With this month’s opening of the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard, London, travelers can lodge in luxury in the city’s latest skyline landmark. Architect Renzo Piano, namesake of the Kimbell Art Museum’s Piano Pavilion, designed the 1,004-foot-tall pyramidal glass-clad spire on the River Thames’ south bank. Now in addition to offices and an observatory level, the skyscraper will host 202 rooms — each different as dictated by the tapering shape of the building, but all with floor-to-ceiling windows, often even in the bathrooms. The hotel will be home to GONG, London’s highest bar, on the 52nd floor, as well as a 24-hour gym and the city’s loftiest infinity pool when it opens July 1. Rooms start at about $733; 866-565-5050, www.shangri-la.com/london.
15 More Minutes of Fame
Before he painted Joan Collins, Pia Zadora and Maria Shriver, Andy Warhol photographed them using a Polaroid camera. Now 150 of his retro Polaroids and black-and-white shots make up the show “Andy Warhol’s Photographs,” at the RISD Museum on the campus of the Rhode Island School of Design. The collection is part of a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to the design museum and offers a unique peek into the artist’s obsession with celebrity, nightlife and street scenes, as well as his love of the camera. Through June 29; adult museum admission is $12. 800-364-RISD, www.risd.edu.
Two new north-of-the-border attractions put engineering in the service of nature.
Like the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the new Glacier Skywalk, opening May 1 on the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park, about an hour north of Lake Louise in Alberta, features a glass-floored observation platform. It is cantilevered 918 feet above the glacier-filled Sunwapta Valley. Exhibits leading to the platform focus on the power and movement of glaciers, visible across the valley. Admission is $24.95 Canadian (about $22.60). 866-816-2758, http://glacierskywalk.ca.
A 45-minute drive up the Sea to Sky Highway outside of Vancouver, the new Sea to Sky Gondola, an eight-passenger ski lift-style car designed to deliver riders 1,900 vertical feet in 10 panoramic minutes, opens May 16. Riders will catch the aerial tram in the adventure gateway of Squamish to the mountaintop terminus with views of the rugged, snow-capped peaks of Garibaldi Park aloft and en route. From the gondola, hikers can access six hiking trails, a 213-foot-high suspension bridge and a lodge with a scenic restaurant. Admission is $34.95 Canadian (about $31.70.) 855-732-8675, www.seatoskygondola.com.
Kitchen Theater in Philly
In Philadelphia, chef Jose Garces, best known from TV’s Iron Chef America, aims to redefine dinner theater with the opening of his new restaurant, Volvér, in the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. As at any show, diners require a ticket for the 34-seat dining room, which features an exhibition kitchen/stage for a team of chefs. Multicourse tasting menus highlight the chef’s inspiration, from a childhood favorite-turned-upscale KFS, or Kentucky fried squab, to worldwide travels in Japan and Spain, both captured in two separate fish courses. Those lacking tickets for either of two seatings, held Wednesdays through Sundays, can still belly up to a separate bar in the lounge. Reservations required; eight-to-12-course menus are $75-$250 per meal, based on seasonality. 215-670-2303; www.volverrestaurant.com.
Bangkok Old and New
Bangkok’s latest luxury hotel, The Siam on the Chao Phraya River, is filled with the often-quirky antique collection of owner Krissada Sukosol Clapp, ranging from early movie cameras and wooden apothecary chests to Colonial-era, illustrated Siamese books. He even restored two traditional wooden Thai houses, now repurposed as a riverfront cooking school and a restaurant. The best of the hotel’s 39 suites feature private courtyards with fountain-fed plunge pools and spacious daybeds. But perhaps the most surprising amenity lies in the gym, home to a “muay,” or Thai boxing ring, where guests can sign up for one-on-one instruction in the fighting-as-fitness discipline. Rooms from $463; 66-0-2206-6999, www.thesiamhotel.com.