Pet motel

Photo © Michael Sommers.

North American tourists who come to Brazil and check into a “motel” are inevitably surprised by the features and amenities; ceiling mirrors, heart-shaped beds, a bowl full of condoms.

This is because unlike North American’s cheery chains catering to families, Brazilian motels are where couples go for encounters of an amorous-sexual nature. While many rendezvous are illicit, motels also provide getaways for harried lower or middle-class couples in search of a quickie or teens or 20-somethings who get no privacy at home. Since their primary function is to set the stage for an hour – or a night – of passion, motels usually invest in kitschy erotic décor and accessories and train staff to be extremely discreet. Depending on the location and the price, they can be hilariously sleazy or quite posh.

With more discretionary income to burn than ever before, Brazil’s wealthy classes are choosing to spend it on their furry loved ones. Although motels are rampant throughout Brazil – if you’re ever stuck for accommodations, consider checking into one; they have inexpensive nightly as well as hourly rates – only recently did the country’s first motel for pets open, in Minas Gerais’ capital of Belo Horizonte of all places.

“Our market studies showed that many people work all day long and don’t have a place where they can drop their pets off for mating,” says Fabiano Loures, 26, who along with his sister, Daniela, 28, invested US$1 million in Mundo Annimale Pet, an eight-story complex devoted to pets’ every possible whim, need, and desire.

The siblings were encouraged by the fact that Brazil, home to roughly 32 million dogs, boasts the second largest canine population on the planet after the United States. And with more discretionary income to burn than ever before, Brazil’s wealthy classes are choosing to spend it on their furry loved ones.

Occupying the 6th floor of Mundo Annimale, the Pet Motel follows the model of Brazilian motels for homo sapiens by featuring hot red cushions, ceiling mirrors, and romantic lighting. A major difference, however, is the presence of an on-site vet trained to help canine and feline guests get it on (even if it means resorting to artificial insemination). Daily rates are R$100 (US$50).

Following their love-making sessions, pets can indulge in Mundo Annimale’s myriad other amenities: getting a stylish clip or a pedicure in the salon, taking a relaxing dip in the Japanese hot tub, burning off excess calories at the gym’s doggie treadmill, or spiffing up their wardrobe at the boutique, which sells everything from cat and dog-sized official soccer team t-shirts to collars studded with Swarovsky crystals. With luck, pets may even be invited to join the festivities on the 7th floor party room where lavishly catered dog, cat, and even bird birthday parties are held.

Meanwhile, so that their best friends don’t feel completely left out, the second floor food court – featuring a restaurant/café, ice cream stand, bar, and bakery – serves specially prepared snacks for humans as well for pets. Wolfing down pães de queijo (Minas’ famous golf ball-sized “cheese breads”), in the company of your owner while slurping (or sipping) non-alcoholic beer can be a great bonding experience.