DOHA: A young western-educated Qatari woman was fuming with rage yesterday after being denied entry into restaurants in two luxury hotels on the New Year eve merely because, she said, of her traditional attire. There was a jazz performance in one of the hotels, said the woman. “All I wanted was to sit and enjoy the jazz music which I love, but just because I was in my traditional dress, the hotel staff wouldn’t let me in.”
The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said she was told by the hotel staff that since liquor was being served where the jazz performance was being held, she was not allowed entry.
“I told them that they could keep my table slightly away from where people were having liquor, but they didn’t listen.
The woman said she had been educated in the US and lived in Europe as well. Visibly upset, she said she found it quite strange that while hotels here entertained foreigners and “accorded priority to patrons who drank”, they so brazenly discriminated against locals, including women.
“Isn’t it disturbingly surprising that in my own country I am being prevented entry into a hotel, a public place?” the woman said in remarks to The Peninsula last evening.
She said she went to another star hotel and was meted out similar treatment. “I told them I simply wanted to have food, but the hotel staff told me I couldn’t. How could this happen to me in my own country?” wondered the woman.
She said when she visited star hotels in the west and requested them to book a dinner table and told them she didn’t drink they would assign her space and put a sign on her table that showed liquor was not to be served.
According to the woman, this is not the first time that she tried to get into a hotel here on the New Year eve. “This has been happening to me year after year with no solution in sight.”
The woman said she once had a few of her college-day friends from the US here and took them to a star hotel for dinner and she wasn’t let in just because she was wearing an ‘abaya’.
“Well, this is our traditional dress. I like to wear it. Why should I shun it just because some hotel wouldn’t let me in?” said the woman. She said she eventually had dinner in an ordinary Arabic-style restaurant. Contacted randomly to know what the truth was, an official of a luxury hotel here said, when asked for reservation, they were fully booked for the New Year. Asked if men and women in Qatari attire were allowed, the woman official simply said ‘no comments’. Another hotel, however, said they didn’t mind if people in traditional attire came in for New Year revelries.