The Westin hotel in New York recently launched a package that “caters to women whose personal journeys do not include children.” What does that even mean?
The Westin Grand Central in New York has done something different and while we love our luxury hotels we’re a little bit confused. This month the hotel launched a packaged aimed exclusively at women without children. In preparing the package the hotel management consulted Melanie Notkin, an author who writes about the growing trend of childless women in her book Otherhood: Modern Women Finding A New Kind Of Happiness. 47% of US women aged 15 to 44 do not have children, a statisitc that markeeteers are increasingly taking on board according to a New York Times article. This hospitality package is called Womanhood Redefined and comprises of a three-night stay with a focus on food, fitness and wellness. Because when you’re a mother you run out of interest in such things? A childless woman can expect private consultations with a chef and access to a fitness instructor. If you’re already thinking gender essentialism has found it’s synonym then you’ll be delighted to hear a copy of Notkin’s book – always push that personal brand – and loaned workout gear are also in the mix. Oh, there’s also a scented candle and vouchers for a nearby yoga studio. However there’s no mention of an obvious selling point – childfree floors.
Melissa Braverman, the hotel’s marketing manager, initially conceived of the idea for the package. Braverman told the New York Times, “As a woman who is 40 and single and who doesn’t have children, it was a resonant topic to me… There’s a different journey that each of us are on. I think those of us who aren’t following the quote-unquote traditional trajectory are made to feel ‘other’ despite the fact that we represent half the women of childbearing age in this country.”
Female-only hotel floors are not unheard of and hen parties are a booming business. It’s refreshing that the hospitality industry is starting to cater for women beyond the usual stereotypes. However the whole notion of a childfree hotel package rankles. The Westin’s reliance on the sad single lady tropes of candles and workout gear – second hand might we add – is a bit disappointing, as is the targeting of women who don’t actually define themselves by having or not having children. The Womanhood Redefined package not exactly as thoroughly modern millie as it thinks it is.
Will you be checking in to the Westin?
Jeanne Sutton @jeannedesutun