities. And those red-headed Irish boys.

Previous winners: Ft. Lauderdale & Provincetown 

GAYBORHOOD of the Year

Chueca, Madrid: In late 2009, Spain’s economy took a nosedive, and in the years since, the country underwent a sort of reinvention. In the heart of Madrid, a small neighborhood known as Chueca, the center of the LGBT community, went back to its roots and began relying on the most talented entertainers, restauranteurs and hoteliers to encourage madrileños to keep spending (and giving them a better reason to). It was a struggle that forced the city to find itself again, to prove it can stand out from other European cities.

Today, bustling Chueca is one of the great gay neighborhoods of the world steeped in its proud heritage — welcoming, unique, and setting an example for the rest of the country to follow. The neighborhood starts at Gran Via and runs north for about a mile stretching east to west between Calle Hortaleza and Paseo de Recoletos. Though drinking in local bars and cafeterias can be inexpensive in Madrid, in gay bars and clubs it’s notoriously expensive. The nightlife in Madrid starts late and goes until the sun comes up, with some parties starting at 7am and lasting well into the following day.

Previous winners: MontrealWilton Manors (Ft. Lauderdale, FL)

 EVENT OF THE YEAR

GAY WINE WEEKENDSonoma Valley’s Gay Wine Weekend comprises three full days of gay wine events. The annual June event is a gem of Sonoma summertime, home to some of the world’s most prestigious wines and wineries. You can experience world class wine and culinary delights, music and dancing in a private estate vineyard, VIP Receptions, wine tasting excursions, champagne brunch and wine auction in one of the most famous luxury wine destinations in the world. Now in its fourth year — and hosting more than 600 guests — the weekend raises funds for Face to Face, the Sonoma County HIV/AIDS Network, and has helped raise about $130,000 over the course of the past six years.

Previous winner: World Pride, Toronto

TOUR OPERATOR OF THE YEAR

HE TRAVELThe granddaddy of all gay tour companies, HE Travel was founded in 1973 by Hanns Ebensten who was widely credited as the “inventor” of gay travel. Today it’s among the most innovative and fastest-growing tour operators moving more gay passengers per year than almost every other one except for Atlantis/RSVP. HE Travel was formed from the combined businesses of Hanns Ebensten Travel, Alyson Adventures and Out Quest (formerly Out West) Global Adventures and offers trips ranging from classic (rafting the Grand Canyon) to exotic (Antarctica) and consistently introduces new tours every season.

Previous winners: Out Adventures & Brazil Eco Journeys  

ADVENTURE OF THE YEAR

Patara Elephant Farm, Chiang Mai Thailand: In the northern reaches of Thailand, in Chiang Mai, there is a spectacular Elephant farm known as Patara, a magical excursion we experienced on our trip with Out Adventures. Through an ecologically and environmentally considerate facility, you can scrub, ride, and interact with rescued and rehabilitated elephants.

Previous winners: Arctic Norway  & Obeid Naser Al-Amamreh Bedouin Guide, Wadi Rum, Jordan 

BEST SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN

#LoveIsLove, Fort Lauderdale, Florida: The hashtags were flying in Fort Lauderdale this year, when the Greater Fort Lauderdale Visitor’s Bureau launched its #LoveIsLove campaign celebrating gay marriage. A hundred couples of all sexual orientations took to the beach to wed, snap photos, and share on social media to spread the word of marriage equality in a brave and ground-breaking and timely effort. Lance Bass served as ambassador of the event and used his celebrity to further the social reach.

Previous winner: #LoveTravels, Marriott International

AIRLINE OF THE YEAR

Delta Air LinesDelta has long been a favorite of ours, but their support this year of gay pride in many cities, (the company offered discounted first-class tickets to pride in many instances!) and their focus on delivering better customer service while their competitors (ahem..American and United…ahem) floundered. Based out of Atlanta, Delta has strived to be a strong LGBT partner and continues to show their support.

Previous winners: JetBlue: Cape Air and Porter Airlines 

SHOPPING DESTINATION of the Year

ProvincetownProvincetown has always had the perfect blend of small-time charm with big city swagger, and its shopping scene may be its secret weapon that lures posh New Yorkers and Bostonians every summer. It’s also one of the last towns of such notoriety to be virtually chain-store free. Our favorite store MAP remains the gold-standard for uber-hip boutiques, now in a larger, more central space; Tim-scapes has hipster cool duds while the Loveland boutique sells clothing, antiques, and quirky trinkets. The best time to go is right now, with end-of-summer-season discounts accelerating until the inventory is gone.

Previous winners: Buenos Aires & Amsterdam 

EDITORS’ CHOICE ACCOMMODATIONS

( indicates new in 2015)

NORTH AMERICA

Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Loews
“Upscale, great gym and close to gay neighborhood”

Atlantic City, New Jersey USA
Borgata Hotel, Casino and Spa
“The best run, most luxurious, resort in town and sincere outreach to LGBT travelers”

Austin, Texas USA
Kimber Modern
“This ultra-modern hotel in the funkiest part of town is one of the best small hotels anywhere”
Heywood
“This über-mod seven-room hotel is a dream of a place to stay”

Baltimore, Maryland USA
Hotel Monaco
“Chic, hip, charming, and incredibly supportive of the LGBT community”

Boston, Massachusetts USA
Battery Wharf Hotel Boston
Super friendly welcome and unusual location on the waterfront abutting the North End with its rich Italian-American heritage.
Clarendon Square Inn
“Gay-owned 1867 townhouse is the kind of place you’ll feel a bit envious you don’t live in”
XV Beacon
“Sleek and arty yet friendly and inviting”

Chicago, Illinois USA
The Public Hotel
“Fusing great design, customer service and value”
The Dana Hotel and Spa
“Super sleek and modern”

Cleveland, OH USA
 Aloft
“On the river, with a decidedly modern, minimalist vibe that sizzles on the weekends”
Ritz Carlton Cleveland
“A surprising touch of rock & roll amidst stylish sophistication”

Dallas, Texas USA
Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
“Elegant yet contemporary and surprisingly unfussy”
The Warwick
“Distinctly classic luxury in proximity to the gayborhood”
Hotel Zaza
“Chic, contemporary and sophisticated lodgings for young and hip travelers”
Door County, Wisconsin USA
Holiday Music Motel
“Big city flair meets farmland dreams”

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida USA
The Worthington
“The friendly and frisky Worthington has no equal”
The Grand Resort
“With a masterful balance of sexy luxury, the Grand’s continual upgrading have made it the top choice on Ft. Lauderdale beach.”
Pineapple Point
“Remains the standard of gay guesthouses after more than a decade on top”

Hawaii USA
 Lava Lava Beach Club (Big Island)
“A gay-owned resort situated right on the beach with a gay popular restaurant and bar”
Ko’a Kea Hotel (Kauai)
“Sophisticated, luxurious design and the friendly intimacy of only 121 rooms”
St. Regis Princeville Resort (Kauai)
“Epic views of Hanalei Bay from this luxurious masterpiece”
Grand Hyatt (Kauai)
“Intimate despite its large size, the Grand Hyatt Kauai delivers the quintessential Hawaii experience”
Travaasa Hana (Maui)
“Immerse yourself in a restful environment of great natural beauty and spiritual depth”
Aqua Bamboo (Oahu)
“A great value option in central Waikiki”
Royal Hawaiian (Oahu)
“One of the most beautiful, iconic and historic hotels, better than ever after a multi-million dollar renovation”

Key West, Florida USA
Alexanders
“Elegant, affordable, intimate”
Casa Marina
“Elegant and stylish for nearly 100 years”
Island House
“Sets the bar for all-male gay guesthouses”

