Ho­tel courts con­tro­versy with all-women’s floor

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Travel -

Be­hind a locked glass door lies the 17th floor of Copen­hagen’s Bella Sky ho­tel: the Bella Donna floor is off-lim­its to men so women will feel safe and pam­pered, even though it’s in vi­o­la­tion of gender equal­ity laws.

“I’m not al­lowed to en­ter. I have to wait here.” Ex­cept in the event of an emer­gency, even ho­tel man­ager An­ders Duelund can­not pass through the door.

“Me, I have a pass,” in­sists Chren Vi­lan­der Thom­sen, head of se­cu­rity, as he bounds into the pro­tected area to re­move the AFP jour­nal­ist ac­cused of dis­turb­ing the fe­male guests on the floor.

“We’ve re­ceived a com­plaint and re­spect for our cus­tomers’ pri­vacy is a pri­or­ity,” he ex­plains as he checks the iden­tity card of the reporter who was seek­ing out some guests’ im­pres­sions of the all-women floor.

Ac­cess to Bella Donna, which means Beau­ti­ful Wo­man in Ital­ian, is so strictly re­stricted that a fe­male guest who wants to bring a man up to her room must ask to switch rooms to an­other floor.

The ex­clu­sion zone prompted one anony­mous plain­tiff to re­port the ho­tel to the Dan­ish Gender Equal­ity Board be­cause “clos­ing off the floor to men stig­ma­tized men as ag­gres­sors,” Duelund said.

Jytte Larsen, of the women’s rights net­work Kv­info, said the com­plaint was “in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

“There is just one per­son, a man, who claims that this is dis­crim­i­na­tion and that re­quires the board to ad­dress the case and rule in his favour be­cause, ac­cord­ing to Dan­ish gender equal­ity laws, it is il­le­gal to treat peo­ple dif­fer­ently based on their sex,” Larsen lamented.

On Nov. 11, the board or­dered the four-star ul­tra-modern ho­tel to open the floor to men. But, Duelund in­sists, “we de­cide for our­selves who gets to stay at our ho­tel.”

On the 17th floor, rose and bur­gundy tones re­place the black and grey hues found on the ho­tel’s other floors, and the fe­male clients en­joy spe­cial perks.

The 20 Bella Donna rooms are decked out with fresh flow­ers and fash­ion magazines, while the bath­rooms fea­ture high-end sham­poos, creams and fa­cial masks.

The ad­van­tages for the women do not come free. A room on the Bella Donna floor costs $53 more than the same room on an­other floor.”

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