New York: Downtown

Lodging, lighting and spas

When In Rome . . . Or Now New York

Luxe and very modern Italian furniture from designers like Flexform and Promemoria are the draw at REPERTOIRE. Chenille sofas, metal-framed coffee tables, and bedroom pieces (such as the Kyoto line that Giorgio Armani bought for $18,000) are a few of our favorite pieces. Other highlights include a Romeo Sozzi gray leather-covered walnut desk ($10,975) and a Christian Tortu crystal vase ($96). 75 Grand St., New York, NY 10013; 212-219-8159;

— Elizabeth Wallace

A Grand Space

The 1842 Greek Revival building that's now THE REGENT WALL STREET once housed the Merchants Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. And nowhere is that sense of history, and money, more evident than in the ballroom, quite possibly the grandest public space in New York. It's epic in size—comprising 12,000 square feet, with four sets of Corinthian columns and an 80-foot ceiling. Crowning it all is a gilded dome lined with Wedgwood insets illustrating the signs of the zodiac and the four points of the compass. You can imagine the Morgans or the Astors having tout New York in for a gala party at the turn of the century. (Now, the ballroom can be yours for $10,000 a night.)

If the weather cooperates, have dinner on the hotel terrace: John Halligan's New American cooking is consistently creative and well-executed. Rooms, $550-$2,000; dinner, $100. 55 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005; 800-545-4000, 212-845-8600;

— Laurie Werner

Feminine Touch

The shopping hub for thoroughly modern Barbies is TOCCA (Italian for touch). Here on glamorous display are the sartorial essentials of an ultrafeminine wardrobe. There are a few office-worthy items, such as a skirt-suit of serious glen plaid and separates of black or red tweed (glen-plaid dress, $255, and angora scarf-coat, $595), but all of these are overshadowed by the racks of dresses with appealing patterns, most of them in autumnal shades, and the selection of perfect little cash- mere-silk sweaters to throw over them.

When the outerwear comes off, Tocca has you covered, with Lycra-spiked lingerie as comfortable as it is sexy. In addition, there are irresistible bed linens of fragile-looking eyelet-embroidered sari fabric that's (surprise!) easy-care polyester—and a lovely-smelling detergent for fine washables called Laundry Delicate to boot. Dresses, $230-$410. 161 Mercer St., New York, NY 10012; 212-343-3912;

— Juila Szabo

The Art Of Parfum

The same man who re-created the smell of the human body for a 1996 Florence Biennale installation, Austrian designer HELMUT LANG, now favors musk at his eponymous SoHo parfumerie. Here he continues to explore the impact of scent on the nose, not to mention the human psyche.

Architect Richard Gluckman was given free rein to interpret the traditional European apothecary; conceptual artist Jenny Holzer created a provocative LED poem that scrolls along one of the walls (I tease you. I breathe you. I smell you on my skin.) The basic-black shelves complement the collection of perfumes and bath products.

Lang is not fond of the word "unisex," but his signature fragrances are based on white musk and can be used by both men and women. The cologne ($60) is slightly woody, and the perfume ($60-$130) lightly powdery. The in-store lab also manufactures limited-edition products and a flameless candle ($25) that releases scent when exposed to light and heat. 81 Greene St., New York, NY 10012; 212-334-3921.

— Shane Mitchell

Dim Sum Gogo

Chinese with a difference is the theme at Dim Sum GoGo, a sparkling eatery for specialties that reflect the French sensibilities of Colette Rossant, the food writer who adapted them and who is part owner. Thanks to the Hong Kong chef, Guy Liu, all taste unmistakably Chinese.

That difference is obvious from the first round of dumplings (freshly made and hot), whether traditional spring rolls, shrimp pockets (har gow), or the newer offerings of crabmeat in sheer green spinach dough or snow-pea-leaf pouches with jicama, lotus, and mushrooms. Gelatinous jellyfish flavored with sesame adds texture to shredded smoked duck and crunchy sea fungus. There are mini-burgers in cuddly steamed buns; all sorts of inspired fish including pan-fried halibut; a huge crab caught live from a tank, then simmered with garlic and bedded on wide noodles; and savory salt-baked shrimp.

