T+L Reports: Singapore, London, Paris, Egypt
Published: April 2009
By Erika Lederman, Richard Alleman, Alan Brown, Rima Suqi, Gisela Williams, Selene Milano, Maggie Alderson, Kareem Fahim, Amanda Jones
Two openings have added long-overdue sass to the Singapore hotel scene. In the suddenly happening Robertson Quay, a former warehouse district, Gallery Evason (76 Robertson Quay; 800/337-4685 or 65/849-8686; doubles from $153) is rife with postmodern sizzle. While the glass and steel exterior echoes the surrounding industrial silhouettes, the interior spaces are refreshingly simple. But it's wired for the cyber-set, with unlimited free Internet access as well as security TV's, so you know who's at your suite door. No less daring for its restraint is the Fullerton Singapore (1 Fullerton Square; 800/448-8355 or 65/733-8388; doubles from $312), a stunning Palladian structure on the river in the historic district. Don't expect to find colonial-era nostalgia behind the Neoclassical façade. The Fullerton eschews glitz and focuses on the details — 240-thread-count sheets, Donghia fabrics, discreet trapdoors for newspapers, and Philippe Starck bathroom fixtures.
LONDON'S CHICEST DIVE
The slew of artists and photographers who are moving into the Shepherd's Bush neighborhood are creating a need for trendy hangouts. Run-down pubs are being transformed into slick restaurants like Bush Bar & Grill, new from the owners of the Groucho Club and Woody's. Once a seedy dive called the Blob, the Bush is now a stripped-down space serving French brasserie food with an English twist: cod-and-haddock pie, chicken breast with mash and cèpes sauce. Bush Bar & Grill, 45A Goldhawk Rd.; 44-208/746-2111; dinner for two $52.
For women who can't choose just one scent, there's Givenchy's new Oblique eau de toilette. Select a different fragrance for every trip by popping one of three interchangeable vials into this sleek blue bottle. Oblique comes in Rewind, a floral and wood blend; Play, a mix of lemon, white musk, and praline; and Fast Forward, with melon peel and Chinese pepper. It's also available in a miniature travel version. 800/516-9721; travel size, $10; regular size, $35.
YOGA ON THE GO
Next trip, leave your sleeping pills behind and pack Om Yoga in a Box instead. Created by Cyndi Lee, the director of New York City's Om Yoga Center, this compact kit contains everything you need to relax and refresh: an instructional CD that can be programmed to your level; flash cards illustrating postures; a belt for serious stretching; and a candle and incense to turn any hotel room into a mellow space. Coming soon: Yoga in a Box for couples. 212/229-0267; www.omyoga.com; $29.95.
SYDNEY: HIP ON EVERY LEVEL
From the burned-out hulk of a historic bank building in Sydney's financial center has emerged Establishment, a stylish pleasure dome—cum—hotel. It's many things to many people: the basement houses Tank, a dangerously cool nightclub; the ground floor has the longest bar in the Southern Hemisphere; the second floor is home to the funky Est., a French restaurant; and further aloft is the Moroccan-themed Hemmesphere lounge. Exhausted young things proceed next door to the 33-room designer hotel. Establishment, 252 George St.; 61-2/9240-3000.
CERAMICS IN THE CITY
Though his work is collected by hipsters worldwide, Jonathan Adler, the self-described "humble potter," had yet to put his mark on an interior — until now. Approached to design a room at Flute Lounge, a sexy, tri-level champagne bar just opened in Manhattan's Flatiron District, Adler installed chocolate-brown sofas along with his signature lamps, organic vases, and graphic throw pillows. One might fear the menu would be inferior to Adler's décor, but chef Tom Kukoly's French-Vietnamese dishes, the chocolate desserts, and the selection of 150 champagnes are just as glam. Flute Lounge, 40 E. 20th St.; 212/529-7870.
SPIES LIKE US
Live out your James Bond fantasies with Casio's just-launched Wrist Camera Watch. The gadget surreptitiously snaps black-and-white digital images (very 007) and can store 100 of them, in addition to storing phone numbers in a database. And, oh yes, it also tells the time. 800/836-8580; $199.
WELCOME TO THE (OCEAN) CLUB
When hotelier Sol Kerzner took over the ailing Resorts International complex on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, he focused his efforts on creating the mega-resort Atlantis. Lost in the hoopla was its smaller sister hotel, the discreet Ocean Club, an elite 1960's watering hole. Following a $100 million renovation by interior designer Christian Liaigre, the 108-room resort now has a Tom Weiskopf 18-hole golf course and a Jean-Georges Vongerichten restaurant — essentials for the modern-day jet set. Ocean Club, Paradise Island, Bahamas; 800/321-3000 or 242/363-2501; doubles from $635.
THE NEW PARIS COLLECTION
"J'adore les chaussures," says Gisela Trigano, who has stuffed Kirk & Rosie Rich — her eclectic new pink-walled shop in Paris's posh Eighth Arrondissement — with party pumps by Alberta Ferretti, Narciso Rodriguez, and Giuseppe Zanotti. But shoes are only some of the treasures that Trigano and her partner, internationally acclaimed decorator Alberto Pinto, have amassed during their travels. Petit designer soaps and Thai temple doors have also found their way into this pair's suitcases, and, thereby, possibly into yours. Kirk & Rosie Rich, 9 Rue de la Trémouille; 33-1/47-23-81-00.
In Cairo, where Stella beer was once the only local brew, there are now no fewer than seven excellent ales and a host of wine labels — raw material for a nightlife explosion. The owners of the recently opened La Bodega (157 26th of July St.; 20-2/735-6761) found their muse in the city's Roaring Twenties, and turned a floor of a Nile-side Belle Époque mansion in the fashionable Zamalek district into an Art Deco bar and restaurant. A short hop from Zamalek, in the Mohandiseen area, the restaurant Flux (2 Gameat El Nesr St.; 20-2/338-6601) is a basement space with the work of local artists hanging on the walls. Not far away, Tabasco (8 Amman Square; 20-2/336-5583) has remained Cairo's nightlife ground zero for more than a year.
The Joie de Vivre hotel group has done it again with the opening of its 18th boutique hotel in the Bay Area. Located in Marin County's ritzy Tiburon, Waters Edge has a head-on view of San Francisco Bay — one would expect nothing less of a hotel that was built on a dock extending 200 feet over the bay. The Marco Polo—inspired lobby and 23 rooms are filled with exotic prints and treasures from far-off lands; the two suites at the end have large decks. Bonus: Waters Edge is right next to Sams, the legendary Bloody Mary port-of-call for yachties and brunchers. Waters Edge, 25 Main St.; 877/789-5999 or 415/789-5999, fax 415/789-5888; doubles from $175.
TAKE A POWDER
A newly invented skin-care regime from Archive comes in powder form, allowing you to mix different nutrient-rich concentrations. (Ayurvedic gurus say this practice preserves the potency of vitamins.) The collection of natural face scrubs contains ingredients like buttermilk, cocoa, and wheat germ. Stash enough for an overnight, and say good-bye to bulky bottles in your cosmetics case. 800/208-1922; from $12.