There's a real-life Heartbreak Hotel, but it isn't down at the end of Lonely Street - it's in Holland. Dutch divorcees are checking into a luxury hotel and checking out three days later newly single with finalized divorces to take with them as souvenirs. If only contested divorces in Pasadena could be so easy!
Dutch entrepreneur Jim Halfens has created the "Divorce Hotel" which sounds like either a bad reality show or a place for bitter exes to sulk after a breakup. But it's neither. The Divorce Hotel offers Dutch couples a stay at the luxury hotel of their choice and the chance to end their marriage during a 3-day mediation process. Halfens got the idea after invoicing divorcing couples who found the lengthy proceedings to be exhausting. "They told us - divorce is very critical, I'm getting into a roller coaster," Halfens said in an interview with The World.org. "I'm not able to work anymore. My boss is complaining. Sometimes it takes three months. We have examples where it takes three years. And people were wondering - is there no other solution?" Halfens then came up with a lawyer-free legal service which partners with some of the finest Dutch hotels. Instead of hitting the golf courses or the spa, guests who arrange for a Divorce Hotel package meet with psychologists, notaries, other specialists and their mediator to hash out the details of their divorce. The trio of days devoted to mediation can be intense, but so can traditional Dutch divorces, which take up to 10 years and cost nearly $70,000 in some cases.
The cost of a divorce hotel package? About $3,500, which includes accommodations in addition to the mediation and services.
Halfens doesn't think his hotel service is like the famous Heartbreak Hotel from the Elvis song.
"We don't break hearts," Halfens said. "The heart is already broken, but we make it more positive to go on with your life, and we help, sort of, to help people go on with their lives in a faster way than is possible in a traditional divorce."