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Love Motel 2.0

Taiwan's love motels are stepping up their game with outrageous themes, web movie marketing and extra privacy.

"Whether you think well of Wego, or think of bad of us, if you want to go somewhere like this, the first place you'll think of is Wego," he said.

Most of Wego's customers are 22 to 35, said Cheng. Wego does have its rules: staff generally don't admit male couples, because gay men are much more likely to do drugs in the rooms, he said. And they don't admit single women.

"Some suicidal women want to find the prettiest, most expensive place they can, to dress up and kill themselves," Cheng explained.

Security measures

Typical room at the iMore Motel.
(Photo courtesy of iMore)

Love motels regularly pop up in Taiwan's sensational media. Usually it's a failed suicide pact, or a politician caught sneaking a mistress into a motel by the island's paparazzi.

The latest such scandal involved a legislator at a Wego and took the media by storm in November.

For such high-profile customers, Taiwan's love motels now are now advertising extra security. iMore, outside Taipei, is one. This recent article from the China Post describes its special services, including covering visitors' license plates to avoid detection by spouses or private detectives.

Like Wego, iMore's rooms boast sound systems that can pipe in the strains of a subway platform, street traffic, bank or other locale, to bolster a guest's cover story. And it has a back door for emergency exits.

"If a guest's wife shows up, we will help the female guest by taking her out the back first, so she's not discovered," said iMore manager Lisa Chang, by way of example.

Expanding appeal

Chang said that young Taiwanese groups are increasingly opting for love motel party rooms instead of a KTV, or karaoke parlour. Such rooms are especially popular on Christmas and New Year's Eve, she said.

At iMore, groups of up to 10 can watch movies and enjoy a jacuzzi, in addition to singing karaoke.

"KTVs don't have many facilities," said Chang. "And young people think it's more interesting and special to have these themes. So these days they prefer to go to a motel to have a party."