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

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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: The Margarita How to order them this Cinco de Mayo and forever

Cinco de Mayo is around the corner (a week from today in fact!) and we need to get one thing straight:  Cinco de Mayo is NOT the celebration of Mexican Independence — as many have been led to believe. It is a celebration in remembrance of when the French were defeated in Puebla. And in Mexico, Puebla is…

What Youth Eats: The “Couchella” Menu Since we moved on from attending, here’s what we’re eating while we stream

I don’t have the time or the patience or the money to spend this weekend in the desert. (We actually officially moved on from Coachella last year). But I do have time and patience and the money to park it on my couch and watch it all weekend on my internet TV. And while my Coachella viewing…

What Youth Eats

What Youth Eats: Turkish Kebabs Now that we’ve graduated from our tour through Europe, let’s cook what we ate the whole time at home

Now that we finished up our three city tour through Berlin, Cologne and Amsterdam, its time to shine a light on the one common thread that has kept us alive for these past few weeks of travel and will through pretty much any trip you take to Europe. The “donner kebab.” This is a Turkish style kebab,…

what youth recommends building a beginner bar

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: BUILD A BAR Home bars made easy. Let’s get the drinks flowing.

Don Draper would approve. Bar carts with gold rails, hand carved mixing gadgets, illuminated backlighting — home bars these days can be really amazing. Like, totally Instagram worthy. Also, really expensive. A fully-stocked home bar should be more a culmination of years of collecting bottles and drinking with friends, as opposed to something that’s set…

what youth eats

WHAT YOUTH EATS: WHAT YOU’RE GIVEN Make no substitutions, please.

Is your stomach closed-minded? Are you the picky one? Try to eat or drink what you’re given. And like it. It was like traveling with a 4 year old who only likes mac and cheese. Here we are in the Dominican Republic, first night, ready to find waves in the morning, and our gracious host…

what youth radical class europe

Radical Class: Going to Amsterdam Eat, drink and wander through Europe (Pt. 3 of 3)

Stepping off the train at the Amsterdam Central for the first time is overwhelming. You emerge from this historic building doubling as a train station and step right in to a beautiful array of chaos. Tourists everywhere, business people rushing, stag parties commencing and Heineken tours being planned. Its hard to figure out which way…

what youth radical class cologne germany

Radical Class: Wintering in Cologne Eat, drink and be blown away by the countries that like it cold. (Pt. 2 of 3)

You’ll remember we started this frozen journey through Europe in Berlin. Today, we’re taking a ride to Cologne. A quick hour flight from Berlin will take you to Cologne, in northwest Germany. A couple days in Cologne is a perfect amount of time to see the city. Like Berlin, Cologne is chalked full of history, but…

Mount gay Rum for breakfast, what youth eats, french toast

What Youth Eats: Rum for Breakfast, Please Weekend French Toast with Mount Gay Rum Bananas Foster

As a rule, French toast on the weekend is a good call. If you can pile some layers of decadence on top, all the better. Berries, whipped cream, bananas. Here, bananas foster goes on top, making it slightly over-the-top, but that’s what weekend breakfast is for. Then there’s the rum. This is special because it…

what youth drinks radical class craig anderson chippa wilson kai neville

What Youth Drinks: All Day! In it for the long haul? We’re here to help.

There’s not a lot better than when the daytime festivities bleed right into some nighttime fun. Some sun, some drinks, some bros, some babes, some waves — it don’t get no better, except when all that rolls into dinner and drinks and beyond. But making that marathon till midnight doesn’t come easy. It takes stamina…

WHAT YOUTH DRINKS: THE BROWN DERBY Three ingredients to make a perfect blend of sweet and sour.

It’s a drink that throws back to LA’s golden age (though, as we showed you in issue 2, LA is pretty damn golden these days). The Brown Derby, a nice blend of bourbon, citrus, and something sweet, was named after the famous Brown Derby restaurant, and invented in the `30s at the see-and-be-seen Vendome Club….

what youth radical class berlin

Radical Class: Wandering in Berlin Eat, drink and be blown away by the countries that like it cold (Pt. 1 of 3)

Travis told me to tell people about all of the cool shit we get to do (Editor’s Note: Yes, I did). Cool shit like going to visit Europe in the dead of winter. And trust me, visiting cities in Europe in winter is very underrated, because there are several countries that are very good at being…

Cilantro Margarita, What Youth Drinks, Paul Brewer, Herbs

WY Drinks: Herbs in our cocktails Herbs plus booze to raise your cocktail game

When you think of herbs, you generally think of food. And when you think of cocktails, you generally think of booze. That is, the spirit: gin, vodka, tequila, and so on. But combining the two, we don’t see that a lot. I heard of herbs in drinks long ago, but wrote off the idea. (Except…

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