The array of chic, LGBT-friendly hotels naturally makes one wonder, as I did, whether there was a need for a gay hotel in Manhattan. I wondered until the moment I checked into my room at the Out NYC, the new resort complex in midtown west.
The inventive perks are these: The complex sits in the gay Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; it includes XL, the newest, biggest, and best dance club in the city, and Ktchn, a restaurant with floor-to-ceiling glass windows so you can see and be seen; and accommodations start at a surprising $79 per night (that’s for the four-to-a-room, hostel-style dormitories; regular rooms start at $250). So the test is in the stay itself.
When I checked in, the sidewalk in front of the 105-room hotel was overflowing with activity. Photographers were shooting androgynous models while racks of clothing changes were wheeled in and out. Inside, the ground-level hallways undulate in black and white, and the guest rooms face either the street or one of several inner courtyards. One of them, the Sun Deck, channels Fire Island with wood, ivy, and a waterfall that streams down the wall, and it adjoins the Spa, which offers hot tubs, a sauna, and cabanas. Another, the Secret Garden, planted with black bamboo, has long tables for reading. The third, the Great Lawn, has a wall-to-wall artificial turf surface big enough to host a same-sex wedding reception.