New York gay hotel looks to thriving LGBT tourism

Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:51am EDT
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By Jill Jacobs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - 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 Reisner.

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.   Continued...

A pedestrian walks past the outside of The Out, a newly opened resort hotel in New York March 1, 2012. According to Ian Reisner, managing partner of Parkview Developers, the resort will be the first "straight friendly gay resort" in the city. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson