LoAnn Loves... New York Getaways
Story by LoAnn Halden Photo (top) by Dougles Lyle Thompson
Given that South Florida is the top stop on the migratory route for snowbirds escaping northern winters, it's equally easy to take flight from here to New York. Whenever I can find a place to roost in Manhattan, I'm outta here -- which means my friends often ask me where to stay in NYC that won't break the bank. It's not an easy wish to fulfill, but these are a few of my favorite gay solutions:
1. The gay-founded Ace Hotelbrand arrived at 29th and Broadway in May, mingling vintage touches with the musician-hangout vibe that originated in its Portland and Seattle properties. Higher-end rooms come with turntables, and some even have guitars for impromptu jam sessions. On a budget? Go for the "Cheap" model; current rates run about $229 a night. (OK, so it's the New York definition of cheap…) Check the website for the latest special packages, offering everything from a free room night with a multi-night booking to complimentary breakfast for two.
2. If you actually plan trips more than a month in advance, try and squeeze into the Chelsea Pines Inn, a five-story row house where movie memorabilia from Hollywood's Golden Age has a starring role. This affordable, friendly gay-owned guesthouse rocks a convenient Chelsea location steps from a subway stop, but with only 26 rooms, it's sometimes hard to find space at the inn. Standard rooms dip under the $200 mark, especially if you're willing to hoof it up to the fourth or fifth floor (there's no elevator). A light, self-serve breakfast is included.
3. Cut down on the Manhattan hotel bill by creating an urban/"country" combo. Late summer/early fall is the ideal time to road trip a few hours outside the city into the Catskills, where you'll find a retro-fabulous oasis at The Roxbury. The gay-owned motor lodge in tiny Roxbury, N.Y. infuses its rooms with the eye-popping palettes of the '60s and '70s, and the suites take cues from TV shows, films, and cartoons of the period. It's not only a fantasyland, but also the ideal launch pad for hiking and biking the surrounding wooded hills. Rates through November range from $99 for a mod studio to $335 for Genie's Bottle, an I Dream of Jeannie homage with a fuchsia bottle-shaped bathroom and Japanese soaking tub. (Stay any three nights through the second week of September and get the fourth night free.) Fingers crossed that a proposed expansion into the property across the street goes through, which would mean more groovy themed escapes in 2010. Morticia's Boudoir or Miss Kitty's Saloon might even make Jeannie jealous.
What's your favorite New York getaway? Post it here, and keep watching GPS for more global faves from contributing editor LoAnn Halden.