Rio’s Hottest New Hotel …

Good value in London. Yes. It is possible.
Since it opened in London’s Arbutus has won a clutch of awards, a Michelin star, and a loyal following by providing value for money — a rarity in London. At the end of May, owners Will Smith and Anthony Demetre will open their second restaurant, this one in Mayfair (12 George Street, W1). While not a carbon copy, the as-yet unnamed venture promises simple but beautifully prepared dishes that hover around £15 – £20, which is reasonable in a city where a plate of Stroganoff can easily cost £35. The menu, like the name, is still shrouded in mystery. Stay tuned.

Stay: Rio inspiration
June brings the opening of the Rio offshoot of São Paulo’s swishiest hotel, the Fasano. Offering spectacular views over Ipanema Beach, the 92-room Hotel Fasano Rio boasts a Philippe Starck design inspired by mid-20th-century modernism. All rooms have sliding-glass doors and private terraces, and many are outfitted with original art work from the 1950s and ’60s. The lobby lounge, Londra, will no doubt be a magnet for the tall and tan and young and lovely, but the rooftop pool (for guests only) is where you’ll find us.

Shop: Tom Ford’s new bat cave
Clothier Tom Ford’s new outpost in New York, on Madison Avenue at 70th Street, is a spectacle of understated masculinity — think heavily veined marble floors, a spiral staircase with Macassar ebony walls, a velvet-lined elevator, Art Deco urns, and black beaver rugs. It’s rich, so rich it almost upstages Ford’s own handiwork (a gray suit is a gray suit is a gray suit). To find the famous Ford flash, skip the ho-hum shoes and jewelry and head straight for the dress shirts, which come in a dazzling array of colors.

Drink: A lounge fit for Buddha in D.C.
Lobbyists, policy wonks, and even people who don’t spend their days in expensive suits will have a place to dance off those expense-account lunches when the swanky new lounge Lotus (1420 K St. NW) opens May 10 in Washington D.C. The 5000-sqare-foot space is dominated by a 16-foot-tall waterfall and a 10-foot-tall Buddha. Lotus-shaped chandeliers emit a soft light, and there are cushy banquettes and ottomans made from tree trunks. Will devotees find Nirvana while lounging in Buddha’s midst? Probably not, but there’s plenty of sushi and really strong cocktails.

See: Alt-rock meets punk rock in Barcelona
Primavera Sound 2007, a three-day music festival running May 31-June 2, at Barcelona’s Parc del Forum, in the distinctly unfunky Diagonal Mar area bordering the Med, recreates the heady days of 1970s CBGB’s (minus smoky air and sticky floor), with artists like Patti Smith, Buzzcocks, Sonic Youth, The Fall, and Robyn Hitchcock. Other acts include relative whippersnappers like The White Stripes, Wilco, and Damon Albarn’s acclaimed new band The Good, the Bad and the Queen, plus lots of up-to-the minute alt-rock favorites. Three-day tickets are €120; one-day €60.

Made-to-Order: Frisco sugar rush
Satisfy your inner child with the custom-made yummies from San Francisco baker Marilyn Hart. You can order personalized Valentine’s cookie cottages, birthday cakes, wedding favors, or sugar panorama eggs (Hart’s favorite is one she created for Halloween incorporating a green shrunken head) online or in-person at La Place du Soleil. This is not the ideal dessert emporium for ironists — we’re talking princess-shaped cupcakes and chocolate carousels.

Ellin Stein

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