Nick Hurley, 22, and Gavin Maclean, 28, of Manchester, England, were surprised when a hotel receptionist in London refused to give the couple a double bed, and instead repeatedly asked them if they weren’t sure that they didn’t want single beds. The two had booked the double room at the Thistle City Barbican hotel in east London for Saturday night.
Hurley stated to the BBC said “I believe I’ve been treated in a homophobic way.” The hotel has claimed that “We do not tolerate homophobic behavior.” Chris King, a spokesman for the hotel chain, also said that “We’re sorry to hear this. We take matters like this very seriously and we are investigating. We apologize for the way they feel.”
The couple had been to the theater before arriving at the hotel around 23:30GMT or about 11:30pm. According to Hurley “When we got there, we tried to check in, and the receptionist looked at us and said ‘are you sure you want a double room or do you want single beds?’ He had obviously seen it was two guys. We said ‘we’ve booked a double and we’d quite like one’. He then looked at us and said ‘are you sure you don’t want single beds?’
Hurley also stated “He insisted on repeating that question. I felt it was a way of him imposing his own stamp on the situation. I got a barbed vibe. He said we’ll have to put you in a family room, with single beds. There were no doubles left in the hotel. We’re quite non-confrontational. I’m not that easily wound up but I was angered. We were tired and decided not to make an issue.”
However, Hurley was upset about it and tweeted a bit later that “Homophobic receptionist at @ThistleHotels refused me & my bf our pre-booked double room. Insisted we take a “family” room w/ separate beds.” What he got was a lot of support. According to Hurley “This kind of thing is basic bullying. It can’t happen. If anything comes out of this, it should inspire organisations to change.”
Stonewall Chief Executive Bun Summerskill stated about this incident that “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.”