HUMBERTO VILLEGAS – OWNER OF LATIN AMERICA’S BIGGEST THEME MOTEL
Germany room. A svastika on the wall and a Schumacher relief in the ceiling. Cuba room with a soft pillow on Fidel Castro’s lap. The “Clinic” for multiple couples. A never ending chess game between Osama Bin Laden and George W. Bush in the USA room – obviously without towers. Welcome to Kiss me – Latin America’s biggest theme motel!
What is a motel?
In the Spanish speaking world, a motel is not to be confused with the US style motor hotel you see along Route 66. Nah. Here, rooms are rented out by the hour and the purpose is clear: sex. It’s still not a brothel, though. As many Latinos live with their parents until their 30s, motels are needed for having those wild moments your parents prefer knowing nothing about.
Kiss Me motel is something else. It’s smack right in the city of Cali, Colombia. It has 185 theme rooms, with room service from either the restaurant, the sex shop, or both. Turn the TV on and rub your eyes if it’s porn you see, on every single channel.
Interview with Humberto Villegas
I went and visited the owner of the motel, Humberto Villegas, in his penthouse apartment above the motel. A place with stuffed dogs, football player statues, and other rather interesting objects from all around the globe. This is what we chatted about.
Humberto Villegas, how did you end up owning the biggest theme motel in Latin America?
I’m a man full of dreams, like we all are. Some want to be engineers, some artists, some musicians. And to achieve this, people study and sacrifice themselves. I couldn’t be an exception. And as I grew up in a very precarious economic situation, my father is a farmer, my grandfather was a farmer, there were a lot of limits. But just as there were many limits, there were was also lots of hope. This lead to me wanting to do something big – the motels Kiss Me and Condoricosas.
Why a motel?
I always say that in Latin American countries sex is very conservative. Very hidden. Almost clandestine. Even though sex is a physical and affective necessity, an activity needed for recreation. So I as a teenager I decided that I wanted to create a place for sex, but a place which would be different, that would be crazy, that would be out of the ordinary. Something creative and very original.
Until then the places you saw were normal hotels or motels, which had a bed and a bathroom. I wanted a place which would have pieces of architecture, pieces of the traditions of different peoples, humor…So I wanted the environment, together with what you do in it, to feel as if it was a country you’re visiting.
In addition to Kiss Me, I also have another motel named Condoricosas, which is a bit smaller than this, yet it is also a theme motel.
How long did it take for you to turn the idea into reality?
I started thinking about it when I was 16, but only started making the dream come true when I was 38. More than anything because of my economical situation. In the beginning I wasn’t sure of what I wanted. And I didn’t have finances to make a big business. So, I decided to start with something small and see how it goes. First, I created Condoricosas in 1989 and later I opened Kiss Me in 2002.
You have to be aware that in any country, if you create a product and the public doesn’t like that product, you have to withdraw it and the company gets bankrupt. But when I started, things just started rolling. For example, we planned a France room, where we would put all the main attractions of France. But with all that cultural richness of a country, the art, the Notre Dame, Napoleon, the Eiffel tower, it was a very difficult task. However, we decided to go for it and make do with what we had. So, everything starting taking place, piece after piece. The artists, who were people who have never studied art, had incredible ideas and skills. And with them we realized what we see here nowadays. 185 rooms, all with different themes and decorations.
©Julian Rengifo O
From early on, people loved this idea and nowadays people from all over visit us. Sometimes we even do touristic tours inside the hotel, yet not so frequently, as we also need to protect the privacy of our customers. We can’t have many people go around the rooms all the time, as I live from this business and people are entitled to their privacy.
How does privacy work at Kiss Me Motel?
There are two types of motels. Those outside the city, where you drive directly into a room. And those inside the city, where, because of lack of space, you can’t do this. Here, you pay for the room at the reception and take the elevator to go to the floor and room you’ve been given. And there, you do what you’ve paid for.
