T&L Reports: Oasis in Marrakesh, Disney's New Zoo
the honeyed life in morocco
Set in the Palmeraie, a magnificent palm grove just outside town, is Marrakesh's newest oasis: Les Deux Tours. The Moorish-style pleasure palace offers peace and solitude far from the tumult. Charles Boccara, one of Marrakesh's best-known architects, has cleverly designed a series of 10 sinewy, interconnecting villas that appear to have come straight from the 15th-century medina. They all look past the towering palms toward the High Atlas Mountains. Though Les Deux Tours has no central reception or dining area, an almost invisible staff is always on hand to cater to you. Breakfast of Moroccan pancakes (like waffles, only better) and local honey is laid out on your terrace before you wake. An elaborate dinner (harira stew or lamb tagine, couscous, and almond cakes) is set up in your sitting room at a moment's notice. Each villa has a fireplace—a boon in winter, when temperatures can drop from daytime highs of 75 degrees to after-dark lows of 40. But the best feature is your private plunge pool, in a garden filled with date palms, frangipani, hibiscus, and night-scented jasmine. Les Deux Tours, Palmeraie de Marrakesh; 212-4/312-071, fax 212-4/312-057; doubles from $110. —Jeremy Wayne
vietnam's new view
Unlike many of Asia's new resorts—each one more in-your-face opulent than the last—the Ana Mandara in Nha Trang subscribes to subtle overindulgence. Its 68 bungalows are scattered on a pristine beach; an outdoor pavilion serves divine local dishes; boats can be hired for floating picnics or island excursions. Ana Mandara, Tran Phu Blvd.; 44-181/743-0208 or 84-58/829-829, fax 84-58/829-629; doubles from $137.—Erika Lederman
latin in manhattan
Pounding salsa, Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and Ellen DeGeneres at the bar, mod design by Philippe Starck . . . must be the new restaurant attached to New York's Morgans hotel. Gear up for Chinese five-spice foie gras with Cubano French toast—just one of the Chino-Latino twists at Asia de Cuba. Reserve a seat at the 50-foot communal table: you can spy on practically every person in the zesty double-decker restaurant. Asia de Cuba, 237 Madison Ave., 212/ 726-7755; dinner for two $75. —L.B.
mickey goes wild
This spring, look for hundreds of elephants, giraffes, and lions roaming the Florida savanna. Disney World is opening its largest theme park ever: Animal Kingdom, near Orlando. Safe?Of course: safari vehicles will carry visitors, while barriers keep the wild things separated from the people—and one another. "We want realism," says a spokesperson, "but we don't want kids to see Simba munching on Bambi." Disney's Animal Kingdom, 407/824-4321. —Mark Orwoll
For all its renown, great Cuban music is hard to find in the States. Enter Nonesuch Records, which has just released a trio of CD's recorded in Havana with the help of guitar god Ry Cooder. The sound quality is superb and the performances simply burn. Ask for Afro-Cuban All Stars' A Toda Cuba le Gusta and the self-titled albums by Rubén González and the Buena Vista Social Club.—Peter Jon Lindberg
prague's place to be
Obecní Dum (Municipal House)—the 1905 Art Nouveau masterpiece that dominates Námestí Republiky (Republic Square)—has reopened after a $59 million renovation. Home to cafés and shops, it is becoming Prague's social hub for the second time around. With a Pilsner Urquell in hand, it's not hard to picture Kafka sitting at the next table. Obecní Dum, 5 Námestí Republiky; 420-2/2200-2100. —David Sturm
walk this way
When your feet cry out for a nap, toss them a pair of wool blankets—felt liners of merino fleece from Morehouse Farm's herd in Dutchess County, New York. Did we hear our soles sigh, "ah-h-h," or was that "ba-a-a?" Available in seven colors, $5 a pair; 914/758-6493. —Heather Smith MacIsaac
vacuum-packed and ready to take away
According to the owners, it's a Fantastic Factory of Light and Experiment. The new Antoni & Alison shop in London's trendy Clerkenwell neighborhood features (as decoration) rescued carnival lights and (as products) vacuum-packed T-shirts with slogans like souvenir for the year 2000. But Antoni & Alison's tops—as well as skirts that come with a pencil attached—are more than souvenirs, as attested by the Victoria & Albert's "living archive" of their work. Get your museum pieces now. Antoni & Alison, 43 Rosebery Ave.; 44-171/833-2002. —Vanessa Friedman
Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls Hotel, one of Africa's colonial legends, is back in full swing. An overhaul has shored up its 1920's Edwardian design, while adding a butler-staffed 44-room wing and a thatched-roof restaurant with a priceless view of the Zambezi River bridge and Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls Hotel, 800/521-7242 or 263-4/736-644; doubles from $360. —Hannah Wallace
where are you off to?
- WALLY "FAMOUS" AMOS, COOKIE MAN: Washington, D.C. "I'll be there for Black History Month, in February."
- BOBBI BROWN, MAKEUP ARTIST: Telluride, Colorado. "It's my favorite place to go skiing."
- JUDY BLUME, AUTHOR: Key West. "What I like best is grocery shopping by bike."
- HELEN GURLEY BROWN, THE ORIGINAL COSMO GIRL: Tahiti. "It's my first time: I'm taking a Seabourn cruise."
- QUENTIN CRISP, WRITER/PERFORMER: Costa Rica. "I'm like Miss Monroe. I like it hot."
- GRACE JONES, SINGER: Jamaica. "At Goldeneye resort, I'll rest before recording my next album."