When you travel, few things offer more comfort than a friendly place to lay your head.
For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender travelers, a welcoming place to stay is perhaps the single-most important element of planning a trip.
After all, nobody wants to plan a relaxing vacation only to have their bliss diminished by feeling unwelcome or unsafe.
So with both Pride and summer-travel seasons ahead, we’ve rounded up this list of the world’s top LGBT-friendly accommodations (or cities) around the world.
This roster focuses on gay and lesbian-owned properties, hotels with out team members, major LGBT destinations and hotel brands that expressly support the LGBT community.
With every diverse traveler, the world grows a little bit more tolerant, more empathetic and more welcoming.
New York City
The world’s original melting-pot city is rich in LGBT culture.
In 2019, NYC will mark a half century since the Stonewall uprising—the six-day-long riot that galvanized the gay civil-rights movement. About three million travelers are expected to visit the city for June’s Stonewall50 and WorldPride (making its U.S. debut).
The good news is that most hotels in all five boroughs welcome all travelers and serve as reliably comfortable, safe places for gay guests. So visitors bound for NYC can plan for lodging based on their own priorities, be it budget, location or style.
But for those who wish only to perch in prime gay neighborhoods, aim for Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, the East Village; Brooklyn’s Williamsburg, Bushwick or Park Slope; or Queens’s Jackson Heights.
The history of the gay rights movement runs deep in San Francisco, the city that many LGBT travelers consider an essential destination.
Its first gay bar opened in 1908 (although it didn’t stay open for long, the precedent was set), its first lesbian organization started in 1955, and Life Magazine called it the “gay capital of America” back in 1964.
Today, lodging in an welcoming hotel or B&B is as easy as booking a reservation virtually anywhere across San Fran.
But travelers looking to immerse themselves in the city’s go-to “gayborhoods” should aim for lodging in The Castro, Mission Dolores, Tenderloin, SOMA or Bernal Heights.
The City of Angels’ LGBT history began with some of the world’s first gay protests, back in the 1950s. Today, downtown L.A., Silver Lake and even Long Beach (on the city’s southern edge) are home to gay-owned businesses and clubs and year-round events.
But West Hollywood remains the city’s top LGBT destination – and technically a city unto itself, with its own mayor and city council. Its two square miles comprise arguably the gayest city in America, hosting L.A. Pride in early June.
LGBT travelers can expect to find boutique hotels like The Chamberlain, friendly chains like the Best Western Plus Sunset Plaza Hotel and luxury scenes like The Mondrian to deliver sunny hospitality to an array of guests.
One of America’s oldest cities is probably its gayest, serving as New England’s ultimate LGBT destination since the first women innkeepers met for a clambake on the beach back in the early 1980s.
LGBT travelers can book at a hotel or B&B in P-town with confidence that if it’s not gay-owned, it’s plenty friendly. Local sites like Provincetown.com and Women Innkeepers of Provincetown are good places to start your search for a dreamy Cape Cod getaway.
New Orleans: Bourbon Orleans Hotel
The French Quarter remains one of America’s most all-welcoming, anything-goes neighborhoods, with adjacent areas like the Marigny and Bywater emerging as easygoing gay and lesbian hubs.
Of the city’s many LGBT-friendly accommodations, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel stands out for its central location, affordability and lovely courtyard and guestrooms. Plus it’s part of the New Orleans Hotel Collection, a group of locally owned, boutique properties that expressly markets to LGBT travelers.
Bourbon Orleans Hotel, 717 Orleans St., New Orleans, LA 70116
Palm Springs: Villa Royale
LGBT travelers flock to the desert oasis of Palm Springs for huge annual events like the Dinah (that would be the annual Dinah Shore Weekend, arguably the world’s biggest lesbian event) as well as for its year-round gay appeal.
Hotels are ubiquitous here, but the new Villa Royale offers a quintessential Palm Springs experience thanks to its authentic mid-century origins as a woman-owned hotel on the south end of downtown.
