Hotels Catering To Gay Honeymooners

South Florida Hoping For Big Business From New York

With bright, elegant rooms, two luxury pools, and rainfall-inspired showers in each bathroom, the gay-owned Royal Palms boutique hotel in Fort Lauderdale is cashing in on New York's go-ahead for gay marriage.

The message: marry there, honeymoon here.

Alan Carley, the Royal Palm's executive chef said the hotel is offering special packages for gay newlyweds that include champagne, rainbow roses, and complementary spa treatments.

"What a beautiful place to start your life together," Carley said.

The highlight of the Royal Palm's "Honeymoon with Pride" package is a ride on the Intercoastal in the hotel owner's 50-foot yacht.

Even family-friendly hotels like the Atlantic are offering rooms with a view and a free honeymoon cocktail as part of its "Preferred Pride" package.

"This is a huge advantage to us. We welcome all guests," said Atlantic manager Jon Goldberg.

Over the weekend, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors' Bureau took out an advertisement in the New York Times that encourages new gay couples to travel south. It reads: "After your I do's, try our proposal."

Hotels in Miami are offering similar specials.

But to Carley, the irony is cruel.

"I want to be on this honeymoon too!," he laughed.

But in Florida, Carley can't enjoy a honeymoon because he can't legally marry his partner.

A cartoon in the Sun-Sentinel Tuesday depicts a hotelier telling a gay couple: "We don't recognize your marriage, but we DO recognize Amex, Mastercard and Visa."

"It does make us a little sad, but we see that in the very near future Florida will join the rest of the other six states," Carley said.

In the meantime, Carley said he's happy to share the love.

A spokeswoman for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors' Bureau said it's too early to estimate the impact gay honeymoon travel will have on the local economy, but anticipates a boon.

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