What does an eager journalist do on a Tuesday night if he’s got nothing on? Well, he goes off to investigate The Hot House of course! Having not visited the place for over three years, I thought it was time to go back and see what’s up.

One of Cape Town’s most popular steambaths, The Hot House, or “Harrods” as my lover affectionately calls it, is right up there as a place that a man with a penis and “neigings” must visit when he sojourns in the Mother City. Situated in de Waterkant (which sounds like the perfect name for a lesbian suburb), The Hot House has been open for business for a decade. The mere fact that its website has had 267 612 impressions since 1998, indicates the possible volume of men that have passed through those doors of sexual temptation over the years.

I must say, you feel pretty vulnerable and exposed in the change room at the entrance. It is also the passage that leads in and out of the place and there is a lot of traffic coming and going as you shed your social uniform. Lighting in the change room is bright and harsh, and this needs to be dimmed.

The lockers contain your mandatory white towel, condoms and lube, as well as feedback questionnaire (if you have any strength left when you leave). There was a fire hydrant next to my locker, which made me smile dryly as I immediately associated it with the name of the place.

Once you’re in the complex, there are 1000 square metres of potential fun. An immediate reconnoitre was essential as I combed the place like an intrepid explorer, discovering a steam room the size of Checkers; a sauna, two spa baths, three video lounges, a maze, showers, darkrooms (scary), cabins, two bars, a restaurant, and a relaxing sun deck which overlooks the whole of Cape Town. There are even three slot machines upstairs near the sun deck, just in case you get bored with the slut machines downstairs.

Assessing the patrons in the establishment, I thought I had stumbled into a pot bellied pig convention with all the raunchy, paunchy middle-aged men in little towels lining the walls; some masturbating on the cabin beds with the doors conveniently open. One father was more than enough for me in this lifetime, so I kept on walking.

Someone had obviously been very naughty as he was getting one hell of a hiding in one of the cabins. It took me a while to realise what the loud slapping – which was resounding around the complex – was. Intriguing, I thought, and went to investigate. The neighbouring cabin was vacant, so I went in, locked the door, and hopped on the leatherette bed to try and peek in on the person getting the hiding from hell. Alas, the separating wall was just too high, so I readjusted my towel and slid out in to the darkness.

The maze was like piercing Tutankhamen’s tomb. It is dark and scary, combining a sombre sense of danger with an explorer’s thrill. The maze has inter-connected lockable cubicles where you have access to several glory holes. I had always thought that glory holes were round in shape, but these were key-shaped and far more stylish.

A blonde European number stealthily locked himself into one of the glory hole cubicles. So I ran around with my pen and writer’s pad in hand and entered the other side. I tentatively popped my Mont Blanc through the hole, wandering if Miss Euro would take the bait, and boy did she! It was like catching a Marlin, as she popped my pen into her gob. I reeled; yanked it back, and fled to the light.

Sadly, I only came across three cutish men the whole evening; I arrived at nine and left at eleven, and the place was only starting to get busier at that time. I found out subsequently that The Hothouse apparently only pumps from Thursday night through to Sunday, and that is why Tuesday evening’s crawl was rather empty.

So, did I get lucky? I am not prepared to answer that question… what I will say is that someone else certainly did!

Check out more info on The Hothouse at . Please note that entrance charges on the site are out-dated. Even these have gone up!

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