A RECENT ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN by the San Francisco Travel Association carried a rather attention-getting line: “San Francisco’s gay neighborhood is called San Francisco.” And that pretty much sums up the appeal of this city by the bay with LGBTQ travelers.
“San Francisco has been ground zero for much of the struggle for LGBTQ rights,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO, San Francisco Travel Association. “This is the birthplace of the rainbow flag and the AIDS Memorial Quilt. San Francisco was the first city in the nation to recognize same-sex marriage and hosts the largest Pride Festival in the nation. In 1977 Harvey Milk became the first openly gay elected official.”
Indeed, San Francisco has lots to offer LGBTQ travelers. D’Alessandro’s advice to visitors: “First of all, relax. You are in the most gay-friendly city in the world. Here, individuality is celebrated, so experience being in the company of the most diverse and creative community around.”
The San Francisco Travel site offers a variety of LGBTQ itineraries and recommendations to satisfy different types of travelers, from foodies to fashionistas. The most legendary neighborhood for the LGBTQ community, of course, is the Castro, one of the nation’s first true gay neighborhoods. It’s still a great place for a drink or a night out, and it’s also home to the GLBT History Museum, which documents the struggle for equality.
In addition to the annual pride event, which takes place at the end of June, San Francisco also hosts several other popular annual LGBTQ festivals, including the Folsom Street Fair, billed as “the world’s largest leather event,” in September, and the Frameline LGBTQ Film Festival, which brings a variety of noteworthy films to local screens in June.
As the tourism office loves to proclaim, everything in San Francisco is gay-friendly. But if you’re looking for small-scale, gay-owned accommodations, one of the best choices is the Parker Guest House, a 21-room hotel located in the Castro, with lovely Edwardian architecture and tastefully decorated guestrooms. For larger-scale luxury, the Grand Hyatt San Francisco and Hyatt Regency San Francisco are both members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association. San Francisco-based Joie de Vivre Hotels is another good gay-friendly option with several properties in the city, including Hotel Rex, a centrally located Union Square hotel graced with contemporary art, and the hip Phoenix Hotel, located in the Tenderloin district. In San Francisco, as the slogan implies, you’re staying in a gay area no matter where you are.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Climbing along the coast, I was trying to snap pictures of the cool-blue Puerto Vallarta waters outside my car window (I know, it never works) when we started winding along stone walls draped in jungle-like foliage. Annoyed my view was blocked, I looked around to see where we were just as we were parking at Hotel Mousai — I audibly gasped. The all-glass, chic and incredibly grand entrance was so well-secluded, it somehow snuck up on me.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
Emirates added Seychelles (SEZ) to its list of recent flight resumptions, including Stockholm (ARN) and beefing up services to the Maldives (MLE). Emirates resumed Seychelles services Aug. 1, alongside the country’s re-opening to international tourists.
ARRIVAL/CHECK-IN: Arriving in Singapore is an easy affair as there are plenty of taxis for the 15-minute ride from Changi Airport, with little traffic. Coming into the circular drive of the famed Raffles hotel, you take in the view of this historic 1887 property. The equally famed doormen, dressed in traditional Sikh livery, greet guests and help with any requests.
Though air travel slowed as airports temporarily closed and borders shuttered to stifle the spread of coronavirus, the airline industry — led by oneworld alliance member airlines — enacted enhanced protective measures to reduce risk and protect passengers.
The United Arab Emirates announced all inbound travelers are required to carry proof of a negative COVID-19 test to show upon arrival. This requirement will be upheld by all the country’s airports and applies to residents and tourists alike.
Take Five at Saint Lucia’s famed Jade Mountain. The resort’s deal allows guests booking the signature Sky, Star or Moon sanctuary to receive their fifth night free, an offer valued at a savings of more than $1,200. The offer is valid for travel through Dec. 19. Learn more and book.
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Looking for a romantic getaway? At Couples Resorts in Jamaica, travelers can earn up to $500 in instant cash credits when booking a stay of five nights or more with the Couples Comeback offer. The offer is valid at all properties for bookings through Sept. 30. Travel by Aug. 31 for $500 in cash credits and Sept. 1–Dec. 24 for $400 in cash credits. Guests who provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will receive a $100 resort credit. Book online.