Las Vegas, Nevada USA
Aria Resort & Casino
“Contemporary and sleek”
Cosmopolitan
“Swank and naughty”
 Delano Las Vegas
“With no casino, this swanky new hotel makes a quiet, elegant escape from the zaniness of the Strip.”
Los Angeles, California USA
Ambrose
“A distinctly local perspective”
Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles
“Experience originality, sustainability and hospitality in a splendidly restored downtown theater”
Andaz West Hollywood
“Modern, classic and fresh, this is the best option for style and value on the strip”
The Charlie
“Charming bungalow accommodations set amidst lush gardens”
El Tres Inn
“A chic boutique mini-hotel with apartment-style suites”
JW Marriott
“A luxurious option in the heart of the new downtown”
L’Ermitage Beverly Hills
“A discrete oasis of Asian-inspired luxury”
London West Hollywood
“For style and value, it’s hard to beat the London”
Shutters on the Beach
“The best option directly on the beach”
Hotel Covell
“A novel concept with 5 suites designed around the hotel’s fictional literary namesake”
Los Angeles Athletic Club
“Historic and elegant, with exceptional fitness facilities”

Miami Beach, Florida USA
Freehand Hostel
“An affordable place with a swank design”
The Metropolitan by Como
The most sophisticated and refined retreat on the beach
The James
“Our favorite of the Collins Avenue high-rise properties”
Townhouse Hotel
“A throwback to South Beach’s gay heyday”
Hotel Victor
“It doesn’t get more Miami”

Milford, Pennsylvania USA
Hotel Fauchère
“This sophisticated gay-owned inn screams Architectural Digest at at every turn”

Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA
Iron Horse
“Sleek hotel: all lush black leather, exposed wood beams and worn brick from the 100-year old building”

Minneapolis, Minnesota USA
Grand Hotel
“Four-star Kimpton luxury in the heart of downtown, with access to the city’s best fitness center”
Le Meridien Chambers
“Sleek, modern and cheerful, with a fantastic contemporary art collection”

Montreal, Québec, Canada
Hotel Gault
“Our first choice in the city; industrial-minimalist decor and very gay-popular”
Maison des Jardins
“Super friendly, and crawling distance to the nightlife of the Gay Village”
La Conciergerie
“Quality accommodations and personal service for gay travelers for more than a quarter century”

New Orleans, Louisiana USA
Hotel Le Marais
“A comfortable mix of modern and classic in a heart-of-it-all location”
The International House
“A perfect update of a Beaux Arts heritage with minimalist modern design at surprisingly affordable rates”
Ritz-Carlton New Orleans
“An architectural stunner with genteel charm and one of the best spas in the country”

New Hope, Pennsylvania USA
Inn at Bowman’s Hill
“A standout, with beautiful grounds”

New York, New York USA

The Archer
“In a neighborhood full of generic slim tower hotels, the Archer brings a sense of style and sophistication and a classic view from its rooftop bar”
Cambria Hotel and Suites Chelsea
This well located Chelsea hotel offers value and great views from its rooftop bar.
Chelsea Pines Inn
“Impeccably managed and friendly”
Crosby Street Hotel
“Charming, with a refined British sense of service”
Eventi
“This Kimpton skyscraper offers the nicest rooms and best service of Chelsea’s mid-range hotels”
High Line Hotel
“A registered landmark with a prime Chelsea location”
NoMad Hotel
“A heavy dose of European chic with beautifully designed public spaces and interiors”
The Quinn
“A stunning art-focused hotel with an edgy yet refined vibe”
Regency Hotel
“Gay-managed modern glamour after a $100 million facelift befitting its Park Avenue address”
Residence Inn/Courtyard by Marriott Central Park
“These co-located properties feature the most spectacular views of Central Park at irresistibly affordable rates”
Wythe Hotel
“Rave reviews for this 72-room three-story glass and aluminum Brooklyn boutique hotel”

Ogunquit, Maine USA
Admiral’s Inn
“A winning combination of local charm and full-service amenities”

Orlando, Florida USA
Waldorf-Astoria Orlando
“An oasis of style, sophistication and luxury”
Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown
“Surprisingly chic for a Holiday Inn”

Palm Beach, Florida
Grandview Gardens
“Spacious, traditionally-furnished rooms set amidst lovely gardens”
The Breakers
“A sprawling resort at the top of its game”

Palm Springs, California USA
Ace Hotel and Swim Club
“So darn cool, sprawling and popular with non-guest local hipsters and gays”
East Canyon Hotel & Spa (4.5 Palms)
“A spectacular hotel and spa”
Hacienda  (5 Palms)
“No property has received more accolades from us than The Hacienda. From our very first Editor’s Choice awards at OUT&ABOUT,  the Hacienda has stood the test of time”
Pura Vida (5 Palms)
“Sleek modern design, and luxury amenities”
Santiago (4 Palms)
Comfortable and sexy, without being sex-focused, Santiago charmed us with attention to detail”
The Parker
“The best mainstream resort in Palm Springs — posh, elegant, chic”

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Hotel Palomar
“Stylish decor and professional, friendly service”

Phoenix, Arizona USA
Arizona Biltmore
“This stunning luxury resort has spared no detail”
Hotel Palomar
“A sophisticated and cosmopolitan choice in the heart of downtown”

Portland, Oregon USA
Ace Hotel
“Bohemian-chic Ace was founded here by three gay men, with fresh thinking about what a modern hotel should be”
Heathman Hotel
“A National Historic Landmark oozing with sophistication, luxury and sustainability”

Provincetown, Massachusetts USA
8 Dyer Hotel
“Classic beachy chic” (4.5 Palms)
Brass Key
“Set the standard for gay guesthouse resorts” (5 Palms)
Carpe Diem
“A modern, sexy and sophisticated stand-out” (4.5 Palms)
 Eben House
“Elegant yet minimalist option in Provincetown from same owners as Salt House Inn”
Inn at 7 Central (unrated)
“A relaxed, casual style from new energetic young and gay owners”
Land’s End
“A gothic-chic masterpiece” (5 Palms)
Prince Albert Guest House
Provincetown’s best gay location” (3.5 Palms)
Salt House Inn
“Martha Stewart meets André Balazs loaded with Cape Cod charm filtered through an urban sensibility” (4.5 Palms)
White Wind Inn
“A great guesthouse and a solid value with a stellar location” (4 Palms)

Rehoboth, Delaware USA
Bellmore Inn & Spa
“The go-to for upscale accommodations”
Silver Lake Guest House
“Lakefront elegance and comfort”

Québec City, Québec Canada
Auberge Place d’Armes
“Its design and location make this quirky and charming small hotel a top choice”
Hotel Le Germain-Dominion
“A gem in the Old Port area, with modern, cozy-chic accommodations”

SAINT PETERSBURG, FL USA
The Birchwood
“St. Pete’s sexiest downtown boutique with a delicious restaurant and thriving rooftop”
Loews Don Cesar Hotel
“The gold (or should we say pink?) standard for Florida’s Gulf Coast, the Don Cesar remains the go-to for A-listers”


San Diego, California USA
Andaz San Diego
“Downtown’s most upscale design hotel”
Pantai Inn
“Balinese style meets in tranquil La Jolla”
Tower 23
“A fabulous choice in Pacific Beach”

San Francisco, California USA
Best Western Americania
“Our top mid-range recommendation in town”
Hotel Vitale
“Understated elegance with spacious, stylish rooms — it’s the best hotel in the Embarcadero”
Intercontinental San Francisco
“Sleek and modern, it’s the nicest hotel closest to the gay action in SoMa”
Parker Guest House
“This gay-owned Victorian on the Castro-Mission border has long been a favorite”
St. Regis San Francisco
“Everything you could want in a modern luxury hotel”

Santa Fe, New Mexico USA
Inn of the Five Graces
“One of the most romantic places we’ve ever stayed”
Inn of the Turquoise Bear
“This lovingly-restored gay-owned historic inn remains one of our favorite places to stay”

Seattle, Washington USA
Ace Hotel Seattle
“As hip as they come; very central and convenient with an unbeatable price”
Gaslight Inn
“A very comfortable and well-appointed gay-owned B&B”
Hotel 1000
“One of Seattle’s most stylish luxury properties”

Sonoma, California, USA
MacArthur Place
“Beautiful grounds and individually decorated rooms.