Most miraculous is the roasted chicken with fried garlic stems, a masterpiece of greaselessness and subtle spicing. All that and luscious vegetable and rice dishes. Dinner, $40; dim sum, $2-$10. 5 East Broadway, New York, NY 10002; 212-732-0797.

— Mimi Sheraton

Only In New York

Bottles of Merlot and Gewürztraminer from the Finger Lakes and Long Island, but not a Sonoma Chardonnay or an Alsatian Riesling in sight? That's right. VINTAGE NEW YORK narrows your oenological focus with a New York-only wine shop, the first ever with an on-site tasting bar. 482 Broome St., New York, NY 10013; 212-226-9463.

— Lauren B. Weisberger

At Nobu: Foie Gras Of The Sea

If the words "monkfish liver" don't stir up any immediate cravings, wait until you try it. With a velvet texture and haunting oceanic taste, it's one of the most sublime delicacies to hit your palate. $17. 105 Hudson St., New York, NY 10013; 212-219-0500.

— Melissa Clark

Clean, Well-Lighted Place

A temple of modern-design merchandise, MOSS sells flatware, accessories, glass, furniture, and gadgets. They are all on display in a stark modern Euro-style setting, which makes the store a must-visit, both visually and for more practical reasons. All the modern designers are here—Droog (milk bottle lamps), Zanotta (furniture), Marc Newson (bottle openers), and Philippe Starck (handweights), for example—but there is also a selection of such staple items as washbasins, shelving, and lighting. We particularly loved the Otto Prutscher dark-ruby crystal goblets from the Czech Republic ($975). 146 Greene St., New York, NY 10012; 212-204-7100;

— E.W.

Tracy Feith

The two surfboards dominating the window of this airy shop are a clue to what lies in store: the buoyant creations of designer Tracy Feith, whose fans include Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, and Susan Sarandon. If a subtle style is what you're after, look elsewhere. Everything here says "notice me," from jewel-tone silk slip-dresses to lace tops. This season's hot item: The Alice dress ($520), a striped, dropped-waist silhouette with peekaboo sleeves and a heart-shaped cutout for décolletage. 209 Mulberry St., New York, NY 10012; 212-334-3097.

— J.S.

Pour Le Bebe

French with an American twist and fashionably hip, CALYPSO ENFANT & BEBE follows in the footsteps of the adult store next door. Now toddlers can be dressed just like their parents in miniature versions of signature Calypso outfits that include bright-colored silk chantung bustle skirts ($60-$70) and tops ($45). In addition to French bassinets and handmade wooden toys from Vermont, Calypso Enfant & Bébé carries colorful tutu skirts ($35), cashmere goods by Malina ($65-$120), babywear by Patrizia Novelli ($45-$150), and cotton knits by Toast ($35-$70).

What really makes this store special is an exclusive handcrocheted accessory collection by Ana Torres (who also happens to manage the shop). Not surprisingly, her one-of-a-kind pieces are among the store's bestsellers. The hats range from $45, booties go for $35, and ponchos are $130. 426 Broome St., New York, NY 10013; 212-966-3234.

Bear in mind these other top children's boutiques in Manhattan: Au Chat Botté (1192 Madison Ave.; 212-722-6474); Bu and the Duck (106 Franklin St.; 212-431-9226); La Layette et Plus (170 East 61st St.; 212-688-7072); Nursery Lines Ltd. (1034 Lexington Ave.; 212-396-4445); Prince & Princess (33 East 68th St.; 212-879-8989); The Stork Club (142 Sullivan St.; 212-505-1927).

— M.L. Latiolais


Whatever the season, the aroma of burning wood from the open oven at Peasant says autumn to me. Set at the crossroads of Little Italy, NoLIta, and SoHo, this brick-walled charmer suits the rustic, essentially Tuscan fare of chef Frank DeCarlo. Better lighting would do justice to his beautiful food and also make it easier to read the menu—and the check.

