Surfing, Skateboarding, Music, Photography, Travel, Culture and general antics of the youth on the run.

How To: Stay in a Hotel By the worlds finest connoissuer of accomodation: Chas Smith

kai neville how to hotels what youth

The greatest gift an adult can give himself is a night in a hotel. Hotels, and more specifically, hotel rooms, are portals that exist somewhere between fantasy and reality. They are neither truly real nor truly extraterrestrial. The fine hotel room will exude a sort of “all things are possible, sir” je ne sais quoi. It will build self-esteem to heady, even dangerous, levels.

I used to get off on very fine hotels. On nights in Manhattan’s Meatpacking Standard, West Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont, Zurich’s Dolder Grand. I would revel in high tread count sheets and open and close and open again remote controlled curtains. Over the years, as jade set in, I have come to some concrete conclusions. First, as grand as trendiness is, nothing beats the Four Seasons as far as service is concerned. Second, service is the only thing that really matters. Third, kinky nights in rundown, backwater Floridian hotels is still fun. And fourth, staying in a hotel beats staying with friends. Always.

I love hotels now with a deep an abiding love that transcends mere getting off and thus feel very suited, young hipster, on giving you rules that will undoubtedly maximize your hotel experience.

Booking: Do not use Travelocity, Hotelstonight or anything .com. Tablet is a nice resource for window shopping but when it is time to book call the front desk directly. A personal encounter takes the day. This does not mean you should expect fruit baskets, teddy bears, upgrades upon checking in. It just means that a personal encounter takes the day.

Checking in: You are not the savvy traveler you imagine yourself to be, if you imagine yourself to be a savvy traveler. The true savvy traveler has moved beyond first-timer giddiness, beyond false “I’ve-seen-it-all” posturing, beyond regarding himself as anything other than a man needing a service. Be polite to the check in desk. Be happy, sad, whatever you want, except cool. Cool equals amateur. Are you an amateur? Probably. But don’t act like one. No amount of posturing can supersede points. Get on a point system, American Express, Starwood, whatever and let that bring the upgrade. Gold status beats cool status when standing in front of front desk staff every day of the week.

The Hotel Bar: Fine hotel bars will put you shoulder to shoulder with greatness. If you are staying in a fine hotel you should really not leave. You should move from bar to pool to room to bar to pool to room to bar to bar to bar. All the people you need in your life are there, if it is a fine hotel bar. I did not follow this advice, once, in Miami. I stayed at the Standard, which was good enough, and spent the day going from room to bar to pool to bar but then I got restless and drove over to the Fontainebleau and right into the middle of a giant hip-hop party. I was stuck between Pitbull and some other gross Dominican “star” drinking “bubbs” and retreat took multiple hours.

Amenities: Soap and fancy chocolates and caramel corn and little bottles of Grey Goose are all cute but never necessary. Likewise, a roadside inn along the 101 in rural Oregon with nothing but knock-off Dial and only a dream where the refrigerator should be is quaint but blah. I cannot overstate. The best amenity is service. Will the kitchen make you a Monte Cristo at three in the morning? Will the doorman give you a cigarette? This happens, for sure, at the Four Seasons but may also happen at the roadside inn along the 101 in rural Oregon making it * * * * * at least for the night.

The Pool: Pools in cold climates are who cares. I once stayed at a fine hotel called The Prince in Melbourne, Australia and it had a hip little indoor pool. Melbourne, unfortunately, has the climate of awful so that hip little indoor pool is entirely superfluous, and, moreover, annoying. But a pool at, say, The Parker in Palm Springs is a total revelation. Sitting there, in the sun, cocktails at the call, alternately boiling hot and cool is…is…is…well, life simply cannot get any better.

Location: Where your hotel happens to be, geographically, is overrated if it is fine. Staying at, say, a Wyndham, just because it is close to where you need to be is dumb, unless you are in love with the Wyndham, which makes you dumb. The hotel is, generally speaking, destination enough. All else is merely window dressing and so the hotel should be chosen first and foremost. The Hotel Amour, for example, is on the outer outskirts of Paris. It is far from the tower Eiffel and the left bank but it is one of the finest hotels on earth and so it could be in Mitry-Mory and still be completely worthwhile.

Staff: And finally we are to the most important of all. Connoisseurs choose hotels based purely and, really only, on staff. A keen, energetic, thoughtful, discreet staff is the greatest luxury of all. Usually such a staff is housed in fine hotels and so there is no compromise but I would stay in a pig sty with an exceptional staff rather than heaven with poor. Four Seasons is a guarantee. The Standard is not and usually has bad staff. The Shorebreak in Huntington Beach tries very hard to be chic and helpful but dwell in Huntington Beach.

