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.