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The vibrant city of New Orleans has
always been a mecca for the colourful and
ﬂamboyant. It’s a city whose credo is well
and truly one of ‘live and let live’ and the region’s
balmy weather, penchant for masked balls and
carnivalé spirit makes it a perfect travel destina-
tion for the LGBT community; especially those
amongst us who like nothing better than to kick
it at a party or two. For New Orleans is a city that
really knows how to kick up its heels and dance!
Ever since the seventies, New Orleans has been
a haven of tolerance amidst the backdrop of a far
less inviting southern ‘Bible belt’. Parties like
Southern Decadence, which started out as a small
soiree to say sayonara to a friend back in the early
1970s have become one of the biggest events for
LGBT revellers on the US calendar. The French
Quarter has blossomed to include a number of gay
friendly haunts including renowned Cafe Laﬁtte
which has the honour of being the oldest gay bar
in the United States. Whilst the dance clubs, Oz
and the Bourbon Parade, will see all you disco di-
vas shimmying ’til dawn.
Hurricane Katrina may have devastated the re-
gion but nothing can dampen the enthusiasm or
spirit of the people of New Orleans as you’ll soon
discover upon a visit to this gorgeous city.
The French Quarter was left relatively un-
scathed by Katrina but nonetheless a lot of venues
and hotels have found themselves in need of re-
furbishment since the hurricane carved its path of
devastation. One such hotel is the Astor Crowne
Plaza. This resplendent jewel in New Orleans’
crown has just ﬁnished an $11 million dollar re-
furbishment that delivers much more than a polish
to the old girl’s tiara.
Renovations commenced in July and were
completed earlier this year, with every aspect
of the hotel, from lobby to guest rooms treat-
ed to a decadent overhaul with comfort and
authenticity at the top of the designer’s list.
Crystal chandeliers grace the ceilings and mar-
ble foyers resound to the tap-tap-tap of stiletto
heels. The Astor Crowne is resplendent once
According to management, the extensive
updating of the guestrooms is “all about Astor
Crowne Plaza comfort.” Guests can rest their
weary bodies on pillow top mattresses and
luxurious linens. Whilst the decor reﬂects the
traditional style of the period, rich colours and
smooth polished woods combine to deliver a
soothing effect. Of course this traditional style
ceases when it comes to amenities – guests can
expect all the mod cons, from high speed inter-
net to CD players and dual line phones.
The hotel staff are all well versed in ‘south-
ern hospitality’ and will do their very best to
meet any and all requests and have intimate
knowledge of the local scene which is just
a few small steps from the hotel’s entrance.
Whether you’re looking for an upscale shop-
ping adventure or simply want to prowl the
district’s bustling nightclub scene, the Astor
Crowne Plaza is the perfect place to begin
your meet and greet of New Orleans.
The Astor Crowne Plaza is on Canal Street,
New Orleans' Champs-Elysées. The ho-
tel is a member of IGLTA and is TAG ap-
proved. For more info on New Orleans visit
The Jewel of New Orleans
The Astor Crowne Plaza resumes its crown...
If you're looking for a tropical island getaway with
a twist, then look no further. Just announced is
the return of Silke's Women's Week. As you may
or may not be aware, our esteemed publisher,
Silke Bader, used to be in the travel biz, and she
is turning her hand to it once more to deliver the
ultimate girl's own adventure -- a week of tropical
island bliss for women only, in Fiji.
Not one to do things by halves, Silke has
booked up the island of Beqa (pronounced
Benga) in its entirety, turning it into a tropical
paradise for Sapphic love...
The island is one of the most remote and
beautiful of Fiji, often chosen as a honeymoon
destination thanks to its secluded beaches
and gorgeous lagoons. Accommodation on
the island is provided by private villas called
bures, each one equipped with its own
spacious courtyard with a plunge pool and
bamboo fence to ensure your privacy. Every
bure is an air conditioned mini-suite with a
spectacular marble lined bath, a king poster
bed and a sitting room with a double bed.
There's a veranda to relax on, complete with
table, lounge chairs and a wonderful view.
And if you walk a few steps from your door,
you will find a cosy hammock to hunker down
with a book or while away the hours with your
gal pal as you gaze out onto the beach and
ocean laid out just metres away.
Relaxation is king at Beqa. There's no TVs
blaring or mobile phones to interrupt your
leisure and entertainment is provided by local
artists who will amaze you with their dancing
and firewalking feats. Those keen for a spot
of snorkelling will also be delighted to learn
that Beqa is one of the best known diving
destinations in Fiji and was once called the
'Mecca of Pacific diving'. So rest assured
there will be plenty of reef life to explore.
Vist lotl.com for more details
WOMEN'S WEEK - All aboard for Fiji's Beqa island --- 25-31 July 2010
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