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Fashion Designer Chris Benz's Tips on How to Make a Hotel, Home

In-demand fashion designer Chris Benz -- known for his flair for color, including his signature, Pepto-pink hair -- is constantly traveling to various fashion-world stops. From Paris to Tokyo, the New York-based Benz has perfected the art of hotel homemaking. On his latest trip, PAPER and Canon equipped Benz with the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS camera so that he could show us how a veteran traveler creates a home away from home.

Benz gets comfortable on a bench in the hotel's lobby.
Organize, organize, organize!
"As a Virgo I like to organize everything. I line up my products in the bathroom and unpack my clothes on arrival --  It's all about settling in and getting yourself ready to live there. I usually have to call down for more hangers because I like to hang up everything. It feels extra luxurious, since my closet in New York is literally so small that I never use it."
Benz's Virgo tendencies at work in his hotel closet and bathroom.

Conquer Jet Lag
"Jet lag always hits me. I tend to get that hazy, watery eye. Waking up early is the horrible part, especially when you're in the Eastern hemisphere. You're lying there wide awake at 4:30 in the morning watching old episodes of Sex and the City, when all you want to do is sleep. One of the tricks I found for getting over jet lag is sweating in the sauna or on the treadmill for 30 to 45 minutes helps reenergize the body. If you are able to do that, it's a game changer." 

Out of SATC episodes to watch, Benz attempts to sleep through his jet lag haze.

Eat in Bed 
"When you're staying at a hotel, the bed becomes center of everything. Creating a bedspread picnic is one of my favorite things to do. On a whole, room service is horrible, so I always order a la carte and pull from the minibar. You end up with a million little things and lots of plates and dishes, but that's the way you have to do it. I like to take the tablecloth off the room service cart and put it on the bed. Sometimes you can even lift the top of the cart off, which is ideal." 

canon_chrisGIF_resized.gifCB_blog1.jpgDinner is served! Benz shares his carefully curated bedspread picnic with friends using the Canon PowerShot SX280 HS with built-in Wi-Fi.

Host a Minibar Cocktail Party

I love minibars. After unpacking I always assess the minibar situation. It's like having a tiny grocery store or New York deli in your room. The Hazel Snyder's pretzel bites are always the first to go. To create a little cocktail party in your room pull everything out and set it up like you would a bar cart at your apartment. The tiny bottles are just so chic. Don't forget fresh limes and lemons! 

LJ7C0939.jpgcanon_chrisGIF4_resized.gifBar cart with a view. The window ledge in Benz's hotel room becomes the perfect cocktail prep zone.     

Don't Forget to Decorate
"Bringing personal items to decorate the room is an easy way to make your hotel room feel like home. One thing I always, always bring is the candle I burn in my house. Having it smell like home after working all day is comforting. It also wouldn't feel like home without all my electronics. I immediately find out where all the outlets are so I can figure out where my computer, tablet and phone are going to be. I like to arrange everything to be as close to the bed as possible. I always travel with a zipper pouch filled with every possible cord, adapter, earphones. Internet adapter...everything. You never know."

After brightening his whitewashed hotel room with decorative touches, Benz gets to work.

"I absolutely always bring my own products. It's important to maintain your routine. I love going to Duane Reade, my favorite store, and getting all the tiny bottles and filling them up with a week's worth of everything. I learned that the hard way. Once I had a big La Mer moisturizer, which I had just purchased, taken by security. She was about to throw it in the garbage, but I was like 'Please don't throw it away! Girl, you better take that home, it's expensive!' I wanted somebody to have it at least. Keeping your skin hydrated is key. The two products I always use when traveling is this Freeman's blue algae mask and a face oil by Eileen Harcourt, who is a facialist to the stars. Her face oil is a super jolt of hydration for your face. It's what Madonna uses in flight before she gets off the plane." 

Benz takes a personal serenity moment in the bathroom with his favorite hydrating mask. Om.

Socialize with the Staff

"Hotel bars always remind me of that scene in Lost In Translation with Scarlett Johansson and Bill Murray. Random people are coming together in one spot with varying degrees of jet lag delusion. I love observing and overhearing the bartenders talk to everyone around the bar. It has such a weird, wonderful energy. It's like a hyper version of what I love about New York. Plus, restaurant staff are the best people to make friends with because they know all the new, cool spots to go opposed to the concierge, who will send you to the same restaurant they've been sending people to for the last 50 years."

Cheers! Benz scoops the local nightlife scene from an in the know bartender.

Check back on papermag.com to see more BE READY moments with The Sartorialist, Johnny Wujek and Jenny Johnson!

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