sydney's new modernism
Chintz is one thing, but Sydney has long lacked a groovy, posing-in-the-lobby hotel. The Kirketon, in edgy Darlinghurst, fills the gap beautifully, with its champagne bar (a favorite among visiting fashion crews); Fix, a dark, humidor-equipped smoking den; and Salt restaurant, from bright chef Luke Mangan. But what most defines the Kirketon is its opulent minimalism, the work of design group Burley Katon Halliday. Marble terrazzo floors, leather banquettes, and glass walls are warmed by antique Chinese tables, and each of the 40 guest rooms has a snuggly mohair throw. The Kirketon, 229 Darlinghurst Rd.; 800/552-6844 or 61-2/9332-2011, fax 61-2/9332-2499; doubles from $130. —Maggie Alderson
the tailored look has landed
Two new shops in New York's SoHo are as exquisitely crafted as the clothing they sell. At Christine Ganeaux (45 Crosby St.; 212/431-4462), a George Nelson clock, a touch of lime-green paint, and dark wood fixtures perfectly complement the quirky yet classic women's wear: chamois skirts, waxed cotton jackets, simply cut trousers. At Seize sur Vingt (243 Elizabeth St.; 212/343-0476), huge windows illuminate spare racks displaying men's and women's shirts in colorfully patterned Italian fabrics, and a seventies reel-to-reel tape deck plays custom-made mixes. So hip you'll want to move in. —Shax Riegler
back to life in jerusalem
Designer Adam Tihany has a way with legendary spaces: first he took on Budapest's Gundel, then he propelled New York's Le Cirque into the year 2000. Now he has resuscitated Jerusalem's King David Hotel. Its regal décor has gone fresh and modern, with zippy molding, striped fabrics, and some of the boldest ceilings this side of the Dead Sea. King David Hotel, 23 King David St., Jerusalem; 212/752-6120 or 972-2/620-8888; doubles from $379. —L.B.
Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side of the pond. At British Airways' upper-class arrivals lounge in Heathrow's Terminal Four, the scent of freshly mowed grass wafts out of capsules installed at floor level. (On alternate days, the aroma of sea air greets guests.) Private showers, a gym, and a Molton Brown Travel Spa with free facials, massages, and reflexology are all the airline's way of perking up those first- and business-class passengers after they disembark. —S.M.
Forget Rollerblades. Scoot around this summer on a bamboo bicycle. With its adjustable overhead awning, the bike is not only the latest in Vietnamese chic, but it also shields you from those intense rays. $650, from Island Outpost in Miami Beach; 305/673-6300. —Vicky McGarry
Dallas: Origins introduces its first spa this month. Sign up for 100 Minutes of Heaven.
London: Room-service caviar sandwiches are the snack of choice at One Aldwych hotel.
Los Angeles: Durt shirts (310/772-0093), printed with real-life personal ads, have stolen the hearts of Angelenos and, we hear, singer Fiona Apple.
Paris: Ame has become the champagne for the French who abstain. The alcohol-free energy drink (grape juice diluted in spring water with ginseng and other herbs) tastes of passion fruit, apricot, or rose.
Washington, D.C.: The National Gallery of Art's new Sculpture Garden has added zest to the national Mall.
At Edinburgh's new 48-room Bonham hotel, in three connecting town houses, Victorian bric-a-brac has been banished in favor of neutral accents, digital TV's, wild contemporary art, and a restaurant where chef Pelham Hill performs a radical riff on traditional cuisine. Don't miss his crab-and-mango beignets or guinea fowl with coconut mash. Bonham, 35 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh; 800/323-5463 or 44-131/226-6050; doubles from $275. —Shane Mitchell
cool cocktails in iceland
British culinary and design impresario Terence Conran has turned his sights north — to Iceland. Conran drew on the faded glamour of the Rex Cinema in Buenos Aires in creating the Rex bar, which occupies a former Art Deco clothing store in downtown Reykjavík. Behind Rex's icily ornate façade is a cool backlighted glass bar flanked by long leather sofas. Downstairs, Conran warms up the mood with the Mafia Room, an underground members' lounge with padded red leather walls. Rex, 9 Austurstraeti, Reykjavík; 354/551-9111. —Raul Barreneche
Walter — a new Antwerp shop by fashion designers Walter Van Beirendonck and Dirk van Saene — is more art gallery than clothing boutique. "Bondage" sweaters and shark-shaped sneakers are displayed in rolling cases; a wooden cottage shelters crepe-paper cocktail dresses; kids' clothes are housed in an enormous bear sculpture. "People love the space," says Van Beirendonck. "Some of them even buy!" Walter, 12 St. Antoniusstraat, Antwerp; 32-03/213-2644. —Richard Alleman
fresh from l.a.
The trendy, the famous, and the foodies are crowding Lucques restaurant, chef Suzanne Goin's West Hollywood debut. Goin, an Alice Waters disciple, uses only fresh organic ingredients in her Californian-French dishes. She relied on interior decorator Barbara Barry for the open space, with its high, arching ceiling, exposed beams, and wood-burning fireplace. Lucques, 8474 Melrose Ave.; 323/655-6277; dinner for two $80. —Jessica Strand
you go, girl
What kind of road warrior are you?Greta Garbo (sunglasses, head scarf)?Or Bonnie without Clyde (leather coat, beret)?Hit the highway in style with Cameron Tuttle's Bad Girl's Guide to the Open Road (Chronicle Books, $14.95), a cheeky handbook with such useful chapters as "How to Beat the Speeding Rap" and "Drive-by Dating." —Kimberly Robinson
the fruits of jamaica
Country Country delivers more style per buck than any other hotel on Negril's seven-mile white-sand beach. Architect Ann Hodges had a ball dreaming up this color-crazy 14-room fantasy of a colonial Jamaican village, complete with verandas and lacy fretwork. Country Country, Negril; 876/957-4273, fax 876/957-4342; doubles from $105. —Christopher Petkanas