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Summer 2007 | Gay-friendly spots span the globe

Summer 2007 | Gay-friendly spots span the globe

Five very different destinations appeal to gay and lesbian travelers.

Couples canter to Hawaii's deliciously slow-paced Big Island. A budget-conscious party set scampers eagerly to Key West, Fla. Families flock to clean-cut Vancouver, B.C. Those looking for equal measures of grit and glamour jet to Berlin. Travel trailblazers sashay to suddenly chic Shanghai, China. Make your travel statement with one of these hot destinations:

Budget-conscious party getaway
Key West, Fla.
With fine restaurants, abundant water activities, and one of the world's largest and most varied collections of gay accommodations, quaint, quirky Key West is the gay spring break option. It's the perfect destination for younger travelers on a budget.

Sleep
Boys should check into energetic Big Ruby's Guesthouse ($112-549). Girls should gallop to sultry two-pool, two-hot tub Pearl's Rainbow ($99-369).

Eat
Half Shell Raw Bar ($13-26) dishes up oysters, clams and shrimp. Harpoon Harry's ($8-10) is a fun diner serving breakfast and lunch.

Play
The gay epicenter of Duval Street is the Bourbon Street Complex. Pearl's Patio provides a nightlife option for women.

Romantic getaway
Big Island, Hawaii
Waikiki nightlife is merely an appetizer for the wonders of the Big Island. Home to Hawaii's most unusual and attractive hostelries, it boasts eleven different climate zones, from lush rain forests to black sand beaches.

Sleep
A mixed clientele frequents gay-owned Hale Ohia Cottages ($95-179), set on acres of exquisitely landscaped grounds, one mile from Volcanoes National Park.

Eat
Kilauea Lodge ($20-42) has a romantic atmosphere with a great stone fireplace, and Continental and Polynesian-inspired entrées.

Play
The island's main gay bar is Mask. Still need sparks? Active volcano Kilauea can oblige.

Family vacation
Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver is both an elegant and an adventurous option. It's gay-friendly, pet-friendly and kid-friendly.

Sleep
Those looking for laid-back luxury will love Pacific Palisades Hotel ($155-390, about $132-333 U.S). Impressively equipped rooms and an indoor pool get vacations off to a great start.

Eat
Enjoy family-friendly fare and gorgeous bay views from Milestones ($9-22 Canadian, about $7.70-18.80 U.S.). Later, sip well-deserved cocktails and dine on sumptuous small plates at hip Zin (small plates $5 and up Canadian, $4.25 and up U.S.).

Play

Although Davie Street offers gay nightlife, playtime in Vancouver is more about outside than out. Splash in Stanley Park's outdoor pool (Stanley Park Drive). Let wee ones run amok at Granville Island's Kids Market (1496 Cartwright St.). See grizzlies on Grouse Mountain (6400 Nancy Greene Way).

Euro-adventure
Berlin
Berlin is, without doubt, the hip new gay capital of Old Europe. There are gay goings on for every type and scene, from gay-central Schöneberg to funky Kreuzberg.

Sleep
Former bank headquarters, the ornate, classical Hotel de Rome (210-420 euros, about $277-555) offers the best location in Berlin. Situated right on Bebelplatz and Unter den Linden, this thrillingly elegant property boasts lush décor and super attentive, five-star service.

Eat
Off chic shopping street Kurfurstendamm, Cafe am LiteraturHaus (10-19 euros, about $13-25) is an elegant stop. Stylish SUMO (7-10 euros, about $9.25-13.20) offers savory sustenance in Kreuzberg.

Play
Kreuzberg's fake fur-lined Roses and lively SO36 (190 Oranienstrasse; www.so36.com) are mixed "musts."

Trip for the trailblazer
Shanghai, China
If Beijing is like Washington, D.C., a government-dominated and monumental city, Shanghai is an up-and-coming New York with a brash commercial side, new skyscrapers surging up by the second, impatient drivers honking continuously and crowds clipping briskly along. Hot bar, restaurant and gay scenes are on the rise.

Sleep
Pudong Shangri-la (from $150) is Shanghai's best luxury choice, with an extensive fitness area, indoor pool and lobby lounge with a superb view of the Bund.

Eat
Shanghai surprises with a staggering range of dining options. Three on the Bund ($12-19) is a Michael Graves-designed space atop a 100-year old former insurance building, offering innovative Continental cuisine and jaw-dropping Bund views.

Play
Western-owned Eddy's Bar is energetic, friendly and hip. Later crowds frequent Pink Home, a small club with house music and a young, primarily Asian, crowd.

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