Moroccan hotel denies refusing booking from British same-sex couple

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A Moroccan hotel has denied it was responsible for rejecting the booking of a British gay couple on the grounds of their sexuality.

Morgan Hughes, 23, and Lloyd Innes, 28, claimed to the Mail this week that a holiday they booked through British Airways was cancelled – because homosexuality is illegal in Morocco. 

Though British Airways confirmed in a statement it was told “the booking that it had requested could not be accepted”, a spokesperson for the hotel in question denied it was to blame – citing an external booking provider.

The Eden Andalou hotel in Marrakech told PinkNews it had no idea why the booking was rejected, claiming it is “simply untrue” to suggest the hotel was “in some way complicit in the banning of these two clients”.

A spokesperson told PinkNews: “We would like to inform you that all our rooms have two twin beds and two or three sofa-beds.

“Our guests are free to occupy their rooms as they wish and have very many same-sex reservations of two or more males in one room and of two or more females in one room as well as heterosexual couples, families and mixed three or four persons. We never ask questions or make judgements concerning our guest’s sexuality, sexual proclivity, or religion.”

Despite telling PinkNews they offer twin rooms, pictures on the hotel’s website appear to show the hotel does have rooms with double beds.

The spokesperson continued: “Above all we are an open minded, tolerant and liberal hotel dealing mostly with European guests.

“We never ask questions or make judgements concerning our guests’ sexuality, sexual proclivity, or religion. Above all we are an open minded, tolerant and liberal hotel dealing mostly with European guests.”

The hotel spokesperson insisted that it was in fact a partner company in Spain that had dealt with the booking, and claimed to have no idea why the booking was cancelled.

The spokesperson continued: “Specifically referring to these people, I can say that we have no direct contract with British Airways and have not discussed this or any other reservation with them.

“A reservation was received on the 17th of March 2015 under the name of Morgan Edward Hughes through our partner HotelBeds (Spain) without any specifications. The booking was for a room with two twin beds for two people and was confirmed the same day.

“On the 9th of April 2015, Hotelbeds sent us the booking cancellation without giving a reason or a motive. At no time did we have any conversation or email regarding this booking with anybody from British Airways or HotelBeds.”

The hotel also extended an invitation to the couple following extensive negative media attention, saying: “To prove our good faith, we are ready to receive these guests whenever they wish and with a special treatment.”

A spokesperson from British Airways said previously: “Subsequent to contacting Mr Innes and Mr Hughes, British Airways was advised that the booking that it had requested could not be accepted and that an additional room would have to be booked.

“We apologise that Mr Innes and Mr Hughes were left feeling disappointed. However, in recognising the inconvenience this would cause, we offered, and they accepted, a full refund.

“We have also offered, as a goodwill gesture, to refund the additional expenses the customers incurred including airport parking and lounge access.

“Please note that as part of our terms and conditions we refer our customers to the Foreign and Commonwealth office website, offering country specific guidance on local law and customs.”

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office said: “Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco. Be sensitive to local laws and customs and avoid. Complaints can lead to prosecution.” Homosexuality is still seen as a crime in Morocco, with a maximum possible sentence of up to 3 years.