Although the thin oval pizzas are above-average, they are not quite the equal of other appetizers such as oven-roasted fresh sardines, cuttlefish baked in terra cotta, or green beans paired with anchovies. The thick, long pasta, bucatini, is just right with tomato-glossed lobster, and the zuppa di pesce is a still-life masterpiece of razor clams, skate, mussels, and langoustines baked with tomatoes.

Simpler but no less enticing are whole grilled orata (sea bream), the wood-fired leg of lamb sliced over creamy polenta, and the beefy Florentine T-bone. As good as other desserts were, none came close to the hearth-baked fruit tart with a fragile lattice crust. $80. 194 Elizabeth St., New York, NY 10012; 212-965-9511.

— M.S.

High End, Lower East Side

To connect with the latest in high-end, cutting-edge design, your best bet, oddly enough, is a street once known strictly for bargains. Orchard Street is still a destination for cut-rate fabrics, but it's also home to a store called ZAO, which is the Greek word for "life." Zao, owned by Elie Tahari, is New York's answer to Paris' fabulous Colette.

The selection features items from Tahari's own line of womenswear, including trench coats in exclusive stretch jacquard ($440) and an assortment of luxurious furs ($995-$2,000), in addition to Theory's casual cashmere sweaters ($260-$440) and tailored pinstripe shirts ($185). However, Zao's main focus is on its newly launched, self-titled collection, which showcases such pieces as the sleeveless plunge-neck cowl with an amber-and-citrine tieback ($295) and reversible rabbit-fur-and-distressed-leather jackets ($2,650-$5,500).

Out back is a lovely urban garden, to which the extremely gracious sales staff urges you to repair to "take a load off." 175 Orchard St., New York, NY 10002; 212-505-0500.

— J.S.


The satisfying, earthy cuisine of Portugal has never had so stylish a spin as chef John Villa imparts at Pico (pronounced PEE-koo) in TriBeCa. I love the open kitchen floor show in the curvy dining room, smartly done up in wood and brick with cushy banquettes and felicitous lighting. Chairs are somewhat awkward, but not enough to compromise the pleasures of subtle starters such as the lemony escabeche of fresh sardines, lime-marinated grilled octopus, or the golden cake of salt cod (bacalao) with a salad of blood oranges and radishes. A luscious torchon of foie gras takes on Portuguese overtones with quince and toasted spices that recall that country's historic ties to Goa.

Seductively mellow duck is braised in terra cotta with spiced raisin rice, a citrus-glaze gilds suckling pig, and the saddle of rabbit is heady with bacon and mustard, nested beside a grainy chickpea cake. There are several great desserts, such as almond-and-raisin bread pudding with Madeira, blood-orange mousse, and chocolate soufflé cake, but I prefer sweet "dreams" (sonhos), tiny golden doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and dunked into either warm chocolate sauce (my choice) or raspberry jam. Portuguese wines are well-represented on an international list. Dinner, $90; lunch, $50. 349 Greenwich St., New York, NY 10013; 212-343-0700.

— M.S.

Dramatic Lighting

As the name implies, CHAMELEON is all about changing color depending on the environment. The shop specializes in some of the most unique antique lighting to be found anywhere. While the bulk of the inventory is comprised of sconces and chandeliers (such as the handblown Murano glass model from the 1930s, $7,500), you will also find great Anglo-Indian bell jars, mercury and découpage lamps, and a significant selection of Murano table lamps from the '40s and '50s (as well as the moderne egg-shaped models made in the '60s).

More often than not the delightful owners, John Harvey and Robert Degiarde, are present, approachable, and pleased to answer questions (even though perpetually on their phones). Says Degiarde: "My grandfather founded Neslé on 57th Street [a Manhattan institution], and I literally grew up under antique crystal chandeliers." The gentlemen have just added a new store several doors up called Sconce that will specialize in their own line of reproduction sconces, as well as vintage models. 231 Lafayette St., New York, NY 10012; 212-343-9197;

— M.L.L.

