What’s Gay in Miami?

Author: , March 9th, 2015

MiamiThere’s nothing like the feeling of stepping off a plane after having traveled from some godforsaken winter tundra gripped by the polar vortex into the warm, tropical air of Miami.

If you’ve been coming to South Beach for more than two decades, from the time it first exploded with nightclubs like Paragon, Warsaw, Amnesia, and Salvation, you’ll realize that South Beach and Miami, while they may not be the wild gay nightlife arenas they once were, appear to be maturing culturally, with new cultural venues and neighborhoods. South Beach, known for its art deco architecture, is seeing a boom in restoration projects. North Miami Beach is seeing a huge surge in growth. There is still nightlife, but it’s broadening. And there is so much more.

Since many of you — our Towleroad readers — live in Miami full time, or part time, or visit on a frequent basis, we surveyed you and examined dozens of replies in which you told us your favorite restaurants, bars, nightclubs, hotels, beaches, and cultural destinations and compiled them into this ultimate guide to what’s happening right now. We’ve also made a few tweaks of our own based on our last few visits. Thanks to all who participated!

We’ve taken what you told us and created a snapshot which should be useful if you’re heading to Miami this week for the Winter Party Festival (today through the 9th) or any time in the near future. We’ll be adding to this and we hope that you’ll chime in and offer more useful advice in the comments.

By Andy Towle – Full Story at Towleroad.com | Miami Gay Travel Resources | | Miami Beach Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: South Florida

Author: , December 26th, 2014

Miami BeachSouth Florida continues to establish itself as an exciting food destination with an ever-expanding selection of styles and cuisines. The annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival (www.sobefest.com) is certainly an indication of the passion people have for fine food here, but a visit to some of the newer establishments in the region will motivate you to return regularly.

For years, when anyone talked about food and Miami they generally meant South Beach. The resurgence of that neighborhood has been endlessly chronicled and it remains a fun, desirable destination. Recently, however, downtown Miami is quite rightfully getting a lot of attention. Culturally alive, with revamped hotels and new restaurants, downtown Miami is a hip, urban destination for the savvy traveler who wants more than just a typical beach vacation.

Smack in the center of it all is the comparatively new b2 Miami Downtown hotel. (Tel: 305-358-4555. www.bhotelsandresorts.com). Smartly appointed with a chic contemporary flair, the hotel is centrally located and the perfect jumping-off place for exploring some of the new restaurants in the downtown area.

By Tim Pinckney – Full Story at Passport Magazine | in Florida Gay Travel Resources

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: The Party of the Decade

Author: , December 19th, 2014

Naomi

IMG_6169In our many years of traveling and meeting people we recently attended THE PARTY OF THE DECADE in South Beach, Florida.

Our dear friend, Naomi Wilzig, owner of the World Erotic Art Museum, www.weam.com celebrated her 80th Birthday with a “Beyond Fabulous” Birthday Party at the opulent and beautiful Miami Grand Theater.

IMG_1785Over 300 invited guests from Florida, New York, Canada, Israel and all over the country attended the lavish affair.

From the moment we arrived in the limousine to the time we left (and all the guests were given a gift when they left), it was an incredible experience of a lifetime!

IMG_1794Naomi sat in her throne chair while greeting the guests wearing her fabulous French beaded embroidered tulle gold gown which was designed by Belinda’s Designs of South Beach,  www.belindasdesigns.net. Belinda’s Designs creates the finest of Haute Couture for the rich and famous all over the world.

They created a very special gown for Naomi which was the talk of the party.

Upon entering the main ballroom, the orchestra was providing beautiful music. Men and women in costumes on stilts were walking thru the crowds of guests. Ladies in bird cages were dancing. The event started with hors d’oeuvres including French Champagne and Russian Caviar.

IMG_1795For an hour and a half guests mingled and enjoyed visiting with Naomi and meeting new people and seeing old friends.

Among the old friends we saw there were Sharon Greenfelt- Kersten and Michael Gongora, who we hope will be running for Mayor next time around. New friends we met were the utterly FABULOUS Teri and Dan Kovac from Las Vegas, (she is the niece of Mel Haber, our dear friend who owns the Ingleside Inn and Melvyn’s Restaurant in Palm Springs), the Three Graces from Philadelphia (Elyse Karol, Lindsay Blank, Kate Popejoy) who were delightful as well as beautiful!

