Hotel Babylon author reveals how sex work flourishes in 5-star resorts

The dark side of luxury travel: As prostitutes run amok in series two of The White Lotus, Hotel Babylon author reveals how sex work is allowed to flourish in 5-star resorts – with the help of staff who are taking a cut

  • Series 2 of The White Lotus premieres on Sky Atlantic at 9pm this evening in UK
  • First episode of the new series aired on HBO in the US on Sunday evening  
  • The series shows a hotel manager trying to rid her establishment of sex workers
  • Imogen Edwards-Jones says storyline ‘rings true’ of her research in top hotels 

An author who spent a year researching luxury hotels has revealed the covert sex work that is allowed to go on within its rooms – with staff often taking a cut of the profits.

Imogen Edwards-Jones, who wrote the Hotel Babylon books, claimed the storyline in series two of The White Lotus (which premiered on HBO in the US last night and will be shown in the UK on Sky Atlantic at 9pm this evening) which features a prostitute soliciting clients from a luxury hotel in Sicily is close to what she witnessed during her research.

Writing in The Times, she said the storyline ‘rings true’ to what she experienced, as she claimed some concierges she met even helped travelling male clients meet up with sex workers who came to the hotels – with an astonishing nine out of 10 men travelling alone enquiring about sex services.

Jennifer Coolidge (pictured with actor Jon Gries) returns as Tanya McQuoid in the new series of The White Lotus, which premieres on Sky Atlantic at 9pm this evening. Ahead of the series two storyline, which sees sex workers prowling the hotel for clients, author Imogen Edwards-Jones claims it ‘rings true’ of her year spent researching luxury resorts for the Hotel Babylon series

Simona Tabasco (pictured in The White Lotus series two) plays Lucia, who patrols the luxury Sicilian resort looking for male clients

She claimed that, in some hotels, guests were able to book prostitutes purely by calling down to reception and asking for ‘extra pillows’.

From her experience studying the luxury establishments, Imogen claimed many hotel bars and restaurants allowed prostitutes to hang around and look for work, with plenty of women coming to know the hotels ‘like the back of their hand’.

While the sex workers were often a common yet niggling problem for management and concierges at hotels, she added that, sometimes, the bigger issue was how the hotel staff would ‘make money out of them’.

She claimed: ‘Nothing annoys a hotel more than a deal going down on their premises without them making a cut.’

Imogen Edwards-Jones, who wrote the Hotel Babylon books, revealed some of the unusual goings-on at luxury resorts ahead of the new series of The White Lotus

During her time researching, Imogen even claimed a visiting guest who had booked an ‘extra pillow’ for the evening died during his escapade due to ‘enthusiasm’.

In the new series of The White Lotus, the manager of the stunning seafront hotel (filmed at San Domenica Palace, a Four Seasons resort in Sicily), the hotel manager is portrayed frequently trying to see off the sex workers who hang around in reception.

However according to Imogen, the savviest hotel workers, including the concierges, tend to have a little black book of prostitutes who he can recommend to guests – for a fee, of course.

She recalled one particular concierge who had three sex workers, nicknamed Mercedes, Jaguar and Porsche, who paid him to stay on his books and continue to solicit business from the hotel. It can be lucrative work,

Imogen noted one issue with the business model, in that from her experience, the sex workers sometimes racked up huge hotel bills on room service and lavish gifts for themselves after their work was done – often charging everything to their client’s room, which caused more than a few issues.

Other sordid stories hotel workers revealed included wealthy businessmen urinating in minibar spirit bottles to avoid the charge of having used them and a female guest who ordered room service only to attempt to seduce the waiter. 

A particularly harrowing account saw hotel staff stop a group of people from trying to take a live sheep up to the roof so they could barbecue it.

The new series of The White Lotus has changed location from its pilot series in Hawaii, and will be based in Europe.

The cast has also almost entirely changed, with just Jennifer Coolidge remaining in her role of Tanya McQuoid.

As the series focuses on the lives of the super-rich who frequent the hotel, its manager Valentina, played by Sabrina Impacciatore, battles with Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò), who prowl the premises looking for clients

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