Installed in an eight-year-old contemporary building in the heart of Berlin’s classically styled Mitte district, the Radisson Blu sits on the River Spree, just across the water from the domed stateliness of Berlin Cathedral and just steps away from Unter den Linden, the central city’s famous boulevard.

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I spent a night in the Lenkerhof alpine resort in late January 2012, when the local countryside was covered in several feet of snow. Rarely have I eaten so well and enjoyed so much the ambience of a hotel and its surroundings.

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These days, the landmark Meier & Frank Building in downtown Portland, Oregon boasts a stylish contemporary hotel on its upper levels: The Nines (as in dressed to the nines), a three-year-old, four-star property that is part of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide’s Luxury Collection stable.

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Airport hotels aren’t usually known either for their service quality or their overall appeal, and I have stayed in some fairly miserable examples. But the Hilton Helsinki Airport, at which I have stayed on several occasions, seems to me to have got it almost completely right.

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Operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, it is the first St. Regis in Hawaii. The St. Regis Princeville Resort’s bay views are framed on the far shore by rugged mountains that served as Hollywood’s stand-in for Bali Hai when the movie version of ‘South Pacific’ was shot on Kauai in 1958.

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The overused, often-hyperbolic words “world class” fit this hotel. It’s a hotel to visit on an expense account, to be sure. If the budget works, the spectacular, high-rise Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong is a don’t-miss destination.

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Emirates is an airline known for posh service, state-of-the-art infrastructure and attention to detail. Those same qualities are showcased splendidly in the Dubai carrier’s owned-and-operated Australian luxury retreat, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa.

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Until recently, West Zurich only had one hotel of note, the Novotel. But the development of the district into a commercial hub has prompted construction of several other large hotels. These include the business-oriented Renaissance Zurich Tower Hotel, which opened in August 2011.

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In major markets of the developed world, dark and depressing airport hotels are becoming a thing of the past. Global hotel chains are providing major upgrades in consumer choice. A good case in point is the Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel, located in Richmond, British Columbia.

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Until recently the Hopi reservation in northeastern Arizona didn’t have the type of modern hotel that many travelers are accustomed to. That changed when Hopi elders in the Upper Village of Moenkopi gave the go-ahead for construction of the Moenkopi Legacy Inn & Suites, a good-looking, up-to-date facility that opened in February 2010.

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The superb Conrad Tokyo occupies a glassy modern highrise just across a busy city street from the lovely Hamarikyu Garden, which has traditional wooden buildings, artfully landscaped grounds, pretty walking paths and hushed tea ceremonies.

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The central-city district near Sanlitun Road is arguably the hippest district in Beijing, and The Opposite House is unarguably the hippest hotel on that busy, buzzy shopping, drinking and clubbing street.

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A city hotel with a resort feel, the 255-room, five-star property perches on the lip of Marlin Marina, with lovely Trinity Bay beyond. Two minutes’ walk from the front lobby is the Reef Fleet Terminal, bristling with fast boats to the Great Barrier Reef, an hour away in the Coral Sea.

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While it’s not a posh 5-star hotel, Santa Fe’s Inn on the Alameda boasts grace notes that equal or surpass the offerings of most 4-star properties.

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Proud of its legacy as the first Hilton in Sweden, the Hilton Stockholm Slussen displays a five-star sign outside its main entrance to indicate its service ranking. We found the Hilton Stockholm Slussen to be one of the best hotels at which we had ever stayed.

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I’m at the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort – also called the Sheraton Cable Beach – on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas.

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Situated on Toronto’s harbor-front looking out to the south on to Lake Ontario and Toronto Island, the Radisson Admiral Hotel – Toronto Harbourfront isn’t an airport hotel, but it is within easy walking distance of Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport.

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