New and Noteworthy for the Week of 9/3

In this issue: Dubai, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Akron…

Cool design in Akron? Sure. Check out the new addition to the city’s most important arts institution, the Akron Museum of Art. Vienna-based architects Coop Himmelb(l)au have created an amazing structure that looks like an explosion of glass and aluminum frozen in time. We’re not sure it works with the abandoned store fronts nearby, or with the original 19th-century building it’s connected to, but perhaps that’s the point. The iconoclastic building makes a fine setting for the museum’s photography show, Prized Images, which features work by in-your-face artists Carrie Mae Weems, Gilbert & George, and Vito Acconci, among others. It’s up through October 14.

Play: Spaaaaa-tastic in Vegas
We love spas, but, frankly, we’ve grown a little weary of them lately. So many spas are just cramped little rooms with a soaking tub and lots of stinky candles. That’s why we love Qua, the new spa at Caesars in Las Vegas. At 50,000-square feet, it puts the competition to shame by size alone. Qua has multiple pools, a Hot Room for unwinding, and an Ice Room for cooling off, complete with fake snow. Treatments include volcanic clay body masks, lomi-lomi massage, chakra balancing, and there’s even a touchy-feely “Dream Interpretation Journey” supervised by a “dream coach.” We have no idea what that is either, but it sure beats stinky candles.

Stay: In Chicago, the best seat in the house
The Westin Chicago isn’t quite The Peninsula, it goes without saying. But last year when the Westin introduced iHome iPod docking stations in all rooms, we gave them an A for effort. The hotel will turn heads again in Chicago later this year by being the first on the block to feature the Brondell Swash 800 toilet seat in select rooms. The best seat in the house comes with bidet, one-touch remote control, a germ-resistant seat, and water and seat temperature settings — perfect for those frosty Windy City nights. Don’t panic, technophobes. There’s an instruction manual next to each toilet.

Drink: Dubai’s coolest new lounge
Novelty is alive and well just about everywhere these days, even in Dubai, where the newish Times Square Shopping Centre has opened Chillout, an ice lounge where everything is made of ice — chairs (covered in sheepskin), walls, tables, glasses, plates, the bar, even the seven-foot-tall chandelier. Pay the $17 cover charge and you get a parka, gloves, and insulated shoes before being escorted to an ice table, where you quietly avoid frostbite while analyzing the Asian-fusion menu. The cocktails are non-alcoholic (this is Muslim territory) but there’s plenty of hot chocolate and chicken soup.

Eat: Tony Fortuna’s next New York move
For years now we’ve enjoyed unwinding with friends over cold-like-the-Arctic martinis at Lenox Room, a sophisticated, out-of-the-way restaurant-bar on New York City’s Upper East Side. Alas, like so many places in New York that become like home, Lenox is no more. The swells that made the place hot in the late ’90s — lawyers, bankruptcy attorneys, CEOs — are either dead, on the wagon, or doing time. Come September 19, the space belongs to T-Bar Steak & Lounge. Tony Fortuna’s latest creation promises an international spin on the classic steak house, complete with raw bar and a vast steaks menu. We’re not much for dead cow, but the smoked salmon ravioli does sound awfully good.

Chris Culwell

Photo courtesy of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.