Florida beach town woos New York's gay newlyweds

Wed Jul 27, 2011 10:06am EDT
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By Manuel Rueda

MIAMI (Reuters Life!) - Tourism operators in Fort Lauderdale are hoping that New York's gay marriage law will bring new business to the sunny Florida city.

This week, they stepped up efforts to promote Fort Lauderdale as a honeymoon destination for same-sex couples from New York.

"This is a great opportunity," said Richard Grey, the owner of the Royal Palms Resorts and Spa. The 50-room luxury hotel, whose clients are exclusively gay men, launched the Royal Bliss honeymoon package on Monday.

For $6,400 the Royal Palms will treat guests to a six-day vacation that includes limo pick up at the airport, spa treatments and champagne lunches by the pool.

Some of Gray's local competitors are also promoting honeymoon packages that celebrate gay marriage in New York. The Preferred Pride package at the Atlantic Resort and Spa offers oceanfront rooms starting at $159 per night.

Hotels are not the only businesses seeking to profit from the hundreds of daily wedding celebrations that began to take place in New York on Sunday.

Wedding planners, cake bakers and jewelry makers in New York City and throughout the state, have already reported healthy trade.

But Fort Lauderdale is one of the first cities outside New York State, to try to cash in on the Marriage Equality Act.   Continued...

<p>Forty six couples are wed in a large same-sex ceremony, near the brink of Niagara Falls, in Niagara Falls, New York July 25, 2011. REUTERS/Doug Benz</p>