Swedish hotel barred Romani guest from breakfast
On Tuesday, 25 March, staff at the luxury Sheraton Hotel in Stockholm reportedly refused a Romani woman registered there as a guest entry into the breakfast room where other guests of the hotel were dining. Staff asked the woman to sit in the reception area instead, where they served her coffee.
Paradoxically, the woman who was subjected to this treatment was Diana Nyman, an eminent activist and Romani expert, who had come to the hotel at the invitation of the Swedish Government on the occasion of the publication of its White Paper on Discrimination against Roma and Travellers in Sweden. The 45-year-old Nyman chairs the Roma Council in Göteborg, the second-largest city in Sweden, and normally wears traditional Romani clothing, so when she went for breakfast in the hotel that morning she was wearing a full blouse and a wide black skirt.
Nyman said that a hotel staffer almost knocked her to the ground when he ran over to prevent her from entering the restaurant. "I showed him that my breakfast was paid for, but the staff insisted I had to stay in the reception area. At least they brought me coffee," Nyman told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
The Swedish Government, which had invited Nyman to speak at the launch of the White Paper and paid for her stay in the hotel, was unpleasantly surprised by the incident. Swedish Integration Minister Erik Ullenhag immediately announced the Government would be revising its policy on accommodating guests at the Sheraton.
According to the White Paper, discrimination and racism is a daily problem in Sweden that is strongly rooted in its history, and the incident in the four-star hotel simply confirmed that fact. The management of the Sheraton has apologized to Diana Nyman and published a statement on Facebook saying that it would begin internally investigating the case, as all guests in their hotels are equally appreciated and respected.
Nyman says the hotel director did call her personally. She also says he told her that while the hotel staffer involved regrets the incident, he also feels aggrieved because his view of what happened differs from her description of it.
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