T+L Reports: New Zealand, Manhattan, Hotel Sound Tracks
LODGING, KIWI STYLE
Add Kauri Cliffs to New Zealand's growing list of luxury lodges. A colonial-style creation on the bucolic North Island, Kauri Cliffs is home to a must-play golf course, designed by David Harman of Mauna Kea fame (15 of Kauri's 18 holes overlook the Pacific Ocean). Julian Robertson, a former fund manager, built Kauri Cliffs because he and his wife, Josie, wanted to "share the God-appointed grounds with others." The 16 suites are in eight cottages with tin roofs, pillared verandas, and an abundance of fireplaces. Despite being in what locals call the back o' beyond, you're assured gastronomic greatness, thanks to chef Paul Jobin, fresh from a successful stint at Huka Lodge. Kauri Cliffs Lodge & Golf Course, Waiaua Bay Rd., Matauri Bay; 64-9/405-1905, fax 64-9/405-1901; doubles from $425.
Dim sum goes groovy at Hakkasan, a new London venture from Alan Yau, founder of the Wagamama noodle bars. Christian Liaigre designed the dining room, enclosing it in a lattice wood "cage" reminiscent of antique Chinese doors. Hakkasan, 8 Hanway Place; 44-207/927-7000; dinner for two $114.
SMALLER IS BETTER
Boutique hotels are opening at a rapid clip in Manhattan. Here, the hottest entries. With its Thomas O'Brien—designed lobby and 100 glass-and-chrome rooms, 60 Thompson (60 Thompson St.; 877/431-0400; doubles from $370) is more Left Bank than South of Houston. The Bryant Park Hotel (40 W. 40th St.; 877/640-9300; doubles from $245), in the historic American Radiator Building, transformed by Brit David Chipperfield, is a hit with the fashion flock. Bookish types relish the Library Hotel (299 Madison Ave.; 877/793-7323; doubles from $265), where each room is marked with the Dewey decimal number that corresponds to the books inside—500.006 is the astronomy suite.
A breath of fresh air has blown into Calgary International Airport. The recently opened OraOxygen Wellness Spa offers massage, reflexology, and an oxygen treatment that combats jet lag and soothes nerves. Next up: branches at Amsterdam's Schiphol (September) and Detroit's Metropolitan Airport (December). OraOxygen Wellness Spa, 905/939-1070; from $10.
Spice up your travel wardrobe with Baume & Mercier's Linea watch (from $995). It comes with two interchangeable bands—you can buy 16 others in different materials and colors ($95 each).
PARIS SCENE ON THE STREET
Shophounds with name brand—itis are thronging Rue Keller, a slightly out-of-the-way strip of alternative fashion boutiques just east of the Bastille, in the 11th Arrondissement. Anne Willi (No. 13; 33-1/48-06-74-06) subverts women's-wear designs by recasting them in men's-wear fabrics. Don't neglect the novelty tops at Éroé des Petits Haits (No. 11; 33-1/43-57-58-48) or the linen clothing at Gaelle Barré (No. 17; 33-1/43-14-63-02). The stock at Le 18 (No. 18; 33-1/48-05-55-62) changes monthly according to such themes as "industry" and "Christmas."
Following the lead of Beauty Bar and the Knitting Factory, Moomba is the newest New York nightspot to hopscotch to L.A. (the Manhattan original closed soon after). Rumor has it that another Big Apple "in" crowd fave, Lotus, isn't far behind. Moomba, 665 N. Robertson Blvd.; 310/652-6364.
GREAT BARRIER RELIEF
The Singapore-based Banyan Tree is sowing seeds with its just-launched brand Angsana, devoted to affordable spa getaways. The first property opened recently in Palm Cove, Cairns, Australia, gateway to the world's best diving. After you resurface, have a tangerine wrap or honey-sesame scrub in an open-air spa pavilion. Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, 1 Veivers Rd.; 61-7/4055-3000, fax 61-7/4055-3090; doubles from $172.
ROCK THE HOUSE
Having mastered the visual, many boutique hotels are titillating one more sense, with individual sound tracks for sale.
THE SOUND Three mood-altering CD's, all flowing with European ambient sounds and Eastern philosophy.
THE DETAILS $15; www.designhotels.com
THE SOUND A sensual blend of international lounge, bossa nova, and trippy jazz from house DJ Stéphane Pompoungnac.
THE DETAILS Vol. III, $17; retailers
House of Blues
THE SOUND From Robert Cray's strings to your ears—an alternating selection of the best Chicago blues.
THE DETAILS free for guests
THE SOUND Not just Bob Marley here—everything else, from island hip-hop to Caribbean New Age.
THE DETAILS $16.98; 305/673-6300
THE SOUND The patrons might be party-going hipsters, but their sound track is mellow and atmospheric.
THE DETAILS $16.99; www.amazon.com
THE SOUND The disc captures the essence of a sleek European supper club. Think swank soul.
THE DETAILS $13; 800/779-6050