The best gay resorts in Florida

The best gay resorts in Florida

Vibrant, tropical Florida. Home to the world’s best theme parks, the art deco stylings of South Beach in Miami, the Everglades, Florida Keys, and Cape Canaveral’s Kennedy Space Centre. Eccentric, multicultural, uninhibited, and oozing southern charm, Florida is also one of the easiest places in the US to flop down beside a resort swimming pool, soak up the sun’s rays, and enjoy the good life. LGBTQ+ travellers aren’t forgotten in all this, with a good range of dedicated gay or gay-friendly resorts.

Photo: Hector Falcon

The adult-only Alexander’s Gay Lesbian Guesthouse lies in downtown Key West, less than a kilometre from all the island’s main sights, including Mallory Square, the home of Nobel Prize Winner Ernest Hemingway, and the southernmost point in the continental US. Its authentic conch-style architecture of white clapboard, high ceilings, and neutral tones incorporates a hot tub and small outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by a terrace where breakfast is served every morning. Each of the rooms comes equipped with a small refrigerator perfect for a celebratory tipple, while others also come with a microwave. However, that’s not the only place to enjoy a drink, as the guesthouse hosts a cocktail hour each evening. Fort Lauderdale’s Calypso Inn has a more suburban feel. It also has a small outdoor swimming pool, situated in a secluded tropical garden, and plenty of seating and sunbathing opportunities. Rooms have well-finished en suite bathrooms, satellite television, DVD player, and – given Florida’s humidity – all-important air conditioning. Calypso Inn is just five kilometres from the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, as well as Las Olas Boulevard, a thoroughfare combining canal-side homes and many of the city’s top stores and restaurants.

Alexander's Gay Lesbian Guesthouse

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The Cabanas’ landscaped grounds incorporate a hot tub and clothing-optional heated saltwater pool

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Nearby the Calypso is Cabanas Guesthouse & Spa, which is also in the Wilton Manors neighbourhood of Fort Lauderdale, but with a waterfront location on the Middle River. The homely interior includes unique works of art, while even the standard queen rooms come with a kitchenette. These spaces include a microwave, coffee maker, and kitchenware. The rooms also come with a terrace and private entrance, in addition to a separate seating area. The landscaped grounds incorporate a hot tub and clothing-optional heated saltwater pool, while guests also have access to the massages and therapy sessions of the on-site spa. Just ten minutes from the Sebastian Street Gay Beach, The Grand Resort and Spa is an all-male resort which is both gay-owned and gay-run. In addition to the prerequisite Florida outdoor pool – in a courtyard space surrounded by many of the rooms – there’s a hot tub. Guests also have access to massages in the spa, as well as on-site hair styling and nail care. Each soundproofed suite and studio boasts a sleeping area, living space with dining area and sofas, and fully-equipped kitchen. The three-star Pineapple Court Guesthouse and Resort, close to Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Isles and Sunrise Key, has small outdoor plunge-cum-swimming pools as part of its grounds, surrounded by lush subtropical planting and a good number of sun loungers. Inside, the guesthouse offers a fitness centre with free weights, coupled with a shared lounge, providing further space to relax beyond the light, pastel-coloured rooms.

The Grand Resort and Spa

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The impressive landmark structure of The Don CeSar, known locally as the pink palace, is closing in on its centennial celebrations

Only a few hundred metres from Fort Lauderdale’s Atlantic beaches, Alcazar Resort is a male-only, clothing-optional resort with two heated pools and top-quality bedding. The sunny grounds also incorporate a 12-man hot tub, while room facilities include cable TV and a CD player. Many also have a kitchenette and views overlooking the pool. The brilliantly-named Hotel Gaythering sits on the waterfront of Miami Beach close to a large number of restaurants and other things to do. As a gay-friendly boutique stay, this hotel has a complimentary male-only spa, where guests are free to enjoy the steam room, dry sauna, and hot tub. The Hotel Gaythering runs a free shuttle bus service to 12th Street Gay Beach and Haulover Nudist Beach, while it also makes bicycles available to borrow and arranges regular meet-ups in the library. If that’s not enough, on the first-floor guests will also find a bar stocked with everything from beers to craft cocktails. Finally, the impressive landmark structure of The Don CeSar, known locally as the pink palace, is closing in on its centennial celebrations, but that’s not to say that this institution on St Pete Beach is past its sell-by date. With two heated outdoor pools, a 24-hour fitness centre, and three guest lounges among the many facilities, there are plenty of shared spaces. Rooms come with tea and coffee-making facilities as standard, while some have private patios or balconies with views over Miami or the Gulf of Mexico.

Photo: Joel de Vriend

Photo: Joel de Vriend

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