INN & OUT

Is There Finally Room At The Inn For New York City’s First Gay Hotel?

We first reported on The Out NYC, the proposed uber-gay urban resort on West 42nd Street, back during the last decade. Things were under way, crews were clearing out debris and the buzz was big: John Blair was going to open a mega-club there, hoity-toity Nickel spa was going to open a branch—hell, we even saw Amanda Lepore shmoozing with potential investors there amid the cinderblocks, rubble and scaffolding.

And then pffft. Nada. Zilch. No more announcements, no more construction crews, no more nuthin.’  Gay New Yorkers started a deadpool to see when the plug would be pulled on this homo Hyatt.

Cut to last week: Workers were back at the site (we know because they refused to whistle at us), the Out NYC website was updated and new press releases started flying into our in box. Is this puppy really gonna happen?

We pumped Matt Levison of Nancy J. Friedman PR (which reps Out NYC) for the 411.

“It’s happening. The nightclub will open in November, with the hotel to follow in early 2012,” he told us. The plans, though, have been somewhat altered: The hotel will be three floors instead of the original five. (Sorry, size queens!) Kitchen, the open-all-night eatery, is still in the works but the spa and shops are gone. (Sorry, retail queens!) But on the plus side, Tony Fornabaio and Brandon Voss—the power promoters behind Club 57 and Rockit—are joining Roxy alums Blair and Beto Sutter on XL, the all-gay-all-the-time nightclub that takes its name from a popular Chelsea nightspot from some years back. Boasting an LED wall, a large stage, a two-story bathroom and two dance floors, the 11,000 square-foot venue is the first gay club to get a cabaret license in years. (Thanks to Herr Giuliani, you can’t have more than three people dancing together without one.)

After a night partying at XL, even local gays might book a night in the 105-room boutique hotel. But how do you  make a hotel gay? (Actually, how do you not?) “It’s stylish, sleek and upscale—not rainbows and kitsch,” explains Levinson. “The concierge won’t just know the gay clubs in the area, he’ll know which parties to go to on a given night. The amenities and services will be geared to gays and lesbians. “(Maybe Lady Bunny will do turndown service?) Bottom line, he says, it’s about feeling comfortable: “It’s sort of like a Fire Island bubble in the city. Some times you just don’t want to have to explain that you and your ‘friend’ just want a single bed. ” And with gay marriage now legal in the Empire State, Levison says its likely the Out NYC will have an on-call justice of the peace. In fact, marriage equality might be a big reason why the resort is back on track.

But what about that name? Isn’t “Out NYC” a little…on the nose? Why not go with something more generic and hetero-friendly, like the Axel Hotels?  “The owners were staunch about being upfront about what it is and what it offers,” says Levison. “If they started acting coy it wouldn’t be what they wanted it to be.”

We guess even a gay hotel should be out and proud.