Inside a Sex Hotel: New York City's Liberty Inn
This is the second part in a series exploring the seedy world of by-the-hour sex hotels. We previously visited the Kew Motor Inn.
When my fellow reporter and I walked up to the Liberty Inn, I was practically in disbelief. I had passed the sordid hotel, set a on veritable island of sorts along 14th street and the West Side Highway, on a near daily basis during my runs along the Hudson River. How could I not have known -- for the past several years now -- that alongside the Meatpacking District's row of overpriced shops was an hourly hotel clearly designed for those looking to get laid?
BULLETPROOF GLASS AND VENDING MACHINE LUBE
I stifled a laugh with my fellow reporter Zach when we walked in -- it was pretty embarrassing to ask for the Romantic Interlude suite with a colleague. Much like the other hotels we visited, the "front desk" was protected by a sheath of incredibly thick, probably bulletproof glass. As I handed the attendant my credit card to shell out $120 for three hours in a souped up room complete with Jacuzzi, he asked me for the "required" three dollars in cash. Maybe to stick down a stripper's G-string? Who knows.
As Zach and I carefully tiptoed our way back to our assigned room, we passed some lovely vending machines, stocked with the essentials one would need for, well, a romantic interlude of sorts. I was initially hoping for a Diet Coke, but instead there were lube, condoms and batteries. When we reached the door, we turned our room key (which came fully equipped with a bottle opener) with trepidation -- and opened the door into a 1970s soft core porn set.
THE ROMANTIC INTERLUDE SUITE: STALE CIGARETTE SMOKE, FREE PORN, AND SEX PILLOWS
"Romantic lighting" was already turned on for us, and it was a neon green that bounced off the glittering, blue headboard. But the headboard was pretty cool; it kind of reminded me of Todd Oldham in the 90s. But the similarities ended there.
There were about sixteen million ashtrays glued onto various surfaces, and the stench of stale cigarette smoke was so thick even I, a former smoker a seven years, nearly choked. Sexy, right? Thankfully, the hotel offers up a choice selection of music and television, including free porn, and radio stations like "Hot Jamz" (you can practically hear the babymaking going on in the background). And even though you were totally probably thinking of stealing one of the room's remote controls, you can't -- sucker! The smart folks behind the Liberty Inn actually have tethered the remotes to the walls and velcroed 'em to the tables so that even taking the batteries out of one becomes an arduous task. (Trust me, I tried when our camera flash ran out of them.)
But my favorite in-room feature might have been the very special "Exercise Pad" available to guests. It's a triangle-shaped mat that lifts ones hips for deeper penetration (yes, I researched that), subtly tucked away in a black storage ottoman. The attached note let guests know that it "maximizes the performance of some of your favorite exercises," and most importantly, that it is cleaned by the maids after each use. I mean, I feel really bad for those housekeepers. Gross. Needless to say, we couldn't muster up the courage to actually inspect said pillow. Shivers.
During our investigation, I realized I spaced on eating breakfast and thought I was in luck -- if you can believe it, the Liberty Inn actually has a room service menu. Of course, cocktails and dishes' names all have overt sexual connotations: the Fuzzy Screw, the Get Laid, and a little surprisingly, the Obama Pick Up, to name a few. But unfortunately, my tummy could not be stopped from rumbling, as room service wasn't served till later in the afternoon. (I think our choice of settling on a sandwich from Chelsea Market was a far better idea, in retrospect.)
BLACK LIGHT INSPECTION
But the Liberty Inn, and for all its sexual cheesiness, does have one thing going for it -- it's surprisingly clean. When Zach and I carefully inspected the bedspread with our handy-dandy black light, we were unable to spot a single stain of any kind. You go, housekeepers! But, we can't say as much for the rest of the room -- the tub looked like it could use a good bleaching (and like it hadn't been used since 1979) and we found a questionable spot on one of the room's chairs. I guess getting freaky at the Liberty Inn isn't just reserved for the bed?
As for the rest of the bathroom, well, let's just say we didn't pay much mind to it. Was def not going to use that toilet, even though I totally had to pee. And as far as the hot tub, well, the instructions were so complicated I should have brought one of our computer engineers along instead of said reporter. I did use the bathroom (and its embarrassingly small toiletries), though, to viciously scrub my hands clean till they practically bled.
And still left laughing, somehow.
See the full review and photos on Oyster.com>>