In the Lucky Country, prostitution is legal but a touch taboo hence the ban on Santa saying "ho ho ho" and the low visibility of those welcoming red lights. Licensed brothels are liable to blend into the brickwork, with rarely a glimmer of neon. Run a search on the B-word in an online business phone directory and nothing comes up.
Still, at home and abroad, some brothels boldly reject suburban stealth tactics and flaunt it, deviating from drab in a range of ways. Discover the world's most unusual "short-stay hotels" offbeat oases of comfort and joy which collectively take a new slant on the oldest profession.
Melbourne's Daily Planet
, which stands on the brink of the city's CBD, claims to be "six-star" the world's premier bordello. Daily Planet is named after the newspaper for which comic book hero Clark Kent (aka Superman) writes. The theme follows through, with the bordello FAQ credited to someone who shares the name of Superman's squeeze, Lois Lane.
Daily Planet tour bus bookings are conducted by someone called Clarke. Presumably, he has a kiss curl and cape. Either way, Daily Planet dramatically broke the mould and made world headlines in 2003 by becoming one of the first brothels listed on a stock exchange. Other Daily Planet peculiarities include the presence of pool tables and pinball machines, plus a discount to newsletter subscribers on DIY sculpture dildo kits.
Parramatta Road can appear remorselessly drab. But, perched just outside Sydney's CBD, Stiletto
adds a slash of glamour. At the entrance stands a two-storey waterfall. Inside, the boudoirs are themed, with names ranging from The Library to Tiger Lily, Kama Sutra, and Roman Orgy, which offers a giant freshwater plunge pool.
On the website, words conveying outrageous size recur. If the Roman emperor Nero could return from the grave and reach the Inner West, he might feel at home at the extravagant venue, which trumpets "a unique mixture of style, sex and theatre".
Keep it in the family
A high-tech Czech departure from the average love shack, Big Sister
doubles as a voyeuristic website. Hence the name that plays on the idea of Big Brother surveillance society. Visitors can cavort with the inmates for free, subsidised by paying online watchers. Live video, audio streams and archived videos of Big Sister antics are available on the website at a price.
The footage caters to all kinds of kinks guests engrossed with in-house sex workers, visiting amateur couples and Big Sister porn pros. But the main material is the lone male exhibitionist. One satisfied solo amateur star told Viceland.com that he only needed 12 minutes of a half-hour session. "Including showering."
Green with envy
Neo-Nazis aside, Germans are progressive folk prostitution was legalised in Germany back in 2002. Now, Germany has 400,000 registered freudenmädchen
. One of the nation's classiest places for them to operate, the enviro-friendly Maison d' Envie
, offers "eco" discounts to tricks who come by bicycle or public transport a reward for their green commitment amid the financial meltdown's enduring repercussions.
Green guests get €5 off a 45-minute, €70 session. Not a stack, but the offer entices up to five new customers daily and eases neighbourhood parking congestion.
Not to be confused with Edmund Pascha the 18th-century preacher and organist Pascha
in the German cathedral city Cologne is Europe's largest brothel. The 12-storey, 24-hour monstrosity hosts more than 100 hookers, including a team of transsexuals. Up to 10 times that many clients visit daily. The brothel, which offers a money-back guarantee, dates back to 1972, when it opened in the aptly named Hornstrasse, under the name Eros Centre.
Pascha now rents 126 rooms on seven floors to prostitutes for €180 per day. That fee covers meals, Medicare, and the €20 "pleasure tax" which Cologne authorities levy per prostitute, per day. One floor is reserved for "low-cost service" and another for transsexual staff. Customers pay a €5 entrance fee, then negotiate with the women, who work independently and keep all the cash. Customers 65 years of age and over get half-price afternoons presumably to finance the Viagra.
Hop into bed
Unlike other states of the superpower founded by a group of wandering English provincials, prostitution is legal in Nevada or partially: half its 16 counties have active brothels. The Silver State's foremost brothel, the Moonlite BunnyRanch
, pays homage to its profession with its address 69 Moonlight Road and its telephone number, which ends in 3825 (tap that sequence out on your phone to see what it spells).
Other diversions from the norm include specials like free entry for the first 50 Iraq servicemen. Credit for the quirks goes to entrepreneur owner Dennis Hof, who is noted for only dating working girls. Before surfing to Hof's BunnyRanch site, grab your sunnies in preparation for more pink than a sierra sunset.