In & Out
In a metropolis as diverse as Manhattan, it can be hard to break the mold. But The Out NYC did so when it opened its doors last year as the city’s first gay urban resort. The hotel’s mission is to be a “destination for gay travelers and a social epicenter for the local gay community—a place where gay people, their families, and their friends can experience the best of lodging, nightlife, food, drink, and design.” So far, it’s certainly living up to that credo. Situated in Hell’s Kitchen near Times Square and Chelsea, the property includes 103 hotel rooms, a 14,000-square-foot nightclub and lounge, a gourmet restaurant called KTCHN, and now, with the recent opening of The Spa at The Out NYC, a wellness retreat that offers plenty of opportunities for relaxation and rejuvenation.
According to spa director Chris Drummond, there are many reasons the spa stands out, one of which is its spectacular glass- covered atrium and 15-foot waterfall, where guests can chill out amid secluded cabanas, lounge areas, hot tubs, cooling showers, spacious steam rooms and saunas. “We wanted something truly unique, especially for New York—something hip, modern, and very special,” he says. “Our amazing spa atrium is based on Fire Island and is a unique spot unlike any other in the world. It is upscale, yet laid back, with sun-bleached wood, upscale furnishings, foliage, and lounge chairs. It is truly unlike any other spa I have ever been to, and most people who walk into the atrium have a jaw-dropping reaction. They don’t believe that this oasis is in the middle of
Perhaps the most unique aspect of the spa is the fact that guests can enjoy treatments in an array of areas. Alfresco aficionados can partake in massages, manicures and pedicures, and body services in one of three outdoor spaces. Those seeking more privacy can select a service in an inti- mate treatment room near the steam room or in the full-sized 300-square- foot treatment room that is specially outfitted for microdermabrasion, peels, hydrotherapy, body treatments, and body wraps. In addition, the spa’s signature service, the Hamam ($255, 2 hours), takes place in the steam room on a custom oak platform. This authentic Turkish bath treatment involves a steam, a full- body exfoliation using a Turkish bath mitt, and the application of detoxifying products followed by a full-body foam massage and a deep-tissue massage. In-room massages are also available, a further testament to the spa’s endless options. “In addition to our superior treatments and bespoke offerings, what distinguishes us is our setting,” says Drummond. “Guests of the spa can enjoy all of the amenities here at the resort, from a soothing dip in our hot tubs to an outdoor massage in one of our three stunning courtyards.”
Though The Spa at The Out NYC is geared to men, with treatments and facilities created with the male spa guest in mind, Drummond says he and his team are open and welcoming to all guests and, in fact, boast a rather diverse clientele that includes men and women, both gay and straight. “We just found that there isn’t a spa in Hell’s Kitchen that caters to the needs of men,” he says. “That being said, the clientele in the hotel is about 70/30 of gay versus straight, so we certainly get a decent number of straight men and women, and they also utilize the spa facilities and our fitness facilities.”
Drummond says that when it comes to spreading the word about the spa, he’s had great success with debut discounts and specials through email services like Groupon and Gilt.com. “As a new player in a very competitive city, we have learned that you need to entice customers with service, facilities, and competitive pricing,” he says. “For instance, we offered an initial deal on our annual wellness membership at a discounted rate. We had many men sign up, and they then told their friends. It literally was the best fitness deal in the city—full gym, spa, and facility use for only $250 for the year.” Also keeping the spa top of mind are the constantly evolving offerings, such as a recent partnership with a Botox doctor and an increase in spa parties and spa-themed get-togethers.
Even with the popularity of promotions and events like these, Drummond says he’s not worried about overcrowding at the spa, due to the fact that there is 5,000 square feet of usable space and that there truly is something and somewhere for everyone. “If someone isn’t getting a service, they can use the other spa facilities while they wait, or they can go use the gym, or they can hang out in the atrium and have a drink or some food delivered to them from KTCHN,” he says. “There is always action going on in the spa in one area or another.” It’s this buzzworthy strategy that proves that at the city’s first “straight-friendly” urban resort, visitors are never more in than at The Out NYC.