Archive for May, 2010

Gay Seattle where OUT is IN…

Monday, May 31st, 2010

The Greater Seattle Business Association whose mission is ‘to combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community, and those who support equality for all’, is working hard with an on-line campaign to attract the LGBT traveling community to its city. The gay travel page on its site provides information on getting there, staying there and playing there. It is a useful resource for anyone planning a trip to Seattle.

Pink Choice lists seven gay and lesbian accommodation options in Seattle, but is always keen to add more, so if you find yourself enjoying everything that this great city has to offer, please post a review of your accommodation in Seattle, and also tell us about your overall experience on the Pink Choice Gay Travel Forum.

CaKe-A boutique nightclub experience for women and their friends

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

If you’re heading to Dublin, as well you might be for the Gay Pride celebrations, June 18-27, and fancy a girl’s night out while you’re there, then CaKe is the place for you. CaKe  happens on the second Friday of every month, and is the boutique  club night for women and their fabulous friends!!

A Gay ol’ Tea Dance at the Academy, Middle Abbey Street

What makes the perfect CaKe? Take a dollop of pop, a pinch of electro, a hint of alternative, and a dab of retro, and leave to dance til late…

CaKe is a night for women and their fabulous friends who want something a little less predictable from their night out.

Pink Choice is looking for  gay hotels in Dublin to list on the site, so please make sure you send us your gay and lesbian hotel reviews if you head to the Irish celebrations or anywhere else in Europe.

On the Road to Morocco…

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Morocco is a popular gay and lesbian tourist destination in northwestern Africa but there’s a caveat. More on this later. Long before Bing, Bob and Dorothy were sold into slavery back in the 1942 movie romp, Morocco was a land rich in history and gay travelers came to explore ancient ruins, take camel rides across the desert, and bargain as best they could with rug and spice traders in open air marketplaces. Today, lodging to satisfy all tastes and budgets is plentiful. Locals have converted traditional homes into tourist lodging, called riad, providing travelers with a traditional Moroccan experience.

For lovers of history and architecture, Morocco is a traveler’s paradise. Exquisite Muslim mosques and ancient Roman ruins beckon to be explored. High on ‘to see’ lists  are the Dar Si Said Museum in Marrakech, the souks (markets) that wind through the Fes Medina, the art deco architecture of Casablanca and the ancient walls of Tangier.

Morocco is a country that truly appeals to all the senses. The colors and aromas of the spice markets, the hypnotic swaying of the snake charmers, the exquisite wall coverings of the mosques, the stretches of beautiful beaches and the endless undulations of the surrounding deserts are all here to be relished.

Morocco is a conservative Muslim country and has no scene to speak of. In days gone by, jet setting American and European socialites, writers and musicians flocked to Morocco because of its free and easy acceptance of the gay life style. However, openness has changed. In recent years Muslim leadership has pushed the country back to observing the strict moral code of Islam, one which does not tolerate homosexuality. In 1962, homosexuality was deemed a criminal offence and remains so today. Same-sex conduct is punishable by fines of six months to three years in prison. In a 2009 statement, the Moroccan government reasserted that homosexuality would not be tolerated and would be repressed and the laws enforced. As a result, gay and lesbian travelers should be particularly aware of their surroundings when in public, use discretion and common sense, remember that they are guests in a conservative Muslim country and to respect their laws and religion.

So, if you’re looking for a vacation offering adventure, relaxation, history, culture and a truly unique experience, Morocco has plenty to offer the gay and lesbian traveler. Pink Choice lists several gay friendly hotels in Marrakech, but is looking for more member reviews. If you have visited Morocco please post a review of your accommodation experience  for the benefit of other gay and lesbian travelers who follow on.

Gay in Morocco- A statement by Bram Vergeer

Tying the Gay Knot in the United States

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

For gay and  lesbian couples wishing to make a legal commitment to each other, through marriage or civil union, choices in the USA remain limited, despite recent significant changes in a handful of States. Following Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in 2003 which legalized gay marriage for Massachusetts residents in May 2004, Iowa and the District of Columbia have recently followed suit. In July 2000 Vermont became the first state to offer legal status to same sex couples by approving a civil union status, encompassing the same legal rights and responsibilities of marriage. California had previously offered legal status to same-sex couples, but sadly the short-lived ability of gays and lesbians to marry in California was overturned when voters in the state passed Proposition 8 in November 2008, banning same sex couples from legally marrying in California.

New Hampshire’s new marriage equality law went into effect on January 1, 2010 legalizing same sex marriage in the state of New Hampshire. In 2008 Connecticut joined those other New England states which allow gay marriage. Lastly, at least at present, New Jersey allows civil unions, and provides state-level spousal rights to same-sex couples.

Although not allowing gay unions to be performed in their states, New York, Rhode Island and New Mexico recognize marriages by same-sex couples legally performed elsewhere.

One thing is certain- inequality ‘rules’ in most states, and much work still  needs to be done to ensure that gay and lesbian couples can enjoy the same rights as their heterosexual counterparts, irrespective of where they live. We encourage all our members to make their voices heard with their state representatives whenever possible, so that other states will join the six that are already enlightened.

More information on same sex marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships can be found on the NCSL website.

New Caledonia welcomes gay travelers

Saturday, May 29th, 2010

Mention New Caledonia, and you might not immediately think of its gay scene. Come to that, you might not even know where it is! Well, this French Territory is situated in coral seas just two hours flying time from Australia’s East Coast. Our affiliate, Rainbow Tourism, has discovered gay-owned venues and plenty of gay welcoming clubs and hotels in the cosmopolital capital of Noumea, as well as on the outlying islands.

