Translated by MATCHA_En
What's A Love Hotel? A Field Guide For Travelers
Need a place to stay in a hurry? Want to spend a couple hours relaxing in your own luxurious room? Why not head to the love hotel nearest you?
Written by Marina Maeda
When you spot a flashy building while walking along a regular street, you have either found a pachinko parlor or a love hotel. Take a peak inside: if you don't see rows upon rows of people sitting on stools feeding coins into a machine, then you are in the lobby of a love hotel.
Never fear though, these Japanese-original hotels are great spots to stay in, whether for a few hours or overnight. Originally designed for 'romantic encounters', now you can find love hotels that cater to bachelorette parties, ones that offer spa and aesthetic services for couples and even hotels with family packages.
In this article, we will show you how to locate and stay at a standard love hotel.
The Exterior that Oddly Stands Out
First things first, how do you locate a love hotel? Well, love hotels tend to be grouped together in certain areas, such as near major stations, highway interchanges or parking areas and oddly enough, near temples. With their very flashy exteriors, you can easily spot them at night.
The love hotel we visited this time is called LOVE IKUTAMA and it is built next to a temple in Osaka.
The Flow to Enter a Room
For normal hotels, you will go to the reception and tell the staff that you have a reservation and you will receive a key. However, for love hotels, before getting your key the first thing you have to do is pick a room.
Once you enter a love hotel, you will immediately see a large panel like the above picture. It displays the pictures of the interior of each room. The standard procedure is to pick a room, and to receive the key at the reception. We visited this place in a Friday afternoon and the whole place was almost full.
Choose the rooms that are lighted up (the light indicates that the rooms are empty). It may be a little bit difficult to see from the picture above, but there is a button under the display. Press the button and a card will come out. Use this card to exchange for the key at the reception.
At the reception, you will be asked if you are here for rest (short time, usually 1-3 hours) or stay (long stay, 5 hours to overnight), just tell them. If you don't understand the system, ask and they will answer you politely. You will probably have to pay for your room in advance, and pay for any room service etc when you check out, so please keep this in mind.
Once you receive the key, you can head to the room. The elevators inside usually lead you to the rooms directly, so you won't need to share the elevators with others. Since it is a love hotel, the privacy of the guests is well protected. You might not even see the faces of the staff as the reception desks often feature curtains that only allow the staff's hands to be visible.
Once you exit on your floor, simply follow the signs to your room.
Is this an Amusement Park?
Once you enter the room, you will be surprised by its luxury. There are also things and services that cannot be found in regular hotels available at love hotels. We would like to introduce them to you one by one.
1. The Characteristics of the Room
The rooms are more spacious than those of the regular hotels. This time, we have chosen a room of E type, the best type of room in LOVE IKUTAMA. Moreover, the wallpaper and the interior design are different from regular hotels. These differences make the visit more exciting!
2. The Huge Size of the Bed
The standard bed size in a typical hotel is single, whereas at a love hotel the beds start from queen and can go even larger.
3. Convenient Items
Unlike regular hotels, many convenient items are available. From standard items like razors and hairbrush to mouthwash and face mask. For toothbrush, two sets are prepared, but more can be requested. Shampoo, conditioner and body soap are free as well and provided in large bottles in the shower area; or you can use the room service to try one of the premium types available from reception.
LOVE IKUTAMA also has its own brand of toner, cleansing and face lotion.
4. Food and Drinks
Normally, the quality of food and drink in love hotels will be similar to a regular cafe, or even a little bit better. But LOVE IKUTAMA in particular has its own chef so you can order amazing dishes almost all night.
This is their King's omelette rice (650 yen), which is a massive serving compared to what you may find in a restaurant.
This is their limited edition dessert (350yen), made with Haagen-Dazs ice cream.
Enjoy the Love Hotel
Not just a place to stay, most love hotels also feature specialty rooms for those seeking more than just a bed. Here are some of the unique points of LOVE IKUTAMA.
2 of the rooms here have their own outdoor hot spring baths. Imagine having your own private hot spring, doesn't that sound relaxing?
This is a room equipped with a dart board and darts. You can have your own tournament!
Stay and Rest
At LOVE IKUTAMA, the charge and check-out time depend on the type of your room. Please confirm these when you check in at the reception.
For example, a E type room on a Friday night for two people will cost 10,990 yen, which makes it around 5000 yen per person.
For "rest", the calculation is different. The love hotel will have a system that sets the time period and the hours you can stay, and its cost. There are a couple of plans for "rest"; but for a typical love hotel, there will be two choices: the normal plan, and the "service time" one where you can stay longer.
For LOVE IKUTAMA, it costs 2990 yen plus to rest between 6am to midnight for two hours. As for "service time", it depends on the time you enter, so please check this beforehand. A good thing to keep in mind is that, at night, the earlier you enter the hotel, the longer the service time lasts. But rooms can disappear quickly on weekends and during holidays, so earlier is better in general.
One Bed in One Room
Basically, there is only one bed in a room. But the bed is either king-size or queen-size and is big enough for two people to sleep comfortably.
Two Persons Per Room
A room can only be shared by two persons and there are love hotels that refuse entry of a single guest or when there are three guests or above. There may also be some confusion or difficulty encountered when groups of mixed genders enter, so please keep this in mind. In general, most hotels will accept couples of any combination, but groups of men and women are often required to separate into pairs or stay in single gender rooms - mainly for safety and liability reasons.
For LOVE IKUTAMA, individual guests and groups of 3 may enter the hotel, however groups of 3 will be charged the regular room rate multiplied by 1.5, so please make sure to check the prices carefully before entering.
Under 18 Restricted (According to Law)
According to Japanese law, people under 18 years old are forbidden from using the love hotels and for 18 year old high school students, anyone wearing a school uniform is banned from the premises. This rule applies to children as well; unless a love hotel expressly states that they are family-friendly, people with children in tow should stay at a regular hotel or motel instead.
The Price Varies According to the Day and Time
As a general policy, the charge of love hotels change according to the hours of stay and the day of the week. For "rest", it is cheapest in the morning, and it gets more and more expensive as the day passes. For "stay", it is cheaper on weekdays and more expensive on weekends or holidays.
Depends on the love hotel, there are some places that will ask for passport copy from foreign visitors for security reasons (not only for the hotel but for the guest as well); or places that will ask you to pay the minimum charge at the reception when you check-in and the balance upon check-out. There are also some hotels with pay machines in the room itself, so please confirm which sort of payment system is in place in order to avoid overpaying at the hotel.
If you need a place to stay in a hurry or simply want to spend time relaxing in a massive room of your own, head to your local love hotel hub and find the spot that best suits your needs!
Address: 543-0071, 5-14 Ikutama-cho Tennoji-ku, Osaka
Hours: 24 hours
Credit card: All major cards
Language support level: basic English
Menu in other languages menu: No
Nearest station: Tanimachi kyu-chome station (谷町9丁目駅) Osaka Municipal Subway
Access: 5 minute walk from Exit 5 of Tanimachi kyu-chome station of Osaka Municipal Subway
Price range: Rest from 2990 yen, Stay from 5990 yen