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15 Great Places to Stay in Miami Right Now: Gay Travel

James
Talk about gay friendly - The James Royal Palm Hotel just hosted 101 Gay Weddings to celebrate Florida's marriage equality ruling.

WHERE DO GAY TRAVELERS STAY IN MIAMI AND SOUTH BEACH?

Visitors to Miami are spoiled for choice when it comes to hotels but this is where our readers are staying, and some insight into their choices. Most prefer to stay on South Beach.

StandardReaders suggest The Hilton Bentley, The W Hotel, The Dream, The Loews on South Beach, The Fontainebleau, The Standard, The BetsyThe Thompson, The Edition, and The Marriott Stanton. Room rates for all these places vary (sometimes vastly) depending on time of year.

The James Royal Palm, a luxury hotel right on the beach, recently hosted 101 Gay Weddings, where 101 couples were married by celebrity restaurateur Guy Fieri. You may have read about it here on Towleroad. The event was hosted by Chef Art Smith. Since we surveyed our readers, news broke that the hotel has sold and will reportedly be franchised under a Starwood brand.

One reader describes the Mandarin Oriental as his fave but another says "The Mandarin Oriental is great but it is on a traffic choked islet in boring downtown."

For those wanting to stay closer to Wynwood in Miami proper, check out the newly renovated, gay-owned and operated Vagabond Hotel on Biscayne Boulevard. The hotel has been recently renovated to its retro kitsch glory. Designed by Robert Swarthburg, it originally opened in 1953 and was known as a hangout for the Rat Pack: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr.

The Vagabond has also become one of Miami's foodie destinations with a new restaurant from Alex Chang.

Vagabond

More reader comments on hotels:

Lizard"We've always liked the Raleigh. Very gay friendly. Best pool. Direct beach access. One of the first Still one of the best." ... "The Raleigh has a lot more vintage style than say the W, but definitely something on the Deco Strip."

"W Hotel, Thompson and the Edition Hotels - chic and very trendy. Edition & Thompson are the latest - so always a great place to be seen. If you have access, you're going to want to stay at the Soho Beach House. Always a great group of people (mostly the same crowd as NY - which may or may not be appealing to all)."

"On a low budget, I just discovered the James Hotel (not to be confused with the James Royal Palm, above). It's not on the beach but the decor is uber-kitsch. For anyone who wants to stay at a hotel decorated by an outsider artist. Unique but not pimped out and low on amenities."

"Hotel St Augustine a real sleeper. South of 5th away from the crowds. Close to the action."

On a budget?

Travelers on a very limited budget who don't mind the closeness of strangers, might want to check out The Freehand (below). A recent check of their website showed a shared room rate at $67/night.

Freehand1 Freehand2
(instagram, instagram)

Writes one reader: "It's a hostel, but modern with a trendy bar and restaurant scene full of young locals and tourists alike. It's a great place to go if you're a large group - and you'll love the bar, The Broken Shaker, mixing up some of the best tasting mixed drinks in Miami."

And for those wanting something where they're sure to find gay people, there is Hotel Gaythering. Yes, you can stay there, but there's more. It has become a lively watering hole for those looking for a neighborhood cocktail bar and a community experience on South Beach.

Next stop, The Gaythering...

Bunny_gaythering
One of the woodland creatures at the Gaythering Hotel.

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If you have an exciting Miami travel tip to share with us, please email us at travel-at-towleroad.com and we'll check it out and consider adding it to this guide. Help us make it better!


Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO

Sultan

Hassanal Bolkiah, the homophobic Sultan of Brunei, has offered to pay around $2 billion to buy New York’s Plaza Hotel, along with Grosvenor House in London and the Dream Hotel in lower Manhattan, reports Huffington Post.

Bolkiah has faced severe criticism for Brunei’s new penal code which includes death by stoning as a punishment for homosexuality.

A number of celebrities - including Virgin founder and CEO Richard Branson - have protested against the Brunei-owned luxury hotel operator Dorchester Collection following the implementation of the country’s anti-gay laws. However, Russell Crowe announced his support for Dorchester, claiming that protests would “throw employees under the bus to make a political point.”

A statement from the hotel chain said that the company continues to “abide by the laws of the countries we operate in and do not tolerate any form of discrimination of any kind.”

However, activist group Human Rights Campaign’s Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said “the American profit stream that flows from [Bolkiah’s] hotels back to his regime needs to stop. We urge all New Yorkers to have one simple and straight-forward message for the Sultan: take your business elsewhere."

Watch a CBS News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Anti-Gay Sultan of Brunei Eyeing Iconic New York Hotels - VIDEO" »


Hyatt Gives a Homepage Salute to Its LGBT Guests and Employees

Hyatt

Hyatt hotel group is the latest company to offer up its wishes for LGBT Pride with a nod on its homepage, touting its friendliness to all kinds of travelers:

Throughout the year, Hyatt is committed to the LGBT community and its allies. In fact, we were honored for the tenth consecutive year as one of the few  “Best Places to Work for LGBT Equality” – a result of our 100 percent rating on the Corporate Equality Index by the Human Rights Campaign.

We were also the first major hotel company to offer domestic partner benefits and has included sexual orientation in our Equal Employment Opportunity policy since 2000, and gender identity since 2002.

Here at Hyatt we truly believe everyone should be comfortable and proud of who they are, and we welcome you to share with us your pride with #InAHyattWorld.


