LONDON — Gathering around the pool is a Friday night affair at the new Haymarket Hotel.

The 18-meter indoor pool isn't for laps though. Steps away from the capital's theater district, the Pool at the Haymarket Hotel, which was initially exclusive to guests at the new 50-suite boutique hotel, now offers a swanky alternative to the typical after-work hangout.

A DJ spins chill lounge music as patrons recline on ornate gold sofas and watch the colored light installations mimic a sunset, courtesy of designer Martin Richman.

From 6 p.m. until midnight on Fridays, the bar offers an array of creative concoctions such as the Passion @ Haymarket — a blend of ginger and mint shaken with Stoli raspberry vodka — at 10.50 pounds (approximately $21.50 at current exchange) or a 540 pound ($1,105) bottle of Cristal Champagne.

Hotel chef Robin Read cooks up an exotic spin on the regular bar fare with a menu that includes a seafood platter of pickled sardines, swordfish skewers and lemon salmon, all for a moderate 19.50 pounds ($39.90).

Haymarket Hotel, 1 Suffolk Place; +44-207-470-4000.

— Tosin Mfon


RIO DE JANEIRO — Escape Bar, which opened in mid-October in São Paulo's Itaím neighborhood, aims to transport patrons to another world.

The charm of the so-called "style bar" lies in its cozy, elegant and unusual ambience. Revelers enter past a backlit mini forest of dead, leafless trees before encountering a long, narrow space with seating for 100 patrons on an array of stools, banquettes and sofas. Escape Bar's atmosphere is provided by a series of fluorescent blue, green and red lights, which mix on the bar's back wall and gradually change hues every five minutes.

"When clients walk into our bar, they escape from the real world into a new and constantly transforming one," said co-owner Regis Pina.

Besides its light show, Escape Bar's other forte is creative cocktails ($10 on average) made from imported liquors, as well as cachaça, a local sugarcane distillate. The Wallpaper, for example, is made with cachaça, passion fruit, sugar-laced vanilla and a pinch of spicy pepper.The bar also offers upscale snacking, ranging in price from $9 to $18, including crab cakes in a sweet sauce; kafta, a Middle Eastern spiced ground beef dish, topped with tahini; polenta with pepperoni and cheese sauce, and spring rolls stuffed with shrimp, cheese, dried tomatoes and basil.

Escape Bar, Rua Jerônimo da Veiga 163; +55-11-3071-1526.

Open Tuesday-Saturday, 6:30 p.m.-1 a.m.

— Michael Kepp


MONTREAL — Devi, the acclaimed New York Indian restaurant, has brought its delicate brand of regional Indian cuisine to trendy Crescent Street here.

"We are totally unlike the image one has of Indian buffets," said owner Praveen Aggarwal, whose brother-in-law Rakesh Aggarwal formerly owned the New York Devi and is a partner in the Montreal venture. Already, Montrealers and tourists alike have commented on the delicacy of our dishes."

Meaning "goddess" in Indian, Devi uses flavors and techniques from the many types of regional cuisines in India. Signature dishes include Tandoor-Grilled Lamb Chops with Sweet & Sour Pear Chutney for 22.95 Canadian dollars ($24.55 at current exchange) or Tandoor Salmon for 19.95 Canadian dollars ($21.35).

A scent of cilantro, mint and tamarind sweeten the room under jewel-like lamps that cast colored rays on the wooden doors, lintels and antiques imported from India. Soft, silk fuchsia cushions balance the dark wood, giving the restaurant an authentic Indian atmosphere.

Prices range from 6 to 12 Canadian dollars ($6.42 to $12.84) for appetizers, 14 to 29 Canadian dollars ($14.98 to $31.03) for entrées and 6 to 11 Canadian dollars ($6.42 to $11.77) for desserts. A seven-course tasting menu costs 55 Canadian dollars ($58.85).

Devi, 1450 Crescent Street; 514-286-0303; devimontreal.com.

Open Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-midnight.

— Brian Dunn


BERLIN — As the inspiration for the Greta Garbo film "Grand Hotel," there is no shortage of legends connected to Berlin's oldest hotel, the Adlon. This year the hotel celebrates its 100th anniversary, a century filled with famous guests including Bill Clinton, Queen Elizabeth and Michael Jackson, who famously dangled his baby out of a window.With prices reaching 12,500 euros ($18,260 at current exchange) per night for the Presidential Security Suite — complete with limousine and butler service — staying the night might not be within your budget, but as of Nov. 7 even those with a less-than-regal bank balance can taste luxury for a day by checking into the Adlon Day Spa. Spread over 10,000 square feet and three levels, the spa offers massages, treatments and a comprehensive beauty program using Kanebo and SkinCeuticals cosmetics.

The minimalist interior was designed by Anne Maria Jagdfeld and includes 13 private treatment rooms, yoga and meditation areas and three first-class suites, which come complete with private saunas, steam baths and Jacuzzis. Treatment packages start at 220 euros ($321) and private spa suites from 320 euros ($467) for half a day.

Adlon Day Spa, Behrenstrasse 72; +49-30-3011-17200; adlon-day-spa.de. Open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-10 p.m., and Saturday-Sunday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

— Damien McGuinness

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