We’ve found 10 of the world’s coolest hotels to bed down in...
Join us on a tour of the hippest hotels to stay in this year...
The new The Opposite House: Designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma and located in the heart of Beijing's trendy Sanlitun district, The Opposite House is by far and away Beijing's coolest hotel. A striking, open-plan lobby reaches up to the sky, while fashion-themed works of art draw your eye to different corners of the relaxed space. The Zen rooms are the main reason to stay here, but the major bonus is the fantastic selection of restaurants and bars, including the popular after-work hangout Mesh and Mediterranean eatery Sureno.
11 Sanlitun Road, Chaoyang District (+86 10 6417 8899/ www.theoppositehouse.com).
The old St Regis: With a list of guests that extends to celebrities and heads of state, the St Regis is Beijing’s most prestigious address. Many an important executive has thrashed out a deal in the Press Club Bar, and the Sunday brunch at the Garden Court is for those who prefer quality to quantity – or to put it another way, caviar to a greasy fry-up. The style is over-the-top elegance, with more marble and chestnut wood than you can shake a stick at: definitely a classy experience.
1 Jianguomenwai Dajie (+86 10 6460 6688/ www.starwoodhotels.com/stregis).
The new Citizen M: We've seen the future, and it's a bit trendy. Citizen M (M for 'mobile') is a new concept for those who want luxury on the cheap. A little way out of town – though definitely bikeable – this design hotel is stuffed full of iconic furniture (Eames recliners and the like) but not unnecessary grinning staff. Which would be a mighty triumph of style over substance, if it didn't seem to work so nicely.
Prinses Irenestraat 30 (+31 20 8117 055/ www.citizenmamsterdamcity.com).
The old Eden Amsterdam American Hotel: Spacious rooms you have been tastefully refurbished in this grand art nouveau building in the museum quarter. Guests are greeted by 'Lady American' – a 1920s flapper on the carpet inside each bedroom – and can watch live footage from a webcam on the roof. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the 'Cafe Americain' – a stunning art deco room with Tiffany lamps, stained glass and recently uncovered murals inspired by 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'.
Leidsekade 97 (+31 20 556 3000/
The new Hotel Felix: The lovely Hotel Felix beats other Chicago hostelries (even trumping nearby Trump's) by having the city's first silver LEED certificate for environmental sustainability. This eco-chic newcomer is located in a charming brick building dating back to the 1920s. Each of the 224 guest rooms are decorated in gentle, earthy colours and fitted with high-speed internet access and flat-screen TVs.
111 W Huron St (+1 312 447 3440/www.hotelfelixchicago.com).
The oldThe Drake: The Drake epitomises old-world glamour in every sense of the word. Meeting rooms and lobbies are still adorned with Oriental rugs and chandeliers, high tea is served daily in the Palm Court and lavish weddings for the rich and famous are held in stadium-sized banquet rooms. But all is not frozen in time: rooms have been updated with high-speed internet access and non-allergenic pillows to ensure twenty-first-century amenities and comfort.
140 East Walton Place (+1 312 787 2200/www.thedrakehotel.com).
The new The Luxe Manor: Since bursting onto the scene in 2007, The Luxe Manor has established itself as Hong Kong's premier boutique hotel. Situated on a small street in lesser-travelled Kowloon, its reputation has nevertheless spread far and wide. Beyond the Greco-Roman exterior lies a surrealist-inspired interior – the bar is called Dada, no less – which, while never taking itself too seriously, never fails to impress.
39 Kimberley Road, Kowloon (+852 3763 8888/www.theluxemanor.com).
The old The Peninsula: Labelled as 'the finest hotel east of Suez' upon opening, the grand old dame of Hong Kong hotels holds court over Victoria Harbour, as she has done since 1928. Afternoon tea – replete with plenty of scones and English breakfast tea – is still served in The Verandah. Make sure you visit the toilets of the rooftop, Philippe Starck-designed Felix bar – the views are stunning.
Salisbury Road, Kowloon (+852 2920 2888/www.peninsula.com).
The new A’jia Hotel: Each of the 15 rooms at this stunning, former Ottoman mansion, located directly on the Asian banks of the Bosphorus, offers a breathtaking view. One of the most impressive aspects of a stay here is that a ferry can be taken directly from the hotel across the Bosphorus to any number of clubs along the shore.
27 Çubuklu Caddesi, Kanlica (+90 216 413 9300/www.ajiahotel.com).
The old Çiragan Palace Kempinski: Turkey’s one and only Çiragan Palace Kempinski is incredibly opulent – it's even got a butler. Celebrities, politicians and musicians all stay here. The outdoor infinity pool is a must as it creates the illusion of swimming in the Bosphorus itself.
