Gay and lesbian couples are looking for the same thing as any other honeymoon couple; a romantic get-away to celebrate their new life together (and having managed not to break up during the wedding planning).
Your interests will often determine the destination for your honeymoon sights. Outdoorsy couples may choose places where those activities are more plentiful. Culture-vultures will likely choose a large city.
Anyplace can be romantic if you match your interests to the locale. Contrary to what many think, the entire honeymoon is not spent in bed (or on the floor, in a tree or shower). If you're an adventurous couple, a less urban destination might be the best choice for you. If you're looking for romance, then a more remote, romantic beach destination might be best. Those who love the nightlife will want to pick a city with many clubs.
Of course, as same sex couples we have other considerations to take into account; not only how welcoming the locale may be, but how safe it is. That rules out North Africa, the Middle East, Russia and parts of the Caribbean. Not exactly hardships, since none of those, except the Caribbean, are known as idyllic honeymoon spots anyway. There are plenty of LGBT friendly Caribbean options, so Bermuda, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are no great loss.
While nearly any place can be paradise if you are in the right state of mind, the following options are certainly among the most popular spots, all you need to do is pick the one that fits your needs.
For Romantics: Paris
The city of romance is one of those spots that looks and feels exactly as you pictured it. If you think Parisians take food and wine seriously, you should see how they are about romance. If it’s culture you’re after there’s plenty of that. There’s a thriving nightlife if you are so inclined, and if you’re not, there are charming bistros and picturesque streets to roam. It’s also a shopping paradise.
The main gay area in Paris is the southwest section of the neighborhood known as Le Marais. Although it is easily reachable from just about anywhere in Paris, with its three Metro stations, you might want to stay in the area. The best place to start is to search the comprehensive list of gay and gay-friendly hotels listed on www.ParisMarais.com,
While Paris is not a cheap city, you can economize on simple pleasures; pick up a bottle of wine, some cheese and bread for a picnic lunch and splurge on dinner, or hit the higher priced restaurants for lunch and dine at inexpensive neighborhood bistros at night, such as Pain Vin Fromage (3 Rue Geoffroy l'Angevin, 01 42 74 07 52). At Monjul (28, rue des Blancs Manteaux) each dish arrives looking like a work of art, and a prix fixe three-course dinner can be had at a very reasonable price (around 29€ or $35, and that includes tip!)
For Sun Worshippers: Caribbean
Many Caribbean islands are LGBT friendly, such as Puerto Rico and Aruba, and given their proximity to South Florida, an inexpensive and convenient option for a honeymoon. Puerto Rico’s Waldorf Astoria-El Conquistador Resort, (ElconResort.com, 787-863-1000), features a honeymoon package which includes; a champagne and chocolate covered strawberry welcome, daily breakfast at Las Brisas Restaurant, an intimate dinner for two at Chops Steakhouse and a 50-minute spa session. Nightly rates start at $199.
Aruba’s Westin Resort & Casino (WestinAruba.com, 866-716-8108) offers a Romance Package starting at $629. The package includes a champagne greeting, daily breakfast buffet, lunch at the Terrace, a choice of four restaurants for dinner, all-inclusive beverages and of course, a room or suite.
Although not technically in the Caribbean, Key West has that same feel. Add in the advantage that you can drive there in a few hours, and it makes for a convenient honeymoon escape. The three hotels that make up the Southernmost Resorts (SouthernMostResorts.com, 800-354-4455) vary from a large hotel to a B&B. It offers a honeymoon package which includes; champagne & strawberries upon arrival, two signature bath robes and rose petals strewn on your bed.
For Party Animals: Las Vegas
Folks tend to think of Las Vegas for bachelor or bachelorette parties, but if you and your intended like to hit dance clubs, shows, gourmet restaurants and casinos, it could be perfect for you. In Vegas it is very easy to get your marriage license and ceremony all in one day, making it a one-stop wedding/honeymoon destination. Most of the major resorts are LGBT friendly and the city’s tourism department has been making a case for Vegas as a same-sex wedding and honeymoon destination.
Traditionally Vegas’ LGBT nightlife has been on Paradise Rd. in an area affectionately called the "Fruit Loop". The Wynn (3131 South Las Vegas Blvd., 702-770-7000, wynnlasvegas.com) is so LGBT welcoming that all hotels have a Pride Concierge program (702-770-LGBT).
For Gourmands: San Francisco/Napa and Sonoma, Calif., U.S
Napa Valley and Sonoma don’t have much of an LGBT party scene, but that’s not what you’re there for, is it? You’re there for the food and wine experience. For nightlife, head to San Francisco. It is the perfect honeymoon getaway if you want it to be just the two of you. Out In The Vineyard (707-495-9732 OutInTheVineyard.com) offers three and six day tours and its signature event, Big Gay Train takes participants to four LGBT-owned vineyards. The Fig Cafe and Wine Bar (13690 Arnold Dr., Glen Ellen, 707-938-2130, thefigcafe.com) is a wonderfully laid back café and they’ll serve some of the grape you’ve bought during vineyard tours without a corkage fee. Girl and the Fig (110 W. Spain St., Sonoma, 707-938-3634, thegirlandthefig.com) – do we see a theme here? – is a little more upscale. Churchill Manor (485 Brown St., Napa, 800-799-7733, churchillmanor.com) offers a honeymoon package priced from $750 to $1,200 per couple. The package includes; two nights lodging, champagne, souvenir flutes, Napa Valley sparkling wine, chocolate dipped strawberries, fresh flowers and a couple’s massage.
For Culture Vultures: New York City
Grab a few shows, visit some museums, check out the city’s hottest restaurants and of course, there’s the shopping. Take a romantic carriage ride with your loved one in Central Park, ride a ferry for spectacular views; there’s no limit to the romance and culture in the city that never sleeps. Located in the heart of the theater district, the New York Marriott Marquis (1535 Broadway, 800-843-4898, marriott.com/hotels/travel/nycmq) is also near Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall and Fifth Avenue.
Its “Romantic Getaway” includes; champagne and strawberries with chocolate sauce waiting in your room, a three-course dinner for two at New York's only revolving restaurant with skyline views, The View, and a daily breakfast buffet for two for $399 - $659 per night. Use promotional code LVU. For something a little kinkier, The Kimpton Eventi in Chelsea (851 Avenue of the Americas, eventihotel.com, 866-996-8396) offers a “50 Shades of Grey” inspired package which includes; a deluxe suite with a bottle of Veuve Clicquot upon arrival, an amenity kit including a satin bondage kit, paddle, spanking powder and a necktie, a basket of aphrodisiac-inspired items (Mast Brothers Chocolates, bananas, avocado and chocolate covered strawberries), a 50 minute couples massage, $200 credit to La Perla or Agent Provacateur and two tickets to the Museum of Sex. The package starts at $659/night, book using the code GREY.
Of course, cruises are a wonderful way to spend your honeymoon. If you prefer not to be involved in the party atmosphere of an all-gay cruise, such as Atlantis, Olivia or RSVP, there are a number of other companies, such as Pied Piper, Gayribbean and Aquafest that plan LGBT groups on mainstream cruises. On any major cruise line, the ship will usually host a gathering for LGBT passengers. Always look for the “Friends of Dorothy” meetings on the daily schedules. Sometimes nowadays it’s more up front and says LGBT.