'No unmarried couples', the hotel poster screamed
Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | November 26, 2014 | 05:36 pm IST Following our report titled Can an unmarried couple book a hotel room in India? dated November 24, 2014, several people wrote to us sharing their personal experiences where they said they were denied rooms in a hotel with another person of the opposite sex just because they were not married to each other. There are also those who haven't had such experiences; they however shared their views on the topic. Here are a few replies from our readers: Nidhi* This is a common feature in our society. I had a similar experience while travelling on work. I work as a correspondent for XYZ organisation. My VJ (video journalist) and I were in Hyderabad for a shoot and checked into a ABC hotel Banjara hills in October this year. There was a poster at the reservation counter that said they will not allow unmarried couples to stay together as it is against the policy. I decided to overlook that, as an argument with them will only be frivolous. But what really ticked me off was when I was denied permission into my VJs room. Infact they gave us rooms in different floors. So I had to go to my VJs room to work on an assignment and just when I took the lift, the operator refused to let me go to his room as it is against the hotels policy. Later I learnt the lift operators were instructed not to allow a female guest into a male guests room. I was completely aghast at this stupid rule which hindered my work. Even when I took this with the concerned people at the reception they came up with baseless defence of their policy. Moral Policing is a way of life. To interfere and peep into an individuals bedroom is no more an invasion of privacy but the right of the society. Manoj* Me and my girl friend were both 24 that time. I booked by hotel in Delhi via xyz.com and I don't really remember if their policy says anything about unmarried couples staying together. I mentioned my as well as my girl friends name while booking. As the surnames were different so it was obvious we wrnt married. So we reached the hotel. The receptionist asked me about our relation. I said she is my fiancé. They asked a govt issued ID from me ( just me not my girl friend). They mention me as alone in the register. I asked them that I have no problem if they mention her too and more so over the online booking receipt clearly states her name. In response they said that they can't give rooms to unmarried couples ( administrative reasons ) and will show that the female guest with me had to cancel her plans so I came alone. They Also said that they didn't want to refuse me as thy would have made me to write negative reviews about their hotel on websites. I didn't press much but still I was feeling uncomfortable as to why I have to show myself as single in the hotel register when both of us are mature and don't do any illegal activity. Almost all my friends have to go through similar issues. One of my friend even had to book 2 adjacent rooms in a hotel. The hotel provided them special 'discount' for booking 2 rooms. Satish* I had a really bad experience once in a low budget Pune hotel where I had booked a room for 3 nights for me and my girlfriend at the time while we attended a music festival. I had done my bookings about a month before the event and even paid an advance. A few weeks after the booking I received a call from the hotel asking for the name of "the other guest" (as I had booked the room in my name but for 2 people). I found this unusual and questioned them to find out that the hotel had such a policy regarding unmarried couples. I was absolutely shocked, this was the first time I had heard something of this sort (I have since been told by many friends that they had gone through a similar situation). I couldn't get myself to believe that a city as modern as Pune still frowned on such activities. I got into a fight with the hotel staff, if not to question the policy at least to point out the lack of responsibility of not informing me about it before the booking. This left me so frustrated that I didn't bother asking for a refund and went ahead and booked an expensive brand name hotel in order to avoid such a situation. Sara M My boyfriend (now husband) and I have travelled extensively in India for over a decade. While we often got sly smiles from the managers, most often we have got discriminated because we were Indian (!) and not because we were unmarried. Rishi Joe Sanu I wouldn't blame the hotels though. Hotels only care about revenue, it would be in their interest to fill as many rooms as possible. Problem is that law enforcement screws up with the incentives in the free market system. Hotels that houses unmarried couples inevitably become a target of preemptive police raids that tarnish the hotel's reputation. Hence, it would be in the interest of hotels to deny admission to such couples now. Legalize prostitution and this wouldn't be an issue. *( Some names of people, hotels and other organisations have been changed for privacy issues ) ( Note: If you have had similar experiences, do write to us at email@example.com ) Read: What got actor Veena Malik sentenced to 26 years in jail for 'blasphemous content' Read: How well do you know your beer?