IMG_1801Also the handsome Jonathan from New York City, Naomi’s children, Sir Ivan, Alan and her very charming daughter, Sherry. Geovanni and Ruben are special guys as well. They both personify all that is good in South Beach and VERY handsome as well..

As we have always said, “Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone! It does pay off!

After cocktails everyone moved to the IMG_6161main showroom and was greeted by servers handing out more French Champagne.

After being seated, hors d’oeuvres including Tapas fashioned with grouper, steak, duck and short ribs and ended with a fantastic variety of pastries and French macaroons and then of course the French Champagne was flowing all night.

IMG_6174The entertainment then began with Naomi’s Can Can Club which was right out of Paris. Erika Moon showcased her Burlesque revue, “Burlesque Magnifique” was yet another fabulous over the top experience for the evening. It was indeed a very special night not only for our dear friend Naomi but it was a very special and unforgettable evening for the more than 300 guests attending the party and will be something that we all will cherish and remember forever.

Miami Beach officials awarded Naomi the Key to the City in 2006 and five years later proclaimed a Naomi Wilzig Day. In 2011, she was voted Person of the Year by the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

IMG_6176Our dear friend Naomi Wilzig is always standing up for the Gay community as well as all communities. She is truly a remarkable person and we are honored to be included as her friends. Congratulations on your 80th Birthday dear friend and we can’t wait for your 85th Birthday Party! Your 80th Birthday Party was indeed, the PARTY OF THE DECADE!

We made a lot of new friends at the party that we will be in contact with again. If only everybody could be as nice and caring as Naomi, this world would indeed be in a much better way.

IMG_6177Asking Naomi what her favorite song was, she replied, “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn, is just to love an be loved in return” from the song, “Nature Boy” and we could agree more! Happy Birthday dear friend!

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

Donald and RayTRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/

Miami Beach Gets Its Pride on This Weekend

Author: , April 11th, 2014

Miami Beach Gay PridePeople from all over Florida are looking forward to the state’s fastest-growing gay pride celebration. Miami Beach Gay Pride, now celebrating its sixth year, will be putting on an elaborate parade and festival with lively musical accompaniment. All that happens on Sunday, April 13. But there is an entire weekend chock full of events for you to enjoy!

Miami Beach Gay Pride was the brainchild of former mayor Matti Bower, who organized the event as an initiative of the city’s Gay Business Development Council. When the first pride was held in 2009, the city estimated that about 15,000 people came out to participate in this new event.

Since then, Miami Beach Gay Pride has grown exponentially, from a day to a whole weekend. Last year, over 80,000 people participated in the Pride parade and festival, bringing in people not just from Florida, but tourists from all over the world who heard about the thriving and successful celebrations. There were 1,200 walkers and 66 different floats alone in last year’s parade.

Authored By Mike Halterman – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami.

Aqua Girl Returns to Miami in May

Author: , March 17th, 2014

Aqua Girl - MiamiIt sounds like a pool party for women who love women, but it’s actually 8 days of events in Miami Beach hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, from 10-18 May. And it happens to be the largest charity women’s week in America, if not the world.

In 2000, Aqua Girl was born. The goal was to create a dynamic national fundraising weekend celebrating women and the issues that affect them. Women descended on Miami from all over the world and the first year of this spectacular weekend of events was a huge success.

See the Full Story at Rainbow Tourism

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami.

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.

Are Times Changing for South Florida Gay Hotels?

Author: , March 13th, 2014

Heron House key West

Heron House key West

Guesthouses in South Florida: is it a sign of changing times in the industry? One of America’s most famous, or perhaps infamous, gay spots is for sale, and others are (gasp!) going mainstream to attract a broader clientele.

The biggest shake-up comes from Key West, with the news that Island House in Key West is now for sale, less than a year after the death of co-owner Martin Kay.

Joe Allen, who still owns the resort currently, opened Island House in 1976 with Kay. Allen sent an email to his entire mailing list that included the following:

“I think I can say without boast that we created at Island House a unique place, a safe and happy space for thousands of gay men to meet, to eat and drink, to make merry. I’m proud of that, but more important in this context, Island House is successful and profitable operation. I’m confident that its new owner will operate it as a gay men’s resort. It has higher ADR’s and occupancy than any comparable property in Old Town. There’s no good reason to change its model. It’s a success,” wrote Allen.

