Top honeymoon spots for gay couples

JENNIFER POLLAND
Last updated 13:18 12/09/2013

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We asked travel experts to weigh in on what they think will be the hottest honeymoon destinations for newly married gay couples.

And while honeymooners may want to avoid places like Russia, which passed severe anti-gay laws that will even impact gay foreign tourists, there are plenty of awesome destinations that are just waiting to welcome gay newlywed couples with open arms.

Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Located at the very tip of Cape Cod, Provincetown is a charming resort town that has been drawing in gay travellers for years.

'This is a gay Mecca, which makes it an obvious choice for gay honeymooners,' Pauline Frommer, the publisher of Frommers.com, said. 'It's famous for drag shows, restaurants, and a vibrant gay community that's been there for decades.'

The town is chock-full of quaint guest houses, elegant restaurants, and has access to the incredible beaches of the Cape Cod National Seashore.

'Massachusetts was one of the first states to allow same-sex marriage in the U.S., and right away wedding bells were ringing in Provincetown,' Ed Salvato, the editor in chief of gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld, said. 'It has all the tourism infrastructure and the tolerance - no, the celebration of diversity.'

There are dozens of charming gay-friendly guesthouses and inns, but the Crown Point Historic Inn & Spa and Surfside Hotel & Suites offer exclusive romance and honeymoon packages.

Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv has been billing itself as a gay-friendly destination for a while now, doing its best to lure in gay tourists from around the world.

But it really cemented its reputation as a gay travel destination last month, when France's first married gay couple chose to honeymoon in the Israeli beach city - an event which was documented by multiple news publications.

France's first married gay couple stayed at the Diaghilev Live Art Hotel, a sleek design boutique hotel.

'Israel has a very open and large gay community,' Pauline Frommer said. 'If you've ever wanted to travel to the Middle East, it's a cosmopolitan, fascinating city. It has fascinating museums, extraordinary restaurants, gay clubs and gay bars. It's very warm and welcoming to gay couples.'

Frommer added that gay couples may want to take a side trip to Jerusalem, but may have to keep their relationships under wraps there since the ancient city is so religious.

Napa and Sonoma, California

Between the miles of pristine vineyards and the great food and wine that often accompanies it, there's something incredibly romantic about wine country.

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And California's wine country has plenty to celebrate this year, with the Supreme Court ruling that overturned Proposition 8 and made same-sex marriage legal within the state.

'With its abundance of wine, winery tours, and unique bed and breakfast getaways, this area is quickly becoming a popular destination,' Mark Novak, president of HotelCoupons.com, said. 'It is also very close to San Francisco which has long been a very friendly city to the LGBT community. The area recently celebrated the DOMA decision at its annual Gay Days celebration with an expected 40% increase in attendance.'

Honeymooners will want to sip the region's delicious wines, explore quaint towns like St. Helena and Yountville, stay at a charming bed and breakfast like The Inn on First in downtown Napa Valley, take the wine train, and just relax with their new husbands or wives.

Hawaii

Hawaii is the quintessential honeymoon destination for both gay and straight couples for good reason.

Most couples opt to spend a few days in Honolulu, taking advantage of the active bars and restaurants there, before flying on to a more secluded island, like Kauai or Maui.

'Most of the major hotels in Hawaii offer union ceremonies and honeymoon packages for same-sex couples,' Salvato said. 'It's part of the whole Aloha mindset, but it's also just good business.'

Honeymooners may want to stay in gay-friendly luxury hotels like the Grand Hyatt in Kauai, the Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort, and the Royal Hawaiian--dubbed 'the pink palace', in Waikiki. Another good option is one of the Aqua Hotels & Resorts, a gay-friendly Hawaii-based boutique hotel chain with properties all over the state.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is a sexy sultry destination with great beaches, fantastic restaurants, and a hopping gay (and straight) nightlife scene.

'Rio is just a fabulous place to go,' Frommer said. 'The beach scene is extraordinary because it's not just people laying on the beach. People live their whole lives on the beach: You can get massages, have people cook meals for you right on the beach, go paragliding. It's just an open, welcoming vibrant community that has the most beautiful people in the world both physically and emotionally.'

In Rio, gay honeymooners may want to opt for the Copacabana Palace, an Art Deco landmark just steps away from Rio's Copacabana beach.

Las Vegas, Nevada

Vegas may be known as 'sin city,' but it also makes for a great honeymoon spot. The shows, restaurants, hotels, and more mean that honeymooners will never be bored.

