The NY Times’ 53 Places It’s Safe For Your Folks From Scarsdale To Visit In 2008

re: The 53 Places to Go in 2008
I was intrigued as the next guy by the list of 53 Places we’re supposed to go in 2008, then I realized that almost without exception, the “reason” to go is the opening at long last of that destination’s first “luxury” accommodations. Which seems about the dumbest reason I can think of for choosing where to travel.
I started pulling out all the quotes, Zagat-style, but I got so bored, I quit around 40. You get the idea, though. And you have to admit, those exceptions are rather awesome: who needs an Aman Resort when you have “flower bloggers” and “death squads”?

  • 1 Laos: “luxury teak houseboats”; “seriously upscale Residence”
  • 2 Lisbon: “style-savvy”; “avant-garde status”
  • 3 Tunisia: “undergoing a Morocco-like luxury makeover”; “stylish boutique hotels”; “increasing numbers of well-heeled travelers”
  • 4 Mauritius: “Four Seasons resort”
  • 5 Mid-Beach, Miami: “faded glitterati hangouts” with “multimillion-dollar renovations”; “a Mid-Beach outpost of the members-only Soho House”
  • 6 South Beach, Miami: “red carpet of designer hotels”
  • 7 Maldives: “high-end hotels expected to open next year”; 50 villas “allowing guests to observe the rich marine life while still lying in bed.”
  • 8 Death Valley: “flower bloggers already speculating about a dazzling spring bloom”
  • 9 Courchevel: “ultra-exclusive”; billionaires fuel the “consumption of Cristal jeroboams and high-ticket hotels”; “sumptuous”; “rustic-chic apartments”
  • 10 Libya: “luxury hotels and golf courses are planned”
  • 11 Hvar: “a new Riviera”; “fills with yachts”
  • 12 Puerto Vallarta: “some dozen gay-friendly hotels”; “a glut of bars and clubs”
  • 13 Sylt: “the ‘Hamptons of Germany'”
  • 14 Prague: “youth hostels are being squeezed by luxe hotels”
  • 15 Quito: “a crop of upscale hotels has arrived”
  • 16 Liverpool: more “than just the Beatles”
  • 17 Munich: “hybrid Mercedes-Benz taxis”; “cushy living”; “posh new hotel”
  • 18 Iran: “luxury cruise liner”
  • 19 Tuscany: “the nine-hole course covers 247 acres”
  • 20 Anguilla: “Just when you thought the Caribbean island of Anguilla couldn’t get any fancier”; “172 luxury accommodations”; “3,200 feet of private waterfront”
  • 21 Bogota: “remembered for its death squads”
  • 22 Playa Blanca, Panama: “tres chic beach club”; “‘sexiest project in Panama'”
  • 23 Alexandria: “upscale cafes”
  • 24 Mazatlan: “a half-dozen resorts are now in the works”
  • 25 St Lucia: “upscale progress marches on”; “eco-hedonistic resorts”; “private jet terminal”
  • 26 Oslo: “one of the world’s most expensive cities”; “two new design hotels”
  • 27 Buenos Aires: “the first five-star gay hotel in Latin America”; “bohemian-chic”
  • 28 Rimini, Italy: “Italy’s bling party capital”; “style-conscious”; “raging club scene, cool boites and designer hotels”
  • 29 Malawi: “luxury lodge”
  • 30 Roatan: “waking up with big plans”; “Westin Resort & Spa”
  • 31 Mozambique: “high-end lodges”; “luxurious tented bandas”
  • 32 Kuwait City; “a slate of opulent hotels”
  • 33 Verbier: “will get decidedly more upper class”
  • 34 Lombok: “other high-end hotels are on the way”
  • 35 Northwest Passage: “Notwithstanding last month’s sinking of an Antarctic cruise ship”
  • 36 Easter Island: “its first luxury resort”
  • 37 Virgin Gorda: “raising its profile” with “three villas measuring 8,000 square feet”
  • 38 Namibia: “the country is going eco-deluxe”; “stylish decor and matching rates”; “planning five luxury hotels”
  • Pics From Kyoto And Hong Kong

    Just a couple of photos I took while in Kyoto and Hong Kong last week:
    The Third Eye: Olafur Eliasson’s installations in the world’s Louis Vuitton windows. Here’s Hong Kong, which required three to fill it up:


    A vintage mid-century Japanese prefab house that looks surprisingly modern these days, and increasingly rare: post-war buildings don’t tend to stick around in Japan this long:


    I rather impulsively bought an ironing board at Muji, but with no practical way to take it home, I ended up leaving it at the hotel. It was a damn fine-looking ironing board, though, let me tell you.
    I mention it because the same hoarding impulse struck me when I saw this eminently restorable black lacquer-finish credenza on the street in Kyoto. The backside was gorgeous, actually. Somehow, I managed to think through–and abandon–any ideas for shipping this bad boy before dragging it across the street to the hotel.

    kyoto_vintage_credenza flickr photostream [flickr]

    Michael Weiss Devastates His Reputation As A Dude

    Michael Weiss’s reading of the crypto-Republican subtext of John Hughes’ 80’s teen films seems remarkably tone deaf, even to someone who was growing up as a clueless cultural Republican teenager at the time.
    On the other hand, I don’t know what could be more depressing than to realize the genius behind Sixteen Candles is also behind Beethovens 1-5. Oh wait, I do know: that there are potentially four more Beethovens left.
    The Political Conservatism of John Hughes [slate]

    Geodesic dome house in Reykjavik

    Geodesic dome house in Reykjavik

    Originally uploaded by gregorg.

