Travel

Cape Town Welcomes LGBT Community for Holidays

Sunday Oct 30, 2011

CAPE TOWN, South Africa - To a large degree, the Southern Hemisphere misses out on the, 'Magical White Christmas' that the Northern Hemisphere so loves about their festive season. But the Southern Hemisphere firmly believes it has the better side of the deal, enjoying baking hot end-of-years, soaking up the sun and warmth on beaches and in natural tropics.

"With New York typically peaking at a maximum of 5°C, Tokyo and Paris at highs of 7°C and London at 10°C, the holiday cheer won't be all that warm this December. The grimace of winter will be showing its face in the North and if the cold isn't enough to persuade you, maybe the beautiful weather and scenery of the Southern Hemisphere will," says Chris Hattingh, Marketing Director for The Glen, a four-star gay-friendly boutique hotel nestled in Sea Point, Cape Town.

"In the warmer months, which is almost all year round, the area is comparable to the finest vacation spots in the world, both in terms of weather and scenery and it's one of the prime reasons why the hotel was built here."

Apart from a proven link between mortality rates and winter that are 15% higher than the same time in summer, there is also an intriguing relationship between a person's psyche and the cold season. For too many the holiday season presents an inescapable depression, resulting in more Christmas Blues as opposed to a holiday cheer.

This is however natural: the seasonal variations in the amount of light and darkness we are exposed to have a powerful effect on our biology. The long hours of darkness and short hours of light affect your serotonin levels, the brain chemical that keeps our smiles in check. Medical gurus have even given it a title - Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Such cases of winter depression are pretty prevalent, affecting about 5% of Americans with 10-20% experiencing some milder form of these 'winter blues'. The lack of vitamin D also causes a wide range of other diseases and apart from being unhappy, frozen cities also delve into being semi-suicidal, with depression, lack of energy and an increased need for sleep becoming the burden of many during winter.

"You are not crazy to think it's tough to stay slim during the winter months. It's easier to stay out and about with errands or exercise when it's light out and the weather's warm. In winter, you've got less daylight to work with. With the decrease in serotonin, the chemical that is also partly responsible for turning off your appetite, it makes sense why letting go of that cupcake is a much harder option. Your body also increases your appetite in an effort to increase energy and fat reserves which it can burn in order to keep you warm," says Chris.

Cape Town won the title for Tripadvisor’s No. 1 Most Popular Destination as crowned by the 2011 Travellers’ Choice Awards.

Interestingly, a proposed solution to this winter nightmare has been light therapy. But the question is perhaps not whether you love sleet and frost; the question you should be asking is, "Why are you in a frozen city when you could be feeling the sun dance across your skin on one of the world's most reputed summer beaches?"

"We've found that the setting and climate of the area has a huge affect on our patrons, especially those coming from colder climates. The weather and scenery just makes people happier, and having the beach so close, long daylight hours to explore and a buzzing nightlife just adds to the magic."

"It really is no secret, as Autumn digs its claws into the cooling metropols of London, Paris, Tokyo and New York, there is a much happier picture heating up on the continent of Africa and more specifically in South Africa, a summer kingdom, home to some of the best holiday travelling destinations in the world.

After all, Cape Town won the title for Tripadvisor's No1 Most Popular Destination as crowned by the 2011 Travellers' Choice Awards," explains Chris.

When you consider that Vitamin D and sunlight are in abundance, with pleasant weather improving mood, memory and your health, taking a trip to these warmer lands in the middle of winter is not so uncommon.

"This comes as no surprise," comments Chris, "The Glen meets hundreds of yearly hopefuls who haul to our hotel to escape from their homeland winters. It is just a matter of time before your doctor starts prescribing you yearly summer December holidays to Cape Town, to keep your sanity and work on your tan of course," concludes Chris.

For more information on The Glen, visit www.glenhotel.co.za

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