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CARDOZO HOTEL AND COSTA D’ESTE
In a show of hometown pride, singer Gloria Estefan and her producer husband, Emilio, resurrected the 1939 art deco Cardozo Hotel (800-782-6500, CardozoHotel.com; rooms from $160) in 1992 in the heart of Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive. Flashy newcomers to the constantly evolving local scene may now claim more press, but the 44-room Cardozo remains a gay-friendly gem one block from the Palace Food Bar and the muscle boys of 12th Street Beach. Decor that melds Old World Havana with modern-day Miami, a coffee bar with lush black-and-white photos of Gloria and other Latin stars, and recently upgraded oceanview suites with animal-print accents and king-size beds make it divaworthy, while the tropical courtyard provides a quiet spot to sip mojitos away from the prying eyes of paparazzi. Look for these pioneers in the pop-tastic hotel biz to take things up a notch with the ultraluxurious hotel development Costa d’Este (in partnership with Benchmark Hospitality International), scheduled to open in early 2008 on the sands of Vero Beach, Fla., 135 miles north of Miami.
What’s big, Swedish, and gay all over? No, it’s not ABBA front man Benny Andersson; it’s his funky-chic 99-room Hotel Rival (011-46-8-545-789-00, Rival.se; rates from US$289). Andersson’s boutique hotel is nestled in the heart of Stockholm’s happening Södermalm district. A neighborhood renowned for its quaint shopping, Södermalm is similar in character to New York City’s TriBeCa, and it’s just a short walk from Old Town, Stockholm’s main gay haunt (lest dancing queens wear out their weary feet).
Andersson co-owns the property—which debuted in 1937 as the Aston Hotel and Rival Cinema—and finished renovating it to its current glory in 2003.
The original art deco cinema was lovingly restored as part of the hotel, and cinematic touches such as photographs of Swedish film stars over each bed accent the cozy rooms. For princess-and-the-pea types, the hotel offers a “pillow menu” with a choice of nonallergenic, buckwheat, Tempur-Pedic, goose down, and neck fiber pillows. The colorfully elegant yet whimsical interiors feature hallway carpets in an “urban paper waste” design created by Swedish artist Carouschka Streiffert (the design incorporates prints of restaurant checks and discarded movie or train tickets). The hotel also houses an art deco cocktail bar, a bistro, a restaurant, a bakery, and a café where Swedish chefs whip up native treats such as smoked broiled herring with kalix roe. Plus, you can dance, you can jive on what the hotel claims is the world’s smallest dance floor—only 1.2 meters in diameter! Checking out won’t be easy, we know.
KATE’S LAZY MEADOW
Out and proud singer Kate Pierson of the B-52's rocketed through the wilderness of upstate New York until she settled on the perfect site in the Catskill Mountains for a stylized embodiment of her iconic “Love Shack.” Kate’s Lazy Meadow (845-688-7200, LazyMeadow. com; rates from $150), operated by Pierson and her life partner, Monica Coleman, since April 2004, sits on nine acres along trout-filled Esopus Creek in Mount Tremper, N.Y. It’s 12 miles from Woodstock, N.Y., 40 miles from the Hudson Valley wineries, and an easy day trip from Manhattan, so you can roam if you want to! But most guests prefer to soak up the Meadow’s mellow vibe—perfect for driving static from the brain. Sip chardonnay while cooking rock lobster in one of the cabin’s retro-pastel kitchens or soak under the stars in the secluded 15-person natural salt hot tub, open from Memorial Day to Halloween. The restored 1950s property explodes with color, courtesy of mid-century modern furnishings handpicked by Pierson, handmade tile from artistic duo Phillip Maberry and Scott Walker (their home doubled as the set for the “Love Shack” video), and landscaping designed by gay former
Elle Decor garden editor Dean Riddle. For queer design mavens, an earthly slice of heaven.