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The year of grand hotel openings Add to ...

45 Park Lane, London

Why you'll want to visit: 45 Park Lane is bringing high-class hospitality to Hugh Hefner's former London haunt. The Mayfair hotel is built on the site of the original Playboy Club and boasts a contemporary boutique vibe that neighbouring sister property The Dorchester lacks.

What to expect: The antithesis to ornate grand-dame hotels, the 45-room mansion-like property comes complete with a library, screening room and a cozy bar. Suites are palatial compared to most London hotels (the penthouse is an expansive 1,830 square feet). Bathroom mirrors are outfitted with integrated televisions and in-room safes have nifty internal power points. The hotel's façade is made from eco-friendly aluminum “fins” designed to diminish the strain on the A/C system.

Rub shoulders with: Privacy-obsessed movie stars and cool young royals.

Dates and rates: Expected to open this summer; from £695 ($1,077); www.45parklane.com



Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma, Marrakech



Why you'll want to visit: Set within 53 hectares of verdant palm groves at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, this desert oasis has already made it to the big screen. The hotel-room scenes from Sex and the City 2 were shot here. And while Carrie and crew spent their holiday in a fictional resort in Abu Dhabi, the Mandarin Oriental Jnan Rahma is 100 per cent Moroccan in style and substance.

What to expect: The palatial retreat emulates a royal hideaway, cutting no corners when it comes to design and service. Suites have outdoor living rooms with daybeds and richly decorated interiors that are accented by spice-toned fabrics and furniture made by local artisans. Seven restaurants and bars and a cake shop satiate virtually every craving, while an on-site hammam and yoga temple put guests in a Zen state of mind.

Rub shoulders with: Carrie Bradshaw wannabes and well-heeled Parisian jetsetters.

Dates and rates: Opening mid to late 2011; expected rate not available.

www.mandarinoriental.com/marrakech



Mondrian, New York



Why you'll want to visit: Manhattan has its fair share of design hotels, but the Mondrian New York is getting ready to take centre stage. The swish SoHo crash pad is Morgans Hotel Group's first downtown address. With an indoor-outdoor bar, lush enchanted garden, and a sustainable seafood restaurant run by Top Chef alum Sam Talbot, it's bound to become one of the most fashionable hangouts of the year.

What to expect: Jean Cocteau's 1946 film La Belle et la Bête serves as the inspiration for the Mondrian's fairy-tale-like ambience. Rooms are designed like bright jewellery boxes with pale blue and white colour schemes, large mirrors, crystal sconces and marble bathrooms. The vanity doubles as a wet bar and floor-to-ceiling windows bring in downtown views. In-room spa services and private limo services can be arranged upon request.

Rub shoulders with: Models, Wall Street bankers and artists.

Dates and rates: Opening in February; introductory rates from $275;

www.mondriannewyork.com



W, St. Petersburg

Why you'll want to visit: The W's urban-chic edginess is like a breath of fresh air in one of the most architecturally buttoned-up cities in the world. With an enviable location a short walk from St. Isaac's Cathedral and the Winter Palace, sightseeing is a cinch. W's signature Whatever/Whenever concierge service means that tours of the Hermitage and private cruises of the Neva River can be arranged at the drop of a Cossack hat.

What to expect: This is a place of firsts: Legendary French chef Alain Ducasse and his team will oversee all the food and beverage services, including the menu at Mix in St. Petersburg, his first Russian restaurant. The first Bliss Spa in Eastern Europe will pamper with manicures and Triple Oxygen treatments. And a summer-time rooftop terrace is set to be the watering hole of choice during the city's endless White Nights.

Rub shoulders with: Russian oligarchs and European aristocrats.

Dates and rates: Opening in March; rates from $263; www.wstpetersburg.com

Fairmont Baku

Why you'll want to visit: Rising above the shores of the Caspian Sea like a futuristic mini-city, the Fairmont Baku will change the landscape of the oil-rich Azerbaijani capital. It's one of the first modern developments that will transform the port city into a mini-Dubai. History buffs don't fret: The walled city of Baku, with its UNESCO Palace of the Shirvanshahs and the Maiden Tower, is not far and offers a glimpse into the past of this ancient metropolis.

What to expect: Dubbed the Flame Towers, the complex includes 347 luxury guest rooms, residential, commercial and retail space. Details are, so far, hush-hush but guests can likely expect signature Fairmont perks as a full-service spa and gym, gourmet dining and plush rooms.

Rub shoulders with: Oil execs and mining moguls.

Dates and rates: Opening late this year; www.fairmont.com/en_fa/articles/recentnews/baku.htm



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