London hotel in double room controversy


A hotel in central London has been forced to make an apology after a staff member denied a gay couple a double room which they had already booked. A receptionist at the Thistle City Barbican Hotel told Nick Hurley and Gavin Maclean that there would be no double room available for them.

However, the couple had reserved one and claim that the member of staff asked several times if they wanted single beds. Hurley posted comments on Twitter summarizing what had happened to the couple.

“Homophobic receptionist at @ThistleHotels refused me & my bf our pre-booked double room. Insisted we take a “family” room w/ separate beds,” he commented.

Thistle Hotels responded to Hurley by saying that there would be a discussion with staff to reiterate that prejudice would not be accepted by their organization.

“Staff meeting will be held at hotel in question to reinforce we do not tolerate discrimination. Apologies again to @nickhurley,” Thistle Hotels tweeted.

The Thistle City Barbican Hotel told 429Magazine that they have advised that the matter be escalated to the Thistle Hotels Group in order to investigate what exactly occurred.

A statement Monday from Group CEO Mike DeNoma read:

“No form of discrimination is acceptable in our hotels and we regret what happened to Mr Hurley and his partner. This morning we held meeting across all Thistle Hotels to reinforce that we do not tolerate any form of discrimination and to remind every employee of the culture and beliefs of the whole company for equal positive treatment of every individual.”

DeNoma indicated that the issue had resulted from a breakdown in communication.

“A full review is taking place at the hotel with staff members on duty Saturday evening. Whatever the outcome it is clear that we failed to appropriately communicate why there were no double rooms available to Mr Hurley and his partner.”

This incident follows a similar controversy at a Berkshire bed and breakfast in 2010. That resulted in a legal settlement with a gay couple, Michael Black and John Morgan, who were refused a double room by the owner of the establishment. Last year both Black and Morgan received almost $3,000 each in compensation for “injury to feelings.”

Meanwhile, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, guesthouse owners who have repeatedly refused gay customers are appealing a case to the UK Supreme Court to allow them restrict double rooms to married couples.


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