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We saw this hotel on a drive through Morumbi today: Motel Kiss Me.

I had to laugh out loud, because the wall surrounding the property was covered in red kisses, like the one in the photo. No doubt about what this motel is for!

Here in Brazil, where young adults live with their parents well into their thirties or until married, it is apparently acceptable for couples to check into motels for their assignations. There is apparently no stigma attached to the event (as there is in the States), since it is understood that natural urges must be accommodated and people would simply rather it not be under Mom and Dad’s roof.

And thus, motels. Here in Brazil, a “motel” is not someplace where you’d take your wife and kids for an inexpensive stay while touring the country. Certainly not. In Brazil, “motel” has one meaning, and one meaning only: a short-stay hotel for sex. In a society that is noted for celebrating sensuality and the human body, this makes sense, non?

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According to the flavorsofbrazil blog, “Brazilians love to hear the many, mostly apocryphal, stories of American tourists who arrive in some city in Brazil without hotel accommodation. During their search for a place to sleep these hapless travelers spot a large sign MOTEL atop a nice looking building so they decide to check it out. When they ask the desk clerk what the price is, they’re shocked by how low it is, so they decide to confirm it before checking in. They ask the clerk, ‘Are you sure it’s only R$30 (about USD $15) per night?’ The clerk replies, ‘Per night? Of course not, that’s the price per hour.'” Typically, rooms are booked in three-hour blocks.

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Off2Brazil, the online guide, writes: “Love motels come in all shapes and sizes, from the very luxurious, to the very dodgy. Many use various themes (ancient Egypt, jungle, Roman, etc.) to entice clients. They typically feature round beds, heavy drapes, windowless rooms, a selection of sex toys, complimentary condoms, numerous porn channels, and sometimes even room service. High end love motels also feature saunas and/or jacuzzis, and complimentary robes and slippers.”

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Writes Patricia Robeiro at ask.com: “High walls and windows that don’t face the street, off locations (due to zoning restrictions), and tricks of the trade which keep guests isolated from passers-by and staff, such as private garages and rotating windows in the wall for meal serving, are some of the traits of Brazil motels.”

In the 1960s, Brazilian hotels used to ask for marriage certificates when couples checked in. So, couples who weren’t married needed an alternative. Et voilá, motels! Here, you can rent a room for an hour or two, and the motels are priced accordingly. These motels can be found in small towns and large metropolises. Most are located off the main route, affording patrons a semblance of privacy.

Among the dodgy locales are drive-in motels, where guests drive through an archway, park in front of a tent, and get their lust on.

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Understanding that couples will work up an appetite, some motels offer room service, with champagne, wine, and cocktails and fine foods, while others make available beer and chips.

Today, some upscale motels are advertising themselves as “hotel-like,” in order to draw in clientele who might be put off by the thought of by-the-hour hotel rooms with round beds, black-tiled bathrooms, and a kaleidoscope of patrons, but there are still plenty of fairly seedy-looking motels along the margins of cities and towns that cater to a population that cannot afford to live alone, but which requires privacy for life’s urgent desires.

Remember this in Brazil: Motels are not for families!