From private island hideaways to quirky boutique hotels, this year's hottest properties signal a new era of decadence.
Want to be in the hip crowd? Here are 10 of the smartest and sexiest hotels due to open around the world in 2013.
Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard, London
This 202-room hotel (shangri-la.com/london) in the heart of London will be "the" opening of the year.
Located in the architecturally dramatic "Shard" building in central London, the hotel will occupy floors 34 to 52 of the 95-storey skyscraper, with views across the city.
The hotel rooms will be some of the largest five-star digs in London, averaging about 42 square metres each, while there will be 17 luxury suites for those who want more.
A hotel monitoring agency, Tophotelprojects, says the Shangri-La will represent "a new superlative" in luxury hotels. It is due to open in the second quarter of the year. Rates are to be announced.
The Refinery, New York
The latest addition to Manhattan's boutique hotel scene is The Refinery (refineryhotelnewyork.com), so named for its location in New York's Garment District.
Due to open in March, the hotel is positioned in a grand old New York building, the Colony Arcade, and reflects a combination of the old and the new.
Downstairs is a cafe and bar with plaid-patterned wood walls and old tea parlour furnishings, along with an entrance featuring vaulted ceilings that nod to the neo-Gothic facade. Upstairs is loft-like accommodation with concrete ceilings and distressed-hardwood floors, with bathrooms featuring mosaic-stone flooring, polished brass and antique bronze.
The large rooftop terrace offers views of the neighbouring Empire State Building and city skyline and is divided into indoor and outdoor areas for all seasons.
Rates for The Refinery start at about $310 a night.
Parkroyal on Pickering, Singapore
Opening this month in downtown Singapore, The Parkroyal on Pickering (parkroyalhotels.com/pickering) sets a new standard for eco-design, with huge indoor gardens and comprehensive energy-saving features such as light, rain and motion sensors.
The hotel is being described as a "hotel within a garden", thanks to its 15,000 square metres of gardens, waterfalls and planter walls.
The indoor gardens constitute more than twice the hotel's total land area and are kept alive by rain harvesting and recycled water.
The Parkroyal on Pickering is the work of Australian architect Richard Hassell and includes a dedicated "wellness floor" with a terrace pool, fitness centre, "chill out" cabanas and 300-metre garden jogging track.
Opening rates are about $220 a room a night, including breakfast.
The Chedi Andermatt, Switzerland
With a price tag of more than $300 million and only 50 rooms and suites, this Swiss Alps resort (thechedi-andermatt.com) is being touted as one of the most glamorous hotels in Europe.
Tophotelprojects says the Chedi will be the new landmark hotel of the Andermatt Swiss Alps resort and hotel estate, turning it into an international tourism hot spot.
Chedi means "temple" and the resort's facilities will include an elegant wine and cigar room, two fine-dining restaurants and a fashionable apres-ski bar.
The hotel is due to open towards the end of this year.
The Sanchaya, Indonesia
On the northern shores of Indonesia's Bintan Island, this exclusive hideaway (thesanchaya.com) is more like a private island than a resort.
Due to open in the first half of this year, the property has just 19 villas and nine suites, all individually designed and featuring local art and artefacts. The villas and suites will be equipped with the best, from Bang & Olufsen television and sound systems to 400-thread-count Egyptian cotton percale bedding.
Rates will start at about $435 a room a night, including limousine transfers, daily breakfast, laundry service and refreshments.
Access to Bintan Island is via a 40-minute ferry ride or private boat transfer from Singapore.
Capella Washington, DC
Around-the-clock personal assistants will be just part of the bespoke service at this 49-room boutique hotel (capellahotels.com/washingtondc) in Georgetown, Washington, DC.
The hotel is promising its guests behind-the-scenes access to some of the capital's top attractions, to ensure they obtain a true feel for DC. culture, as well as in-hotel niceties such as complimentary in-room refreshment centres, flexible check-in times and complimentary laundry pressing service.
