The article states "The clients are often people who live at home with their parents and just need some privacy." Still, they don't clarify this any further so your explanation is useful. As it happens, a similar situation to what you describe in Korea is also common in Japan.
Nice? That's not the word I would choose. Random stains on the furniture and carpet. Hairs on the sheets. A vending machine at the end of the hall selling an assortment of toys.
They did have free pirated DVDs on a shelf at the end of the hall. It was all porn.
It did have fantastic sound effects at 2 AM in the morning, though.
Nice is definitely not the word I would choose based on my experience.
In addition to those, there are definitely seedy places where you can get a room for 3 hours for around US$15.
It sounds like he may have stayed at a place that was far more upscale than your experience.
It was generally quiet and uneventful, but super amusing on Valentine's Day nights: The entire street would basically be a column of taxis. They'd briefly be stopping, a couple would dash out to the safety of the hotel entrance, the column would advance, repeat.
I hate both of those games :(
Pretty cheap (compared to hotels), better accommodations than most Korean hotels (those that are meant for Koreans) I've stayed in and usually have hangover cure drinks in the fridge and free internet.
I'm sometimes kind of unsure why the real hotels are so expensive and these things are so cheap. I often feel like if they just went "legit" with the current rates they might do better, but what do I know?
In France, there is only (AFAIK) _one_ love hotel (inspired by the japanese ones).
It's pretty small and the rooms are not big at all, but okayish (I only visited once).
What's interesting is the history of its creation: from what I've read, it was pretty hard to get the authorizations (which explains why there are not any others). Basically, this is the old B.S. about prostitution. Which is total hogwash because they check your ID when you go in, so it would be impossible for an escort to use it with more than a couple customers (and regular hotels are frequently used for escorting anyway so what's the difference?).
Personally, I think that love hotels are a great thing, much better than a regular hotel, and MANY people would benefit from those. Especially people in alternative sexualities (like myself) for whom finding a place to have sex is often a serious problem: going to one partner's home is often seen as a risk for security & anonymity.
BTW, there has also been recently (one year ago), the opening of a "sex doll brothel" in Paris, and they were also checked by the police... Seriously, a freaking SEX DOLL hotel! It's crazy how anything related to sex in any way creates so much problems.
In the Chicago area there are two: Aura and Sybaris. It's by the evening and not the hour, but Sybaris has been operating here since the 1970s:
You also have the honeymoon-based hotels in the Poconos as another example.
French living in Japan here btw. One of my friends who "goes out" far more than I do did not recommend love hotels, he would just go to regular ones. What you need is a bed and a bathroom. If you want toys, lubricants, condoms, bring your own, really, what more services does a love hotel really offer?
Unless you are into heavy bdsm a regular hotel has all you need.
The rooms will also often come with conviniently shaped furniture which you just won’t find at the Ritz.
The rooms are good size (in Tokyo hotel rooms tend to be small), you get a very luxurious bath room and bath utilities, you can order a tons of food through TV and of course you get some free condoms.
Do not expect amazing lobby, though. Entrances are more hole-in-a-wall style.
Locals seem to have a cultural taboo with these hotels, but as a Western traveler it is a pleasant and fun experience.
* If you want a "stay" (overnight) instead of a "rest" (hourly), check-in times are late and check-out times are early, with steep hourly rates slapped on top if you overstay
* It's often not possible to leave the room and come back (insert joke about in-and-out privileges here)
* Rooms are often windowless
All that said, they can be great deal. Here's a mildly tongue-in-cheek comparison of the JW Marriott Seoul vs a random love hotel in Cheonan:
* $400 (rack) vs. $50 (rack)
* Internet access $25/day vs In-room Internet PC for free
* Two chocolates vs. two condoms on your pillow
* Ordinary bathtub vs. heart-shaped jacuzzi in bathroom
* Whisky and cognac vs. beer, soju and dildos in minibar
* Porn costs $18/channel/day vs. three channels of it for free
The Taboo seems to be against talking about them, not using them. My wife's brother got very flustered when the topic of love hotels came up in a conversation among family -- yet in another conversation (which involved much more alcohol), he revealed that he and his girlfriend/fiance were regular love hotel visitors before they had a place of their own.
Like you pointed out, when it comes to a lot of things Japanese (east Asians?) will either change the subject or tell you what they think you want to hear, unless you are very close (or they are drunk).
This actually creates problems for OpenStreetMap, because Chileans, unaware of what "motel" means in the rest of the world, tend to tag these places using OSM’s "motel" tag even though it is arguably inappropriate in this context. (Similarly, because of the similarity of the Spanish word hostal ‘hotel’ and English hostel, unaware OSM editors in this region tag all kinds of ordinary hotels as hostels.)
Cheap motels (in the US sense) that are near highways and are not "love hotels" will just call themselves "hotels" and avoid the sex-related stuff. There are plenty of those.
I think it's also pretty common place for people who meet at night clubs and don't want to take their partners back home (in order to keep their privacy). They go to the motel and that's it.
