Thursday, February 26, 2009

Taiwan culture: The Love Hotel

The Love Hotel was a unique bracket of hotels grown up in response to Taiwan family sensibilities: children lived with parents until they were married; grandmother would still be at home even if the parents were working; and, if granny didn’t live with you she lived across the stairs with aunty; and, daddy or grand-dad needed to see their girlfriends or prostitutes.

In short, there was a large demand for a sanctuary from those closest to you. Some of them were incredibly high-end and some seedy, but what distinguished a Love Hotel from any other was the option to book a room for four hours, advertised ironically in the neon signs on the front of the hotel as - “Take a break Four Hours” – it was designed for anything but.

Go to one on a Sunday afternoon and you can see what a staple of Taiwan life they were: middle-aged men with young hard-faced girls carrying Gucci bags, and, pairs of students still carrying their helmets fought to pay to take a rest.

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