TAMPA, FL USA
Epicurean Tampa, Florida
“A hidden gem in the heart of Tampa’s nightlife scene. This hipster boutique is not to be missed”

Toronto, Ontario Canada
The Drake
“Fabulous artist-designed rooms”
Four Seasons Toronto
“Spiffy new flagship property for the posh iconic brand founded here”
Thompson Hotel
“Its rooftop pool and lounge is one of the sexiest, most happening spots in town”

Washington, DC, USA
Hotel Monaco
“Modern, stylish interiors in a classic Georgian building with a tourist-perfect location”

Vancouver, British Columbia Canada
Opus Hotel
“A best-bet, with stylish, generously sized rooms”
Shangri-La Vancouver
“Nothing surpasses the pampering of the Shangri-La’s first North American outpost”

Vermont, USA
Moose Meadow Lodge
“Combines rustic charm with creature comforts”
 Stoweflake Mountain Resort and Spa
“Casual, gay friendly and Ideally located”

LATIN AMERICA

Argentina
Legado Mitico (Buenos Aires)
“The quintessential Palermo experience with perfect service”
Algodon Mansion (Buenos Aires)
“Recoleta’s best luxury boutique”
Cavas Wine Lodge (Mendoza)
“Sets the luxury standard in the area”
Entre Cielos (Mendoza)
“A swirl of luxury that’s as deliciously intoxicating as their house-label Malbec rose”

Brazil
Pousada Casas Brancas (Buzios)
“Airy and modern, with top-notch service”
Hotel Das Cataratas (Iguazu)
“A pampering oasis in the jungle. Oh and one of the world’s most amazing waterfalls is just outside!”
Pousada Casa Turquesa (Parati)
“Sophisticated, stylish and quite exclusive”
Hotel Fasano (Rio)
“Swanky, modernist style evoking Rio’s ‘50s and ‘60s Bossa Nova heyday”
Ipanema Plaza (Rio) “Moderately-priced rooms just steps from the gay beach
Emiliano (Sao Paolo)
“Exclusive boutique on the prestigious Oscar Freire street”
Renaissance (Sao Paolo)
“High-rise business-focused hotel, with great views”
Pousada Estrela D’Agua (Trancoso)
“Sophisticated rustic-chic”

Costa Rica
Hotel Banana Azul
“A beloved 14-room B&B on the beach”
La Mansion Inn
“Stunning in every way”
Monte Azul
“Four casitas adorned with contemporary art, set along a gorgeous riverside”
Nayara Hotel Spa & Gardens
“A favorite among gay visitors, it just keeps getting better and better”

LIMA, PERU
Arts Boutique Hotel B
“A beautiful small hotel in the trendy Barranco neighborhood, with an extraordinary collection of art throughout”Merida,

Mexico
Rosas & Xocolate
“Brilliantly merging traditional and modern with a terrific spa”

Mexico City, Mexico
Condesa DF
“Personal attention that can make all the difference”
Hotel Habita
“It doesn’t get cooler than the starkly minimalist chic of the Hotel Habita”
Room Mate Valentina
“Budget boutique in the heart of the Zona Rosa”
St. Regis Mexico City
“Luxury at a fraction of the usual St. Regis price”

Panama City, Panama
American Trade Hotel
“Reflects historic aura of Casco Viejo yet projects a modern face”

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Casa Cupula
“This stylish boutique hotel is one of the best gay-owned and gay-marketed properties around”
CasaMagna Marriott Resort and Spa
“A favorite of the LGBT community for its reasonable rates and large resort amenities”

San Miguel de Allende
Rosewood
“One of the best hotels in all of mexico, a charming Colonial retreat in a majestic city”
Susurro
“Gay-owned gem with boatloads of charm”

Vieques
W Retreat and Spa
“Huge rooms with ocean views”

EUROPE

Amsterdam, Holland
The Conservatorium
“Modern luxury with a gorgeous spa”
The Dylan
“Our first choice for its artful decor and best location in the city”
Van Ostade
“The best B&B in Amsterdam, and one of the most charming in all of Europe”
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
“Steeped in history, opulently appointed and perfectly located”

Berlin, Germany
25 Hours Hotel Bikini
“A charming, hip hotel that happens to feature the exotic rumble of African wildlife thanks to its proximity to the zoo”
Hotel Adlon Kempinski
“The first choice of rock stars and royalty”
Hotel de Rome
“Undeniably posh, the hotel never feels pretentious”

Brighton, U.K.
The Amsterdam
“With seafront rooms, a sexy sauna and a gay-central location, we’d love to book a room for the whole summer”
Hotel Pelirocco
“Sexy, funky, eccentric and unforgettable”

Brussels, Belgium
The Dominican
“Our top choice in town is a gorgeous 150-room design property right next to the opera house”
Aloft Schuman
“A superbly stylish stay on the cheap”

BARCELONA, SPAIN
Axel Hotel Barcelona
“In the heart of the gayborhood, the Axel sets the standard for modern “hetero-friendly” hotels”

Budapest, Hungary
Brody House
“A private club like SoHo House, with a little less attitude and a little more art and culture”
Budapest Marriott
“The Executive Lounge deck has the city’s best views and all rooms face the river”

Cologne, Germany
Excelsior
“Top-choice for old-world luxury”
Stern am Rathaus
“Sophisticated design, great value and location”

Copenhagen, Denmark
Andersen Hotel
“Colorful and hip with excellent service and complete embrace of LGBT travelers”
Hotel D’Angleterre
“The city’s finest hotel with an unbeatable location”

Edinburgh, U.K.
Balmoral
“Gilded-age tradition meets contemporary luxury”
Hotel Portmeirion
“Idyllic setting and outdoor heated pool”
Tiger Lily
“Sexy cool glamour hidden behind a traditional Georgian facade”

Hamburg, Germany
25 Hours Hamburg HafenCity
“An outpost of nautical cool anchoring the city’s new neighborhood”
Le Méridien Hamburg
“A gay-perfect location, sophisticated modern style and a lake front view”

Lisbon, Portugal
 Internacional Design Hotel
“Stately, chic and sexy as hell hotel in the heart of Lisbon”

London, U.K.
The Boundary
“The best of Shoreditch, semi-retro and totally stylish”
Chiltern Firehouse 
“André Balazs’ London outpost brings his quirky celebrity-friendly service and style across the pond”
The Goring
“London’s ritziest hotel, fit for royalty”
Hoxton Hotel
“Loaded with flavor, smart design and thoughtful amenities at a great price”
St. Pancras Renaissance
“Blending Victorian and contemporary in a compelling 5-star way”
Soho Hotel
“Glamour in the thick of iconic London”
The Edition London
“The Marriott/Schrager love child sets new standards for luxury lifestyle hotels”
Town Hall Hotel
“Fabulously chic new hotel with surprisingly low rates”

Lyon, France
Cour des Loges
“The crème de la crème of lodging; sumptuous and romantic”

Madrid, Spain
Only You Hotel and Lounge
“Luxury and style in the heart of the gay neighborhood”
Room Mate Oscar
“Modern style and the most gay-popular rooftop bar in town”
The Ritz Hotel
“The grandest address in Madrid”

Manchester, U.K.
Radisson Blu Edwardian
“Low-key luxury and sophisticated, contemporary style”
Velvet Manchester
“Stunning boutique style in the heart of the gay village”

