Come for the International Gay Polo Tournament, but stay for an adventure in the Floridian sun that’s something truly unique…
Now, we know more than most the dangers of relying on a stereotype. But indulge us in this one, if you will. If there’s one thing we know – as out, proud gay men – it’s how to yield to decadence and extravagance. And that’s where the International Gay Polo Tournament comes in – held in the US, of course. The International Polo Club at Florida’s Palm Beaches, to be a little more exact.
Don’t get us wrong. It MIGHT be the case that there are inner-city kids playing polo these days, trying to work their way out of the ghetto with nothing but a horse, a stick and a dream. We don’t think that’s too likely. This is very much a sport for the elite, for the upper crust, for the, well… maybe not just the onepercenters… but the ten-percenters, at least.
But before we get onto how awe-inspiring it is to watch dedicated athletes mounted on thoroughbred horses, thundering up and down a polo pitch in the name of honourable competition, we have to talk about the crown jewel in The International Gay Polo Tournament – the tailgate competition.
Tailgating is very much an American thing – it’s basically a social gathering from the back of a parked vehicle, outside a stadium or some kind of sporting event. You’ve probably seen it happen on US sitcoms and not quite understand what’s been going on. But of course, we gays have a certain reputation for like to through a few extra accoutrements into the mix. While the NFL probably has sipping warm beer from the back of pick-up tricks, at the IGPL, it’s all about half-naked lumberjacks bulging out of jean shorts, baking in the glorious Florida sun, and makeshift hair salons where 50s-esque pin-up drag queens shoot super-soakers of vodka into your mouth while you await your faux-blue rinse.
Like we said, indulgent. But it’s one of the friendliest and most laid-back environments we’ve ever been in. Every year, the tailgate competition becomes more extravagant and most enthusiastic theme, best dressed and, naturally, the all-encompassing best in show.
After wiping the vodka from our mouths courtesy of our visit to the aforementioned salon, we’re soon being hoisted into the air by said-lumberjacks, before sharing jello shots with more drag queens, and even baring witness to a same-sex union ceremony at the aptly-titled Chapel of Love. We don’t use this word often, but ‘fabulous’ just about covers it.
just for the polo. We went to discover for ourselves what’s being described as “the best way to experience Florida” – the Palm Beaches. Spanning 47 miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean beaches – from Boca Raton to Jupiter – 145 miles of tropical waterways, and insurmountable attractions across more than 2,000 square miles, it’s easy to see why the Palm Beaches are known as America’s First Resort Destination – with 38 diverse cities and towns woven together into the fabric of the ultimate wanderlust’s experiential expedition.
the Seagate Hotel & Spa, just a stone’s throw from the beautiful white-hot sands of Delray Beach. Staying cool, calm and comfortable the luxury of a resort hotel with the intimacy and attentive care of a more boutique retreat – falling somewhere between island ease and urban chic, where the nearby ocean soothes you and the city on your doorstep stirs you. Sea-inspired features and a 7,000-gallon aquarium evoke tropical tranquility, while
the luxurious guest rooms have everything you need to relax, unwind and get over any unfortunate jet lag.
We’ve long agreed that the way to a man’s heart is his stomach, so the best way to fall in love with Delray Beach – and the adjacent, equally-charming neighbourhoods of Boca Raton and Palm Beach Gardens – is the Savor Our City Culinary Tour (savorourcity.com, firstname.lastname@example.org). This is one for both novices and more experienced foodies a like, as local tour guides drive you around in a golf buggy to meet with small business owners and restauranteurs, to hear their culinary stories and experience their tour of Palm Beaches, we tasted some of the the most delicious popcorn of our lives – seriously, a trip to The Original Popcorn House (originalpopcornhouse.com) should be on everyone’s bucket list.
And regardless of where you’re resting your head at night, a visit to the Eau Resort and Spa is an essential addition to any itinerary. Situated on a private beach across seven acres of oceanfront with lush tropical gardens, there’s breathtaking ocean views, guest rooms designed by the esteemed John Adler, and the award-winning Eua Spa which encapsulates the very essence of relaxation, tranquility and Palm Beaches’ own brand of luxury.
residential section of Palm Beach. Designed in the manner of a European bed and breakfast, this hotel was built as The Lido-Venice in 1926, renovated in 1937 by local architect John L Volk, and later became registered with the Palm Beach Preservation Foundation as a historical landmark. Now with its eyes member of the Red Carnation Hotel Collection and Small Luxury Hotels of the World, making it a one-of-a-kind stay in one of the Florida’s most historic hotels.
Before dashing to the airport, we spend our at the Ta-Boo restaurant (taboorestaurant.com), which has hosted the likes of John F Kennedy, Frank Sinatra and Rod Stewart since it opened its doors in 1941. When it comes to a smörgåsbord of former guests, it’s about as unusual and unexpected as you’re going to get. But to us, the unexpected whether it’s doing shots during a polo match with a drag queen, or sipping mimosas at thing you’re guaranteed at Florida’s Palm Beaches; something truly unique.
“It encapsulates the essence of relaxation and Palm Beaches’ own brand of luxury.”
JUPITER, PALM BEACHES FLORIDA
ABOVE SEAGATE BEACH