Straight-Friendly Gay Hotel Tries South Beach (Again)
After years of rumors, Hôtel Gaythering is opening in South Beach, as the island’s only “straight-friendly gay hotel.” Located at 1409 Lincoln Rd., the hotel looks cool in the photos of the darkly decorated rooms, which are staged with models wearing spooky rabbit masks designed by local artist Alexander Guerra.
The website lists a long assortment of amenities, including the Self Spa that is free for guests but also available to visitors for a fee. No official opening date has been announced, but on the website rooms can be reserved starting on Feb. 9, for $250-300 per night.
According to the website, Gaythering’s mission is “to nurture impactful experiences and relationships for the LGBT community and others.” This includes complementary rooms for “Gaythering Heroes,” people just going through a difficult time who can’t afford the steep cost of staying at the hotel (which is normal for a decent room in South Beach). How many of these “Gaythering Heroes” will be young men who look enticing in Speedos? We’ll see.
And what exactly does this “straight-friendly gay hotel” designation mean? Everything is open to men and women, including that spa, so naked-time shenanigans will presumably be at a minimum. Maybe the rabbit boys will be in bed waiting for you. Can that be arranged?
It is worthy to note, however, that there is not much LGBT community anywhere around the hotel’s location: a very residential area on a dead-end street, not really walking distance to the beach. It’s a pleasant part of town, and the Lincoln Road pedestrian mall is a few blocks away, but there are no other LGBT-related attractions anywhere in the vicinity.
Men-only gay hotels fell out of favor and disappeared from Miami Beach a long ago (although they still thrive in nearby Fort Lauderdale), but this is not the first time a “straight-friendly gay hotel” tried to make it in South Florida.
The Lords opened in 2010 as a hotel with a gay sensibility, while wanting to be friends with everyone and open to both men and women. The management acquired the then-shabby Hotel Nash at 1120 Collins Ave., formerly a place where Spring Break raged 365 days a year, and threw a fresh coat of paint on everything and covered the breakfast nook with glitzy disco ball mirror tiles.
With advertisements of DJ pool parties on the weekends, the idea was to capitalize on the location steps away from gay bars The Palace and Twist, and become part of the revelry–or at least allow gay tourists to stumble back to their rooms with ease, their best girl-friends in tow.
Unfortunately, those gay bars in South Beach are in what has evolved into a rowdy, scummy area, where walking down the street can be a very unpleasant, unfriendly (dare we say unsafe?) experience. Convincing the boys to stay at The Lords, or even come to the pool parties, was a tough sell–especially since lovely mainstream hotels like Ritz-Carlton and The National are nearby, on the beach, in areas that
don’t have hordes of drunken idiots screaming at you are nicer. Half the management and staff at the big hotels are gay guys anyway, so visitors are free to be as open as they please.
Whatever the reason, The Lords was boring and it lasted only a few years. It closed briefly in 2013, then re-opened with new management, and now it’s back to being Hotel Nash, a mainstream party hotel. Of course, none of this means the Gaythering will suffer the same fate. The straight-friendly gay hotel idea is working in other parts of the U.S., including The Out NYC, which opened in 2012.
Perhaps this new hotel will inspire a “If you build it, they will come” spirit and generate some excitement in Miami Beach.