Love hotels, or hotels that can be booked by the hour, often bring to mind illicit extra-marital affairs and seedy transactions of the flesh.
In reality, love hotels are common in Asian countries like Taiwan, Japan, and Korea because privacy and space are privileges in these societies where young adults live with their parents until marriage, and newly-weds reside in apartments with paper-thin walls.
And to stamp out the competition, love hotels have employed themes such as Batman and even Jurassic Park, to make your wildest, most outlandish fantasies come true.
Here are 6 Love Hotels in Asia that prove that these are some of the Asian values we ought to be trumpeting more often.
1. China: It’s a bird… It’s a plane… It’s… hmmm…
When the first love hotel in China opened in Nanning, Guangxi, its manager was afraid that his respectable establishment would be mistaken for a brothel. With rooms like this one here, I wonder why anyone would make that mistake.
For the uninitiated, a helpful hotel employee demonstrates how to use the harnesses hanging from the bed frame.
Erm maybe it’s a Chinese acrobatic thing but it sure looks pretty taxing. Maybe that’s what the gym ball is there for, to stretch out tired muscles after?
2. South Korea: Party up in here
Love hotels in South Korea are, more often than not, cheap, well-designed, and spacious alternatives to run-of-the-mill hotels. Some even boast slick karaoke systems, ginormous jacuzzis, and, not one, but two computers.
This hip-hop inspired one at the famous love motel stretch near Wangsimni Station camps it up with graffitied walls, a revolving light, and a lit up technicolour dance floor.
Oh, and of course, no proper hip-hop party is complete without a stripper pole.
3. Japan: Let’s show them how it’s done
About a decade ago, Japan had the most warped, most outrageous, and often creepiest, love hotel rooms. A pioneer in this particular industry, the earliest historical evidence of love hotels can be traced back to the Edo period (1603 - 1868), when inns with questionable clientele built discreet entrances to their premises.
However, thanks to revised building guidelines, many of these outlandishly themed hotels have either been shut down or have been completely redecorated (bye bye S&M Hello Kitty, alien abduction rooms and subway car rooms - those killjoys!). Still, for the adventurous couples or the morbidly curious, there are a few remaining bizarre ones to choose from. Like the naval-themed Queen Elizabeth hotel in Kanagawa, built to resemble a cruise liner.
Capitalising on the popularity of James Cameron’s Titanic, they even have statues of Jack and Rose, forever immortalised in the flying pose at the ship’s bow.
4. Japan: Get in touch with your reptilian side
Yup, Japan gets two mentions. No prizes why.
For those up for more thrills, you can fulfill your fantasy of being chased by prehistoric reptiles at the Hotel Jzauruss.
Located in the Japanese city of Beppu, this Jurassic Park-themed hotel welcomes visitors with signs warning of imminent danger while pterodactyls perch like hawks on the rooftop. All to set the mood for some primal action, I guess.
In one of its rooms, the bed is enclosed within a cage designed to either keep the predator in, or out, depending on how you want to play.
5. Taiwan: Why so serious?
Where the Japanese are trying to overhaul the image of love hotels as temples of smut and schlock, the Taiwanese are stepping up their game with kitschy fantasy rooms of various themes. Like the “Batman Room” in Kaohsiung’s Eden Exoticism Motel, decked out with more Bat-insignia than Bat-cave itself.
Wannabe Cape Crusaders and their sidekicks can even imagine themselves hunting villains down the dark streets of Gotham City in the Batmobile... sofa. Oh be still, my beating heart!
After you are done catching the bad guys, you throw them into jail, of course. In this motel, this means the “Jail Room”, complete with metal bars, handcuffs hanging from the ceiling, and a pair of fellow inmates looking famished and forlorn.
6. Thailand: The Childhood Destroyer
For You Inn may be the happiest place on Earth to some, but Disneyland it is definitely NOT.
This love hotel, or “man root” (curtained) motel as known in Thai, is located outside of Bangkok and is bizarrely built like a playschool, complete with cartoon houses and pictures of Mickey and friends plastered all over.
I am not sure how anyone can find this place arousing, but well, different strokes for different folks.
Maewyn Tan is founder of Curated Travel, a customised travel planning agency based in Singapore. For more travel ideas of a less risque nature, you can visit http://www.curatedtravel.com.sg/inspirations.html
Top photo from here