NEW YORK (MainStreet) Here's a fun fact. Out in Japan they have these places called Love Hotels. They rent rooms for the sole purpose and duration of a quick fling with that special (or available) someone. While the Japanese certainly don't have the monopoly on hourly accommodation, for a long time they did have the market cornered on tackiness. A Japanese love hotel looks like something that exploded out of a Joel Schumacher movie.
No more. Today you can find mind bending decorations right here in the United States, with hotels that offer wild themes to couples looking for a getaway. Want to spend the night inside a giant mushroom? Check. A one-room castle with working drawbridge? We can do that. Ever wanted to bathe in a 15-foot-tall champagne glass? Step right this way.
So, in honor of the holiday and the hard work put in by hoteliers who have clearly found their calling, we present seven of the most bizarre romantic theme hotels for this Valentine's Day.
Be honest, some of you thought I was joking about that giant champagne glass up there in the introduction. Well never fear, because New Jersey's Loop Inn Motel delivers.
The Loop Inn's Crystal Chalice Suite is a fairly normal, tastefully appointed hotel room with a small sitting area on the first floor and a second story for the bedroom. It leaves behind traditional ideas of sanity, however, with the gigantic champagne glass bathtub which dominates the middle of the room. There's no angle from which you don't see the opportunity to soak in a gigantic replica of Marie Antoinette's left breast while overlooking your tiny empire.
For those who don't dream of taking a long soak every time they hit the bottle the Loop Inn also offers Rock Heaven, a suite that comes with its very own fake-underground swimming grotto. Not quite as nice as Hugh Heffner's, but considerably easier to score an invitation.
The Madonna Inn truly brings tacky to new and inspiring levels. The sheer volume of options of this hotel is the most impressive part about it, with over 100 rooms that each have their own themes. You could stay here every day for a month and not even see a third of what the Madonna has to offer.
Some keep it simple, like the dark wood and leather of Harvard Square. Others go wildly over the top, like Kona Rock's faux-lava rock walls or the Just Heaven room's vaguely menacing cherubs. A few rooms swing for the fences and end up somewhere just plain weird, like a suite modeled after the Li'l Abner comic, or one which comes equipped with a stagecoach for a bed.
If you're out in California, the Madonna Inn is worth a look for the sheer scale of its inventiveness.
Welcome to the Anniversary Inn, where adventurous couples can spend the night on a pirate ship, in a biker roadhouse, or on a spaceship. There's even Sleeping Beauty's Castle, a mock palace with drawbridge and moat.
No word on whether the drawbridge works, but I like to imagine that it does and the hotel staff must lay siege to Room #26 if they don't offer a late check out.
The Chapel Christmas Love Hotel is a work of art. There's a degree of demented brilliance at work here that I can't begin to even understand except to say that if you play Dark Side of the Moon backwards, I'm pretty sure it syncs up with this hotel.
Like all Japanese love hotels, this one specializes in renting rooms by the hour for couples just looking to sneak off for some privacy. In the minds of the Chapel Christmas's owners, the romance of this experience seems to be enhanced by an addled looking Santa perched on top of a pile of gifts overseeing a massive holiday wonderland. Even the building itself appears to be gift wrapped for your pleasure.
How, why and in what altered mental state this hotel came to be is a question for the philosophers. Still, for that niche market of Santa fetishists out there, Osaka has the answer.
For everyone who has ever fantasized about spending the day as a bafflingly popular rodent (and let's face it, who hasn't?), the Hamster Hotel provides a way to make your dreams come true. As reported by the Telegraph, "for 99 euros (£88) a night, visitors to the hotel in Nantes can feast on hamster grain, get a workout by running in a giant wheel and sleep in hay stacks in a suite called the 'Hamster Villa.'"
The owners do seem to have made the experience about as authentic as possible, if we accept the idea that 21st century hamsters have access to TV's and wi-fi. The room even comes equipped with fur costumes for anyone who wants to complete their transformation into a rodent. The wisdom of that experience is up to you.
We here at MainStreet do not recommend wearing the fur costumes.
Ordinarily it goes without saying that few, if any, romantic weekends should involve the word "whorehouse." That belongs very high on the list of words a man should never say if he wants his Valentine's Day to end with anything more than light housework and reruns of "I Love Lucy."
Evidently The Pelican in Miami Beach did not get the message, because in addition to the Bang a Boomerang; Love, Peace and Leafforest; and Jetsons-inspired Penthouses, the Pelican offers the Best Whorehouse suite.
Please, gentlemen everywhere, take it from someone with a profound expertise in turning women off: do not bring your date to a Best Whorehouse. Don't bring her to a worst one. In fact, do absolutely nothing to suggest that she belongs near a whorehouse of any caliber. Unless, of course, you prefer the antics of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz to the inevitable by-products of romance. Then by all means have at it.
What can I say that the Propeller Island City Lodge hasn't already said for itself:
"In both coffins you can even slumber beneath closed lids! Exclusively connoisseur room for all those 'Nosferaturs' who cannot wait for that which awaits us all."
The Propeller Island City Lodge offers several truly bizarre accommodations, but its coffin suite has to take the cake. A two-story room with a "labyrinth" built below, the beds on the top floor are fairly straightforward white, wooden caskets. Berlin couples can spend Valentine's Day in giddy anticipation of their own inevitable, creeping darkness. Romance will be a little tricky in this room, though, since coffins generally sleep just one.
Written for MainStreet by Eric Reed, a freelance journalist who writes frequently on the subjects of career and travel. You can read more of his work at his website www.wanderinglawyer.com.