Here we offer crazy things to people, regarding art and the icons of the world. When people enter a room, the idea is for them to enjoy it to the fullest. Yet, when people enter a room, it’s 100% private what they do in there. We do have some things that we call “sex codes”, though. For example, we have a roulette with different positions in which to make love. So, an “sex code of honor” here in Kiss Me is that if people play on the roulette, they have to do in bed the position that comes out. But whether they do it or not, no will control it.
©Julian Rengifo O
And can clients see each other when they enter?
Sure, out of coincidence at some point. You can see faces you know, however most people turn their eyes away and pretend not to know whoever it is they have encountered. Here in Colombia, there is a lot of prevention regarding sex. If, for example, a woman has no husband or boyfriend and she lives with her parents, she won’t like some friend going to her house telling her parents that they saw her here, doing this or that. So, there are situations where everyone can look the other way.
Can clients choose the room they want?
When a client comes here, we have a screen where we show the rooms. Yet, there are clients who come here and ask for the Russian room, the Islamic room, the Arabic room… And there are others who don’t know the place at all, so we show them the rooms until they say: “give me this one!” And on some occasions people want to come to a room they already know or one they have been recommended.
©Julian Rengifo O
Which are the craziest rooms?
There are a lot of crazy ones! For example in the Jamaican room, there’s Bob Marley playing reggae and smoking a huge joint – which has led to some protests, as this image is very powerful. But there are people who like it and those who don’t. Some see someone smoking marijuana and they’ve asked us to change the picture on the wall. So, nowadays we tell people that there’s this in the room, so that they don’t have to go through unwanted situations.
There are rooms which nearly no one in this country has been able to visit, the polar rooms. The polar rooms are very creative… We imagined situations like father polar bear making love to mother polar bear and baby polar bear looking at them. Those are rooms I personally love.
©Julian Rengifo O
And there are also other rooms where I’ve imagined what will happen. For example, in the USA room, there’s Bin Laden playing chess with Bush. And Bin Laden is thinking “this is crap as the towers are missing”. There’s also the statue of liberty, two Boeing airplanes…It’s a metaphorical room, where I want to say that if the United States don’t respect international laws, like they haven’t done, there will always be situations like with the twin towers. If I look at Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan…there will always be things happening.
So, there are many rooms where I want people to think “what does this mean?” Make their minds work and see what they imagine.
What about other types of theme rooms, such as S&M?
We don’t have such, yet we’ve just started doing inquiries out of marketing purposes on what people want. For example, we’ve just finished two rooms on Fifty Shades of Gray, out of our client’s wishes. And, we also have rooms here that we call multiples, which are for 10–15 couples who come together for a birthday or something …10–25 couples. So, we have rooms which are very large, for parties or partner exchange, for swingers. And we did a multiple room on the Fifty Shades of Grey, which has been very popular. We’ve also just finished a room called “Kiss Me Clinic”.
It was inspired by an incident that happened in a hospital during late night hours. In a surgery room, the nurses started drinking and dancing with the doctors. Someone filmed them and put the film on social media. So, imagine the scandal. A surgery room, which is meant for saving lives, was converted into a place where people drank and danced. So, we decided to do the “Kiss Me Clinic”. Have you already seen it? Me: “No”. Would you like to? Me: “Sure”.
And at this moment we’re constructing a room called “Kiss Me School”, where we analyze the sexual desires of the students and their teacher. Until which point can a relationship between a student and a teacher go…
Do you also have a church room?
You know, I’ve thought about it and almost done it. I’ve always imagined a Christian church, as they are very perverted anyways. Just as they are hypocritical, they are very perverse. So, I imagined the priest and the believers here, with the believers asking the pastor whether it’s true that material goods are the easiest way to heaven. And so the priest answers: “Yes, that’s exactly it”. So, you who have eight houses, have to give seven to the church, in order to go to heaven”. And the believers ask: “and is it true that in order to go to heaven, I have to be sanctified?” And the pastor says: “Yes, that is why you have to come with me and we make the holy act of sanctification”. And the believer says: “And what is this act like?”. Well, we have sex in the name of God, so you can get to heaven.
