If there is any time I’d talk about sex toys, racy bedroom costumes, porn, hotels and secrecy… this is it.
All in this single post.
I have always been curious about love hotels in Japan so I decided we should stay at one on our trip to Osaka!
What kind of image does love hotels conjure in your mind? Sleazy? One night stands? Gaudy? Unsanitary?
That may be the stereotypical image of love hotels, but the industry is actually changing in recent days. Married couples, pensioners, groups of friends (NOT for the reason you’re thinking!) and even singles go there, just to have some private space and time to themselves.
My prime concern for staying in a love hotel was hygiene. Because the thought of how sanitary it might (or rather, might not) be… *shudders*
But it’s due to precisely the same reason that the hotels are very strict on hygiene. To avoid emotionally scarring the next guest with any leftover uh… biofluids and getting complaints, they clean the room a whole lot more thoroughly. Much more than the average hotel. You do know that most hotels (even 5-star ones) are actually pretty filthy, right? Any housekeeping staff can tell you that much ;)
We arrived at the hotel at about 9pm (our check-in is from 8pm) and there was a valet who parked our car for us. He would remain the only person we would see our entire stay at the hotel.
There was a counter with a window that had the shades drawn 90% down. We went, “Ano… sumimasennnn…” (um, excuse me) while trying to peep under the shade because there was no one around!
Out of absolutely nowhere, the voice of an old lady answered “Yes?”
Fu and I looked at each other because we still didn’t see anyone. But we replied that we had a reservation and after conversing for a bit more with this invisible person, we found out we had to make payment first.
Then, a singular, disembodied hand stuck out of the window to take our credit card. LOL.
While she was processing payment, we were quietly giggling to ourselves how hush-hush this whole thing is.
After returning our card, she then asked us if we were planning to leave the room during the night. We were confused at such a question, but answered no. She then said something about having to call reception if we wanted to leave the room. At that point we were like “Huh?” but didn’t think much of it. We were then told to head upstairs.
Fu and I looked at each other again.
“Uh… we don’t have the keys…?”
She patiently replied, “You don’t need them. Please head upstairs.”
I think we asked her three more times if she meant for us to head upstairs just like that. I thought our Japanese was dysfunctional that day and all this speaking to the air was throwing us off.
But yes. Really. Just go upstairs.
Ok… if you say so…
When we reached our floor, the sign with our room number was blinking, so we headed to the door, which was magically opened for us!
After we got in, we closed the door. We turned the knob, and it opened. We closed it again and stared at it. It’s not auto lock? How the heck do we lock it? This stuff is confusing!
I then saw a sign on the door and read it. Apparently if we leave the door closed, it will lock after 3 minutes.
Oh. Alright then…
We left the door alone and true enough, the lock clicked into place shortly.
We headed into the main room area and…
What do you think? Not what you were expecting? ;)
One of the novelties of love hotels lies in the themed interior, or “concept rooms”. There are some hotels with really gaudy interiors – like purple walls with gold bedsheets and neon lights – that set my eyeballs on fire. But there are also many interesting themes like cosmos, victorian, roman. (this post has the pictures!)
I looked at all the rooms online for this hotel and decided I really wanted to stay in this Japanese-style room, so when I called to make a reservation, I asked if I could request for this room. The kindly old lady (a surprise; I was, a little stereotypically, expecting some young punk to answer the phone haha) said she couldn’t guarantee it, since most people walk in on the day itself, but said she’ll make a note. I was ecstatic when the receptionist told us this room was saved for us! Hehe.
I found some menus on the table and for some reason I was very tickled to see that in a love hotel, people can order…
And another type of menu:
When I flipped through this menu, there are outfits and toys that can be ordered. Normal stuff.
I saw this:
The kicker was this:
Why would I suddenly be hit with a compelling urge to purchase household goods while at a hotel?! LOL this is so random!
Oh oh oh! Another interesting thing! (sorry ah, a lot of interesting things to me! I basically spent the first half hour inspecting every nook and cranny of the room, taking photos and shouting out to Fu my discoveries while he was on power-saving mode and had just enough left in him to bathe himself after our long day at Universal Studios)
Suppose you want to buy something (like a humidifier lol), you call reception to place the order. And how do you pay?
And when they deliver your items, there’s a small cut-out window in the middle of the door that you can unlatch.
Basically everything is done this way to maintain the privacy and secrecy of the guests. No one in the hotel would have been able to see your face! (except the valet, if you drive)
Other things I found around the room:
Know what the best thing about this hotel is? Everywhere else in Osaka, hotels were booked out due to the peak season. It would have cost at least $100 per person for an available hotel with a tiny room. Us? Our ROOM was 5,980 yen (~$60). Before discount. I found a coupon online and we only had to pay $50 in total!!! For such a big room! And our check out time is 1pm! Awesome or what? -smug face-
When it was time to check out, we called reception as requested, and they told us to wait for the door to unlock.
So THIS is the reason why we weren’t issued room keys! They control the flow of guests by controlling the doors, so that guests will never have to meet any other guests and be faced with potentially awkward situations. If you’re there with your other half still never mind. Imagine if you weren’t… and you’re married… and you met your subordinate in the lift… with his hands around the waist of your other subordinate… who is a guy… HAHAHAHA.
This love hotel experience was definitely full of discoveries! All that secrecy! And it was SO INEXPENSIVE!!! I wouldn’t mind staying in a love hotel again, if only just to check out the different themed rooms! ;D