Marseille, France
Au Vieux Panier
“Six small but charming affordable rooms decorated by local artists”
Radisson Blu
“Chic and stylish rooms with breathtaking views”

Milan, Italy
Bulgari Hotel & Spa
“The pinnacle of Milano luxury”
Hotel Spadari al Duono
“Centrally located and modern, with some of the friendliest staff in Europe”

Munich, Germany
The Charles
“Inviting, luxurious and lush”
Deutsche Eiche
“Gay-owned, modern, convivial and reasonably priced, we love the rooftop terrace and location”
Sofitel Munich
“Graceful, modern and sleek”

Mykonos, Greece
Elysium Hotel
“The most exclusive gay hotel in Mykonos”
Geranium Hotel
“Very gay popular friendly and fun place to stay”
Myconian Imperial Hotel
“Like staying with friends who happen to be super rich with exquisite taste”
Semeli Hotel
“The best budget luxury option in Mykonos town”

Paris, France
Hotel Esmeralda
“Funky charm and affordable rates in a great location”
Four Seasons George V
“In a city full of luxury, this is our first choice, and one of the best in the world”
Jules & Jim
“Funky, minimalist decor in the heart of the Marais”
One By The Five
“An unusual, dreamy escape”
W Paris Opera
“One of W Hotels’ most glam outposts, with a 9th Arr. location we love”

Porto, Portugal
Yeatman
“A cocoon of wine-deepend serenity overlooking the River Douro”

Puglia, Italy
Borgo Egnazia
“The feel of typical village with town square, fab spa and restaurants and multiple pools in serene location”

Ravello, Italy
Palazzo Avino
“The best way to experience one of the most beautiful and romantic places on earth”

Reykjavik, Iceland
101 Hotel
“Contemporary design as cool as the nearby glaciers”

Rome, Italy
Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel
“A heavenly stay at affordable rates”
JK Place Roma
“Contemporary luxury and personalized service in the heart of Rome”
Kolbe Hotel
“Mid-range luxury with reasonable prices, a great location and a copious breakfast”
Palazzo Manfredi
“Opulent and modern, with spacious rooms, a great art collection, and drop-dead views of the Colosseum”

Emilia Romagna, Italy
Locanda del Guerriero
“This castle-turned-quaint B&B in the countryside is Italy’s most charming hidden gem”

Sitges, Spain
Hotel Calipolis
“Contemporary and modern, located right on the gay beach”
Hotel Subtur
“A charming and convenient budget option”

Stockholm, Sweden
Nobis Hotel
“A marvel of sophisticated Swedish design”

TALLINN, ESTONIA

Three sisters
“Charming Medieval and amazing modern in Old Town”

Vienna, Austria
The Ring
“With a great location and consistently good service, its huge rooms at inexpensive prices are a great option between the luxe choices and bare bones options”
Sans Souci
“Serving up some significant swank without taking itself seriously”
Guesthouse
“An unbeatable location with cool Conran-designed interiors”

Warsaw, Poland
Hotel Bristol
“Elegant Hollywood Regency rooms, a grand historic building, friendly warm service and affordable rates make this our top choice”

MIDDLE EAST

Tel Aviv, Israel
Brown TLV
“Chic, gay-owned boutique hotel”
The Norman Hotel 
“Sexy, stylish, and close to the beach; you’ll fall in love with its 1920s charm”

Petra, Jordan
Petra Marriott
“Beautiful views over the valley — a great place to end your day and watch the sunset”

CARIBBEAN/ATLANTIC

Bermuda
Elbow Beach Resort
“Gorgeous, relaxed elegance”

Grand Cayman
Westin Seven Mile Beach Resort
“An impossible choice between the perfect beach and the swim-up pool bar”
Ritz Carlton
“Chic and refined retreat far from the cruise-ship crowds”

St. Croix
Renaissance Carambola Beach Resort & Spa
“Drop-dead gorgeous”

St. Martin
La Samanna
“A highly desirable stretch of paradise”
Villa Rainbow
“Small, luxurious exclusively gay guesthouse with breathtaking Caribbean views”

San Juan, Puerto Rico
La Concha
“Gay-popular four-star property in the heart of Condado”

Saba
Queens Gardens
“Luxurious, charming, private and super gay-friendly for honeymoon or tranquil getaways”

Turks and Caicos
Parrot Cay by Como
“A decadent, pampered private-island retreat”

ASIA/OCEANIA

Cambodia
Shinta Mani Club
“Stylish accommodations and winning personal service”

Auckland, New Zealand
Hilton Hotel Princess Wharf
“Gleaming, with spectacular harbor views”
Mollies Boutique Hotel Ponsonby
“Luxurious and eclectic, with great views and a day spa”

Hong Kong
Four Seasons Hong Kong
“Luxury and convenience, with a choice of rooms in contemporary Chinese or Western decor”
Intercontinental Hong Kong
“The best unobstructed views of Hong Kong harbor”
Ritz Carlton Hong Kong
“Setting new heights for luxury accommodation in Hong Kong (literally and figuratively)”
Upper House
“A Zen haven with the best of modern east-meets-west sensibilities”

Japan

Aman (Tokyo)
“The pinnacle of luxury and opulence in the heart of Tokyo with some of the city’s best views”

Capitol Hotel Tokyu (Tokyo)
“The best luxury value in town”
Conrad Tokyo Hotel (Tokyo)
“An appealing vibrancy and energy convenient to public transportation and the famous Tsukiji fish market”
Hotel Granvia Kyoto (Kyoto)
“The very first hotel in Japan to court LGBT travelers, the Granvia is strategically located atop the Kyoto rail station”
Hoshinoya (Kyoto)
“The ultimate Japanese resort experience”

Melbourne, Australia
Art Series Hotels
“Modern and laid-back, with open-plan studio suites, and decor styled around the artwork of notable Australian artists”
Grand Hyatt Melbourne
“Fashion-forward luxury”

Laos
The Apsara, (Luang Prabang)
“The perfect blend of clean, convenient, affordable and friendly”

Thailand
Siam Hotel (Bangkok)
“An opulent, intimate urban resort where guests feel like royalty”
Sofitel So (Bangkok)
“This contemporary, sophisticated hotel is also the city’s most gay welcoming”
Dhara Dhevi (Chiang Mai)
“Sheer beauty and jaw-dropping attention to detail”
Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle (Chiang Rai)
“Gorgeous tented camp tucked away in a jungle”
JW Marriott Hotel and Spa (Khao Lak)
“One of the best mainstream hotels, with modern Thai-influenced design and the longest pool in Southeast Asia”
Zeavola Resort (Koh Phi Phi)
“A pitch-perfect blend of remoteness, accessibility, luxury and casual ease”
Mai Samui (Koh Samui)
“Chic boutique hideaway on secluded beach”
Tubkaak Boutique Resort and Spa (Krabi)
“Locally owned resort distinguished by excellent, personal service and one of the best beaches in the area”
Kamala Paresa (Phuket)
“Heavenly views, impeccable service and dramatic accommodations”
La Flora Patong (Phuket)
“A handsome, contemporary, quiet oasis amidst the local hedonism”
Anantara Sikao (Sikao, Trang)
“Beautiful property surrounded by stunning rock formations, unspoiled beaches, and the breathtaking Emerald cave”
Six Senses Yao Noi
“54 traditional yet modern secluded villas with an excellent spa”

Taipei, Taiwan
W Taipei
“Our top recommendation in Taipei, a pinnacle of luxury in an otherwise modest city”

Vietnam
Six Senses Con Dao
“The ultimate exotic, remote, luxurious and contemporary resort”