Parisian Design

When Stéphane and Catherine de Beyrie decided to decamp from Paris for SoHo in 1996, the American decorative arts scene was made that much richer. Offering an ever-changing inventory of the crème of 20th-century French designers, the 3,700-square-foot GALERIE DE BEYRIE often hosts historical retrospectives of major designers. The most recent was an exceptional collection comprising 180 pieces by Jean Royère that included many items never previously exhibited.

Other designers frequently featured here include Jacques Adnet, Georges Jouve, Jean Prouvé, René Herbst, Charlotte Perriand, and Serge Mouille. The De Beyries spend at least a week every month in France and elsewhere, researching and locating new material. $ 393 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012; 212-219-9565;

— M.L.L.

Wardrobe Wizards

The selection at KIRNA ZABETE is brilliantly edited, with clothes organized and clearly labeled by designer, as they would be in the closet of your dreams. Owners Elizabeth Shepherd and Sarah Hailes (one a former fashion editor, the other a former fashion buyer, who combined their nicknames to give their exuberant SoHo store its exotic-sounding moniker) have made it entirely possible to overhaul your wardrobe at a moment's notice.

And what designers! They range from the refined tailoring of venerable powerhouses (Balenciaga, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel) to the edgier creations of talented newcomers such as Alice Roi, Elisa Jimenez, Jurgi Persoons, and Imitation of Christ (whose flaming red top, with flamenco sleeves and beaded front, is a show-stopper).

Coming this month is an in-store boutique showcasing the enchanting cashmere sweaters of Fifi & Romeo, popular Beverly Hills purveyors. $50-$2,000. 96 Greene St., New York, NY 10012; 212-941-9656.

— J.S.

Best House Aperitif

An apéritif is a sophisticated libation meant to act as a balm for the day's rigors and a stimulus for the appetite. It can be as simple as a glass of wine or as fanciful as the house cocktail at DANUBE, David Bouley's homage to fin de siècle Vienna. Here, dry Austrian sparkling wine is embellished with the nectar of elderflowers. Extraordinary and ephemeral, it's a princely start to any meal. $12. 30 Hudson St., New York, NY 10013; 212-791-3771.

— M.C.

Artful Home

Accessories by New York City artist Cec LePage beg for attention at her namesake boutique, LEPAGE. Hand-carved Lucite vases (Louis, $398; Ella #3, $410), candleholders, aquariums, and screens in dramatic colors are all signed by the artist, who sells only at this boutique in New York City, as well as in Paris, London, and Hong Kong. Prices range from $35 to $10,000. 72 Thompson St., New York, NY 10012; 212-966-2646;

— E.W.

E. Vogel

Whether passing the flask at the meet or sailing over a grand prix oxer at Devon, you'll want the signature fit and superb quality of E. Vogel custom-made riding boots. Now in its 122nd year, this family-owned 22-man operation, a favorite of foxhunters, Olympic riders, polo players, even mounted police, offers over ten styles, including the classic tan-topped hunt boot, in a splendid assortment of leathers and colors. $635-$1,200. 19 Howard St., New York, NY 10013; 212-925-2460;

— John Knecht

HENRO AND AIX are two separate stores under a single roof. Henro sells made-to-order sofas in rich leathers, suedes, and textiles ($1,500-$8,000). Aix, the real standout, offers mostly French antiques. People come for the French leather club chairs, ca. 1930s (beginning at $3,800), and the antique mirrors ($2,000-$16,000), but many other jewels await, such as the unusual 19th-century Napoleon III Tunisian armoire with mother-of-pearl inlay ($14,000) and the set of turn-of-the-century antique Spanish pharmacy jars with enamel labels ($225 each). Henro (212-343-0221) and Aix (212-941-7919), 462 Broome St., New York, NY 10013.

— E.W.

