Hotels for Women: The 21st Century Traveler

by Kathleen Culliton
Antoinette Bruno
May 2011

What Women Want

The Family Woman:

• Child services and amenities
• Space
• A range of dining from casual to fine

Hotels to Check Out:

The Business Woman

• Networking resources
• Quality toiletries
• Spa and comfort

Hotels to Check Out:

The Thrill Seeker

• Ensured safety
• An informed concierge
• Community at the hotel

Hotels to Check Out:

A great hotel provides its guests with more than a roof overhead. It can be place to live out a fantasy and sink into the comforts of a good old-fashioned stereotype, whether you want to feel like James Bond, or wish that it was 1960-something and your family was a contented version of The Drapers. But what if there is nothing traditional about your fantasy—what if you’re a young woman looking for adventure or paving the path to your future?

Eighty percent of all travel decisions are made by women. As wives and mothers planning family vacations, as business women trekking solitary paths across the globe, or as thrill-seekers in search of adventure, women are increasingly taking control of the travel market. Court their business and make your fortune. But what do women want?

Crown Towers Hotel – Melbourne, Australia

Crown Towers Hotel – Melbourne, Australia

The Family Woman
A mother’s wants are easy to guess, difficult to execute. Mother travelers have high standards because they’re responsible for a whole family’s happiness. So child amenities—accredited baby-sitters, kid-friendly activities, and a decent grilled cheese sandwich somewhere within the vicinity—are a must. Look at it this way, why should she not choose Disney World over you?

Take on Mickey by providing sophisticated fun alongside more child-friendly fare. The Woodmark Hotel in Kirkland, Washington uses its travel-hub-friendly location to accommodate any and every kind of guest. Residence at the hotel includes a temporary membership to the Woodmark Yacht Club. So while the kids are kayaking through the wetlands (or playing with the hotel labradoodle) parents can cruise Lake Washington or enjoy a cocktail on the beach. A spot-on concierge also stands ready to point out and arrange city adventures in Seattle.

Space is key—bonding is important when traveling with the fam, but hotel accommodations can quickly go from intimate to cloister-esque when too many people are in too small a room. The Westin Resort and Spa offers Penthouse Suites for families, so when the kids come back from a uproarious day of tubing, skiing, and zip-lining, the Family Woman can put some distance between herself and the rest of the clan (without having to worry that they’re terrorizing defenseless room service waiters).

Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler – Whistler, Canada

Westin Resort & Spa, Whistler – Whistler, Canada

The Business Woman
Should business women be treated differently than business men? It’s a tricky question. Imagine this: it’s 3am and you’ve just checked into your hotel. Tomorrow morning you have a meeting for which you must not look exhausted, ungroomed, or unprofessional. As you swipe your key through the lock, you know that success depends on what you’re about to find at the other side of the door. Please, you say to yourself, let there be a shower cap.

No, business women shouldn’t be treated differently, but yes, they do require certain creature comforts. Beyond the obvious free Wi-Fi, express check-ins, and a better-than-Ambien bed, business women rely on a proper toilette to maintain a level of professionalism, and it takes time, effort, and the proper tools. Small details like a shelf in the shower for shaving, quality shampoo and conditioner, and (yes we’re going to say it) a tampon, mean a lot when you only have a short amount of time to look your best.

Studies have shown that women traveling alone are less likely to visit the restaurant for fear of feeling self-conscious or getting hit on by all those non-George Clooney Up-In-The-Air men who have no problem making new friends. At The Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey, they’ve taken their female-savvy hospitality a step beyond safety. Their excellent restaurant, jer-ne restaurant + bar, offers a communal table to those guests dining solo. Accommodating a difficult-to-‘fess-up-to need gives the Marina del Rey Ritz a welcoming atmosphere that a woman traveling by herself responds to, and looks for.

Azur Luxury Lodge – Queenstown, New Zealand

Azur Luxury Lodge – Queenstown, New Zealand

The Thrill Seeker
It’s a sad fact that there are places on this planet that are simply safer for men than for women. But the right hotel can help make up the disparities for the woman traveling on her own and searching for adventure.

While some hotels offer women-only floors and escorts to their female guests to pretty much anywhere except the ladies room, a knowledgeable concierge is the best resource to exploring safely (and informing aptly). They should be ready to answer questions about cultural norms, but not hand out pepper spray at the door. At the Azur Lodge in New Zealand, the concierge arranges a full trip itinerary, should it be demanded of them, and can guide their guests to a luxurious wine tour or an adventurous bungee jump.

Statistics show that when women vacation they tend look for the opportunity to glean more from their trip than a good tan (surprise!). Health is a key factor, and hotels like The Carneros Inn that offer horseback riding, group fitness classes, and golf provide women with the chance for self-improvement as well as self-indulgence.