Chelsea and the meatpacking district attract the kind of tourist who’d rather shop at Stella McCartney than be herded through the Statue of Liberty. But until now, gallery-hopping hipsters have had nowhere to lay their artfully uncombed heads at night. The Hotel Gansevoort (scheduled for fall 2003 at Ninth Avenue and 13th Street) will have 187 rooms, a rooftop pool, and a restaurant run by the Buddha Bar folks (rates from $325). And construction is under way at the as-yet-unnamed property at Ninth Avenue and 17th Street that will be a 120-room hotel. The building, which features groovy porthole-style windows, used to belong to Covenant House. We hear rooms will start at about $270.
– RIMA SUQI
Le fromage has always occupied a special place in the hearts of Parisian diners, but recently the city has been beset by a ripening cheese-bar trendlet. The cheese-shop chain Maison Androuet has opened two such bars à fromages – one near the Opéra (011-33-1-42-97-57-39), the other next to L’Étoile (011-33-1-40-68-00-12). Five to fifteen samples, mild to strong, with salade mixte and Poilane bread, start at about $10. Earlier this year, Richard Pomaraniec opened La Fromagerie 31 (011-33-1-43-26-50-31) on the rue de Seine, where he ages cheeses that come from all over France. Cheese lovers select “quick bites,” as he calls them, of four, six, or eight cheeses (about $8 to $15), to taste at café tables inside the shop or out on the sidewalk, in the thick of the Buci market. Last week, Pomaraniec opened his second branch in the tony Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine (011-33-1-47-38-20-31).
– KATHLEEN BECKETT
The humble poolside cabana has been supersized from mere shade provider to beachside mini-manse – complete with personal attendant, food service, and high-tech amenities. Here, a tour of some of the coolest new tents around. (Most rentals run about $100 a day.)The Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach, California, which opens in February, will offer flat-screen TVs and wireless hookups for phones and laptops inside their poolside cabanas. The Hotel Casa Del Mar in Los Angeles has just added white linen massage cabanas to its pool deck. La Quinta Resort & Club in California offers pure luxe with ceiling fans,teak furniture, robes, telephones, and dataports.Each of the 58 beachfront cabanas at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, comes with a shower, a phone, and a valet. At the Delano in South Beach – and possibly coming soon to the Shore Club – plasma-screen TVs, wireless Internet, and a private butler are all on hand. The Hard Rock Hotel Orlando is building music-themed cabanas that pay homage to bands like the Beatles, the Grateful Dead, and the Beach Boys. And our favorite: the new mini-cabanas for pets at Mexico’s Las Ventanas.
Rates at New York’s Apple Core Hotels – recently renovated budget hotels including La Quinta Inn (17 W. 32nd St.), Red Roof Inn (6 W. 32nd St.), Comfort Inn (129 W. 46th St.), Super 8 (59 W. 46th St.), and Ramada Inn (161 Lexington Ave.) – start at just $89 from January 2 to February 28; 800-567-7720.
HOME COOKING South Beach continues to clone Manhattan’s restaurant scene with the debut of Cafeteria. Look for the same updated comfort foods – mac and cheese, fried chicken and waffles – when it opens in January (305-672-3663).
PET PROJECT As of this week, you’ll no longer need to quarantine your pets for six months before traveling to Britain. Now your pooch or kitty will only have to wait a few days, provided she’s been vaccinated and microchipped according to the new rules. Check out Britainusa.com for more information.
LOTION DETECTOR Bliss spa has jumped aboard the hotel-amenities train – following in the footsteps of Hermès, Bulgari, Aveda, and, most recently, Frédéric Fekkai. Mini-bottles of its potions and lotions will be available, starting this month, at the Soho and Tribeca Grand hotels.
FIT TO TRAVEL The Equinox exercise empire is now offering travel adventures for gym buffs: five- and six-day trips to destinations ranging from Napa to Machu Picchu combine sightseeing with biking, rafting, and hiking workouts (from $1,998; 212-774-6318). Meanwhile, Crunch is organizing a fitness trip to Club Med Turks & Caicos later this winter (212-993-0303).