February happens to be one of my favorite months of the year–and not just because it holds Valentine’s Day or the fact that it’s only 28 days long. It’s also because many of us score a long weekend courtesy of Veteran’s Day, allowing us the chance for a winter weekend getaway, whether that means dodging town solo or with a significant other. Regardless of the month or season, I happen to have a mad love affair with romantic, fantasy and themed hotels. I even have an ardent appreciation for the seedy “love” motels adorned with mirrored ceilings, rotating circular beds and of course, heart-shaped bathtubs. Considering that I write about beauty and fashion for a living, I realize it’s a bit random that I call themed hotels my true passion in life, but it’s true nonetheless.
Researching (and of course, staying in) quirky themed hotels, as well as plenty of quasi-shady fantasy motels, is definitely my number-one hobby, so rest assured that I’ve scoured the web near and far to bring you the best off-beat lodging options in the country. If you aim to post up for a night in an affordable abode or are looking for a hotel that’s a bit more upscale, consider me your overzealously-enthusiastic tour guide.
Look, we all know that ~unfortunately, ~ Valentine’s Day may look a little bit different this year thanks to strict social distancing measures in place throughout most of the country, but embarking on a low-key getaway with your partner is still a safe option for some couples. Basically, whether you’re going on a getaway this month or you’re simply sick of the stale interiors of your average chain motel (or the apartment you’ve been stuck in for the last 10 months), I’ve rounded up some of the sexiest (not to mention, utterly Instagrammable) themed motels across the U.S.
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The Madonna Inn is one of the most legendary theme hotels in the country, and perhaps even the world. From it’s Pepto Bismol pink interior punctuated with gilded Baroque finishes and looming floral arrangements, to its Valentine’s Day-themed steakhouse, the unexpected blend of juxtaposed decor elements and patchworked architectural styles creates a multi-sensory ambiance that evokes nothing but romance and fantasy. In fact, it kind of makes you feel like you’re at a sultry spin-off of Disneyland-–without the rides and for adults only. Forget Disneyland–if you ask me, this hotel is the happiest place on earth.
This adults-only resort in the Poconos screams romance–and well, sex if we’re going to perfectly honest. Each room is equipped with an elaborate bathtub (there’s even a raised champagne glass jacuzzi in one of the rooms). For an inclusive weekend rate, guests also score access to nightly live entertainment, activities and themed dining nights.
This new-ish “Bud and Breakfast” (aka 4/20-friendly) hotel in Idyllwild, CA is comprised of plush interiors. Writer and director Morgan Higby Night opened this Hickville Pines spot back in 2017, and consulted with cultural icons, including Dita Von Tease and Dolly Parton, to help design the themed rooms. If you’re looking for a non-pink/red room, they also have several other charming suites to choose from, including a Twin Pinks cabin.
Tucked away in a scenic hideaway in Avenel, New Jersey, The Loop Inn Motel is probably more famous for being the motel location of choice for photoshoots. In fact, it’s kind of an Instagram darling, despite the mixed Yelp reviews (some called it “a good place to have sex” while others described it as downright “yucky.”) But alas, you can actually stay at this whimsical “secluded castle.” Nearly every room in this motel features a fireplace, oversized whirlpool tubs, and romantic decor to foster the ultimate ambiance. There’s even a room with a bi-level Champagne Tower jacuzzi.
The Executive Fantasy Suites in Miami, FL offer romantic rooms complete with heart-shaped whirlpool tubs, oversized beds, mood lighting, and some even come with a dancing pole. The rooms may fall somewhere between sexy and straight-up tawdry, but if you’re game for a bit of kitsch and find yourself in Florida, it’s worth checking out.
If you’ve ever fantasized bout joining the mile high club, but don’t want to risk an arrest, the Winvian Cottages in Connecticut has a pretty solid (and TSA-compliant) alternative. The Helicopter Suite features a converted 1968 Sea King Pelican alongside a spacious tub to soak in while you wait to board. While not exactly a hotel–the Winvian is a collection of hospitable cottages–their themed abodes offer something to spike the interest of just about anyone.
Located 15 minutes south of downtown Indianapolis, this quirky themed hotel may appear fairly unassuming from the exterior, but inside you’ll find 20 themed suites, including Cupid’s Corner suite pictured above. Each elaborately decorated room is outfitted to look like a movie set, and despite the unapologetically kitsch appeal, this themed hotel is anything but sketchy–you won’t find stained sheets or cigarette-scented interiors here.
The Adventure Suits hotel may not be exclusively for sex, love and romance (it’s also the home of G-rated themed rooms, including the “Haunted Castle” and “Motorcycle Madness,”) but if you’re looking for a place with more of sensual appeal, “Cupid’s Corner,” and “Roman Rendezvous” (pictured above) are stellar choices to set the mood and get some slumber.
This affordable hidden gem near California’s Joshua Tree National Park, is actually owned by the hotel chain America’s Best Value Inn–but don’t be fooled by this affiliation. Oasis of Eden has 13 different themed suites including a The Cave Room complete with stone framed hot tub and leopard-printed circle bed. Other notable rooms include The Plantation Room (pictured above), which offers an oversized (it takes up nearly half the room) pink Hottub-bathtub hybrid, along with gorgeous floral-printed wallpaper throughout.
If a personal swimming pool and water slide inside your hotel room don’t bring out your inner free spirit, I don’t know what will, TBH. The Sybaris Hotel Group may not be themed per se, but each oversized suite features a private indoor pool for you and your partner/friends to enjoy behind closed doors. If skinnydipping is your thing, this hotel is definitely for you.
A version of this article was originally published in February 2020.