T&L Reports: Arizona Oasis, London Cabs
Spread out below a mountain of boulders in the rugged Sonoran Desert, the Four Seasons Scottsdale is Arizona's newest retreat, and its most stylish to date. During the 1940's, a girls' finishing school stood on this land; in 1989 the movie Raising Arizona was filmed here. Today, luxury comes in the form of priority status at the highly coveted Troon North golf courses and 22 suites equipped with private plunge pool and telescope. The 188 guest rooms are pretty fabulous, too: each has a kiva fireplace and a latilla-covered patio. Not to be outdone by the other top-notch resorts in the Phoenix area, Four Seasons has built a sprawling spa and an indulgent 6,000-square-foot bi-level pool surrounded by curtained cabanas. But the best thing is sunset on the terrace of the Crescent Moon restaurant, sitting near the fire pit and watching the city lights come up in the valley below. FOUR SEASONS RESORT SCOTTSDALE AT TROON NORTH, 10600 E. Crescent Moon Dr.; 800/332-3442 or 480/515-5700, fax 480/515-5599; doubles from $475.
Mod In Manhattan
For retro-crazed New Yorkers, two classic neighborhood watering holes have reappeared with sleek new looks. In midtown's Seagram Building, the Brasserie (100 E. 53rd St.; 212/751-8777; dinner for two $70), which closed in 1995, has been transformed by avant-garde mixed-media architects Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio. Downtown, pierogi still reign supreme at Leshko's Coffee Shop (111 Ave. A; 212/777-2111; dinner for two $50), but the greasy-spoon décor has been replaced with Knoll chairs and Frank Lloyd Wright-era flagstone walls.
Sleeping on a plane is a feat most travelers attempt, but few succeed in. Rest is at hand, however, in a solution that's compact, organic, and aromatic. Herbalist Isa Coffey has designed the perfect replacement for those wimpy excuses provided by airlines -- silk-covered travel pillows filled with buckwheat hulls and lavender. Now the only thing standing between you and dreamland is the battle for the armrest. $40 each; 718/783-7959.
Magic Karma Ride
Imagine being driven around London by the male version of Edina from Absolutely Fabulous in a wildly decorated Ambassador car from India. Thanks to Tobias Moss and three partners (including illustrious restaurateurs Tom Conran and Momo), your chariot awaits. At the moment, Karma Kabs is a fleet of three, but because of its rapid success at least five more cars will be added by this summer. At about the same price as a black cab, Karma Kabs are driven by Londoners who know more than just directions. "Our drivers are up on the hippest spots in town," says Moss. And they ferry around some of the hippest passengers: Kate Moss, Ralph Fiennes, John Malkovich. Book ahead for back-seat tarot card readings. Call 44-207/598-0132 for reservations.
Japan is a long way to go for a weekend, but Fuurin-oka, a new futon-and-breakfast on Bainbridge Island near Seattle, makes a remarkable substitute. Sleep on three layers of mattresses; slide open shoji screens to a private Japanese garden; bathe in a traditional tub. "This place casts a spell," says owner Ron Konzak. Indeed: Fuurin-oka means "wind-bell hill," but if mispronounced slightly the sense changes to "trysting place." FUURIN-OKA, 12580 Vista Dr. N.E., Bainbridge Island, Wash.; 206/842-4916; doubles from $149.
--Heidi A. Schuessler
The New Paris Scene
You thought Rue Oberkampf was the trendiest place in Paris?Get with it: the trendier-than-thou are chilling in the quarter encircling Canal St.-Martin, which threads romantically through the 10th Arrondissement. Purple Café (9 Rue Pierre Dupont; 33-1/40-34-14-64) has become the area's hub. Antoine et Lili (95 Quai de Valmy; 33-1/40-37-41-55) is the place for those multicolored woven-plastic market totes seen swinging from the hands of magazine editors. The bookstore OFR System (30 Rue Beaurepaire; 33-1/42-45-72-88), whose initials stand for Out of Site Fashion Riders, hosts maverick fashion shows. Among the Canal's most with-it restaurants are La Marine, Le Saint-Martin, and Da Mimmo (keep an eye out for regular Christian Lacroix).
