Women only hotels – Saudi Arabia

Britain’s Daily Telegraph reports on a “women only” hotel opening in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In most parts of the world consumer reactions to the opening of such a hotel would probably range from consternation to a yawn but in religiously sclerotic Saudi Arabia that apparently represents major progress. The article notes that the “Luthan Hotel & Spa in Riyadh offers upmarket lodgings and a range of health and beauty facilities aimed at businesswomen. Inside this hotel, women will be able uncover (sic) themselves freely as if at home, and enjoy pool and spa facilities normally restricted to certain fixed sessions”. The hotel is owned by a group of Saudi princesses and businesswomen but somewhat curiously was formally opened by Prince Sultan bin Salman, a man.

There are “women only” accommodations around the world like the Frauenhotel in Berlin, Germany, the Backhills in Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) and closer home the unusually named Frog Haven women’s Bed and Breakfast in Ithaca, New York. But what sets each of them apart from their Saudi counterpart is the voluntary nature of its clientele – women seeking, for whatever reason, lodging reserved for their sex. Apart from that it is unlikely that males are proscribed from employment at these inns. Regardless, the Luthan, does meet a business need that was heretofore missing in that benighted land.

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Vijay Dandapani

Co-founder and president of a New York based hotel company for 24 years. Grew the firm to five hotels in Manhattan and also developed a greenfield project at MacArthur airport, New York. Speaker at numerous prestigious forums including Economy Hotels World Asia, Lodging Conference, NYU, Columbia University Real Estate Roundtable, Baruch College's Zicklin School and ALIS. President and ceo of New York City Hotel Association since January 2017.

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