Tucked in the hills of Longjing near Hupao Spring is a refuge for the road weary, city slicker in need of some quality R & R. The place is called the 4 Eyes Youth Hostel and is run by an amicable man that people refer to playfully as the “Captain”. The entire atmosphere of the place is built around providing guests with a level of comfort they probably aren’t used to and probably won’t find at more expensive 4 and 5-star hotels. Despite the 4 Eyes Youth Hostel’s strange name, it deserves a closer look, especially if you are looking for something unique, cozy, and lacking pretense.
Although the MORE crew is usually found at only the highest profile events and star-studded galas, we also possess a down-to-Earth side, as well. Although we’re accustomed to riding in the back of our Maybach 62, sometimes we’ll slum it and drive it ourselves, despite the fact that it defeats the entire purpose of the car. Even chauffeurs need a day off. Indeed, we occasionally like to reconnect with the common people, and lend a hand, like finding small, independent locales for travelers who want to enjoy some rest and relaxation, without all the pretense and glitz of those highfalutin places that require an AMEX Black just to make a reservation. One of the latest spots to catch our attention was the 4 Eyes Youth Hostel; a hidden refuge of tranquility amidst the tree-lined winding roads that encircle the local Longjing hills, near the famed Hupao Spring. We were really surprised by the size of the place, and the fact that it had three levels that could be accessed by carefully picking your way down moss-covered steps. As you breathe in the environment and take in all the sights and sounds of being in a very well-worn and comfortable pocket of organic splendor, the stress seems to melt away. The owner, a kindly artist with a graying goatee, is known as the “Captain” by his residents, is also known for his fondness for pets, and has created a sanctuary for cats and dogs that doesn't overrun the place, but rather provides a down-home, family feeling made all the more authentic by the plush outdoor furniture and large wooden benches where travelers can share their meals in picnic-like surroundings. The Captain adheres to a very simple philosophy for running things. It centers on creating the best experience for guests in their living quarters, with their comfort being their top priority. Whole roasted lamb BBQ is available for larger parties that call ahead for preparation, but we instead chose to have Chef Murphy's “Traveler” BBQ chicken pizza, creamy rice gratin, smoked chicken sub sandwich, mushrooms and spicy peppers, “cha-cha XX” secret dish (potato, peppers, egg on top), and a Caesar salad that was made even better by the addition of some flaked tuna on top. Being at the 4 Eyes was like attending an outdoor picnic on Sunday with the family, and while most locals don't really know what growing up with that is like, this venue gives them a perfect opportunity to try it out for themselves. Be sure to check out the Youth Hostel's website for prices and information, and ask to see “Tsunami” the cat and his brother “Wiggle” while you're there.
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