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food / travel

What Women Want - From Hotels

Some hotel chains have moved beyond just adult-only accommodations to cater directly to women, including such options as man-free zones and champagne pajama parties.

No man's land
No man's land

It used to be that hotels were open to everyone, but nowadays there are categories: for naturists, gays, adults only, etc. It appears to be advantageous for hotels to devote themselves to niche groups because the trend has been growing for years.

The Spanish hotel chain Barceló, for instance, offers several “adults only” venues where guests — far away from the cries and overwhelming energy of little kids — can find time for themselves and rest in peace and quiet. The chain runs hotels of this type in the Dominican Republic and Spain.

Its hotel on the Spanish island of Mallorca even goes one step further: The Illetas Albatros hotel is not only adults only, but women only too. That is, upon request, female guests can book four rooms on the sixth floor and turn it into a “man-free zone.” It is a prime section of the seafront hotel located right on the bay of Palma de Mallorca.

Even the aesthetics of the rooms, according to the news site Mallorca Confidencial, are intended to be “feminine.” So what do women want from a hotel that they’re missing elsewhere?

For starters, the rooms have “all the little details that make life easier for women,” Mallorca Confidencial writes. Those include, among other things, full-length mirrors, padded clothes hangers, curling irons, scented candles, women’s magazines, and make-up bags.

Women who book the special package can look forward to both R&R and entertainment. The day might begin with yoga and pilates on the hotel’s roof terrace with its “breathtaking panorama of the bay.”

Thus utterly relaxed, it might be on to the spa for a manicure and foot treatment included in the package. Then anybody not getting what they need from in-room hair dryer and curling iron can move on to some professional styling by an in-house expert.

Why leave this paradise? To shop, of course, but even here the Illetas Albatros plays its part: Its women-only package includes a “shopping VIP” service with a personal shopper on hand to show guests the best stores and offer their expert advice.

The crowning touch of the day is a pajama party with champagne. If this isn't enough, there are movies on hand that, apparently, “no woman ever tires of watching” — e.g. The Devil Wears Prada.

Is this really what women want? Or it just some tourism official’s idea of female fun? Well, perhaps both. Because the notion of reserving hotels or sections of them just for women isn’t entirely new, and many of the packages look a lot like what Illetas Albatros offers. So it’s obviously a concept that works.

Anyway, if curling irons, padded hangers and man-free pajama parties aren’t your thing, you can always book one floor down.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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