The Soho Hotel Scene

SoHo has formed its own cluster of luxury hotels. The first on the scene, the SOHO GRAND HOTEL, opened in 1996.
DESIGN FEATURES: Cast iron, including the staircase with inset lights leading to the second-floor lobby; columns. It's an homage to the area's pre-art-gallery days.
ROOM TO GET: Penthouse four, like all the other rooms, has a palette devoted to earth tones, but it also has 760 square feet, with a 600-square-foot terrace.
FELLOW GUESTS: Young rock elite.
NICE TOUCH: A room service menu for your pet.
DRAWBACK: Service is slow, particularly at reception.
FOOD AND DRINK: Great bar, with large lounge area and comfortable armchairs. Starting this fall, food will also be served here.
Rooms, $360-$1,800. 310 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013; 800-965-3000, 212-965-3000;

THE MERCER opened, after much buzz, in 1998.
DESIGN FEATURES: Christian Liaigre's spare signature touches, like wenge wood tables and linen duvets. The lobby is designed to feel like a home, with bookshelves and chairs whose slipcovers are changed according to season.
ROOMS TO GET: The top-of-the-line Penthouse Suite, corner Loft Suite 606 (great light and views from the large arched windows), and 607 and 608 (the only rooms with fireplaces).
FELLOW GUESTS: European businesspeople, American actors. "They try the newer places but they always come back," explains one of the staff members.
NICE TOUCH: Huge rectangular bathtubs.
DRAWBACK: Hard-to-find rooms down the long, dark hallway.
FOOD AND DRINK: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's subterranean Mercer Kitchen is thunderously loud and too dimly lit for some; in addition, the cooking is inconsistent.
Rooms, $420-$2,225. 147 Mercer St., New York, NY 10012; 212-966-6060.

60 THOMPSON opened in the early spring of 2001.
DESIGN FEATURES: Aero Studios' Thomas O'Brien has filled the lobby with low banquettes, the bar with leather armchairs, the bedrooms with low-slung chairs and platform beds (which have suede walls behind their suede headboards). The colors are muted—khaki, taupe, and burgundy.
ROOM TO GET: The duplex Thompson Loft, a leap in size from the otherwise small rooms, with an expansive terrace facing the skyscrapers uptown.
FELLOW GUESTS: European businesspeople.
NICE TOUCH: An outdoor covered patio in the back of the hotel, behind the bar.
DRAWBACK: Most rooms have showers only. If you want a bathtub, ask when you make your reservation.
FOOD AND DRINK: Buzzy bar scene. The restaurant, Thom, opened this summer.
Rooms, $370-$625. 60 Thompson St., New York, NY 10012; 877-431-0400, 212-431-0400;

— L.W.


Of all the influences that inspire German-born French-trained chef Eberhard Müller, none carries more weight than his Long Island farm. There he grows much of the produce he uses at Bayard's, just as he did at Lutèce. His present setting is the suitably reserved, traditional dining room in the 19th-century landmark building that is India House, which was once a club for shipping magnates (it remains a club at lunch). Dining rooms with comfortably spaced tables and spare New England overtones display fine old paintings of ships.

Tucked into a pocket plaza in the Financial District that is quiet at night, this restaurant qualifies as a "find." What awaits you are culinary enticements such as silky house-smoked codfish with celeriac salad, rich foie gras offset by sharp-flavored plums, and mussels steamed in their own briny juices with clear, soft Riesling. A fricassee of chanterelles and leeks adds interest to roasted veal, as brandied sour cherries do to a duck breast with chive-flecked white grits; roasted squab is bedded on a crisp potato pancake. Fruit soups are coolly refreshing, but no match for the exotic napoleon with dates and pine nuts, drizzled with a honey-caramel-tea sauce or the exquisite round of Champagne sorbet rimmed with glass-crisp apple slices. $115. One Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; 212-514-9454.

— M.S.

