Hotels For Her

22 June 2016

When maverick UK impresario Richard Branson opened his first Virgin Hotel in Chicago earlier this year, and declared it was designed with women in mind, he threw down the gauntlet to the world’s hoteliers. "I don’t think any hotel caters to the female traveller," Branson told The Wall Street Journal. “It will give Virgin an edge to make sure we look after them." So what do female business travellers want, and who is making them happy? 

When maverick UK impresario Richard Branson opened his first Virgin Hotel in Chicago earlier this year, and declared it was designed with women in mind, he threw down the gauntlet to the world’s hoteliers.

"I don’t think any hotel caters to the female traveller," Branson told The Wall Street Journal. “It will give Virgin an edge to make sure we look after them."

So, what do women business travellers want? According to research by Cornell University, the four main factors are safety, comfort (including beds, pillows, room ambience), empowerment (fitness centres, spa services), and a sense of being pampered and valued (things like makeup mirrors and brand-name bath products).

With that in mind, we nominate five of the best hotels for women in Australia and New Zealand’s main business hubs.

AUCKLAND

HERITAGE

There’s no question about the physical attributes of this Auckland hotel – set in a century-old department store with views over Waitemata Harbour – but the Heritage has several bonus features for female business travellers. Primary among them is the focus on healthy food, with not only award-winning vegetarian and vegan options, but a “raw bar” breakfast that includes freshly made juices and raw seed bread. The fitness offerings are also excellent, with two gyms, two pools a tennis court and sauna. Our other favourite feature? The on-site hair salon, The Ministry of Hair, on the second level.

Female-friendly features: well-lit entrance on a main street; 24/7 manned reception; room card-operated elevators; on-site eateries; peepholes in room doors; in-room herbal teas; pillow menu; power hair-dryers; large vanity mirrors, magnifying make-up mirrors and full-length versions in rooms; Manuka Spa bathroom products.

35 Hobson Street, city; heritagehotels.co.nz/hotels/heritage-auckland 

CANBERRA 

HYATT HOTEL

Located in the so-called “Parliamentary Triangle”, close to most of the capital’s primary attractions, the Hyatt combines divine art deco styling with the best in modern hotel amenities. The long circular driveway ensures a safe and secure drop-off right at the front door, and the lobby and ground-level facilities are all well-lit and open. There’s a fitness centre with gym, personal trainers and indoor pool, along with a tennis court. Huge marble bathrooms are a key attraction of the rooms, along with good workspaces (with good lighting) and daily newspapers. The Tea Lounge is a lovely spot to catch up on emails and enjoy a well-earned cuppa.

Female-friendly features: 24/7 manned reception; peepholes in room doors; in-room herbal teas; separate bath/shower; power hair-dryers (hair straighteners available by request); large vanity mirrors, magnifying make-up mirrors and full-length versions in rooms; Apelles bathroom products.

12 Commonwealth Avenue, Canberra; canberra.park.hyatt.com/en/hotel/home.html

MELBOURNE

THE WESTIN

The presence of ultra-glam shoe store Miss Louise and a delicious high tea offering aren’t the only reasons The Westin is our Melbourne pick. Yes, this centrally located hotel (opposite Melbourne Town Hall) has everything you’d expect from a leading brand but it’s the Westin’s fitness and health initiatives that place it ahead of the pack. These include signature SuperFoodsRX elements in menus fresh juices and smoothies created by The Juicery, a 24-hour fitness centre, an in-room yoga class video by Charlotte Dodson and in-room spa service. The New Balance Gear Lending Program is the icing on the chia-seed cake, however: you can lease runners (with clean socks) and activewear for a small fee for the duration of your stay.

Female-friendly features: entrance driveway is well lit, with video monitoring; doorman on duty until 11.30pm Sunday to Thursday and 12.30am on Friday and Saturday; 24/7 manned reception; room card-operated elevators; on-site eateries; peepholes in room doors; in-room herbal teas; separate bath/shower; power hair-dryers; well-lit vanity with large mirror (illuminated mirrors by request); bench-space in showers; full-length mirror in rooms; White Tea Bath & Body bathroom products.

205 Collins Street, city; westinmelbourne.com

SYDNEY

SWISSÔTEL

Unlike Melbourne, Sydney’s CBD can be something of a dead zone after dark, particularly on weeknights. Which is why this elegant hotel is a great option, located as it is on Market Street, a hub that remains reasonably busy until the wee hours. Close to transport, shopping and the business end of the city, the Swissôtel offers a secure, luxe option for women business travellers. Recently refurbished rooms offer plenty of space, with work areas, Nespresso coffee machines (on floors 17 and up) and deliciously comfortable Sealy beds. The Spa & Sport offering includes a gym and outdoor heated swimming pool (on a lovely deck, to boot), while the Spa has a range of treatments to wash away that long working day.

Female-friendly features: doorman on duty until 11pm every night; 24/7 manned reception; room card-operated elevators; on-site eateries; in-room herbal teas; pillow menu; separate bath/shower; power hair-dryers; well-lit vanity with large mirror and magnifying mirror; full-length mirror in rooms; Pürovel bathroom products.

68 Market Street, city; swissotel.com/hotels/sydney

WELLINGTON 

INTERCONTINENTAL

The female business traveller will want for little at this recently refurbished hotel, adjacent Wellington’s picturesque waterfront (a great spot for a pre-work power walk, by the way). The IC’s offerings include spa treatments (manis and pedis, waxing, facials), a 24-hour business centre – staffed from 9am to 5pm – same day dry-cleaning and limousine hire. The Emerge Health Club includes a gym, hot tub, sauna and indoor heated pool, and there’s a newly rejigged Club InterContinental Lounge for members. Lower-level rooms have city views, but the higher you go (both in distance and price), the better the views get.

Female-friendly features: well-lit entrance (with drive-through) on a main street; 24/7 manned reception; room card-operated elevators; on-site eateries; peepholes in room doors; in-room herbal teas; power hair-dryers; well-lit vanity with large mirror and magnifying mirror (which is portable); full-length mirror in rooms; Agraria bathroom products.

2 Grey Street, city; ihg.com/intercontinental/hotels/gb/en/wellington/wlggs/hoteldetail

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