“A type of Japanese hotel that rents rooms for short amounts of time” would be the polite explanation of what a ‘love hotel’ is. The more risqué version is that love hotels were developed as a way for couples living in densely-populated cities to catch a few moments of privacy. And the reality is that love hotels (yes, they’re still called that) are just as diverse as traditional hotels and are used for everything from having a quick nap to hosting an impromptu karaoke party.
Hotel Gransky in Tokyo
The chance to find out what, exactly, is the deal with love hotels is one reason to check in this summer, and here are five to choose from.
Jet lag and wanderlust are a killer combination and when your body thinks it’s 1am but the city you’re in thinks it’s only midday. Being able to catch 40 winks cannot be underestimated. Grab a handy room in peaceful surroundings like Sao Paulo's Lush Motel.
Hotel Bali in Osaka
As travellers are starting to really appreciate the convenience of booking a few hours (or even a few days) in a love hotel, hospitality staff are making a big effort to provide their guests with a luxury experience. These efforts include high thread count sheets, hot tubs, saunas, indoor and rooftop swimming pools, room service, and a personalised guide to the best local restaurants and high-end boutiques. Hotel Bali in the Japanese city of Osaka is an excellent example of this new approach.
Shinjuku Kabukicho in Tokyo
As love hotels originated in Japan it makes sense that their owners regularly make the most of Japan’s greatest gift to the world: karaoke (aside from Pokemon Go). It’s increasingly common for love hotel rooms to have their own karaoke machine, so if you’re a wallflower who loves to sing but doesn’t fancy belting out Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in front of a roomful of strangers, love hotels like Shinjuku Kabukicho are a great choice.
Hotel Zen in Osaka
One of the reasons that love hotels began to attract such a broad clientele was that tourists travelling on a budget realised how much cheaper they were than regular accommodation. While some of the reinvented luxury love hotels have raised their prices to match the rest of the market, it’s still possible to get a low-cost, high-quality room. All that and there’s the added bonus that many love hotels, like Hotel Zen in one of Osaka’s most popular areas, also offer free, off-street parking.
Lush Motel in Sao Paulo
Love hotels are one of the oldest types of accommodation in the world. Just as you might book a night in a motel while driving down route 66 or spend a week in an English B&B while visiting the seaside, staying in a love hotel will give you a unique insight into part of Japan’s history. And also the karaoke machines.