Thursday, January 24, 2013

El Kiss Me

Every time I come to Cali, there seem to be more and more sex hotels lining the main highway. These kinds of hotels, called telos in Argentina and moteles in Colombia, are common all over Latin America, and when I first moved down here I found the idea of them, well, really skeevy. As time has gone by, though, I understand what an important function they serve in a region where many young adults live with conservative parents often into their late twenties.

But until last week, I had never been to one, and given how bizarre and 80's Scarface Miami a lot of them look from the outside, I was curious to check one out. Investigative journalism, ok? After a highly scientific survey conducted on the curb outside of a club one night, it was determined that the "Kiss Me" motel was the weirdest option available in Cali. I'm not exactly sure what my expectations were, but I can tell you that they were definitely exceeded in every way.

El "Kiss Me" is a motel temático, meaning they have themed rooms. (Many moteles are much more basic, offering something along the lines of a bed with a mirror on the ceiling and a bathroom.) You can choose from Arctic rooms, Native American rooms (!) or Mexican rooms, among other imaginative options. Depending on if you want a room with a jacuzzi, a steam bath, or a large suite, the price changes between 23,000 pesos (about $15) and 30,000 pesos (about $18) for 4 hours. You can rent a room for the night if you like, obviously the price rises accordingly. I'm told the Kiss Me is on the cheaper side; all I can say is that I'm shocked, shocked I tell you! that Cali's elite doesn't look for comedic value in their sex hotel choices.

We were given a Scottish sailor room, isn't the towel arrangement classy? Next to the towels are soap and condoms, and the lady who gave us the keys to the room also gave us a packet with candies, cookies and a wall hanging to take home (!?)

A friend of mine told me that people also rent rooms in these kinds of hotels to drink with friends, but as far as I can tell these hotels are designed primarily for one use, as you can see from the following pictures:

If you run out of ideas, you can always spin the wheel.
As for that burning question, how gross was it? (And the picture below makes it look just lovely, I know.) The motel actually seemed perfectly sanitary, if lacking perhaps in a bit of upkeep. I have no idea if this is a reflection of sex hotels in the rest of Latin America, but given that everything in Colombia is maintained squeaky-clean, I would have been pretty shocked had the motel been anything but. Also, if you get hungry, they apparently provide room service, I didn't look all that closely but they definitely had the burgers and fries department covered as well as traditional Colombian breakfast options (coffee, arepas, eggs).

Esteemed customer, this room was made with much love for the purpose of love.
Even our cab ride home was a bit out of the ordinary, as the cab driver seemed puzzled that we were both going to the same house. I suppose it goes without saying that these places aren't only used by young people still living at home, but also by people sleeping with partners other than the ones they live with.

If you'd like to check the "Kiss Me" out, and you absolutely should, you can't miss it (though this one is not off the main highway), it's the one with the huge Venus de Milo statue on top and KISS ME in neon lettering.

Motel Tematico Kissme
Carrera 15 con Calle 27
Cali, Colombia

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