March 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM ET
From glamorous urban palaces to breathtaking waterside resorts, there is no shortage of luxury hotels in the world. But if you want a room or a suite that is truly one of a kind, you may need to dig a bit deeper. Our favorite properties offer the kind of service and style that makes us feel like royalty, but there are other, smaller establishments where feeling like a king or a queen is due to landing a space unlike anything else in the building.
At the year-old Carmo’s Boutique Hotel in Ponte de Lima, Portugal, the 15 private rooms were each individually designed by owner Maria do Carmo Fernandes. (She created the entire hotel to feel like a private home in the Potuguese countryside.) “The rooms all had to be different,” explains Fernandes. “We didn't think of Carmo's as a hotel but as a home where we would receive the people who wish to be with us. And at your home you don't have all your bedrooms looking the same.”
Fernandes found inspiration near and far, in neighboring monasteries, Cubism and Portugal’s relationship with Brazil, its former colony. But despite the variety of themes and topics that inform the collection of interior schemes at the hotel, every room shares a singular thread of understated, refined luxury.
For something completely different, head to the Dallas outpost of Hotel ZaZa, where eye-catching concept suites await. The Metropolitan Suite is masculine and warm (not unlike a chic penthouse condo), while another recalls the far-out flamboyance of the ’60s and ’70s with shag upholstery and colorful lava lamps. And Maison Moschino in Milan has fashion house Moschino to thank for its richly creative, whimsical style—an approach that, similar to the others on our list, is as inspiring as it is imaginative.
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