Beyond the sea

Posted on 03 Sep 2009 at 9:44am
By ANDREW COLLINS | Contributing Travel Writer outoftown@qsyndicate.com

LGBT travelers can find friendly faces at these far-off destinations


human touch | The Plateau Spa in the Grand Hyatt Hotel relaxes patrons with scenic views overlooking Hong Kong in a Zen environment.

Last month, we brought you part one of gay- friendly getaways with four North American hotels and inns offering quality destinations as well as LGBT-friendly service. Now we venture overseas with part two highlighting exotic locales with stunning views.

Grand Hyatt Hotel, Hong Kong
On the east edge of Central Hong Kong, in the Wan Chai district, the Grand Hyatt is distinct for its magnificent setting on the edge of the harbor. There are few tall buildings around which means those rooms enjoy knockout views of the water, the bustling Kowloon District and the city center. This is a star in the gay-popular Hyatt brand, with some of the most lavishly decorated rooms imaginable. Don’t miss the 11th-floor outdoor pool, which is the city’s largest. It adjoins the beautiful Plateau Spa, which is an exceptional choice if you’re seeking a spa treatment while in town.

Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, Australia
A highlight of touring the Adelaide Hills is a stop at Mount Lofty Summit Park, from which you will most likely enjoy unsurpassed views of the city of Adelaide and the surrounding region. Nearby is one of area’s best lodging options, Mount Lofty House, a beautiful country lodge that offers similarly magnificent views. The hotel’s Piccadilly Restaurant and Wine Bar has earned considerable kudos for its well-chosen wine list and tasty food. It’s a great place to enjoy a memorable meal, high above the stunning South Australia countryside.

Nelson’s Guesthouse, Cape Town, South Africa
Close to Cape Town’s most exclusive beach communities, Clifton and Camps Bay, this posh, gay-owned guesthouse sits along the gentle slopes of Signal Hill. From this modern, Mediterranean-inspired, six-room property, you’re afforded fantastic views of the ocean and historic Robben Island in the distance. Look up in the other direction, and you can see the grassy summit of Signal Hill and the adjacent Lion’s Head. Each of the nattily decorated rooms has its own private courtyard, a perfect spot to soak up this romantic inn’s lovely ambience.

On The Rocks, Santorini, Greece
Among the many gorgeous Greek islands that dot the Aegean Sea, Mykonos has the strongest following among gay travelers. But it’s Santorini, whose cliffs rise several hundred feet above a volcanic caldera now filled with clear-blue water, that offers the most spectacular views. A number of accommodations here sit along the island’s sheer ledges, with the gay-friendly On The Rocks among the most luxurious, with each of its 20 rooms (with verandas) overlooking the sea. Decor is minimalist and clean – the same white and blue color scheme that dominates the island’s architecture. Fantastic views can be experienced also by the pool and adjoining bar, from which you can sip refreshing Greek wine while watching the sun descend each evening.



Travel diary
Two words come to mind when someone says ‘Austin:’ Road trip!
You know those shirts that say, "Keep Austin Weird?" But what’s so weird about it? Jonestown – that was weird. But Austin? Well, it’s looking fabulous in September.

Over Labor Day weekend, there is no better party in Texas than Last Splash. The wet event has become so much more than taking a dip in Lake Travis with all the boys.

Official festivities start Saturday with Splash Dance at the Monarch Event Center, 6406 N. I-35 at Lincoln Village with New York DJ Joe Gauthreaux, pictured, spinning. Tickets start at $40. Splash Dance starts at 10 p.m. This is the party of the weekend.

The fun continues at Sky Lounge, 416 Congress Ave., with Austin DJ Seth Cooper spinning until 7 a.m. Tickets are $25. Sunday night, the Sky Lounge hosts L.A. DJ Roland Belmares at the High Tide party at 10 p.m. Tickets are $30.

A V.I.P. pass to all parties is available for $100 and includes free VitaminWater drink tickets and access to the V.I.P. room at Splash Dance. It doesn’t include the Splash Days "Get Wet" party boat at Lake Travis, but that won’t matter because this is where the essence of the weekend will be. Tickets for the boat are $20. If you don’t make the 9:30 a.m. departure, you can still set up shop at Hippie Hollow to splash around the lake. For more information, visit Splashdays.com.

If you’re opting to lay low this holiday weekend, Austin still has you covered next week with the Austin Gay and Lesbian International Film Festival, running Aug. 8–13 at the Alamo Drafthouse, 1120 S. Lamar Blvd.

Boasting some 150 films, AGLIFF will meet your gay film needs at some point. General admission tickets for each movie are $10.

The fest is celebrating its 22nd year as the "oldest and largest LGBTQI film festival in the Southwest."

AGLIFF hasn’t posted the final film schedule but stay tuned to their Web site as details continue to develop. Visit Agliff.org for more festival details and membership information.

Yeah, Austin isn’t looking too weird these days.

— Rich Lopez

Little Black Book

Accommodations
Grand Hyatt Hotel, Hong Kong, 2588-1234. Hongkong.hyatt.com. Mount Lofty House, Adelaide Hills, Australia. 08-8339-6777. Mtloftyhouse.com.au. On the Rocks, Santorini, Greece. 30-22860-23889. Onrocks.net. Nelson’s Guesthouse, Cape Town, South Africa. 27-21-433-2602. Nelsons.co.za.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 4, 2009.

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