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In Kids & Family

Local hotels consider one-hour room rentals for amorous parents


Dr. Mark and Theresa Eberhage have a two-year-old son, and occasionally, they hire a sitter so they can see a movie or go out to dinner. With heavy workloads and the demands of an energetic toddler, they use the time to reconnect, even though they have only a few hours alone together. But wouldn't it be refreshing (among other things) if the couple could choose to rent a hotel room for a few hours and connect on a physical level?

"We have only been able to find sitters that we can use for a few hours at a time, making it hard to get away," says (Mark) Eberhage. "It would be great to be able to get a romantic get-away for an evening that might include dinner, drinks, spa, a room and a check-out time that same evening."

Renting a hotel room for less than an overnight stay has a fair share of stigma attached. Most people immediately think of seedy affairs, not hardworking parents who can't always find the time or privacy for intimacy. And in a world where divorce is always in fashion, it seems parents need all the help we can get to keep the fires a-burning.

But what do the local hotels have to say? Is it possible to offer a special "parents package" giving parents the option to -- instead of going to dinner movie -- check into a hotel for a few hours and still have enough money and time to cut the babysitter loose by midnight? Has it ever been done before?

According to Trisha Pugal, president/CEO of the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, it is perfectly legal to rent hotel rooms by the hour. "It is up to each property owner whether that's a market they wish to pursue," she says.

Hotel Metro's Mark Hansen, however, brings up a couple of good points as to why a short term "parents' package" isn't the greatest business move. He says that even if a room is only rented out for a few hours, the hotel still has to pay a cleaning crew to tidy up after the couple leave. So why not collect the overnight rate to off-set cleaning costs?

"Also, our cleaning staff isn't on duty later in the evening and wouldn't be available to clean the room after the couple left," says Hansen, the director of sales.

Hansen also fears hourly rates, or even packages providing room rentals for two or three hours, might attract unsavory, non-parental types as well, something not so good for an upscale hotel.

"It really is a great idea, but my fears would be those who would take advantage of it and wouldn't be parents. You might be opening the doors to something you wouldn't want inside your facility," he says.

But OMC's call got Hansen thinking, and he is considering a stripped-down version of the Metro's "romance package" that usually includes a night's stay in the deluxe suite, a coupon for the bar and restaurant, rooms service and champagne.

"Maybe we could offer some sort of 'romance package' without all the amenities that would be less expensive and perhaps more appealing to parents with limited time and budgets," he says. (Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.com to see if Metro Hotel moves forward with romance packages for parents.)

Eberhage says the last time he and his wife rented a hotel room for the evening, it seemed like judgements were made.

"The last time we checked into a downtown hotel and left before midnight, the staff looked at me like I must have hired an escort. Granted, my wife is a hottie, and it was fun sneaking away for our evening tryst, but it made us think how much more fun it would be if the hotel catered to us by helping us indulge in pampering ourselves," he says.

There are a few options in Milwaukee for moms and pops looking for much-needed nooky. The Super 8 near the airport rents rooms from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. -- if they are under-booked -- for $49.88, instead of the overnight rate of $62.89 plus tax.

The Sybaris, 10240 N. Cedarburg Rd., offers an "afternoon getaway" package (hmmm ... we thought that was called a "nooner") from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Prices range, depending on the room, between $115 and $239 and includes a $25 gift certificate to the adjoining restaurant and two movie tickets. (Woo-hoo; free porn!)

The best option might be Carol Hirschi's Brumder Mansion Bed & Breakfast, 3046 W. Wisconsin. Hirschi says she has made special arrangements with couples in the past who wanted to rent rooms during off-times.

"We had a couple here last week that spent their first night away from their baby here," she says. "It's nice because we're downtown and if anything serious comes up, parents can easily bail."

Hirschi says she has worked out non-traditional timeframes with third shift workers who wanted to bring a date during the day. She says an 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. rental is usually available, and she is willing to consider alternative accommodations if need be.

"Even if a couple is not staying over night, we'll still offer you a nice big chunk of time in a very quiet place. And, we can run the Jacuzzi and bring out the complementary wine anytime during the day," she says.

American Historic Inns, Inc recently named the Brumder B&B one of the Top Ten romantic Inns in America.

"That has a lot to do with the fact that we strongly discourage visitors from bringing their kids here," she says. "It's a place for adults to relax and enjoy themselves."

Talkbacks

OMCreader | March 9, 2006 at 2:11 p.m. (report)

Skeffert said: I'm all for anything that gets people freaky. But the parents out there need to try getting it on when baby's asleep. Our newborn son sleeps soundly, and the wife and I are training him even to sleep through the noisy sex romps of his parents.

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OMCreader | Feb. 3, 2006 at 3:16 p.m. (report)

CC said: responding to "agree W/ Alan J" and Alan J...some of us don't have family to watch our children and probably don't trust a sitter that isn't family to spend a night or weekend with our children. Priorities? Alan J must not have children because the reason that some parents have only a few hours to get away is because our children are actually our priority in this day and age...not ourselves.

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OMCreader | Feb. 1, 2006 at 7:51 a.m. (report)

Agree with Alan J said: I dunno, maybe I am old fashioned, but it seems sad that some of the ladies out there are applauding this as a great way to spend time with a loved one. Dont folks go on weekend trips or spend a whole evening together? I have 4 kids so I know what the challenges are, but how about a little effort for each other and some self respect? Cmon, folks, you deserve better than this.

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OMCreader | Jan. 31, 2006 at 9:53 a.m. (report)

Alan J said: It would bring the sleaze factor to some really class establishments...bad idea. If you ownly have an hour to get away you need to organize your priorities.

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OMCreader | Jan. 30, 2006 at 1:18 p.m. (report)

Noah said: What a great idea! Happier and less stressed parents make for a happier and more productive workforce too. If hotels don't want to attract an unsavory crowd, they could require a mariage certificate to check in.

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