Orlando is a polarizing city; its downtown offers leafy boulevards, gorgeous gardens, and a spate of museums. On the other hand, it has not one but three of the world’s best theme parks in its vicinity. So, it suffices to say that Orlando sees all kinds of visitors. The Sunshine State of Florida rolls out the red carpet for LGBTQ travelers, and Orlando is right at the front. Not only are there a multitude of gay hotels in Orlando, but it’s also home to some of the best all-inclusive and sprawling gay-friendly resorts too. Thus, it’s not surprising that the city has gay-friendly districts such as Thornton Park, Downtown, and ViMi, or Virginia-Mills. The latter is one of Orlando’s most vibrant gay neighborhoods. Moreover, it’s also home to Central Florida’s Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Community Center right on its main drag.
These districts saw LGBTQ citizens set up gay-friendly establishments, such as bars, clubs, and shops, which are still around. In fact, ViMi’s city commissioner is still one of the most prominent gay-elected officials in the country. But, that’s not all that Orlando is known for. It’s home to two of the USA’s Top Tourist Attractions, Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando. What’s more, you’ll also find in Orlando the famed Magic Kingdom and Universal’s Islands Of Adventure, which are amongst the World’s Best Amusement Parks. And, of course, you’ll find within the city’s confines the “Orlando Eye,” one of the World’s Largest Ferris Wheels. If you haven’t been here yet, then a visit to Orlando is long overdue! To that end, here are the top 11 gay friendly hotels in Orlando.
Grand Bohemian Hotel
One of the most stylish hotels in Orlando is the Grand Bohemian Hotel, which is also one of the Best Hotels in Downtown Orlando. Part of the gay-friendly Kessler Collection, this distinctive hotel is also one of the best gay hotels in Orlando. In fact, the Stonewall is just a few streets away. On the inside, the Grand Bohemian is less of a hotel and more of an art gallery. Think dramatic gold-trimmed columns, huge paintings and sculptures, and an actual onsite gallery featuring works of artists.
You’ll love dining at the on-site restaurants, especially Boheme which is famed for its Sunday jazz brunch. Begin your evenings of revelry in Orlando with a cocktail at the Bösendorfer Lounge, which is as inviting as it’s sensuous. If that wasn’t enough, this lounge is very popular with LGBTQ locals. When you want to unwind, a massage or a facial at the Poseidon Spa sounds perfect. The heated pool with spectacular views of Orlando’s skyline is just what you need for curing the previous night’s hangover.
The elegance extends to the rooms, which have velvet drapes, leather headboards, and sleek desks. The zenith of decadence is marble-accented baths, fluffy robes, and in some suites, for-two Jacuzzis.
Orlando World Center Marriott
20 minutes south of the city lies Orlando World Center Marriott, which is very popular with families. With more than 2000 rooms and 120 suites, it’s easily one of the largest hotels in the city. It sits smack dab in the middle of a golf course, just an odd mile from Disney’s front door. Gay families who love everything bigger and better will absolutely love this gay-friendly hotel. An arcade in the lobby aside, the highlight at this place is its pools. Choose from four heated indoor and outdoor pools which come with speed slides, whirlpools, lounge chairs, and even fire pits by the side. Nightly laser light shows only add to the snazzy ambiance. Families will also love the Lego play area, sand volleyball court, and kid’s splash park. If you want some quiet time, unwind by the adults-only pool or indulge in a massage at the spa.
With such a vast resort, it’s only fair to imagine that it has a plethora of dining options. Clearly, neither you nor your children will be bored of staying here, we can guarantee that. What’s more, there are two bars for when the adults need to have a drink or two – and a break. The fitness center lined with windows that bring the outdoors inside makes exercise an enjoyable experience.
The rooms are generous, to stay the least, with signature Marriott beds, huge flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, and ergonomic chairs. Finally, bathrooms feature double vanities, Marriott’s signature bath amenities, and a huge perk – a full-length mirror.
