Editor’s note: TravelQ is a series that documents the diverse experiences of queer and trans travelers as we negotiate dressing our most authentic selves with navigating complex travel obstacles unique to our communities. We have returned with a new piece in collaboration with Stockholm LGBT.
As I sailed with a group of LGBTQIA+ travelers to the Stockholm Archipelago – a cluster of some 30000 islands – on a private chartered Vision of Stockholm boat, one of my colleagues, Vincent Jones of Citizen Jones Travel, said, “This is luxury, but a different kind of luxury.”
The clear, deep emerald green color of the Baltic Sea was not the type of aqua blue waters that travelers often expect in the Caribbean or on the Croatian coast. It was equally spectacular in clarity, but indescribably breathtaking in color. The water shimmered like a jewel, and was calm and welcoming, with shorelines that boasted unspoilt lush woods in comparison to the thousands of tourists trying to fight for a spot on the beaches off the Amalfi Coast.
I took a deep breath in and quietly responded, “Yes, this is the luxury of peace.”
It wasn’t until this moment that I was finally able to articulate what I look for as a traveler: the luxury of peace. What luxury and peace means varies across LGBTQIA+ travelers. My definition is rooted in my experience existing across multiple intersectional identities as a Black queer feminine presenting woman who has resided my first 23 years of life in New Mexico and the second 23 years of life in the heart of Manhattan. Swimming in clear waters and hiking through lavish forests is just as luxurious to me as exploring bustling cities with 4-5 star hotels and exquisite food and art. And peace, for many in our communities, requires an additional layer of feeling welcomed and safe in our travel environments. Destinations that provide a combination of all these factors are usually those that win my heart. The lively city of Stockholm with its pristine Archipelago right outside of its urban center did just that.
@travelbydesign Move ova and let a sis show you how to do Stockholm in luxury. #stockholm #stockholmsweden ♬ Lights Up – Edit – Flight Facilities
I arrived in Stockholm as a guest of Stockholm LGBT to cover Stockholm Pride as press. For those of you who follow my travel adventures, you know that when I am on vacation, I spend zero time in my hotel. When I arrive at my destination, I usually drop my bags and immediately head out so that I can see and experience all that I can, even if seeing all that I can means staring at the water doing nothing for hours. However, when I checked into my room at the Miss Clara Hotel by Nobis and was invited by a welcoming bed and gorgeous views, I could not help but to take a shower, slip into some PJs, and order some room service. When it’s hard to leave the room, you know it’s a good hotel!
After I had a cat nap, I headed to Blique by Nobis to meet my LGBTQIA+ travel group and have some cocktails/mocktails. I was impressed that every Nobis establishment I visited, as well as many of the events I attended, had luxury non-alcoholic drinks served in beautiful glasses. Those of us who do not imbibe were not relegated to the kids’ table with a sad cup of diet coke. We were served non-alcoholic bubbles in proper flutes. With a sugar high and phone in tote, I of course had to make a reel featuring Max of @Theyrequeer rocking the most amazing queer fit with the impeccably designed hotel lobby as the backdrop.
@dapperq @Max 🏳️⚧️ showimg us how to make a proper entrance into Stockholm Pride. @Stockholm by @Visit #queertiktok #stockholmpride2022 #stockholm #transisbeautiful ♬ Binz – Solange
I would say that I had worked up an appetite, but I never have to work up an appetite. It’s just there. Always. So, suffice to say I was thrilled that Stockholm LGBT had booked us a dinner at Restaurant Långa Raden in Hotel Skeppsholmen. The menus offer contemporary Swedish cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. We ate in their outdoor section, which was perfect ambience for experiencing the afternoon light turning slowly into night. And, I made fast friends with the Co-founder of Huben, as we chatted U.S. and U.K. politics all night, with a bite of satire.
My first full day was all about exploring the city. Old Town Stockholm was one of the most quaint, colorful, and *clean* city centers that I have had the pleasure of visiting. It was also located near many major attractions, including the Royal Opera House, Royal Palace, and the ferry to Royal Djurgården, home to gardens, an amusement park, and the world’s oldest open-air museum.
If boarding a private chartered yacht with a bunch of amazing queers to sail around the city of Stockholm and into the gorgeous Baltic sea to access a luxury glamping site isn’t enough to get you out of bed, I’m not sure what is.
Our captain from Vision of Stockholm took us to see amazing islands only accessible by boat. Our first stop was Island Lodge, a high-end glamping property complete with warm plunges, a sauna, and a communal dining space overlooking the water.
Our vegan lunch was freshly prepared outdoors on a traditional skottle with local ingredients. Hands down one of the best vegan meals I have ever had!
Our next stop on this queer yacht tour was the boutique Waxholms Hotell for cocktails/mocktails and waterfront views.
Our boat returned us to Stockholm for an incredible dinner at the LGBTQ+ owned brasserie, The Hills.
DAY 4 – STOCKHOLM PRIDE
Ok, here we go folks. I was invited to cover Pride, and somehow ended up in the parade. More below…But, let’s start with brunch. We powered up for a long day with burgers at the Hotel Diplomat. The décor was as delicious as the food. I couldn’t help but find excuses to leave the table and wander around the lounge areas where DJ. Stephen Simmonds was setting the vibes with sexy grown beats like Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo.”
Next stop was the Stockholm Pride parade, where I thought I would capture some good footage for dapperQ and then return to the hotel to crawl back in that comfy bed. But, alas, somehow, our group ended up holding a giant rainbow flag and marching in the parade!
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This was one of the most magical experiences I’ve had on holiday ever. It brought me to tears being with queer family in a completely different country, 500,000 strong cheering each other on with love and affirmation!
Even though I was completely exhausted after marching, I had one more mission and that was to see the infamous Stockholm subway stations, said to be the world’s longest art exhibit! There were so many stops I didn’t get to, but was able to see the top four on my list before the clock struck midnight.
THANK YOU STOCKHOLM LGBT &
HAPPY BIRTHDAY WILL
On behalf of the dapperQ team, I wanted to extend a special thank you to Stockholm LGBT and our hosts @Uwren and @glammmy for a wonderful time where we could enjoy the luxury of peace and celebrate the depth and breadth of our LGBTQIA+ diversity in a beautiful and accepting city.
We also had a birthday in the house, and what better way to sign off with a Happy Birthday to William Jardell and the most romantic out and proud birthday kiss!