So here’s the deal. I’ve been blessed and fortunate enough in my life to stay at some pretty swanky hotels. It’s important to note, however, that it wasn’t always this way. Growing up, my family stayed at Ramada Inns and Best Westerns—typical and unremarkable places you stay in when you’re just passing through. When it came time for me to graduate to bigger and better (read: more expensive) hotels, I made sure to take my handy Motel 6 lens with me. Apparently you can take the boy out of a two star hotel but you can’t take the two star hotel out of the boy. Thank God.
Basically what you need to know about these expensive lifestyle hotels is they’re filled with absolutely positively insane people. Delusional and sun fried, they come wafting through the lobbies looking like they’ve downed four horse tranquilizers. I wish I could say this wasn’t true and that I’ve interacted with some nice normal people but that would be a kinda sorta lie. Luxury hotels create their own alternate universe. Anything is socially acceptable for the right price. It’s where entitlement goes to sleep, eat, fuck, and potentially die from an overdose.
1. The W Hotel in San Francisco and New York
The W Hotel was actually pretty low-key. Super overpriced for the room size but that’s to be expected. They have this feature called “Whenever Whatever Wherever” that allows you to call the concierge and ask for anything you want. Within reason of course. I don’t think you can request drugs but who knows? I once got a manicure at the Bliss Spa and got my manicurist to tell me that she once had a client who passed out in her chair because she was on so many drugs and they had to call an ambulance. #dark. In San Francisco, they have an indoor pool which is just, like, really crucial.
2. The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles
The Standard Hotel is on coke and I’m obsessed with it. The walls are high, the rooms are high, everything in that hotel needs to go to rehab ASAP except not because then it would be no fun. There’s a model who’s encased in glass and just hangs out in the lobby. Like what? It’s super Bret Easton Ellis. Inside the rooms, the air conditioner has the words “B L O W” emblazoned across it. Subtle, right? There’s also a great pool area where the people watching is A++++. The hotel attracts a lot of tourists who’ve come to Los Angeles to see the stars or whatever so just expect to see fake breasts imported from Arizona and even faker personalities.
3. The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs and New York
I’ve written about The Ace Hotel before and I work from the lobby two times a week so it sort of feels like a second home to me. They have amazing coffee at Stumptown and everyone who goes there is a total babe. The Palm Springs location is my favorite though just because it is such a flaming homosexual. I mean really. It feels like you’ve landed in some bizarro world where straight people don’t exist, which is actually the vibe of Palm Springs itself. They have great porn from Butt magazine and their room service is actually phenomenal. It’s all about the room service by the way. Don’t get it twisted.
4. The Chelsea Hotel in New York
The Chelsea Hotel is a weird cruel joke. My friend stayed there once and I came because I was curious to see the room. I mean, the place is legendary. It was where all the artists hung out in the ’70s for like 2 dollars a night. I knew it was different now because the lobby was redone to look chic and expensive. Room rates echoed this new aesthetic, running over $300 a night so I was expecting to see a plush room with some old touches still intact. Imagine my shock and horror then when I discovered that the rooms hadn’t been redone at all. They looked like crack dens with their flickering lightbulbs, uncomfortable beds, and disgusting bathrooms. Look Chelsea Hotel, if you want to hold on to the old days by keeping the rooms dirty and scary, that’s fine. Just don’t charge exorbitant prices for them. Keep them at a crackhead level.
5. The Roosevelt in Los Angeles
The Roosevelt is crazy. The first time I stayed there, they had a prescription pill bottle filled with white M & M’s on my bedside. The pool is the real draw to this place. It’s beautiful even though no one dares to actually swim in it. You’re just supposed to stare at it longingly while drunk on your lounge chair. Two weird things have happened while I was at this hotel. 1. Someone overdosed in their bungalow. 2. A Greek girl tried to talk to me for four hours by the pool, which would’ve been great if she had been a hot man and spoken English.
6. The Soho House in New York
J/K I’ve never stayed here because the rooms are like a thousand bucks a night. My friend did once though and I came by to see her room. It was insane. The bathtub sits in front of the bed so you can just watch the person you’re sleeping with get naked and soak while you’re watching HBO. There is no curtain, which makes me wonder what happens if you stay there with your parents and want to take a bath. Do you have to be like “Excuse me?” Unfortunately, this hotel is sort of creepy now because someone was recently murdered in it. Not chic.
7. Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, duh!
The first time I went to the Chateau Marmont, I overheard a pool boy say to someone “I gotta get out of here. This place is starting to get to me. I feel like I’m losing my mind.” I knew at that moment that I had to stay there at some point in my life, and my dream eventually came true on my 22nd birthday! The rooms feel like California in the Seventies and are decorated Spanish style. The swimming pool is obviously lush and beautiful. I don’t know, I’m just a total sucker for Old Hollywood shit. Give me an overpriced crappy room and tell me John Belushi died in it and I’ll stay there.
8. Mama Shelter in Paris, France
Ok, this hotel is an amazing freak on a leash. Located in the boonies of Paris, it’s like an iPod commercial brought to life. In your room, you can take photos of yourself on your TV and have them be broadcasted in the lobby. They also have weird masks that you can try on. Gosh now that I think of it, this hotel is pretty kinky. I stayed there with my best girl friend and two lesbians though so that aspect of the hotel was obviously lost on me.
From all of my stays in various hotels, I’ve learned a few things. First, there is a marked difference between Life and Hotel Life. Time just moves differently when you’re staying in a place that isn’t yours and the anonymity allows you to quite frankly, act like a crazy person. People check in to hotels with the intention of misbehaving and as a result, you end up being witness to some outlandish situations. Most of the time the behavior goes undocumented and is swept under the rug. That’s the point, right? To do bad things and know that you’re paying enough money to keep it private. Sometimes, however, you have the misfortune of being around a writer who will notice when you’re doing drugs in the lobby and will write about it on a blog. In the words of Brenda from Scary Movie, I got you. You’re on Candid Camera now.