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Trendsetting Luxury Hotels.
Luxury Travel Magazine ~ luxurytravelmagazine.com
Sunday, 13th January 2008
 
In destinations known for tradition, these hotels are setting new trends in luxury - Beijing, Singapore, Vienna, Athens, Venice, Istanbul, Prague, Budapest, Mexico City, Scottsdale.

COMMUNE BY THE GREAT WALL KEMPINSKI - BEIJING was named "New Architectural Wonder of China" by Business Week in 2005.

It is a private collection of contemporary architecture designed by 12 Asian architects. The project was exhibited at the 2002 'La Biennale di Venezia' and awarded a special prize.

Located in the Shuiguan Mountains amidst 8 square kilometers of private land, 1 hour and 15 minutes' drive from Beijing city center, the property enjoys easy access via the Badaling Expressway. The "Walnut Valley" of the Commune by the Great Wall Kempinski includes 11 villas with 46 guest rooms and the Commune Club which opened in October 2002, and the "Stone Valley" includes 31 new villas with 190 guest rooms, the Commune of the Children (Kids' Club), Anantara Spa, fitness room and the conference center, which opened in September 2006.

The private Badaling Airport, 15 minutes' drive from the Commune, is available for Helicopters and small aircraft arriving from Beijing Airport (20 minute flight).

NEW MAJESTIC HOTEL - SINGAPORE is a new boutique hotel in Singapore's historic China Town, featuring 30 rooms designed by emerging Singaporean artists -- the most influential talents from cinema, theatre and fashion.

Housed in a traditional conservation shop house, the hotel features an emphasis on strong design, local culture and the Arts. The new hotel aims to be a beacon of the New Asia genre of hotel where history is blended with modernity, international design with local inspiration a cutting-edge product of their time.

From the open concept period-inspired lobby with restored vintage Compton fans to the dramatic pool with glass inserts floating above the restaurant, to the selection of period colonial furniture from Singapore in the 1920s-1960s, New Majestic Hotel is a stunning and eclectic mix of heritage chic.

Individually designed rooms, continue the mix of vintage and designer furniture, customized baths, and can include private gardens and 6-meter ceilings in attic-style suites.

DO & CO HOTEL - VIENNA, AUSTRIA was designed by famed, Pritzker-prize winning architect Hans Hollein. The DO & CO Hotel is situated in the very heart of Vienna in the pedestrian zone opposite St. Stephen's Cathedral.

Four floors of the steel-and-glass building have been transformed into unique cone-shaped guest rooms offering majestic views of Stephansplatz, Graben and the Kärtnerstrasse. Extravagant accommodations feature teak woodwork and stone, integrated into a futuristic vision of modern design. Bathrooms feature spacious showers, private fitness equipment and flat-screen TVs.

The hotel's upper floors are dominated by the hotels' fine restaurants, including a lounge, roof garden and culinary "temple", an exclusive pavilion with seating for 12. The DO&CO restaurant features Viennese specialties as well as fine sushi and sashimi and a high-end kebab corner, fulfilling the modern mission of this sleek building.

LIFE GALLERY - ATHENS, GREECE is located in the sophisticated area of Ekali in the northern part of the city. The hotel has a glass facade, meant to reflect the nature that surrounds the hotel. In this relaxing environment, guests can experience a sense of balance and tranquility.

The minimalist, airy architecture, highly aesthetic interior design and superior levels of hospitality offer truly memorable experiences. The hotel's concept embraces personal and business life, with body and soul relaxation -- an oasis of peace and luxury where the style is acutely modern, but classic values are still maintained. In the extensive gardens of the hotel, guests will find two pools, spacious sundecks and outdoor terraces.

All 30 rooms, studios and suites are sleekly designed in open-plan layouts that are complemented by views of the nearby Mount Parnes and Mount Penteli. Guests' well-being is cared for in the hotel's extensive Ananea Spa. Yoga and meditation treatments are available, as well as a vitality pool, sauna and hammam, mud treatments and raindrops therapy.

PALAZZINA GRASSI HOTEL & RESIDENCE - VENICE, ITALY is located in the historical heart of Venice, directly on the Grand Canal.

The hotel is an ambitious new project of contemporary hospitality, with 28 rooms and 4 apartment-suites for a dialogue between different epochs and impressions, past and present, history and modernity. An exclusive stay, offering guests a truly unique experience, enjoying the most advanced international art production directly from the heart of Venetian culture.

You need only cross the narrow street that separates the famous cultural center from the Palazzina to enter the GRASSI Bar and relax, sipping a drink, enjoying the unforgettable view of the Grand Canal.

The architectural 'container' of the hotel is a building in Venetian style from the 15th century, a sophisticated 'shell' that speaks the aristocratic bourgeois language which is typical of the architecture of that time. The interior surprisingly, reveals a modern propensity, arising from a sudden exercise of abstract and contemporary taste.

