Edited by Laura Begley
News on where to stay . . . what to see . . . what to buy . . .
staying on top down under
In the span of just a year, four ultra-stylish hotels have splashed onto the scene in Melbourne, Australia. • The 71-room Royce (379 St. Kilda Rd.; 61-3/9677-9900; doubles from $168) is in an Art Deco former car showroom -- that's "Royce" as in "Rolls." At the hotel's Dish restaurant, chef Christian Poulsen's barramundi with fragrant rice and laksa sauce is all the rage. • Overlooking Port Phillip Bay, the Prince (2 Acland St.; 61-3/9536-1111; doubles from $157) was an institution since the 1930's. With a new look and a new name, the 40-room hotel now has an Austin Powers feel: chairs by Marc Newson and Fritz Hanson; Philippe Starck fixtures in the bathrooms. • At the clubby 59-room Hotel Lindrum (26 Flinders St.; 61-3/9668-1111; doubles from $113), business travelers with Modernist sensibilities can unwind with a rare cognac in the walnut-wood cigar bar. • Largest and flashiest of all, the 240-room Park Hyatt Melbourne (1 Parliament Square; 800/233-1234 or 61-3/9224-1234; doubles from $366) has installations by Japanese artist Akio Makigawa and a day spa that has lured Hugh Grant and Liz Hurley. The 2 1/2-hour Himalayan Rejuvenation -- combining a steam inhalation, full-body exfoliation, and rhythmic friction massage -- is the top indulgence.
lines in the sand
Was your beach blanket a bath towel in a former life?Maybe it's time for an upgrade. Calvin Klein's terry towels with a colorful dobby stripe are the latest from a brigade of designers -- Gucci, Versace -- who've added beach accessories to their repertoire. At 40 by 70 inches, there's plenty of room for you and all the coastal creatures you might attract at the beach. $40; 800/294-7978 for stores.
hong kong clutch
It's easy to miss Style Trek. Short on space but long on fashion, the tiny boutique in Hong Kong's Landmark building shows off a fantastic array of pocketbooks in silk, bone, shell, wood, beads, and sequins. Owner Joanne Ooi sought to create a handbag candy store, or, as she describes it, "a girlie place where you can leave with something that matches what you're wearing." While there's barely room for five customers at a time, try to squeeze in -- chances are you won't go home empty-handed. Style Trek, Shop 116A, The Landmark; 852/2501-5338.
the pompidou for dinner
Meet Georges, the fiercely fashionable new Paris restaurant atop the Centre Pompidou. Gilbert and Jean-Louis Costes, the brothers behind the Hôtel Costes, have created a mind-bending essay in postmodernism. The restaurant commands a lofty space whose main features -- three giant brushed-aluminum "pods" -- tuck the kitchen out of sight. The food is Asian, Italian, French -- and beside the point. The point is the tables in sandblasted glass, lit from below and set with hyper-modern cutlery. Georges, Centre Pompidou; 33-1/44-78-47-99; dinner for two $82.
The Netherlands' Spaarne 8 might seem to be just another droplet in the flood of minimalist hotels -- until you notice the details, such as etched-glass doors and antique wainscoting from Belgium; an Indonesian dining table; century-old cocktail glasses. Named for its address in Haarlem, 15 minutes from both Schiphol Airport and central Amsterdam, Holland's smallest hotel has just two guest rooms, both of which give onto a patio, pond, and serene garden. Call it minimalist abundance. Spaarne 8, Haarlem; 31-23/551-1544, fax 31-23/534-2602; doubles from $225.
Set to earn its place in fashion history, Issey Miyake's latest clothing concept is being introduced in Tokyo at his new shop, A-POC (short for A Piece of Cloth). Here's the twist: dresses, hats, socks, underwear, even gloves and purses are cut from tubes of fabric by customers themselves, following a Miyake template. Every little detail is incorporated into the garment, including fringe and faux fur. Squeamish about creating your own clothes?Miyake also sells pre-cut A-POC designs. This could become the ultimate travel garb -- just grab a swath of fabric and pack your shears. A-POC, 3-17-14 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku; 81-3/5770-4500.
on your feet
The hottest rubber to hit the pavement since Goodyear, Hogan sneakers are leaving tread marks from here to Italy as they rapidly become a cultlike fashion symbol. Italian designer Diego Della Valle's just-introduced line of walking shoes and lace-ups come in suede, canvas, and python. Hogan's first U.S. shop will open in Los Angeles next month. Until then, snap up your pair at Bergdorf Goodman or select Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, or by calling 877/252-8611. From $245.
nude in dublin
Whatever Bono, of the rock band U2, touches in Dublin turns to gold (case in point: his Clarence hotel). These days, all it takes is someone related to Bono. His brother, Norman Hewson, has teamed with Paul Daly, who designed London's hip bars Elbow Room and Lab, and backer Gordon Campbell to create Nude. The fast-food joint, which serves up organic (but not strictly vegetarian) wraps, panini, salads, and smoothies, has quickly become the place to be seen. "We were inspired by L.A. juice bars," says Daly. "It's all about being healthy." And inexpensive -- nothing on the menu costs more than $5. Nude, 21 Suffolk St.; 353-1/672-5577.