Monday, May 13, 2013

Lodge Inflicts Views On Guests

For us, probably the biggest story over the weekend reported in the MSM was about the prissy guesthouse owners that refused a lesbian couple to stay if they slept in a double bed.

From their website, the Pilgrim Planet Lodge in Whangarei offers: "5 modern and stylish king-size, queen-size & twin bed options" all with en-suite. A communal lounge and kitchen is also available to guests within the complex.

As a motel operator, I must admit viewing these types of properties with a bit of disdain. I wonder why the public would even contemplate staying at a horrid guest house or B and B etc. It beggars belief, why anyone would want to stay anywhere that requires you to endure shared facilities and the likelihood of being hectored by unusual, lonely owners, surrounded by their collection of molting pets, ghastly family photos and an eclectic range of homely furnishings.

From media reports, the owners of Pilgrim Planet Lodge seem to fit my one-eyed view of quirky operators that run these types of hobbyist accommodation "businesses". The lodge owners' main quirk appears to be that they are bigots by insisting that gay couples sleep twin beds. They also seem to have a misguided view of lesbian relationships by being hilariously quoted in defense of turning away a lesbian couple: "we don't want sodomy".

My views are that this is a simple case of property rights and if the quirky lodge owners are stupid enough to dictate that only twin sleeping arrangements will be offered for same-sex couples - then so be it. The only rider is that they are obliged to fully disclose that they have these certain onerous house rules before entering into a contractual relationship to sell rooms at their lodge.

Clearly the owners of the Pilgrim Planet Lodge are in the wrong business and their biggest indiscretion is that they make naive and silly business decisions based on their out-of-wack views.

And unlike mainstream accommodation facilities such as motels and hotels, the lodge's owners claim to have the backing of the law, under the Human Rights Act: 
"55 Exception in relation to hostels, institutions, etc
Nothing in section 53 shall apply to accommodation in any hostel or in any establishment (such as a hospital, club, school, university, religious institution, or retirement village), or in any part of a hostel or any such establishment, where accommodation is provided only for persons of the same sex, marital status, or religious or ethical belief, or for persons with a particular disability, or for persons in a particular age group."
The shunned lesbian couple have lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, so it will be interesting to follow how this case unfolds...

It would appear that the Pilgrim Lodge have knee-jerked into starting a disclosure process to their future guests by adding the following blurb on the front page of their website hosted by AA Travel:
"Pilgrim Planet: B&B guesthouse in central Whangarei, modern accommodation with old fashioned values*
*Our national moral code has been based on generally accepted values which have even guided legislation.  Essentially parliament's concern is matters legal and the peoples' concern is matters moral.  When these line up we have peace and harmony but when politicians legislate against morality, a disconnect  occurs.  Unjust laws need to be questioned for if we fail to do this we will become corrupted by the law instead of edified by it. You are welcome to stay in our home, whatever your beliefs,  so long as you respect ours."
Hmmm...I wonder how that will work out.

Probably the most damaging for the lodge owners is the backlash on social media. I see that the lodge's Facebook page has been shut down after numerous attacks of outrage and the lesbian couple have taken to the review sites to ensure that the world is aware of the owner's quirks.

Interestingly, the aggrieved lesbian couple's extensive "review" has been removed on TripAdvisor, however others remain:

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