You were the owner of 269 sauna, now closed. Is Chilli Pepper a sauna, or a hotel?
It’s a hotel for singles. You can rent a locker, you can rent a single room, or you can rent a ‘master suite’. I see this as a hotel for people coming to a city like São Paulo on business. So I’m competing with hotels like Formule 1 and Ibis, which have the ‘no frills’ model too: there’s no restaurant, there are snack vending machines. This is a place for one, two or three night stays. But, of course, people will also use it as a gay sauna.
Your family has always been in the hotel business.
Yes. In Minas Gerais we operate Ouro Minas, a five-star hotel in Belo Horizonte, plus two motels, Forest Hills and Green Park. When I was about 3 or 4 years old, my father started to build motels. And because I was always a little bit … gay [laughs], my father forced me to go to the construction sites, and he’d make me do the heavy work, which he didn’t do with my sisters. At the time, I cried a lot, but today I really appreciate it. So with the motels, we’ve always had this sexy side to the family business. And ever since I was small I’ve been concerned about things like whether the bed is well made, if the beer is cold enough, whether people are being properly served, and whether everyone is just adoring each other. Come on in – you’re all welcome!
But women aren’t welcome at the hotel …
They are welcome, everyone is. But when you have a particular project, you study the people who you want to work with, and then direct all your efforts towards them. So what I’m offering here is what gay men prefer. Women won’t be well catered for. I’d have to deprive gay men of being together because we still feel uncomfortable having women in a masculine locale. There are gyms just for women and clinics just for women, and I’ve created a hotel just for men.
Chilli Pepper Single Hotel is at Largo do Arouche 610 (3331 3336, chillipepper.com.br). Prices single rooms R$59 for 6 hrs, R$118 for 24 hrs weekdays; R$69 for 6 hrs, R$127 for 24 hours weekends. Men only.