Zurich) LGBT travelers who for years have complained there is a wide spectrum of quality among gay hotels may soon find a sign atop some that attest to high standards.
Attitude Hotels launched this week with the goal of providing travelers with a way a telling if a hotel is up to snuff.
Founder Pedro Castro, a Portuguese-born lawyer and travel marketer based in Zurich says the company would not own the hotels but license its name if the facility met its requirements.
Attitude would inspect the hotels and do annual follow-ups to assure the standards are being met.
Already some two dozen hotels that market to the LGBT community have been approved.
So far only two of the hotels are in the US - The Royal Palms and the Flamingo Inn, both in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. UK properties include London's Myhotel, Bloomsbury and Legends hotel in Brighton.
Castro said that the Attitude sign would guarantee the hotel is "the place to stay for discerning gay and lesbian travelers."
He said he expects to increase the number of hotels to about 100 and the Attitude Web site would allow people to see details of the properties, their location relative to LGBT neighborhoods, and the chance to book reservations online.
"In the short term, Attitude Hotels hopes to increase its selection of hotels, first in France, Italy, Greece and Spain," said Castro. "Thereafter, we will concentrate on providing a wider variety of travel possibilities in North America."
Hotels would be listed as Premium, Comfort, or Value, depending on price and amenities.
Castro said he came up with the idea for Attitude after discovering it was difficult to find good LGBT hotels and becoming disillusioned with the "gay-friendly" approach of many major hotel chains.
Surveys indicate that in the US alone LGBT spending power tops $65 billion a year.
Whether these accommodations will be too froo froo or within the tastes and standards of most of us remains to be seen.
But here's someplace where I think we could all hang our hats and enjoy ourselves.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/04/AR2008030403145.htmlThe Washington Post
In Texas, a Gay Bar's Patrons Toast Wednesday, March 5, 2008; C01GUN BARREL CITY, Tex., March 4 --
We Shoot Straight With You" is the slogan of this small, quiet, conservative town of 5,000 about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.
Which puts a wry, sardonic smile on the faces of the patrons of Friends, known throughout this lakeside area as the "friendliest gay bar in Texas."Defiant is one way to describe the joint. Gay bars usually hang a rainbow flag to signal that, well, this is a gay bar. At Friends, right off Gun Barrel Lane and situated across from the cemetery, the flag doesn't fly. It's not mere cloth. Instead, it's painted on a piece of wood nailed to the building -- which, by the way, is bright turquoise.
The Lone Star State has a sizable gay population, many of them concentrated in Austin, Houston and Dallas. But Friends is a more laid-back, welcoming place full of older, middle-class and mostly coupled-up patrons. Kind of like "Cheers," where everyone knows your name, except they're wearing T-shirts that read "I love Cowboys" and baseball caps from Budweiser with a small rainbow flag. Jokes Bobbie Aldridge, 67, a retired teacher: "This is like a community center. Or a retirement home."
Drag shows at Friends, with entertainers named Momma, D'Aundra and Sable Alexander, draw a crowd, mostly gay but also straight. (D'Aundra and Momma, a.k.a. Scott Denny, 36, and Gaylon Maddox, 52, are longtime partners. They're both nurses.)
Musical productions presented by the club's acting troupe, Friends Players, are renowned, too. Choreographed and directed by Jim Gribben, who's been coming to the club since it opened 18 years ago, the shows bring in money, which the club donates to charities for abused children and other causes. Gribben and Co. are now working on "Grease: The Later Years." Next comes their version of "Hee Haw."
Last October, Out magazine named Friends one of the 50 greatest gay clubs in the world.
Maybe next time anyone of us is in the area, we might want to check it out and share our own observations of this great gay watering hole. Sounds like a place I'd want to stop by and sit a spell.