Where the girls are -- bamboozled

The New York Post reports that "girls only" travel packages are really just rip-offs.

Published November 8, 2005 6:08PM (EST)

Kudos to Lydia Gordon of the New York Post for busting several hotels for hawking special women-only travel packages that are really rip-offs disguised as empowerment weekends. "A casual survey of women who travel with their girlfriends has revealed that not one plans to get dressed up in footie pajamas, pelt her friends with pillows or wallow in a vat of vanilla pudding," Gordon writes. "But this is precisely the kind of scenario that hotels and resorts are increasingly trying to fob off as a 'girls getaway.' Add a wah-wah pedal and a horny pizza delivery guy, and you have the makings of pay-per-view cinema."

Gordon wrist-slaps the Cherry Valley Lodge in Newark, Ohio, for its cutesy and overpriced "MenoPAUSE Escape," which promises to help weary, graying women combat their hot flashes, their mood swings and even their osteoporosis with a "chillow" cooling pillow, among other ridiculous remedies. "And because women of a certain age turn, apparently, into lunatics," Gordon writes, "the package costs $350/night for two in a room ($265 for a single), while the hotel's rates average $139-$169."

Equally icky is Seattle's Hotel Vintage Park "Gals Just Want to Have Wine" promotion. Gordon reports that "gals" who opt for this package pay up to 100 bucks more for a room than regular guests, but receive only a book called "Wine for Women" and a bottle of Olympic Cellar wine (either "Working Girl White" or "Go Girl Red") for spending the extra cash. Apparently, Hotel Vintage Park thinks that gals are too dumb to realize that it makes more economic sense to just buy a bottle of $20 spirits at the liquor store around the corner than to buy into this estrogen-laced hokum. Who would want to drink a bottle of wine described as a "sassy blend" for "working women after a long day in pantyhose and pumps," anyway?

And capitalizing on Wisteria hysteria, Omni Hotels is offering a "Housewives on Hiatus" promotion tailored to "frazzled friends, stressed-out sisters and manic moms." The perks include -- wow -- a gossip magazine, the option to borrow a board game from the front desk, and a prearrival phone call from an Omni concierge. As Gordon points out, "Last we checked, talking to the concierge was already a free service."

By Lori Leibovich

Lori Leibovich is a contributing editor at Salon and the former editor of the Life section.

MORE FROM Lori Leibovich

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