AFRICA

South Africa
Ellerman House (Cape Town)
“One of our favorite small hotels of all time”
Derwint House (Cape Town)
“Exceptional hospitality at this 10-room lesbian-owned guest house at the foot of Table Mountain”
Mala Mala (Sabi Sand Game Reserve)
“Legendary, family-owned safari lodge with the best game viewing”
Sandton Boutique Hotel (Johannesburg)
“Five-star, gay-owned luxury B&B in Sandton, with impeccable service”
Singita (Sabi Sand Game Reserve)
“The most stylish and luxurious safari experience”
Twelve Apostles (Cape Town)
“The epitome of waterfront luxury”

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: RESTAURANTS
Bartola Corner (Buenos Aires)
Buenos Aires’ quaintest, most creative, and delicious café … bursting with style, beautiful men, and yummy brunch options”
Basa (Buenos Aires)
“Great food and a modern atmosphere make this our favorite spot for dinner”
Bottega Prelibato (London)
“A picture perfect Italian restaurant”
Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails (Phoenix)
“The best restaurant to come along in some time”
Buvette (New York)
“Buvette is the perfect neighborhood restaurant with a menu straight out of Provence”
Café Cluny (New York)
“A neighborhood restaurant that’s perfect for the cobblestoned corner it sits on”
The Canteen (Provincetown)
“A modern take on the classic New England seafood shack serves up summer’s best fast-casual meals”
Cuisine Wat Damnak (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
“The very best of modern Cambodian cuisine”|
Dabbous (London)   
“This ultra-chic post-industrial-style loft space may be the best restaurant in London”
DiverXO  (Madrid)
“Every course is a work of art — sometimes performance art — at this modern Michelin 3-star restaurant”
El Vez (Philadelphia)
“Eclectic, inventive Mexican cuisine and more”
Elmo (New York)  
“The best looking stream of patrons and staff in Chelsea”
The Restaurant at the Meadowood (St. Helena)
“The gold-standard of ground-breaking, inventive, haute cuisine in North America”

La Galerie Lounge (Paris)
“New chef David Bizet reenergizes this opulent yet comfortable space”
Girl and the Fig (Sonoma) http://www.thegirlandthefig.com/
“A favorite amongst locals and tourists alike”
Gramercy Tavern (New York)
“Still our #1 go-to choice for fine dining without pretension”
Iron Gate Inn (Washington, DC)
“Smashingly successful reinvention of a long-time gem”
Lucali (New York, NY)
“Lucali is in a league of its own when it comes to old-school Brooklyn charm and pizza”
Mani (Sao Paulo)
“A contemporary farmhouse… lovely afternoon lunch or a bustling dinner”
R House (Miami, Florida)
“Art house-cum-restaurant in the sizzling and still gritty Wynwood neighborhood”
Red Door Café (San Francisco)
“An exquisitely tasteful bistro”
Repris (Sonoma)
“Repris soars as a romantic lunch spot, tucked deep inside a romantic wine cave for a romantic dinner”
Tavern Road (Boston)
“Globally influenced local favorite in lively Fort Point neighborhood”

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: NIGHTLIFE
Coxy (Warsaw)
“Berlin-style nightlife lands in Warsaw”
lab.oratory (Berlin)
“This sex club embodies Berlin’s shame-free attitude towards sex”
Le Depot (Paris)
“The ne plus ultra of gay sex venues in Paris, and the biggest cruising bar in all of Europe”
Mälarpaviljongen (Stockholm)
“The crowd gets gayer as the night gets later at this chic floating restaurant bar and lounge”
Mister Sunday (Brooklyn)
“Warm-weather outdoor party cool enough to draw gays from Manhattan”
Viva (New York)
“The partnership of John Blair (the Roxy) and Ric Sena (Alegria) has given gay New York its Saturday night back”
The Week (Rio/Florianopolis/Sao Paulo)
“Beautiful decor, excellent sound and lighting and the hottest crowd in town”

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: CULTURE
Acropolis Museum (Athens)
“Magnificent: inside, outside and the contents”
Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia)
“A remarkable priceless art collection in a brand new home”
The Dali Museum (St. Petersburg, FL)
“An extraordinary collection and exploration of Dali’s art, life and times”
Museo del Baile Flamenco (Flamenco Museum; Seville) “Learn the history of flamenco at this interactive museum”
Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art (New York)
“The first and only gay/lesbian art museum in the world”
The Neon Museum (Las Vegas)
“This outdoor museum is our favorite nostalgia piece in town”
The World AIDS Museum (Fort Lauderdale)
“The only museum in the world dedicated to documentation and education about AIDS”

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: SHOPPING
Goods Of Desire (Hong Kong)
“Clever and surprising gifts, apparel and housewares”
MAP (Provincetown)
“Always a step or two ahead of the trends”
Ock Pop Tok (Luang Prabang)
“A social enterprise bringing award-winning textiles to Laos visitors”

EDITORS’ CHOICE AWARDS: SPAS
Privet Body (London)
“Male-friendly spa for grooming your “privet” parts”
Ten Thousand Waves (Santa Fe)
“This Japanese-inspired bathing-focused spa is zen perfection in a beautiful setting”
Two Bunch Palms Spa (Palm Springs)
“One of America’s original holistic spas still feels modern and fresh”



By @ 18/05/15 in Gay travel, Gay travel magazine, ManAboutWorld, Travel
Matt in Africa

Matt in Africa

Acclaimed gay travel writer Matthew Link  and a charming local named James find themselves at a trio of funerals in Accra, Ghana in the short e-book Offensive Optimism, as Matt learns about life, death and how to perfect the famous chicken dance of the Ewe tribe.

Matt has written and contributed to numerous travel books, including Rainbow Handbook Hawaii and Looking for Love in Faraway Places; Tales of Gay Men’s Romance Overseas. He has written for TIME, Newsweek, MSNBC, Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast, The Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health, and Orbitz, among many others. Matt was also the founding Editor in Chief and Editorial Director of The Out Traveler magazine, the world’s largest gay publication at the time, published by The Advocate and OUT. He’s also contributed to ManAboutWorld.

Buy it here. Click below to read more about “6 of 1″ and Ponies + Horses Publishing.



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By @ 12/05/15 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel
On deck on my first ship, The Royal Princess in St. Thomas, circa 1987

On deck on my first ship, The Royal Princess in St. Thomas, circa 1987.

Our correspondent Dennis Hensley is a multi-hyphenate: writer, filmmaker, entertainer … but he’s just added one more: audiobook author. Here he talks about his latest project, creating a mini e-book for a brand new imprint by Ponies + Horses Publishing.

A little over a month ago, I was approached by a writer and editor named Aefa Mulholland about a e-book she was going to publish through her new company Ponies + Horses. She asked if I would like to write a true travel-related story related for a compilation called “6 of 1.” I said yes. 

The result is Mariner’s Club Mixtape, a 6,500-word mini e-book about my days as a cruise ship dancer/cruise staffer in the late 80’s and early 90’s and the songs that take me back to that time.

The virtual jacket blurb describes it this way:

In Mariner’s Club Mixtape, Hollywood writer, performer and filmmaker Dennis Hensley puts together a mixtape that soundtracks a flotilla of romances and relationships, friendships and first times, hookups and letdowns from his five years working as an entertainer on cruise ships in the ’80’s and ’90’s. From a one-night stand in Hong Kong to stowing away for love in British Columbia to surviving Alaska, Dennis recounts his adventures, with a little help from George Michael, Janet Jackson and, of course, Madonna.  

The whole thing happened so fast and I was a little raw when I wrote it so it’s a little edgier and more vulnerable than my past work but hopefully, there’s a few laughs in there, too. I like to think of it as a virtual valentine to a magical time in my life and the people and places that were a part of it.

Check out lots of cruise stories (and get great cruise-planning information) in our March 2015 issue.

