News on where to stay . . . what to see . . . what to buy . . .
Akiko Ida

French Bliss
When design diva Andrée Putman trains her talents on a new hotel, tout le monde snaps to attention. Paris's Pershinghall, one block west of the Champs-Élysées, was built in 1890 by the Comte de Paris (the man who would have been king) for his mistress. During World War I, the mansion enjoyed a second act as the headquarters of General John Pershing; Putman preserved the loopy wrought-iron balustrades with star motifs that were added in the American's honor. She hired Patrick Blanc to build a 115-foot vertical courtyard garden with plants from Southeast Asia. The 26 guest rooms are really all about the bathrooms: classic English fittings, tubs on ball feet, and glittering mosaics. Pershinghall, 49 Rue Pierre-Charron; 33-1/58-36-58-00, fax 33-1/58-36-58-01; doubles from $350.Christopher Petkanas

Good For You
As much a gallery as a shop, Boston's Good reflects the singular vision of Paul Niski, a former creative consultant for the Gap and Gucci. Niski changes his Beacon Hill store's thematic "exhibitions" bimonthly, mixing art and antiques with accessories and beauty products. On one visit, you might find vintage ceramics and Eames chairs; on the next, milk glass, luxury bath oils, and one-of-a-kind textiles—whatever catches Niski's eye. Good, 88 Charles St.; 617/722-9200.Alan Brown

Going Native in Bali
Bali has no shortage of resorts with private plunge pools. What sets apart the just-opened 108-room Maya Ubud, in the jungly highlands, is a sublime sense of texture and tradition. Oxcart wheels have been refashioned into mirror frames; fish traps have been converted into bedside tables. One more aesthetic delight: the infinity pool, which overlooks the deep gorge of the Petanu River, is glassed on one end, giving swimmers the impression they're soaring off into space. Maya Ubud Resort, Jalan Gunung Sari; 62-361/977-888, fax 62-361/977-555; doubles from $190.Jeff Barrus

Pounding the Pavement
Could pogo sticks replace scooters as the next blast-from-the-past transportation toy?Hammacher Schlemmer's model ($59.95; 800/543-3366) has a digital-screen readout to count jumps. Airgo by Razor USA ($79.99; 866/467-2967) is air-powered for higher hops. The newest entries on the market, the Blitz line from Pacific Cycle (800/645-5806), are due in stores this spring—the tough-named aluminum Jackhammer is so light it can be tossed into a suitcase for pogo-ing a-go-go. A few minutes of bouncing can make for an excellent workout on the run. Go to to buy a Hammacher Schlemmer pogo stick.Elizabeth Bodman

Miami Makes the Scene
Enchanted by Miami's nine art museums and numerous galleries, organizers of the world's most important exposition of contemporary art are bringing it to our shores. Kicking off a week of gallery exhibits, video installations, and concerts is a stellar Lichtenstein retrospective at MoCA, in North Miami. For details on the first annual Art Basel Miami Beach (December 13—16), see —Jill Spalding

Northwest Zen
A giant bust of Buddha lends an exotic vibe to Toi, Seattle's latest hot spot. Images from Thai mythology flicker on the walls while night crawlers snack on contemporary Thai tapas. In an upstairs loft space, diners get a history lesson of sorts: a vintage map of Siam is embedded in the floor, and epoxy-coated tabletops contain pages from antique Asian medical journals. Toi, 1904 Fourth Ave.; 206/267-1017; dinner for two $34.Katherine Cole

Healing Down Under
Spas across Australia are tapping the wisdom of ancient Aboriginal culture. At the Aurora Spa Retreat (2 Acland St., Melbourne; 61-3/9536-1130), guests—including Sting—are transported by the sound of didgeridoos piped into the private steam room. Purifying treatments at the Observatory Hotel Day Spa (89—113 Kent St., Sydney; 61-2/9256-2229) are infused with native botanicals such as lemon myrtle, lillypilly, and wattle seed. During the kodo massage at the Regent Sydney's Spa & Fitness Centre (199 George St., Sydney; 61-2/9250-3388), you'll get "smoked." Not to worry—the Aboriginals believe this safe, plant-burning technique releases energy.—Iris Brooks

High Style in Houston
Houston's just-opened Hotel Derek is a design junkie's dream. Immensely livable loftlike rooms have quirky lighting, porcelain sinks in glass countertops, pin-striped duvets, and mattresses to order (soft or firm). Taking care of business?Executives are lured by interactive cable TV and complimentary use of the Derek Mobile, a black stretch SUV that chauffeurs guests to appointments. Hotel Derek, 2525 West Loop S.; 866/292-4100 or 713/961-3000; doubles from $245.Carol Isaak Barden

Beauty on Board
Prescriptives can help soothe your skin—and your nerves—with its new In-Flight Travel Kit ($30). The wallet-sized case holds minis of the company's Lip Specialist balm and souped-up Super Flight Cream and Flight Mist, each a blend of potent moisturizers and mood-calming natural scents such as orange and eucalyptus. There's also a satin eye mask for snoozing. —Leesa Chalk Suzman