Wikipedia doesn't have a lot on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motel#South_America
Regarding Brazilian motels, I'm not sure about the etymology, but it is possible that it was borrowed from English, I guess.
Because people DO park cars there. In many (most?) cases, there are individual parking garages (with a door that closes) which open to the specific room. There are no elevators, corridors, or anything that would allow unrelated people to interact. Other than the 'reception', which is essentially a drive-through, you do not have to see or interact with any human beings. Even payment is handled through a small compartment.
A motel (portmanteau of "motor hotel") is a low-lying, often ground-level, structure oriented toward motorists, usually featuring separate exterior entrances to each suite. Visitors are usually able to park right next to their suite, for easily moving items to and from their vehicle.
The word comes from America, and seems to originally have been a proper noun serving as the name of a motor hotel chain: https://www.etymonline.com/word/motel
Having recently thought a lot about this after being tricked into staying in a place listed on booking.com as an "inn", but which upon arrival was clearly a motel, this is definitely the defining feature of a motel: if I can access the room through an exterior entrance without passing through the interior of the building (a lobby), it's a motel and not a hotel.
In smaller motels all rooms have car access (on the ground floor of course). In larger ones, as the expand, they often add extra rooms with no road access.
And inversely, there are smaller places where cars can be parked outside, but are called hotels.
Nowadays it more how fancy they are and how much you pay, which makes them call them "hotel" vs "motel", as opposed to
(That said, I've never seen an establishment without parking outside/next to the building called a motel).
Even today, with chains often blurring the lines, I still think of the old-school, single story row of rooms as a motel and the taller ones as hotels.
It's not because of the original reasons anymore since you can have a high rise along the highway and serving a similar purpose. But since I was a kid, the cheap one-story drive-up ones were still called motels whereas the bigger multi-story chain places were marketed as hotels.
I agree that the lines have blurred but I still consider a motel as a subset of hotels.
Note: I am American, too.
> "Hotel," according to Merriam-Webster, originated in the year 1765 and comes from a French word for an establishment that provides lodging, meals and other services.
> "Motel" came along much later, in 1925, according to Merriam-Webster. It blends the words "motor" and "hotel" and is meant to describe an establishment that provides some, but not necessarily all of the services associated with a hotel. Motels, according to San Jose State University communications professor Andrew Wood, are an entirely American phenomenon: They originated as inns along the country's first major motorways, offering rest to weary explorers and families on vacation.
> Hotels and motels differ in layout and construction. Hotels can contain hundreds of rooms and several floors; they generally have staircases, elevators and internal corridors that lead to the rooms. Motels commonly have a one- or two-floor layout and guests access their rooms directly from the parking lot.
> Some hotels, especially those in the luxury-accommodations realm, exhibit specific styles of architecture and design, such as the Waldorf Astoria of New York. Motels typically have a more utilitarian construction.
Regarding French, note that many words that have a circumflex-o in modern French correspond to "os" words in English. Like hôpital -> hospital.
So "hotel" is basically a re-import of "hostel" from French which had become "hôtel" due to the lost phoneme. So now we have both hostel and hotel.
All of the words hotel, hostel, hospital and related words ultimately come from the Latin word hospitale (inn, large house).
I wonder if he's been to Singapore though? I felt like Japan was very clean, but Singapora was on a whole different level. And not just the "they banned gum" comments, but that I saw at 11:00pm people disappear and the cleaning crews come out pressure washing sidewalks and anywhere people might have been. Tokyo especially felt a LOT like NYC to me, except with much wider alleys, and cleaner. Singapore in contrast didn't feel 'real' at all, like if Disney made a whole country.
Had a long layover in Japan, tried to stay in a Love Hotel as all we needed was 6 hours, but it wasn't $82, more like $120 and turned out we found a cheaper rate at a 'normal' hotel. Next time though!
Japanese are really another breed.
The Walt Disney World Resort is made up of 47 square miles of land…. or about 30,000 acres. Only about 1100 acres of that land is devoted to the 4 theme parks. In fact, with only 7,100 acres developed, there’s quite a lot of room for expansion!
Another point of comparison: the city of San Francsico has a land area of 47 sq miles, so Singapore is about 6 San Francisco's.
Walk down Shibuya Center Street the road is disgusting. Plenty of other similar streets in Ikebukuro, Ueno, Roppongi, Kiyamachi, etc... Go in nearly any station, especially the older ones and there are years of dust piled up all over. Some are so bad I'm surprised it's not considered a fire hazard.
The most interesting to me are toilets. I'd take a Japan over the USA for public toilets as the Japanese ones are less likely to be destroyed but at the same time it often looks like the staff is afraid to wash them correctly as they have extremely caked on stains. Here's a Starbucks.
The "Japan is clean" meme makes all of these issues really stand out for me. I don't know where these dirty places are that Japan is being compared to but I don't feel like Japan sticks out as clean compared to say Silicon Valley or South Orange Country California or even Santa Monica/Brentwood. They seem about the same.
I still think Singapore is not that clean (better than most country though).
Public restrooms in Singapore are not that great.
Other than that those two cities are super clean.
aka we were overexposing on the internet before it was cool ;)