'Most major hotels and resorts are friendly towards the LGBT community,' Mark Novak, president of HotelCoupons.com, said. 'Honeymooners tend to enjoy vacationing at Mandalay Bay and/or around the Paradise Road/Hard Rock Casino area. There are also plenty of gay only resorts like The Blue Moon. The nightclubs and shows are also what help make this a popular destination.'

France

France just legalized gay marriage but the country has been a gay-friendly destination for years.

With its picturesque Hausmann-style architecture and its romantic parks and quays, Paris is the most obvious choice for a quintessential honeymoon in France.

'Paris is the most beautiful city on earth,' Ed Salvato, the editor in chief of gay travel magazine ManAboutWorld, said. 'Every corner is romantic: You walk down the street, and the scene looks like it's from a Hollywood movie.'

Salvato also added that the French tourism industry is accustomed to catering to gay travellers and that it's a very gay-friendly destination.

Salvato recommended several gay-friendly hotels in Paris for honeymooners: Le Pavillon des Lettres, the Four Seasons George V, and the Hotel Daniel.

Paris is wonderful, but there are plenty of other secluded honeymoon spots in the country too. Mark Thompson, the founder and editor of MRNY Style & Travel, said that a smaller city like Reims, the home of champagne, is a great alternative to Paris.

'What could be more appropriate for a honeymoon than a respite in the land of bubbles and celebration? There's even a castle,' Thompson said.

San Francisco, California

Now that DOMA is dead and Proposition 8 (the California law that banned gay marriage) is overturned, California is ripe for gay weddings, and honeymoons.

And naturally, San Francisco, the epicentre of the gay community in California, is the place where many of those celebrations will take place.

'I just left a conference in San Francisco as their annual Gay Days celebration was kicking off and they said they were expecting more than a million people this year vs. the 600, 000 last year because of the ruling,' Novak said.

The city has world-class restaurants, hotels, and shops, ensuring that honeymooners will have plenty to keep them busy.

Argentina

Argentina is extremely gay-friendly, as it's the first and only country in South America to legalise same-sex marriage.

The country's capital, Buenos Aires, is a sensuous and stylish city that's ideal for a honeymoon.

Honeymooners will enjoy exploring the charming cafes and antique shops in the San Telmo neighbourhood, eating steak and drinking malbec at a parilla, and dancing tango at one of the city's many clubs.

But Mark Thompson, founder and editor of MRNY Style & Travel, recommends that honeymooners also spend a few days in Iguazu Falls, a spectacular 1.7-mile-wide waterfall that borders Argentina and Brazil.

'Skip Niagara Falls for the honeymoon and head instead to South America for the Big Daddy of waterfalls,' Thompson said. 'As Eleanor Roosevelt said upon first glimpsing Iguazu, 'Oh, poor Niagara.''

Thompson recommended the Posada Puerto Bemberg for a romantic retreat near the falls.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Canada is known for its friendly people, its beautiful countryside, and its easygoing liberal laws--and that makes for an appealing honeymoon.

'Known for its liberal laws and one of the most progressive friendly tourist bureaus on the planet, this clean city with lots to do offers a great honeymoon destination.' HotelCoupons.com president Mark Novak said.

The Fairmont Pacific Rim is a gay-friendly luxury hotel in downtown Vancouver that's perfect for a honeymoon.

Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is a resort city on the Pacific coast of Mexico with great waves for surfing, an old Spanish feel, and a thriving LGBT scene. The city has several gay hotels, like the Hotel Mercurio.

However, Punta Mita, a quiet resort city about an hour drive from Puerto Vallarta, may be a better alternative for honeymooners, according to Salvato.

'Puerto Vallarta is extremely gay popular, but it may not be conducive to a honeymoon because you don't want your new husband to get picked up at a bar the first night,' Salvato said.

'Instead, couples might want to stay at a more secluded resort like the Four Seasons Punta Mita, which is right nearby.'

Key West, Florida

Key West, Florida, embodies the vibe of the Caribbean with turquoise waters teeming with marine life, fresh seafood, and a laid-back attitude.

'Commonly known for its acceptance and embrace of the gay community, Key West offers beaches, sun, a lively bar scene and many shows making it a popular destination,' Novak said.

Newly married gay couples may want to stay in one of the charming gay-friendly guest houses, like Alexander's Guesthouse, Pearl's Key West, and Old Town Manor.

Or opt for a bigger hotel like the Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa, which has luxurious rooms with balconies and gay-centred activities like gay trolley rides and drag shows.

- Business Insider

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