East Meets Swiss Spa
Most of Switzerland's spas embrace a European medical tradition, but Le Montreux Palace's recently opened Amrita Wellness approaches healthy living from the East. The opulent 1906 palace hotel has an underground tunnel that leads to a sanctuary of tranquillity. There, sulfurous waters are replaced by Ayurvedic oil-infused baths, and clinical treatment rooms are conspicuously absent—instead there are 10 womblike chambers with stone floors, earth tones, and waterfalls. Treatments range from Shirodhara (an Indian head massage) to Turkish scrubs. When it's cold outside, guests can warm up in the hammam. And in springtime, when the garden is in bloom, solarium chaise longues invite guests to ponder Lake Geneva, the Alps, and the Eastern Hemisphere beyond. Amrita Wellness, 100 Grand-Rue, Montreux, Switzerland; 41-21/962-1212; www.montreux-palace.com; doubles from $340, treatments from $60.
Situated on Rue Saint Maur in Paris, this African restaurant celebrates the cuisine of Cameroon and Senegal. The menu features a number of dishes made with traditional African ingredients such as maffe (peanut) and bitterleaf. Flag, a popular Senegalese beer, is offered as an accompaniment to meals. The atmosphere is lively and relaxed; a decidedly casual dining area complete with murals, Christmas lights, and assorted plants sets a casual, welcoming tone. Live music lends an authentic aura to the spot, transporting diners to Africa.