12 LGBT-friendly Hotel Brands in the U.S.
What does it take for a megalithic hospitality brand to be deemed one of the most LGBT friendly in the country? These brands are vocalizing support during Pride Month, Spirit Day, and LGBT milestones (such as the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality). They’re spotted advertising in LGBT outlets and sponsoring nonprofit events. They have community-specific packages and specials and prioritize creating a diverse and inclusive environment for guests and employees.
Hyatt, for example, was the first major hotel company to offer domestic partner benefits. Starwood’s W Hotels was the first hospitality brand to advertise in New York's annual Pride parade. Kimpton became the first national hotel sponsor for The Trevor Project, a crisis and suicide prevention hotline for LGBT youth.
Read on for the full list.
A long-time corporate ally, Kimpton has made a commitment to positive change by identifying and supporting organizations that can make a difference for the LGBT community. In 2014, it became the first national hotel sponsor for The Trevor Project (the nation's largest organization serving as a crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for LGBT youth), offering its guests the opportunity to receive a discount on their room while donating a portion of the rate to the project. Kimpton also has a special part of its website dedicated to updates about promotions and packages of interest to LGBT folk.
What’s more, Kimpton was the first hotel company to score a 100 percent on the annual Human Right Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (HRC CEI), and has maintained that score for the past 12 years.
The brand spans over 60 boutique properties from San Francisco to New York City, and its Washington D.C. footprint includes nine different hotels. D.C.’s recently renovated Hotel Palomar is particularly great for Capital Pride viewing; the route runs directly in front of the hotel’s entrance. Both are in Dupont Circle, the historically LGBT neighborhood in D.C.
Marriott offers a travel website serving its LGBT customers, which highlights popular destinations and events and provides resources for LGBT couples planning weddings. Marriott has earned and maintained a perfect 100 score on the HRC CEI, and in 2014, Marriott launched its #LoveTravels campaign dedicated to making every traveler feel comfortable being who they are, everywhere they travel. The campaign led with images and videos featuring Jason Collins, the NBA’s first out player, Geena Rocero, a transgender supermodel, and its own LGBT associates.
A couple specials for LGBT couples include the camp-era Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa (part of Autograph Collection Hotels) and it's Pride Couples Package (which includes a Mountain or Lake View Guestroom, a wine bottle, and a $100 dollar spa credit).
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club in Florida, a resort that is TAG Approved and a participant in the IGLTA Network (the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association), offers an Out & About Package, which includes an LGBT Guide to St. Petersburg, an upgrade to Deluxe room with Jacuzzi, two complimentary welcome cocktails, and breakfast for two in Marchand’s.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Along with advertising in LGBT media and offering services and packages for LGBT travelers, Starwood brands publicly congratulated LGBT couples and their allies on the historic Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, posting rainbow-colored versions of the Starwood Preferred Guests logo.
What’s more, Starwood’s W Hotels has been a proud ally since its founding over 15 years ago (it was the first hotel brand to have a presence in New York's annual Pride parade). Teaming up with HRC and Jennifer Hudson, W Hotels launched the "Turn It Up For Change" campaign in 2014, which was dedicated to raising awareness and financial support for LGBT rights. As part of the campaign, W Hotels held monthly music concerts at properties across the country, with 20 percent of proceeds going to support the HRC's work.
Starwood has also partnered with other leaders in the LGBT community; including the IGLTA, Life Ball (the biggest charity event in Europe supporting people with HIV or AIDS), the Stonewall Community Foundation (a public foundation that focuses on the need of NYC's LGBT youth community), and Reaching Out (a non-profit organization that empowers LGBT MBA students & other LGBT business graduate students).
Hyatt Hotels has maintained a perfect score on the HRC CEI since 2005 and was the first major hospitality company to offer domestic partner benefits.
Hyatt has also worked with various LGBT organizations, including the IGLTA, GLAAD, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) over the years. When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, the Hyatt-owned Andaz Hotels (a longtime supporter of marriage equality) celebrated on social media with photos of LGBT couples. Now, the Andaz West Hollywood hotel is known for hosting LGBT weddings.
