A Royal Opening - The New Royal Palms Opens at Fort Lauderdale Beach
Here is an update on Royal Palms, as promised from our feature six months ago. The Royal Palm’s makeover is complete! The longtime gay favorite underwent renovations this past year and now has two additional buildings with 62 rooms, two heated swimming pools (one clothing-optional), a bar/grill, and spa and fitness center. And this new establishment is just one block from Fort Lauderdale Beach.
"It was time to take gay accommodations to the next level," said Richard Gray, who was instrumental in putting Fort Lauderdale on the gay destination map when he first opened Royal Palms in 1991. "While many boutique hotels have begun catering to the gay market, our new hotel uniquely combines world-class luxury with the sexy, social vibe that will never be found at mainstream or "straight-friendly" hotels."
"The new Royal Palms showcases a sleek, modern boutique design with a European sensibility," he continued. "It’s the first Fort Lauderdale gay property to incorporate the full range of services and amenities that travelers expect from a mainstream hotel."
The hotel rooms have a very minimalist-style to them.
"It’s sleek, stylish and sexy," said Gray, about the reinvention.
Gray describes the look as "contemporary European." Each room is all white, with orange and green punches of color. The beds lay on gray shag carpets atop a pebbled floor.
"Because I want people to shag," said Gray of the choice in carpet. "That’s a very important part of the holiday experience."
The rooms feature original artworks from photographer Dennis Dean, 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and the Royal Palm’s signature orchid blossoms. Royal Palms offers complimentary WiFi throughout the property, and access to iPad 2s, mobile phones, white bicycles and the ultimate guest amenity: a sleek 54’ private luxury yacht, available for guest excursions, celebrations and commitment ceremonies.
"It can be used for commitment ceremonies, birthday parties," Gray said of the yacht. "No one else has exclusive use of a yacht."
Gray is an expert in his field. The gay liason to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau and owner of Richard Gray Consulting, he recently received "The Gay+ Award for Achievement in Making Our World Gayer" from Logo’s TripOut Gay Travel Awards. He was influential in bringing the gay market to Greater Fort Lauderdale and his efforts to create the Rainbow Alliance, a marketing coalition to support the GLBT community in Broward, have been recognized by the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
The original Royal Palms was famous for its customer service, attention to detail and flawless housekeeping and Gray would have it no other way.
"We want to raise the bar again," he said.
Gray said that people want an all-inclusive experience and he wants to give it to them. With the bar, grill, spa, gym and pool area, travelers won’t want to leave the resort.
"They can take a cab from the airport and stay here and never leave," Gray said.
And locals can come enjoy Royal Palms by attaining a guest pass or by attending special events.
"We’re very keen to be a part of the community and have events here," said Gray." We want to open up the place to locals for sure."
Royal Palms will open on April 11, with the grand opening happening on Labor Day Weekend. Bar hours are Monday through Thursday until 11 p.m. and Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 2 a.m. Rates for standard rooms start at just $159, making the luxurious hotel affordable. For more information, visit RoyalPalms.com