News on where to stay . . . what to see . . . what to buy . . .
Britain's bright young thing
Over the past decade, Brighton has been gaining a reputation as one of England's coolest cities. With the recent debut of the 18-room Hotel Pelirocco, the seaside town finally has a hotel that fits its new image. In a prize location overlooking the English Channel, Pelirocco's 160-year-old Regency façade conceals some of the world's most outrageous accommodations, each paying homage to a different artist, cult hero, or pop phenomenon. The "Sputnik" room dazzles with silver walls and a 3-D planetarium ceiling. "Ali's Room" has you sleeping in a boxing ring. "Modrophenia" takes its cues from the Who's film Quadrophenia (shot in Brighton). And the "Assert Your Glamour" boudoir sends up sex-kitten stereotypes with its pussycat telephone, which meows instead of ringing. Hotel Pelirocco, 10 Regency Square, Brighton; 44-1273/327-055, fax 44-1273/733-845; doubles from $98.–Richard Alleman
Like Madonna, like Father
Back when Madonna really was a virgin, she and her family vacationed in northern Michigan. Now her father, Silvio Tony Ciccone, has a vineyard there. It's a family thing: Madonna's grandfather made red wine in Italy in the 1920's, which is why today her maverick papa is preaching about the virtues of Merlot in an area known for its Reislings. Silvio designed his wine label himself and penned its poetic eulogy to the grape, proving that talents beyond wine making run in the family. Ciccone Vineyard & Winery, 10343 E. Hilltop Rd., Suttons Bay, Mich.; 231/271-5551.–Kathleen Beckett
Flying in Style
The friendly skies will get a lot better-looking when RootsAir takes flight this winter. The airline, partly owned by the casual-yet-groovy clothing company Roots (known for dressing Matt Damon, Britney Spears, and a few Backstreet Boys), will be jetting between Los Angeles and a number of Canadian cities. Look for healthful food and flight attendants clad in Roots-designed leather jackets. No word yet on whether they'll strut their stuff in Roots' negative-heel shoes, made famous by Richard Gere in American Gigolo and still in production. For more details, check out www.rootsair.com.–Rima Suqi
Wish You were Hermès
The next hot spot?It exists solely in the imagination. The publishers of Visionaire, a highly collectible fashion and art quarterly, have commissioned the likes of photographer Mario Testino and musician Michael Stipe to depict dream getaways on a series of 55 postcards. You won't find any of these mythical places on a map, but you can snag the cards, enclosed in a leather Hermès case, for a mere $395. At that price, you'll think twice before stuffing them in the post. They're available by calling 800/441-4488 (but hurry – they're going fast).–Kristine Ziwica
Nostalgic for your childhood tree house?Check into Green Magic Nature Resort in the Vythiri jungle of north Kerala, India. Three stylish palm-thatched huts in banyan trees have bamboo beds draped with mosquito netting, metal trunks instead of wardrobes (to keep out the friendly squirrels), and running water courtesy of a mountain spring. Luggage arrives on an elephant's back, and the house soap is made of pulverized bark and leaves. Green Magic Nature Resort, Vythiri, India; 91-471/331-507; tree house for two $150.–Christopher Petkanas
Give Me Mô
London is increasingly awash in faceless coffee-bar chains, so smart Brits are getting back to their roots with tea. Spearheading the revival is Mô. The opulent offshoot of Momo, Mourad Mazouz's celebrated North African restaurant, Mô looks like a traditional Arabic tearoom (embroidered cushions, hanging lanterns). Mint tea is served in gold-encrusted glasses. Fancy the space?Everything – even the hand-painted antique furniture – is for sale. Mô, 23 Heddon St., London; 44-207/434-4040; tea for two $30.–Philip Watson
San Francisco's Stylish Start-ups
A handful of entrepreneurial young West Coast women have forsaken the dotcom world for new fashion boutiques. Sarah Shaw (3095 Sacramento St.; 415/929-2990) is the place to buy perforated leather skirts and flirty dresses. For the shoe obsessed there's Shaw's stiletto-packed Fetish (344 Presidio Ave.; 415/409-7429), furnished with gilt chairs and a pastel chandelier. A former designer for Michael Kors, Deborah Hampton (555 Hayes St.; 415/701-8682) sells her own Italian-made designs in a minimalist setting. At A Girl and Her Dog (3932 24th St.; 415/643-0346), Annette Hickey stocks free-spirited clothes, such as suede coats with Mongolian lamb trim. Bringing new sophistication to the Haight-Ashbury district is Susan Jones's Sybil (1687 Haight St.; 415/703-0498), filled with metallic leathers and sexy business suits.–Sharon Wick
Don't feel like traveling with all those heavy bottles for your beauty regime?Doled out as single-serving portions in hermetically sealed, individually wrapped packages, Prada's just-launched line of personal care products fits snugly in your cosmetics case (think fun little medicine containers, but filled with moisturizer, eye gel, sunscreen, and exfoliant). Pack the precise dose for your trip and return empty-handed. Available at select Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus stores; kits $55–125.–K.Z.
