Room 204 is the Shakespeare room at Beijing's Lots of Love Hotel. A plaque on the door reads: "zhongxia ye zhi meng" or "a midsummer night's dream". But inside the bedroom's crimson confines there is no trace of The Bard. Instead Chinese lovers are invited to frolic on a rose-stamped circular mattress or entangle themselves in a foam-filled jacuzzi.
For decades, Japan, which boasts a multi-trillion yen love hotel industry and an estimated 30,000 love hotels. There, couples young and old, can pay – by the hour or the night – to escape the prying eyes of a deeply conservative society or act out their most intimate fantasies in the embrace of a lover or a stranger.
Now, the world's most populous nation is slowly catching the love hotel bug too as Chinese entrepreneurs spot an opportunity in the country's changing sexual mores.
Hundreds of such establishments – with names such as Love at First Sight and the We Love Hotel – have sprung up since what was reputedly China's first love hotel opened its doors in 2008 in the south-western city of Nanning.
"The demand is there. There are so many lovers and they have a need for love," said Wang, whose franchise has opened nine branches – in Beijing, Wuhan, Chengdu and Guiyang – since 2011 and will add Kunming and Nanjing hotels in the coming months. "Every day we are full."
Sun Yanping, a Wuhan businesswoman who opened her first love hotel in 2013 and now has five, said she hoped to build an empire of 100 by 2020.
"I think we should listen to the voices in our hearts and go with the flow, including when it comes to the pursuit of sex. That is human nature," said Sun, who said she had grown tired of staying in "monotonous and stiff" hotels.