The Middle East's first women-only hotel was officially opened in the capital of the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.
Prince Sultan bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, secretary general of the Supreme Commission for Tourism, attended the inauguration of the Luthan Hotel and Spa in Riyadh.
AdvertisementSaudi Arabia, which applies a rigorous doctrine of Islam known as Wahhabism, strictly enforces the separation of the sexes in public, and the 25-room hotel said it can offer its female-only guests 150 types of spa treatments as well as fine dining and conference facilities.
Princess Madawi Bint Mohammad Bin Abdullah, who chairs the board of partners that set up the hotel, said the project was an important step forward for women in the kingdom.
"One of the aims of the Luthan ... is to support the achievements of women in general and particularly those in Saudi Arabia," the statement quoted her as saying at a news conference during the hotel's official opening.
Women in Saudi Arabia face a host of constraints. They are banned from driving, forced to cover from head to toe in public, prohibited from mixing with men other than relatives and prevented from travelling without written permission from their male guardian.