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Hot List: New York City, Singapore, Beijing, Maui, Cape Town, Japan

Cape Grace Hotel Library, South Africa

Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town.

The recent refurbishment of Cape Town’s beloved Cape Grace has transformed this storied hotel’s look from period French to a mélange of indigenous and foreign influences that have come to epitomize the region. Fabrics embellished with proteas, antiques like old cane fishing rods and Dutch china, and nautical murals add to the new eclectic decor. Though some may miss its former French elegance, this award-winner remains a bastion of perfect service. Cape Grace continues to charm with its library where guests can take afternoon tea, enjoy views of the harbor, or cozy up by a fire. Pros: complimentary daily events in the library; mountain and harbor views from all rooms; spa; complimentary shuttle within city center; child friendly; excellent waterfront location. Cons: lacks the intimacy of a boutique hotel. West Quay Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001. 021/410–7100 (ph.). 021/419–7622 (fax). 121 rooms. In-room: refrigerator, DVD, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, 24 hour room service, bar, pool, gym, spa, laundry service, concierge, executive floor, public Internet, public Wi-Fi, airport shuttle, parking (no fee), children’s programs (all ages), non-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: 4,995 ZAR.

Hundred Acres, New York City.

The owners of Cookshop and Five Points have set up new digs on MacDougal Street. Their latest restaurant, Hundred Acres, has a rustic, country feel and offers simple yet sophisticated cooking á la Marc Meyer and Cookshop chef Joel Hough. Don’t count on a big menu: the daily choices are limited to seven main dishes and one special entrée. The steamed Littleneck clams appetizer served with garlic-oregano butter, pickled corn, cilantro, and garlic toasts is particularly delicious. For the mains, try the seared Wreckfish with bi-color corn, lima bean, and pearl onion succotash, or the grilled Hampshire pork chop with smoky mustard greens and spicy peach catsup. The classic burger made from pasture-raised beef, topped with Goot Essa cheddar and served with fries and Vidalia onion mayonnaise, should not to be missed. 38 MacDougal St., SoHo. 212/475–7500. AE, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $22.

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The White Rabbit, Singapore.

The compelling space and chic décor—soaring ceilings, ample arched windows, honey-colored wood, stained glass, and rows of chandeliers hanging over curved banquettes—of this former church has been drawing in scores of faithful diners since it first opened. The young and trendy crowd enjoys such dishes as a rich chicken and duck liver paté paired with port jelly and chunky brioche soldiers; browned and bubbling macaroni and cheese drizzled with truffle oil; grilled salmon glazed with orange butter; and the mars bar soufflé for dessert. Request one of the booths in the center of the room to fully absorb the atmosphere. After dinner, spend some time on the patio framed with a whimsical menagerie of topiary, while sipping one of the special cocktails and listening to the house DJ. 39C Harding Road, Tanglin. 6473–9965. Closed Mon. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: 30 SGD.

Maison Boulud à Pékin, Beijing.

Internationally acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud’s first foray in China is housed in the historic Legation Quarter, a destination in itself. Arrive early to sip an aperitif in the parlor and admire the colonial-chic decor. Entering the understated dining room, you may find yourself in the company of the city’s well-to-do having a night on the town. Peruse the concise à la carte menu featuring all the usual suspects—king crab, foie gras, beef, fish—or go for the four-course prix fixe (RMB 428). Fans of Boulud’s other outlets won’t be disappointed with its Beijing sibling. No. 23 Qian Men Dong Da Jie, Dongcheng District. 010/6559–9200. AE, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: 250 RMB.

Pa’ia Inn, Maui.

Originally built in 1927 as a boarding house when Pa’ia was a bustling plantation town, the building was completely renovated and reopened as an inn in 2008. Set in the heart of Pa’ia on busy Hana Highway, the Inn is amazingly quiet inside the lobby and guest rooms. The rooms are air-conditioned and each are accommodated with a phone, flat screen TV, iPod clock/radio, and fully stocked mini bar. All have private bathrooms with travertine tile and salon-quality amenities. The second floor features a lounge where guests are treated to complimentary coffee, tea, muffins and scones. For those desiring room service, a coffee house across the street will deliver. Access to secluded and sandy Pa’ia Bay is along a pathway between two private residences behind the Inn. Pros: convenient; clean; friendly and knowledgeable staff; no minimum night stay required Cons: guest rooms are extraordinarily small; no closets. 93 Hana Highway, Paia. 808–579–6000. 5 rooms. In-hotel: parking, laundry, no elevator. AE, MC, V. Rooms start at $199.

Gora Tensui, Japan.

The Gora Tensui, which opened in 2007, is a unique cross between a boutique hotel and a Japanese style inn. There is no front desk. Upon entering, guests remove their socks and shoes, take a seat at the counter with their tired feet resting in a hot mineral spring bath, and enjoy a tea or beer as they check in. There are both Japanese and Western rooms, and some that combine both, with raised islands of tatami (mats) on top of wood flooring. In addition, two rooms have shared onsen baths, one outdoors and one indoors. Some rooms have private baths on terraces with wonderful views of the mountains. Pros: four rooms have private a onsen bath on a terrace. Cons: no Japanese food in the restaurant. 1320-276 Gora, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, 250-0408. 0460/86–1411. 17 rooms. AE, MC, V. Rooms start at: ¥26,000.

Contributors: Laura Dozier, Bonnie Friedman, Jen Laskey, Zoe Li, Kevin Mcgue, Lee Middleton

Photo courtesy of Cape Grace

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