Fly the Hungry Skies
If you’ve traveled by plane since September, chances are you’ve landed hungry. Most domestic carriers dropped meal services to cut costs following the terrorist attacks – and many still aren’t bothering to warn travelers, who often learn there’s no food only after they’ve boarded. Today, meal service is being restored – slowly: United is feeding its Premier class on selected flights, but economy class still doesn’t eat on most trips under 1,700 miles; American Airlines is reinstituting meals on a few business routes; USAirways has restored some first-class meals, but coach still gets just snacks (and only on flights over 1,000 miles); and Delta hasn’t amended its post-9/11 cutbacks at all. Only Continental’s passengers have enjoyed uninterrupted food service. Be sure to call ahead to find out exactly what will be served, and beware: Some airlines say they distribute “snack bags,” but on one American flight that meant a half-frozen bagel and a bag of raisins.
– BETSY GOLDBERG
Whether you’re taking in India.Arie at this year’s Jazz Fest (April 26–May 5) or holding out for a quieter weekend in June, a visit to New Orleans this spring doesn’t have to mean Emeril, the House of Blues, and Windsor Court. The recently opened Restaurant August (504-299-9777) offers a crafty take on American-Creole fusion; in a similarly nouveau vein is Stella! (504-587-0091), a new eatery on a quiet street in the French Quarter. Club kids are currently crowding the Shim Sham Club (504-299-0666) to see up-and-coming acts like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Princess Superstar. And several hotels are offering home-style twists on traditional big-city accommodations. There are large, comfy suites at Melrose Mansion, a recently converted Victorian-era home (504-944-2255); residential-style lofts at the brand-new Loft 523 (504-200-6523); and hard-to-come-by privacy at Soniat House, another converted home – this one a nineteenth-century gem tucked away in the French Quarter (800-544-8808).
– ETHAN BROWN
Keep On the Grass
When the Stoke Park Club, a venerable private golf and tennis club that doubles as a resort on the outskirts of London, decided to open a new spa, it consulted the beauty editor of a top British fashion magazine. No wonder the 55,000-square-foot Spa SPC, which opens this summer, will have plenty of Shiseido and la prairie products on hand. Hotel guests can access the spa as well as all sporting facilities (golf course, indoor pool, fishing ponds) that members like Guy Ritchie, Hugh Grant, and Nicole Kidman use regularly. And if you missed out on Wimbledon tickets this year, the top seeds can be seen practicing their backswings the week before the event (June 19–22) on Stoke Park’s brand-new grass courts – the only ones in Europe that meet Wimbledon specifications. (For reservations, call 877-468-3585; doubles start at $390 a night.)
Deal of the Week
Design house Givenchy quietly opened a spa last year just 30 minutes outside of Montreal. Now the riverfront refuge is offering New York readers 30 percent off any treatment plus a free room upgrade at the adjoining hotel, Hostellerie Les Trois Tilleuls, when you book during May (800-263-2230; spagivenchy.com).
Spoon Feeding Alain Ducasse is opening a new alfresco dining spot next week: Spoon Byblos, a Mediterranean version of his popular Spoon Food & Wine restaurant in Paris, opens April 24 at the Byblos Hotel in St.-Tropez (33-4-94-56-68-00).
May Day Built in 1816, Cape May’s Congress Hall reopens next month after a $22 million restoration. Most rooms have ocean views and have been upgraded with details like original porcelain tiles and cool bathtubs from the twenties (609-884-8421; summer rates from $150).
Remote Control Soon you’ll be able to book a trip without leaving your couch: USA’s new travel channel, launching this fall, will feature and sell destination packages on the air, akin to the network’s Home Shopping experience.
Fast Track From July 20 to September 7, the high-speed Eurostar train will be offering a brand-new summer route between London and Avignon. The six-hour trip runs Saturdays only, and costs $188 round-trip (800-367-6782).