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Travel queeries

January/February 2005 | Travel Queeries

January/February 2005 | Travel Queeries


Though several gay-friendly resorts are strewn throughout the roughly 1,700-mile wide and 800-mile long Caribbean Sea, the majority of gay-owned properties are situated in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Located on one of the most magnificent white sand beaches on St. Croix, Sand Castle on the Beach (127 Smithfield St., Frederiksted; 340-772-1205, 800-524-2018; $79-$279) has played host to gay and lesbian beachcombers since the '70s. All 19 of its rooms were refurbished after it was reclaimed under gay ownership and management in 2002. Public displays of affection are welcome at both the beachfront pool and the clothing-optional pool. Located on a small black sand beach on St. Kitts, the gay-owned Golden Lemon Inn and Villas (Station Street, Dieppe Bay, West Indies; 869-465-7260; $160-$820) offers lush gardens, private pools, spacious beachside villas, and brightly decorated rooms in a 17th-century estate. Situated in the most beautiful part of St. Martin, the Lowlands between the French capital Marigot and the Dutch capital Philipsburg, the Delfina (Tigris Rd. 14-16, Cote d'Azur; 011-599-545-3300; $79-$135), built in 2000, is the only gay hotel on an island of 36 beaches. Each of its 12 chalet-style rooms is dedicated to a gay icon of showbiz, such as Cher or Bette Davis. Though not directly on the sand, the Delfina is a mere 300 meters--a safe hand-in-hand stroll--from gay and nude Cupecoy Beach.

Q Avis advertises that it does not charge for additional drivers who are domestic partners. What other car rental agencies have the same policy?
Jack Brunton, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

A The additional-driver policies of most major rental car companies vary from state to state. In most states, for example, Alamo (800-462-5266) charges anywhere from $5 to $10 for each additional driver, regardless of their relationship--but no additional-driver fees apply at all in California. Enterprise (800-261-7331) doesn't charge for domestic partners as long as they qualify with a driver's license and major credit card. Same with Budget (800-214-6094), which defines those entitled to the fee exemption as "life companions, domestic life partners, or significant others." At National (800-468-3334), on the other hand, everyone from your opposite-sex parents to your same-sex husband has to fork over the additional-driver fee. Avis (800-230-4898) remains the most enlightened of the bunch--the renter's "spouse or life partner" need not even be present at the time of rental nor sign a form to be listed as an additional driver.

QHow do European gay ski weeks compare with those in North America?
John Lipstrom, via e-mail

A The world has come a long way since Aspen held the first gay and lesbian ski event in 1977. North America now boasts a dozen gay ski events, while Europe is host to about half that many. European events tend to be frequented by more regional crowds (the ski week in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, is attended primarily by German and Swiss men). In general, European lift prices are cheaper and the lift queues are longer. Big circuit dance parties rule in North America, while more intimate cultural activities are offered in Europe, where full-service restaurants and bars are nestled up and down the slopes.

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