Axel Hotels to anchor New York City's First-Ever Gay Urban Resort

by  Justin Ocean | Feb 26, 2010
New York City skyline
New York City skyline / Sean Pavone/iStock

In a hotelier's world, one project begets another, especially when both you and your market are industrious gays. With the renovations of their flagship Barcelona property due to re-open May 2010, upping the room count to 105 and adding a new luxury Sky Bar and 5,000-sq. ft. Spa, Axel Hotels has its eyes on an American prize: New York City.

Envisioned as an anchor to a The Out NYC, a “heterofriendly” urban resort slated for west 42nd street on the edge of the Hell's Kitchen gayborhood, the Axel NYC will operate as a five-story, 123-room partial-suite hotel with a sophisticated, affordable luxe championed by its sister properties. (If its Berlin location is any indication, think W Hotel snappiness both sleekly minimized and gayified.) According to architect Paul Dominguez, a series of airy courtyards breaks up the block-wide building, a 1960s Palms Springs-style motel and now defunct Red Cross homeless shelter, lending itself to ample communal interactions and voyeuristic opportunities. Prices will range from $99–$399, on par with the city's more design-forward, mid-range value hotels.

Much as how André Balazs captured the creme of the city's cognoscenti crop at The Standard, the $20-million multi-use complex seems primed to become a beacon to the local gay community as well. In addition to the city's first-ever full-service LGBT-centric hotel, gay-owned Parkview Developers promise a 120-seat casual chic New American boîte KITCHEN (run by the trio behind HK faves Whym and Eatery), a 24/7 cafe inspired by Chelsea's sorely missed Big Cup, a second NYC location of high-end Parisian spa Nickel, a retail outlet by Miami-based and Cool Hunting-approved Base, and most exciting of all—for a city that hasn't seen a new gay club open in five years—a 10,000-sq.ft., 750-capacity venture by nightlife veteran John Blair, XL dance bar. Hallelujah!

Penciled for a spring 2011 open, this would put Axel expansion on a two-year plan. With eyes on Oceania and Asia next, as well as priority sites in Amsterdam, London, Paris, and Miami, the future of travel looks very gay indeed.

Check out our New York City Travel Guide for current trip-planning information. Visit Next Magazine for everything hip, happening, and gay in NYC this week.

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