Today, its sleekly restored rooms are complemented by original art, period furnishings, in-room cocktail parlors and a courtyard pool (plus it’s pet-friendly).
Villa Royale, 1620 S. Indian Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92264
Portland, Oregon: Hotel Lucia
Oregon’s main metropolis is one of America’s most progressive.
It’s also such a residential city that its hotels are predominantly clustered downtown. That includes Hotel Lucia, part of the LGBT-friendly Provenance Hotels portfolio.
The boutique property occupies a landmarked high rise that’s now positively brimming with designer charm: think a stellar photography collection, daily craft-brew happy hours, free bike rentals and uniquely Portland amenities (like discounts on locally-made goods).
Hotel Lucia, 400 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97205
Guerneville, California: Boon Hotel + Spa
The trail of San Francisco’s queer weekenders leads to Guerneville, a sweet Sonoma County village on the Russian River.
The residential population may be small, but local LGBT-owned businesses are plenty.
Among them are the “adult-focused” Boon Hotel + Spa, a lesbian-owned boutique property nestled among the redwoods, complete with solar-heated saline pool, turntables and vinyl records, bikes and in-room breakfast delivery.
Boon Hotel + Spa, 14711 Armstrong Woods Road, Guerneville, CA 95446
Chicago: Kimpton Hotel Allegro
Chicago’s gay neighborhoods, like Andersonville and Boystown, are home to cute shops and flirty nightclubs. But the Loop is where you’ll find many of the city’s delights, from restaurants to museums to the famous Theater District.
The Kimpton Hotel Allegro is parked right in the middle of the action, one of four LGBT-friendly Kimpton properties in the vicinity.
Head here for chic design and comfy accommodations at good rates (including yoga mats in every room), plus a complimentary daily cocktail hour in one of Chicago’s best hotel bars.
Kimpton Hotel Allegro, 171 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601
Austin: Hotel San Jose
The Texas capital happens to be its most liberal city, with open arms for LGBT travelers and a fun Pride festival and parade each August.
Atop the cool accommodations list is Hotel San José, a central, homey spot that’s an anchor along S. Congress Avenue.
It’s one of several (mostly regional) hotels founded by Liz Lambert, who’s become something of a local lesbian mogul.
Stay here to enjoy the shady pool and courtyard, cozy room features, and even loaner typewriters and Polaroid cameras (buy film in the lobby).
Hotel San José, 1316 S. Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78704
Toronto: Thompson Toronto
Just outside of Toronto’s entertainment district in Kings West Village, discover this luxury boutique hotel that has long supported and hosted the LGBT community.
If the sophisticated design and slick in-room technology aren’t enough, the hotel’s rooftop pool and lounge overlooking the city skyline should be enough incentive.
Thompson Toronto, 550 Wellington St. W., Toronto, ON M5V 2V4, Canada
Montreal: Hôtel William Gray
Modernity within complements the historic context of this Old Montreal boutique hotel, just a short jaunt to the Village—one of Canada’s (and the world’s) great LGBT neighborhoods.
Along with cozy rooms, local artwork and a luxury spa, the William Gray offers stellar views from its rooftop lounge and posh relaxation in its gorgeous lobby Living Room, where you can read, have a drink or don headphones to spin your choice of vinyl records.
Hôtel William Gray, 421 Rue Saint Vincent, Montreal, QC H2Y 3A6, Canada
Vancouver: The Burrard
One of Canada’s brightest Pride marches sparks up every August in Vancouver, though the city is a year-round hotspot for LGBT travelers.
For a dose of vintage character in the West End, book at The Burrard, a 1956 motor hotel that’s renovated with 21st century amenities and sassy flair to tempt gay globetrotters.
The Burrard, 1100 Burrard St., Vancouver, BC, V6Z 1Y7, Canada
Mexico City: W Mexico City
Among the tree-lined streets of Polanco rises the W Mexico City, where you can enjoy the brand’s modern décor as well as its gay-friendly atmosphere and house team.
