Do we really need ‘women only’ service at Dukes?

by Holly on January 17, 2012

I’ve just heard about the latest hotel trend in town – women only rooms.  Well-regarded Dukes Hotel in swanky St James’ is leading the field with its new offering, Duchess Rooms.

Described as ‘a discreet service tailored to female business and leisure guests’, I was interested to find out more about this service.  But closer inspection of the ‘feminine touches’ included in Duchess Rooms reveals a near-laughable amount of cliché, at least to me.  Let’s inspect:

1. A personal welcome card from Debrah Dhugga, the General Manager.

- How charming, I hear you squeal – a real-life, written (photocopied?) welcome message from Debrah.  She is certainly a role model as a high-flying female hotelier and it might inspire a guest who happens to work in hospitality.  But why would I (as a woman) value this more highly than a welcome letter from a male General Manager?  Or am I missing something here?

2. A female member of staff to escort ladies to their rooms and handle all room service and housekeeping requirements.

- Because, delicate flowers that we are, we can’t navigate the complicated corridors of Dukes to find our room alone.  And obviously it would be disastrous to have a man deliver my Chai Tea Latte in the morning…

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Dukes has some gorgeous public areas in a naturally safe and discreet environment…so why do they assume that women need special mollycoddling?

3. Makeup mirror, hairdryer and accessories are positioned at easy reach from the dressing table.

- Now we’re getting down to business.  Forgetting that I’d expect these things as standard when paying Dukes’ level rates, the important thing is that they’re easily reachable.  Phew, because I lay awake some nights wondering whether I’ll be able to reach my makeup mirror from my dressing table.

4. Smaller size slippers.

- I am woman, therefore my feet are small.  A simple equation, n’est-ce pas?

5. Fresh flowers and a complimentary fruit bowl are available.

- The simple equation generator has been in overdrive, huh?!  Women like pretty flowers and are always on a diet.  Obviously all I want upon finishing a hard days’ work is a lovely kiwi fruit.  And does this mean that the male guests at Dukes don’t deserve free fruit?

6. A choice of glossy lifestyle magazines in every room.

- Because the ‘female business guests’ this scheme is designed for obviously spend their days reading Elle – not, you know, attending important meetings and such.

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One of the beautiful rooms at Dukes – which recently won the World’s Ultimate Service Award in Hospitality at the World Travel Awards

7. A quiet corner table can be allocated in the dining room, should you wish to dine alone.

- What a relief, Dukes will help me hide my shame at having to dine alone.  Maybe they can provide a paper bag to place on my head too.  Joking aside, I can see where they’re coming from with this – but again, I’d expect this sort of thoughtfulness and discretion to be standard at a 5 star hotel.

Check rates at Dukes Hotel

Whilst I’m sure that this is merely a publicity stunt by an over-zealous hotel PR – ironically, Dukes’ Debrah Dhugga is co-founder of Leading Ladies of London, a group set-up to help women get ahead in hospitality – I’d say it’s one small step for Dukes, one giant leap backwards for womankind…

In fact, the whole Duchess Rooms idea looks a bit of a gimmick to me – and Dukes is already a superb luxury hotel that really doesn’t need one.

But that’s just one woman’s opinion…what do our female readers think?

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Image credit: Dukes Hotel London.

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Review of Dukes Hotel ‘Women Only’ Service Published | London Hotel News | Official daily news on London hotels |
February 3, 2012 at 11:43 am
What Women Want From Hotels | Top-Hotels-in-the-World.com
March 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm
London Hotels Try To Please Female Travellers | London Hotel News | Official daily news on London hotels |
March 26, 2012 at 7:46 am

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