My Day At The Chateau Marmont, or, My Life Is Better Than Yours

Are you ready to squirm at the decadence and elegance I experienced today? You, as a peasant, will surely never know so much pleasure as a night at the Chateau Marmont. For you, a weekend trip to the Hilton Garden Inn will have your chins flapping for years to come.  You, you poor unfortunate soul, can never understand the priceless value of staying at the Chateau, of the effortless service or the fine cuisine. I weep for you, honestly I do, but we’re not quite at the Chateau just yet. We’re still in my charming apartment in West Hollywood.

I loathe getting up in the morning. Nobody should have to do something so awful. Day should begin at around noon, maybe later. If I could wake each day at ten o’clock, I think I’d be in a constant state of bliss. I don’t understand people who claim to love the morning. The only time I love morning is when I stay up all night and finally put myself to bed at six. This usually involves a nightcap or a shot of Nyquil. I can’t take that stuff anymore. It turns me into a total zombie for days after.

How can you love getting up? It’s beyond me. My body honestly refuses to move in the morning time. I flop my limbs about pathetically as my blood sluggishly pumps through me carrying far too much melatonin. Maybe I have some kind of condition where I overproduce it? I don’t know, but I managed to get up at a reasonable enough hour to pack my bags up and get myself dressed up for my trip to the Chateau Marmont. I thought I might walk over to Schwartz for a bit of Yiddish gab and a black and white cookie, but sadly ran out of time.

I had originally planned on taking a taxi to the Chateau, but I had a momentary lapse of fiscal responsibility and used my bus card. Are you ashamed of me? I’m ashamed of me. I waited there and I waited there at the bus stop on Fairfax in all my finery waiting for the bus that seemed destined to never arrive. I looked around at the other people waiting for the bus. They were awful as always. Dirty and weak and coughed far too much. I wanted to get one of those masks the Japanese tourists wear around. They look silly, but they aren’t breathing in the hepatitis breath of the homeless and poor. Vote for me for governor!

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Saw this building and fell in love. It’s available for lease. It’s absolutely perfect for me. Bricks and it looks like it should be sitting somewhere wonderful in London. My manservant, Gargery, would wake me each morning with a couple rounds of espresso and a finely ironed shirt to wear. I don’t like ironing. I always burn myself.

The bus finally came and I got off a stop early so that I could stop in and take a look at one of the final residences of Bette Davis. It was a nice apartment building and it seemed strange to think of such an iconic Hollywood legend living out her final years in such a common place.

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Joan did the same, though, she had a humble apartment in New York City when she died. It seems sad to me that such Hollywood Royalty would see the end like that, they should have gone out like Norma Desmond in her manor on Sunset Boulevard. I looked about the apartment for a spell, then headed up the street to the Chateau Marmont.

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It loomed wonderfully above Sunset, a wonderful relic of Hollywood’s bygone golden days. Tall trees cast shadows over the lower levels and an old neon sign flickered picturesquely in the hazy sunshine. It was an overcast and strangely humid day, the perfect weather for a lazy afternoon of luxury.

It took me a bit to figure out how to get into the hotel, but I was soon escorted to the front desk and was at once charmed by the gracious staff. Each of them is wonderful. Quiet, thoughtful, and efficient the lot of them. I adore the staff. I was able to check-in early and had my bags carried up to room 32, just one down from the infamous room where Lindsay Lohan was asked to leave after being unable to pay her bills. I soon learned how easy it was to find yourself in a Lindsay Lohan like situation.

The room was not the fanciest chamber I’ve ever been in, but it had character. It was infused with a glorious sense of decayed glamour in the stark bedsheets and the trim that had seen far too many coats of paint, the carpet was rather worn, the tiles were cracked, the television didn’t receive many channels, there were Edison bulbs in the closet — I adored it.

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There was none of that sterility that you find in most hotels. You go into a Hilton Garden Inn or a Baymont and all the rooms look the same and they all smell the same and they all feel a bit like a hospital. Not the Chateau. My valet showed me the various amenities and then left me to get comfortable in my home for the day.

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Actual keys, none of those tragic plastic cards. The big one to the room. The small one to the pool.

I delighted in the antiquity of it all. It still felt like 1937 and that’s really all I ever wanted out of this trip, as I’ve said before. I just want to be a glamorous star of yesteryear and I finally found that at the Chateau. On my desk was a pile of hotel stationary with my name printed in the corner. That was probably the highlight of the entire room for me.

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There was a matchbook with the hotel’s name on it (who gives out matchbooks anymore? CLASSY!),

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my leaded glass windows overlooking the restaurant courtyard actually opened and you could easily leap to your death,

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there was a well-stocked minibar,

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an ice bucket that was refilled on demand, swizzle sticks with the hotel’s emblem were atop the bar, in the closet was a plush robe and slippers (as evidenced in my seductive header above), the bathroom looked like it had never been updated.