Set inside the world’s largest lagoon, New Caledonia boasts 900 varieties of coral and 15,000 species of marine life. Although a French territory, English is commonly spoken in the main centers. For food lovers, gourmet French restaurants abound- there are 200 restaurants and cafes in Noumea alone. There’s pretty good nightlife too, including MV Lounge on Baie de Citron, and La Bodega del Mar.

For beach lovers, New Caledonia is a paradise with white sands and crystal clear waters especially on the outer islands of Isle of Pines, Lifou, Ouvea and Mare.

Pink Choice lists the Ramada Plaza and the Best Western Premier La Promenade in Noumea, but we are looking to add more gay and gay-friendly accommodation options. So please send us your hotel reviews of other gay lodging choices in New Caledonia.

Thanks goes to Rainbow Tourism for providing information on gay travel to Noumea, New Caledonia.

Is Expedia really offering the best hotel options for gay and lesbian travelers?

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Expedia has just launched a lesbian and gay travel section on its site, claiming to provide ‘the skinny on gay travel’, and stating that if a hotel is out, then it’s in their gay travel store.

We decided to take a look at their offerings, starting with Palm Springs. We found the choice was limited to four mainstream hotels, a Red Roof Inn, a Holiday Inn and two Hyatt hotels! What makes these hotels the best options for gay or lesbian travelers wanting a fun time in Palm Springs? It certainly has nothing to do with their sexual temperature.

The real issue is that Expedia only lists hotels that have signed up to use its booking service. Most of the truly gay and lesbian resorts in Palm Springs use their own marketing strategies to reach their target market, and reservations are made directly with them rather than through a booking company.

Pink Choice provides user reviews and recommendations of gay and gay-friendly hotels, inns and guesthouses worldwide, and is one of several on-line resources available that give gay and lesbian travelers the ‘real skinny’ on where to stay. Pink Choice lists 35 gay and lesbian hotels in Palm Springs, which are ranked according to members’ ratings. For gay resorts their current recommendations include the Hacienda at Warm Sands, East Canyon Hotel and Spa, and the Triangle Inn. For women’s resorts, Casitas Laquita or the Queen of Hearts Resort score well.

Interestingly, one of our members sent us a review of the Hyatt Grand Champions Resort, one of Expedia’s recommended hotels for Palm Springs, so we added the hotel to our listings. The review was not good!

Expedia is a great place to find competitive rates for mainstream hotels but we believe it should not set itself up as the one stop shop for gay and lesbian travel. LGBT travelers are brighter than that.

New Luxury Resorts for the LGBT community

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The hospitality group, G Worldwide is about to launch a new brand of luxury resorts catering specifically to the LGBT community.

Promotion for the new hotels will commence on June 1 to coincide with the start of gay pride. Over the next two years, G Worldwide plans to open high-tech hotels in New York, Florida, California and Las Vegas.

The company has assembled some of the best professionals in hospitality, food and beverage, nightlife and event planning to create the resorts’ new lifestyle concept, aimed to delight discerning gay and lesbian travelers worldwide.

Here at Pink Choice we are looking forward to listing the new resorts as they come on-line, and to receiving our members’ feedback.

June is Gay Pride Worldwide!

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

All over the world, June is a great month for gay celebrations. In early June, Zurich Switzerland kicks off the Gay Pride festivities season followed by Milan, Italy; Athens, Greece; Bordeaux, France; Dresden, Germany; Lyon, France; Rome, Italy; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Tel Aviv, Israel.

From mid- to late June the pride continues in Barcelona, Spain; Berlin Germany; Dublin, Ireland; Las Cruces, New Mexico; Ljubljana; Slovenia; Mexico City, Mexico; Tabor, Czech Republic.

In late June Antwerp, Belgium; Edinburgh, Scotland; Istanbul, Turkey; Oslo, Norway; Paris, France; Sheffield, England; Valencia, Spain; Zagreb, Croatia; Helsinki, Finland; London, England and Toronto, Canada.

If you’re lucky enough to be going to any (or all – we wish) of these, pass on your accommodation experiences by writing a hotel review, or add your photographs and experiences on the Pink Choice Gay Travel Forum. Share your pride, spread the word, and share your memories.

Looking for the best LGBT businesses in Georgia

Saturday, May 15th, 2010

The Georgia Voice is the prime news and media outlet for the LGBT community and its allies in the State of Georgia. It is currently conducting a poll of its readership members to find the best LGBT businesses in the state, including the best lodging option for a gay getaway.

Here at Pink Choice we are also keen to hear about our members’ accommodation experiences, and would love to add more properties to our Georgia gay lodging options. Based on our current reviews and ratings, one Atlanta property, Stonehurst Place would get our vote. It received a ‘Recommended’ rating in the 2009 Pink Choice Award results.

If you have stayed in a gay or gay-friendly hotel in Georgia please send us your review, and vote for it in the Georgia Voice poll.

Boston Pride celebrates its 40th anniversary, June 4-13

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The theme for Boston’s 40th anniversary Pride Week is “Riots to Rights – Celebrating 40 Years of Progress”, honoring the 1969 Stonewall Riots which saw the beginnings of the Gay Rights movement. Whilst everyone recognizes that gay rights and freedom have come a long way since those riots, Boston’s Pride week aims to celebrate the progress that has been made, at the same time remembering that across the globe these changes are not consistent, and a lot of work still needs to be done.

For a full list of Boston’s Gay Pride events, check out the full calendar of events.