万花筒:蓬勃发展的日本情人旅馆

Japan's love hotels thrive

They say you can't put a price on love, but that doesn't mean you can't try. Despite Japan's deepest recession since World War II, the country's love hotel industry has hardly missed a beat. Don't be fooled by the showy facades. Love hotels are serious business, an estimated 40-billion-dollar-a-year industry. Just off the highway near the town of Bussola lies the Bonita Hotel, which boasts 250% occupancy. That's right, each room is rented 2.5 times a day.

"I would hate to use the term “recession-proof”, but it certainly had proven very resilient over the last 6 months."

Yeah, Steve Mansfiled operates 6 love or leisure hotels, as he prefers to call them. Generally, they share certain features. First, privacy.

"You just choose a room and you go to room 307."

"So you checked in without ever having spoken with anyone."

"Yep."

So it's your turn. Rooms may offer Karaoke, video games, custom souvenirs and often a bit of luxury.

"We have a television there, so our guests can enjoy a loge Jacuzzi jet bath and television at the same time, just to..."

Business is good enough and Mansfield is looking to expand. That's not even in the big cities.

Now prices in Tokyo are a little bit higher. This room, for example, will run you about 190 dollars for the night. What do you get for that? Well, your king-sized bed, your big screen, flat screen TV. Here’s your minibar. You see, just in there. And a few things you don't see in every other hotel room, you got over here, a gigantic Jacuzzi, and on this side, your own personal sauna.

Why have love hotels done so well despite the recession?

"It's a natural human desire." She says. Her boyfriend adds," even these days on the weekend, every love hotel is full. You can't stop sexual desire."

But it's not all about sex.

According to this very candid man, "I go to a love hotel when I'm drunk, don't feel like going home."

Whatever the reasons, when it comes to love hotels, it will take more than dim prospects to break the moods.

Morgan Neil, CNN Tokyo.

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