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I just loved every thing about it.

I felt a bit peckish and so I headed down to the restaurant after freshening myself up.

“Hello, Mr. Phillips,” the hostess greeted me. I don’t know how she knew my name, but I was often addressed by my name by people I’d never seen before during my stay. I found that wonderful. I normally don’t like being called Mr. Phillips, because it makes me think of the hundreds of children that whine my name at work, but here it felt well-suited. They even called me sir. I love being called sir. “Where would you like to sit?”

“Wherever I can do the best people watching.”

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She smiled. “Of course.” That’s their answer to everything. She then led me to a table in the center of the restaurant so that I could easily see everybody in the place. I ordered a Hemingway cocktail and arancini. I’m crazy about arancini. Do you know what they are, peasant? Arancini are fried balls of rice — they’re better when it’s with risotto. Often they’re served with a tomato sauce and a side salad, as were these, but they had a mushroom and parmesan salad in addition. It was perfect. The food was excellent.

Suddenly everybody started to look at the people behind me and there were even a few sneakily taken photos, which is strictly forbidden in the hotel. The Chateau is a retreat for the well-to-do and is an incredibly private place. People have been banned for tweeting about who they see in the restaurant. Others have been told to not publish articles and find fine bottles of chilled wine in their rooms. I didn’t risk it, but a bottle of wine would have been delightful. I’m not a big fan of wine, though. I much prefer a cocktail. HA! COCKTAIL! ALWAYS MAKES ME LAUGH!

Anyway, I subtly turned around to find a strange assortment of people that were unfamiliar to me. Young socialites and an elderly woman who looked like the reanimated corpse of Diana Vreeland. The resemblance was remarkable. I don’t know who they were, but I feel that the woman was somebody. Here’s a picture of my darling Diana, if you aren’t familiar with her. Shame on you if that’s the case.

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As I was waiting for my dessert, a flour-less chocolate cake and a perfectly pulled espresso, my valet came by to check on me. I love having a valet and really need to get one in real life. I have no need for an assistant, but I need somebody to say, “Bring Ben (I’ll talk in the third person) a Singapore Sling. Hurry!”

The dessert came soon after and was wonderful. I loved the shard of white chocolate shooting out of the top of it that was emblazoned in gold ink with the logo of the hotel. Such attention to detail charms me.

I signed my check, more than you need to know, and stopped by the lobby to have them send up some more stationary. It’s important that I send out letters to all my friends and family so that they know what a classy place I’ve found myself in, you know? I’m super humble and I never brag or boast.

As I was writing out my letters, in my luxuriant cursive scrawl — never print for me — my valet knocked on the door and presented me with a bowl of plums and a handwritten note from the hotel manager. They were just plums. How much could a plum cost? Ten dollars?

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But the act was gracious and made you feel rather special.

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More hotels should do simple little luxuries like this. One of the businesses that I dream of operating is a small apartment building in Paris that specializes on welcoming foreigners to my very favorite city. I would arrange tours for English speakers and try to immerse them in the culture without making them awful blights on the city. There’s honestly nothing worse than an American tourist anywhere. I love my country, but good God, when I see them out and about, I work hard to blend. Traveling is about becoming a local anyway, don’t you think? You go to experience a new lifestyle and customs. I suppose you don’t when you go to Disneyland, but if you find yourself in London or Geneva or Rome or if you’re lucky, Paris, you go to see it, but you can’t appreciate it unless you try to live like a local. That’s my theory anyway.

Back to the plums. Somehow, I’ve never had a plum in my life, but I’m now completely and totally obsessed. Plums are amazing. They’re so juicy and refreshing and sweet and wonderful. I seem to always discover new fruits in luxurious settings. I still fondly recall the first grapefruit I ever had. It was in Paris at a fancy restaurant across the Seine from Notre Dame. Do you remember where you had your first grapefruit, reader? Do let me know in the comments below.

On the bedside table were all the latest men’s fashion magazines and I would not be surprised at all to know that they did a bit of research on the kind of things I liked and supplied them in the room. It’s that kind of place.

Even though it wasn’t a lovely day, I decided to take my manuscript of Terrible Miss Margo down to the pool and read it aloud in case there were any movie producers or literary agents lounging by the pool. I’m quite serious. I don’t really have life goals. I have never understood people who are determined to accomplish things. I don’t get it. I just want to live decadently and travel however I can manage it. The only goals I have in life are: to have a book published that is then adapted for the screen, to own an apartment in Paris, and to be photographed as a model. That’s it. Cross those three things off and I’m done. I can’t honestly think of anything else I want to do with my time.

