Troy Petenbrink, 53. Freelance travel journalist.
It's a dump. You will sweat your balls off in the summer (and not in a good way) because the air conditioning sucks. You will also find the "rooms" to be absolutely filthy with many of them having broken TVs. Yes, you can find lots of men here on certain nights but you should expect more than half of them to be hustling for drugs and/or money. And you should definitely heed tbe warning signs about entering the dark spaces at your own risk, stealing money and cellphones is a popular sport among many players.
Resort is a merger of pre existing properties as such the rooms are various sizes, shapes and decors. Be sure to look at the photos on the resorts website.
Not all gay but definitely all good
Silver Palms Inn is an LGBT-friendly boutique property that is just three blocks from Duval Street. And despite being open since 2010, they do a great job of keeping the property looking brand new. The guestrooms are all spacious and Key West chic. In addition, there is a nice size pool, a fitness room, dining area for complimentary breakfast, and wi-fi and on-site parking that is included with your room. I was also told they are planning some upgrades to the physical property and to guest services in the near future. It's important to note that the room prices are very competitive (bordering on cheap).
Try the Yuca Frita - Best Cuban restaurant in #KeyWest. #goodeats #ihkw @islandhousekw
Ask to have Guba as your waiter. He is fun and sexy.
The extreme (and I'm not exaggerating) makeover worked
When your hotel can go from being filled with guests attending the Super Bowl to filled with guests attending Mardi Gras (and a few diehards who attended both) and still provide outstanding service with a genuine smile, you know you are staying at the right place. I arrived at the Sheraton on the Saturday of Mardi Gras weekend, stayed through Fat Tuesday and departed on Wednesday -- and I could not have been happier with my experience at the hotel or in New Orleans. Having recently completed an amazing top to bottom $50 million renovation to coincide with its 30th anniversary, the hotel looked fabulous -- from the French Quarter courtyard inspired lobby to my spacious King Room with amazing views of the Mississippi River. I was glad to find that the renovation also included an overhaul and expansion of the hotel's fitness center, which ranks among the best non-resort hotel fitness centers I have ever used. With its Canal Street location, the Sheraton is steps from the French Quarter (i.e. the gay bars), the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas, The National World War II Museum and New Orleans' famed street cars that can have you strolling in the Garden District in minutes. And I know, because I visited them all. For my fellow LGBT travelers, will be pleased to know that the Sheraton New Orleans is a gay-friendly TAG Approved (www.tagapproved.com) property. TIP:Getting a room on the Club Level (floors 42-49) is worth the extra cost for the view, free internet and exclusive use of the private Club Lounge where they can enjoy complimentary continental breakfast daily and evening hors d'oeuvres.
A hotel with passion
I have never had a bad experience at a W Hotel, and the Mexico City property is no exception. The lobby and the adjacent bar lounge (which transforms into a club in the evenings) are cool and trendy but the hammock hanging in my oversized bathroom was a true sign that I was staying someplace special. My room was comfortable and service during my three-night stay was exceptional. I regret that I didn't have time to use the gym or spa but did take a tour and was impressed. Luckily, I did have time for an outstanding Sunday brunch at Solea, the on-site restaurant (even if you don't stay here, you should consider having the brunch). Opened in 2003 and well-maintained, the property is set to receive a significant renovation over the next couple of years. In addition, it is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
A stylish choice
While its location is designed to serve visitors to the famed Cleveland Clinic, the stylish and upscale InterContinetal Cleveland is well located for visitors who are seeking to explore various parts of Cleveland. Everything about the property is top-notch to keep with the high quality of the Cleveland Clinic. Some of the major highlights of the hotel are the large fitness center, the two very good on-site restaurants and the option to upgrade to the 14th Floor Club Level. The hotel is a gay-friendly TAG Approved property.
I'll have my Cleveland with a Twist
From a traveler's perspective, Twist is the perfect bar. Everytime I have visited over the years I have enjoyed myself. The bartenders are welcoming and the space (an outdoor patio, bar, lounge and dance floor) is maintained well. There is alway at least a small crowd of people that is usually very diverse by age, sex and gender -- and all having fun together. The atmosphere is very casual and attitude free.
The "q" in Chicago q may stand for barbeque but it could just as easily stand for queer (and quality). During a recent visit to the Windy City, II took a couple friends here for dinner, and we all loved it. There were packs carnivorous homos enjoying the award winning Chicago q's outstanding food, superb service and comfortable ambiance. I look forward to returning for more of its signature Kobe brisket, which melted in my mouth.
Thompson Toronto is totally terrific
Sexy is one of the best descriptions for the Thompson Toronto. Its decor is sleek yet comfortable, and the staff is friendly and professional. The rooms are spacious with great touches such as heated bathroom floors and bedside lighting controls. And the state-of-the-art gym is open 24 hours. Guests and locals flock to the lobby bar and rooftop lounge, which offers a seasonal deck and infinity pool. It is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and is TAG Approved. A cab ride to the gay village at Church and Wellesley Streets takes 15 to 20 mins and cost approximately $15 each way.
Perfect pancakes (and cheap drinks)!
My partner and I make a point of dining at Pinocchio everytime we visit Palm Springs -- and we have never been disappointed. Only open for breakfast and lunch, the menu is packed full of tasty dishes (I love the pancakes). Of course, the $3.95 bottomless champagne certainly adds to the restaurant's appeal.
A dining tradition
From salads and seafood to burgers and steaks, Annie's has been serving up consistently decent grub and friendly service for more than 60 years. It is also one of the few restaurants in DC that is open 24-hours on weekends. The main negative is that it is slightly over priced given the average quality of the food.
