I've recently returned from a press trip to Italy, where I stayed at a resort with a rather lax policy on door locking. Every night when I collected my key from reception, I returned to my room to find it unlocked. The hotel website says: "Many different souls coexist in here." Aside from a concern that my laptop might go missing, I didn't relish the idea of getting back to my room and finding any of these disparate souls waiting for me.
The first time I struggled with hotel staff for a minimum standard of security, was in Dahab, Sharm el-Sheikh's poorer studenty cousin. I'd finished university and I'd booked myself on a PADI, to put off getting a job. I was shown to a room with a broken bathroom window, that - jagged glass aside - offered easy access from the landing. The hotel staff made light of my concerns - who would climb through my window? Despite the booking being part of a package deal, I checked into another hotel.
In 2013, I was staying at a five star hotel in Cyprus, for a poker tournament. My boyfriend was arriving the next night, so I was spending the first night alone - and when I went to close the balcony door before bed, I found it didn't shut. After quadruple checking, to make sure I wasn't just shit at shutting the door, I called reception. They sent security to show me that of course the door closed - but it did not. My concerns were shrugged aside with: "This is the second floor!"
I'm sure all manner of men have scaled heights higher than a second floor - from Fathers for Justice to the Milk Tray Man (and I know who I'd rather see abseiling in). Finally - after re-packing all my things - I was moved to another room at gone one in the morning.
I recently discovered there's such a thing as "women-friendly hotels" - with Richard Branson launching Virgin's line last year. Apparently the female friendly features include a peephole, "which allows the guest to see who is there. Good lighting lines the corridors." I've never had a problem with lighting, and I'm pretty sure peepholes are standard. I double checked this with a shout out on Facebook, and the feedback was: "Yep, you always get a peephole - it's the glory holes you pay more for!"
I'm not looking for a leg shaving bench, thanks Virgin (yes, this really is a feature). I've spent a lifetime balancing on one leg in gym showers - I'm not letting that core stability go to waste now. Nor do I need "smaller slippers," or an assurance that housekeeping will be female - when isn't it? I definitely don't want to wake up in a Jane Austen novel, to find "a quiet corner table" has been allocated to me in the dining room, where I may eat before a female staff member escorts me back to my room, thanks Dukes.
As a woman travelling alone, I don't need chaperones or shaving seats. I'd just like windows and doors that lock - and not to be treated as a nuisance when I point out gaping great breaches in security. We don't need women-only hotels for safety that should be standard - I think male guests might appreciate it too.
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