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Venezuelans seek pleasure, privacy in love hotels

Thematic hotels provide escape for young Venezuelans who can't afford to move from home.

Michael Angel Garcia Alvarez, a 30-year-old personal trainer, said that while he can bring girlfriends to his parents’ house, he’s visited three love hotels in Caracas at least once to explore a new venue with his former girlfriend.

“I have total privacy in my room,” Garcia said. “But it was more like, let’s do something different … jacuzzi, mirrors.” On other occasions, Garcia said, he chose a hotel for new experiences, such as one involving multiple sex partners.

Venezuela’s love hotels — known as “mataderos,” or slaughterhouses — appear to cater to every taste. One chain of “medieval motels” includes the castle-like Motel Camelot — which boasts one room with restraints and a stripper pole.

Solo guests, however, may find themselves in a tough spot. Carlos Vilkerman, a 48-year-old freelance cameraman, said he’d been driving for hours when he pulled into Camelot, just outside Caracas, to get some rest. After he’d paid, the receptionist was handing Vilkerman his key when she realized that he was alone, and called the manager. Vilkerman said they searched his car and interviewed him extensively about his plans for the evening — including whether he’d brought toys — before the manager finally said he could stay.

“He gave up and said all right, well, you’ve already paid,” Vilkerman said. “So just go there and make sure nothing happens.”

“They were so appalled by the fact that someone was going to spend a night at their hotel by himself," Vilkerman said. "There was no protocol."