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November/December 2005 | Readers' Choice Awards

November/December 2005 | Readers' Choice Awards

Where is the world’s hottest nightclub? Best island? Top ski lodge? All is revealed in our first reader survey

You spoke, and we listened! Via our online survey, hundreds of you voted for your all-time favorite hotels, cities, bars, cruises, airports?even safaris and best-looking restaurant waitstaff. What emerged was a global picture that proved our readers to be savvy about the queer tourism market, voting gay-welcoming Liberty Travel as Best Mainstream Tour Operator, for instance?and sophisticated world travelers to pick the lesser-known Big Island of Hawaii as Best Island. Don?t forget to vote in early 2006 for next year?s awards on OutTraveler.com. Congrats to all!

BEST DESTINATIONS

BEST FOREIGN COUNTRY
Italy
It surrounds the seat of the papacy in Vatican City, refuses to embrace gay tourism like the rest of Western Europe has, and requires a membership card to visit most of its gay bars?but no matter! The sumptuous food, the chic population, and the monumental (and frequently homoerotic) art all make it one of the gayest places in the world, even if she doesn?t know it herself. But Italy is still full of surprises: The Mafia-infested town of Gela in southern Sicily has an out (and Communist) mayor. Viva Italia!
http://www.italiantourism.com

France
Who could resist the country that gave us berets, Bordeaux, and Gigi? France offers only domestic partnerships, but 64% of French people support marriage equality. But of course?the French have never made a puritan fuss over people?s sex lives.
http://www.francetourism.com

United Kingdom
A trailblazer in LGBT tourism, the United Kingdom has never been afraid of powerful queens and has grown into one of the most out-there parts of Europe.
http://www.visitbritain.com


BEST ISLAND
Big Island of Hawaii
Even though the quiet, rural Big Island has the only gay bar in Hawaii outside of Honolulu, three gay-popular beaches, and nearly two dozen gay-owned lodgings, it?s known more for its lava-bed landscapes, empty interior, and slow-as-molasses lifestyle. So forget the bright lights of Honolulu?to really get away from it all, this is your fantasy island.
http://www.gohawaii.com

Puerto Rico & Maui (tie)
Our silver winners have both been gay getaways for decades, thanks to Maui?s cosmopolitan ?Californianized? lifestyle and Puerto Rico?s efforts at marketing itself as a gay vacation destination?in fact, Puerto Rico now boasts the largest gay scene in the Caribbean.
http://www.gotopuertorico.com
http://www.gohawaii.com

Bali
In spite of the devastating impact of the 2002 bombings that continues to affect the island?s tourism numbers, Bali is one of the most dreamlike islands in the world. Its unique Hindu culture is an island of tolerance in the more repressive surrounding islands that make up the rest of Indonesia.
http://www.balitourismauthority.net

BEST FOREIGN CITY

Paris
Although it lost its 2012 Olympic bid to ancient nemesis London, Paris has reached new heights since out mayor Bertrand Delano? came into office in 2001, pouring new energy into high-profile arts and social events to carry on the tradition of the simply queer je ne sais quoi that the City of Lights has been known for since the Moulin Rouge?fueled turn of the 20th century.
http://www.parisinfo.com

London

Now one of the trendiest (read: gayest) cities in the world, once uptight, slightly homophobic London is an international seat of style, architecture, nightlife, and (believe it or not) fine dining.
http://www.visitlondon.com

Amsterdam & Sydney (tie)
One is known for tulips, the other for its opera house?how could these two not win gay travel awards? Both are rare global cities where no one hiccups at seeing hand-holding men?although Amsterdam is working hard to maintain its liberal image and Sydney is trying to revive its once-huge Mardi Gras. But neither disappoints.
http://www.sydneyaustralia.com
http://www.visitamsterdam.nl


BEST U.S. CITY
New York City
No matter how often one visits the fabulously frenetic U.S. metropolis, the thrill of playing a part in New York?s ever-mutating human experiment never fades. The nexus of the city?s rich gay life continues to migrate away from Chelsea and into Hell?s Kitchen, Williamsburg, and even Astoria (yes, Queens). And though we mourn the passing of Chelsea?s storied Big Cup coffee shop (another victim of rising rents), we cheer the reopening of Rockefeller Center?s 70th-floor observation deck. It?s always give and take in this city of extremes, but we keep coming back for another dose of culture, nightlife, and high-society thrills.
http://www.nycvisit.com/home/index.cfm

San Francisco
With the bold new De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, a fresh crop of mouthwatering restaurants, and a perennially powerful gay vibe, Babylon by the Bay is as wickedly delicious as it ever was. So much for the dot-bomb blues!
http://www.sfvisitor.org

Miami
It?s easy to see why this hot-again getaway rated highly in our survey. Who can deny the tempting triple threat of sultry sandy beaches, playful deco hotels, and unabashed eye candy?
http://www.gmcvb.com


BEST GAY RESORT TOWN
Provincetown
Built on a tiny sliver of land at the tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is New England?s eccentric aunt?an overwhelmingly gay bohemian beach town that draws the likes of director John Waters, playwright Tony Kushner, novelist Michael Cunningham, and comedian Kate Clinton. But gentrification is threatening P-town?s freewheeling spirit: Chaser?s, the town?s last remaining all-lesbian bar, will close on November 1, and the owners of the creaky but lovable Boatslip hotel, center of P-town?s gay social world since 1969, are redeveloping the property into condos. See it in all its glory while you still can.
http://www.provincetowngaychamber.com

Key West
Mildly clipped by Hurricane Katrina, Key West is gearing up for a busy fall festival season?just in time for the cast of the next Real World to settle in.
http://www.fla-keys.com/keywest

Palm Springs
It feels like a decadent oasis on the outskirts of the Roman Empire?with 31 nude guesthouses and a mid-20th-century twist. How glamorous!
http://www.palm-springs.org




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