The amenities in a South Korea â€œlove hotelâ€ are not what youâ€™ll see at your local Holiday Inn: flashing colored lights over the bed, a higher-than-average number of mirrors, a â€œpersonal massagerâ€ for sale in the minibar.
If you travel to South Korea, though, youâ€™ll find some good reasons to check into a love hotel. Hereâ€™s what you need to know about the â€œlove hotelâ€ experience:
Why They Exist
In South Korea, itâ€™s not unusual for several generations of a family to live together. Sure, that can make for a close-knit family. But it also detracts from privacy. So when couples feel like gettinâ€™ freaky/frisky/funky, they might leave the family at home and check into a love hotel for a night – or even a few hours.
Why Theyâ€™re Different
First of all, a love hotel in South Korea is cheap – as much as half the cost of a conventional hotel. And theyâ€™re considerably nicer than hostels or guesthouses: Youâ€™ll find a generously sized TV, a computer with Internet and very likely a fancy Japanese toilet that can blast a jet of water a good 12 feet. It’s everything people need while they travel – and then some. Also, youâ€™ll enter through a discreet entrance designed to conceal guestâ€™s identities. Youâ€™ll pay through a bank teller-like window (and possibly not even make eye contact with the staff) in cash per day. And Iâ€™m serious about the in-room amenities. The staff issues a little care package with things like powdered coffee, tea bags, razors, hair ties, bubble bath gel … and condoms.
Why You Might Think Twice
As far as I could tell, most love hotels allow smoking in rooms. Thatâ€™s a tough smell to get out of the rooms to nonsmokersâ€™ satisfaction. It took a little arm twisting to make sure it was eradicated from our room – or at least enough to pass muster.
How You Can Find One
It seems love hotels donâ€™t really fly their flag on the Internet. Thereâ€™s a feeling that the people of South Korea consider them ever-so-slightly tawdry (if necessary). But they stick out in the landscape. Just look for a building thatâ€™s on the garish side, likely with a word like â€œQueenâ€ or â€œCastleâ€ or somesuch in the name: I saw one called the Wow Motel. If you see neon, fringe and jarring colors, youâ€™ve found yourself a love hotel.
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