Gay Couple Told There’s No Room At The Inn At London Hotel

no vacancyA gay couple looking forward to a romantic weekend in London were shocked when the clerk at their hotel insisted they take twin beds instead of the double room they booked.

Manchester couple Nick Hurley, 22, and Gavin Maclean, 28, had made reservations at the Thistle City Barbican hotel in East London, but when they arrived Saturday night, the receptionist couldn’t seem to wrap his head around the fact that the men were more than traveling companions.

Hurley claimed the clerk’s behavior was homophobic, and referred to the encounter as  “bullying.” He recounted the incident to the BBC:

He said: “When we got there, we tried to check in, and the receptionist looked at us and said ‘are you sure you want a double room or do you want single beds?’”

“He had obviously seen it was two guys. We said ‘we’ve booked a double and we’d quite like one’.

“He then looked at us and said ‘are you sure you don’t want single beds?’

“He insisted on repeating that question,” Mr Hurley said.

“He said we’ll have to put you in a family room, with single beds. There were no doubles left in the hotel.

This isn’t the first time LGBT guests have had trouble at British accommodations: In 2010, a gay-male couple sued owners of a B&B in Cookham, Berkshire, for refusing their reservation. And in 2011, owners of the Chymorvah Private Hotel in Cornwall appealed the $5,700 fine they were slapped with for turning away a gay couple.

A representative for Thistle Hotels said a simple mix-up was to blame this time—there were indeed no double rooms available for Saturday—and offered Hurley and Maclean two nights free at any Thistle hotel in the country.

Of course, he used the age-old non-apology, “We apologize for the way they feel.”


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  • Sukhrajah

    As someone that works in the hospitality industry, and as someone that is daily put into that situation, I can honestly say that (given the circumstances here), I just don’t see it. People book hotel rooms, and expect perfection. I would ask, nay beg, travelers to consider taking a closer look (or at least a more intelligent look) into the inner workings of the industry – one in which the motto is simple ‘heads in beds’, and where competition is firm. The world constantly cries out for more and more amenities, but constantly wishes to pay less and less. Just like the airline industry, something has got to give. If you treat an industry like shit, don’t expect diamonds when you use it. Everyday that I go to work, I am left with imbalances regarding room types. People always want kings (and book them) but arrive and ask for a room with two beds in it. Online booking sites are notorious for promising the guest the moon and delivering guests with the only available room type available. Logistically, what the hell do you want us to do? He did the ‘right thing’ according to his training – his company sold something that they didn’t have and he is trying to match (as best he can) that guest demand (thus offering them another room with two beds – hell, any two beds). Whenever someone pitches a petulant fit (every other guest, about minuscule things really), they reach for anything to justify why they are being ‘treated this way’. Sometimes, it’s just about the facts, you booked something – my management team sucks (and don’t properly assign rooms, or work with partners that book rooms and promise the world, but of which you are paying peanuts for by booking blindly through other companies and not calling the hotel to reconfirm the details before you arrive – thus making your true intentions shown before arrival when I can fix the issue). Could the agent helping them have been homophobic? Sure. But, as someone that works in the industry, let’s be honest, you cannot be and get away with it for long. It is and industry that is stocked with, and paid for by LGBT members. So, to people in general, stop the idiotic “I didn’t get what I want, and it’s because of me being (insert attribute here)” and consider the other alternative, something happened and they are sold out of a certain room type. It’s not about me, it’s about a shitty situation, and that poor chap or lass has to be the bearer of bad news. They are going to do everything that they can to help me. Being a douche is only going to make that worse right now. Trust me, from the other side of the desk, most of us don’t get paid enough to analyze sexuality, and make judgement calls. Oh, and one more thing that I have to say all the time. “Sir, or Maam, or Sirs, or Maams, or Ladies and Gentleman – if I indeed did have that room, do you really think that I would rather have you down here kicking and screaming at me, than actually putting you in that room?” Needless to say, we just don’t get paid enough for the aggravation.

  • hyhybt

    @Sukhrajah: Amen. While it’s certainly *possible* that they only claimed there were no other rooms available because it was two men, the other makes a lot more sense. Besides mixups in room type, hotels overbook all the time and wind up sending people elsewhere entirely. *Nobody* likes having that happen to them, and almost nobody likes being the bearer of bad news. I’ve never worked for a hotel, but I’ve certainly had enough people blame me personally for things I’ve done all I can to prevent and mitigate or which are out of my control entirely.

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