OVER a glass of wine in the lobby of Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, it's check-in by tablet at the Netherlands hotel opened in October on the site of the former public library in the city's cultural heart.
Located in the ring of canals that was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2010, the Andaz, the boutique arm of the Hyatt, is between the waterways of Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht and next to the Jordaan district, noted for its cafes and art galleries.
Leidseplein, Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House are all nearby.
The 1970s-style structure has 15 different room types of varying sizes, each with a hand-painted washbasin in designer Marcel Wanders "One Minute Delft Blue" style, an oversize book-shaped work desk and a specially designed, comfortable reading chair.
Views are of either the observatory, garden or Prinsengracht canal. The hotel houses the largest video art collection in the world, featuring artists such as Ryan Gander, Erwin Olafand Mark Titchner. About 40 works can be viewed on televisions in guestrooms or in the public area, with nine 150-centimetre televisions screening simultaneously.
There is no charge for wi-fi, free local phone calls, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks in the minibar, including Dutch favourites Just Nuts and Lovechock chocolate.
At Bluespoon Restaurant, guests can eat farm-to-plate produce in the open kitchen or take a stool at the speakeasy-style bar, where waiters serve pre-Prohibition, Prohibition and post-Prohibition cocktails with names such as One Minute Delft Blue and Lucky Librarian. Rooms cost from €325 ($398) a night. See amsterdam.prinsengracht.andaz.com.
THE oceanfront Ritz-Carlton, in South Beach, Miami, one of only two recognised "art hotels" in the area, has a new look — walkways with platinum-glazed walls, hanging pendants and aqua-coloured carpets included — as a result of a $US10 million makeover.
The finer details of the revamp of its 375 rooms, including 41 suites, have been inspired by the hotel's original design by architect Morris Lapidus, who in 1953 incorporated art deco features, such as chrome spheres and curvature, at the hotel, then known as the DiLido.
Poolside services include mixology on wheels and, in true Miami style, a tanning butler dedicated to sunscreen application. Rooms cost from $US428 ($411) a night. See RitzCarlton.com/SouthBeach.
Dragon's deluxe den
BANGKOK-based Anantara resorts has made further inroads into Asia with the opening of its first resort in China, at Sanya on Hainan Island.
Set on the southernmost tip of the island, the resort's private pool villas that face the ocean have private paths to the water and a host, to sort typical holiday requests (champagne, candlelit dinner). Outside the resort, guests can tee off at the 18-hole Luhuitou Golf Club. Sanya's Phoenix International is the island's second-largest and closest airport to the resort. Rooms cost from 2070 Chinese yuan ($318.76) a night. See anantara.com.
Sydney city hub
MANTRA on Kent, Sydney, has had a $1.5 million facelift of its rooms, restaurant and lobby.
New furniture, carpets and widescreen televisions all feature in the studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments. From the hotel, Cockle Bay and King Street Wharf is 750 metres, Sydney Aquarium is one kilometre and Darling Harbour 2.5 kilometres. Rooms cost from $234 a night. See mantra.com.au.