| NEW YORK, March 16
NEW YORK, March 16 The OUT NYC hotel
boasts two hot tubs, a secret garden, its own nightclub and the
title of Manhattan's first boutique hotel built specifically to
cater to millions of gay tourists to New York.
The hotel, not far from Times Square and Broadway theaters,
also hopes to cater to the friends and families of its gay
clientele. And so, turning an old concept on its head, the
owners of the hotel like to describe it as "straight-friendly."
"This project has been in the planning for five years, and
after 18 months of construction, we are proud to announce the
opening of the city's, and maybe even the world's, first gay
focused, straight-friendly, urban resort," said co-owner Ian
Designed by architect Paul Dominguez, The OUT NYC opened for
business earlier this month with a 5,000-foot (1524-meter)
wellness center, three separate courtyards, including one dubbed
the great lawn, a sunbathing deck, a gym and a restaurant due to
open later this spring.
It also features a nightclub called XL and multi-use spaces
for conferences, events and weddings.
The inspiration for the hotel came long before New York's
same-sex marriage law came into effect in July 2011 and was
built specifically with the gay travel market in mind.
New York is one of the biggest destinations in the world for
gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual tourists, according to
the city's tourism organization, NYC & Company.
Bjorn Hanson, the divisional dean of the Preston Robert
Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism, and Sports Management at
New York University, said New York hotel operators would be
watching the fortunes of The OUT NYC with interest.
"There are hotels that have been developed specifically
marketing to LGBT travelers, but exclusive hotels that really
make it their identity are very rare. There are many hotel
developers, owners and operators interested in seeing the market
response to this hotel," Hanson said.
What distinguishes The OUT NYC is its Hell's Kitchen
location on 42nd Street -- an area west of Times Square which
was gentrified largely by the city's gay population in the 1980s
"We have more gay bars here now than we actually have in
Chelsea, which was the mainstay of the gay community," said
Reisner, referring to another area of the city.
"Of the 50 million tourists that came to New York City last
year, it's estimated that 8 million were LGBT travelers. With
105 rooms, we don't expect to house many people, but we expect
The OUT NYC will become the epicenter of gay life for LGBT New
"With New York's recent legislation, we look forward not
only to hosting countless gay couples, but marrying them as
well," Reisner said.
The OUT NYC has 97 standard rooms starting at $200 per
night, and offers eight budget stay shares, or luxury hostel
accommodations, for $99 per person.
Tom Whalen and Russell Kemp, who won a same-sex marriage TV
contest, were married last week at the hotel's XL nightclub by
"Happily Divorced" actress Fran Drescher.
She is also an activist for marriage equality and is a
recently ordained minister for the Universal Life Church and
officiated at a ceremony for the owners of the nightclub.
(Editing by Jill Serjeant and Patricia Reaney)