The Capella hotel group was founded by Horst Schulze, who is regarded as the man who defined luxury hotel standards during his time at Ritz-Carlton.
The Capella Washington, DC. opens in April, with rates starting about $570 a night.
Sofitel So Singapore
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is rumoured to be behind the interior design of this quirky hotel (sofitel.com), which is due to open in July.
Just as Christian Lacroix designed the executive lounge of the Sofitel So Bangkok, Lagerfeld is expected to leave his mark on this contemporary Singapore hotel, which is housed in a 19th-century building with a neo-classical facade.
The hotel's atrium will be decorated with floating lighting sculptures made out of crystal and paper and designed to resemble jellyfish, while bee and beehive motifs will be found throughout the hotel, linking to the Napoleonic Empire and French roots of the hotel's owner.
The Sofitel So Singapore is in the central business district and rates will start about $235 a night.
Banyan Tree Kerala, India
Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts will make its debut in India with the Banyan Tree Kerala (banyantree.com), due to open in May.
Set on a private island in the Alleppey district of Kerala in southern India, the resort will have 59 villas, each with private pool and views of surrounding waterways.
The villas feature local architecture such as gabled roofs and carved wooden facades, along with local art and indigenous materials such as coir fibre from coconut husks.
For the health-conscious, there will be an ayurvedic centre with qualified ayurvedic doctors, along with a day spa, gymnasium and a yoga pavilion.
The resort is an hour south of Cochin International Airport and is accessed by boat, with rates starting about $460 a night.
Paris Pajol Hostel, Paris
Proving that good design doesn't have to come with a big price tag, the Paris Pajol Hostel (hihostels.com) combines style, sustainability and affordability in the heart of the city.
The hostel is in a refurbished warehouse previously used by the French national railway company and has a large indoor green space complete with trees and ponds - a "haven in the turmoil and bustle of busy Paris".
Paris Pajol is within a five-minute walk of Gare du Nord, the railway station used by Eurostar, and will have its own restaurant and bar, as well as self-catering facilities.
The hostel is due to open in April and prices start about $35 a person a night, including breakfast.
Mira Moon, Hong Kong
If you tire of hotels that all look the same, the Mira Moon (miramoonhotel.com) is bringing something different to Hong Kong.
Due to open midyear, the funky and unusual property is intended as a modern interpretation of the Moon Festival mythology, with characters featured throughout the hotel.
The 91-room venue also uses traditional Chinese fabrics, carved timbers and crystal in its eclectic and theatrical interiors.
The Mira Moon is in the Wanchai district and will have a cocktail bar, restaurant and gym, with rates yet to be announced.
A few more for the road
- The Thief, Norway (thethief.com), a super-cool, art-themed hotel in the Tjuvholmen district of Oslo, with designer furniture and in-room spa treatments. Opened this month.
- InterContinental Dubai Marina (ichotelsgroup.com), offering luxury rooms, water views, numerous restaurants and a large nightclub. Opening towards the end of 2013.
- The Oak Bay Beach Hotel (oakbaybeachhotel.com), a five-star oceanfront resort, opened this month in British Columbia, Canada, with a focus on wine and fine food.
- The Regent Bali (regenthotels.com), an all-suite, beachfront Bali resort with 24-hour butler service, opening in March.
- Anantara Abu Dhabi (anantara.com); choose between beach villas with views of the Arabian Sea and luxury villas within Sir Bani Yas Island's Arabian wildlife park, opening in February and April, respectively.
- Hotel Indigo, Hong Kong Island (hotelindigo.com), opening in March in the historic Wanchai district, featuring a dramatic glass-bottomed pool and individually styled rooms.
- The Langham, Chicago (chicago.langhamhotels.com), due to open in late 2013 in a historic Mies van der Rohe building on the Chicago waterfront, with some of the largest hotel rooms in the city.