Girls allowed: hotel offers man-ban floor

Man-free zone ... the fifth floor of the Portal Hotel in Brisbane is for women only.
Man-free zone ... the fifth floor of the Portal Hotel in Brisbane is for women only. 

Leah McLennan checks out a Brisbane hotel that offers a floor where men are not allowed.

With an increasing number of women hitting the road on their own, they have now got a new option: a ladies only floor to make them feel more secure.

Portal Hotel in Brisbane city offers guests a women's only floor.

The idea for the single-sex floor at the Portal came from owner Georgie Woods.
The idea for the single-sex floor at the Portal came from owner Georgie Woods. 

On the fifth level of this stylish boutique hotel the male of the species may never tread.

Even the staff servicing the 11 rooms are all women.

With more than 40 per cent of business trips in Australia taken by women these days, no doubt many ladies would appreciate the extra security and girly touches that the Portal is offering.

I'm certainly enjoying the women-friendly frills.

There are fresh flowers next to the bed, a bowl of crisp green apples and a selection of tempting magazines (Madison, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar).

There are upgraded toiletries: there is a complimentary face pack (Yuva cleanser, mask and moisturiser) and another generous pack of MOR bathroom products to take home.

And if that isn't enough, there is a "pamper-bar", similar to a minibar, where I can purchase face products.

The girl-power concept follows through to the "real" minibar, where there are products designed by women, such as Yealands Way Carbon Zero wine made by female winemaker Tamra Washington.

If I have a hair emergency I can ring reception for a hair straightener or if I feel like stretching I can call for a yoga mat.

In the early evening there is a turn down service where comfy slippers are laid out and candles are lit.

For heightened security, the lift key is cut to only the female floor, so I will not run into any men if I go sleep walking in the night.

The idea for the single-sex floor at the Portal came from owner Georgie Woods.

"The decision to ban boys - from one floor at least - was based on demand within the market," Ms Woods says.

Around 60 per cent of women identify safety as their main concern when choosing travel accommodation, she says.

"Security on our ladies only floor is paramount - but as we don't have to worry about appealing to male guests, we've also had a lot of fun designing a feminine haven packed with girlie treats that only a female guest could truly appreciate."

In the US, the concept of female only hotel floors has been around for several years and has sparked quite a bit of controversy.

Are these hotels practicing discrimination against men, stereotyping women, simply trying to boost their bottom line or genuinely attempting to help women feel more secure?

But these questions aside, men should not feel too left out at the Portal - there are 73 rooms that can be booked regardless of gender.

All the rooms at the Portal are attractive, but be warned - they're compact.

They contain iPod docking stations, plasma TVs, Portal "O" beds chosen exclusively for the hotel and internet access (for a fee).

Next door to the hotel the "O" Bar and Restaurant serves scrumptious meals - with a menu that changes daily.

All in all, the Portal has just about everything - apart from boys on level five, but no one seems to be missing them at all.

FAST FACTS

GETTING THERE

Virgin Blue flies from Sydney to Brisbane from $59 one way. Flights from Melbourne to Brisbane start from $79 one way.

STAYING THERE

Portal Hotel, 52 Astor Terrace, Spring Hill, Brisbane (www.portalhotel.com.au; 07 3009-3400). Rooms from $159 per night for two people. Rates for the ladies only floor start at $235.

The writer was a guest of the Portal Hotel.

AAP

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