Travel diary • 11.20.09

Posted on 19 Oct 2009 at 6:17pm
By ARNOLD WAYNE JONES | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

Key West home to best gay resort; Indigo makes Olivia more lavender


SERVICE WITH A GROWL — AND A WOOF | The guides on L.A.’s Out & About Tours, above, are worth a look themselves; Kora, below, is Hotel Palomar’s first director of pet relations.

Next time you’re in WeHo for the weekend, you might want to check out Out & About Tours, which calls itself the "first and only bus tour that offers an in-depth yet entertaining look at LGBT history." We’ve certainly been on gay tram tours in Key West, but we are kinda intrigued by the "21 and up" requirement for passengers — and the sexy tour guides. (Alcohol is available at some of the stops.)

The three-hour trip starts in the pre-Spanish settlement era and works its way through the golden age of Hollywood and the current gay rights movement, and includes highlights like the first gay porn theater in L.A.  and the strip where Eddie Murphy picked up a transsexual hooker. Yeah, it’s that kind of tour. Tickets are $75. Visit OutandAbout-Tours.com for information.

Speaking of Key West, Gay.com recently declared the Island House the "favorite gay resort." We’re sure the sexually charged, clothing-optional policy had nothing to do with it.

New Orleans is making a big push for tourism again (and the city has come back with vibrancy after the double whammy of Katrina and Gustav). The huge, recently renovated Marriott on Canal Street offers Christmas travelers a knockout rate of $89/night for stays from Dec. 1–24. That leaves you more money to spend in the Big Easy — or you can just enjoy carolers around Jackson Square, or dinner at its 5 Fifty 5 restaurant, which is serving up a six-course meal for $45/person. Use code HOL when booking.


NOLA’s Ritz-Carlton is getting into the act, with $149 "Papal Noel" (Santa Claus) nights Dec. 1 through Jan. 6.

Las Vegas will open CityCenter, its massive casino and resort, by the start of the year. Until then, you can enjoy the Bellagio, which for the ninth consecutive year received AAA’s Five Diamond Award, bestowed upon less than 1 percent of all hospitality properties. Two of its restaurants, Picasso and Le Cirque, were also give the award, making the Bellagio the only hotel in the U.S. with two such lauded eateries under one roof.

Closer to home, Dallas’ Ritz-Carlton Hotel was recently awarded its own Five Diamond Award from Triple-A.

Indigo Girls will be the featured entertainment on Olivia Travel’s 20th anniversary West Caribbean Cruise, which sets sail (well, there aren’t really any sails, but you get the idea) on a week-long journey from Tampa on Feb. 28, through Cozumel, Honduras and Belize. The musical duo of Emily Saliers and Amy Ray will join already-slated performers Vickie Shaw, Karen Williams, Julie Goldman, Dana Goldberg, Meg Christian and Leisha Hailey. Visit Olivia.com for details.

Dallas’ Hotel Palomar has recently named a new director of pet relations — and we hear she’s a real bitch. No, really. Kora, a five-month-old golden retriever rescue, was recently given the title — the first ever for the boutique property. She joins seven other canine concierges at Kimpton properties nationwide.

And there’s even more of a treat — and not the kind from Milk Bone. Through the end of the year, the pet-friendly hotel is offering a 50 percent discount rate when you enter KOR while booking your res. And feel free to bring Fido — pet amenities include a bowl and bed for the length of the stay. A "doggie bag" of gifts, ID tags and even a goldfish companion for your pet (upon request). Call 214-520-7969 or visit HotelPalomar-Dallas.com. 

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 20, 2009.

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