The idea of “Muslim-friendly hotels” never occurred to me until I started doing more research into the halal travel industry as part of my previous job. Prior to this, I always thought hotels were hotels and that was it. I was rather contented traveling with tons of food in my luggage because it’s always what traveling as a Muslim has been like. With the expanding Muslim travel industry, (to my surprise) there are many hotels/tourism boards/people in general who are making it their mission to accommodate Muslim travelers wherever they go.
Yes, you had more accessible halal restaurants or more visible halal food guides. You also had an emphasis on creating prayer rooms for Muslim travelers. But I never knew what it meant to stay at a Muslim-friendly hotel until I booked one for my trip (or trips) to Krabi last year.
Halal food galore
Initially, I chose to stay at Phu Pi Maan Resort because it came highly recommended by local celebrities and other halal travel sites. My primary reason for booking the accommodation in the Ao Nang was, of course, the booming population of halal restaurants. But this Muslim-friendly hotel was so much more than its location.
The fact that I didn’t have to worry about looking for halal food extends to within the resort. Not only could I eat anything at the breakfast spread, but I could easily order anything off the hotel menu for room service. This might not be anything special but not having to worry about meals is kind of a luxury when you’re a Muslim traveler. Plus, if you’re traveling with young children who eat every hour or so, you’ll save yourself a headache.
Muslim-friendly facilities are great for a female traveler
From the pool-access rooms to the Muslimah-friendly spa, there are many features this Muslim-friendly accommodation boasts. You might wonder why are such things important. Firstly, a Muslim traveler doesn’t go to Thailand and not experience an authentic Thai massage. The spa is not only exclusively open to women but also takes into consideration the female ‘awrah.
As you may know, Muslim women also have to be careful about maintaining their ‘awrah with other women. Without going into details, a Muslimah-friendly spa will ensure that you are covered accordingly even during a massage. All the “steps” taken during a spa or massage session are in accordance with Islamic rules. This definitely made me feel more comfortable as a woman and at ease. (I’d also like to add that I’m the kind of person who isn’t comfortable with people touching me and such.)
A private villa with a pool seems like a dream for a hijabi like me. If it’s just you and your girlfriends, you could freely let your hair down in the privacy of your pool. A slightly more budget-friendly option is pool-access rooms for Muslim travelers. You don’t have to worry about walking back to your room dripping wet or in any unfashionable swimwear.
There’s also a prayer room here for those who want to make sure they don’t miss your prayers. This might seem rather “silly” since you could easily pray in your own hotel rooms. But my family found this useful since we had to check out before Zuhur and we wanted to pray before we headed to the airport.
The bottom line is that it does make a difference when hotels or the travel industry, in general, make considerations to their facilities and services to cater to Muslim travelers. It makes us feel included as customers and really brings a new level of convenience and ease when traveling. Plus, it’ll make us more likely to return in the future.