T+L reviews four new series designed for stylish globe-trotters. Here's what they do well, and where there's room for improvement.
BEST FOR Culture Vultures, who are all about museum-going, shopping, and eating—in that order. PROS Detailed museum write-ups highlight noteworthy works. Plus, there are gallery listings and a city-specific art glossary. Shops are divided into multiple categories, like "Clothes" and "Books," for easy navigation. CONS The guides "zone" cities around major museums, but what about restaurants and boutiques beyond these boundaries?Restaurant listings would benefit from being cross-referenced by cuisine rather than by geography only—and the useful price-scale iconography is confusingly absent from several entries. We also scratched our heads as to why hotel and entertainment listings were placed at the end instead of being dispersed within each "zone" as the other categories were. STATS Twelve guides to cities worldwide have been published since 2004; four more titles are slated for the spring of 2007 ($12.95; Norton).
A Hedonist's Guide To...
BEST FOR Fashion-forward travelers. PROS Offering a snap-happy look at the hottest addresses, a glossy photo is paired with every entry. We love that there's a café-filled chapter devoted to snacking. CONS These hardcovers are handsome and colorful, but not especially portable. Verbose write-ups could be streamlined. STATS Thirteen editions were released earlier in the year; Paris and Rome debut this fall ($16.95; Hg2).
Night + Day
BEST FOR Trendy fun-seekers. PROS Opening chapters set the spirited tone with roundups of each city's 99 "Bests," from brunches to spas—which sounds overwhelming, but the fun subheads make this information digestible. A host of food-focused entries will accommodate all tastes. CONS No pictures! We're a little fuzzy on some of the categorical distinctions. New York, for example, is broken into "Hot," "Cool," "Original," and "Classic." Culture options feel buried—it's hard to know where they'll show up (The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco is "Hot & Cool")—and the "attractions" subcategory, under which they're filed, is all over the map. STATS Currently covering six cities, the series has six more on the way by year's end ($17.95; Pulseguides).
Wallpaper* City Guides
BEST FOR Moneyed travelers with a passion for design. PROS As style-conscious as their parent publication, these guides are filled with photographs of chic haunts. The tabbed format allows you to flip to the section you want, and there are blank pages in the back for notes. Plus, they give 24-hour itineraries to make the most of a short trip, "escapes" from the big city, architourist must-sees, and stylish spa and fitness suggestions. One-page profiles of in-the-know natives offer up more insider-y picks. CONS Don't expect to find public transportation stops for any of the listings—not surprising, perhaps, when under Essential Information you'll find the going price for champagne. While design-forward hotels are profiled, charming classics aren't. And fashionistas may be disappointed by how few clothing stores are in the "shopping" section. STATS Hot off the presses for fall: 20 international style capitals ($8.95; Phaidon Press).