Through the Stay Hilton. Go Out program, Hilton International’s LGBT travelers get vacation packages designed for couples, families, and even singles. The program, which was introduced in 2012, provides LGBT news and travel tips from out and proud celebs (such as musician Mary Lambert on what to do in her hometown of Seattle).
With more than 18 properties throughout the U.S., MGM Resorts was the first resort company in Las Vegas to begin heavily marketing to LGBT travelers. The events are amazing, too. Luxor offered the original LGBT-focused pool party in the city (Temptation Sundays), and Gay Days Las Vegas has called Luxor home for the last three years.
MGM Resorts has been the presenting sponsor of Las Vegas’ PRIDE Parade for a few years and the resorts’ wedding chapels have long offered commitment ceremonies to same-sex couples.
Caesars Entertainment Corporation
The brand has been a host and partner to many LGBT events, including San Diego Pride, Reno Pride, and the DINAH Vegas lesbian weekend festival. On Dec. 13, 2014, Caesars married many LGBT couples as part of its free weddings on the High Roller (marrying and renewing vows for more than 85 couples, with the LGBT community making up almost 25 percent of the weddings).
Also, Divas Las Vegas, the unforgettable Vegas drag show, is located at the Caesars-owned The LINQ Hotel & Casino. Plus, consider the celebrity talent the brand has hosted, from Mariah Carey to Celine Dion to Britney Spears.
The Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach has hosted 25 gay and/or lesbian weddings since hotel’s opening, as well as has participated in Fort Lauderdale’s Gay Pride events and in gay and lesbian bridal shows.
Located near the heart of Houston’s LGBT community in Montrose (with tons of LGBT-oriented and LGBT-friendly businesses, nightlife, and shopping options), the Royal Sonesta Houston works regularly with My Gay Houston, a LGBT tourism portal for Houston.
Intercontinental Hotel Group
IHG has a history of offering LGBT packages. For instance, the Holiday Inn Resort Waikiki Beachcomber, a TAG Approved hotel, celebrated last year’s Pride Month with its Hawaii Pride Package. The package included two welcome rainbow leis upon arrival, sparkling wine delivered to the room, and two tickets aboard Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand’s Saturday Catamaran Sail—where couples enjoyed sailing around beautiful Diamond Head. While IHG acquired Kimpton Hotels just over a year ago, Kimpton still operates independently.
The world’s largest hotel company (based on the number of properties) offers many packages and special events for LGBT travelers. Currently, the Wyndham Grand Chicago Riverfront offers a simple LGBT couple’s getaway package (which includes a two-night stay, welcome champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries, and breakfast for two per day), and the Shelborne Wyndham Grand South Beach served as the official host hotel for the Winter Pride Festival last year.
Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
The Canadian luxury hotel and resort brand has 15 properties throughout the U.S., many of which took part in LGBT events and programs recently. The Fairmont Pittsburgh hosted a wedding reception for 20 same-sex couples during the 2014 Pittsburgh Pride Week (which that year celebrated the federal court decision to grant gay couples marriage rights in Pennsylvania). Meanwhile, the Fairmont San Jose is a member and supporter of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa participates in Gay Wine Weekend each year in celebration of California’s Wine Country, and the Fairmont Olympic in Seattle will, for the first time, participate in Seattle’s only wedding show “One Love” (which celebrates equality for all couples).
Morgans Hotel Group
While still a rather small boutique hotel company compared to the other heavy hitters on this list, Morgans Hotel Group has nine domestic hotels in five major LGBT destinations: New York, South Beach, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. After the same sex legislation in 2015, the company created the "It's About Time" package available at MHG properties. The package was extended from 2015 to the end of 2016 for guests celebrating their honeymoons at the South Beach properties. If a room is booked, the property will extend an extra night, courtesy of the hotel.