Pure Bliss

No kidding. You can achieve an enlightened state of beauty at the uptown location of BLISS, on 57th Street, or venture south to the original day spa. At the two-floor temple of downtown chic, therapists slather you with signature treatments like the Herbie Facial ($150), which includes a fruit-acid wash and an herbal-body wrap; the sensual two-hour Ginger Rub exfoliation and massage ($200); or the 90-minute Carrot and Sesame Body Buff ($150), which uses food-grade ingredients. The Rock the Bloat massage ($125) reduces puffiness after a long flight.

This has to be the only spa that serves brownies, full-fat cheese, and white wine in its lounge—you're here to indulge, not diet. And by all means, eavesdrop for shopping tips at the manicure station.

As you float back through reception, pick up the latest potions from the BlissLabs skincare line. 568 Broadway, New York, NY 10012; or 19 East 57th St., New York, NY 10022; 212-219-8970;

— S.M.

For The Person Who Has Everything

Before entering JACQUES CARCANAGUES, you didn't know you needed it, but when you see it, you'll have precisely the place for it. "It" might be a polychromed wooden elephant on wheels once used to pull deities at Hindu festivals ($2,500); an ancient marble Buddha head ($3,000-$5,000); 19th-century Tibetan amulet boxes made of silver, turquoise, and coral ($500-$5,000); Nepalese wool "tiger" rugs ($600-$1,250); Jacques Carcanagues' huge nonpareil step tansu chests (stepped chests in at least two, or more often three, pieces that can be stacked in several ways, with drawers that pull out on either side, $2,500-$3,500); or an early-20th-century western Indian theater puppet ($1,000).

Carcanagues features a cornucopia of objects from the Far East, many from the 19th, and even 18th, century. Exploration and the delight of discovery are equal parts of the shopping experience at Carcanagues. 106 Spring St., New York, NY 10012; 212-925-8110;

— M.L.L.

To The Rescue

Need a quick nail fix after stomping around SoHo in search of the next new thing? Beat a path to RESCUE AROMATHERAPY NAIL SPA, where Ji Baek and her eager staff will save your digits from urban wear and tear. The manicures and pedicures include pure lemon, sage, sweet orange, lavender, or rosemary essential oils, not to mention a fragrant exfoliation process (manicure, $16; pedicure, $32). Ask for Ultra TLC, a paraffin hand mask of bergamot, ylang-ylang, and orange ($30). 21 Cleveland Place, New York, NY 10012; 212-431-3805.

— S.M.

Attention To Detail

Where to go if you have to put together a singular new look on the double? STEVEN ALAN. This small women's store is packed with a large selection, including chic staples, dressy and casual separates by Paris designer Vanessa Bruno, Italian lingerie, and a rainbow of Petit Bateau shirts. $15-$130. 60 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012; 212-334-6354.

— J.S.

Bedding Couture

Adopting a couture approach to bedding, the NANCY KOLTES AT HOME collections are built on a basic canvas of classic wovens and signature prints in neutrals and pastels. New infusions of colors and patterns can be added season to season. It is an elegant and timeless design philosophy that Koltes has expanded beyond bedding to the entire home. Of her SoHo boutique Koltes says: "This store is a design lab for me. I get to play with fresh themes in all areas of home accessories and furnishings."

So in addition to the exceptionally high quality Italian-made sheets, duvets, shams, and table linens, one can enjoy sleepwear, tabletop treasures, and fragrances that express Nancy Koltes' inimitable style. Bed linens, $85-$500. 31 Spring St., New York, NY 10012; 212-219-2271;

— M.L.L.

Natural Beauty

Tucked quietly into a Prince Street storefront, ERBE provides frazzled Manhattanites with massages and facials. Carmen Miraglia, a Roman biologist who opened the shop 12 years ago, also makes a line of beauty products infused with herbs and flowers such as calendula, chamomile, and bergamot and free of animal substances, synthetic fragrances, and dyes.

