A young mother from London has been describing her outrage to Southend News Network after a hotel in the town refused to honour her booking when they discovered that she was breastfeeding. According to Naomi De Frooche, a trainee investment banker from Shoreditch, the owner of The Tropicano Paradisa Hotel insisted on a £250 ‘cleaning deposit’ for her stay, and when she refused they simply cancelled her booking and she was forced to find a room at the nearby Premier Inn with her 3-month-old son Nathan.
Ms De Frooche said: ‘I booked the hotel a couple of weeks ago so I could spend a few days at the seaside with my baby son and get some fresh air, and when I arrived on Monday the owner’s face dropped as soon as he saw that I was carrying a baby in a sling. He asked me if I intended to breastfeed my baby during my stay, and when I replied ‘yes’ he asked me if I was aware of the hotel’s policy about breastfeeding guests. Naturally I didn’t know anything about this, and he informed me that while there were no extra charges, there would be a £250 deposit in case of any so-called ‘spillages.’ I informed him that breastfeeding usually leads to very little wastage, but he then gave me this ridiculous argument about a video he had seen online where it all just shot out all over the place. I refused to pay the deposit at this stage, and so he asked me to leave immediately – needless to say I won’t be staying there in the future.’
We asked the Southend Seafront hotel’s owner Harold Gland for his response to the incident, and he said: ‘We are well within our rights to charge an extra deposit if we feel that there is an excessive risk of additional cleaning after a guest checks out – after all it is common practice to charge anything up to £1000 if a guest is caught smoking in their room. Normal milk is tricky to get out of our upholstery, and breast milk can be 100 times worse! We are going to update our booking website to make our policy absolutely clear, but we are very cautious after a number of breast milk stains in the last 6 months. We are not in a position to disclose the circumstances behind these.’