Rose McGowan Defies Boycott, Hosts Party to Support Staff at Beverly Hills Hotel

BeverlyHills

Actress Rose McGowan hosted a party in support of the staff of the Beverly Hills Hotel, as well as to send a message of defiant love to the hotel's owner the sultan of Brunei. 

The Dorchester Collection, to which the Beverly Hills Hotel belongs, has become the center of an international boycott sparked by the recent passage of sharia law in the southeast Asian nation of Brunei. The DC is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, which is a part of the ministry of finance in Brunei. Stars such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Richard Branson, and Stephen Fry are leading calls for celebrities and those with influence to stop supporting the hotels.

"I want to assemble a group of men and women (and hopefully some adulteresses,) that would be stoned in Brunei but that will be welcome at the BH," said McGowan, reported The Huffington Post.

The party was attended by friends of McGowan who weren't convinced that a boycott would affect the sultan, but would rather have a detrimental effect on the hotel's staff. 

Reports The Huffington Post:

"Rose and I came up with the idea for this whole thing together," [McGowan's friend Amanda] Goodwin said. "We were talking on Facebook about what was going on here, and we just thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we got together some fabulous people, gay and straight, and responded to this hate with love instead of ignoring it?'"

"Listen," Goodwin continued, "I'm gay. I'm married to a woman. I hate what the sultan is doing to people in Brunei. But I don't think that responding to what he's doing with more hate is the answer. I really feel that way. I think it's great that we're here, being gay, sitting on his sofa. I really want to gay this place up.

"A lot of people have asked me whether I'd go if it were Hitler," she said.

Well, would she?

"Probably. I think I would. I'd go, and I'd say, 'I'm a Jew.'"

McGowan isn't the first celebrity to balk at the boycott. Russell Crowe took to Twitter last week to defend the hotel's staff, whom he sees as "collateral damage" in the campaign. 


Russell Crowe Defends Support of Brunei-Owned Hotels Despite Growing Boycott

Crowe

Russell Crowe took to twitter last week to defend his continued support of Brunei-owned Dorchester Hotels, despite pressure from boycotters protesting brutal sharia laws recently passed in the Southeast Asian country.

The boycott is backed by big names like Jay Leno, Ellen DeGeneres, Richard Branson (and all employees of Virgin), Stephen Fry, and Sharon Osbourne.

Crowe tweeted that his support for the hotels was not a show of support for sharia law, but rather for hotel's American employees, whom he likened to "collateral damage" in the protest. 

Crowe

Despite Crowe's tweets, the boycott continues to grow. The New York Times reports that companies participating in fashion shows in Milan and Paris, which would usually stay at Dorchester Hotels, are going elsewhere. 

“While I am sensitive to the potential impact that this issue may have on the wonderful staff at Le Meurice, I cannot in all good conscience stay there, nor can Vogue’s editors,” Anna Wintour, the Vogue editor and Condé Nast artistic director, said through a spokeswoman.

In Milan, the Principe di Savoia is the hotel of choice for large swathes of the fashion community, including representatives from Calvin Klein, Salvatore Ferragamo and a number of magazines. A Condé Nast spokeswoman said that lodging choices were “left up to the individual brands, all of which have decided not to stay at Dorchester properties for the upcoming shows,” as has Miguel Enamorado, the fashion director of Brant Publications’ Interview. (Representatives for Calvin Klein and Salvatore Ferragamo declined to comment.)

American politicians are also voicing their disgust, not by boycotting Dorchester hotels, but by calling for Brunei to be removed from Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks unless they "address these human rights violations."


Beverly Hills Hotel Owner Feeling Bullied By Boycott: VIDEO

Cowdray

Thanks to Brunei's completely insane decision to stone people convicted of homosexuality, the celebrity-centric Beverly Hills Hotel is now the focus of a boycott as its umbrella group is owned by Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei, one of the wealthiest men in the world. Given that Beverly Hills Hotel plays host to the entertainment industry elite, there is a lot of money to be lost by this boycott, particularly since it has attracted big names such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Leno, Sir Richard Branson, Sharon Osborne, and Stephen Fry, as well as a variety of high-end awards dinners and fundraisers.

CEO of parent company the Dorchester Collection Christopher Cowdray is calling foul, that the hotel itself has done nothing wrong to deserve the boycott. Said Cowdray in a report on Tuesday's CBS This Morning:

I feel totally unfairly picked on. All they are doing is hurting a local business.

Which, of course, is the entire point of a boycott: witholding financial support in hopes that the lack of business will prompt a company to change whatever it is that prompted the boycott in the first place. In this case, either encouraging Brunei to revoke its evil new "Kill the Gays" law (unlikely), or at least prompting the Dorchester Collection to rescind ownership of the hotel and thus cutting off a source of income to a man who has enshrined into law the bloodthirsty persecution of gays (more likely).

As of this writing Sultan Bolkiah has not made any public comment or acknowledgment of the boycott, though the Dorchester Collection has gone into PR damage control with Cowdray releasing this statement:

We have a truly global economy today. Look at all the foreign investments in hotels and real estate. Our hotels are autonomously run and in that way not tied to Brunei. Religious or political views have no place in our organization.

Watch Cowdray speak to CNN, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Beverly Hills Hotel Owner Feeling Bullied By Boycott: VIDEO" »


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