TAG-Approved LA Hotels

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Westin Bonaventure | Photo courtesy of prayitno, Flickr

"I think businesses ought to treat their customers right. Even their gay customers," said Sean Penn's titular character in the film Milk. In the never-ending battle for LGBT rights, economic equality is synonymous with social equality, and in a capitalistic society, every purchase is like casting a ballot. Gay consumers make a political statement anytime they decide which airline to fly, on which fast food to chow down and which hotels to patronize.

Its this necessity for queer-friendly accommodations that inspired San Francisco-based Community Marketing, Inc to create the TAG. Founded in 1997, the TAG Approved Program rewards “LGBT-welcoming” hotels, resorts and B&Bs that meet acceptance standards by adding them to a directory—a cost-effective way to reach gay and lesbian consumers throughout North America. Although a boon to gay travelers, TAG's primary motivation was to benefit 'out' hotel employees.

"When TAG started back in the 1990s, few hotel groups had supportive LGBT employment policies," explains David Paisley, Senior Projects Manager of Community Marketing, Inc. "Back then it was started largely to encourage domestic partner benefits to be added for hotel employees. We'd like to think we have had influence through the years, to the point today that nearly every major hotel group has near-perfect LGBT employee policies and procedures. Nearly every hotel group has a 100 percent Human Rights Campaign score."

For a hotel to qualify for TAG, it must meet six 'gay-welcoming' qualifications:

  1. Non-discrimination Policy. TAG members must have a non-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. Equal Administration of Personnel Benefits. TAG members must treat heterosexual married couples and same-sex marriages, domestic partners and/or civil unions equally in their personnel policies.
  3. Diversity Training. All TAG members must provide LGBT-specific diversity training to their employees. TAG provides regular webinars on how to develop diversity training in hotels.
  4. Community Support Policy. TAG-approved hotels must support local communities through cash, gift certificate or in-kind support to local nonprofits. TAG strongly recommends including organizations that support the LGBT, AIDS/HIV or women’s communities.
  5. TAG as a Watchdog. By becoming a TAG-approved accommodation, property management acknowledges that both their customers and employees may become “watchdogs” of their business practices. TAG encourages both hotel employees and customers to contact TAG to report if the property does not follow required policies. It is policy for TAG to follow up on all complaints, and if it determines that the complaint is not being adequately addressed, or that the property does not meet TAG’s best practices qualifications, the property will be terminated as a TAG member.
  6. Significant Harm Policy. Situations can occur where a hotel meets the above qualifications, but an individual connected to the hotel does significant harm to LGBT equality. TAG reserves the right to terminate membership should these situations occur and the hotel does not adequately address the concern.

Most often, a hotel will be terminated not because if doesn't have gay-friendly policies but because it refuses to enforce them. "It is one thing to have standards in place; it is another to have successfully trained all your employees to follow those standards,” said Paisley.

Some might assume that violations of TAG policies occur in the larger, corporate-run hotels. Surprisingly, it's the smaller, independent ones that are more likely to infringe on gay comfort.

"Often these hotels don't have HR departments and have inconsistent training," says Paisley. "Another issue with small hotels is that they have very limited benefits, often not offering health coverage. In this case, we look for the equality of benefits. In many cases these hotels actually can become TAG-approved because they do in fact treat their employees equally."

Paisley believes the program has been a positive influence on not only the tourist industry but in all areas cornering LGBT consumerism.

"TAG was one of the groups working within the tourism industry that really tried to make tourism the leader in LGBT personnel policies and outreach. Tourism was really the first industry segment to step up to the plate for LGBT rights. It is gratifying to see that spread now to many segments, from retail to financial services to even car companies."

Seek out these TAG-approved hotels in the Los Angeles area:

Downtown

Hilton Checkers Los Angeles
535 S. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071
www3.hilton.com

Millenium Biltmore Hotel
506 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90017
www.millenniumhotels.com

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel
404 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071
www.thebonaventure.com

Hollywood

Hollywood Hotel
1160 North Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90029
www.hollywoodhotel.net

West Hollywood

Andaz West Hollywood
8401 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.westhollywood.andaz.hyatt.com

Chamberlain West Hollywood
1000 Westmount Drive
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.chamberlainwesthollywood.com

Elan Hotel
8435 Beverly Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.elanhotel.com

Le Montrose Suite Hotel
900 Hammond Street
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.lemontrose.com

Le Parc Suite Hotel
733 N. West Knoll Dr.
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.leparcsuites.com

The London West Hollywood
1020 N. San Vicente Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.thelondonwesthollywood.com

Mondrian
8440 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
www.mondrianhotel.com

Sofitel
555 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.sofitel.com

LAX

Four Points LAX
9750 Airport Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
www.fourpointslax.com
 
Renaissance Montura Hotel
9620 Airport Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA
www.marriott.com

Sheraton Gateway
6101 W. Century Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
www.sheratonlax.com

Westside

Doubletree By Hilton Los Angeles Westside
6161 W. Centinela Avenue
Culver City, CA 90230
doubletree3.hilton.com

Hotel Angeleno
170 North Church Lane
Los Angeles, CA 90049
www.hotelangeleno.com

Hotel Wilshire
6317 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.hotelwilshire.com

The Orlando
8384 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
www.TheOrlando.com

Palomar
10740 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
www.hotelpalomar-lawestwood.com

Beverly Hills

Luxe Hotel Rodeo Drive
360 N. Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
www.luxerodeo.com

Maison 140
140 Lasky Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
www.maison140.com

The Mosaic Hotel Beverly Hills
125 S Spalding Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
www.mosaichotel.com

Residence Inn By Marriott Beverly Hills
1177 South Beverly Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90035
www.BeverlyHillsResidenceInn.com

SLS Hotel At Beverly Hills
465 South La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills, CA 90048
www.starwoodhotels.com

Thompson Beverly Hills
9360 Wilshire Blvd.
Beverly Hills / Los Angeles, CA 90212
www.thompsonhotels.com

Santa Monica

Holiday Inn Santa Monica
120 Colorado Avenue
Santa Monica, CA
www.HISantaMonicaHotel.com

The Huntley Hotel
1111 2nd Street
Santa Monica, CA 90403
www.thehuntleyhotel.com

San Fernando Valley

Airtel Plaza Hotel
7277 Valjean Ave.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
www.airtelplaza.com

Pasadena

Hilton Pasadena
168 South Los Robles Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101
www3.hilton.com