Choosing a travel destination requires a lot of thought and planning. As much as some places may be beautiful and attractive, they may not be as friendly or accommodating to certain groups such as members of the LGBTQIA+, black people and solo female travellers.
Some countries have strict laws. For instance, anyone travelling to Qatar for the Fifa World Cup 2022 should be aware that the conservative country doesn’t allow sex outside of marriage.
Those caught having sex outside of marriage could face a jail sentence of up to seven years. The Middle Eastern Arab country has also put a ban on the serving of alcohol outside of restaurants, men and women showing affection in public and anyone wearing revealing clothing.
According to gaytravel.com, Tanzania is not a great gay destination because the prevailing laws criminalise homosexuality, even though they hardly ever enforce these laws.
In April 2022, Zanzibar’s tourism department was rocked by negative publicity when a 23-year-old Nigerian female solo traveller, Zainab Oladehinde, took to Twitter and opened up on how she was sexually assaulted at Warere Beach Hotel in Nungwi.
The young lady shared her traumatic experience and how the country’s police dragged their feet in helping her with her case.
On the back of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month, which is celebrated every year in June to honour the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, we’ve put together a list of the Top 6 LGBTQIA+-friendly luxury hotels in the world.
W Amsterdam (Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Amsterdam has been named as one of the world’s most gay-friendly cities in the world so it comes as no surprise that the W Amsterdam is our first pick.
Amsterdam has many gay bars, bathhouses and hotels, and W Amsterdam is one of those. The hotel is split across two buildings, a former telephone exchange building and a bank.
The hotel mixes heritage with contemporary style. The cheapest rate at the hotel is €706 (R12 896) per night.
Hotel De Nell (Paris, France)
Paris has an active LGBTQIA+ community and as of 2004, the capital of France had 140 gay bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants, shops and commercial entities.
Hotel De Nell was designed by French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. The hotel boasts a luxury spa, Nuxe Spa, and has a restaurant, bar and cellar on site.
A booking will cost you anywhere between €432 to €636.
The West Hollywood EDITION (California, USA)
The West Hollywood EDITION describes itself as the new generation of luxury. The hotel on West Sunset Boulevard partnered with the world’s greatest LGBTQ Tastemakers hosting parties in honour of Pride Month 2022.
The hotel boasts 140 guest rooms, 48 suites and 2 penthouses. It has a signature restaurant, lobby lounge, basement club and rooftop pool. The hotel also has an exclusive luxury spa that focuses on wellness, mindfulness and beauty from within.
The price for accommodation starts at $558 a night.
Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux (Malta)
Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux is a five-star boutique hotel in the heart of Mdina in Malta.
Malta is one of the few countries in the world to have made LGBTQIA+ rights equal at constitutional level. The US Department of State has listed Malta as a safe environment for gay travellers and Malta is the 10th-safest country in the world for LGBTQIA+ people, according to the LGBT+ Danger Index.
The hotel has retained its Michelin Star for the third consecutive year at The de Mondion Restaurant. According to the hotel, the timeless design of the Xara Palace Relais & Chateaux is a pure expression of luxury, elegance and style.
The starting price for a room at the place is €413 per night.
Myconian Naia Resort (Mykonos, Greece)
According to queerintheworld.com, Mykonos is one of the world’s most infamous epicentres of gay culture and nightlife.
The Greek island on the Aegean Sea is known as a fabulous playground, especially during the XISIOR Mykonos International Summer Gay Festival.
Myconian Naia Resort has 18 luxury suites that are superbly designed. It boasts beautiful views, which is what the Greek Mediterranean island is famous for. Some of the suites have private pools and like all luxury hotels, the hotel also has a spa.
The hotel is popular among tourists and is fully booked out for July. The lowest rate available for a stay at the hotel is €3780.
Avani+ Samui Resort (Koh Samui, Thailand)
According to worldnomads.com, Thailand is one of Asia’s most LGBTQIA+-friendly nations. The country is making steps towards approving same-sex civil partnerships and has a thriving transgender community.
Thailand is known to be more accepting of gay tourists; however, transgender residents in Thailand still face injustices and obstacles and are sometimes discriminated against in education, recruitment and the work place.
Koh Samui Resort has been listed by Conde Nast Traveller as one of Thailand’s Top 20 Resorts. The resort has been named as the Best Hotel in Asia by The Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and is South East Asia’s Best New Hotel.
As part of Pride Month celebrations, Avani +Samui hosted a pool party to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. The hotel has stunning views and one can have breakfast in bed while dipping their toes in the pool.
The two-bedroom beachfront villa costs around R4 271.
Wherever you do decide to go, always make sure that your safety is guaranteed and that you follow the laws of that country.
Make sure that you notify your country’s embassy and that you have the details of your embassy in that country just as a measure of caution.
Always communicate with friends and family on your whereabouts and how you’re moving because the world is now generally a volatile place and situations can change overnight. Have fun in a responsible way.
Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digimag here.