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Do we really need ‘women only’ service at Dukes?
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…
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.
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.
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?
Image credit: Dukes Hotel London.
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