Heart-shaped beds and heart-shaped tubs mean big heart eyes for Waukesha-native Margaret Bienert, one-half of the theme hotel touring duo, A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour.
While adult-centered hotels and theme rooms are usually tainted with a skeevy reputation, Margaret and her husband, Corey Bienert, are looking to break down the stigma surrounding these vacation destinations.
The Bienerts started documenting their trips on social media and their YouTube channel in 2019. Together, they take their viewers on a journey, good or bad, through kitsch romance hotels, rating things like romance feel, cleanliness and other features.
"If people could see [these hotels], not for just the bad reputation, but for the experience of the hotel and open themselves up to that idea, I think that would be good for people," Margaret said.
A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour boasts tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and TikTok, including supermodel Bella Hadid, musician Kacey Musgraves and actor Neil Patrick Harris. The couple has been featured in many publications including, Vice, GQ, ELLE and Refinery29.
"Pretty quickly, there was definitely an interest but it was a lot of mixed interest," Margaret said.
Despite those mixed reactions they've maintained a steady, enthusiastic and adventurous group of followers.
The project was born out of what, for awhile, was already the Bienerts' normal life. The pair worked for a several production companies doing video and photography. The jobs kept them travelling and in and out of hotels.
As a young married couple with little money, they wanted to try to turn their work travels into a little bit of a vacation experience.
"We weren't just looking for like the fanciest places," Margaret said. "We were looking for cool places that we could afford to go."
Their first adult hotel experience found them at Cove Pocono Resorts in Pennsylvania in 2018, which encompasses three properties: Paradise Stream, Pocono Palace and the Bienerts' personal favorite, Cove Haven.
There, they bathed in champagne glass-shaped tubs, slept in heart-shaped beds and even had their own private pool in one of the suites. They still have a soft spot for the place it all began, Margaret said.
"Margaret and Corey... they more than anyone else seemed really truly passionate about the properties in a way that is really sweet and endearing. They're charming, and they're just incredibly kind," said Kyle Kuczma, marketing manager for Cove Pocono Resorts and a co-star of the very first episode of A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour. "In the post-social media world here, it feels like that's a little bit hard to come by."
Kuczma even remarried the couple on their 10th anniversary, and the three remain good friends.
This year is the first year the Bienerts are doing the project full-time. Even after three years of A Pretty Cool Hotel Tour, Margaret said there are still new hotels to be found, especially in the Midwest.
"Going back and finding places, like, not that far from where I grew up is really weird," Margaret said.
Wisconsinites can test out one of the hotel chains the Bienerts visited right in the Milwaukee suburbs: Sybaris Pool Suites in Mequon, which has earned a five out of five rating on all features.
There's also the Don Q Inn in Dodgeville, which earned a high rating, too.
Ultimately, if you're looking for a not-so-family-friendly, private getaway, the Bienerts have your back. Their one ask: Just try it!
"I know that we weirdly decided to tell everyone about it, but like not everyone has to," Margaret said. "It's actually something that is very much worth trying."
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Waukesha couple tours niche adult hotels nationwide