No, Says Hotel ZaZa, Room 322 Isn’t an Expensive Bondage Dungeon for Creeps, It’s Just Different

The old Warwick — now Hotel ZaZa — provided one of the most beautiful views in the world, as far as Bob Hope was concerned, but that was long before photos of the Main St. hotel’s Room 322 showed up on Reddit. User joelikesmusic started a thread on Monday in which the room — booked for a colleague by mistake, apparently — is described as a “goth dungeon closet.” And the photos do reveal the room’s peculiar decor:

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Does that hotel art give you pause, too? This is what joelikesmusic writes in the thread:

. . . the room had a chain holding the bed to wall, pictures of skulls and a creepy, incongruous portrait of an old man. Room was about 1/3 the normal size with the furniture blocking part of the TV, bed and window. We asked about it at the front desk and the clerk looked it up and said ‘that room isn’t supposed to be rented.’ and immediately moved him.

The mystery deepened this week in local media. Hair Balls wonders whether Hotel ZaZa is keeping “the creepy, hidden room” under wraps; national blog Boing Boing describes Room 322 as “voyeuristic sex-dungeon for rich weirdos,” including what Cory Doctorow claims is a floor plan:

So what gives? Hair Balls was able to track down ZaZa spokesperson Kyra Coots, who ruins some of the fun, explaining that 322 is just one of the hotel’s theme rooms. It’s called Hard Times. And the theme? Prison. There are other theme rooms, Coots explains, like the Ship’s Cabin. And she goes on to say that the ZaZa’s owner was living in the room for a few months. (She gives some of the same answers to the Houston Chronicle.)

But there are questions that linger. Why, Hair Balls wonders, is 322 not listed on ZaZa’s website, then, with the other theme rooms?

And the Chronicle‘s Sarah Rufca writes: “Curiously, there’s also a portrait of a man who appears to be former Stanford Financial Group executive Jay Comeaux.” Here’s a photo:

That hangs over the TV. Some of the other art:

Despite Coots’s explanation, Redditers Redditors remain unsatisfied. The thread continues to grow with conspiracy theories informed by plenty of speculative dirt-digging. There are references to exclusive college fraternities, discussions of numerology and symbology, and explanations about the mechanics of two-way mirrors. And what, Redditers Redditors seem to be dying to know, about the dude in the suit?

Hard Times, Coots says, goes for $180 a night.

Photos: Gary Hunt (hotel); Imgur (all others)

23 Comment

  • George Bush (both of them), John Kerry (Sec of State) and lots of others were members of the Skull and Bones fraternity at Yale. Their logo is a skull with 322 below it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skull_and_Bones

  • So I should cancel my reservation for the room? Dang

  • The creepiest art in that room is the portrait of the smiling old guy in a suit.

  • I thought crazy hotel theme rooms went out when Hoffeinz’ Astrodome hotel changed ownership. Surprised that ZaZa has something like this. Hokey. Did Warwick have theme rooms?

  • Bwahahahaha I ha a stripper friend who rented a room at Palace Inn and it was hysterical. Jacuzzi, stripper pole, disco ball an d 80′s furniture with black walls and neon painted pictures on the wall!

  • No one has mentioned the fact that the pillow reads: “Hey, beautiful: we own you”. This is some sick stuff. “Jail feel”…yeah, right.

  • The picture of the Stanford Bank executive is the scariest part of the decor!

  • Evie, which Palace Inn was this? Enquiring minds (at least, this one) want to know. :-)

  • “Redditor”

  • The restaurant there is called “Monarch” and the room didn’t get advertised for sale until the next day and supposingly the guy was paid $1,000 to hush. Many believe its a site for monarch programming to women. Hence the name Beautiful on the pillow, which actually reads, “Hey Beautiful, We love to …ZaZa”

    Zaza has very sinister origins, the name itself.

    Either way something’s going on!!!!

  • Someone rent the room and break the mirror, claim it just shattered. Then the truth will be revealed. Period.

  • That whole hotel is icky.

  • @Redditor: Thanks. Fixed.

  • Don’t you all get it?

    This is better publicity that the ZaZa could have paid for.

    Thanks to modern social media and our own monkey neurology we’ve all been hooked and reeled in by the best corporate non-story of the year so far.

    I give kudos to the media manipulators!

    Dantalion Jones

  • If a famous name other than Gerald Ford, Henry Kissinger or Bob Hope’s had turned up in the first sentence of this article, maybe I’d've shrugged off this story without any further thought. However, all of these famous figures including (and especially) Bob Hope show up in different accounts from women claiming to’ve been trained as MK Ultra sex slaves (keywords Brice Taylor Bob Hope).

    When I sought out this article, I was honestly expecting some plausible explanation putting to rest a silly conspiracy theory. Needless to say I remain unsettled– and not in any way that makes me interested in reserving a room and spending money at this establishment.

  • You want the low down from an insider? I worked there for a year as a concierge. The dirty truth is that there is no dirt.

    There are seven multi-room suites, ten one-room concept suites and four smaller sized silly themed rooms. The smaller themed rooms are a result of the owners having too much fun while designing and decorating the hotel. They really do think the rooms are funny, it’s sad. The room in question is lovingly referred to as “The Martha Stewart” among staff. It’s not a secret, but most people don’t want to stay in it because it is so tiny. The hotel was built when bathrooms were in the hallway for guests to share so cramming a bathroom into every room made some of them very, very small. Occasionally when a guest checks in and is assigned to a room the person at the front desk forgets about the smaller themed rooms (either because they are new or because they just don’t pay enough attention) and the guest will asked to move to another room if they don’t like the size. Guests are never “paid off” to not talk about it, if they raise a big stink we would send them a bottle of champagne or offer them breakfast on the house, most people just ask what it is and have a laugh. If you go in for a tour (tell them you are thinking of staying for a birthday or something and they will show you some rooms if it’s not busy in the lobby)and ask to see the four smaller rooms they will most likely show you.

    So there you have it, any questions?

  • The real joke is that ZaZa is cutting edge or hip for their design middle finger they gave this former gem of Houston. Granted, the hotel had already received a poor remodel that stripped the facade and moved the entrance from the circle side to what had been the back of the hotel….original photos show a beautiful Art Nouveau building that now sports poorly painted brick with additions that never flowed with the buildings proportions…. ZaZa is a joke and this we are so hip that we don’t care about elegant style or any reference to traditional design styles BS is beyond annoying…only those with no tatse would ever agree this hotel is cool or cutting edge…..wow, bare concrete floors with splattered paint finish…somebody call House Beautiful, that is so genius, then that so original skull print, again wow, so impressed…..yawn, now can we all agree money doesn’t buy taste and there is no way this horrible building attracts enough business to keep the lights on much less turn a profit…..get real!

  • so creepy and disturbing is now a viable theme for hotel rooms…ok…

  • Charles: I’ve been there a few times (not to stay, but meetings). I think the place does look pretty cool and hip.
    .
    It also seems to be doing very well financially. You may not like what they’ve done (a fair opinion) but their financials are what they are.

  • SEX CAULDRON??? I thought they closed that place down.

  • The pillow says “Hey, Beautiful, We Love Ya…Stay Zaza” and the pillow is in every room of the hotel.

  • The woman with the long neck is EULOGIA worshipped by Skull and Bones. Also connects 322 as that’s when she came back

  • OK… so … taking a décor photo of a room and getting yourself in the mirror… & placing a lamp in front a t.v. riiiiiiiiiiight