A historic event took place back in 2015, when Florida’s first same-sex marriage united local gay activists Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones. The fact the ceremony took place at Key West’s Monroe County Courthouse says a lot about the destination’s long-time welcoming attitude.
Today more than 250,000 LGBTQ+ visitors vacation in Key West yearly, according to Key West Business Guild, a nonprofit devoted to promoting the destination to LGBTQ+ travelers. And the southernmost city in the continental United States is more than just a gay vacation hot spot: About 30 percent of Key West’s 25,000 residents identify as part of the community. So it’s no wonder the destination enjoys such a great reputation with gay globetrotters from around the world.
Same-sex weddings and honeymoons remain a major focus for the destination’s tourism industry … and with good reason. Key West was Florida’s first city to recognize same-sex domestic partnerships and marriage equality, and the city’s Monroe County was the state’s first county to recognize those same rights for the entire chain of Florida Keys.
Most gay and lesbian weddings in Key West and the Florida Keys are intimate gatherings with fewer than 30 guests, according to Guy Ross, LGBT sales manager, Monroe County Tourist Development Council. “Perhaps the only ‘change’ that we are seeing now with the advent of marriage equality is the inclusion of more family members and more mainstream friends in gay and lesbian ceremonies,” he said.
Memorable entertainment offers another selling point for Key West. Nightlife fans out among several bars including Bourbon St. Pub, which hosts fanciful theme parties, and LaTeDa, a boutique hotel home to world-renowned female impersonators. The Key West Pride celebration takes place in June, while Fantasy Fest brings yet another parade and lots of open-air festivities to the city’s streets in October (canceled this year due to the global pandemic). A variety of gay-owned and gay-friendly hotels also roll out the welcome mat for LGBTQ+ visitors — including the male-only Island House and Equator Resort hotels, as well as Alexander’s Guesthouse and a variety of upscale properties welcoming all travelers. In Key West the rainbow carpet rolls out just about everywhere — even in the streets, where the four corners at the intersection of Duval and Petronia streets boast permanent rainbow crosswalks.
As the vaccine rolls out and travel begins to pick up, it’s time to start dreaming of your next trip. Here’s some destination inspiration for you. Take a visual journey through Panama City with us.
The Sports Industry Awards returned with a bang last night as 200 guests packed the W Hotel Great Ball Room for the gala ceremony.
Boca Raton Resort & Club recently announced a new partnership with Major Food Groups, creating one of the best culinary destinations in the United States. Major Food Groups is the company behind some of the hottest restaurants, including Carbone, The Grill and Parm. This partnership will launch multiple dining concepts as part of the resort's $150 million transformation.
The Franklin London Launches Afternoon Tea Inspired by Victoria & Albert Museum’s “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser”
The Franklin London – Starhotels Collezione, located in the heart of Knightsbridge, launched a new afternoon tea inspired by the “Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser” exhibit at the nearby Victoria & Albert Museum. Diners booking the tea also have the option to book an offer including a pre-reserved ticket to the in-demand exhibition.
Pride Month is in full swing and to celebrate the community, make a colorful cocktail everyone will enjoy. These colorful ingredients will get the party started during Pride or any time of the year. Start this recipe the night before to create the rainbow ice cubes.
Hotel San Luis Obispo partners with Harmony Cellars for the SLO in Harmony offer. The offer includes 15 percent off a two-night stay Sunday–Thursday, a complimentary wine tasting for two at Harmony Cellars, club member discounts at the winery for the day and the opportunity to explore the town of Harmony, California, population of 18 and located 30 miles from San Luis Obispo. Book online.
The biggest names in the Middle East sporting community will gather for the Sports Industry Awards as the event returns for its eighth edition. SPIA recognizes the achievements of individuals, organizations, facilities and campaigns that contributed to the development of sport in the region.
Enjoy additional perks at Westin Resort & Spa Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, with the Vitamin Sea, D & Me offer. Rates begin at $130 per night, including complimentary breakfast daily, a healthy starter at Arrecifes Restaurant, one poke bowl and one drink at El Palmar Restaurant. The use of one beachside pergola per stay is also included. The offer is valid on stays through Dec. 21, and use code S5706 to book.