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Hotel turns away lycra group

On yer bike: Cyclists refused service at Raffles. Picture: Simon Santi/The West Australian

Perth's newly revamped Raffles Hotel has been accused of being anti-lycra after turning away a group of cyclists at the weekend.

Canning Bridge Cycles owner Ross Powell said he was shocked to be told there was a "strict policy of no lycra" when he and three fellow cyclists turned up for breakfast on Sunday.

He dismissed as "nonsense" Raffles' claim yesterday the incident was a miscommunication and the issue was safety and amenity, not cyclist attire.

"I was absolutely shocked," Mr Powell said. "There was no miscommunication: the guy came out and he said, 'Sorry, we can't serve you, we have a strict policy of no lycra'. It was very, very straightforward."

He said he could understand turning cyclists away on a busy evening but not at 8.30am when the outdoor area was empty.

Colonial Leisure Group State operations manger Vern Fogarty said Raffles did not have a lycra ban but there were concerns bikes left against walls or close to paths were a safety risk and nearby residents had complained

As a result, he said staff would turn away big groups of cyclists if they did not have somewhere to store their bikes safely.

"It is not our dress standard," he said. "We've served cyclists in lycra in the past and we're happy to serve cyclists in lycra in the future."

The hotel apologised if staff were responsible for the mis- understanding.

"We have identified how this miscommunication occurred over the weekend and have now clarified the reasons for our service decision with all staff," it said.

The topic touched a nerve online, with comments posted to the Raffles and Canning Bridge Facebook pages. Mr Powell said a Sunday post online had since been seen about 13,000 times.

Australian Hotels Association WA chief executive Bradley Woods said it appeared Raffles had been "hyper-vigilant" in trying to reduce annoyance to nearby residents at a time when the hotel had applied for an extended trading permit.

"The industry is operating in this constant state of trying to keep everyone happy," he said.

"It shows how tough it has got for licensees."

Raffles, owned by CLG, re- opened last month after a multimillion-dollar revamp.