The Good Life: City ‘Scapes

Three takes on the urban getaway

NEW YORK
Stay: Sleek and minimal, the London NYC (151 West 54th Street, 866-690-2029; thelondonnyc.com) is all-suites, with oversize beds, kidney-shaped sofas, and a cool palette of icy blue and silver. But who even cares? You’ll spend most of your time in the Waterworks



NEW YORK
Stay: Sleek and minimal, the London NYC (151 West 54th Street, 866-690-2029; thelondonnyc.com) is all-suites, with oversize beds, kidney-shaped sofas, and a cool palette of icy blue and silver. But who even cares? You’ll spend most of your time in the Waterworks bathroom, with hand-cut glass tiles and double rain shower heads.

Eat: The hotel’s London Bar restaurant is elegant and civilized — perfect for drinks and appetizers before the eight o’clock show; its ambient buzz is due to Michelin three-star-rated chef Gordon Ramsay, whose masterful small plates disappoint only in their, um, smallness.

Spa: Head a few blocks north to the Ritz-Carlton Central Park South (or stay here, if your bonus check came in; the park views alone make it dreamy). From the Swiss clinic that brought us $1,000 face creams comes the decadent and intensely private La Prairie spa (212-521-6135; ritzcarlton.com). The clocks run on time here, so arrive early if you want to enjoy a steam before the serious pampering begins.

WASHINGTON
Stay: Swann House (1808 New Hampshire Avenue NW, 202-265-4414; swannhouse.com), a red stone mansion off Dupont Circle, has all the amenities of a luxury hotel with the added homeyness of a B&B — quirkily decorated rooms, an evening sherry hour, and homemade cheese blintz pies for breakfast.

Eat: The elevated comfort food at Michel Richard’s new hot spot Central (1001 Pennsylvania Avenue, 202-626-0015; centralmichelrichard.com) should possibly be called discomfort food. Because it’s not like you’re going to eat just one of the feather-light gougères, or merely nibble at your succulent lobster burger. And then there’s Richard’s reinvented KitKat … By the time it’s all over, you’ll want to lie down and breathe shallowly, like a beached whale. A happy beached whale.

Spa: Once you’ve finished checking your e-mail and charging your cell phone (complimentary Mac access and outlets provided) at the Erwin Gomez Salon & Spa (1519 Wisconsin Avenue NW, between P and Q streets, 202-333-7290; erwingomezsalon.com), get your eyebrows shaped by the master himself. (Erwin Gomez did the Bush twins!) Or try the hot lava pedicure — pricey, but worth it.

BOSTON
Stay: The recently opened InterContinental Boston (510 Atlantic Avenue; 617-747-1000; intercontinentalboston.com) is the first good thing to rise above the site of the Big Dig construction project. The stacked translucent tower opens onto the new Rose Kennedy Greenway, a future hub of downtown activity, and backs up to the Fort Point Channel, whose banks are turning into a neighborhood reborn with artists — the most successful of whom will be shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art, a short walk away on the waterfront.

Eat: Oishii in Chestnut Hill has been a neighborhood sushi favorite for years. At his new South End outpost (1166 Washington Street, 617-482-8868; oishiisushi.com), chef Ting San takes his work more seriously. His sandwiches of toro between brown-rice crackers, topped with caviar, are sublime.

Spa: The InterContinental’s 6,000-square-foot spa is big like a Zen temple, with a dizzying menu of services and a gym whose floor-to-ceiling windows look back out onto the Greenway and the last remnants of the Big Dig. Massages and a snack-filled lounge combine for an experience so relaxing, it could make a hard-wired city guy almost … nervous.

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