So, there would be ironic questions like this. Yet, I conducted an inquiry about this and people said I shouldn’t do it. Why? Because it could be seen, not as a criticism towards the church, but as a criticism towards God. And I could be sorry for this. So, my friends told me not to do it, because it could bring me bad things. But I still think I’ll do a church room at some point.
We’re also converting the cellar into rooms, and we’re also changing some old rooms into new ones.
©Julian Rengifo O
What about the church? Does it interfere with your doings?
To begin with, we’re Catholics on paper, but the majority of people doesn’t attend masses. They don’t attend masses, because they don’t believe in the priests and they don’t believe in the church. For example, I would not let my children go to a church where priests may rape them. Nowadays, you can see that the church still steals from people. They don’t help anyone, yet they take away everything in the name of God. And the priests are not good people. But regarding the motel, the church cannot interfere with motels, because we are legal companies and they don’t have the authority to come and judge people’s private lives. Plus, they also don’t have the moral background to come and criticize us, for the bad things they have done themselves.
What is a normal client like in a motel?
This is a difficult one, as here we don’t ask people if they are married, divorced, separated. Or if they’re here with someone else’s wife… The only thing I know is that sex is so good that there are people who have a commitment, but they meet up with someone else they like. And well, have a good time for 2–3 hours to make love. Yet, the woman is married with a husband. This can be seen a lot here. A woman having a love affair with someone else, yet we have no statistics on this one, because neither do we ask about it nor are we interested in it. We also don’t know where people are from, yet many times you hear from the accent that not everyone is from Cali.
©Julian Rengifo O
Why should married couples come to Kiss Me?
They should come here to reinvent themselves and in order not to fall into sexual laziness. To get their imagination flowing again…
What services do you offer?
We have a restaurant, a cocktail bar, always only on delivery. And we also have a very big collection of sex toys. And this is the curious part: the sex toys that are used are always ordered by women. We have a catalogue in the rooms, so people can call room service, pay for it and use it. Most people don’t ask for sex toys at the reception, as this is considered a very private matter.
For how long can people stay here?
We offer four hours, yet if the man won’t function, it’s not our concern. Or if the couple had sex only for 15 minutes and want to leave. But we charge for at least four hours. The maximum time people can stay is 12 hours. So, from 4 to 12 hours.
Do you also offer costumes, such as doctor’s/nurse’s outfits etc.?
No, at the moment we only offer sexy lingerie for women.
More or less how many clients visit Kiss Me per day?
During the week around 180—200 couples per day, and on Friday, Saturday and Sunday around 400 couples per day.
Do you provide some kind of sex education at the motel?
No, we don’t do this. The only way we collaborate in safe sex is by giving out a free condom to the couples who enter the motel. And by not letting underaged people enter the premises.
©Julian Rengifo O
How many workers are there at Kiss Me?
There is only one person responsible for going to the rooms and taking the orders of the whole motel. On weekend there are two people. Yet, all in all we have around 50 people working here, half of them men, half women.
(For the workers’ viewpoint on the motel, don’t miss my article MOTEL STAFF – 10 FACTS ABOUT KISS ME!)
Do you have a dream to do something more?
This is a difficult question, as this type of a construction takes a lot more time than building a normal house. Here, there are artists working and doing something extraordinary. So, I don’t know. I haven’t decided yet. Right now I’m also interested in tourism, and we have a place outside of Cali with cabins and everything. That’s not a motel, it’s a resort for families.
Kiss Me Motel
Calle 29 # 15 – 38 Cali
(2) 486 1616
(2) 486 1623
(+57) 315 759 87 34
Carrera 8 # 24 – 46 Cali
(2) 485 85 25
(2) 485 85 27
(+57) 317 502 16 48
Humberto Villegas would like to know:
What other theme rooms would you like to see? Please leave your comment below.
If you do end up in a motel during your travels, either Kiss Me or another one, don’t forget to read about sexually transmitted diseases when travelling!
Photography: ©Julian Rengifo O