Temporary motels in Argentina, a peculiar type of hotel

Temporary motels in Argentina, a peculiar type of hotel

A temporary hostel, sometimes called motel or telo in slang rents rooms on an hourly basis for clandestine or homeless love.

Be careful, you mustn’t mistake “temporary hostels” for just hostels, or hotels. You will be amazed by the decoration or by the voice announcing that two hours have gone by… A temporary hostel, sometimes called motel or telo in slang is a hotel that rents rooms on an hourly basis. Then it is not a hotel for appointments either, at least in theory.

In the city, you will generally see its typical pink lights and the lack of a reception hall. In fact, guests prefer to secretly go in and out and choose a motel outside their neighborhood: just not to run into any acquaintances or… or their wives when going out of the motel where all kind of clandestine affairs are usually found. But motels are not just for them: also for teenagers in love who still don’t have their own apartment and find motels a perfect place to satisfy their passions. You can sometimes find old couples in search for a change in the routine.

Telo room

How does it work? When you arrive, you ask for a shift of usually 2 hours, sometimes 3 hours but you may also find of 1,5 hour, especially at the peak hour (Friday and Saturday night). The rates vary according to the quality of the building, the amenities, and the location. At least 40 pesos. As from midnight or later at the weekends, you may stay all night long. Some minutes before your shift ends, somebody lets you know.

What will you find? The minimum service includes a bed, a toilet, and a DVD player. But you will find more exotic services, especially in the big motels in the outskirts of the city, easily recognized by their big billboards with the colors of Eros. For example: a huge round bed, a vibrating bed or a water mattress. Erotic toys (especially the armchair). In the toilet: “Roman bath” and “Scottish shower”, sauna, jacuzzi, etc. You will obviously find dimmed lights, background music, porno DVDs, mirrors, and condoms (compulsory). Theme decorations in the most luxury motels: Egyptian, Caribbean, Tango… These motels, with arguable tastes, are called Osiris, Tabú, El Paraiso, Eros, Discret, Deseos, etc. Actually, there are customers who hate them: “They are very cold, one does not have your own stuff, the music, the decoration”, retells a reluctant frequent guest.

Up to 1997, only male-female couples of age were admitted in the motels. Since then and from a legal viewpoint, homosexual couples have also been accepted. Contrary to what they do in hotels, motels do not check in the identity of the guests and are not allowed to make you wait till you room is available. Similarly, they cannot accept more than two people in the room. Buenos Aires has roughly 200 motels and 5000 rooms classified in four categories according to the comfort and amenities. The law prohibits opening a motel less than 100 meters from a school or a religious institution.

The opening of these peculiar motels dates back to 1937 when the government decided to close night clubs and authorized the opening of these hostels. In 1962, they changed the name: they called them “hotel services of hourly lodging” and nowadays “alojamiento” (lodging) refers to a motel, whose name was officially invented in 1978. During all those years, the hostels and lodgings offered a discrete service of a basic room and a receptionist; and the attendance to such places was not well seen by the society. Since then, motels have become stronger, more solvent and have been turned into real institutions.