todd takes on miami
Fashion designer Todd Oldham has dressed up Miami Beach's Tiffany, a 1939 glam pad. Now called the Hotel (love the simple name), it's pure Oldham, from the crush-dyed robes to the bath tiles, all individually painted with stripes and squiggles. Hallways glimmer with opalescent light, room numbers are glowing stones, and an emerald-cut pool floats on the roof. The Persian-inspired Wish restaurant serves vegetarian cuisine (crisp squash blossoms, anyone?) beneath hand-blown glass lamps in shades of amethyst, aquamarine, and ruby. Why all the jewel allusions?"I was inspired by an original piece of Tiffany Hotel stationery inscribed 'A Gem at the Ocean,'" Oldham says. The Hotel, 801 Collins Ave.; 877/843-4683 or 305/531-2222; doubles from $185. —Stacy Ritz
Visitors have been walking through Avon's door in droves since the cosmetics giant opened in Manhattan's Trump Tower this winter. Created by California designer Barbara Barry, the complex has two floors stocked with compacts, eye shadows, shampoos, Skin So Soft, and wall-to-wall lipsticks in every imaginable shade. But the big news is the serenely beautiful spa and salon, which welcomes with curved walls, shades of blue and green, and even an oval relaxation room. Avon, you never looked so good. Avon Centre, 725 Fifth Ave.; 212/755-2866. —Kimberly Robinson
talk in any town
Language Teacher, a new palm-size electronic translator, is a Speak & Spell for adults. Enter a word or phrase in English and a computerized voice spits it out in Hebrew, Japanese, even Serbo- Croatian. Choose from 29 machines, each with a different language (later this year, Ectaco International plans to introduce a model with a pop-out chip to accommodate all 29). Leave your Palm Pilot at home — this wunderkind also has a phone directory and datebook. 800/710-7920; $99-$329. —Hannah Wallace
napa valley food fight
Twenty years ago, Yountville — gateway to California's Napa Valley — was distinguished by a hilltop veterans' home. These days, it's better known for toque wars. Philippe Jeanty fired the first salvo with his rigorously old-fashioned — and inexpensive — menu of jellied pig's trotters, cassoulet, and sizzling crêpes suzette at Bistro Jeanty (6510 Washington St.; 707/944-0103; dinner for two $60). Thomas Keller, the force behind Yountville's spectacular restaurant French Laundry, has opened a casual bistro of his own, Bouchon (6534 Washington St.; 707/944-8037; dinner for two $70), featuring foie gras terrines served in canning jars. And in neighboring Rutherford, Ken Frank's La Toque (1140 Rutherford Rd.; 707/963-9770; dinner for two $130) is poised for battle with five-course meals including his famous seared duck livers. —Jonathan Gold
at home in paris
Stopping at one of these new Paris addresses is like visiting a good friend at home. At La Belle Hortense (31 Rue Vieille du Temple; 33-1/48-04-71-60), a Marais bookshop and literary bar, owner Nathalie Schroun mingles with guests and tops up drinks. Mary Shaw's home furnishings shop, Sequana (64 Ave. de la Motte Picquet; 33-1/45-66-58-40), has a similarly cozy feel, played up with fresh country flowers and piles of logs by the fireplace. Evening customers sip whiskey while shopping for cedar stools and tweed-covered daybeds. —Christopher Petkanas
red, set, go
So long, black book; the red book is here. Louis Vuitton's City Guides give the tasteful scoop on everything from the gastronomic to the fashionable in 30 European cities. The seven volumes, each covering a specific region, are available in English or French. 800/285-2255 or 212/371-6111; $50 for the set. —Catherine Doyle
• Hear it: European hipsters have embraced the new album Alger Alger by Lili Boniche, who sings Arabic music with a twist. Boniche, a young 75, is a legend in his native Algeria.
• Eat it: Vosges Haut Chocolat (888/301-9866) makes bonbons with exotic ingredients from around the globe, such as curry and wasabi.
• Buy it: Demand is snowballing for French vintage couture. In Paris, connoisseurs head to Didier Ludot (20-24 Galerie Montpensier, Palais-Royal; 33-1/42-96-06-56) and Catherine Arigoni (14 Rue de Beaune; 33-1/42-60-50-99).
• Sniff it: The Hotel Jerome (970/920-1000) has developed Jeromatherapy, a line of three scents to help out-of-towners acclimate to Aspen's altitude, relax, and revitalize. Available free upon check-in or $40 for a take-home kit.
• Wear it: Danskin's new travel wardrobe in a bag (800/288-6749).
first ladies of design
Next best thing to the Lincoln Bedroom: Michigan's Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island has inaugurated five suites styled by former First Ladies (with help from Carleton Varney, who decorated the Carter White House). Rosalynn Carter chose a Georgia peach color scheme; vermilion is for red-suited Nancy Reagan. Barbara Bush, Betty Ford, and Lady Bird Johnson also pitched in. No Hillary?"When she's a former First Lady, we'll probably ask her," says Varney. Grand Hotel, 906/847-3331; suites $760. —Margery Guest
Next month, all eyes will be on West Hollywood's new Pagani, where Elton John is throwing his Oscar-night party. The restaurant, in the old Morton's space, is sleek and geometric, thanks to architect Hagy Belzberg, a protégé of Frank Gehry. And the menu — San Marzano tomato soup with eggplant caviar, blue crab salad with papaya, osso buco — is just as cosmopolitan. Pagani, 8800 Melrose Ave.; 310/858-5801; dinner for two $80. —George Christy
curing pet lag
The latest spa craze has a canine bent. Mexico's Las Ventanas al Paraíso (52-114/40300) offers dual rubdowns for you and your perro, while the New York Dog Spa & Hotel (212/243-1199) kneads out knots with a massage therapy called T-Touch. All the big L.A. hotels use Hollywood Hounds (323/650-5551), a day spa for dogs. Sarwee, a Jakarta-trained masseuse, will give your shih tzu a shiatsu with lavender-scented oil. —Joey Hoffman
Washington, D.C.'s hipness quotient has received a much-needed boost with the George, the capital's first style-conscious hotel. Steve Kaufman's acid-green painting of the first president greets visitors in the otherwise neutral lobby of this 1928 Capitol Hill building; reproductions of the painting hang in each of the 139 uncluttered rooms. While George himself never slept here, John F. Kennedy Jr., Alanis Morissette, and John Malkovich have. Hotel George, 15 E St. NW; 800/576-8331 or 202/347-4200; doubles from $215. —Luba Vangelova
Discovered: the perfect foundation for scorching climates. Whether in Tunisia's desert or on the streets of Atlanta in August, Chantecaille's Real Skin — lightweight and gel-based — keeps faces cool and covered. Available at some Neiman Marcus stores and at Bergdorf Goodman, New York; $47. —K.R.