Gather ‘round, Shanghai. Lean in close now.
Do you like to do it?
I mean really do it. Do you like to do it slow? Do you like to do it deep? Do you like to do it romantic?
Do you like to take your time, lay your partner down on, say, a circular bed? Two bodies, demurely now, sweetly now, searching for each other through the palsied afternoon light, struggling in through a beige window — two bodies, intermingling, sensually — two souls, pouring into each other, wordlessly — kissing, rubbing, touching, searching, exploring — the TV is playing Vin Deisel’s XXX in Chinese in the background — two bodies, moaning now, a collusion of flesh and limbs, a damp odor is emanating from the stained Doremon wallpaper — what the hell has been airbrushed on the ceiling? Legend of Zelda? — two bodies, quivering — two backs arched like the necks of swans, sweat trickling down onto blotched and yellowing white sheets — two bodies, throbbing now — two spirits racing towards the ultimate release, half the neon lights in the room blink on and off at random, and the rest have been broken since 1987 — two bodies building, crescendoing — hold it, hold it, HOLD IT — not yet! — the world is melting away! The mechanical bed lurches into life, awkwardly, and begins erratically pumping up and down at a 90-degree angle like it’s trying to give your back a high-five but keeps missing. The heavens shudder, heave open, and EXPLODE! The stars are raked against the sky leaving trails of cosmic glitter like fingernails across a torso…
Wordless again. Silence. Calm. Except for the ayi wrenching a vacuum cleaner up against the shag casino carpet on the hallway outside.
Oh! That IS something you're into!?
Well! Just in time for 5.20 on Sunday, AKA “I Love You” Day AKA Chinese Valentine’s Day AKA The 27th Chinese Valentine’s Day This Year, here are four recommendations of Love Hotels in Shanghai where you can do just that!
The Logistics of Shanghai Love Hotels
1. Firstly... You need a Chinese ID to check into all these hotels. Period. So, you can really only go if your significant other(s) are card carrying members of the PRC. A few hotels asked for my passport as well but most didn't care, as long as they had a Chinese ID on the booking. A few we tried to get into wouldn’t let foreigners in outright. Like the “ZKE Hotel” on Dingxi Lu. They saw us walking in there, two big, leering, chortling white guys carrying a big expensive camera with a tripod, and a small Chinese girl and they were like BUYAO, MY DUDE.
I can't imagine why but they weren't into it.
2. Prices: All these hotels are bookable by three-hour slots ;) and overnight slots, with different rooms commanding different rates, depending on their “lavishness”. Prices for all of them are between 90rmb and 350rmb or so for the three-hour slots and 200-700rmb or for overnight slots.
3. So checking in: You roll up to the front desk, and they’ll have a big screen with all the different kinds of rooms, and you just cycle through and pick one. The pictures look absolutely nothing like the room itself. They are not accurate depictions of the rooms in as much as they are Tindr profiles of the rooms. Like these are the rooms in the best-case, most fictitious light. But you can go tour through the rooms in person and see which ones you like.
Here’s what’s out there, lovers!
Ai Zhi Yuan Movie Hotel is on Changshou Lu in northern Jing'an district, assuming the top two floors of another hotel called "Mehood Hotel". Walk right through the Mehood like you're supposed to be there, get in the elevator, and go up to the 22nd floor.
To the "Movie Hotel".
To "watch movies".
Elegant. Tasteful. Chic. We opted for one of the more "erotic" rooms available at the Ai Zhi Yuan, and were pleasantly greeted by this little number right here, which is a sonnet in roses, reds, velvets, plushes, and wood paneling. Overarching design muse is the wall-piece, of course, which takes inspiration from the graphics on expired condom boxes from Serbia circa 1993. The piece itself perhaps finds its origins as a thumbnail on a Geocities soft-core site of that era, and was then artfully blown up to the 10-meter installation you see here. Certainly the pixel degradation argues the case.
In case you forgot your own...
If that wall could talk, though, it would say "Look out for that bed!" as it comes to us with four different vibrating modes and just one currently functional today. The one, a central ramrod piston mode, controlling one central iron ball mechanism, that bounces up and down right into the small of one's back, as if the world's last remaining oil supplies were deposited therein. 5 stars.
Bonus Room: The Brokeback Suite!
For something a little more "themed" — something a little more "bareback" — I suggest the Western-themed suite, which is comparable, actually, to the new Western-themed Toy Story Land at the Disney Resort, except the central story here is "good ole, down-home country fuckin'."
