As a disclaimer, I'll admit right up front that I'm an unabashed (though entirely unbiased) fan of Kimpton Hotels, which has been steadily developing an impressive portfolio of stylish, generally intimate, design-minded properties around the country since the company began in the early '80s in San Francisco. Kimpton is hugely supported of GLBT causes, and it's also long been a proponent of highly personal service, fun room amenities and property features (like complimentary wine hours in the evenings), and restaurants with appeal among not just hotel guests but discerning food lovers in the local community. I was excited to spend a couple of nights recently at one of Kimpton's newest properties, the Hotel Palomar Phoenix at CityScape, which opened last summer. The Palomar is the official host hotel of Phoenix Pride, which takes place April 6 and 7 this year - you can receive the special Pride rate by booking here.
The elegant hotel has enormous, airy rooms done with urbane tones and decor (a welcome contrast to the many Arizona hotels that over-do it on Southwestern art and colors) - if it's a special occasion, I suggest booking one of the deluxe studio suites, which have deep soaking tubs as well as standing showers. The hotel is part of the shimmering new CityScape mixed-use development, which encompasses two big city blocks of shops, restaurants, and offices - guests of the Palomar receive free use of the huge and impressive Gold's Gym across the courtyard. And even if you're not staying at the Palomar, it's well worth dropping by to have drinks or dinner in the stellar restaurant, Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, or up a level at rooftop Lustre Bar, which sits beside the pool and soaks up mesmerizing views of the Phoenix skyline. During Pride, there will be at least one party held at Lustre.
I've recently greatly expanded my article on the best gay nightlife in Phoenix, adding not just several more gay bars but also a number of restaurants and coffeehouses popular with the GLBT community, in both Phoenix and Scottsdale. You'll see Blue Hound and Lustre among the 44 establishments on this five-page list.
One last bit of fun Kimpton news: I just got confirmation that the company is developing a brand-new hotel in San Antonio's fascinating - and very cool - Pearl Brewery complex. This mixed-use neighborhood at the north end of the city's charming River Walk is home to several of the city's hottest restaurants, some of which are part of the striking San Antonio campus of the Culinary Institute of America. The 146-room hotel is expected to open in fall 2014. I'll be writing more soon about the Pearl Brewery neighborhood, with recommendations on some of the better places to eat and drink here and elsewhere in San Antonio.