Damron City Guide (2nd Edition)
Edited by Ariella Cook
Damron Accommodations (9th Edition)
Edited by Maya Lara
Reviewed by M. P. Barrett
The Damron City Guide 2nd Edition begins with a note from the editor that clarifies the book’s specific interest: maps. Atlases and road maps do a better job of mapping out any individual city than this book does, but Damron prefers a simplified model. Their maps boil down each of their reviewed cities (mostly those of North America, but including smaller sections for Europe, South Africa, and Australia) into a simple, full-color map that locates areas of interest to LGBT travelers.
Bars and nightclubs, restaurants and cafes, and accommodations are listed for every city, and each city has an additional mix of extra categories, like entertainment venues, retail, bookstores, gyms and health clubs, LGBT publications, and erotica to find around town. Taxi company information and directions from the closest airport can be found in an informational City Overview box at the beginning of each city’s listing, along with a selection of popular local tourist spots and a blurb about what a traveler can do within a day’s drive from the city. This box even includes the best view in each city and the typical weather for the area, not without a touch of humor (weather in Las Vegas: “It’s in the desert. What do you think?”).
The City Guide is not particularly concerned with finding somewhere undiscovered; it concentrates on assisting travelers interested in places that are already urban tourist attractions or classic gay resorts. Damron Accommodations 9th Edition, however, helps travelers find something more off the beaten path. It encompasses a wider scope of geography, not only expanding the North American selections of the City Guide, but including more diverse international sections, ranging from Estonia to Cambodia. As the title implies, it concentrates on a much more specific field, so it can afford to cover a more far-reaching area.
Most of the listings in the guide are blurbs that describe the nature of the establishment, what clientele it serves, who runs it, the specifications of the rooms and baths, rates, and some extras like what meals are included, whether children or pets are allowed, additional amenities, and handicap access. There are often full-page or half-page examples, illustrated with accompanying pictures, that include more detailed information, such as peak seasons, nearby attractions, local transit, and travel agents’ commission, when applicable.
Overall, these books are very practical guidebooks for the traveler that already knows where he or she is headed. The information in them is kept up-to-date (although the editors advise a call ahead of time to verify) and is comprehensive of what would concern an LGBT traveler. These aren’t books to convince a reader to travel to a place, but to help him or her find the most queer-friendly and comfortable way possible of getting and staying there.
Ariella Cook, ed., et al.
Damron City Guide 2nd Edition
(China: Damron Company, 2005):
ISBN: 9780929435541. $21.95. 326 pp.
Maya Lara, ed., et al.
Damron Accommodations 9th Edition
(China: Damron Company, 2006):
ISBN: 9780929435572. $23.95. 565 pp.