While it isn’t always easy to find same-sex Valentine’s cards at the local store, you can find a ton here, or visit your local gay gift shop! As many of us know, Valentine’s Day isn’t at all about material things. It is about spending time with the person you love., but material things never hurt. If you’re still in the market for some gift ideas, don’t forget to check out our Special Effects section where you can find great travel gear and more the consummate traveler.
Paresa (meaning heaven of heavens in Thai) is located high in the hills overlooking the beautiful Andaman Sea. The stunning property was built to blend into the natural environment, and it’s a wonderful combination of contemporary design and Southern Thai architecture. The 49 luxurious suites and villas were created to be an integral part of the natural surroundings of lush tropical vegetation. Built around several magnificent banyan trees, the resort is an incredible feat of engineering and construction. It is at once dramatic and sublime, allowing unobstructed views of the sea and surrounding hills from your suite.
Discover more about this amazing resort and Phuket by clicking here.
Here’s one way to get travelers to stay at your hotel, give them free things! This week, the hotel chain premiered an exciting and innovative new technology at its Seattle location. For the company’s annual Global General Manager’s Summit, Sheraton gave its employees hotel key cards equipped with a special capability — the cards came loaded with a $10 credit that could be redeemed, as a gift card would be, at any of five surrounding Starbucks locations!
Though Sheraton is the first Starwood hotel chain to use this technology, it’s speculated that it will be given away again in coming weeks for meetings held at brands such as W Hotels and Le Meridien.
And while the Starbucks partnership seems perfect for a test run, the potential for gift/hotel card hybrids seems limitless.
When it comes to accommodations in Midtown Manhattan, location is everything (as is a good room rate). That’s why the new Hotel Boutique at Grand Central caught our attention. Its convenient location—facing the entrance to the famed Grand Central Terminal—is perfect for those visiting the city for business or pleasure.
The combination of location and state-of-the-art design and aesthetic make the new Hotel Boutique at Grand Central a welcome addition to the city that has everything. The hotel offers an array of conveniences for guests at no additional charge. These include: free high-speed Wi-Fi throughout the hotel, unlimited chilled bottled water, complimentary coffee, tea, newspapers, magazines, and games in the lobby, iPads for loan to registered guests, printer/computer usage, a fitness room, exercise equipment delivered to room, and self-serve laundry facilities. Also available are luxurious dinners at Davio’s — a restaurant serving Northern Italian cuisine. Rates start at $199 per night, which is a real bargain in Manhattan these days.
The Travel Channel has released their list of Travel’s Best All-Inclusive Resorts 2014, and included in this prestigious round-up is South Florida’s Grand Resort and Spa. We wrote about the men’s-only retreat in our Dreamscape section:
After a long day enjoying the gorgeous white-sand beaches of South Florida’s Gold Coast, pull up a chair near the heated pool at The Grand Resort and Spa and order a refreshing cocktail. This gay-owned and –operated, 33-room hotel has everything a traveler could need, and meeting your fellow guests from around the world is part of the fun. So, make sure to partake in the conversation at the clothing-optional tropical courtyard or in the ten-person Jacuzzi. For those looking to get pampered, visit the spa center that offers over 60 different individual and couples’ treatments as well as an assortment of packages using Dermalogica and Jack Black products.
Arriving by car late night at the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay was deceiving. My nose could sense the refreshing sea air, but I would not truly appreciate the magnitude and stateliness of this resort property until the next morning. The spacious guest room with a private balcony overlooking a moonlit Aegean Sea lulled me to sleep with the promise of joys yet to come.
At breakfast, I enjoyed a hearty Mediterranean buffet that included local fruits and tasty cheeses along with freshly baked breads, while gazing over the turquoise Aegean waters. Following breakfast, I set out on a self-guided tour of this resort. Normally, walking about a 173-room property shouldn’t take long, and getting lost is out of the question, but few hotels of this limited guest capacity boast their own Blue Flag beach, a private marina, and a helicopter landing zone. The tiered layout of the hotel from hilltop to the beach made for fun exploring and offered cruise-like views from its several glass elevators and outdoor decks. As I meandered past the enormous Six Senses Spa, I discovered a serene indoor Watsu pool for massages, traditional heated Turkish Hamams built from local marble, and generous separate wet areas for men and women with sauna, steam, and showers. The exterior focal point of the property (other than the postcard-perfect view of the sea) is an enormous infinity pool, with domed Turkish architectural elements protruding from the shallow water that add a touch of mythology to my morning swim.
It is with some sadness that we report that the hetero-friendly hotel company Axel Hotels has closed its Buenos Aires location. The boutique hotel in the San Telmo district was our home base a couple of times when visiting BA as well as the location of our swimwear shoot in 2010. A message on their blog reads:
Axel Hotels announces that Axel Hotel Buenos Aires won’t be part of our portfolio any longer from next October 1st on. It’s been 6 years plenty of good experiences, adventures and anecdotes that we will never forget, and we want to thank all of you. This decision represents a growth opportunity for Axel, as it will help to carry out the expansion plan in short term. Axel Hotel Buenos Aires has meant a very important step for the LGBT community in South America, especially in Argentina. Currently, we have consolidated all together the LGBT segment in the country, but there’s still a long way to go. We are happy to welcome you at any of our Axel Hotels in Barcelona, Berlin and Gran Canaria and we appreciate your loyalty. We also hope to give you soon good news about new destinations.
The Buenos Aires location appears to already be operating under a different hotel group, Be Hotel. So, if you’re craving those outdoor showers, you can still stay there.
It has been a whirlwind decade filled with growth for the hetero-friendly Axel Hotels, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The President and founder of the chain, Juan Julia, invited clients, family, and old friends to Axel Barcelona’s Sky Bar earlier this month where everyone was given helium-inflated condoms to set loose into the sky. Attached to the 400 floating condoms, which were tied to a string two by two, were invitations to come have a drink at the hotel, gay or straight. Congrats Axel here’s to ten more great years!
The chain also released a touching thank you video of the flying condoms for those who could not be part of the celebration. Watch the Axel Hotel celebration after the jump…
According to the 2011 US Census Data, an estimated one-quarter of all same-sex households are raising children, providing one of the first portraits of gay American families. Like any other family, gay couples with children like to travel, and spend money (almost $65 billion according to a recent study). In fact, gay travel is so popular and common these days, The US State Department added a LGBT section on its website.
Gay-specific family travel is hot in the United States. Destinations that have already had a positive reputation for hosting gay visitors are further amping up amenities to attract more gay families and accepting them unconditionally.
Certain places stand out more than others, and we highlight here just some of the top destinations in the United States that exceed expectations when it comes to gay-family travel.