It comes with the cowboy hat, thankfully, as by some egregious oversight, I'd forgotten my own.
Swinging saloon doors, horse lamps, and a big, movie screen complete the look for fans of Western movies. (Note: the only available movie is Kung Fu Panda 3).
Complimentary lotion, whitening agent, and lube at the check-in counter? Don't mind if I do!
Filled both palms with as much lube as I could handle — two heaving piles of lube — and then just sauntered off to my room with no questions asked, as is the norm at Ai Zhi Yuan.
Boasting the most rooms — around 60 at least — the Houhai Theme hotel is just off Shaanxi Bei Lu in Jing'an. They take inspiration from current blockbuster cinema (The Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl), painstakingly accurate historical record (a bunch King Arthur knights in outer space or something), and the current trends of the day (an entire shutter shades-themed room).
Exciting! It's sort of like an issue of Cosmo come to life, if that issue of Cosmo had passed through your little brother's hands first and the pages got all stuck together.
It's a very fashion-savvy room, I have to say. It sort of looks like if they locked the cartoon character Jem from the Holograms inside of it and let her Mrs. Havisham it for a couple of decades, feeding her nothing but water and glitter.
This is above the bed! And not on the side of a van! Man. After going home and staring at my completely blank ceiling in my apartment for an hour or so, I can't help but feel I'm totally wasting my life here. Life's too short not to be staring at something like this above your bed all the time, right?
It's like Lady Gaga painted by someone who's never seen Lady Gaga before.
The rooms did the job (hand, blow, or rim, I leave that to your careful consideration) but for me the chief selling point of the Houhai Theme are the long and undulating hallways connecting the rooms themselves like a giant jizzy catacombs. It would make for a fantastic location for a great showdown for Batman if one of his rouges gallery was a super-powered sex offender from Brampton Missouri or something.
It's like the ideal criminal hideout for some outsized Batman villain with a fiendish plot to drown Gotham in expired lube.
The Wei Ai Love Hotel is waaaaaaaay out there in Minghang, which is surprising because I didn't think anyone was having sex out in Minhang. It's above a KTV, across from a massage parlor, which is... actually all these places are next to KTVs and massage parlors. I wonder why that is.
If you're the kind of ruthless business guy who thinks spiking baby formula with cement mixer is a great way to cut production costs, you head out to Wei Ai Love Hotel to show your mistress your romantically beige side. It's serious. It's mature. It's austere. It's got loads of marble. It's lipstick red. It's brush-cut chic.
The Wei Ai almost feels like The Puli-plus-rural Lady Bar, like the designer had his pallet of important mauves down, and then went to a bunch of wack-shacks in fourth-tier cities and asked where they got such interesting and alluring lighting.
All-in, the hotel offers a few floors of well-appointed rooms to have rough, guiltless landlord sex in.
Well-appointed rooms bursting with complimentary toothbrushes, shampoos, and combs, along with these two items right here, which I like to call "Just Another Saturday Night on the Town".
We're back in Jing'an again — do you notice a theme here? Three of four of these places are in Jing'an; that's just having your priorities sorted — at the Man Zhi Ya Theme Hotel. The theme? Presumably, forlorn humping in environments that look like abandoned aquariums filed with tepid rainwater and malaise.
An overall feeling of decrepitude pervades at the Man Zhi Ya and an unmistakable aroma of industrial cleaner and copper pennies stings the nostrils. This is by far the grittiest love hotel on this list, conveniently located on Wanhangdu Lu. Good location though so it gets the SmartShanghai recommendation.
It's a Roman Holiday!
The pictures look nice but, my friends, I'm telling you this was rough. The carpets, which squish when you walk on them, have more stains on them than a wash cloth at a Sichuan restaurant. We didn't have one with us but I'm sure that if you ran a black light all over the furniture and walls of this place, you'd get pyrotechnics that would shame friggin' James Cameron's Avatar.
They had the requisite condom machine, even a not-quite-requisite lingerie vending machine, but by far the best perk at Man Zhi Ya is the open-concept toilet in the rooms, almost all the rooms, which I found bracingly European.
No curtain, no doors, no dividers of any kind, just toilet right there beside the bed, which is a very avant design feature indeed. If you like the open-kitchen fine dining concepts utilized in sundry restaurants that dot Shanghai's famous Bund district, this open-concept toilet will feel very welcome, as you enjoy an unfettered view of your partner going to work, cooking up something special, thereupon.
Happy fucking, Shanghai!