A Night in Provence
Provence's Luberon Mountains finally have a chic hotel: the 12-room La Bastide de Marie, in an 18th-century manor house. The new venture of the hoteliers behind Les Fermes de Marie in the French Alps, La Bastide – a cocktail of honey-colored stone, hand-forged iron, and miles of raw linen – skirts the decorative clichés of so many auberges in the region while still retaining l'esprit provençal. La Bastide de Marie, Rte. de Bonnieux, Quartier de la Verrerie, Ménerbes; 33-4/90-72-30-20; doubles from $285.–C.P.
Just What The Doctor Ordered
The latest story in Reykjavík's ongoing saga of trends?Apotek, a vintage pharmacy resurrected as a restaurant – a glacier-cool, aspirin-white showcase of swank leather chairs, discreet Deco motifs, and Chinese lanterns made from Venetian glass. Is that a bathroom downstairs – or a Joseph Beuys installation?The menu, which changes every four months, fits the setting like a Miu Miu mule. Apollonian waiters in baggy black suits worn over gleaming white sneakers deliver big bowls of smoky-sweet haddock chowder enlivened with bits of blue cheese; tuna tartare tingling with ginger and tamarind; and rosy slices of Icelandic duck in a tart black-currant sauce. Apotek, 16 Austurstraeti, Reykjavík, Iceland; 011-354/575-7900; dinner for two $115.–Anya von Bremzen
Betty's The Name
Santa Fe's cultlike Ten Thousand Waves now has competition in Albuquerque: Betty's. The Japanese-style day spa's outdoor hot tubs are tucked into vine-shaded courtyards, and the treatment menu is beyond indulgent. We can't get enough of the two-hour Desert Glow ($125). Betty's Bath & Day Spa, 1835 Candelaria N.W., Albuquerque; 505/341-3456.–Michelle Pentz
Making The Case
From the classic fragrance house Acqua di Parma comes the latest in travel chic: a range of supple yet sturdy leather accessories, such as a "beauty backpack" containing a multitude of adjustable bottle holders that slings over your shoulders ($695), and cylindrical vanity cases (right, $130–$165). Available at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.–L.B.
Home Sweet New York
Manhattan's recently opened design store Apartment follows in the tradition of reality TV shows such as The Real World and Big Brother. Only this is reality shopping: customers feel as if they've walked into a hip New Yorker's living space. You can buy everything in this "home" or order lunch from the chef in the kitchen. When the SoHo store first opened, owners Stephan Boublil and Gina Alvarez hired actors to loiter around playing tenant. But customers are now filling that role, rifling through the fridge and chilling on the couch. Surprisingly, no one has moved in yet. Apartment, 101 Crosby St., New York; 212/219-3066.–Gisela Williams
But What About Helmet Hair?
For a lesson in how to look good in a helmet, head for Italy, where a just-signed law requiring scooter riders to don protective headgear has inspired a slew of designer solutions. Though an end to flat hair is not yet in sight, stylish bikers are sporting Louis Vuitton toppers in checkered race-car motifs. Other hot looks include colorful quilted nylon by Husky and Alviero Martini's antique map prints. Most stylish is Trussardi's limited-edition python design. But hang on to your handlebars: these helmets could cost as much as the bike. –Valerie Waterhouse
Louis Vuitton: For store information call 800/285-2255; $600. Husky: Available in Italy only; call 39-02/7600-9417. Alviero Martini: For store information call 212/736-2232; $380. Trussardi: Order through the Trussardi showroom; 212/246-9860; $150.