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Kimpton Hotels - a profile of one of the world's most gay-friendly brands

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Kimpton Hotels - a profile of one of the world's most gay-friendly brands

Denver's Hotel Monaco, one of the stylish members of the gay-popular hotel brand.

photo by Andrew Collins
Kimpton Hotels - a profile of one of the world's most gay-friendly brands

The Palomar, in downtown Phoenix

photo by Andrew Collins
Kimpton Hotels - a profile of one of the world's most gay-friendly brands

Baltimore's Hotel Monaco

photo by Andrew Collins

How Gay-Friendly is Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group?:

The simple answer to this question is: extremely...there may not be a more supportive and progressive company in the travel and tourism industry, at least in terms GLBT rights and issues. This highly regarded brand of upscale boutique hotels and destination restaurants has also cleverly and enthusiastically courted the gay and lesbian market since its inception.

According to the latest Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index, the company has a sterling track record on gay issues.

Kimpton's Gay-Friendliness Ranking with HRC:

According to HRC's Buying for Equality guide, the Kimpton Group scores a perfect 100 on the Corporate Equality Index. This means its a "green" company, which HRC encourages consumers to "make every effort to support." Other hotel brands with 100 scores include Caesars Entertainment, Choice Hotels, Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, MGM Resorts, Starwood (W Hotels, Westin, Sheraton, etc.), Walt Disney World Resorts, Wyndham, and Wynn Resorts.

Kimpton's GLBT Programs and Marketing:

Kimpton's GLBT-friendly policies are many, including: non-discrimination policy covering sexual orientation, extremely comprehensive employee partner benefits, transgender benefits, diversity training, GLBT advertising, and GLBT sponsorship and philanthropy.

Of course, this is all terrific, but making these initiatives even more important is the simple fact that Kimpton is a terrific brand, with a track record of superb and friendly service, hip and artfully designed hotels, and cool and imaginative amenities and guest programs.

Kimpton Hotel Locations with Popular Gay Followings:

Kimpton is based in San Francisco, where you'll find among the greatest number of the company's hotels and restaurants (the restaurants are always inside hotels, and they're virtually always first-rate dining destinations on their own, just as popular with nonguests as guests). In San Francisco, there are eight hotels, plus another in nearby San Jose. Other cities with two or more Kimpton's include Alexandria, VA (3), Chicago (4), Boston/Cambridge (3), Dallas (2), Los Angeles (2), New York City (4), Miami (3), Philadelphia (2), Portland, OR (3), San Diego/La Jolla (3), Phoenix/Scottsdale (2), Seattle (3, with No. 4 planned), and Washington, DC, which is tied with San Francisco with eight hotels (and 11 if you include the VA burbs).

Other cities with Kimpton properties:

Kimpton continues to expand at a rapid rate, and currently you'll find one of the company's properties in the following cities:

Aspen, Baltimore, Denver, Minneapolis, Salt Lake, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Sedona, and Vero Beach, FL. The company is currently developing the Pearl Hotel in San Antonio, with a fall 2014 opening anticipated; the Brice Hotel in historic Savannah, which is planned for summer 2014, and new Kimpton properties in Grand Cayman, Palm Springs, Austin, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Milwaukee.

Kimpton's programs on behalf of gay travelers:

Apart from merely advertising in gay publications, Kimpton goes all out when it comes to making its GLBT guests feel welcome. The company has an section on its website devoted to its gay clients, which explains the company's personal attention and ease with all guests (gay, straight, or otherwise), its extensive charitable giving on behalf of gay causes, its strong track record on GLBT employee support (as well as diversity training), and its innovative packages geared toward gay newlyweds. Kimpton also welcomes pets at many hotels, often with special programs that include pet beds, treats, and toys.

The Pride Discount at Kimpton:

Participating Kimpton hotels offer GLBT travelers 10% off the best available rate. When you book online, just type in "LGBT" into the "rate code" field, and you'll receive this special "PRIDE" rate.

Kimpton Hotels at a Glance:

The Kimpton Group, which was established in San Francisco in 1981 by late hotelier Bill Kimpton, virtually defined what has become an overused and almost meaningless buzzword: the "boutique hotel." The idea was to offer design-driven, one-of-a-kind, relatively intimate hotels with highly personal service, a warm and inviting vibe, and a great on-site restaurant. The company began with properties in San Francisco, where it still has nine hotels, but over the years its expanded into more than a dozen cities around the United States, as well as opening a couple of spots in Canada. It's been a favorite brand of gay travelers since the beginning, and Kimpton employs many GLBT staff.

Kimpton hotels and restaurants aren't geared to budget travelers, but they do offer plenty of value. They don't target major conventions and meetings, and they typically offer much more limited meeting facilities than larger, corporate-oriented properties. What this means is that Kimpton puts its money into room decor and design, rather than massive convention facilities. They attract loyalty by making guests feel welcome, comfortable, and happy, rather than booking big group and package deals and providing a generic one-size-fits-all experience. You may spend $200 or more for a room at a typical Kimpton property, depending on the city, but you're likely to end up in a room with style and decor that's far superior to that offered in major business hotels twice the size and sometimes twice as expensive. Another big plus is that Kimpton has some of the coolest and liveliest bars and restaurants of any hotel group in the world - venues like Postrio at San Francisco's Prescott, Sazerac at Seattle's Hotel Monaco, and Firefly at Washington, DC's Hotel Madera enjoy vaunted culinary reputations.

A hallmark of Kimpton hotels are its innovative themes. The Hotel Monaco is a sub-brand within the Kimpton brand (with locales in Alexandria, Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC). Monacos have a playful, Parisian-inspired sensibility, with bold, jewel-tone color schemes.

A second, growing sub-brand at Kimpton is the Hotel Palomar concept, which tends toward sleek design and smooth lines - you'll find Palomars in Arlington (VA), Chicago, Dallas, L.A./Westwood, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington, DC.

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