[…]

The Marriott chain are testing the idea of a women only floor in their Michigan hotel. The segregated space has improved security (yah-hay), fresh flowers (erm OK) and upgraded toiletries (yeah because that’s important), softer blankets, safes for jewelry (or like your laptop, mobile and career sensitive information I guess). Oh and a women only bar so women can have a drink without being “hit on”. And will only cost $30 more than a room anywhere else. So women can be safe but they have to pay extra for it…

Men not allowed in the rooms on the 19th floor, they’re also forbidden from entering a private women’s bar. The hotel is banking on research that shows half of business travelers are women, many of whom are tired of getting hit on in hotel bars. Designating female-only areas is the hotel’s way of protecting women and giving them peace of mind while traveling alone. From ABC News

The dangers of being a lone woman traveller are well-known. But the advertising of this concerns me slightly – whilst I welcome improved security for women, why only on one floor? Why focus on the “feminine” aspects of the floor (like blankets and toiletries) and why, (oh why, oh why, oh why) say there are “jewlery safes” if you’re targetting women business travellers who are probably far more concerned about their laptop and mobile than their paste. Obviously whilst hotels are responding to some concerns they still consider women business travellers a bit of a novelty and a bit wierd.

Sadly the experiment may not last – Michigan Civil Rights Commission is fighting for it to be closed already arguing that:

“No person can be denied fair and equal access to services at a place of public accommodation,”From ABC News

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Whilst elsewhere is has been likened to the KKK demanding “white only floors”. I forsee that the debate will rage and rage.