After complaining about a hotel room in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England, Nicole Calder, 24, and Lauren Inglis, 26, received an email from hotel owner Andy Singh that said they are "not fit to stay in a hotel" and "people like you should be put in a cage with the rest of the wild animals."
Calder booked a room at the Clifton Mount Hotel to celebrate her birthday last Saturday but found the room disgustingly dirty, she told U.K. newspaper The Sun. "It wasn’t the original room we booked but we didn’t mind as long as the hotel was clean," she said. "However, there were crumbs all over the floor and yellow marks on the sofa, which looked like paint. ... I went to get a glass from the cupboard, but there was lipstick all over it; there were also black marks on the bedding."
The women, who are from Edinburgh, Scotland, said they were also forced to wait 20 minutes during check-in because their Booking.com reservation couldn't be found on the hotel's system. Once they were in the room, a staff member requested to access the basement through it and was there for several minutes, they added.
The couple also complained that when they returned to their room late at night with two friends, they were subjected to homophobic slurs from the guests next door, who partied loudly until 5 a.m.
“When I went back the people in the other room could see I’d spoken to reception so a few of them started saying things like ‘there’s the man’ and ‘there’s the lesbian,’" Inglis told The Sun. “They were saying vulgar things about me having sex with my partner and then saying that I s**g my mum – more disgusting things like that."
In an email to Singh, the two claimed that a staffer told the group to keep the noise down but didn't ask them to stop making homophobic remarks.
“This was at about 4.30am. We don’t mind people partying but this was ridiculous … after we had complained my partner started getting homophobic abuse from the people next door," Calder wrote.“I was in shock … calling her a man. Saying ‘oh there’s the boy.’ Shouting stuff about being lesbians etc."
"I'm sorry to hear about your recent stay but I must say most of what you are saying is not true," Singh wrote in response, saying the couple had to wait because they had the wrong credit card details and that the room was clean. "This is an excuse to try for a refund."
Regarding the homophobic slurs, Singh wrote, "Yes you complained about the group next door whom said they were not saying anything of the sort it was simply your word against theirs."
He then sent a follow-up email telling the women they should be caged. “Your not fit enough to stay in a hotel people like you should be put in a cage with the rest of the wild animals,” he wrote.
“I was in shock when I got that response," Calder told The Sun. “When you go to a hotel you put trust in the owner and then he turns around and says that. He was really rude. I thought his reply was disgusting."
In a statement to The Sun, Singh denied being homophobic and took issue with the women's account. “At around 4.30am Nicole’s group complained about the guests next door being rude so a member of staff approached the group who said they have not said anything of the sort – taking in to consideration [Calder's] group had been drinking from arrival at 5 p.m. to the early hours of morning and were very loud and abusive. ... Under no circumstances have I anything against gay people, this is simply an excuse for a refund I am against liars which she clearly is and I have [closed-circuit TV] to prove everything I am saying is true,” he said.
Inglis and Calder took issue right back. “I don’t understand how he can say ‘your type of people,’" Inglis told The Sun. "If that’s not homophobic, I don’t know what is, especially as I’d already raised homophobia as an issue."
Booking.com officials said they will arrange for a refund. “We do not tolerate discrimination of any kind, so in the very rare case that we find that an accommodation listed on our site engages this kind of behavior, we will investigate immediately, and may remove the property from our site accordingly," a spokesman told the newspaper. “We are also organizing a full refund for these guests and are supporting them in any other way we can.”