This Hotel in Belgium Is Shaped Like a Giant Anus
Everyone loves hotels. There’s more to it than fresh towels, complimentary mints, and that preview screen for the porn channel. When we enter a hotel room and close the door, there’s a sense of calm that can’t be recreated anywhere else, the understanding that we’re finally out of the filth of our everyday existence. We are living, at least for the night, in a clean, well-lighted place.
This brings us to the anus hotel. More specifically, the Atelier Van Lieshout, CasAnus, 2007, a conceptual one-room hotel made by Dutch artist Joep van Lieshout. The hotel lets its visitors fulfill their lifelong dreams of curling up to sleep in a giant butthole.
Located on a small Belgian island halfway between Antwerp and Ghent, the anus hotel sits alone in the middle of a field, originally commissioned as part of the 30-acre Verbeke Foundation Sculpture Park, the private collection of Geert and Carla Verbeke-Lens. While visiting the park, guests often shack up in the anus, which only sets you back a paltry $165 a night, a small price to pay to hit the hay in a huge ham flower.
Anus Hotel guests will enjoy a double bed, shower, and central heating. The CasAnus series also includes a bar called the BarRectum, which is shaped like a giant intestine. I wanted to know what the hell was going on with this guy, so I recently spoke to Joep to hear more about why he decided to make a giant anus hotel in the middle of a field.
Read the interview
How I Scored Visits to the Nicest Hotels in the World…for Free
In 2010, a friend of mine started a travel magazine and asked if she could publish an article I had written about a Kashmiri tailor, during a month I spent living on a houseboat in Kashmir.
I had stayed on the tailor’s boat during the winter, and I was the only guest. George Harrison had stayed there 47 years earlier, when he was studying the sitar with Ravi Shankar. I typed the piece on the hotel owner’s typewriter. But my friend who ran the magazine, a grifter like me, couldn’t pay real money. She compensated me instead with “hotel trades.”
She explained how it worked: I would approach independently owned hotels with a copy of her media kit and a proposal. In exchange for a two-night stay, I would write a 500-word review. She advised me to avoid big corporate hotels, because press people there had to go through so many chains of command they would often dismiss the request outright. “You need a small place,” my friend said, “where somebody can make the decision right there.” She added, “Don’t bother with inexpensive places. It’s bizarre, but the more expensive they are, the more likely they are to agree.”
I grew up in a state of financial volatility. Until I was 18 and my grandmother died, my grandfather would visit me and my mom at our home in Houston, from his mansion in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and for a week, money would flow like water. One Christmas, he saved all the money wrappers from the cash he’d spent and proudly put them in a photo album: they totaled $10,000. But then he would leave, the money would dry up, and we’d go from feast to famine. Sometimes, our lights, water, or phone would go out. Sometimes we’d spend $80 on tomatoes. Or my mom would spend $8,000 on Chinese antiquities, but we’d run out of gas on the way home. It wasn’t that bad, it was just crazy.
A Weird Hotel in Houston Is Freaking Reddit Out
Last week, Reddit’s internet detectives swarmed on a subreddit for Houston, Texas after a user called Joelikesmusic posted a mysterious thread asking insiders what the deal was with a bizarre room at the localHotel ZaZa. As you can see in the picture above, the decor in room 322 errs more on the deeply unsettling, Jodorowsky side of a “comfortable, welcoming hotel experience,” with sinister paintings hanging above a concrete floor, what looks like a two-way mirror next to a bed that’s chained to the wall, and a portrait of Stanford Financial Group president Jay Comeaux overlooking the whole distressing tableau.
The room was accidentally booked for Joelikesmusic’s work colleague, who was then supposedly told that room 322 wasn’t meant to be booked at all. And it’s not difficult to see why—it looks like a snuff movie location. But despite the room being an absolute creep-fest, Kyra Coots, the Houston ZaZa’s head of e-marketing, told the Houseton Chronicle that—like the other themed rooms ZaZa prides itself on—the “Hard Times” room is just a “kooky” take on yet another theme: jail.
Being the internet, people have started to throw around entirely unfounded conclusions about room 322, based on wild speculations they’ve made about things they can ascertain from the photographs.
THE THEORIES ABOUT THE PICTURES ON THE WALL
Some think they’ve linked Stanford’s Jay Comeaux to ZaZa President Benji Homsey, suggesting they could’ve been in the same or related fraternity chapters at university. Comeaux went to Louisiana State University, home of the Delta Kappa Epsilon (DKE) fraternity and the secretive frat, “the Friars.”
The goal of the Friars is apparently to resurrect DKE’s “Zeta Zeta” chapter—could the name ZaZa itself be a reference to this? Is Benji Homsey the “Benny H.” whose signature is on another of the room’s portraits?
THE THEORIES ABOUT THE ROOM NUMBERS
Others have connected Comeaux and the Friars to the elite Yale Skull and Bones Society, which counts ex-presidents George Bush Jr. and his dad as members. The number 322 is supposedly relevant to the group, as well as the skulls and bones littering the room.
There are websites that claim the Skull and Bones Society dates back to 1832, when it “paid obeisance to Eulogia, the goddess of eloquence, who took her place in the pantheon upon the death of the orator Demosthenes in 322 BC.” The number 322 is also thought to reference the club’s founding in America after originally being established in Germany, it being the second chapter—1832 - 2. Writer on the occult Nick Farrell told me the numbers refer to “Hebrew geomatria—each letter is a number so you can add up numbers to make words; 322 means any of these. It depends on the context, but ‘lamb’ would be a common one and ‘man’ another, but it could also be the number of a demon.”
Originally, Deer Tick’s John McCauley and I had planned for this interview to take place in the form of a drinking game, but after we shotgunned our first beers we both threw up.
Hanging out Naked in Hotels
A while back, Jesse Pollock sent us his zine, Hotel Party, and we meant to do something with it, but it got lost it in the shuffle. We recently rediscovered it in a pile and fell in love with Jesse and his love for hotels and parties. From looking at the book, it seems like Jesse is living the dream: He and girlfriend are constantly on vacation (in one picture she’s doing coke of his dick, but you’ll have to buy the book to see that one), usually naked, and documenting the whole thing. His life looks like a fun time. The book was released by Hamburger Eyes, and the last few copies will be available at the New York Art Book Fair at PS1 this weekend. Go get them while you still can!