4Hoteliers Image LibrarySUMAHAN ON THE WATER - ISTANBUL, TURKEY is a newly restored 19th century Ottoman distillery that opened its doors as a hotel in May 2005.

The hotel is situated in an area of Istanbul that still preserves an authentic Bosphorus neighborhood. It is a village of wooden houses, seafood restaurants and seaside promenades. Sumahan on the Water is a rare example of thoughtful, historical transformation in Istanbul. "Suma" is the word for unadulterated spirit.

The hotel was the industrial factory that distilled the high proof ingredient for "Raki" the famous Ottoman tipple. "Han" was the word for inn in Ottoman times. In essence the "Sumahan on the Water" experience is about modern comfort in a historic as well as spectacular setting with friendly and personal service.

The properties of light and water, different at every time of day and in every season provide the instant attraction of staying here. At the Sumahan, the most intoxicating thing is the view of palaces, skyscrapers, Hagia Sophia and the sparkling strait. There is a choice of suites and rooms, each with their own personality, most with fireplaces, but all with magnificent views.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryHOTEL JOSEF - PRAGUE is a design sensation in a city of exceptional heritage by Prague-born architect Eva Jiricna. The hotel is located in Prague's medieval quarter, near Charles Bridge and the Old Town Square.

Two new buildings, containing eight and six floors of bedrooms are linked by an open landscaped courtyard. Unlike most 'modern' hotels in historic city centers, Hotel Josef has not been shoehorned into an old building. It is totally purpose-designed to suit the needs of a modern facility.

The public areas flow effortlessly around a central courtyard giving visual clarity and orientation. The bar and reception areas are integrated into the natural patterns of movement.

The rooms are designed to optimize the sense of space and light. The staggered plan and section ingeniously exploit the idiosyncrasies of the complex site, bringing natural daylight deep into the buildings.

Every single piece of furniture has been carefully selected to fit into the overall aesthetic framework, from the Baleri armchairs and Philippe Starck fittings...

4Hoteliers Image LibraryLANCHID 19 - BUDAPEST, HUNGARY is named after Budapest's famed Chain Bridge which spans the Danube.

Located on the Buda side on the bank of Danube, Buda Castle is within 10 minutes walking distance of the hotel and the city center is 10 minutes away on the Pest side. The Lanchid 19 becomes a contemporary highlight in a neighborhood of predominately 19th century architecture.

This contrast is indicative of Budapest's evolving character, one which celebrates both past and present. The architects created a moveable accordion-like glass façade, further animated by the changing colors of an innovative lighting design concept. Glass is one of the dominant materials in the interiors as well, creating a sense of openness and allowing movement and connectedness to become an integral part of the building's character.

The lobby is dramatic with its transparent floor revealing Roman ruins a level below. History is well integrated into the interior design where examples of classical-modern design, such as chairs by Alvar Aalto are mixed with custom-designed furnishings.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryHABITA HOTEL - MEXICO CITY "Like a cool ice cube standing on a hot street corner", Mexico City's Habita signalled a new advent in hotel design when it opened in 2000 in Mexico City's Polanco district, a fashionable neighborhood of tree-lined boulevards, trendy restaurants and chic shopping.

The converted 1950's building gained a new identity, bringing in light and space by adding a "wrapper" of frosted glass. The adventurous design encapsulates the hotel in a floating glass box suspended from the original facade.

From the top of the box, take in the spectacular city views, or relax in the rooftop bar and pool while mingling with locals and visitors alike. The rooftop bar and terrace features nightly DJs and pool VIP area for members and guests. A minimalist approach gives Habita a raw modernism, opening the eyes of the old world to the new.

The hotel offers 32 luxurious rooms and four Junior Suites decorated with a contemporary theme and feature Hermes amenities. Retreat to the Aqua Spa or enjoy contemporary Mexican cuisine in Aura restaurant.

4Hoteliers Image LibraryW SCOTTSDALE Opening February 1, 2008, the new W Scottsdale will bring modern luxury to a wild west town known for traditional escapes.

W Scottsdale is at the fore-frontier of exhilarating arts, sophisticated shopping, destination golf, rejuvenating spas and indulgent nightlife. The hotel will anchor a redeveloped nightclub district in downtown Scottsdale. Sizzling hot and sparkling cool, the W Scottsdale will make a splash with its tantalizing infinity pool that greets arriving guests.

The hotel's pool is built on the second-level, front-edge of the building, above the porte-cochere and allows visitors to look up at swimmers and the undulating blue light.

It's no mirage in this desert town – the hotel is infused with natural water elements throughout, where you can glide with the W Scottsdale's meditative energy, set adrift on waves of perfectly balanced luxury and comfort, or make a splish splash in the cool, cool Wet Pool, the centerpiece of this oasis.

(Top 10 hotels are not listed in any particular order)

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