A mere 3 1/2 weeks after leaving his esteemed post as Salishan Lodge's executive chef, Rob Pounding was in the kitchen of his very own Blackfish Café in Lincoln City on the north-central Oregon Coast. Pounding's new French bistro-inspired restaurant is decorated simply with local artist Rick Martin's maple and mahogany furniture and lit by orange halogen lamps. The menu changes daily, allowing Pounding to do what he does best -- choose the freshest foods available, then prepare them off the cuff. Expect alder-planked salmon, creamy box-crab bisque, pork medallions with huckleberry compote -- or something entirely different. BLACKFISH CAFÉ, 2733 N.W. Hwy. 101; 541/996-1007; dinner for two $40.
Like A Rolling Stone
Here's the ultimate high for a Stones fan: now you can rent Stargroves, Mick Jagger's serene Asian-style six-bedroom villa on the exclusive Caribbean isle of Mustique. Mick comes here to escape the world, in seven thatched-roof pavilions joined by a walkway that stretches over a stream. What better way to peek into a rock star's life than by savoring the trade winds in Mick's open-air dining area, catching rays beside his tropically landscaped pool, and laying your head on his down-filled pillow?$8,000-$12,700 a week, including staff and vehicle; 800/225-4255.
Let Liberty Ring
While most museums in Philadelphia's Historic District honor white men from England, at the new National Liberty Museum, Gandhi, Mandela, and Wei Jingsheng appear alongside heroes from the Bible and modern America. A museum with an opinion, the National illustrates freedom -- of speech, of religion -- by encouraging visitors to feed pages of hateful words into a shredder. And to convey the fact that liberty is fragile, it has commissioned some 60 glass sculptures, including Christopher Ries's crystal Golden Egg of Opportunity and Dale Chihuly's 20-foot-tall Flame of Liberty, whose crimson tendrils stretch two stories. NATIONAL LIBERTY MUSEUM, 321 Chestnut St.; 215/925-2800.
The Eyes Have It
From the hanging Sputnik lamp to the green Naugahyde walls, Artistic Eye, Beverly Hills' latest eyewear boutique, calls to mind the Swinging Sixties. So it's no surprise that optician and designer Michael Sparks's vividly colored plastic and metal frames (fans include Jodie Foster and Ellen DeGeneres) also evoke that era. Sparks couldn't stop there -- he also installed a cocktail bar, where the staff shakes up martinis (and nonalcoholic concoctions) while you mull over styles in a private fitting room. It'll give you a whole new view on life. ARTISTIC EYE, 459 N. Canon Dr.; 310/278-1810.
The king of minimalism has done it again. Calvin Klein's new Color Collection is the most beautifully pared-down cosmetics line to date. Sheer shadows, glosses, and blushes come in Lucite boxes and shiny compacts that just might set off airport metal detectors. But you won't mind. You'll be the best-looking one on the plane, with an understated, perfectly polished face. It's the only way to go. Call 800/715-4023 for stores.
There's No Place Like Om
There's a new sound on Oak Street, Chicago's ultra-exclusive shopping stretch. Listen carefully, for it's hard to hear over the click-click of heels high-stepping it to the Prada shop. It's the sound of chanting. New Age has come ashore on the Gold Coast, in the form of Om for the Home, a day spa and holistic center for tuning up your mind and body. Founded by interior designer Margaret Harris and philanthropist Michael Leppen, Om caters to stressed-out urbanites seeking sanctuary and inner healing through yoga, meditation, shiatsu massage, even workshops in feng shui. Coming soon: meditation programs specifically for those who work on the frenzied floor at the Board of Trade. OM FOR THE HOME, 34 E. Oak St.; 312/397-9181.