- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2007

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — The 19th floor of a new, $100 million Marriott hotel will not be restricted to female guests, after all.

A spokesman for the JW Marriott luxury hotel said Monday that both men and women will be allowed to rent rooms on what originally was planned as a women-only floor in the 340-room hotel slated to open in September.

The floor’s lounge, which was to be only for women, also will be open to male guests, said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified because the plans have not been finalized.

Both the rooms and the lounge still will feature amenities designed to appeal to female business travelers, such as chenille throw blankets, ionic hair dryers, jewelry holders and special bath products.

The hotel said last month that the 19th floor of the 23-story hotel, being built downtown alongside the Grand River, would be reserved for female clientele, in part to give businesswomen traveling alone a greater sense of security.

Soon afterward, the hotel received a “tremendous response” from its customers and others, and the decision was made not to go forward with the segregated floor, the spokesman said.

However, Roger Connor, a spokesman for Bethesda company Marriott International, said yesterday that it was his understanding that the idea for a women-only floor was under review after hearing from guests and taking legal concerns into consideration.

The new hotel will be owned and operated by direct-sales giant Alticor Inc., parent company of Amway Corp., and will function under a license agreement with Marriott International Inc. Alticor and its Amway Hotel Corp. subsidiary also own and operate another downtown Grand Rapids hotel, the Amway Grand Plaza.

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