Buy it here. Click below to read more about “6 of 1” and Ponies + Horses Publishing



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By @ 12/03/15 in Gay cruise, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

Rating the cruise line's for gay friendliness, as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazineThe cruise industry hasn’t always had a great relationship with gay cruisers. When Kevin Mossier first started chartering ships at RSVP 30 years ago, most lines wouldn’t even allow a gay group. Today, most lines are actively welcoming, if not marketing directly to LGBT customers. But when it comes to policies that actively engage LGBT customers and protect LGBT employees and guests, the lines in general, are not as far along as you’d think, and in general, reluctant to discuss it.

We’re proposing a set of LGBT criteria for the cruise lines. We don’t have enough responses to fairly grade the individual lines this year, but we’re reporting the responses we did receive, and the lines that failed to respond at all. We believe their answers should matter to all of us as gay consumers, and urge you to join the conversation. If you have comments or questions about our criteria or survey, please share them in a comment below!

LGBT-FRIENDLY CRITERIA FOR CRUISE LINES:

  1. LGBT employees should be covered by a non-discrimination policy that explicitly mentions sexual orientation and gender expression.
  2. Customer-facing employees should have diversity/inclusion training that specifically covers LGBT guests.
  3. Cruise lines docking in ports where homosexuality or gender expression are criminalized should provide all passengers notice about such laws before disembarkation in those ports.

In addition to these minimum standards, we believe marketing and outreach to LGBT consumers, membership in the IGLTA and promotion of LGBT gatherings in daily cruise calendars are important indicators of a cruise line’s commitment to LGBT customers, not just commerce.

See the full article in the March issue of ManAboutWorld or here on ManAboutWorld.com to see the specific responses. The following cruise lines did not respond to numerous requests over two months: NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE, ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL, SILVERSEA CRUISES, WINDSTAR CRUISES.

 

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By @ 10/03/15 in Gay cruise, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Parting Shots, Travel, Uncategorized
A hot couple on an Atlantis cruise as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

A very hot couple on an Atlantis Caribbean cruise.

This month’s Parting Shots come to us from ManAboutWorld reader, Bart Foster, a full time real estate agent with Keller Williams in Boston. Bart’s also a passionate amateur photographer who loves cruises. He shared his photos and impressions from an Atlantis Caribbean cruise he took in March 2014. before his first cruise.

Why do you love to cruise?

What other venue can you go to and find your shy (ish) partner “fresh on the boat” posing with strangers for a photo (below)? Had to be his cute hat. Everybody comes for a good time. You unpack only once, no need to hunt for a place to eat, different nightly parties like the White Party , T-Dances (Dog Tag Military)  (Under the Rainbow) (70-80’s Disco), Pools and hot tubs, excursions with hot guys, and smiles. And if you know who to talk you, maybe a not so private breakfast with the 2nd in command.

My shy boyfriend and his new friend pose for a photo.

My shy boyfriend and his new friend pose for a photo.



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By @ 09/03/15 in

THE GAY FRIENDLY SEAS

The cruise industry hasn’t always had a great relationship with gay cruisers. When Kevin Mossier first started chartering ships at RSVP 30 years ago, most lines wouldn’t even allow a gay group. Today, most lines are actively welcoming, if not marketing directly to LGBT customers. But when it comes to policies that actively engage LGBT customers and protect LGBT employees and guests, the lines in general, are not as far along as you’d think, and in general, reluctant to discuss it.

We’re proposing a set of LGBT criteria for the cruise lines. We don’t have enough responses to fairly grade the individual lines this year, but we’re reporting the responses we did receive, and the lines that failed to respond at all. We believe their answers should matter to all of us as gay consumers, and urge you to join the conversation. If you have comments or questions about our criteria or survey, please share them in the comments.

LGBT-Friendly criteria for Cruise Lines:

  1. LGBT employees should be covered by a non-discrimination policy that explicitly mentions sexual orientation and gender expression.
  2. Customer-facing employees should have diversity/inclusion training that specifically covers LGBT guests.
  3. Cruise lines docking in ports where homosexuality or gender expression are criminalized should provide all passengers notice about such laws before disembarkation in those ports.

In addition to these minimum standards, we believe marketing and outreach to LGBT consumers, membership in the IGLTA and promotion of LGBT gatherings in daily cruise calendars to important indicators of a cruise line’s commitment to LGBT customers, not just commerce.

The following cruise lines did not respond to numerous requests over two months: NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE, ROYAL CARIBBEAN INTERNATIONAL, SILVERSEA CRUISES, WINDSTAR CRUISES

MSC CRUISES

MSC offers Mediterranean-style cruising, with one ship, the Divina, based in the Caribbean seasonally. They have just launched a wedding program for lesbian and gay couples, performing legal same-sex weddings in Miami, and symbolic weddings in select other ports. Oh, and Sophia Loren is the line’s godmother.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes, MSC has just launched a new wedding program and will be promoting same sex weddings. We are currently working on an ad to let people know about the new wedding program and same sex weddings and will also be advertising this on our wedding page.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

See above.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT? MSC Cruises strives to maintain a workplace free of harassment and sensitive to the diversity of its employees. We offer a diversity training titled “Just be F.A.I.R.” which discusses diversity in the workplace. While the training doesn’t specifically cover LGBT, it does an excellent job of stressing the inclusion piece.
  2. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy? We are committed to provide a work environment that is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Actions, words, jokes, or comments based on an individual’s sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation or any other legally protected characteristic is not tolerated.
  3. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized? All our employees are advised about local customs and regulations and asked to observe local laws when docked in various ports around the world.

CELEBRITY CRUISES

1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes and I believe Celebrity Cruises is the only one with signage on embark day noting our welcome event? We do a meet/greet for LGBT gatherings on the 1st day of the cruise in a high profile lounge and some senior officers come as well. If well attended we plan others throughout the week. We put the information on a sign and it is included in our daily program guide put in the guest stateroom. We call it LGBT Gathering, and not “Friends of Dorothy” like other cruise lines. No hiding our affection for the LGBT market. As well: Guests will be made aware that all future LGBT events will be posted on the community board at the Guest Relations Desk.

2. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?  

We do a lot of LGBT marketing including digital advertising, magazines. Additionally we are active in numerous pride events and activities in large US cities such as LA, SF, Atlanta, DC and NYC.We also have a video with all LGBT guests being promoted and it ends with our Cruizie Award. And our overall Celebrity brand video has straight and LGBT people featured in it.

3. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?  

HR training has LGBT covered as well as other diverse groups. We are a leader in this and the travel industry overall is excellent with inclusion

4. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy? 

Absolutely

5. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?  

We do not, but we also feel our guests do their homework for every port as well. Celebrity Cruises hosted a Caribbean Islands LGBT Summit in our offices last Fall – Charlie Rounds ran it – we are figuring out ways to potentially do shore ex specific to those in the community looking to visit local chapters or see how they can help the cause in each island. We are aware of some of the island challenges and me especially since I heard each island LGBT representative tell their stories – I was horrified and sad.

6. Is there anything about your brand that would compel LGBT travelers to consider it favorably compared to your competitors?  

Cruizie Award winner overall and in many categories as well as Atlantis Event leading charter partner are strong proof points. Our calling LGBT gatherings what they are and not saying Friends of Dorothy… many of the ideas he shared we executed and we have had senior VPs, heads of entertainment, sales, marketing all meet or speak with Mark, Charlie Rounds and Rich Campbell to make sure we are on point. We also now are partnering with groups with RFamily vacations and love working with Gregg Kaminsky and Kelli Carpenter………..I think knowing all those key leaders in the LGBT market solidify us. We are a very accepting and inclusive brand.  Our onboard experience is designed for any individual including the LGBT guest.  We have amazing culinary experiences, attentive service, world class ships and sail to all 7 continents. We also have many times quoted and worked with Olivia and TIsha and I just can’t get to the right price point or we would be sailing the ladies more as well.

