Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

2005 Readers' Choice Awards

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

2005 Readers' Choice Awards

Article excerpt

You spoke, and we listened! Via our online survey, hundreds of you voted for your all-time favorite hotels, cities, bars, cruises, airports--even safaris and best-looking restaurant waitstaff. What emerged was a global picture that proved our readers to be savvy about the queer tourism market, voting gay-welcoming Liberty Travel as Best Mainstream Tour Operator, for instance--and sophisticated world travelers to pick the lesser-known Big Island of Hawaii as Best Island. Don't forget to vote in early 2006 for next year's awards on OutTraveler.com, where you'll find Web finks for our following winners. Congrats to all!

BEST DESTINATIONS

Best Foreign Country

GOLD Italy It surrounds the seat of the papacy in Vatican City, refuses to embrace gay tourism like the rest of Western Europe has, and requires a membership card to visit most of its gay bars--but no matter! The sumptuous food, the chic population, and the monumental (and frequently homoerotic) art all make it one of the gayest places in the world, even if she doesn't know it herself. But Italy is still full of surprises: The Mafia-infested town of Gela in southern Sicily has an out (and Communist) mayor. Viva Italia!

SILVER France Who could resist the country that gave us berets, Bordeaux, and Gigi? France offers only domestic partnerships, but 64% of French people support marriage equality. But of course--the French have never made a puritan fuss over people's sex lives.

BRONZE United Kingdom A trailblazer in LGBT tourism, the United Kingdom has never been afraid of powerful queens and has grown into one of the most out-there parts of Europe.

[BEST ISLAND]

GOLD Big Island of Hawaii Even though the quiet, rural Big Island has the only gay bar in Hawaii outside of Honolulu, three gay-popular beaches, and nearly two dozen gay-owned lodgings, it's known more for its lava-bed landscapes, empty interior, and slow-as-molasses lifestyle. So forget the bright lights of Honolulu--to really get away from it all, this is your fantasy island.

SILVER Puerto Rico & Maul (tie) Out silver winners have both been gay getaways for decades, thanks to Maui's cosmopolitan "Californianized" lifestyle and Puerto Rico's efforts at marketing itself as a gay vacation destination in fact, Puerto Rico now boasts the largest gay scene in the Caribbean.

BRONZE Bali In spite of the devastating impact of the 2002 bombings that continues to affect the island's tourism numbers, Bali is one of the most dream like islands in the world. Its unique Hindu culture is an island of tolerance in the more repressive surrounding islands that make up the rest of Indonesia.

Best Foreign City

GOLD Paris Although lost its 2012 Olympic bid to ancient nemesis London, Paris has reached new heights since out mayor Bertrand Delanoe came into office in 2001, pouring new energy into high-profile arts and social events to carry on the tradition of the simply queer je ne sag quoi that the City of Lights has been known for since the Moulin Rouge-fueled turn of the 20th century

SILVER London Now one of the trendiest (read: gayest) cities in the world, once uptight, slightly homophobic London is an international seat of style, architecture, nightlife, and (believe it or not) fine dining.

BRONZE Amsterdam & Sydney (tie) One is known for tulips, the other for its opera house--how could these two not win gay travel awards? Both are rare global cities where no one hiccups at seeing hand-holding me--although Amsterdam is working hard to maintain its liberal image and Sydney is trying to revive its once-huge Mardi Gras. But neither disappoints.

Best U.S. City

GOLD New York City No matter how often one visits the fabulously frenetic U.S. metropolis, the thrill of playing a part in New York's ever-mutating human experiment never fades. The nexus of the city's rich gay life continues to migrate away from Chelsea and into Hell's Kitchen, Williamsburg, and even Astoria (yes, Queens). …

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