In Saudi Arabia, a Hotel for Women

Men-free Luthan Hotel 'meeting a very big demand' in conservative Muslim kingdom
By Eleanor Villforth,  Newser User
Posted Mar 21, 2008 5:21 PM CDT
A cameraman films a room at Riyadh's Luthan Hotel and Spa.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Saudi Arabia’s first hotel catering exclusively to women—right down to its plush spa—opened this week in Riyadh, the Independent reports. The conservative kingdom enforces strict Islamic segregation of sexes in public, but women can stay at the Luthan Hotel without a male guardian—nor any men on the premises at all—and without needing to stick to tough dress standards.

From its bell-women to its electrical engineer, "we are women-owned, women-managed and women-run,” the executive director said. Catering primarily to businesswomen, the hotel boasts 25 rooms, dining and conference facilities. New rules have allowed women to check into mixed-gender hotels without a male family member since January, but bureaucracy and conservative family values mean few have taken advantage. (Read more Saudi Arabia stories.)