Seedy roots at the Sugar Hotel – Gyeongju, South Korea

What do you get when you mix confined family living quarters with the hormones of youth?

Love Hotels, that’s what!!

When staying in Gyeongju we thought we’d try a slightly different style of accommodation. While we didn’t dive straight to bottom of the barrel, we did select a rather odd little hotel that has a reputation for having been a love hotel in a previous life, retaining the quirks and discarding the filth.

So what are ‘Love Hotels’?

Quite simply, they give couples a place to go to have sex in privacy. That may sound a little odd to western ears, but you have to think about this from the Korean (or Japanese) perspective. In Korean society the family unit is extremely tight and it isn’t unusual for young Koreans to live under the same roof, in the same confined quarters as their family, until the day they get married and leave home.

And then, putting family aside, as with any society, cheaters gonna cheat!

Love Hotels provide these couples with a cheap, sometime quite quirky way of getting some privacy, without breaking the bank and without having to leave their own town.

Rooms are normally very cheap, with rates often by the hour or half day…day time rates being lower than those of an evening. Privacy is of utmost importance, with many establishments offering room selection via vending machine and automatic payment. You could actually book a room for a week and never cross paths with another human if you were that concerned (assuming mannequins were your ‘thing’!!)

The cheapest of the love hotels may be quite grubby, but in recent times the humble love hotel has evolved to offer themed rooms, luxurious facilities for pampering one’s self, and in general a much cleaner and sanitary environment than that of yesteryear. Many continue to offer adult movies and other erotic accompaniments (rotating beds, ceiling mirrors, erotic artworks etc.), but there is large subset of the love hotel genre that have diverged from their seedy roots (pun bell!) to offer a more normal hotel experience, but with some of the quirks retained, such as wall art, garish colour schemes and general bling.

This was one time that we had to ensure our research was thorough!! Sugar Hotel had quite a few pretty decent review from other foreigners, so we were pretty sure we were on a safe thing. It was a great choice in the end. For the grand sum of only AUD$80 per night we got to stay in absolute luxury, right in the middle of town, next door to all the main tourist attractions and transport options!

We actually had a moon roof in the ceiling and a sauna in the room as well, but I’ve only just realised I never took a photo of either…

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

And here are some images of the exterior. These hotels tend to congregate in particular regions of the various cities across Korea, so you end up with all sorts of fantastic neon lights, weird hotel names and other entertainment options all within a very small radius!

Sugar Hotel

Sugar Hotel

Gyeongju's love hotel district

Gyeongju’s love hotel district

One of the awesome frontages to one of the many love hotels in the area. Wrestling theme? Gay theme? Mexican gay wrestling theme?

Love in a Mexican wrestling kind of way...?

Love in a Mexican wrestling kind of way…?

When doing your research, perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give you is, “Beware the toilet without walls or window frosting!!”

Have a closer look on if you think this quirky piece of accommodation might be right for you!