32 Ciragan Caddesi, Besiktas (+ 90 212 326 46 46/www.kempinski-istanbul.com).
The new Travellers House: It's the new thing in town: the boutique hostel. Who says the words 'affordable', 'backpacking' and 'stylish' don't go together? The owners boast that Travellers House has been created by travellers for travellers, which means that it has been tailor-made to fit every traveller's needs. No surprise then that 'Hostelworld' named it the number one hostel in the world.
89 Rua Augusta (+351 210 115 922/www.travellershouse.com).
The old Hotel Palácio Estoril: Forty years ago, the James Bond film crew landed in Lisbon to film On Her Majesty's Secret Service. And they went straight to the Hotel Palácio Estoril, which at the time was known as a favourite hangout for Europe's spies. Yes, the real ones. They've departed now (we think), but the glamour lingers on.
Rua Particular, 2769 – 504 Estoril (+351 21 464 8000/www.palacioestorilhotel.com).
The new The Zetter: If you’re looking for a modern, stylish and very reasonably priced boutique hotel in the capital, then The Zetter should be your first port of call. Situated in the heart of London’s stylish Clerkenwell district, the hotel incorporates all the amenities you’d expect of a modern hotel – free wi-fi, 24-hour room service and movies on demand – with a host of elegant design touches that set this hotel apart: think Penguin paperbacks, pink mood lighting and Eley Kishimoto textiles. Whatever your room rate, the staff offer a level of dedicated and hospitable service usually only found in the most deluxe of London hotels.
St John’s Square, 86-88 Clerkenwell Road (+44 20 7324 4444/
The old Claridge’s: The opulent Claridge’s has long been the Mayfair destination for comfort, service and downright decadence. Many deluxe hotels offer the top-notch range of facilities and services available at Claridge’s, but none can imitate the quintessentially English sense of luxury on offer here. From the lavish art deco interior style, to the Michelin-starred restaurant run by Gordon Ramsay, via a world-beating afternoon tea, a stay at Claridge’s is an exercise in 1930s-style glamour. On a wintry London evening, nothing beats slipping through the hidden door that conceals ‘The Fumoir’ – a sensuous, low-lit bar perfect for a secret rendezvous.
Brook Street W1K 4HR (+44 20 7629 8860/www.claridges.co.uk).
The new The Four Seasons Mumbai: With its gleaming exterior rising out of a slum, the Four Seasons is the bricks-and-mortar embodiment of the new Mumbai. It's big, brash and something of an upstart – with the only chef in India licensed to cut the poisonous puffer fish fugu working in its Chinese restaurant! But rest assured, whichever room you take, you'll have a construction site for a view.
114 Dr E Moses Road, Worli (+91 22 2481 8000/
The old The Taj Mahal Palace and Tower: A grand old lady among city hotels, the Taj hasn't lost its charm to time, competitors or even terror attacks. Whether you check in to the old building or the new you'll be treated to crystal chandeliers, the finest Indian art works and staff that treat you like royalty. It will be a few months before the famed bell-tower suite is ready for use again, but in the meantime a Louis Vuitton shop, local boutiques and jewellery showrooms at the arcade are great retail therapy.
Apollo Bundar (www.tajhotels.com).
The new Soho House New York: In a town full of chic sleeps, private members' club-cum-swish-hotel Soho House New York remains the hippest place to rest your head. The rooms exploit their ex-warehouse proportions well, stretching out with soaring ceilings, fashionably bashed sofas and, in the larger rooms, free-standing baths at the foot of the beds. The Cowshed spa, which started life in Somerset sister property Babington House, has crossed the Atlantic well and is in line with the hotel's ramshackle chic. The rooftop pool and bar out-eye-candied the 'Sex and the City' girls in an infamous episode, and it remains the exclusive playground of the trendiest of Manhattanites. Guests, of course, bypass the velvet rope and an evening spent pout-spotting is worth the room rate alone.
29 9th Avenue (+1 212 627 9800/
The old The Waldorf-Astoria: First built in 1893, the original Waldorf-Astoria was the city's largest hotel before it was demolished to make way for the Empire State Building. The current art deco Waldorf opened in 1931 and now has protected status as a historic hotel. The rooms, with wingback chairs, love seats, rich colours and layered fabrics, feel as if they were decorated by Upper East Side socialites of yore. Those socialites would feel right at home at the exclusive new Louis Vuitton-owned Guerlain Spa. Double-check your attire before entering the hotel – you won't be allowed in if you're wearing a baseball cap and ripped jeans.
301 Park Ave (+1 212 355 3000/