Time.com Highlights 'Ultra-Gay Hotel' Trend

With a brief 8-paragraph article, Time.com's David Kaufman today approvingly explored the trend of 'ultra-gay hotels":

In January, Fort Lauderdale's Royal Palms will reopen after expanding from a 12-room gay-friendly guesthouse to a 62-room boutique hotel that caters to an all-male clientele who prefer a clothing-optional environment. With a spa, café, bar and gym, Florida's Royal Palms Resort and Spa is marketing itself as North America's biggest "full-service" gay retreat, but it won't retain that title for long. Later in 2011, Manhattan will usher in the Out NYC, a massive, 90,000-sq.-ft. (8,400 sq m) "urban resort" close to Times Square.




From W to Wynn, Marriott to Kimpton, major hotel chains have been targeting lesbian and gay travelers for more than a decade. But now it's gay hoteliers' turn to court their own community. And why not? The LGBT travel market is worth an annual $63 billion in the U.S. alone, according to consumer-research firm Community Marketing Inc. "There have always been gay inns and B&Bs," says Lords founder Brian Gorman. "This is the time to take this concept to a far larger scale."

At no point did Kaufman find a critical voice from a social conservative perspective, although he did find a businessman concerned that such a niche business plan was dicey in today's economy:

As additional LGBT megaresort brands like G Worldwide prepare to open in New York City and Florida next year, Jan Freitag, vice president of Smith Travel Research, warns that the properties' financial success — and, with it, expansion to new locations — could prove challenging. "These hotels are cutting out a majority of travelers," Freitag observes. "Nongay travelers may feel uncomfortable staying there, so these will always be niche businesses."

It seems an odd story for Time to have devoted resources to. Then again, it is the 3rd most popular story on the site right now (see screencap above).


[For a related NB item, check out Tim Graham's criticism of an August New York Times puff piece on the OUT NYC resort]


Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.