Among the bestsellers: royal jelly nutrient moisturizer ($44), which is recommended for dehydrated skin, and althea shampoo ($24), whose many ingredients include nettles, thyme, jojoba, and lavender. In Erbe's three treatment "cabins," Miraglia's staff administers such therapies as a stress-relief facial, which includes frankincense compresses to clear sinuses ($115), aromatherapy massages ($85), and chamomile-hawthorn applications ($55) to reduce swelling after laser and plastic surgeries. Miraglia's next project: a line of sun-care creams for face and body that are enriched with myrrh to promote the skin's elasticity. 196 Prince St., New York, NY 10012; 212-966-1445;

— Jackie Cooperman

A Serious Wine Shop

Finally, a wine store that can please wine buffs and the rest of us, that offers no quick-purchase supermarket brands, that stands behind every bottle on its shelves. CHAMBERS STREET WINES popped up on one of TriBeCa's ugliest streets, but, situated in an old firehouse, it provides a non-intimidating environment for browsing and buying.

David Lillie and his partner, Jamie Wolff, have some die-hard connections in the business and have made France the focus (lots of hard-to-find Loire, Alsace, and Rhône), supported by Italy, Spain, and California. A serious destination. 160 Chambers St., New York, NY 10007; 212-227-1434;

— Alice Feiring

New York's Best Hotel Spas

Looking for a quick boost during a bear market? THE REGENT SPA at The Regent Wall Street (55 Wall St., New York, NY 10005; 212-845-8640) emphasizes 25-minute express treatments ($55) for capitalists on the go. Bean-counters should book an appointment with certified numerologist Hattie Parker, who gives life-path readings—but no stock tips—based on the mystical study of numbers ($125-$200).

If you're uptown, THE AWAY SPA & GYM at W New York (541 Lexington Ave., New York, NY 10022; 212-407-2970) will whisk you off to another realm with the latest alternative healing techniques. To dispel energy blockage, try reiki, craniosacral massage, or pranic balancing with master healer Iris Quinones. Or just pamper your body during a jasmine-scented Javanese Lulur body treatment ($175) and Shirodhara herbal-oil scalp massage ($100).

THE PENINSULA SPA at The Peninsula (700 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10019; 212-903-3910) has a pool where you can swim laps at an altitude higher than St. Patrick's spire. Follow a therapist into the treatment area for Phytomer's mineral-rich Cool Blue Wrap ($70-$110), designed to tone and moisturize skin suffering from jet-lag dehydration.

Parisian-based beauty queen Anne Sémonin has taken over THE PLAZA SPA at The Plaza (Fifth Ave. at Central Park South, New York, NY 10019; 212-546-5772), importing her natural skincare regimen from Brittany to Fifth Avenue. Plan a "Walk in the Park" ($100) with a personal trainer, who leads you through an hour-long workout in neighboring Central Park.

If you spot a terry-robed guest wandering aimlessly through the formal lobby of the Four Seasons hotel (57 E. 57th St., New York, NY 10022; 212-758-5700), it's because THE FOUR SEASONS HOTEL SPA treatments—like the new 90-minute Head Over Toe scalp-and-foot massage ($235)—make you forget pressing matters.

— S.M.

House Beautiful

At TROY, modern American and European furniture meets housewares and artwork. There are leather-covered desks; simple sofas and chairs; jewelry and sculptural objects. Some of the best pieces: the little walnut rocking stools ($1,395); the 1960s Charbin-designed-and-signed French coffee table covered with resin that suggests a glassy, jewellike Caribbean sea floor ($5,800); the aluminum room screen from Brazil by the Campana Brothers ($25,000). 138 Greene St., New York, NY 10012; 212-941-4777.

— E.W.

L•S Collection

This may look at first like just another SoHo gift store, but among the must-have souvenirs are a to-the-manor-born picnic case (leather-and-stainless-steel thermoses and flatware housed in a leather briefcase, $2,100); festive Sugahara glass flutes in blue and gold ($45 each); and a handmade pewter tea set from England ($730 for teapot, sugar bowl, and creamer). And, of course, we always fall for the glass vases and tableware from Murano. 494 Broome St., New York, NY 10013; 212-334-1194.

— E.W.

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