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Words by Mr Bill Prince

Travellers have come to expect a binary relationship with their lodgings: super cool, fleetingly "hot" hotels with the focus on style over service, or large corporate digs, faultless in every way apart from atmosphere. Now that's changing. Fast. Paris is a perfect example: revamping its famed "palace" hotels even as three major foreign players - Raffles, Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La - descend on the City of Light. London is another perfect example. Ahead of next year's Olympics, there's been nothing short of a stampede to open refurbished or entirely new hotels to serve the hordes that will surely come to the capital. The biggest statements are coming from global brands such as the W chain, or high-end international operators such as the Dorchester Collection, about to announce the opening of their latest property, 45 Park Lane.

But where does that leave the smaller, niche properties? These hotels are now competing at a level few would have deemed feasible a few years ago: the Fasano family of Sao Paulo being a good example. Their three properties (Rio was joined by a resort in Uruguay last year) extol the virtues of scale (small) with sophistication (huge). So, whether you choose a remarkable five-villa resort at the end of the world (Eagles Nest, in New Zealand's Northland) or opt to go local with an international chain (Edition, Marriott's tie-up with boutique pioneer Mr Ian Schrager which has just opened its second property in Istanbul) don't expect to stint on style in search of a great stay.

Mr Bill Prince is the deputy editor of British GQ

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The World of Mr P