Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

We walked into the hotel and couldn't find the reception desk

We walked past the bar.

We kept walking past young men playing pool and other young men playing Jenga. 

We reached the end of the lobby area and looked to either side. There was nothing but rooms.

As we turned around, there was a bartender waving to us with something approaching sarcasm.

The bar was the reception desk. 

Indeed, as the bartender -- who was also the check-in clerk -- causally indicated, there was a large red neon sign over the bar that said: "Check-in."

What had I done?

I'd been in a hurry.

My wife explained we were spending Thanksgiving in Tempe, Arizona, so we needed a hotel.

Sometimes, I don't pay enough attention when booking. Too much scrolling on Kayak and the like can boggle one's internal systems.

So I saw rooms that looked quite interesting and got it over with.

What Is This Place?

Now here we were in Tempe's Moxy Hotel, looking very confused.

The bartender/check-in agent -- the check-in-tender? -- had a good giggle, but didn't try to make things worse.

Instead, she explained that the hotel didn't have a lot of that guest-services stuff going on, so if we wanted extra towels, we should go to the ironing room and help ourselves.

What was this place? Well, as my memory clicked into some sort of first gear, I remembered that this was Marriott's new concept for Millennials.

And what a concept.

Millennials are, apparently, different. Though I'm not sure that there is such a thing as a Millennial, just as I'm not sure there's such a uniform thing as an old man or an annoying child.

The Rooms. A Little Different

It was a relief to find that the rooms were accurately depicted in the pictures, although there were quirks.

"We don't have refrigerators," the check-in-tender had told us. "But if you want one, we can put one in."

Um, cool.

The room, though, did have things that apparently Millennials need, but I'm not sure I do. 

A folding chair hanging upside down on the wall, for example. And a guitar.

There was a floor-to-ceiling print of a woman blowing us a kiss. Disturbingly, she looked a lot like Ivanka Trump.

There was also large framed image that read: "Sleep In."

Then there was the bed. One lone prison-gray blanket and that was it. I conclude that Millennials are Spartan types.

Not so Spartan, though. The bathroom was lovely, with abattoir-style tiles and a rain shower that was as good as any I've ever seen in a hotel.

Now About That Sleeping-In Concept

At 8 o'clock, the music began.

Yes, 8 in the morning, loud music blaring from the pool area below. 

It was like one of those alarm clocks that insists on playing your least favorite radio station to wake you up.

Perhaps this was the hotel's amusing twist on Raising Arizona.

There was, though, no one by the pool. This music was playing for no one. It was playing, however, against our sang-froid.

I began to experience ill-intentioned thoughts about the person who'd put the "Sleep In" image in the room.

You could hear the music even when the soundproof sliding door was closed. Perhaps it wasn't soundproof.

What could we do, but try and find breakfast?

The Breakfast Bar

We staggered downstairs and the pool players were already there.

Clack. Clack. Grunt.

We were hungry and breakfast was, where else, at the bar. 

We sat on barstools, breathed in a few of the tequila fumes from the night before, and ordered coffees.

Which were excellent.

The check-in-tender from the night before was still there. She even remembered our names in a preternaturally cheerful performance.

Oddly, breakfast was served between 6 a.m and 9 a.m. And only during the week.

Millennials, it seems, get up early. Can this possibly be true? 

And, goodness, was the clearing-up prompt.

I lost the last vestiges of my bagel, the butter dish, and some of my banana to the check-in-tender. She didn't ask whether I was finished, but wanted me to know, silently, that breakfast was.

After Three Days, Co-Existence 

On the second day, I asked about the music.

Another check-in-tender told me it was automated.

"But if guests complain, we turn if off," she said.

The Tempe Moxy is two years old. It was the first in the U.S., though the concept is European.

We continued to discover disturbing elements of transnational angst.

In the elevator was an exhortation to take a selfie. Helpfully, masks were provided, placed in a container on the elevator wall. 

On the other hand, there were pinball machines. 

I can't even remember the last time I saw one. I can vividly remember that I spent much of my college life perched over one.

At the Tempe Moxy, there was a WrestleMania-themed one and a Kiss one. You know, the band with the tongue-forward frontman. 

I confess I used to own a Kiss machine, and to see a slightly updated version brought a tear to my eye and a reinvigoration to my fingers.

By the third day, we were getting the hang of the mood. The check-in-tenders were determinedly cheerful and friendly, without being obnoxiously studentish.

One or two were full-time employees and full-time students at Arizona State or other local colleges. 

Our darkest moment came at 4 a.m. on our last night. Someone had decided to give us an automated wake-up call. 

An oversight? A prank? The check-in-tender had no idea.

As we left, we felt sure we never wanted to hear music at 8 a.m. ever again. As long as we were still in bed, that is.

However, we could see the attraction of this cross between a hotel and a student bar. 

Like the Ace Hotel, which it tries to copy in its own corporate way, the Moxy is, at least, different.

But here's what we found a little strange.

Millennials milled around the bar area, playing games and sitting on computers, as if they were extras, there to provide atmosphere.

The guests? Few seemed to be Millennials at all.

A hotel that helps you rediscover your youth? 

What a twistedly clever idea.

Published on: Nov 25, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.