In yet another example of how the hotel industry is going after niche markets and yet another sign of New York’s continuing hotel boom, Reuters, London’s Guardian and other media outlets today tell us about OUT NYC – said to be the first hotel in Manhattan designed to cater to New York’s millions of gay tourists.
The newly opened hotel has two hot tubs, a secret garden, a mega-nightclub, sunbathing deck and what sounds like a pretty good location near Times Square and Broadway’s theaters.
New York Magazine reported a while back that the hotel occupies a former motel/Red Cross homeless shelter at 510 West 42nd Street on the far west side of the city. The Guardian’s David Vincent gives us some good color about what this area is like:
“From Times Square, as I head west along this city artery, in just four blocks I’m in a no man’s land of empty lots, car workshops and subsidized housing. It is pretty bleak, but as I look more closely the odd art studio and antique reclamation store catch my eye. Then something altogether out of place comes into view: a postmodernist three-story extravaganza of glass and horizontal lines.”
As for the concept, the hotel clearly is marketing itself to gay visitors. But the owners don’t want to leave out their friends and relatives, so they describe the property “straight-friendly,” Reuters says citing co-owner and real estate investor Ian Reisner. It’s not immediately clear what that means.
The hotel, in the works for five years, took 18 months to renovate, Reuters says.
The owners came up with the concept before New York’s same-sex marriage law took effect last July, but, conveniently, the hotel has various spaces that can be used for conferences, social events – and weddings, Reuters says.
There are many hotel developers watching this hotel to see if it succeeds, says Bjorn Hanson, the divisional dean of New York University’s hospitality, tourism and sports management school.
The hotel’s rooms start at $200 per night, though it also has eight budget-style hostel accommodations priced at $99 per person.
A quick check on the hotel’s website shows a room for March 22 starts at $229 a night. The rate includes Wi-Fi access, a 40-inch TV, MP3 docking station and ergonomic work desk. The website, however, doesn’t appear to be fully functional. While the room-reservation function worked, when I clicked on other features – such as the XL Nightclub and “Kitchin” – a “page not found” message popped up.