Vendôme Away From Home
It’s tough to say which aspect of the new Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme is more newsworthy: that designer Ed Tuttle (of Amanresorts fame) is debuting his first property in his current hometown, or that Paris’s “Palace Hotels” – the Meurice, Plaza Athénée, Crillon, Bristol, Ritz, and George V – are getting a new five-star rival. Regardless, expect a buzz about the 188-room hotel, whose doors open this summer. Located just off Place Vendôme – not far from the Champs-Elysées and the Louvre – the luxury business hotel will offer the usual array of top-tier services and amenities, plus an extensive collection of contemporary Franco-American artwork and a restaurant headed up by Christophe David, formerly of Taillevent. (800-233-1234; rooms will start around $450.)
The Royal Ski
The whole world seems to be craving all things classic right now – from car design to U.S. foreign policy – and travel destinations are no exception. This winter, Europe’s old-world ski resorts are no longer considered clichés: They’re very much back on top – packed with a new generation of celebrities and royalty despite the travel recession. St. Moritz has reeled in budding New York socialites like Vanessa von Bismarck, who says, “There’s definitely been a resurgence in St. Moritz; you can tell by the stores – Emilio Pucci among them – that have recently opened there. And it’s not just Europeans this time: Americans are going, too.” Rooms at the celebrated Badrutt’s Palace Hotel (888-ROSEWOOD) start at $466. You’ll find similar comeback scenes at Verbier, Megève, and Lech (popular with the Douglas-Zeta-Jones clan and assorted Dutch royals). But good luck getting a room at Byblos des Neiges in Courchevel before next year: The king of Spain, the Aga Khan, et al., have already booked it solid. (011-33-479-00-98-00; rooms from $642.)
Have Spa, Will Travel
With longer security lines and layovers, harried travelers are increasingly soothing themselves in airport spas, and a number of new, flyer-friendly facilities are now scheduled for arrival. In April, JFK will open the first U.S. offshoot of British Airways’ swank Molton Brown Travel Spa (pictured; 011-44-208-562-5560), which offers free facials and circulation-boosting massages at Heathrow. Newark’s full-service D_parture Spa (973-242-3444) is about to open a second Newark branch, and OraOxygen Spa (403-717-3744) will land at Detroit’s Midfield Terminal this spring. And in Boston, Logan’s manicure-pedicure hub, Nailport (617-227-2977), is in talks with US Airways to open a new outlet in the carrier’s terminal: Hey, as long as passengers are removing their shoes for security, they might as well get a foot rub!
BETSY GRUBER GOLDBERG
Deal of the Week
Clift, San Francisco’s most popular hotel (thanks to that Schrager touch and the always-packed bar at Asia de Cuba), is offering New York readers 25 percent off any room booked for a February or March stay. Just reserve at least three nights, and mention this page. (800-652-5438; rates start at $295.)
House Bound Abercrombie & Kent has expanded its offerings with the introduction of Concierge Villas, high-end homes that are fully staffed and available for rent throughout France, Italy, and Scotland. Call 800-323-7308 for a catalogue; weekly rentals (for ten-plus guests) start at $19,950. Brave New World The new Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park – just blocks from ground zero, and originally slated for an October 2001 opening – is now taking reservations for January 29 and beyond. A more contemporary version of the Ritz’s traditional hotels, this 298-room property marks the first post-9/11 hotel opening in lower Manhattan (800-241-3333; rooms from $199). French Coast Grace Leo-Andrieu, the creative force behind Hotel Montalembert and the Cotton House on Mustique, reopens the Royal Riviera hotel in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat this month after a major renovation. There are Côte d’Azur views, leather headboards, marble bathrooms, and wrought-iron details throughout (800-223-6800; rooms from $223). Torrey Fine This spring, the family-owned Lodge at Torrey Pines arrives in La Jolla, California. Situated on the Torrey Pines Golf Course, the resort promises “nothing faux, nothing laminated” in its 175 luxury rooms (858-453-4420; rooms from $350).