Guests are questioning a hotel chain for using “archaic” and “shocking” wording on its toilet doors.

At the Penta Hotel in Ipswich, which describes itself as ‘not a hotel’, but a ‘state of mind’, the male loo door has a picture of a man dreaming of ‘football’, while the female bathroom has a woman thinking about ‘shopping’.

Molly Bennett is one visitor who has taken issue with the company’s choice of phrasing.

She wrote to the management at Penta Hotel, an upmarket international chain with more than 20 locations, to ask why the brand why it thought the ‘sexist’ motifs acceptable in the modern age.

Molly thinks the company is “stuck in the 1950s”

People don’t like this

“Why do you think the toilet signs below are acceptable?” said Molly. “[I] didn’t know which to use as I’m a female that loves football.

“Despite your efforts to be a trendy, modern hotel with a PS4 and free pool table, unfortunately you’re stuck in the 1950s when you think it’s acceptable to put this on your toilet doors.”

The hotel said the imagery is supposed to be “light-hearted”, but scores of other guests think otherwise.

Engineer Chloe Hinder, 25, visited the Ipswich hotel in October.

Chloe Hinder

She said: “I tweeted them at the time about it and spoke to the staff on the desk. I told them ‘it’s a shame you have a nice hotel and really trendy bar but it’s really let down by that’ and they said I was not the first person to complain.

“It’s so subtle and I feel like it legitimises that kind of attitude. I found it shocking really – it suggests all women are good for is shopping while the men are going to the football.

“I would describe it as sexist. It’s stereotyping men as well as women. In today’s society why do you need to label everyone?

“It’s like it’s allowed because it’s not overtly offensive which is more irritating – it’s like it goes under the radar and then nobody is held to account for it.”

We don’t know if the graphics are in every Penta Hotel, but they’re certainly in more than one.

Elliot Howells, a technology consultant from London, stayed at the Inverness branch in October while on a business trip.

“I could not believe in 2017 they were using football and shopping as identifiers of gender on toilet doors,” the 25-year-old said.

Some men don’t like football

“I thought it was entirely inappropriate given the place we are at today. It’s archaic.

“If you are a five or six year old child forming your opinions – your brain is a sponge at that age and whether consciously or not they will associate those terms with those genders.

“It’s a very modern hotel – the rooms are lovely and it has all the modern things you would expect but the message given out does not fit with that.

“Why not just have a door that says male or female? What’s wrong with that? Why make assumptions about people?”

Elliot said the contacted Penta on social media. He raised his concerns but has yet to receive a reply.

Adam Watts, who’s also stayed at one of the company’s hotels, praised the brand for an “amazing hotel with fantastic service and an amazing modern feel”, but felt the one flaw was the “sexist toilet signs”.

A Penta Hotels spokeswoman said: “Penta is a modern and open-minded family who believes in diversity and equal rights.

“We, the penta-family, don’t for one second assume that women can be reduced to just being interested in shopping or men in football.

“The signs were meant to be simple and light-hearted – offence was certainly NOT the motivator of our choice.”

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Joshua Barrie

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