LGBT Honeymoon Ideas
Where in the world can gay and lesbian couples book a fabulous honeymoon to remember? Following the legalisation of same-sex marriage in England and Wales, there are currently 7,000 same-sex couples that enter into a civil partnership each year, according to the Office for National Statistics.
ABTA – The Travel Association, recently revealed some top spots for gay and lesbian honeymoons, including long established LGBT-friendly destinations such as Brighton, the Greek Islands, Miami and Sydney, as well as newer favourites such as Puerto Vallarta and Tel Aviv. The organisation has also identified up-and-coming destinations such as Montpellier in France and Florianopolis in Brazil.
Peter McGraith and David Cabrezza were amongst the first gay couples to get married in England, on 29 March 2014. Peter said: “In many destinations, being on holiday or being on honeymoon as a gay couple will be trouble free. But, there are certain places and certain situations that LGBT couples and newlyweds should be aware of when they are travelling, from the point of view of safety as well to ensure that they enjoy the best possible experience. We would urge all couples to do their research and where possible to consider using hotels that advertise to LGBT people.”
John Tanzella, chief executive of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, said: “It is encouraging to see LGBT marriage and honeymoons on the rise globally. As LGBT rights increase around the world, we’ll see more and more destinations embracing this sizable market.”
Here are my recommendations:
New York City
New York is the birthplace of the Gay Pride movement and same-sex marriage was legalised in 2011, so it’s a very inclusive place. While significant pockets of gay-friendly destinations exist in the East Village, Park Slope, Williamsburg and elsewhere, a short trip to the City is best spent in the swath of western Manhattan that stretches from historic Christopher Street in the West Village up through the Theatre District and Hell’s Kitchen.
The Out NYC is a gay, straight-friendly hotel in Hell’s Kitchen with sleek and chic, minimalist black-and-white rooms and suites. Just outside the rooms are exterior courtyards styled in wood, grass and black bamboo. The Out is anchored by a 14,000 square-foot entertainment venue called XL Night Club – lounge, cabaret and club. Doubles from £150 per night.
Chelsea Pines Inn is run by a gay couple and another very comfortable place for honeymooners. This charming 23-room urban bed & breakfast is located in the hottest area in town, where Chelsea meets Greenwich Village and the Meatpacking District. The décor features more than 300 vintage film posters from the owner’s personal collection. Doubles from £155 a night.
Palm Springs is a fabulous honeymoon destination for same sex couples, boasting the largest collection of LGBT resorts in the United States including nearly 30 gay and lesbian-owned and/or operated resorts and guesthouses. The tourist board even has a website dedicated to same sex couples and to celebrate California’s new same-sex marriage laws last year, it included many gay details on its website about getting married in Palm Springs.
Designed in a modern interpretation of the Hollywood Regency style, the Viceroy Palm Springs is very gay-friendly and attracts an upscale clientele. The resort has luxury rooms and private villas set around three courtyards, surrounded by gardens and citrus trees.
For packages to Palm Springs, we recommend THG Holidays.
The French capital is an iconic honeymoon destination for gay and straight couples. It’s home to a thriving LGBT community and has even had an openly gay mayor, Bertrand Delanoe. The Buddha Bar Hotel (pictured above) is a new member of Preferred Hotel Group’s Preferred Pride collection.
This restored 18th-Century townhouse was once home to the court member in charge of the King’s “Menus-Plaisirs” and is centrally located in the 8th Arrondissement – a prestigious area famous for its landmarks and luxury shopping. Gay honeymooners enjoying this discreet, yet dazzling 56-room hotel will find a bottle of champagne waiting for them in room. Doubles from £193 per night.
The Cancun International Gay Festival takes place in May each year. With a host of gay clubs scattered around town, as well as gay-friendly straight bars, Cancun is ideal those wanting to paint the town pink on their honeymoon. For those wanting to relax, there are plenty of beautiful (and gay-friendly) beaches nearby.
If you like spectacular beaches, music and partying, head to the Hard Rock Hotel Cancún which is set on a spectacular beach.
