A truly interesting piece on a female Starwood employee working at the Le Meridien Al Aqah hotel in Dubai who had her drink spiked at the staff bar and the complete chaos that followed. Thanks to reader Dino for the link!

Dubai is being promoted as a luxury high-class paradise in the desert, but the reality is brutally different, as Australian Alicia Gali discovered. Gali took a job in the UAE with one of the world’s biggest hotel chains, Starwood. What happened next makes this story a must-watch for everyone travelling through the region.

Check out the full article from Sunday Night here.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


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peter S May 20, 2013 - 10:58 am

For the sharia law alone, i will never travel in a small group with a female companion to the middle east. I will also avoid India if i have females in my group.

jason May 20, 2013 - 5:24 pm

I avoid India, period. That place is the dirtiest cesspool one can imagine.

Mikey May 20, 2013 - 11:01 am

Lift the curtain of the brilliant facade in there and its still a 3rd world country.

Damon May 20, 2013 - 11:38 am

I find this atrocious. What action has spg taken on the 3 male employees? In spite of the law, there are also company policies. I worked for a fortune 500 company, and on top of the law, we have company policies we have to follow including sexual harassment which is applied to all offices globally.
Also SPG has to think if the 3 employees could do it on one of its own, what is there to stop them from doing it to one of the guests. I would not advice any female to stay in one of their hotels as this becomes a safety issue.

P May 20, 2013 - 11:41 am

Dubai was run by the British companies and interests and was/is still being run by Brits in all major strategic roles. Look up almost any UAE owned company, then look up the list of VPs and you will see what I’m talking about.

To Peter and Mikey: It’s easy to generalize by throwing out a “Sharia Law” or “3rd. World Country” out and conclude they are brutes and chauvinists in the “Middle East”. However it’s really short sighted. As if there are no drugs, rapes, murders etc. in UK, US or other western, presumably non-3rd. world countries!

Obviously UAE is an Islamic country even if a mild one at that so anyone heading that way should clearly remember this. They do have lower murder and drug rates than almost all western countries though, so as a whole, it’s generally a safe place due in part to their draconian legal system compared to lenient slap-on-the-wrist systems present in most Western countries.

Overall I’d skip UAE for Oman if I’m headed that way. Oman actually has years of culture even if it’s less glitzy.

ikonos May 20, 2013 - 2:24 pm

@Peter Crime is everywhere and taking few cases you read in news and saying you will avoid those areas is foolish. You wont stop going to Boston of NYC because there were attacks there, would you? In case of laws, local law is local law and whether we agree to it or not we are required to follow the local law.

Erica @ Frequent Flyer Services May 20, 2013 - 2:52 pm

Definitely informative and shocking. Thank you for sharing.

Matt May 20, 2013 - 3:36 pm

@Damon – Completely agree. What is Starwood doing about these three employees?? DISGUSTING

Linda May 20, 2013 - 3:37 pm

+1 Matt, I hope these Starwood associates have been terminated. They should not be interacting with guests.

Nate May 20, 2013 - 4:17 pm

What’s the starwood response? These were hotel employees who did this to another employee and the end result was this woman being raped. Corporate should remove them if they haven’t already.

ikonos May 20, 2013 - 7:06 pm

It is interesting what happens to the employees in this scenario. Since they got Jailed for 8 months, they probably were already fired but in the bigger scheme of things how does this play out? Assuming this is a franchisee how much pull Starwood or Le Meridien will have over the Hotel Management? Since these or probably low level employees those three entities might be on the same page but what if one of the three is a high level employee? Will the corporate have enough pull to affect the hotel management?

Jason A May 21, 2013 - 4:13 am

@P Thank you for giving a common sense response. It was refreshing to read.

VM May 21, 2013 - 8:51 am

This highlights the need for companies such as Qantas and others who are feeding pax traffic via UAE to consider what local laws affect their customers such as women and same-sex partners etc.

What If your connecting flight gets delayed and you are a woman who is raped at the airport then what?


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