Stay the Night
8 Over-the-top, Sexy Hotels
Underground trysts, zero-gravity affairs, and modern-day Bed-Ins are all part of the fun at these wacky, splurge-worthy locations.
Midnight at the Oasis
It used to be that in order to achieve the kind of expat chic cultivated by literary icons like longtime Morocco residents Paul and Jane Bowles, couples had to put down that Pottery Barn catalog, get off the couch, and actually leave the country. These days, your own personal Tangiers can be had much closer to home. Korakia Pensione is a faux-Moroccan villa built in 1924 for the painter Gordon Coutts (a Scotsman who traveled through and painted the deserts of North Africa). Over the years, guests as fabled as Errol Flynn and Winston Churchill have relaxed in the shade of olive trees and date palms and allowed the calming fountains' trickling to soothe their skull-melting hangovers. True to the spirit of Old Morocco, the Korakia (Greek for "crow") offers an afternoon tea service but no in-room TV or phone access (they're both "distractions"). There is Wi-Fi "to keep you connected to the outside world," but short of that, you and your partner in soul-searching are on your own. Children under 13 are not allowed (from $159).
Okay, But Only Because You're the Last Man on Earth
Swatches, impenetrable bank accounts, instant cocoa—the Swiss have made many indispensable contributions to global culture. But the Null Stern (Zero Star) Hotel, fashioned from a nuclear bunker beneath the small town of Sevelen, about 70 miles southwest of Zürich, is unlikely to inspire copycats. Still, the notion of a hot night in a former atomic-blast-proof facility will certainly appeal to those into (extremely) safe sex. Brothers and artists Frank and Patrik Riklin have converted a seldom used fallout shelter and old concrete-walled factory into a high-concept lodging, with screens in lieu of a view (live footage from outside is projected onto the walls to create mock windows). While you and your partner survey the modest but certainly novel accommodations (a bargain at about $9 a night), you can imagine that civilization has been destroyed and it's up to you to repopulate the planet (come on, like you haven't used that line before). After opening for a trial period, during which it saw only a dozen guests, the Zero Star is scheduled to open more widely soon. Check the town's website for updates.
Have you ever had the desire to pose your partner on a funky divan or a glossy, antique desk and pretend that you're in the middle of a photo shoot? London's hyper-styled but relatively affordable Pavilion is a 30-room town house full of meticulously designed themed suites with names that include Enter the Dragon, Better Red than Dead, and Casablanca Nights. The rooms have hosted photo shoots with stars like Kate Beckinsale, Jarvis Cocker, Naomi Campbell, and Bryan Ferry—stylists love the outrageous surroundings (leopard print, red velvets, gold, vintage furniture) and everyone else likes the room rates. Many are well under $100, which means you won't have to overdraw your account just to keep the glamour alive (from $86).
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