The world's best new hotels

Hundreds of hotels open their doors each year, but how many open your eyes? Travel Leisure's Guide to the best new hotels showcases the newcomers that are redefining service and design -- and even the way we travel.

Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street, Beijing
Ritz-Carlton Beijing, Financial Street, Beijing
A glass-and-chrome tower whose ultra-sleek interiors seem spot-on for the city during its 2008 Olympic Games buildup.

Location: Beijing's newest commercial district, on the less developed western side of the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.

Pedigree: This is a radical departure for Ritz-Carlton, which rolled out a new look for the company in 2006.

Style Design: Slightly minimalist, but with bold splashes of classical China, such as the entrance's massive yin-and-yang marble sculpture, paintings by Chinese artist Bo Yun, and decorative screens.

Service Amenities: Standard rooms are a generous 538 square feet and feature 37-inch flat-screen TV's. The 16,000 square-foot spa has, bizarrely, a full-length movie screen dominating one end of the 22-yard swimming pool. (Slot in a DVD of Mark Spitz for inspiration and your lap times just might improve.)

Rooms to Book: Only the upper floors of this new Ritz Carlton are blessed with panoramic views of Beijing. Ask for room No.1707, 1708, 1709, or 1710 on the club floor; all four feature fabulous easterly views that include the Tibetan-style White Pagoda Temple.

1 Jin Cheng Fang St. E., Financial St.; 800/241-3333 or 86-10/6601-6666;; doubles from $538.

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