Handcuffs, thick curtains, turbo-engine jacuzzis, mirrored walls, chandeliers and hourly rates….in an age of dwindling privacy and passion-robbing technology, sex hotels in Manhattan are the de riguer for couples–and trysters–who are looking for secretive love dens to flesh out their sexual fantasies. Treats! gets dolled up and checks in.
by Rachel Khona
There were, surprisingly, many options: The Manhattan in Times Square, which rents rooms during the day until 5pm for $140. The Herald Square Hotel was $65 flat for three hours. The Liberty Inn. And, believe it or not, the Waldorf Astoria has day rates for $300 and up. Well, actually not at surprising as you might think. The Waldorf, an art deco landmark built in late 19th Century, was the first hotel to serve room service. And ,well, over the years its housed some of the world’s most insatiable sexual omnivores: Bugsy Siegel, Cole Porter, Marilyn Monroe, Warren Beatty, JFK, Sultans, Paris & many real life Don Drapers. Now, I’m all for a little fancy, but the idea of screwing in the Waldorf sounded as appealing as hooking up on my grandmother’s crochet-doily covered bedspread. To each their own of course. I’m sure the Waldorf does it for some but all I needed was a few hours, so I opted for the Herald Square Hotel.
Herald Square is formed by the intersection of Broadway, Sixth Avenue (officially named Avenue of the Americas) and 34th Street. The former home of JOHN AMES MITCHELL, the man who created LIFE magazine, the hotel was built in 1894. But…was this was no ordinary office structure. Mitchell took great pains to employ only the best artists, writers and creative staff. Knowing the mercurial habits of this genre of people he equipped LIFE’S home with little homes within. These bachelor apartments on the upper floors served to house the men who worked on the magazine. They also became studios where such legends as “The Gibson Girl”––the pen-and-ink drawings of a poised and patrician woman with a flash of mischief in her eyes by artist Charles Dana Gibson– were born. In fact, between the offices and the apartments and the studios, this site was not so much an office tower as it was an aesthetic maternity ward and where beauty and wit, humor and, of course, clandestine affairs were born and reborn every week. Although the original winged cupid adorns the doorway of the hotel, you wouldn’t associate sizzling hotel sex with a place like the Herald Square (“Our mattresses are the same luxury quality as in the 4 star hotels and our Bruner Multi Layer Water Filtration System provides water free from dirt, sediment, iron, particulate matter, as well as any foul tastes and odors.”). It’s drab and ordinary by today’s standards. The kind of forgettable business hotel where you might go for an office-party “bang” if you happened to be near by. Between the nondescript décor and the train ride, I wasn’t nearly so juiced up by the time we got down to business. The Herald Square is sanitary, clean, and sexy in its own way–stark white bathrooms with red towels are a highlight–but hardly the place to bring fire to your loins. I wanted something more. A place that said “fuck me hard.” A hotel that wasn’t afraid to show its sexy side.
Which is how I wound up on my back in the Meatpacking district’s Liberty Inn. At first, I was a little skeeved by a hotel which brazenly touted itself as the place for a “romantic rendezvous,” “fast, discreet checkin service 24 hours a day” and “mood lighting.” I half expected Joey Buttafuco/Amy Fisher types littering the lobby. The kind of place an old man might take his Asian teenage transsexual. But no.
Originally built in in 1969 as the The Hide-away Motel, it served for many years as a rough and tumble boarding house for sailors, and later became a Prohibition era speakeasy, a go-go bar, and for a time the notorious Anvil Social Club. Recently New York magazine dubbed it “the best by-the-hour hotel in NYC.” The lobby was mercifully free of geriatrics or meth-heads or little Korean girls with large Adam’s Apples. With off-white walls, mauve sofas, neon lights, a disco ball, a bar, and vending machine stocked with condoms and KY, it was like a cross between a doctor’s office and a brothel–in a good way. Rays of joy filled my lust-filled heart. It was all that I ever wanted. And by that stage, I was properly tipsy and ready for some action. Gagging for it.
“I would like a room!” I announced proudly to the especially bored front desk clerk.
“Alright, have a seat. I’ll tell you when the next room is available.”
“Wait a minute, don’t I get a choice?”
“Well, there’s the standard room and the Romantic Interlude Room.”
“Ooh, is the romantic interlude room the one with a jacuzzi?”
“Yeah, but the wait is a little longer.”
“That’s cool. We’ll wait.”
The wait was only fifteen minutes but it felt more like fifty. Unable to contain our anticipation, my boyfriend carefully slid his hand underneath my coat and into my dress, suddenly making the wait that much more exciting. But before we could get too hot and bothered we were awarded the keys.
Unable to contain ourselves, we ran up the stairs, giggling, hands all over each other. As we made the mad dash for our little love den, we heard cries of ecstasy and plenty of moans from the other rooms, beckoning us of things to come. Even more turned on, I eagerly opened the door.
