When David Levin opened The Capital in 1971, it seemed daringly moderne for its surroundings. Genteel Basil Street, between Knightsbridge and Harrods, had never seen the likes of the silver-spaceship foyer and the bold canopy proclaiming in chrome letters London's first true boutique hotel.
But all that is gone now - except the repu-tation. Within a few years of opening, the Capital got recognition from Michelin, and it continues to make all the top award lists for the hotel and its eponymous fine restaurant.
There must be many a case of mistaken identity in the hunt for smart lodgings in the tiny, picturesque pair of Cotswold villages known as the Slaughters.
For the upper and lower villages, separated by a bridge, have three manor houses between them. And despite having the only Michelin-starred restaurant, the Lords is not the huge pile at the top of the hill - that's a private house - nor the Relais & Chateaux property two minutes down the street in Lower Slaughter.
It's just a little old inn perched at the top of a slipway in a tiny Cornish hamlet, but The Lugger at Portloe has somehow achieved iconic status. Perhaps because its owners have injected seaside simplicty with a measure of chic without adding an ounce of pretension. Or simply because its romantic harbourside location is unbeatable.
It's barely a year old but may have the best location on the fringe of the Old City in the 19th-century Mamilla neighbourhood.
The hotel itself is nothing if not modern. Designed by Moshe Safdie, it blends seamlessly with its environment, built with gorgeous Jerusalem stone as is the shopping centre it is attached to. Interior décor is minimalist and contemporary and filled with Herman Miller, Kartell and Cassina furnishings.
The Murano delivers a very particular vision of Marrakesh conceived in Milan - Italian high design in an Arabian nights setting. The result is startling at times, but not altogether unpleasing.
Rooms are spacious and attractive, the pool is cool in every sense, and the setting - in the tranquil oasis just outside the city centre known as the Palmeraie - a great base for Morocco's fascinating, but hot, dusty and noisy, shopping and entertainment capital.
What can transform an already very good hotel into a truly great one? If you already have a great location and beautiful rooms, it is people. And the Villa Sant'Andrea has achieved greatness in its first season under excellent new management by Orient Express.
With its lack of handsome lobby, uniformed flunkeys or even a sign over the door, Soho House is the antithesis of Berlin’s imposing five-star hotels. Yet it is a five-star animal, albeit of a different breed.
This is the latest enterprise of the media luvvies’ empire, now owned by Richard Caring, which started as a private club in London. Part of its appeal is that guests become members for the duration of their stay, admitted to the fabulous 7th-floor bar, lounge and restaurant, and the rooftop pool and bar above.
If Bath is, as many assert, a Regency theme park, the Royal Crescent Hotel is its best ride. And one you don't have to queue for if you are staying inside this magnificent row of five Grade I listed houses designed by John Wood the Younger. He is said to have dreamed up the lawn-fronted crescent, which so spectacularly overlooks the city, because its shape had symbolism relevant to his masonic lodge.
Nobody, apparently, was more surprised than the villagers of Villabuena de Alava in Spain's Rioja winemaking region when an extraordinary building started taking shape right next door to their 17th-century church.
But oddly, the small but eclectic Hotel Viura, named for one of the important white wine grapes of the region, now blends into the landscape, despite its ultra-modern concrete cubist architecture.