7. Are there distinctive new features or programs you’ve launched or will launch in 2015 that you’d like our readers to know about? 

The information in #1 above should cover that – except now we have a year of promoting this and guests can’t wait to come back an experience their next gathering on Celebrity Cruises because the parties are getting bigger and better! We are THE cruise line for the LGBT community – a wonderful adult focused product!

CARNIVAL CRUISE LINES
Carnival really created the modern cruise business in the 1970s, and has earned its position as the world’s most popular cruise line by providing a fun, welcoming environment for the more than 4.5 million guests who sail with them each year. They answered our questions more generally.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Each of our 1,500 cruises a year includes a meeting for members of the LGBT community.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

Not answered.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

All 39,000 of Carnival’s shipboard team members – a diverse group of employees who hail from more than 100 different countries from around the world – undergo intensive training in hospitality management and quality guest service. One of the pillars of Carnival’s Service Values fleetwide hospitality training program is to show care and respect for each other, our guests and the places we visit. Above all, Carnival strongly supports a team atmosphere, both aboard its ships and in its shoreside offices, that values and respects diversity among our employees and guests.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Carnival strives to maintain an atmosphere free of discrimination or harassment in the workplace based upon race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, age, marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Such harassment and discrimination at Carnival will not be tolerated.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

Not answered.

 

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE
As befitting their Dutch ancestry, Holland America Line met every one of our criteria, with a comprehensive response to each of our LGBT-specific criteria. Holland America Line is popular for gay charters, and has an innovative dining program, working with master chefs to create new menus that include a Le Cirque-inspired and 20-course Master Chef dinner each cruise, along with sustainably-sourced seafoods and a new alternative vegetarian menu in their main dining rooms. Dancing with The Stars program returns to Holland America Line in 2015 with a program on every sailing, and six full-experience theme cruises.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes, we offer LGBT get-togethers on every cruise. The events are introduced by a cruise staff member at the first gathering and then open to guests to host at following events. The get-togethers are always listed in the ship’s daily program.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

We market to all demographics and communities. Some specifically targeted outreach takes place with various partnerships, but our general advertising and marketing addresses our brand experience, which appeals to many groups and demographics. We also support the LGBT community through sponsorships with various organizations and support and advocacy groups. A few recent examples include the Human Rights Campaign Dinner, Taste of GSBA, the LGBT Community Center in San Diego, the Seattle Men’s Chorus/Seattle Women’s Chorus and the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force in Miami. We also have had a corporate sponsorship with the Seattle Pride Parade, with employees taking part in the event for the past few years.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

It has been, and will continue to be, the policy of Holland America to afford equal opportunity for employment to all individuals regardless of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, or mental, sensory or physical disability. Therefore, all personnel matters such as recruiting, hiring, training, termination, compensation, benefits, layoffs, transfers, education, tuition assistance and social and recreational programs will continue to be administered in accordance with company policy. Diversity and inclusion is a part of yearly required training, online continuing education and in new employee training.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Yes, and as well in the context of state and federal employment laws. It is the Company’s intent to provide a work environment free from all types of discrimination. All employees are expected to be sensitive to and respectful of their co-workers and others with whom they come into contact while representing the company. We prohibit all forms of discrimination whether due to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, gender identity, disability, veteran status, or political ideology.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

Depending on the area and concerns, we provide a ship-wide letter advising all guests if there are major concerns. The letter is general and provides an overview of the issues for the area, and invites guests to contact the front desk with concerns. It is not a standard practice with every port though.

PAUL GAUGUIN CRUISES
Paul Gauguin Cruises offers smaller, luxury cruises in Tahiti, the Caribbean, Panama Canal and Europe. Naturalists, lecturers, and the Gauguines and Gauguins — a troupe of Tahitian entertainers — aboard the 332-guest m/s Paul Gauguin provide enriching experiences of the destinations throughout each voyage in French Polynesia. The ship also has a watersports marina for kayaking, windsurfing, and paddle boarding and also offers an optional SCUBA diving program. The 88-guest m/v Tere Moana which offers luxury voyages in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe. Both ships feature exceptional service, luxurious oceanview accommodations, fine dining in a choice of venues, complimentary select beverages, a spa, a fitness center, spacious outdoor decks, and pool. In 2015, Paul Gauguin Cruises will be offering two new itineraries: a 10-night Fiji Roundtrip voyage and a 7-night Venice Roundtrip voyage.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Paul Gauguin Cruises has small ships, so all of our shipboard activities are open to all guests.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

Yes, we market to LGBT groups and have had LGBT groups and charter sailings on both ships.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Yes. Our captains and hotel directors lead training for our entire staff on board.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Yes. Our company provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

Our ships don’t cruise to countries where LGBT is criminalized.

CRYSTAL CRUISES
All-inclusive Crystal Cruises has been ranked by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel+Leisure as the World’s Best Luxury Cruise for 21 and 19 consecutive years, respectively — unprecedented recognition as the World’s Best, and unmatched by any other cruise line, hotel or resort anywhere in the world. Crystal Cruises travel all around the world, ranging from 100+ day itineraries to 6-day getaways, featuring Chef Nobu’s Silk Road Restaurant, PURE hypoallergenic staterooms, theme cruises, and endless onboard enrichment classes and entertainment. Their answers to our questions were a little vague, and we hope that their hospitable intent will soon be backed by specific policies.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Upon request from guests, our Cruise Directors on Crystal Symphony and Crystal Serenity will coordinate special functions and meet and greets, as well as arranging table for six or table for 8 dining reservations.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

As a niche luxury travel experience, our prospect, market and targets are based by demographics and psychographics. A complete modeling analysis helps us target luxury travelers who act, spend and travel in similar ways to what we see with our returning Crystal guests. Our research shows this is also is inclusive to the LGBT community traveling with us.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Overall, all Crystal Cruises staff, both shoreside and shipboard, undergo the highest service standards training possible for all guests and crew.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Crystal Cruises believes that all persons are entitled to equal employment opportunity and does not discriminate against its employees or applicants because of race, color, citizenship, religious creed (including religious dress practice and religious grooming practice), sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding and related medical conditions, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, physical and mental disabilities, genetic characteristics or information, a diagnosis or history of cancer, or veterans status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state and/or local law.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

The safety and security of all our guests and crew are paramount. Prior to calls of port, we provide safety reminder information in our daily newsletter for all guests when traveling ashore.

UNIWORLD BOUTIQUE RIVER CRUISE COLLECTION
With more than 500 departures on 40 itineraries, Uniworld is a leader in river cruising, overseeing all its own operations (nautical, culinary, hospitality) onboard its highly-rated ships and all onshore activities. They have six new itineraries and a new Super Ship, the S.S. Maria Theresa debuting in 2015.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

None to date.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

None to date.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Not answered.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Yes.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

No.

AZAMARA CLUB CRUISES
Azamara is definitely geared towards couples’ travel but also has specific programs dedicated towards singles, who pay just 125% of the double occupancy fares on select sailings. Their 686-guest club-like ships take you to ports where larger ships won’t fit, like in the heart of Marseille, Amalfi, and Crete, or even to the doorstep of Bangkok (while other large cruise lines dock a few hours away), and their focus on Destination Immersion® means they spend more time in ports than any other cruise line, giving you more time to fully experience the culture, cuisine, scenery, and people of your destinations. Azamara is refining its shore options with a thoughtfully curated selection of tours that complement and cap off their daytime explorations. These after-dinner activities highlight the unique characteristics of their ports of call — the arts, architecture and scenery — that are best experienced after night falls.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes, each voyage Azamara Club Cruises holds a special cocktail party for those guests that have notified the ship they are a member of the LGBT community at booking. Once onboard a personalized invitation is sent to their stateroom.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

Yes, Azamara has a marketing partnership with MeetMeOnboard.com. Also, for the past two years, Azamara has won the Best Small ship cruise line for LGBT guests from the MeetMeOnBoard community.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Not answered.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Not answered.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

Not answered.