The room was nice, comfortable, and bare-bones sexy. And there were some exceptionally attractive extras, including some decidedly well-positioned mirrors (much to the Boyfriend’s delight) and a triangular shaped “exerciser” pad (much to my delight) designed to lift your hips up higher for a little help hitting that G-spot. Now, I’ve shoved a few pillows under my hips before, but the exerciser pad took my “O” to a whole new level.
The boy didnt’t really seem to care either way about the decor. He picked me up and threw me on the bed, where before I knew it, my legs were behind my head and over the exerciser pad, and we joined the cacophony of other couples behind the razor-thin walls, our tangled flesh reflected in the mirrors like our own private movie.
The minutes dripped by slowly; time had ceased to exist in a weird Rod Serling way; the Liberty Inn was the only station of the night, the only place on Earth. While giving the boyfriend a few minutes to regain his strength, I sauntered over to the bathroom naked, sweaty and satisfied, stilettos still on, to turn on the jacuzzi. I started the jets, and we started our engines for another romp in the tub–stilettos still on, wet and wicked.
I could have left it there. The sex was plentiful and more than satisfactory. But something was missing. We’d had our secret hotel romp, but we had yet to have a crazy swinging from the chandeliers kind of evening. I was beginning to feel like the Goldilocks of hourly hotels. I was even wondering whether hourly hotels were even for me. All the planning was spoiling the fun. And, frankly, if I was going to rent a hotel, I want mirror covered walls, waterfalls, neon signs, pink comforters, plastic flowers–the whole nine yards, right?
The boy left town for a week. So I had a full 7 days to get reacquainted with my vibrator. By the time he got back, I couldn’t wait to ride him like I’ve never before. So I threw on a t-shirt dress with my hottest red lingerie underneath and sped off in my car to JFK. There was a place on the way home called the Kew Motor Inn, it’s tag line being “We never close! Rooms available 24 Hours a day!” I was going to have him there. It was my secret.
Like an undercover agent, I chatted about the trivialities, like the latest office gossip and my friend’s fingering experience gone wrong, to keep him from suspecting I was up to no good. Then I took the detour to the hotel, and swung into the parking lot of the Kew Motor Inn. His eyes sparkled with excitement. “Another hotel?” he asked. “I can’t wait to get inside. ” Him and me both.
Now this was more like it. Upon entering, we were greeted by a flowing mermaid waterfall, an abundance of plastic flowers, and faux marble floors. There was no one around except for a few middle-aged couples in the bar. But this wasn’t about drinks, I wanted to screw my brains out and I wanted to now.
“Wait right here,” I said.
I strolled over to the front desk. Above me was a display board with a selection of theme rooms, like the airline arrival/departure screens. There was the Cupid, with a mirror over the bed; the Polynesian-styled Fantasia; the Egyptian; the Oriental Delight; the NY Skyline; and even a Waterfall room. But I wanted none of them. I wanted the Arabian Nights room. With its pink tented ceiling, gaudy gold headboard, mirrored walls, and chandelier above the bed, it was everything a girl from New Jersey with sex hotel fantasies could ever dream of.
“I would like the Arabian room, please.”
“Yes, that is available,” the Indian man behind the counter replied. “That will be $65 for three hours. Do you need cigarettes or condoms?”
“No thank you, I’m all set.”
Hungry for some action and eager to see his peacock, I slipped my hand into the waistband of boyfriend’s pants and lured him towards our room.
And, true to form, the Arabian room felt like Mecca.It wasn’t the same as the picture displayed in the lobby; it was better. A massive four poster bed with faux gold and leather headboard stood in front of us. Each pole was as thick as a tree trunk, and the railing above the headboard was the perfect place for my handcuffs. Two gold tufted chairs sat against the maroon curtained windows. A heavy wooden carved dresser sat in front of a large mirror. Black and white wallpaper lined one side of the room while ornate black and gold mirrors covered the other to capture every angle. On either side of the bed was a marble table with the basic necessities: ashtray, clock, and phone. A mounted TV hung in the corner, and although there was porn available, I was more concerned with making porn than watching it.
Giddy with anticipation, I was already imagining all the positions we could do. Against the pole, handcuffed to the railing, in front of the mirrors, on the chairs; the list went on and on. It was like a playground for fucking. Like Goldilocks, I finally found my bed.
“You did good, ” he said with a gleam in his eye.
“Oh, no, I’ve been a very bad girl” I replied. And with that, I pulled out the handcuffs from my bag.
In the end, the room was less Lawrence of Arabia and more Ancient Rome–but with all the gaudiness and blatant dedication to sex, it was the best thing I had seen since my boy’s hard-on. After a week of not seeing each other, I pretty much would have jumped on him anywhere. But here was perfect. It was The Spot. I was in heaven for two-and-a-half hours. And so was my g-spot.
Appropriately, I lit a cigarette and scanned the in-room brochure while my boyfriend showed. Fittingly, the Kew was built in 1969.