Hi Frugalistas! I’d like to welcome you to a guest post by my friend, Carolyn Pearson, the dynamic CEO of Maiden Voyage. Carolyn has a great framework to assist female, or security conscious male travellers for that matter, in choosing a hotel, and she has kindly agreed to share her wisdom with frugal first class travel readers….
Picture the scene, you are heading off travelling solo to a city your have never been to before. You might be a confident traveller but you don’t take any chances with your personal safety, so how can you be sure that your hotel is genuinely female friendly? Tapping “Female Friendly Hotel” into google will bring up a smattering of hotels, some who have called themselves ‘female friendly’ purely for marketing purposes. Hotels that are location challenged, place you in a ground or below ground room, announce your room number to all and sundry or whose hairdryer is sadly lacking in the hot air department.
Tap in “Girl Friendly Hotel” into google and it’s a whole different ball game! Having seen that this search term was delivering lots of traffic to maiden-voyage.com I investigated further, and this is what I found “This site has been created to respond to the needs of single male travelers or couples seeking fun. The main focus is to provide a list of hotels in which companions for the night can be brought in without hassles and preferably without additional costs. Such hotels are said to be “girl friendly”!
By searching the masses of online booking tools or by looking at pictures of hotels online you still have no real way of knowing if a hotel is going to be female friendly and indeed I was caught out recently myself when I arrived at hotel that wasn’t a hotel! It was a series of rooms (apartments) in a large house, a man turned up between the hours of 10am and 6pm and then we were left to our own (dysfunctional) devices thereafter. I found it very spooky coming back late, anybody could have opened a door and dragged me in. I subsequently lodged an honest review online.
Of course since the explosion of social media, the best way to find a good, safe hotel is through our own personal communities, trusted influencers on twitter, friends on facebook, reviews on trip-advisor and other independent reviews. Women love to recommend and refer and likewise we are more trusting of recommendations than any amount of advertising.
Since we launched back in 2008, we have constantly taken feedback from our members in terms of what they would like to see in a ‘female friendly hotel’ and these fall largely into two categories; safety and comfort.
Our top essential safety criteria include 24×7 manned reception, double-locking doors, hotel located in a good area and a well-lit approach.
Spy holes and consideration given to where in the hotel solo women are placed are also best practice.
Comfort comes down to the obvious things; full length mirrors, plug sockets close to mirrors so that you don’t have to be a contortionist to dry your hair, decent hair-dryers, removable coat-hangars so that one can de-crease clothes in the bathroom and of course some luxury bathroom products always put a smile on our faces.
By no means essential in many countries, there are also some hotels that provide ladies only floors. The Four Seasons in Riyadh however has the dedicated Pearl Floor ideally suited to lone travellers to the country who may wish to avoid inadvertently flouting local customs.
We’ve recently launched our own mobile app to perpetuate recommendations from real women of female friendly hotels so if you fancy being an under-cover hotel inspector why not submit a review of your hotel via m.maiden-voyage.com
Carolyn Pearson is the founder of maiden-voyage.com, a social network set up to make business travel both safe and social for women. Members can meet whilst travelling on business, perhaps for dinner as an alternative to solo dining or staying in and eating room service. The site also provide valuable travel safety tips and recommends female friendly hotels around the world. These hotels also offer exclusive member offers including upgrades, welcome champagne and discounts on spa treatments. Membership to maiden-voyage.com is free.
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on my wish list for female friendly hotels is a desk/chair combo that suits my height. Almost always I have to pack the chair with a cushions (or pillows if no cushions) in order to be able to work at the desk ; just a comfortable adjustable office chair would help so much
Great addition to the list, Anna. Some chairs can be terribly uncomfortable. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Carolyn (maiden-voyage.com) says
I know EXACTLY what yo mean Anna, only last night I resorted to sitting on my hotel bed with my laptop on my knees because not only was the desk chair too low for the desk, it was located about 3 inches from the bottom of the TV.
Carolyn, thanks for sharing your endeavour to help female travellers stay safe.
It is really interesting to see what you are doing. As a person who has regularly travelled as a solo female, it is interesting that I am probably subconsciously looking for most of the features you mention without really being aware of it.
Yes, I’m the same Anne. I’ve never thought about it in such a systematic or conscious way, but there are definitely things I look for when I’m booking something for travel on my own
Carolyn (maiden-voyage.com) says
So glad it resonated with you. It’s funny isn’t it when a hotel doesn’t have some of those thing we just quietly grumble to ourselves and are left feeling irritated but as we draw more attention to it, hopefully hotels will pull their socks up and realise the value of the lone female spending power.
Karisa - My Hot Pink Passport says
This is great! I’m still surprised when I see hotels without spy holes!!! That’s a pretty important feature!!
Yes, spy holes are pretty basic, but they are certainly not universal. When I’m solo and the door doesn’t have a spy hole I don’t open it, unless I’m expecting a caller (which is very rare)
I’ve seen some interesting spy hole placements too in my time, some very low and some too high so that you have to stand on your tip toes to see out!
I can honestly say I’ve never had either problem – but then I’m fairly tall for a woman
I’m so glad I found this! Unfortunately, there have also been times where hotels treated me poorly and I suspect it was because I was traveling alone. This was especially true in South America. If only there were a way to filter these out!
Thanks for the heads up on this Allison. I wonder if South America is a particular problem for solo female travellers?