PRINCESS CRUISES
One of the most lucrative lines in the Carnival family (accounting for nearly 20% of its annual revenues) Princess is geared towards the “meaningful traveler,” a psychographic segment which “immerses itself in the culture, food, and lifestyle of the places” they visit. So LGBT travelers are a natural fit. While Princess doesn’t actively court the gay market via advertising it recently hosted the 30th-anniversary RSVP Vacations cruise and has hosted Atlantis Events charters. Even gayer, in a nod to Princess’ starring role as the cruise ship in Love Boat all six cast members of the original series served as godparents for the new Regal Princess last November, with frequent guest star Florence Henderson acting as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event. And for millennials who have to Wikipedia the Love Boat reference Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is godmother to the Royal Princess.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes, we promote LGBT Get-Togethers (formerly known as Friends of Dorothy) on all sailings. These gatherings are listed in the Princess Patter, a daily onboard activities schedule distributed to all guests. The first gathering is often times hosted by a member of the ship’s social staff to facilitate guest introductions and other gatherings later in the cruise are non-hosted.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

We currently don’t do any direct advertising in LGBT publications, however Princess has hosted charters with Atlantic Events and recently the 30th Anniversary Charter for RSVP Vacations.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Yes, our current diversity training does cover the LGBT community.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Yes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ED: The Civil Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

We include a section in our Passenger Contract that advises regarding travel to other countries and awareness of laws that may impact them.

Cunard
Celebrating its 175th anniversary Cunard is the queen of the seas offering classic ocean travel experiences such as transatlantic crossings aboard legendary ships including flagship Queen Mary 2. The onboard captain’s welcome is an invitation to join the most elite travelers (not tourists) aboard a sailing or crossing (not a cruise). Princess Grill and Queens Grill accommodations are luxurious and spacious, and the dining options are world class. The ships’ recent enrichment programs have included gay and gay-friendly icons from George Takei and Tilda Swinton to Desmond Tutu. The Friends of Dorothy gatherings are prominently advertised and popular, and gay solo travelers, couples and groups are comfortable and visible on board. This may be among the most effortlessly queer of the non-gay cruises.

  1. Do you promote LGBT social events on non-charter sailings?

Yes, Cunard offers Friends of Dorothy gatherings on all sailings, which are listed in the Daily Programme, a daily activities schedule distributed to all guests.

  1. Do you do any marketing or outreach to the LGBT community?

Cunard is a former National Gold Sponsor of the Human Rights Campaign donating cruises for live auction events which have raised more than $200,000 for the nation’s largest LGBT organization. Cunard is also partnered with travel agent retailers that focus on the LGBT community as clients for group cruises and charters. For example, RSVP Vacations chartered Queen Mary 2 in 2007.  Cunard does not currently do any targeted advertising to the LGBT community, although the line has hosted several journalists writing for various LGBT-focused magazines over the years.

  1. Do you do any diversity/inclusion training for employees that specifically covers LGBT?

Cunard staff adheres to the high standards of Cunard’s legendary White Star service, and are trained in the art of serving guests from all over the world with a variety of sensibilities. Being attuned and welcoming of the LGBT guest is included in the training.

  1. Are LGBT employees covered by a non-discrimination policy?

Yes: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ED: The Civil Rights Act does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orien

  1. Do you provide any guidance for guests or employees when docking in countries where LGBT is criminalized?

Our Voyage Agreement includes information on traveling to other countries and related local laws that may affect them.

 

 



By @ 02/03/15 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel
As seen in ManAboutWorld, the gay travel magazine

Rainbow colored houses along the water in Curacao

The IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) will name Curacao — a Dutch owned Caribbean island off the coast of Venezuela — the 2015 “Destination Pioneer” at this years conference on April 8. (Source: Gay Star News)

 

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By @ 04/12/14 in Dennis Hensley, Gay cruise, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

 

Our correspondent Dennis Hensley sent us this video from his experience aboard the inaugural Regal Princess Cruise from a few weeks ago, where he was trapped on board with the entire cast of Love Boat. On February 8-15, the ship will take a gay trip to the Caribbean to celebrate its 30th anniversary.

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By @ 03/09/14 in Ft. Lauderdale, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

mawWhile it implies objectivity, “best” is almost always subjective, or — at best — qualified. When we ask for the best hotel or restaurant, the answer can be as much a reflection of our sensibilities as it is of any objective quality measure.

Generally, “you get what you pay for,” but finding “the best” isn’t simply a matter of picking the most expensive option — it’s knowing what resonates for you. In our first two years of ManAboutWorld, we’ve seen more than 100 destinations and 1,500 hotels on six continents. Much of it is a blur. But some of it stands out. Editors’ Choice winners are the ones that resonated most for us. The ones that truly shared our values. The ones we would go back to… and sometimes do, when we’re not busy searching out new and different places to recommend.  (download the list as a pdf from the link at the end)

And this year’s Awards go to…

DESTINATION OF THE YEAR: Fort Lauderdale

Gay-popular since the ‘70s, Ft. Lauderdale is still on the rise while other gay destinations are mainstreaming. With its white sand gay beach, 16 exclusively gay guesthouses (the most of any destination), and a nightlife scene that’s busy seven nights a week, Ft. Lauderdale is one of the few places where you don’t have to rely on a phone App to hook up. And while it wins our hearts with its sun, sand, surf and fun, it’s also home to the Stonewall Museum, one of the only permanent spaces in the U.S. devoted to exhibitions relating to LGBT history and culture, and the world’s first AIDS museum.

Not content to rest on gay assets, the county’s tourism promotion board sets industry standards. The county has worked tirelessly in the last year to bring new gay events and many meetings to Greater Ft. Lauderdale, and to support the advancement of LGBT rights in Florida and around the world. In July, it became the first Convention and Visitors Bureau in the country to call for a repeal of its states’ gay marriage ban. It is currently conducting the first survey of transgendered travelers, showing sensitivity to all segments of the LGBT travel market.

Previous winner: Provincetown, Massachusetts 



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By @ 14/08/14 in Gay pride, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, ManAboutWorld, Travel

curacaoNot everywhere in the Caribbean is gay-friendly (we’re looking at you, Jamaica!) but Dutch-owned Curacao is among the gayest of all the islands, and next month they celebrate their 2nd annual Gay Pride. From September 24-28, the small island of charming European architecture, cute boys, and 35 beaches, celebrates the LGBT lifestyle in the region. Go for the fun, the UNESCO World heritage Sites, the boys and the colors and the turquoise water. This is one of the most unique and lively prides in the world.

The charming, adults-only Floris Suite Hotel is the host hotel for Curaçao Pride and centrally located to all the events.

 

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By @ 16/07/14 in City Seen, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Travel

SevilleMuseo_GianMerizzi_https---www.flickr.com-photos-gianmerizzi-10157019405-

You can’t know Andalusia without understanding its native dance flamenco.

The best place to learn about it is at this museum dedicated to this mesmerizing and sexy dance form, masterminded by and named for the renowned flamenco dancer, Cristina Hoyos who grew up nearby. Tucked into a side street of the popular, lively Alfalfa Street, home to much of Seville’s outdoor nightlife scene, the museum is housed in a gorgeous 18th-century casa de palacio (an opulent former private residence) which employs cutting-edge multimedia technology to tell the story of flamenco and its fascinating global influences (hand movements from India, hip swaying from the Caribbean, etc.) It depicts some of the great practitioners of this art form. Be absolutely sure to reserve tickets to a performance by some of the best artists in an intimate 80-seat venue.

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