    So Olafur Eliasson’s work includes many references to the work of Buckminster Fuller, especially to geodesic domes. There are some hanging on the wall right next to me, in fact.

    Turns out thanks to the work of a former student/collaborator of Fuller, Einarr Thorstein, the Icelandic power company used geodesic domes as their standard architectural form. They now dot the country, situated on geothermal wellpoints and along pipelines.

    AND there’s a double dome house [pictured] in a Reykjavik housing development. Down the street is a double pyramid house, too; otherwise, the place looks like Fullterton, California circa 1980.

    KFC in Iceland

    KFC in Iceland

    Originally uploaded by gregorg.

    One thing that most people notice on arrival in Iceland is the uniformly modernist architecture. It looks like the whole country was imported as flatpack and built in about six weeks–sometime in the mid-80’s.

    There’s a little bit of frontier town utilitarianism, a little Scandinavian modernism, and a little eastern bloc uniformity, plus a little Bermudian/Atlantic island nation colored roof fixation.

    What stands out? The Kentucky Fried Chickens. They’re everywhere, and they all seem to have relatively innovative/eyecatching architecture. Finally, after seeing this sleek, anthacite-panelled example in Keflavik, I had to start snapping pictures.

    Inside, there was very nice clerestory lighting over the cash registers and the indoor playground. The bathrooms were high-end euro-trendy, and all the interior concrete uses the woodgrain from the poured-in-place forms to very nice effect.

    Stack Of Unposted Posts Celebrates 3-Day Anniversary

    I’ve been crunching on an offline deadline, and I’ve barely even read these, much less thought and posted about them:

  • How to Make a Movie About 9/11? Carefully: Unfortunately, careful isn’t usually the stuff of great Hollywood drama, but of compromised, templated biopics. As for “the most basic creative dilemma” being whether to show the planes hitting the towers, this footage, this imagery was arbitrarily sacralized so quickly, this taboo theology has accreted on it. The media equivalent of The Footprints, it’s an unsuitable vessel for the emotions and memories and eventual understanding of September 11th.
    On the other hand, The Great New Wonderful, directed by Danny Leiner, sounds promising. It’s set well after the Sept. 11th attacks, which is far more interesting, uncharted (in film) emotional territory. Plus, he did Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.

  • Hollywood Welcomes New Crop of Moguls: Always on the lookout for a crop of new somethings, Sharon Waxman finds people who are trying to make small fortunes in the film business using their big fortunes from elsewhere. A business model after my own heart. Now, if I only owned the Mavericks…
  • question: is the URL in the first story intentionally 20atta.html? Because the URL in the second is 19rich.html. Just asking….
  • Nerd Fight!

    American Dad sounds like The Family Guy newly converted to Atkins.
    Making lemonade out of an assignment to review Fox’s lame-sounding new series, Alessandra Stanley decides to start throwing concussion grenades into the world of animated comedy she apparently knows nothing about, just to watch the nerds scramble out and attack:

  • Is there any crueller insult to a comic than, “It was funnier the first hundred times Leno did it”?
  • About The Simpsons: “in its 16th year and still as fresh and manically witty as ever.”
  • American Dad‘s jokes are dated, unlike the Simpsons‘ new parody of…The Passion Of The Christ.
  • And the kicker, in case any animaniacs are still lurking on the sidelines, she says of American Dad, “it is to The Simpsons what Japanese anime is to Disney’s Fantasia: fashionable, but crude and cheaply drawn in comparison.”
    Dad Is a C.I.A. Operative, the Kids Have a Weird Pet [nyt]

  • For Sale: One Adman

    A very talented art director/designer friend is interested in moving to an agency position (he’s currently inhouse at a hip lifestyle/fashion company).
    If you either work in an advertising agency in NYC or know people who do, and you’re game to share your insights with him, please drop me a line.
    Thanks, I appreciate it very much. [And I know it’s a lot to ask, especially coming on the heels of last week’s “hey, check out my advertisers!” request and all…]

    Faster, Pussycat! Shill! Shill!

    Do whatever it takes. Kill the whole friggin’ space program. Put NASA out of business; my wife can find another job. Bankrupt the entire airline industry, and ground every plane. I don’t care.
    Just please, Xeni, please stop it with the PR pablum from some zero-G plane that last made the news during the shooting of Apollo 11. It wasn’t interesting when Howard, Hanks & Bacon blabbed on about it, either, but at least they stopped after the movie came out. Unless you’re going to ride a on-loan-from-Marketing Segway in a parabolic arc, get off the plane; the flight landed a long time ago.
    “Previous BB posts: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” [BoingBoing: Xeni Flies Zero-G #10]