Imagine planning and booking a stay at a hotel, just to be turned away at the door. In any situation this is inconvenient, but it is even more ludicrous when the reason for being refused is simply because you are a single woman traveling alone. Yet this was the sad reality for Nupur Saraswat.
Despite the confirmation that Saraswat received from the Hotel Deccan Erragadda in Hyderabad, India, she was left standing on the street outside. Hotel staff refused to honor her confirmation due to the fact that she was unaccompanied by a man.
Saraswat took her frustration to social media. On Facebook she posted, “So, I am standing outside a hotel in Hyderabad which didn’t let me stay because they realised I was a ‘single lady’ even after confirming the online booking. Massive bag in hand, gross from the journey just standing outside the hotel. Somehow they decided I was safer on the streets than in the hotel.”
Saraswat also added a photo of the hotel’s ridiculous policy, which states “Single lady not allowed” and “Locals and unmarried couples not allowed.”
After the controversy, Saraswat was offered an apology and a refund by Goibibo, which is the online travel agent that she booked the hotel with. She was also given a complimentary stay in an alternative hotel.
Goibibo stated on its website, “We have de-listed the Hotel Deccan Erragadda from our platform pending the investigation. We are taking up with local authorities/police and hotel management for the rationale behind such policies.”
Although Saraswat received a huge amount of support from her post, including more than 1,600 shares, the fact that this incident even occurred says a lot about the misogyny we still see in our world today.
The statement from Goibibo also included a response from the hotel, which said the hotel was “not against … single women staying in our hotel,” but that the hotel was not in the right area for single women and so “as per local police interaction we don’t give rooms to single woman and unmarried couples.”
In an attempt to justify its actions, the hotel also stated, “Further you can check all the hotels in this locality [have] the same hotel policies as mentioned.”
The Foreign Office warns female visitors to India to “use caution” and warns of cases of kidnapping and sexual assault. However, how can women be safe when they are left in the street with nowhere to stay?
In 2017, women should not have to worry about these kinds of situations. Facebook shares and refunds can only do so much – there must be more initiatives to stop this kind of discrimination against women and to make travel safer. Speaking out against mistreatment and refusing service from places such as Hotel Deccan Erragadda can help make a statement about the unacceptability of the kind of behavior that they present.
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