Reader Email: Homophobia at HIX AGP (Holiday Inn Express Malaga)

A LoyaltyLobby reader sent us a message about perceived homophobic incident at an IHG affiliated hotel in Spain.

Holiday Inn Express Magala Airport

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Here’s the email from the reader:

I reserved a double room at the HIX AGP for tonight (28 July) and they gave us two singles.

Went back to reception and asked to switch. The woman there informed me that rooms with double beds were for families and that we are not a family. I couldn’t believe what I heard so I asked her to repeat and she said that no, we are not a family and there would be no double bed for us.

I was speechless for a minute, then asked her if I showed her our marriage certificate that would suffice, since I had a photo of it on my phone. She said no, rooms with double beds are actually only for families with children.

We are still here, in a room with two tiny twin beds, as there is nothing else decent available nearby or I would have walked immediately. I really don’t think I’m making a big deal out of nothing, and it wasn’t a communication problem as we were both speaking Spanish. To be honest I’m not comfortable staying at this property now, but it’s late and after the shock of that encounter we are both kind of exhausted and neither of us are up to looking for something new at this hour.

I already contacted IHG chat and asked for contact details for the GM of the property. They gave me an email that didn’t work (bounced).

I’d like to know if this is really their policy, and if so how they justify it, and why they don’t explain it on their web site when you make a reservation. This is the first time I have ever complained about a hotel. I’m not a complainer by nature but this was so egregious I felt like I needed to reach out.

This really doesn’t make much sense. You can book the double bed for just one. There is no need to have a “family” per IHG’s website. The website indicates that this room type can accommodate up to 4.

The standard room (reader didn’t book this) can accommodate two and has the following disclaimer:

When you arrive we will do our best to meet your room bed type and smoking preferences these are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed.

We wanted to know what IHG thinks about what was going on here and got the following statement from the spokesperson for the hotel:

“We do not tolerate any forms of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or any personal or political preference. In this case, there was a limited availability of rooms and we regret that this was not explained in full to the guest and apologise for any offence caused.”

Holiday Inn Express – Malaga Airport General Manager, Mr Magín Chover, had met the reader and his partner at the time of them coming back to the hotel from a dinner and had offered to move them to the room type booked. He had explained that the room type the reader had reservation for (double) had been completely booked by families with children.

The General Manager was at the front desk when the female employee had previously denied the reader and his partner their booked room type, citing “family” issue.

Conclusion

Not sure what to think about this. I cannot remember any hotel employee batting an eye regarding my sleeping arrangements for a while, and it is none of their business anyway. They may sometimes ask what is my preferred bedding, like when you book a twin because this often has the lowest price attached.

There is no ambiguity to the fact that the reader should have received the double type he booked. There is no warning on the website that this room type is not allocatable to others than “traditional” families (whatever they might be in 2019).

Whether the female employee was homophobic or just lacking in communication department is difficult to tell. The most important thing is that the reader felt that they had been singled out due to their marriage.