The hotel maintains a boutique vibe despite its size, with roomy suites, a flirty indoor/outdoor lounge and restaurant and refined spa offering locally inspired treatments.
W Mexico City, Campos Elíseos 252, Chapultepec, Polanco, Ciudad de México 11560, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta: Casa Cupula
Mexico’s top LGBT destination, Puerto Vallarta is home to glamorous old-Hollywood history, gorgeous beaches and one of the best week-long Pride festivals in the world.
Up the hill from Zona Romantica, check into the city’s suave hotel Casa Cupula for great dining (and a can’t-miss brunch), bright accommodations and a pool club overlooking the ocean.
Casa Cupula, Callejon de la Igualdad 129, Puerto Vallarta, Jal., Mexico
Buenos Aires: Claridge Hotel
Argentina became the first Latin-American country to institute same-sex marriage in 2010 and some of the world’s most progressive transgender rights laws in 2012.
In its capital city, LGBT travelers can enjoy nightlife and culture in neighborhoods like Palermo and Recoleta and relax at Centro’s Claridge Hotel (a World Rainbow Hotels member).
Its 1946 neo-classical building is also home to a gym, outdoor pool and the gamut of modern hotel amenities like high speed Wi-Fi.
Claridge Hotel, Tucumán 535, C1049AAK Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lima: The Country Club
Peru’s thriving capital city offers plenty of diversity, not to mention exceptional dining, culture, and nightlife.
At the Country Club Lima in San Isidro, extra-spacious rooms and friendly staff are keys to this ever-hospitable hotel.
Bonus: its restaurant’s outdoor terrace is the perfect spot to sip a pisco sour on your Lima layover to Machu Picchu.
The Country Club, Calle Los Eucaliptos 590, San Isidro 15076, Lima, Peru
London: The Chesterfield Mayfair
The full English experience includes a warm welcome for LGBT travelers in London with this gay-friendly Red Carnation-brand hotel.
The Chesterfield is in Mayfair, near the Royal Parks, Trafalgar Square and bustling Soho, where lots of London gay nightlife (and day life) hums.
These accommodations are top notch, with classic furnishings, themed afternoon teas, gin and cocktail tastings and flawless service.
The Chesterfield Mayfair, 35 Charles St, Mayfair, London W1J 5EB, United Kingdom
Barcelona: Axel Hotels
One of the world’s biggest gay-hotel brands labels itself “hetero-friendly” and operates two hotels in Barcelona.
The city’s original Axel in Eixample is a slick boutique accommodation in the heart of the gay scene, while its TWO Hotel Barcelona by Axel just is a few blocks over. Both have smart, sophisticated style, plus roof terraces, fitness centers and guaranteed flirty vibes.
Axel Hotel Barcelona, Carrer d’Aribau, 33, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
Two Hotel Barcelona by Axel, Carrer de Calàbria, 90-92, 08015 Barcelona, Spain
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Paris: The Jules & Jim
Filling out a combined historic duplex and eight-story tower is this 23-room, gay-centric hotel with an intimate cocktail bar and courtyard, original artwork and 24-hour room service.
Located in Paris’s famous LGBT neighborhood, Le Marais, the posh Jules & Jim (named for the Truffaut film) is homey, but chic enough to suit the avant-garde vibes of the 3rd arrondissement and nearby Pompidou Museum.
Jules & Jim Hotel, 11 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003 Paris, France
Berlin: Hotel Berlin
Simple, elegant and affordable are key words for this Berlin inn, located two blocks from the Schwules (German for gay) Museum in the city’s central LGBT neighborhood of Nollendorfplatz.
Breakfast and free Wi-Fi are included in the rate, and you’ll love the easy access to Motzstrasse, home to July’s annual Christopher Street Day and Pride week.
Hotel Berlin, Berlin, Lützowpl. 17, Berlin 10785, Germany