Women-Only Hotel Floors: Smart or Sexist?

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Now that nearly half of business travelers are women, hoteliers are trying to find new ways to secure their business. Hotels are trying to use women-only floors and an abundance of female-oriented amenities to attract these female frequent flyers with women-only floors. Similar initiatives were announced in India several months ago, though the focus there seemed to be more about safety.

CBS News reports that in hotels like Dukes London and the Four Seasons Washington, the traditional travel-sized shower sets are now accompanied by free products like bath salts, nail polish, name brand hair products, make up remover, earring backs, flat irons, and curlers…and that’s only in the bathroom. Some hotels are also offering yoga mats, an array of women’s magazines, eye masks, and flower arrangements, all at no additional charge. Hotels like the Hamilton Crowne Plaza and Georgian Court Hotel in Vancouver have set aside whole floors specifically for women, only accessible via key card and catered to by a female staff, meant to offer additional security and privacy for women traveling solo.

Ladies-only floors have been so successful at the Georgian Court Hotel that 30 more rooms have been added. Some women love that they have less to pack and can walk the hall in their pajamas without running the risk of encountering a man — but others see this marketing move as regressive because gender-specific policies like these run the risk of stereotyping and marginalizing women. One woman voiced her opinion to USA Today, saying, "Women have struggled many years for equal treatment, and a 'convent type' hotel floor is a step backward." Conde Nast Traveler also brought up a good point; it’s “hard to believe that what businesswomen and female travelers really want is specialized hair products and magazines rather than, say, free Wi-Fi, loaner iPads, or personal business concierges to help arrange any meetings they might have.”

Still, fancy female friendly rooms are just another option. According to CBS News, women can change any of her room’s items, and men are free to ask for any of these new amenities. We should remember that this isn’t a reflection of female business travelers and their need for safety and pampering, but rather it’s another marketing gimmicking aimed at making money. Don’t like it? Tell them with your dollars and don’t stay there.

Image: Facebook/Dukes London