Gay travelers can find great vistas and friendly staffs at these lovely inns
LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Adobe and Stars Bed and Breakfast, Taos, N.M. 505-776-2776. TaosAdobe.com. Casa Cupula, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 866-261-3516. CasaCupula.com. Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco. 415-276-9888. MandarinOriental.com/ SanFrancisco. View Point Inn, Corbett, Ore. 503-695-5811. TheViewPointInn.com.
We’ve found eight gay-friendly hotels and inns around the world whose views are sure to dazzle and delight you. For now, check out these North American spots. Next month, we’ll feature four hotel destinations that will take you overseas.
Adobe and Stars, Taos, N.M.
In Arroyo Seco, a small and richly scenic village north of Taos, the luxurious, light-filled Adobe and Stars Bed and Breakfast offers stunning 360-degree vistas of the surrounding countryside with just seven rooms total. To the east, you’ll see the 13,161-foot Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico, which is often capped in snow. Look west and the high-desert mesa rolls endlessly into the horizon.
This contemporary inn is surrounded by decks and patios and filled with big windows, high ceilings and elegant furniture. Some guest rooms even come equipped with fireplaces and Jacuzzis.
Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco
Sure, plenty of soaring skyscrapers house luxury hotels, but downtown San Francisco’s Mandarin Oriental truly stands out. Every room here is on a high floor as the hotel occupies the 38th through the 48th floors of the city’s third-tallest building. And the views take in the Bay Area’s gorgeous topography.
Depending where you face, you might see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Marin Headlands, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz Island, the hills above Berkeley and Oakland or some of downtown’s other dramatic towers. In every direction there is both natural and man-made beauty. Decorated artfully with Asian silks, bamboo flooring and tasteful antiquities, the rooms are spacious and airy. Some units even afford knockout views from their bathtubs.
View Point Inn, Corbett, Ore.
A popular spot for romantic meals, the elegantly restored Arts and Crafts restaurant and View Point Inn is perched 1,100 feet above the Columbia River offering mesmerizing views of the Pacific Northwest’s iconic Columbia Gorge. Relax with a glass of local pinot noir in an Adirondack chair on the View Point’s sweeping back lawn, and you’d never know you’re just 20 miles or so from the bustling city of Portland.
This gay-owned property has a handful of eclectic overnight accommodations, ranging from an ultra-plush suite with private bath and sweeping gorge views, to inexpensive, cozier rooms with shared bathrooms. The fancier Roosevelt Suite, is ideal for planning a romantic getaway, while other rooms work nicely for budget-minded travelers or for groups traveling together who want to stay somewhere with amazing views and great food in the restaurant.
Casa Cupula, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is home to one of the most alluring gay resorts you’ll find anywhere. The Casa Cupula excels with stately accommodations and incomparable views. The elegant compound consists of 14 rooms and five suites with patios giving unparalleled views of the city and Banderas Bay.
Facilities include a gym, four pools and an open-air lounge with computer room. The property tumbles down a hillside high above Zona Romantica, a 10- to 15-minute walk from the gay beach and the many bars and restaurants. Once you’ve spent time relaxing here in full view of the stunning shoreline, you may find it hard to leave this romantic property.
You might want to limit all your travel options this summer to a Las Vegas jaunt. But don’t worry about the craps tables or slot machines. If you’re ready to throw down a grand, you’ll have the opportunity to meet and even hang a bit with the Divine Miss M.
Bette Midler is offering her fans the ultimate chance to get up close and personal both in the front row and backstage. She calls it the "Smug Mutha Package," and fans who purchase a Mutha will get an over-the-top VIP treatment at her show in the Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace.
The package includes front row center tickets to her "The Showgirl Must Go On" show. You’ll be personally escorted to your seats — and it only gets snazzier when you go backstage after the show to meet Midler. You’ll also get a photo with the diva, an autographed program of the show and two drink vouchers.
The "Smug Mutha" package is only available on performance dates starting Aug. 11 through Sept. 6. For tickets and information, call 877-723-8836 or visit Ticketmaster.com.
If you’re in search of your inner African Queen, head to Kenya and Tanzania out and proud next year. Gay 2Afrika will offer an escorted 16-day safari for LGBT individuals and families.
All those hours of watching Animal Planet will come in handy as you venture into Nairobi, the Masai and some five natural reserves and national parks. Seventeen safari game viewing tours will be included along with meals.
"At this unbeatable price, I would hope that Gay and Lesbian singles and couples take full advantage of realizing their African dream," says Gay 2Afrika president and founder Kenneth Hieber.
The departure date is May 18, 2010, which should give you time to plan and study up on your animals, from lions to tigers to bears. And bears are welcome to join in the fun. For information, call 212-385-9770 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit London launches "Only in LGBT London," a travel campaign spotlighting the unique gay experience that can only be found in the capital city. London is big with gay travelers and they know it so they have begun a microsite featuring videos of the city’s gay highlights such as shopping in Soho and concerts at Somerset House. Visit VisitLondon.com/rainbow.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 7, 2009.