A Vancouver hotel picks up on business travel’s latest trend: women-only hotel floors.
Getting off of the elevator onto the 10th floor of Vancouver’s Georgian Court Hotel, it’s hard to see what all of the buzz is about. But this floor has featured in local blogs, international newspapers, even a CBC televised report. The reason becomes clearer as Lisa Jackson, the hotel’s general manager, stops to greet a young woman smartly dressed in a navy blue business suit, who is closing the door to her one-bedroom suite. The guest not only represents a desired demographic; on this floor, dubbed the Orchid Floor, women are the only guests welcome.
While hotels around the world have been setting aside rooms for women in recent years, Jackson claims that the Georgian Court’s Orchid Floor remains the lone ladies-only hotel accommodation in Vancouver.
For a space all about women, the Orchid Floor is missing any over-the-top feminine touches. In fact, all of the building’s 200 rooms have the same décor. “We don’t want to make them girlie. Definitely not pink,” Jackson assures. “It’s more about the amenities we offer.”
In addition to a female-only environment, the Orchid Floor provides guests with a yoga mat, hair dryer and flat iron, bath salts and fashion magazines, all at no extra cost. While it may not be entirely economical for the hotel (the upkeep of an Orchid room is a little more expensive than an average room), Jackson believes that the overall benefit far outweighs the negatives. In a city filled with hotels, differentiation is key to success, she says.
Women-only hotel floors have come under fire recently, with critics calling them old-fashioned and discriminatory. Reserving rooms for women-only at Copenhagen’s Bella Sky Hotel, for example, was widely reported to have been found discriminatory by Denmark’s Board of Equal Treatment.
Despite the negative publicity, the once-outdated notion of female-only accommodation is on the upswing. J. Walter Thompson U.S.A. Inc., a New York marketing and communications firm, has pointed to women-only hotel floors as one of its top 100 trends to watch for 2012.
Is a second female-only floor – the Rose Floor perhaps – on the horizon? “We are considering it,” Jackson says. But more interestingly, Jackson mentions that the hotel has discussed the possibility of a men-only floor, saying with a laugh, “We kind of toyed around about it, but we haven’t actually delved into it. But if we did, what would we put in it?”
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