23 October 2011

Me myself and I

What is it about hotels that makes it virtually impossible to travel as a single person?

I don't want to sound like a bitter old spinster as normally it is my preference to travel alone. It means you can choose when you go, where you go and, quite frankly, you switch off more if you completely detach from life.

But hotels really don't make it easy.

A friend of mine is getting married next summer in Cyprus and I would completely love to go. She has booked a wedding package through Thomas Cook to the Olympic Lagoon Resort in Nissi Bay.

However, I can't get a single room at the hotel. I've tried directly with Thomas Cook and also on several other aggregators like eBookers. But there are no single rooms available. Plenty of double rooms but no singles.

I just don't get it. There must be lots of single people travelling these days, and not all of them want to stay in hostels or have enough money to pay double.

And likewise, when I travel with a friend or a colleague, I don't always want to share a room with them. I live on my own for a reason, and I would quite like to have the same privacies when on holiday or a business trip. However, sometimes even asking for twin beds rather than a double seems like a difficult task. 

For example, I recently stayed with work at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane in London. I had to share a room with a colleague and the receptionist assured me that there were twin beds in the room. And yes, there were twin beds, but they were side by side with a shared double duvet! Eventually I managed to get two single bed spreads, but not without complaint, and still the beds were pushed right together. Mmmmm, not at all awkward.

I really feel like hotels are missing a trick here. And it would be in their interests to be more flexible with room layouts to accommodate lone travellers. Because I'm on my own, I'm even more of a trapped audience. I'm less likely to eat away from the hotel (yes I still feel the stigma of going to restaurants alone) I'm more likely to order expensive room service and have late night glasses of wine. Essentially they would get more value from me if they took the time to welcome me.

So it looks like for my friend's wedding that I'll have to stay at another hotel nearby. I have found some lower rated hotels in the area that will permit me to stay as a single person in a single room (at a premium may I add) which I guess is OK. But I may not be able to use the facilities at the hotel where the rest of the wedding guests are staying, I'll have to walk to and from another hotel in order to have things like evening meals with them. So not exactly ideal or especially safety conscious.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. In the meantime, I'll have to suffer being a social leper as a woman travelling alone.

Both the photos on this page were taken during a road trip through Northern California (top) and to Crater Lake in Oregon (directly above) and they are me!


  1. this makes me so mad ... as part of a couple i never thought how this would be for a single woman ... it is discrimination and frankly irresponsible of the hotels. each of us are paying customers whether single or part of a couple.

    how about a bunch of you hire a villa and then you get a single room to yourself and feel safe and can socialise when you want to?

    from a different view we often pay high rates and end up with twin beds pushed together which isn't right when you pay for a double as well!

    good blog ... as you are the polar opposite to me in terms of being single and i am married it's a really interesting read! x

  2. I agree with LupiLawrence. Most hotels don't have single rooms, but when you book a room or holiday you have to pay extra as a single person. My daughter had to do this for her trip to Sarawak. Not good.

    Need to put pressure on the travel industry. Start a campaign.

  3. As a fellow single gal i completely agree! As a singleton you are probably more likely to have the cash to travel and also less likely to have children -the great travel preventer! When the travel companies and hotels can make more money out of single people, and we pay it because unless we do we can't go anywhere, then there is no reason for them to change. Bring on the campaign!