Sexist, special treatment, or a really smart idea?
A new luxury hotel in Dubai has set aside a whole floor to be used exclusively by female guests, complete with private lift access, and a separate breakfast lounge.
Dukes Dubai, which opened on Palm Jumeirah this month, hopes to cater specifically to women travelling alone with the ladies-only space, dubbed the Duchess Floor. The floor has 20 rooms, which boast Burj Al Arab and Dubai Marina views.
Debrah Dhugga, the managing director of the five-star hotel, came up with the idea based on her own travel experiences. She identified a niche for high-end hotel brands to create a tailored experience for solo female travellers, with a focus on comfort, service, style and quality.
“As somebody who travels regularly either for business or for leisure with friends and female relatives, I could clearly see a gap in the market for a women’s only area in a luxury hotel,” she said.
“The Duchess Floor combines the safety and security of a private residence, with beautifully elegant decor and bespoke facilities, in order to provide female guests with a sense of sanctuary when they stay at Dukes Dubai.”
Hotel floors dedicated to female travellers have become a growing trend in recent years. Jumeirah Emirates Towers is another Dubai hotel with a ladies’ floor, which is entirely staffed by women, and features rooms adorned with flowers, luxury toiletries, and even a dedicated makeup fridge.
Female-friendly floors can also be found in hotels in Singapore, Japan, Australia, the US and the UK.
However, not everyone is a fan, with some criticising the service as “patronising” and “sexist”. In 2014, a Danish court upheld that a women-only hotel floor was gender discriminatory and therefore illegal, forcing the hotel to allow men to book rooms on the floor.