The Good Life

The golden age of yachting was not during the 1930s, it's now, says William Smith, co-owner of U.S.-based Trinity Yachts. "Because of developments in technology, you can have all the comforts of the finest hotels in the world," says Smith. "And it's mobile." The construction of these luxury "superyachts"--as cruisers over 24 meters are known--has become the fastest-growing sector of the boat-building industry, according to Carl Richardson, technical editor of Motor Boats Monthly.

The Italians are leading the way. Azimut is known for its "open boat" construction, with a retractable roof on the main deck, most recently seen on its 86S model. But what really gives its boats the "wow" factor are their oversize windows, which give cruisers a view nearly to water level. The design is eye-catching, too, with bold hull colors and cabins decorated in satin and Japanese wood (€3.45 million to €3.6 million; )

For those with more Old World sensibilities, Ferretti's Mochi Craft 74´ Dolphin updates the traditional New England lobster boat, melding the rounded shapes and natural lines of the 1950s with luxury trimmings like stitched leather upholstery and solid teak fixtures (€3 million; mochicraft- ). Ferretti also offers the Pershing 90´, whose main deck, bridge and rear deck are outfitted with sunpads perfect for tan-seekers (approximately €7 million; ).

Wally Yacht's 118 Wallypower, also made in Italy, may be the most unusual-looking boat on the water, with angular construction and a metallic, refractive hull. It also cruises at a speedy 40 knots and can sleep six, in cabins outfitted in teak, white lacquered veneers and skylights (€21 million; ).

Americans are quickly catching up in the great yacht race. At almost 50 meters, the Mustang Sally, made by Trinity Yachts, typifies the " 'mine is bigger than yours' mentality that now defines the industry," says Peter Janssen, editorial director of Yachting and Motor Boating magazines. With three decks and more than 1,440 square meters of living space, the boat accommodates 10 guests in five staterooms, plus crew quarters for nine. The interior is decorated in British colonial style, with deeply stained cherry and crotch mahogany adorned by museum-grade art. But any boat is only as good as its toys; Mustang Sally comes with two Jet Skis, two Wave Runners, a 5.5-meter raft, two Yamaha motor scooters, a 12-person double banana boat and a Manta Ray flying tow toy. In case you get bored (approximately €24 million; ).

Bright beach patterns are no longer just for bikinis. Men's swim trunks now have just as much sassy charm. St-Tropez-based Vilebrequin decorates men's suits with chili peppers, coconuts, feathers or starfish, all set against pastel backgrounds. They may be fun, but they have enough gravitas to appeal to intellectual heavyweights like Tony Blair, who took a pair on holiday last year (about €130; ). Equally bold is Paul Smith's line, which includes a collage of black and white palm trees and flowers or stripes in pink, red, purple and yellow (€115; ). And Lacoste is making standout trunks covered in the brand's iconic luminous green crocodiles (€123; ).

Silvia Spring

The gateway to the Orient is a bustling hybrid of rich history and modern cosmopolitan buzz. Get the most out of your next stopover:

EAT in Turkish style at the lively Sofyali 9, sampling meze dishes like deep-fried cheese pastries and stuffed green peppers, followed by grilled fish or meat (Asmalimescit Sofyali Sokak No. 9, Beyoglu).

VISIT the breathtaking 17th-century Blue Mosque. Later, stop in the Sultanahmet district to sip tea, smoke a hookah and admire the skyline. (Mosque closed during daily prayers.)

HAGGLE in the Kapali Carsi, or Covered Bazaar, for carpets and kilims, jewelry, antiques and leather goods.

RELAX in a Turkish bath at Cagaloglu Hamami, the 18th-century hammam built by Sultan Mahmut I, renowned for its splendid marble interior. (Open daily. Men: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.; Women: 8 a.m.-8 p.m.; Yerebatan Caddesi.

Can't sleep? With the help of these stylish new lamps, it's easy to read the night away. Designer Bébé Regnier had so much trouble finding a good reading lamp that she decided to start her own company, featuring one lamp cast in solid brass that holds three 60-watt bulbs for powerful illumination (€1,938; ). For the bespoke besotted, Plinth offers funky 1930s-style angle-poise reading lamps where each base is wrapped in a unique swath of silk damask (€549; ). And if you fall into the "aging eye" market, good news: Holtkoetter makes several fashionable options, including the Halogen Torchiere, a traditional stand-up light with a small side arm extension that aids older eyes with more light and less glare (€1,183; ).

Karla Adam

With the hottest harborside tables, L'Escale is a stylish oasis of cream and chrome on the jostling quayside. The best draw is the vast terrace for shameless celeb-spotting and checking the megayachts cruising in for a night stop.

Ambience: Mingle with bankers, rock-star royalty and post-World Cup heroes. Lounge on bleached furniture amid ubiquitous images of Brigitte Bardot and wiggle your toes in the white sand on the floor. When the day ends, tanned waiters draw back the roof to let everyone cool down.

Starters: Share the Escale platter, three iced layers of shellfish including lobster, clams, crab, creamy oysters, whelks and winkles.

Best dishes: Chef Frank Broc offers the finest catches of the day from the St-Tropez fish market in his classic Mediterranean bouillabaisse. Other favorites include sea bass baked in rock salt with black-truffle mash and risotto with duck foie gras.

Dessert to die for: If you're heading to the beach, stick to macaroons with fresh raspberries or iced apple soup. Otherwise, indulge in the chocolate cake or crème brûlée.

Wine list: There are some seriously fine French wines on offer, but the hometown crowd drinks local rosé from the Domaines Ott or Château Minuty vineyards

Quench your thirst this summer with wheat beer. Brewed with less barley, it has a complex zesty flavor and a little extra fizz that livens up the drink. Here are our favorite offerings:

Ramstein Blonde ($8.99 for a six-pack; ). This traditional German hefeweizen is brewed in New Jersey. A spicy, golden beer, slightly clouded with sediment, it has flavor to spare, with subtle hints of clove, apple and banana. St. Bernardus Witbier ($3.75 for an 11.2-ounce bottle; ). Brew maestro Pierre Celis outdoes himself with a complex flavor that evokes blackberry, banana and a little orange. This hazy golden yellow brew is immensely refreshing.

Erdinger Hefe-Weizen ($11.25 for a six-pack; ). A bit heavier than your average weisse beer, this bright orange Bavarian brew tastes of nuts. Less sweet and highly carbonated, it's still got the typical hints of banana and clove around the edges. Try it with sausage.

Brooklyner Weisse ($8.99 for a six-pack; ). From the reliable brewery. It carries a faint taste of bubblegum, which meshes well with the spicy-fruity flavors. It's a bit thin--but all the better ... have another gulp.

Brian Braiker