I've stayed at a number of gay resorts in Ft Lauderdale. Each has a different niche, and each has some nuances that make it unique.
I've now been to the New Zealand House, located in Victoria Park twice, and recommend it without hesitation.
I used to always want to stay down by the beach, but with the new building boom, I found myself waking up to construction noise, and more and more high-rise windows looking down at the resorts.
But beyond that, I found that all the hotels I stayed at had a certain formality that made them just a little sterile. Not like staying at a major chain hotel, but enough to make it an effort to break the ice with other guests.
The NZH is run not by a manager, but by the two guys, Rick and Warren, who own it. They are by far the most generous and hospitable hosts I've met at any hotel.
This is what gives the hotel its comfortable, welcoming feel. During my two stays, I never saw anyone left out of conversation, or stuck with no one to have dinner with. People relax and relate to each other because of the congenial atmosphere.
Rick and Warren have done a wonderful job of renovating the property. There are only 8 rooms, and each is beautifully furnished and has a fantastic shower.
Each room has a refrigerator, microwave and TV. Every day, they rotate magazines and DVDs, so you have something new in the room each day. The rooms are scrupulously clean.
They have high speed WiFi, so if you have your laptop, you're connected in your room, or at the poolside.
The hotel is located off Sunrise Blvd, an easy walk to restaurants, the Galleria Mall, Barnes and Noble, and The Gateway movie theatre. It's a quick ride to Wilton Manners, where most bars and discos are located, and a quick ride to the beach if the sea is calling you. Probably less than 15 minutes in either direction. Yet, the location on a residential street is very quiet and very private.
The breezy attitude of the hosts overflows into the hotel, and makes for a fun stay. There is a beautiful pool, kept nice and warm, and plenty of sun during the day.
What struck me both times I stayed at the New Zealand House was how much everyone there is laughing most of the time.
And isn't having a fun time why we go on vacation in the first place?