The new girls club

Hotel announces ladies-only floor, so businesswomen can "relax over a drink without getting hit on by guys."

Published May 17, 2007 9:29PM (EDT)

In the absence of an old girls club, some businesses are seeing a market for building them from bricks and mortar. J.W. Marriott Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich., announced today that it will be devoting the entire 19th floor to female guests. The hotel spokesperson told the Associated Press that with women comprising over half of all business travelers, the all-female floor will allow women to "relax over a drink without getting hit on by guys." The rooms will feature female-friendly amenities like "jewelry holders" (whatever that might be) and "special hair dryers" (for longer hair?) and instead of the Bible in the bedside drawer a copy of "Beyond God the Father" by Mary Daly (just joshing). But before checking in, you might want to check your bank account. Along with the sanctuary from guys hitting on them, women get the privilege of paying more for the same room. The chick cribs run an extra $30 a night.

Will it work? It's worked for Curves, the largest fitness franchise in the world, with more than 10,000 businesses, and the brainchild of antiabortion zealot Gary Heavin. But the question remains whether such women-only enclaves will be considered legal. According to the International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association, eight states allow single-sex health clubs: Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Tennessee and Wisconsin. But other states have recently ruled against single-sex health clubs: Last month a women's only club in Sonoma County, Calif., ended up shutting down after a man waged a four-year legal battle to join. Even the argument in favor of single-sex health clubs throws the idea of all-female hotel floors into question. Most lawyers argue that it's a matter of privacy and since health clubs are not social clubs, they won't exclude men from business networking (the way male-only business networking clubs like Rotary and the Elk's Club did until the courts intervened). Could you argue the same about a hotel for businesswomen?

By Carol Lloyd

Carol Lloyd is currently at work on a book about the gentrification wars in San Francisco's Mission District.

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