Chez Benito

TO ESCAPE THE ILL WINDS OF war, Benito Mussolini and his mistress often relaxed aboard their 120-foot yacht, the Chryseis. If they could find comfort there, the ship's current owners are betting that a new generation of work-weary warriors will, too. Pat and Bonnie Hicks of Texas are renovating the two-masted schooner and turning it into a floating bed-and-breakfast due to open in March. They're restoring such historical details as the hull, masts and compass stand, and updating the boat's amenities to include private baths with whirlpool tubs, a sauna and massage therapy. But won't Americans feel haunted by the ghost of their former enemy? Apparently not. The Hickses claim they're nearly booked for '99 and sold out for New Year's Eve 2000.