Solo female travellers are a trending class and hotels are rushing to accommodate this security-conscious demographic with a flurry of features that go beyond hairdryers and make-up mirrors.

From Richard Branson’s peephole doors to floors where boys aren’t allowed, Belinda Beckett discovers what’s on offer for today’s #Viajosola voyager.

A new Spanish hashtag erupted across social media last year in a global show of girl power: #Viajosola (‘I travel alone’) was posted by outraged women everywhere after two female backpackers murdered in Ecuador were blamed for their own deaths for travelling in a high-risk country ‘alone’, meaning without a man.

#Viajosola has become the mantra of female travellers the world over, defending their right to go it alone. And they’ve been doing just that in increasing numbers since Julia Roberts’ round-the-world romp to find herself in the 2010 film, Eat, Pray, Love.

‘Women have embraced the wildness and are proving they have the guts to explore the world on their own,’ gushed travel industry website Skift, dubbing 2017 ‘the year of the modern female traveller.’ Meanwhile, the solopreneur boom is adding many more lone women travellers to the mix.

But whether on business or holiday, security comes well before scented bath foam on womens’ list of priority hotel services; doubly-so, in the new light of 2018’s post-Weinstein dawn.

According to women’s online travel network Maiden Voyage, 51 per cent of female business travellers have felt vulnerable in the hotels they stayed at; 31.4 per cent have encountered sexual harassment while travelling; and 70 per cent believe travel providers need to try harder to address their needs.

“When we asked members what they most wanted from their hotel, safety was the overwhelming response,” says CEO Carolyn Pearson, whose network was born of her own ‘isolating experience’ on a business trip to LA.

Now a trusted reference point for women on the road with over 8,000 members, Maiden Voyage lists female-friendly hotels in some 80 countries, provides on-the-spot ambassadors to advise on ‘safe’ places to go solo and connects businesswomen staying in the same cities…

Words Belinda Beckett

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