Gay couple denied double room at London hotel

A 22-year-old gay man from Manchester has said he felt like a 'second-class citizen' after his story went viral

Gay couple denied double room at London hotel
25 February 2013 Print This Article

A gay couple has said they were refused a double room at a London hotel.

Nick Hurley, 22, and Gavin Maclean, 28, from Manchester, had booked a double room online at the Thistle City Barbican hotel in central London for 23 February.

They had planned to go and see two plays in the UK capital’s West End, but were ‘shocked’ when they were faced with homophobic treatment.

Speaking to Gay Star News, Hurley described how they arrived at the hotel, the receptionist looked them up and down, tapped away on his computer, and said ‘Are you sure you don’t want a room with separate beds?’

Hurley said they did not, they wanted the room they booked for, and the receptionist allegedly kept repeating the question.

After five minutes, the hotel worker said there were no more double rooms and they would have to sleep in a family room.

Hurley said: ‘It had been a long day, and we looked at each other, and said: “Should we just go to bed?

‘We didn’t think anything of it, but we were angry and upset.’

Before they went to sleep, Hurley shared their story on Twitter, saying: ‘Homophobic receptionist at @ThistleHotels refused me & my bf our pre-booked double room. Insisted we take a “family room” w/ separate beds.’

The next day, the story went viral and Hurley was the top trending subject for a short while in the UK.

Thistle Hotels released a statement apologizing to the couple, and said they believe there was a problem with the online booking as no more double rooms were available.

In response, Hurley said: ‘That may be the case, and I’m not saying that wasn’t what happened, but it was the way we were treated at the time.

‘It was the way it was phrased. It was “Are you sure you don’t want single beds?”

‘You know when you are in a situation and you pick up on the cues, you just get a negative tone. It just felt like we were second-class citizens.’

He said he was ‘personally touched’ by the thousands of messages of support across the entire world. While there were some homophobic messages, the good far outweighed the bad.

According to Hurley, Thistle Hotels called them three times but it was not until the last call that they apologized.

The company offered the couple a free night in any of their hotels in the UK.

‘I just said to them, we aren’t particularly looking to experience that again,’ Hurley said.

‘I just don’t care about another stay. It shouldn’t be something that happened. In what is supposed to be our country’s capital, a diverse place like London, it shouldn’t happen.’

Gay rights group Stonewall’s chief executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘Subject to the facts being as reported, it’s sad to see that this sort of thing is still happening as it’s been unlawful for five years.

‘A major hotel company must be well aware they can no more turn away a gay couple than a mixed race couple, even though they might not approve of them either.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Officials claim mobile phone firm O2 is misleading public on gay internet blocks

British Board of Film Classification says UK mobile internet provider O2 shouldn’t blame them if its blocking all LGBTI sites
No thumbnail available

LGBTI advocate investigated by World Bank: Fabrice Houdart describes his treatment as an ‘ordeal’

World Bank is investigating one of its employees for an alleged leak of information. Fabrice Houdart, who was the president of the bank’s LGBT employee organization, denies any wrongdoing
No thumbnail available

Republican wants anti-gay Don't Ask, Don't Tell back

US Republican Jim Jordan wants to introduce the anti-gay military law again if the party wins in November
No thumbnail available

US Supreme Court refuses to halt gay marriages in Oregon

Request by National Organization for Marriage is rejected in terse one-sentence order
No thumbnail available

Journey to equality exhibits in Liverpool

Exhibition charting the history of the gay rights movement on display in the Victoria Gallery and Museum
No thumbnail available

Gay activists to protest Olympic inspections despite ban

A protest in Moscow next week will go ahead. Permission awaited from officials in Sochi. Kostroma new court decision contradicts previous ‘gay pride bans are unlawful’ ruling
No thumbnail available

St Petersburg footie fans say they don't want black or gay players

St Petersburg football team Zenit's top fan club publishes racist and anti-gay manifesto
No thumbnail available

Kim Kardashian doesn't 'fully understand' stepdad Bruce Jenner's transition

'But I don’t even think we have to ... I think he is prepared for it'
No thumbnail available

Two men kissing on a beach - and kissing, and kissing, and kissing in wet and wild ad

Pioneer Winter and Jared Sharon lock lips and roll around the sand and water for nearly 5 minutes in ad for Florida/France Festival
No thumbnail available

Albania celebrates gay life with festival for IDAHO

Albania organizes IDAHO week to give the LGBT community sexual liberation from verbal and physical homophonic abuse