Southern Exposure

At a luxury South Beach resort, Karen Brown opens her doors to lesbian travelers.


Photo: David Lat

If you think South Beach, in Miami, is exclusively a gay boys’ paradise, think again. Topping the list of reasons to go there are the fabulous Aqua Girl parties and a hotel that is setting itself apart when it comes to welcoming lesbian travelers. Under the sophisticated eye of general manger Karen Brown, The Angler’s Boutique Resort is a luxurious retreat only two and a half blocks from the beach yet a world away from the hedonism of Miami’s gay Golden Mile.

The Angler’s Boutique Resort has real lesbian appeal and it starts with Karen Brown, a lesbian herself and the 2007 Volunteer of the Year for the Aqua Foundation. She works hard to keep this property at the top of your must-stay list. A Miami native and a former thespian (she still does the occasional emcee or stand-up gig) Brown has always been out in her industry and is behind The Angler’s bend-over-backwards gay-friendly policy. With nearly two decades of hospitality experience to her credit, she is part of the team that took a condemned property and turned it into a resort enclave that gorgeously blends Spanish Mediterranean and Miami Modern architectural styles. The Angler’s Boutique Resort now ranks high on influential travel websites like TripAdvisor, where it consistently vies for the No. 1 spot on the Miami Popularity Index and holds a 4.5+ star rating.



“One of our first guests was a lesbian couple from the UK who stayed seven days. They were absolutely thrilled with their experience here and put us on the map through so many referrals,” Says Brown.

The property, situated in the historic Art Deco district, is “romantic, cozy, nesty and intimate,” says Brown—qualities that appeal to lesbians. “We’ve been called a discreet retreat,” she adds, explaining that the unique resort was designed to keep noise to a minimum and to guarantee the privacy of its guests. There’s a variety of accommodations: You can choose a studio suite or a duplex, or splurge on a two-story villa with its own eight-person Jacuzzi on the patio. Lose yourself in lushly landscaped grounds, laze by the pool and then indulge yourself at the excellent onsite restaurant.



Part of Brown’s job is to keep abreast of the fierce competition among South Beach’s 200-plus hotels. “Every hotel in Miami has a celebrity who slept there. They’re all tone-on-tone décor. They all make martinis. You have to differentiate yourself,” she explains. One of the ways this “lovely and unusual” resort has done so, says Brown, is its commitment to giving its guests a meaningful stay. Hospitality is about going the extra mile and that’s where Brown’s theater background comes in handy. Every day is a new performance for her guests. “It’s a big deal. The effect you can have on someone celebrating a wedding, an anniversary or a birthday is huge,” she says. 

So next time you feel like heading down to Miami, whether it’s for sand, surf and sun or to experience the vibrant lesbian community, drop in at The Angler’s and say hello to Karen Brown. She’ll be expecting you. (

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