Historic charm and modern appeal
More than 85 years old, the Vinoy maintains many of its historic aspects while providing all the modern amenities expected from today's travelers. The guest rooms are spacious (a standard is 330 to 405 sq.ft), it has a great pool and there is WiFi throughout the property. I highly recommend the Sunday bruch at the hotel's signature restaurant, Marchands. The hotel's location is great; located on the waterfront and walking distance to many of St. Petersburg's many world class cultural attractions including the Chihuly Collection, The Dali Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Mahaffey Theater. In addition, it is a TAG Approved property.
Sets the standard for all B&Bs
Let's start with the fact that I have a general dislike for B&Bs. However, my visit to Maury Place at Monument has me rethinking that position. As described, it is a luxurious, sophisticated property. And, while it is a historic property, it has been perfectly restored as well as updated with all the modern amenities needed by today's travelers.
For a restaurant to survive 15 years, you know it has to be doing something right. I fell in love with Nacho Mama's festive decor and atmosphere. The service was outstanding and my food was perfect for the price. I highly recommend the house-made Mama's queso dip and, of course, the margaritas.
Empress reigns supreme
I was impressed by Empress' decor and atmosphere but the highlight of my visit was the food. The menu plays heavily on the local and organic theme, and offers a creative menu without requiring a "foodie translator." Aa an added bonus, The Empress is a strong supporter of the local arts community; showcasing a new artist(s) each month and providing a 10% discount to diners with a ticket stub from select theaters.
I stayed at the Hyatt Key West for three nights in June 2011. Nearly everything about the property was flawless: outstanding customer service, great location (steps from Mallory Square and Duval Street) and very well maintained. I highly recommend SHOR, the onsite restaurant, for a sunset dinner. The found the fitness center to be a little small but adequate for a basic workout. Many of the hotel's management team and staff are gay and active in the local community. In addition, it is a TAG Approved property and a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
A size queen's paradise
You will never leave hungry at Sadie's ... the portions are HUGE. There is nothing fancy or gourmet about the menu, it is just good casual New Mexican food. I loved the Roberto Special: grilled hamburger steak covered with Sadies own chile con queso, frijoles and papitas smothered in red or green chile.
Casual Creole cookery at its best
This causal sister restaurant to the more upscale Arnaud's is outstanding. I highly recommend visitors try one of the "Taster" options that provides smaller portions of a variety of different items. During my recent visit, I had the "Taste of Louisiana," which included turtle soup, a Natchitoches meat pie and crawfish etoufee, and let's just say, I was not shy about licking my plate.
The Encore and its sister property Wynn Las Vegas set the standard for Sin City's resorts from accommodations to dining to entertainment. My room in the Encore Tower Suites provided approximately 700 sq. ft of luxury space with a ton of amenities; every meal I had was outstanding, from my dinner at Botero to lunch at Wazuzu; and, of course, I absolutely loved watching Le Reve (I'm just not sure what I found more amazing - the performance or the performers abs). As others have mentioned, Wynn Resorts has a strong commitment to its LGBT guests (and employees) with a dedicated concierge and website: www.wynnpride.com.
The energy at El Vez is great and so is the food. The menu is creative without being scary. Recently, I had the tasty short rib burrito and was in heaven. And I swear the pitcher of margarita (that I split with a friend) did not influence my judgement; however, I cannot say the same about the sexy server.
Ho, Ho, Go . . .
This gay-friendly mid-century modern gem is fun and flirty. The rooms are spacious and the decor is cool. It has a nice pool, restaurant and spa. I have stayed at the property multiple times and have always been beyond pleased.
Yum, yum . . . wow!
The food is outstanding; service is great and the crowd is cool . . . the only problem with PingPong is that the space is not bigger to accomodate the masses. I always look forward to eating here when I visit Chicago -- even if I have to wait.
It is what it is
This bar is a dive, plain and simple. But the drinks are cheap and the staff is friendly. The main draw is the large, private back patio used for adult "social activities."
Cheap drinks, fun times
Picante is a little hole in the wall bar with a small dance floor just off downtown Cancun's main street, Tulum Avenue. It is the oldest gay bar in the city but the owners keep in refreshed. There are frequent 2 for 1 drink specials and it draws a lively late night (don't arrive before 11 p.m.) mixed crowd of locals and tourists . . . young and old . . . men and women. It also has a history of attracting local guys seeking a "generous" visitors (think a few beers and "taxi" fare). Many folks will often start at Picante before heading to Karamba, which is only a few blocks away. I have visited many times over the past several years and have always felt safe and had a fun time.
Good food, good service and good time
A friend and I had dinner at the restaurant and were very pleased. I had an Ahi tuna burger with sweet potato fries and my friend had a pesto pasta dish with shrimp. Some of the drink prices are high but the friendly server suggested some options and told us about some specials. We had no problems with the service. I visited November 24, 2010.
In the heart of it all . . . uber gay-friendly
The newly revitalized Doubletree Resort Orlando - International Drive hotel enjoys a prime Orlando location in the heart of Central Florida's amusement and entertainment district; just steps from SeaWorld and the convention center as well as an easy drive to Universal and Disney World. It takes about 20 minutes to drive to Orlando International Airport and about 30 minutes to downtown Orlando. It is a large property on 28 lush acres of native palm trees and tropical fountains; however, the property is nicely divided into "neighborhoods," as not to feel too overwhelming. There are multiple pool, a 24-hour fitness center and on-site dining options. And let's not forget the famous Doubletree cookies. The hotel is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and TAG Approved. In 2010, it served as the host hotel for GayDays and is scheduled to repeat as the host hotel in 2011. I stayed at the property November 16 to 20, 2010.
Mega complex, mega fun
While the complex is in need a of a good "refreshening," it remains one of the best spots in Orlando. The multiple bars and mix of music allow for just about anyone to find something to enjoy.