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Fall 2006 | Hotels We Love

Fall 2006 | Hotels We Love

Where We Go After a Gondola Ride
Corte Gherardi Bed & Breakfast
Venice, Italy

If you ask to see a map at most hotels and inns, the concierge will whip out a dumbed-down brochure. Ask for a map at the Corte Gherardi and you'll be pointed toward a detailed 9-by-4-and-a-half-foot 16th century De Barbari map of Venice. "It's amazing to see how little that Venice has changed over the past 500 years," says owner Sosthen Hennekam, who lived in this 13th century palace with his boyfriend for 12 years before converting it into one of Venice's grandest B&Bs. Built in 1260, the roof, wooden beam ceilings, and early Gothic windows are all original. Inside, the vibe is more contemporary, with free wi-fi, modern furnishings, and a Mac Mini computer in the hallway for making Skype calls or downloading your photos onto a CD. Breakfast is served in your room or on the wooden roof terrace that overlooks the famously sinking fairy-tale city. "Giving special attention to our gay and lesbian clientele was only natural," Hennekam says. "Venice hasn't got much gay life going on, and it's about time that changed. We have only three rooms, but there are other gay couples who offer spare bedrooms." He didn't name names. As for gay nightlife, take a 10-minute stroll to St. Mark's Square for Aurora, a cute little bar with a gay night every Wednesday. Of course, true romantics will just keep walking, getting lost in the magical maze that is Venice. 011-41-523-7376

Where We Go for Tea in the Sahara
Adrere Amellal
Siwa, Egypt

Fancy a trip to a far-off land where one can wear robes in public without a second glance from the locals? Head to Egypt, across the Sahara, and into the dreamy oasis of Siwa. It's here that Alexander the Great consulted his oracle and where Cleopatra once bathed in a now-famous spring. Adrere Amellal is built into the side of a majestic white mountain. Run by local Berbers in flowing white robes and turbans, the hotel is actually an eco-lodge, which means no electricity, all organic food, and buildings built out of mud and salt brick. But don't think you'll be roughing it. The quiet and cool Berbers take care of your every need, providing sumptuous meals from their Parisian trained chef and lighting your lanterns every evening. For those who don't mind a bit of sand where the sun don't shine, ask local tribesman Abdallah, the Julie McCoy of Siwa, for a death-defying drive into the desert for sand surfing, tea service, and a sizzling sunset. Guests who prefer a more low-key day can simply bob about in the oasis's saline waters or take a trip into town to see Cleopatra's bath, the Temple of Amun, or stock up on local figs, olives, and those traditional robes (the galabia is similar to a caftan). Buy one and throw Western wear, along with all your cares, to the wind. 011-20-20738-1327. --Cator Sparks

Where We Go For Absolute Privacy
Moog Hotel

Set in Sydney's fashionable Surrey Hills, Moog feels more like a lavish split-level apartment than a hotel. This may have something to do with the curious absence of additional guests--there's only one room. This single room is subdivided into multiple mod living spaces, including a well-stocked library with a black pool table. The his-and-his shower cubicles, diamond-resin bath, and private gym are all quite lovely, but the centerpiece is the pool, complete with underwater speakers and a waterfall bathed in chill-out light projections. Since there are no neighbors to upset, you can crank up the party. If you start to get lonely, go next door to Moog's public cocktail bar. --Paul Clements

Where We Go For Hot Concierge Service
Opus Hotel
Vancouver, Canada

As glitteringly beautiful as Vancouver itself, gay-friendly celebrity haunt Opus Hotel offers understated comfort with modern furniture and sophisticated color palettes. Its bustling Yaletown location is mere steps from downtown shopping, the thriving waterfront, and the gay West End. Its "see and be seen" Opus Bar lures the hip and the beautiful in droves. It's so hot that even its bathroom floors are heated. These are ample reasons to book at the Opus, but what we really love about this boutique getaway is Mike, their gay virtual Lifestyle Concierge. This "style-conscious city boy," a doctor, "works hard but plays harder" and recommends restaurants, nightlife, and other activities for gay visitors. (Room decor matches eMike: handsome, masculine, minimalist, and modern.) His recommendations include Odyssey nightclub for "Shower Power Night," Bruce for designer menswear, and Skoah for spa services. The Opus's flesh-and-blood staff members (including the hunky drivers of their luxury car service) are just as accommodating. 866-642-6787. --Ed Salvato

Where We Go For a Roll in the Hay
Farmer's Daughter
Los Angeles

Some of L.A.'s more hipster-ridden boutique hotels take themselves too seriously--with burned-out models masquerading as hotel staff members. We love the country-themed Farmer's Daughter, not only for its fabulous new restaurant, Tart, but for its tongue-in-cheek blend of hip and wholesome, catering to a healthy mix of gays, straights, and wannabe Price Is Right contestants (located across from CBS Studios, the hotel lobby features a Polaroid shrine to contestant guests of yore). A face-lift in 2000 took the 40-year-old property from a run-down whore of a motel to her current incarnation as sassy blue-ribbon beauty queen. The No-tell Room--with its mirrored ceiling and full wet bar--is a nod to her sordid past. (Psst…the busiest bars in West Hollywood are just a mile away.) 800-334-1658 --Darren Frei

PART 4 >

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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