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Haute hotels . . .

. . . innovative airport check-in, and a ride on the Onassis yacht

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Jackie Go
If the Met's Jackie exhibit leaves you hungry for more former First Lady style in your life, consider a cruise aboard Aristotle Onassis's legendary Christina O -- now available for charters for the first time. The 325-foot yacht, with eighteen state-rooms and a pool that converts to a dance floor, sets sail this month after a $50 million restoration. You can indulge in the same outrageous luxury -- barstools covered in whale foreskin and a lapis lazuli fireplace -- once offered to guests like Marilyn and Sinatra. Besides the Jackie link, Christina O is also where Onassis trysted with Maria Callas and Grace Kelly got married. New co-owner (and former Onassis friend) John Paul Papanicolaou is offering private charters for a whopping $70,000 per day (011-30-1-428-0889); ten-night commercial cruises are available through Tauck World Discovery for $17,500 per couple (800-468-2825).

Machine Dreams
Say good-bye to airline-ticket agents: We've seen the future of airport check-ins . . . and it's a robot in Minneapolis. Three weeks ago, Northwest Airlines installed the first-ever completely automated check-in system there, and it not only assigns seats and spits out boarding passes, but it prints baggage stickers so you can check your own luggage as well. (The terminals, which resemble ATMs, even ask, Did you pack your own bags?) Northwest, Continental, and Alaska have already been offering "self-service devices," minus the do-it-yourself baggage check, at airports nationwide -- Northwest's hit JFK this month -- but the newer system won't arrive in New York airports until next year. By the way, we tried it out, and though it worked fine, all attempts to chat up the computer for a free upgrade failed completely.

Designer Digs
Coach experimented with furniture, then Prada dabbled in beauty products. Now fashion houses are putting their labels on luxury hotels faster than you can say Ian Schrager. Krizia was first in 1990 with Barbuda's K Club (268-460-0300; from $800), followed by Diesel, whose grunge-hip Pelican Hotel (800-7-PELICAN; from $170) in South Beach has attracted the likes of Cameron Diaz and Antonio Banderas. Now Ferragamo operates four Florentine properties (011-39-055-977-053; from $228); Bulgari is considering spots in Paris, London, and Rome; and Donatella's six-month-old Palazzo Verace (pictured) is such a hit in Australia (011-61-7-5509-8000; from $241) that a Thailand property is in the works, with more Asian locales rumored to follow.
betsy gruber

Deal of the Week
Nice's newly renovated Hôtel La Pérouse is an ideal spot on the Côte D'Azur from which to enjoy the current Riviera revival. Three nights for two in an upgraded sea-view room with balcony and breakfast normally goes for $1,035, but through October, mention New York Magazine and get it for $799 (call 888-989-1768).

etc.
Rome with a View Booking a hotel in Rome is never easy during the summer, but the Ponte Sisto, a 103-room facility near the Tiber, has just reopened after a four-month face-lift, and there are still vacancies. New features include marble bathrooms and satellite TVs (doubles start at $190, including breakfast; 011-3906-686311). Drunken Angels Navigating L.A.'s sprawling nightlife has finally been made easy thanks to Nancy Rommelmann's Los Angeles Bar & Nightlife Guide, a savvy, up-to-date insider's guide to the bars and clubs of La La Land, out this month (St. Martin's Press $11.95). A Stonington's Throw Connecticut gets one more Colonial guest house this summer with the month-old Inn at Stonington. Close to Mystic and Foxwoods Casino, most of the inn's twelve rooms come with Jacuzzi and fireplace (860-535-2000; doubles from $155). Walk This Way Country Walkers, the hiking outfitter, is adding new guided tours this summer through the mountain and lake trails of Maine's Acadia National Park, and through Tuscany's bountiful Chianti region ($1,898 per person for the five-day Acadia tour, $3,498 for the seven-day Tuscany tour; 800-464-9255).


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