Hard Rock Hotel at Universal
Staying at Universal Orlando doesn’t get any better than staying at the inimitable Hard Rock Hotel at Universal, which is its beating heart. One of the best gay hotels in Orlando, this is where you stay if you want to party and have a good time in this city. Firstly, the hotel plans a regular series of excursions to rock music venues and Orlando’s best nightclubs. But, you won’t find the need to even leave the hotel to have a good time, what with acoustic shows, pool parties, and more keeping you entertained.
That said, the massive pool is the hotel’s main focal point of social activity, complete with a large artificial sand beach. Moreover, you’ll also find a long twisty slide, two hot tubs, and volleyball courts adding to the fun. Furthermore, there are even live DJ sets and a constant set of poolside games. The best bit? An underwater sound system so whenever you dive, you still hear the music! It’s no surprise that Hard Rock’s pool is considered one of the Best Hotel Pools In Orlando. The rest of the hotel is similarly impressive – free shuttles, walking paths, four on-site restaurants and bars, a games room, and much more.
As is with all Hard Rock hotels, rooms feature stylish glamor and rock n’ roll flair. The chic grey color scheme with pops of vivid colors and rock memorabilia only adds to the upbeat atmosphere. Plus, they all come with a full set of mod-cons and swish bathrooms with bathtubs.
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Yet another sprawling and lavish gay-friendly resort-hotel in Orlando is the Waldorf Astoria. Tucked in the heart of Disney World, the place offers what is one of the few truly luxurious hotel experiences within the park. You’ll absolutely love the richly anointed rooms, complete with plush linens, cushy couches, and huge windows with stellar views of the Magic Kingdom. But that’s not all. The bathrooms are the real ticket and feature marble vanities, glass-enclosed showers for two, and deep soaking tubs. If you were looking to romance your partner and sweep them off their feet, then this is the perfect place for you to do so.
Sitting right next to the rolling greens of an 18-hole championship golf course, the hotel has a host of other luxurious amenities. Begin your day at one of the decadent pools that are sprinkled with private cabanas and sun loungers, and even a hot tub. Stay right at your perch as the poolside staff plies you with food and drinks. Post a swim and soak, enjoy a couple’s massage at the luxurious spa or grab a meal at the award-winning restaurant. Are you heading out to explore Orlando’s gay scene? Begin pre-boozing with signature cocktails at the stunning lobby bar.
Four Seasons Resort Orlando
Wanton yet sophisticated luxury awaits you at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, one of the most luxurious gay hotels in Orlando. Radiating a chic style with subtle nods to the Disney World setting, the resort’s unpretentious and absolute gay-friendliness will leave you elated and thrilled. Set in a Spanish Revival-style structure with arched colonnades and terracotta roofs, the place is surrounded by lushly landscaped grounds with fields, forests, and lakes.
There are many avenues on the grounds to relax, such as the adults-only infinity pool. Overlooking a serene lakeside setting, the pool with its private cabanas, cushioned sunbeds, and hot tub is one amazing place to unwind. Take the relaxation further by indulging in soothing massages at The Spa. If you and your partner prefer more intrepid adventures, play a round of golf, go cycling across the resort, or enjoy a tennis lesson. When it comes to meals, you have the choice of six restaurants! If you want a candlelight dinner, the rooftop Capa restaurant with a fireworks display in the background could be very special indeed.
Just like other Four Seasons hotels, rooms and suites here are spacious and opulent with swanky mod-cons and full marble bathrooms. Sprawling private balconies and deep-soaking bathtubs add to the sense of indulgence and also to the romantic ambiance.
Arnold Palmers Bay Hill Club & Lodge
The gay-friendly Arnold Palmers Bay Hill Club & Lodge lies within the Bay Hill course and is an absolute golf lover’s dream. The 9-hole Charger course and the 18-hole Challenger golf course are exclusive experiences, as is the superb six-court tennis experience. If you and your partner are die-hard sportspeople, then this is where you should stay while visiting Orlando. But, that’s not all. You’ll love the classic hotel décor in the rooms, complete with muted brown-and-yellow color schemes, lampshades, and old-fashioned wooden furniture. However, that’s all that has an old-fashioned touch. Modern touches include cable flatscreen TVs, free Wi-Fi, patios, and ensuite bathrooms with rain head showers and bathtubs. Moreover, all rooms are adorned with photos from the Arnold Palmer Collection.