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: Sazerac An Evening Delight

Here’s a drink to reach for, the official cocktail from New Orleans: the Sazerac. With its ample bitters and sepia spirit, the drink is earthy and deep yet subtly sweet. While it’s served in an ice-cold glass, the unusually warm quality of rye whiskey gives me those fireside holiday vibes. It was made with absinthe…

What Youth Drinks: White Russian A Recipe Done Properly

Some consider it a “guilty pleasure,” the Dude often refers to it as a “Caucasian,” but the simple luxury of a White Russian isn’t lost on anyone who knows what’s good for them. It’s the kind of drink that seems implicitly appropriate at any time of day because of the coffee liqueur and milk…at least…

Radical Class: Some Weekend Reading A book about Australia (it’s that time again!) from an author we can’t get enough of

“Australia is mostly empty and a long way away. Its population is small and its role in the world consequently peripheral. It doesn’t have coups, recklessly overfish, arm disagreeable despots, grow coca in provocative quantities, or throw its weight around in a brash and unseemly manner. It is stable and peaceful and good. It doesn’t…

Five Songs For Your Next Surf Clip Here’s “Wonderwall” or something or other.

You ever sit down to enjoy the latest web clip and start off thinking, “Hey, the surfing here isn’t terrible.” But then, oh let’s say thirty-seconds into everything, you change your tone. Something’s not quite right. Tilting your head to the side, you raise your eyebrows a bit and say to yourself, “But the music…

What Youth Eats: Open Fire Soup When the thermometer drops, cook outside! Here’s how.

When you get close to Christmas and New Years it’s too easy to sink in to the hole of your living room, stuffed from eating and drinking heavily since Thanksgiving and let the anxieties of 12-hour family days and new year’s expectations to start creeping in. So if that is what actually ended up happening…

What Youth Drinks: Tropical Eggnog Happy Holidays, But First Drink this Punch     

To quote maybe every other person right now, “it’s been quite a year, right?” So much emotion! So much drama! Never the less we’re here, hopefully gathering around a table with a bunch of family to reconnect, catch up, etc.. But as beautiful as the idea of family togetherness is, 10-12 extended family members sitting…

what youth recommends top 5 books holiday break

Books we recommend for holiday break Spark up a fire and put some words through your mind for the holidays.

The next two weeks are an opportunity. A break. A moment to find clarity and inspiration. For most of us, in between the family gatherings and trips and travel and chaos there is a year wrapping up, and an opportunity to squeak in one or two more books to our count for the year. And believe…

what youth radical class cocktails with paul brewer

What Youth Drinks Building Blocks to a Great Cocktail

Did you know making cocktails is as easy as 1-2-3? Well, it can be with Booze-Acid-Sugar. In this brave new world of crazy ass cocktails, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all these circus dick concoctions. Artisanal aperitifs, flavored vodkas, and flair-full garnishes are all real fancy, but sometimes they cloud the basics. Because, when…

Radical Class: What Youth Reads Homage to Catalonia: a book seven decades young and still topical!

The Spaniards are good at many things, but not at making war. All foreigners are alike appalled by their inefficiency, above all their maddening unpunctuality. The one word that no foreigner can avoid learning is mañana.—George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia I bring books with me when I go on vacation for two reasons. One, I struggle…

Radical Class: “The Center Will Not Hold” Definitely watch the new Netflix documentary on writer Joan Didion

In a world full of chaos, absurdity, tragedy and Stranger Things, it’s always nice to find some larger perspective in a good old fashioned documentary. And the latest on writer Joan Didion is that. Few names have encouraged an entire generation of people and writers the way she has. And just a few minutes into the…

Radical Class, What Youth Drinks, Paul Brewer

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: COCCI AMERICANO An Easy, Inexpensive way to Live that Riviera High Life

I snagged a bottle of this Cocci Americano stuff after seeing it on the shelf at a cocktail bar in Long Beach, CA. It was an impromptu buy — I didn’t know what it was or what to do with it, but thought I’d figure it out. Experiment! Cocktail jazz improvisation! While I’ll save the…

Radical Class, Berlin, Adam Warren

Radical Class: Hope from the Road Just when you thought it was all over: there is Berlin  

Turns out there is still hope out there. Out there, beyond your day-to-day, somewhere out on the road its not all politics, hurricanes, bad vibes and bad memes. In fact, the other day I found myself way outside the bad lands somewhere in Berlin. Just off the plane I walked around the Mitte District. I meandered…

Sign up for letters from What Youth

By enabling this page, you are acknowledging and accepting our privacy terms and conditions.