Women-Only Saudi Hotel Raises Debate on Progress

Critics worry about segregation
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted May 15, 2008 4:49 PM CDT
Until January, women traveling solo couldn't check into hotels, including the pictured Intercon in Riyadh, without written permission from a male guardian.   (Magnum Photos)
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(Newser) – Saudi businesswomen are embracing a hotel for women-only that frees them of the pressures from a society in which they can't drive and, until January, couldn't check into a hotel without permission from a male guardian. But others are concerned the Luthan Hotel & Spa simply reinforces the kingdom's gender segregation. The Christian Science Monitor profiles the hotel and the controversy.

A female executive at Luthan calls it part of a global trend that caters to women travelers looking for men-free sanctuaries. But not everyone buys it. "It's not good because maybe some people will try to make other hotels to keep ladies separate from the men," says a professor at King Saud University. "Always they will keep men and women separate."