The hotel boasts a slew of lavish services and amenities, including deep-tissue and hot stone massages at the spa. Three different restaurants provide three different dining experiences, but what you’ll really like is the poolside dining one. The huge lap pool is yet another feather in the cap for the place and is especially loved by avid swimmers. At the end of a long day, relax with a cocktail next to the fireplace at The Members Lounge.
Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort
Whether you’re with your partner or with your entire family, you’ll love Universal’s Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Located in the heart of Universal Orlando, the resort is one of the best hotels in Orlando. The airy and bright lobby sets the tone at Sapphire Falls, complete with playful wicker beach ball chandeliers. Right next to it, a picture window overlooks the entire resort and is a great place to relax with a cuppa. The heavenly pool is the centerpiece of this Caribbean-inspired resort, complete with rentable cabanas, a fire pit, a water slide, and a sand beach. Aside from free transfers between Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Studios, you also get early admission to the waterpark and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
What places this resort above the competition is this very slew of amenities, including a games room and excellent dining options. In fact, the Strong Water Tavern that stocks more than 60 rums from various world regions is its crown jewel. Even the rooms and suites here are no less and come with a host of swish mod-cons, while some select rooms offer stunning views of the pool or the lagoon.
The Alfond Inn
You can immediately see what makes the Alfond Inn innately Floridian – the Mediterranean-style architecture and the terracotta roof. Located in northeastern Orlando, this chic boutique hotel is amongst the city’s best gay hotels for discerning LGBTQ travelers. Amid a sea of larger-than-life resorts, this inn is something of a hidden gem. A light-filled lobby filled with rotating contemporary art welcomes you within. You can even take guided tours every Sunday afternoon. In fact, the hotel is where the Langford Inn once stood, which hosted everyone from Nancy and Ronald Reagan to June Carter Cash.
You’ll love everything about the hotel, especially the small but gorgeous heated outdoor pool which is perfect for unwinding without all those Floridian crowds. A compact fitness center aside, it’s the hotel’s bar and restaurant that are famous and very popular. Tucked into traditional southern fare at the well-reviewed restaurant. When it comes to sundowners and nightcaps, there’s no place better than the hotel’s bar. It features wines, beers, and classic cocktails which you can even enjoy outdoor on the terraces.
Rooms and suites look like they belong to a boutique hotel. They’re modern and spacious and done up in shades of dove grey with pops of peacock blue and lime green. Mini-fridges and flat-screen TVs are mainstays, as are the deluxe bathrooms with William Roam bath products, plush slippers and robes, marble fixtures, and jacuzzi tubs.
JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Set amidst lush acres at the headwaters of the Florida Everglades sits JW Marriott Orlando, one of the most lavish gay hotels in Orlando. The hotel was designed for indulgence and relaxation, whether it’s the marble-tiled lobby or the firepit by the outdoor patio. What’s more, this Marriott hotel also happens to have what is one of Orlando’s best hotel pools, complete with a lazy river, bridges, and waterfalls. There are even lounge chairs under umbrellas where you can sip on drinks from the poolside bar and enjoy scenes of the lush surroundings.
After a swim and lounge, a visit to the spa should be next on your roster. The spa is as opulent as it gets; it has a heated pool, 40 treatment rooms, a salon, and even a cafe! If you and your partner are the workout kinds, then the massive and swanky gym will immensely appeal to you. What’s more, the resort takes farm-to-table dining very seriously, with supplies for its restaurants coming from the on-property 7,000 square-feet-huge gardens! Whether it’s a drink you want or any cuisine under the sun, this Marriott resort takes care of all your whims and fancies.
Rooms are as serene as they’re spacious with neutral hues and pale turquoise highlights. Pillowtop mattresses ensure a dreamless sleep, but it’s the easy chair right beside the floor-to-ceiling window that you’ll love. Sit with a cup of coffee or glass of wine and enjoy panoramic views of the property and the forests beyond.
