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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 5, 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 49
Muslim hotel owner: no cocktails, but Gays are OK
Section One
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Muslim hotel owner: no cocktails, but Gays are OK

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

A London hotel recently acquired by a Muslim owner will no longer serve cocktails, a spokesperson said, but it will not discriminate against Gay guests.

The upscale Bermondsley Square Hotel in the Southwark area of London was recently bought by a new owner, identified in the British press only as 'a multi-millionaire Muslim businessman,' and is making changes to its menus to accommodate the new owner's preferences.

A notice on the hotel's website says 'We no longer sell alcoholic beverages at GB Grill & Bar - Please take a look at our comprehensive selection of soft drinks!' A London tourism website also reports that the hotel will no longer serve pork after Christmas.

'We don't serve alcohol,' a spokesperson told Huffington Post. 'The new investor doesn't wish to make a profit with alcohol.'

The spokesperson added that anyone who had booked a room before November 17 would continue to be sold alcohol when visiting the hotel before the end of the year.

'All future bookings will not be served alcohol and those queries are being told when they book,' the spokesperson continued. 'The hotel has not had mini-bars but guests can bring in their own drinks.'

The right-wing British tabloid Daily Mail went crazy with the story, dubbing the hotel 'Hotel Sharia' and alleging the business would now be run 'in accordance with Sharia law' and would therefore ban Gay guests.

General Manager Robert Holland said the tabloid was 'misinformed' about the new owner's plans, and specifically denied rumors that LGBT guests would be barred from the hotel.

'We always have, and continue to, welcome guests of all shapes, sizes and denomination,' Holland said. 'All guests are welcome.'

Great Britain's Sexual Orientation Regulations came into effect in April 2007, banning discrimination in the provision of goods and services on the basis of sexual orientation, so even if the new owner wished to bar Gay guests he would be unable to do so legally.

These protections were also extended to Trans Brits by the Equality Act of 2010.

The 80-room hotel typically charges $345 per night. It is rated in the top 300 of over 1,000 London hotels on Tripadvisor and received the site's 'certificate of excellence' for 2014. Almost all visitors to the Expedia tourism site said they would recommend it to others.

The hotel's spokesperson said that policy changes were in the best interests of the hotel.

'We have recently made decisions to change some elements of the business, as any business owner is entitled to do,' she said. 'These are in the best interests of the future of the hotel.'

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