News for the Hospitality Executive
|By Christopher Sherman, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Jan 3, 2006 - Exposed breasts and diamond-studded thongs displayed in public areas of their hotels are not condoned by the corporate owner of the Crowne Plaza Hotel brand.
InterContinental Hotels Group "is extremely concerned about the alleged activities on Dec. 31, 2005," the international hotelier said in a prepared statement Tuesday.
Parents, in Central Florida to watch their children compete at Disney's Soccer Showcase, were shocked to find scantily clad partygoers in the lobby and a ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Hotel-Airport in Orlando on New Year's Eve.
About 200 swingers, a lifestyle known for partner-swapping and limited sexual inhibitions, attended a New Year's Eve party in the hotel's ballroom. They also had rooms on the hotel's ninth floor.
Parents complained that hotel management did not respond to complaints that their children were getting an inappropriate eyeful.
"[InterContinental] does not endorse or approve such reported activities in public areas of Crowne Plaza hotels," the statement said. "[InterContinental] has been in contact with the hotel owner and management and is actively reviewing the situation."
The hotel is owned by Columbia Sussex Corp. of Fort Mitchell, Ky., an InterContinental spokeswoman said. The Orlando hotel is franchised and licensed to use the Crowne Plaza trademark.
"[InterContinental] requires licensed hotels to maintain a high moral and ethical standard and atmosphere," the statement said.
Rob Young of Greenville, S.C., who was staying at the hotel with his daughters, Leah, 13, and Lauren, 11, said he e-mailed InterContinental Hotels Group first thing Tuesday morning but had not heard back.
"You could've at least offered a side room for the children to spend New Year's Eve together rather than being sent to their rooms, thinking they did something wrong," Young said. "The way we were treated was incredible."
Anthony Travel, the agency that booked the accommodations, told Young it had been trying to contact the hotel to find out what happened but that no one would talk.
John Anthony, the travel agency's president and chief executive in Notre Dame, Ind., said his agency had no idea the swinger party was also booked at the hotel.
"We were as surprised as anyone here on this thing and awfully disappointed that the hotel would've put the kids in that situation," Anthony said.
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