Salt Spring Island, British Columbia
Salt Spring Island is part of a small archipelago in British Columbia’s Strait of Georgia and is one of Canada’s favourite destinations among the gay community. It’s a haven for artsy and outdoorsy types and throughout this wooded, hilly island you’ll find artists’ studios, fine beaches, hiking and biking terrain, organic restaurants and cafes, and fishing and boating opportunities.
Gay-owned, mid-priced Birdsong B&B is one of the most inviting accommodations on the island. Seven nights costs from £329 per person with breakfast. Visit the website of Salt Spring Island’s Gay and Lesbian association.
Despite being a deeply religious country and not having any specific gay-only hotels, Brazil is a key destination for the LGBT market with a wide range of gay-friendly hotels across the country.
Rio de Janeiro in particular has a huge gay scene with certain parts of Ipanema beach having well known areas for the gay community, across the road from perhaps the most exclusive gay friendly hotel in Brazil, the super stylish Hotel Fasano (pictured above) which is a regular haunt for international celebrities designed by Phillipe Starck, with an amazing rooftop infinity pool. All rooms have private balconies, separated by mirrored screens.
Check out Dehouche which is based in Brazil and can organise bespoke luxury tours and honeymoons.
InsideJapan Tours creates honeymoons and trips for many same sex couples that want to discover the welcoming but very different Japanese culture. Many hotels across Japan have signed up to an “LGBT friendly association” who then actively promote themselves as gay friendly hotels.
In 2012, Disney Tokyo began offering same-sex weddings at their resorts and more recently, the Granvia Hotel in Kyoto began promoting traditional wedding ceremonies for same sex couples at a local shrine.
Tokyo has a vibrant gay scene in Shinjuku Ni-Chome district and many of the other main cities in Japan also have a buzzing gay scene. Over the years the Tokyo gay pride festivals have also become more prominent and April 2014 saw the launch of “Tokyo Rainbow Week” celebrating gay pride and a number of festivals.
InsideJapan Tours tailors honeymoons for same sex couples in order for them to get the most out of this unique country and culture. It can even organise for gay guides in Tokyo and Osaka or a tour of Ni-chome with one of Tokyo’s most famous drag queens?
InsideJapan Tours offers a 13-night honeymoon from £2,459 per person including accommodation, all transport and transfers, domestic flights, private guiding in Tokyo, breakfast and two evening meals.
One of Milan’s finest hotels is the Hotel Principe di Savoia, a member of the Dorchester Collection, overlooking the Piazza della Repubblica and close to the designer district. Check out its “Milan-O-Man” luxury package for male couples.
Cape Town is probably the most gay-friendly place in Africa, and offers great beaches, stylish cafes and shopping. Combine Cape Town with a safari experience and find stylish gay-run hotels along the Garden Route and into the Winelands. There are also gay-friendly safari lodges in Sabi Sands, or the non-malarial Madikwe north west of Johannesburg.
In Cape Town stay at the stylish Kensington Place, on the slopes of Table Mountain. In the Winelands, Babylonstoren is a beautifully restored Cape Dutch working farm that is owned and managed by the former editor of South African Elle Decoration. For a really memorable honeymoon safari experience Simbambili Game Lodge in Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is famed for its large cat sightings and is a peaceful riverside lodge with a pampering spa, private plunge pools in each room and plenty of game viewing opportunities.
We recommend Rainbow Tours – named for the anti-apartheid movement, but equally at home with the pink economy. Its two-week Safari, Cape Town and Mauritius tour starts from £3,250 per person and includes stays in Cape Town, the Sabi Sands Reserve, Johannesburg and six nights on the beach in Mauritius.
In the Spanish resort of Malaga, Almohalla 51 (pictured above) is a small, privately owned boutique hotel with just five bedrooms, approximately 45 minutes from Málaga airport in the old quarter of a small town called Archidona.
It’s ideally situated for visiting the major sights of Andalucía (within an hour of Granada, Málaga and Córdoba, and 80 minutes from Seville), and a perfect hideaway with roaring fires in the winter and an intimate terrace with swimming pool and shaded areas for the long hot summers.
The hotel is adult-only and owned and run by Myles and David, a gay couple. A three-night package including dinner and wine on one evening, a bottle of cava and chocolates on arrival and breakfast costs from €350 for couple.
Last updated: 22 February 2017
* Photos courtesy of Palm Springs Bureau of Tourism