Island House has become the focal point for much of Key West’s LGBT community, as other smaller resorts on the island have become mainstream guesthouses. The restaurant is a popular meeting place for locals to have breakfast, and drag shows by the pool are common (as is sex on the upper outdoor deck and in the hotel’s porn theater).

Authored By Dan Renzi – See the Full Story at Gay Cities

Click here for gay travel resources in Florida.

Miami Beach Gay Pride Coming in April

Author: , March 11th, 2014

Miami Beach Gay PrideMiami Beach Gay Pride is an extraordinary two-day event that features a Beach Party and a Festival & Parade with more than 125 LGBT-friendly vendors and businesses, exciting celebrities, musical performances, refreshments, food and a family-friendly play area.

Starting at 12pm on April 13, the length of Ocean Drive along the Art Deco district will be closed to traffic and open wide to our proud South Florida lesbian, gay, bi, and transgender families, our friends, co-workers and allies- along with Pride sponsor organizations, groups and businesses.

Miami Beach Gay Pride brings together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, their friends, allies, and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBT community.

Miami Beach gay pride runs from 4/11-4/13.

Authored By Kelly Riker – See the Full Story at Seasons of Pride

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami.

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.

Miami on a Budget

Author: , February 21st, 2014

South Beach, Miami Gay TravelWith a reputation for glamor and parties, it’s not surprising that a trip to Miami can be hard on your wallet; those cocktails and cover charges add up. However, with just a few adjustments, you can save yourself a few dollars without missing out on the fun. Here’s how.

Know (and Avoid) Peak Travel Times

Miami is busiest from January to April when the rest of the country is suffering through winter. In other seasons, the beaches are just as inviting (and less crowded), and prices are usually lower. For example, one of Miami’s chicest properties, the Epic Hotel is offering rates starting at $440 per night in February but come July, the rate goes down to $230. Similarly, starting rates at the Delano South Beach go from $526 in February to $348 in July.

It also goes without saying that, unless you have your heart set on attending, you’d best avoid Miami during high-profile events, such as Art Basel (December 4 – 7) or the Winter Music Conference (March 21 – 30), when affordable hotel rooms are rare.

Authored By Karen Gardiner Dion – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami.

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.

Another “Straight Friendly” Hotel to Open in Miami Beach

Author: , February 4th, 2014

Hotel Gaythering Miami BeachAfter years of rumors, Hotel Gaythering is opening in South Beach, as the island’s only “straight-friendly gay hotel.” Located at 1409 Lincoln Rd., the hotel looks cool in the photos of the darkly decorated rooms, which are staged with models wearing spooky rabbit masks designed by local artist Alexander Guerra.

The website lists a long assortment of amenities, including the Self Spa that is free for guests but also available to visitors for a fee. No official opening date has been announced, but on the website rooms can be reserved starting on Feb. 9, for $250-300 per night.

According to the website, Gaythering’s mission is “to nurture impactful experiences and relationships for the LGBT community and others.” This includes complementary rooms for “Gaythering Heroes,” people just going through a difficult time who can’t afford the steep cost of staying at the hotel (which is normal for a decent room in South Beach). How many of these “Gaythering Heroes” will be young men who look enticing in Speedos? We’ll see.

Authored By Dan Renzi – See the Full Story at GayCities

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.

Eating Out in South Florida

Author: , January 26th, 2014

Miami Beach Gay TravelSouth Florida continues to establish itself as an exciting food destination with an ever-expanding selection of styles and cuisines. The annual South Beach Wine and Food Festival (www.sobefest.com) is certainly an indication of the passion people have for fine food here, but a visit to some of the newer establishments in the region will motivate you to return regularly.

For years, when anyone talked about food and Miami they generally meant South Beach. The resurgence of that neighborhood has been endlessly chronicled and it remains a fun, desirable destination. Recently, however, downtown Miami is quite rightfully getting a lot of attention. Culturally alive, with revamped hotels and new restaurants, downtown Miami is a hip, urban destination for the savvy traveler who wants more than just a typical beach vacation.

Smack in the center of it all is the comparatively new b2 Miami Downtown hotel. (Tel: 305-358-4555. www.bhotelsandresorts.com). Smartly appointed with a chic contemporary flair, the hotel is centrally located and the perfect jumping-off place for exploring some of the new restaurants in the downtown area.

Authored By Tom Pickney – See the Full Story at Passport Magazine

Click here for gay travel resources in Miami Beach.