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To call this Swiss outpost of the Kempinski hotel group "Le Mirador" is a bit of an understatement. The word "mirador," or lookout, is the same term assigned to tourist-crowded platforms on Spanish roadsides, the kind where everyone piles out of the car to take snapshots of a silvery sea or a faraway horizon at sunset. That's all well and good, but the "mirador" at this hotel is something more — it's a jaw-dropper of a backdrop, a spectacle of nature that verges on the sublime.
Beyoğlu's not exactly short on weighty, historic fixtures. Sometimes it pays to dig deep into a particular slice of all that history, though, and should a hankering for full-bore Art Nouveau come upon you, you'll want to make an appearance at Ravouna 1906. The building, designed by architects C.P. Kyriakides and Alexandre Yenidunia for the Italian Ravouna family in (you guessed it) 1906, wears a dashing assortment of hats: street level presents a bustling café and cocktail bar, while upper floors house eight hotel suites, a smart little restaurant, and a terrace that doubles as a thriving nightspot complete with live jazz and DJ nights.
Even for Sicily, Taormina is an extraordinarily pretty town, all sea-sidling cliffs, palazzos and piazzas, bougainvillea and wisteria climbing up the walls — and as if it didn't already sound like a perfect amalgamation of every Southern European postcard you've ever received, the whole scene is framed by the picturesque ruins of an ancient Greek theater and the soaring snow-white peak of Mount Etna in the distance. Is it any surprise, then, that NH Collection Taormina feels like a hotel made of breezes and vistas? In a setting like this, a wise hotelier doesn't go building some high-concept monument to human ego; the point is to get out of the way and let the surroundings speak for themselves.
A pair of stunningly well-preserved Georgian townhouses in Edinburgh's New Town provides the setting for Nira Caledonia, a high-end boutique hotel that ticks all the boxes, from local color and historical character to luxe, thoughtful comforts and swanky contemporary style.
In Milan, of all places, you'd expect to find every business hotel looking effortlessly, impeccably chic. It's not always the case, but it's getting closer all the time, thanks to the likes of LaGare Hotel Milano Centrale. Which is to say that when even Accor is looking this good — LaGare is part of the French giant's MGallery luxury-boutique line — you know you're in a bona fide style capital.
Studio 54, New York's most notorious nightclub, is an ancestor of sorts (via Ian Schrager) to the whole boutique-hotel trend. But imagine its Parisian equivalent shutting its doors for a renovation and actually becoming a luxury boutique hotel, and you've got the basic idea of what Les Bains is all about. In the late 1800s it was a public spa, and by 1980 Les Bains Douches was a bona fide den of celebrity-studded iniquity. And as of 2015 it's one of the most talked-about openings in the hospitality world.
San Vicente de Tagua Tagua, Chile
Yes, it's the same Vik, the one who's quietly taking over South America. Not with a staggering number of new hotels — for Alexander Vik and his hotel group, it's about impact. In Uruguay, he's made a splash with a series of remote and avant-garde beach getaways, known for their dazzling contemporary architecture, over-the-top luxury and lively art collections. He brings the same sense of style and whimsy to one of Chile's famed wine-growing regions with Viña Vik, a 22-suite hotel and spa perched on a hilltop and surrounded by vineyards.
The shorthand stereotype holds that Sicily is wild and untamed, at least in comparison to locales farther north. But a hotel like the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea is proof that Palermo can do formal like the best of them. Here, a mile or two outside of the city center — arrange a car — this stately villa perches at the bay's edge, and offers just the right measure of seclusion from the noise of the city to establish an atmosphere of perfect gentility.
Miami Beach, Florida USA
On Collins Avenue in South Beach, keeping up with the Joneses is a full-time job. Landscaping isn't your thing? Well, you'd put a little more thought into it if the Delano was next door — and across the street from that, the Philippe Starck–designed SLS. With neighbors like these, you can't blame the National Hotel for pouring $12 million into renovations, and it's money well spent; this 1939 Art Deco landmark now has the longest infinity pool in town.
Cappadocia's cave-complex hospitality scene is here to stay, and foremost among your destinations should be the House Hotel Cappadocia, whose craggy nooks and alcoves retain every bit of their fantastic, old-world appeal. Just off the main square of ancient, sleepy Ortahisar ("middle castle," referencing the town's defining feature, a towering sedimentary formation pockmarked with holes and hideaways), the House Hotel occupies a clutch of stone homes and grotto-like caves carved from the malleable earth.