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So, I headed off to the pool, which was tragically abandoned. Happily, though, there was old-fashioned dancing music playing quietly and I heard muted trumpets and sighed contentedly as I sunk into a plush chaise lounge across from the shaded pool, the water so still it looked like a sheet of glass. Muted trumpets are one of my very favorite sounds and I think are the most evocative sound of Old Hollywood.

“Can I get you anything, Mr. Phillips?” the short-short wearing pool boy asked me.

“A gin and tonic, please,” I said, stretching luxuriantly. I love short-shorts. I want to wear them all the time. I wish they were more acceptable outside of athletic and pool wear. There’s a pair from Andrew Christian that I’m desperate for. What do you think?

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If I could get away with it, this is the kind of outfit that I would wear every day when the weather permits it.

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I’ve got the legs. I don’t have the arms. I really need to work on that. I’m determined to get back into better shape when I come home.

The gin and tonic was quickly out and I was sipping contentedly as I scribbled out the wrong words in my manuscript. I wonder if I’ll ever get it right? I’ve gone over it time and time again and worry awfully about it. I don’t want to sound like an amateur even if I am. Is there anything worse than looking like an amateur? I think not. In life, I’m a talented actor and can easily blend into most situations — except poverty, I wouldn’t know what to do — but in writing, you can’t disguise things, it’s literally black and white.

After I finished going over about ten pages, this horrible whale of a woman arrived and spread all over the chaise next to me and began cackling to her harem. Not kidding. She had two young men who could have been models attending to her. I watched this in fascination. She was absolutely disgusting and absolutely loaded. I heard her going on and on about “my book” and something about romance novels, so I’m assuming she writes that smut that my sister likes reading. You know the kind, where the duke with the rod of steel impregnates the nubile virgin in a coach in Hyde Park. I don’t get why she reads that trash, but I’m not one to judge. HA!

After a while, they were too much for me and I headed back up to my room to do some more relaxing. I relaxed so much that I took a brief nap, which was wonderful. As I woke up, it was getting time for my reservation at the Bar Marmont, so I fancied myself up a bit more — custom fitted oxblood jacket, tu sais?, and headed down to the lobby a bit to show myself off. It would be a crime for people not to get a look at me when I’m dolled up like that.

I had a great time in that dark, luxurious lobby. “Can I get you anything?” three members of staff asked me. I turned them all away and continued scribbling into my Moleskine. The public enjoys this.

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It was soon time for my reservation at the Bar Marmont, which I was ridiculously excited about. This was another celebrity hotspot, you know? The Chateau exceeded all my expectations, but the bar itself was something of a let down. It felt glamorous and old, but it was dark — so dark that I could hardly read the menu without pressing my nose to it. They had sidecars. I had one of them. I also ordered a kale and tomato salad.

The sidecar was meh, nobody makes them better than me, #sorryboutit, but that salad was incredible. The kale was wonderfully crisp and there was an amazing feta dressing that coated each leaf perfectly. There were cucumbers in it, too, and for once I didn’t find them offensive. I was still feeling a bit hungry, so I decided to get another round of food and drinks. This time I had cheese gougères and a Pimm’s Cup. That Pimm’s cup, whatever it was, was fabulous and I was pretty much slizzered at that point. I don’t say drunk because only the uncivilized peasants give way to alcoholism. I was just in a fantastically fuzzy mood. The cheese puffs, which is all they were, were a bit boring. If there had been a dipping sauce, they would have been much better.

“Dessert?”

“Of course.”

I had another flour-less chocolate cake. Can’t help it. I love them. It came with ice cream and I had espresso too. I talked loudly to people on the phone (sorry) and had a riotous good time. No celebrities, but the staff told me that it was usually more musicians than people who were really famed that frequented the bar. I was basically the most famous person there. I looked the part. I paid more than you make in a day.

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I walked up and down Sunset Boulevard for a while taking in the city all lit up and then returned to my room for the night where I promptly switched into my robe and slippers.

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Look how white my teeth are!

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I had a great time watching Charles Pierce videos on Youtube and then loudly listening to Yma Sumac with the windows open so that I could give some culture to the people below at the restaurant.

Suddenly it was one o’clock and I was hungry, so I ordered a caprese salad from room service. YOLO and all. When it arrived it was covered in prosciutto and there was neither tomato nor basil. I was about to call down to the front desk, but I passed out. Luxury is exhausting. You probably don’t know.

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One response to “My Day At The Chateau Marmont, or, My Life Is Better Than Yours

  1. Pingback: My Glorious Return to the Chateau Marmont or The Curse of Passover | Benjamin Phillips·

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