BEST SANCTUARY FROM THE FAST TRACK - 2002
Beach Bar at the Delano Hotel
The Beach Bar at the Delano opened in 1995 and was recently refurbished to a kind of post-Gatsby sheen. The best time to experience that sheen is about 1:00 a.m. on a weeknight, stretched out at one of the tables down at the end of the hotel's magnificent pool (officially known as the Water Salon). Designed by Philippe Starck, with its Liz Taylor-movie backlighting and drama, the curtains from the ground-level suites wafting like veils, the talk from the pool-shooters way back in the hotel wreathing you with tales of George Clooney and Elle McPherson, you soon forget the day's hustle and competition. And relax. The guys who work the bar -- Roberto, Bruno, Nick, Luis, and Dennis -- will build you a caipirinha, a kind of Brazilian mojito. If you get there a little earlier, you might want to go for the "grille menu," which includes two kinds of steaks, mahi-mahi, salads, and desserts, all for $40, and the Veuve Clicquot, which you can purchase by the glass for $20. If you get there really early, as of this spring, you can enjoy the Beach Party, which begins a half-hour before sunset and will feature DJs playing low-key lounge music. Because the idea is to get ... away ... from ... it ... all.