No Female-Only Floors Nixed At New Hotel

September 9, 2007
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GRAND RAPIDS — It was an idea that didn't survive, but it sure resulted in some high-profile publicity for the new JW Marriott.

In May, the general manager of the new hotel, George Aquino, announced that it would be one of the nation's first hotels to have a female-guests-only floor. Aquino said more than half of all business travelers are female. The thought was that having one entire floor — 16 rooms — just for women would offer the maximum opportunity for security and comfort to women travelers.

That sparked a flurry of worldwide publicity and started a debate about the legality in America of excluding males from lodging because of gender. The plan was even a hot topic of debate on the NBC Today show.

The JW Marriott officials decided to revise their plan. When it opens to the public on Sept. 21, there will be no restrictions against males occupying any of the 337 rooms, but the higher-priced "concierge floors," floors 19 through 23, will feature amenities calculated to appeal to women. There is also a Concierge Lounge on the 23rd floor, for use only by guests on the concierge floors.

Aquino also noted that the hotel has a very sophisticated security system. Floor access will be regulated by each guest's electronic room key. All guests will need to use their room keys to operate the elevators: Room keys issued to guests staying below the concierge floors will only take them to the floor their room is on, and back to the first floor.    

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