Bohemian Hotel Celebration
Tucked on Lake Rianhard 20 minutes southwest of Orlando is Bohemian Hotel Celebration. Step back in time at this old-world gay-friendly Florida hotel that lies far away from the bustle of Orlando. The turn-of-the-century charm that this hotel exudes is sure to invoke the most amorous feelings within you, making this a great romantic getaway. The resort looks like it’s been picked out of a fairytale, complete with picturesque homes, a tranquil lake, and a walkable downtown. As soon as you step in, the lobby’s sprawling bar and floor-to-ceiling windows with stunning lake views catch your attention.
But, what you’ll like most is the large heated pool set against a white structure, which looks very pretty and inviting. Lay on the loungers sprinkled across the beautiful deck and enjoy the surrounding scenery of the lush grounds and the lake. Enjoy a romantic alfresco meal at the lakeside restaurant, and sip on as many cups of coffee as you want from the Starbucks next door. Do you want to take a day off to explore Disney World? The hotel arranges for both tickets and shuttles!
Rooms and suites are vibrant and with custom artwork, with the Lakeview rooms being the best of them all. The balcony with serene lake views feels far away from the bustle of Orlando, or even Universal and Disney, even though they’re right next door.
Feel like a true queen at the Castle Hotel – the queen of your very own castle, that is! Located 15 minutes south of Orlando, the hotel is one of the most well-designed themed gay hotels in Orlando. The original artwork, stately Bavarian architecture, and modern amenities are sure to make you feel special. This is thanks to the hotel’s move from kitsch to classy a few years ago and is quite a favorite with LGBTQ travelers. The lobby has a very Mardi Gras-meets-Bavarian hunting lodge feel to it. Think amethyst-encrusted stalagmites, floor-to-ceiling amethyst panels, mirrors, shimmering chandeliers, and purple and gold colors everywhere.
There’s so much to do on the property that you might just not step out at all! The heated circular outdoor pool makes for a serene escape, especially since it’s surrounded by sun chairs and Floridian foliage. After a swim and lounge, make your way to the poolside spa and settle down for a couples massage with your significant other. Aside from a well-equipped gym, the hotel has four restaurants and bars, with the rooftop terrace bar offering delicious cocktails and spectacular views of Hogwarts Castle and the rest of Universal.
Ornate headboards clash with the cloud-like white beds, making you feel like princes and princesses, as do the gold and purple décor and carpets. Mini-fridges and huge double-vanity bathrooms make your stay comfortable.
Just So You Know:
- Orlando was home to one of the largest and most popular gay resorts in the world, Parliament House. It was an all-gay complex with a bar, club, and hotel – basically everything you could possibly need in one space. What’s more, it hosted plenty of big-name shows and events. Sadly, it shut shop in 2020.
Get Some Culture in Orlando:
- Gay Days at Disney World Orlando Florida: It’s hard to imagine that a small group of LGBTQ people spending a day at Disney World in 1991 all dressed in red is one of the world’s largest gay pride events! For a week, Gay Days sees LGBTQ people in huge numbers participate and enjoy concerts, dances, pool parties, and nightclub revelries.
- Come Out With Pride: Every October, one of Florida’s largest pride festivals takes place in downtown Orlando. The street festival sees concerts, fireworks, and more to celebrate diversity and progress.
Best Gay Bars / Clubs in Orlando:
- Southern Nights: This massive multi-room club sees a special lesbian night every week. It has lots of areas to mingle, chill, and dance and even hosts Drag Race competitions during the week.
- Hanks: This no-frills neighborhood cruise bar oozes a strong local vibe. Think of a beautiful outdoor patio with a generous happy hour and cheap drinks.
- Stonewall: A laid-back neighborhood dive bar that’s an excellent great place to grab a drink while playing a round of pool and digging into snacks and finger food.
Best Gay Saunas in Orlando:
- The Club Orlando: It might be the only gay sauna in Orlando, but it’s amongst the best gay saunas all over the country! Contemporary and extensive, this one looks more like a high-end spa with full steam and sauna, gym, hot tub, outdoor sunning area, and a large heated swimming pool.