No. 5
You have to wonder about a hotel with door tags that read do me now please (a cheeky instruction to make up the room). Add bamboo floors, faux-sable bed throws, and kimonos in place of terry robes, and you've got No. 5 Maddox. Located on the Soho edge of Mayfair, the former office complex is part sophisticated apartment building, part boutique hotel. Guests in each of the 12 suites are greeted with a bag of groceries (to stock the kitchen), though a chef can be called in if you want to entertain. No. 5 Maddox has been an instant hit — especially with travelers who like to get around by bike. Folding Muji 10-speeds are available to rent. NO. 5 MADDOX, 5 Maddox St., London; 44-171/792-4070, fax 44-171/792-4003; suites from $317. — Philip Watson

From Russia with . . .Linen
Lusting after European bedding but not willing to pay the price for 100 percent linen?Russia's new Volga Linen Co. offers a crisp line at a fraction of what you'd pay for Frette. Sheet sets (from $266), tablecloths ($47), and duvet covers ($250) are produced with 18th-century workmanship on the northern shores of the Volga River. Since linen feels so good next to the skin, Volga also sells pj's ($163). VOLGA LINEN CO., 44-1728/635-020, fax 44-1728/635-021. — Mario R. Mercado

Getting Jiggy
The sound of jigs and reels is echoing off postmodern façades in Dublin's Smithfield district. At Chief O'Neill's, a minimalist hotel with an affinity for Ireland's traditional music, guests have access to an extensive CD library. In the evenings, the bar holds some of the best trad jam sessions in town. The country's timeless tunes are also presented at Ceol, a just-opened music center-cum-interactive museum next door. CHIEF O'NEILL'S, 353-1/817-3838, fax 353-1/817-3839; doubles $173. — Michael Cain

A Splash of Japan in San Francisco
Trendy hotel group Joie de Vivre strikes again in San Francisco, this time transforming a Japantown bathhouse into a dreamy day spa. After a Zen treatment (energy work, rebalancing, seaweed wraps) or a steamy bath, slip into a towel and sip eucalyptus tea with the girls — or guys. There are designated sauna days for each. KABUKI SPRINGS & SPA, 1750 Geary Blvd.; 415/922-6000. — Heidi Lender

What's Eating Sydney
It's a shame there isn't an Olympic event for opening fabulous restaurants — Sydney would take the gold in 2000. Atop a 1968 office tower, the revolving SUMMIT RESTAURANT (264 George St.; 61-2/9247-9777) is back with a novel look — think Austin Powers — and dishes such as prawn cocktail and duckling À l'orange. A mean French menu, a view of the old shipping harbor, and a room of ineffable glamour make AMPERSAND (Roof Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf, Darling Park; 61-2/9264-6666) the place to be. Go for the salt-crusted pigeon at SALT (229 Darlinghurst Rd.; 61-2/9332-2011), all granite, glass, steel, and leather. Resolutely third millennium. — Maggie Alderson

Calling the Bush Doctor
Not content with offering only mud baths and seaweed wraps, the spa at St. Lucia's Jalousie Hilton just added the services of a bush doctor. Daniel Cherubin concocts remedies with rain forest plants, treating colds with boiled pea leaves, headaches with ginger-and-salt tea, and insomnia with dried soursop leaves. The hands-on healer personally administers the cures in the resort's hilltop spa. JALOUSIE HILTON RESORT & SPA, 800/445-8667 or 758/459-7666. — Jill Fergus

Get a Handle
It's the latest in throwaway chic: François Renier's handbag for the tweedy Paris company Old England. Handles in crocodile, ostrich, or calfskin ($22-$141) hook through paper bags ($82 for a 10-pack). Renier sought to wed a noble material to an everyday one whose life span is that of, well, a paper bag. OLD ENGLAND, 12 Blvd. des Capucines; 33-1/47-42-81-99. — Christopher Petkanas

Prettier in Pink
"Love it or hate it. Just don't ignore it," says Barbara Hulanicki, referring to the fresh new look she's just given Pink Sands on Harbour Island. The hotel, already blessed with three miles of pale-pink Bahamas beach, is now a Moroccan-Indian fantasy. In the public rooms a profusion of pastels spills over pillows, batiks, rugs, and screens from the Near and Far East; the 25 villas are bathed in pink, lavender, or yellow. Impossible to ignore, Barbara. Easy to love. PINK SANDS, 800/688-7678 or 242/333-2030; villas from $450. — Mary Hilliard

American in Paris
Having opened serious French restaurants in Paris and Monaco, French chef Alain Ducasse had one mountain left to scale: la cuisine panculturelle. But though Indian and Asian dishes are on the menu at his latest Paris venture, Spoon Food & Wine, the emphasis is on fare that pays homage to American classics — while simultaneously spoofing them. Haute reworkings of stateside staples include iceberg lettuce salad and macaroni and cheese, made with Stars-and-Stripes cheddar. SPOON FOOD & WINE, 14 Rue de Marignan; 33-1/40-76-34-44; dinner for two $42. — C.P.

Monastic Retreat
There's something deliciously current about Palazzo Arzaga, a new Italian resort near Lake Garda. The 87 rooms in the restored monastery have 15th-century frescoes and Internet access. Golf courses by Jack Nicklaus II and Gary Player undulate past walled gardens and a medieval bell tower. And where monks once wandered, there's a full-on Saturnia spa. PALAZZO ARZAGA, Carzago di Calvagese della Riviera, Brescia; 800/323-7500 or 39-030/680-600; doubles from $315. — Tom Mueller

Hot Talk
Nokia's chief designer came from BMW — and it shows. The company's 8800 Series cell phone is the world's sexiest, with brains to match: a calendar alerts you to appointments; a calculator converts exchange rates. All this at less than four ounces. The chrome unit was so popular when it debuted in Europe last year that it was fetching $3,000 on the black market. When it arrives here next month, it'll retail for $500-$700. A bargain. — Erik Torkells

In the Dark
Bowling, that quintessential 1950's pastime, is back with a vengeance and an updated look. Black lights, Day-Glo shoes, and reflective balls and pins are drawing the young and ironic to glow-in-the-dark alleys across the country: San Francisco's Japantown Bowl (1790 Post St.; 415/921-6200), Los Angeles's Palm Tree L.A. (3240 Wilshire Blvd.; 213/381-3388), and New York's Chelsea Piers (23rd St. & West Side Hwy.; 212/835-2695). — Chris Rubin