Royal Lancaster London, Hyde Park
Best for… showstopping cityscapes
Get yourself as high up as possible in this Hyde Park hotel because the panoramic views of the London skyline are nothing short of spectacular – all the landmarks in one fell swoop. Despite being a huge hotel it's independent and manages to avoid the corporate feel. Rooms are tasteful with massive beds swathed in White Company duvet covers. Later, grab either a signature afternoon tea or head for the superb award-winning Nipa Thai restaurant, then work it all off in the state-of-the-art 24/7 gym.
Stella loves: The superb location – a shopaholic’s paradise, with both the boutiques of Notting Hill and giants of Oxford Circus, a mere stroll away.
Out and about: Right on the fringe of Hyde Park, this hotel is as central as they come –Oxford Street is a 15-minute walk. Or head west towards Notting Hill and Holland Park. For a morning of shopping, wander through Hyde Park towards Chelsea’s King’s Road where you’ll frind everything from high street to designer shops and Peter Jones department store (where the Duchess of Cambridge has been spotted).
Read the full expert review: Royal Lancaster London
Rooms from £259 a night, room only; royallancaster.com
The Peninsula, New York
Best for… sumptuous spa time
Set in Midtown Manhattan on Fifth Avenue, The Peninsula is in easy reach of the best Broadway shows and fashion boutiques. When you’ve exhausted yourself with all that culture or shopping, head back to the hotel and flop in the oasis-like spa, which offers a range of Ayurvedic aromatherapy treatments using all-natural products by Australian brand Subtle Energies (so no parabens, silicones or artificial fragrances). There’s also a steam room and sauna, a pool and lounge area where you can while away an afternoon, plus yoga classes in the fitness centre. Be sure tohead up to the rooftop bar, Salon de Ning, and take in the iconic view with an espresso martini in hand.
Stella loves: The treats left in your room for special occasions – truffled popcorn, petal-flecked miniature cakes and, err, an Empire State Building rendered in chocolate.
Read the full expert review: The Peninsula New York
Rooms from £576 a night based on two sharing a superior room; peninsula.com
Sweet Inn - Romagnosi, Milan
Best for: Instagrammable interiors
The concept behind Sweet Inn is a winning one – the convenience and independence of staying in an apartment, with the benefits of a hotel, should you need them. Services you can order include breakfast delivery, laundry, and a private chef to cook a romantic dinner. The group has hundreds of city-break apartments all over Europe; this one-bedroom flat is in the chichi Brera district of Milan, surrounded by cobbled streets, fashion boutiques and pavement cafés that are perfect for people-watching. It’s designed with a cool, contemporary vibe and has its own kitchen, dining room and living area (with a sofa bed, so it can sleep four). La dolce vita indeed.
Stella loves: The thoughtful bottle of prosecco on arrival.
Out and about: A trip to Prada’s art and culture complex, Fondazione Prada (a short hop away on the metro) is a must.
Romagnosi flat from £200 a night (one bedroom, sleeps four); sweetinn.com
La Clef Champs-Élysées, Paris
Best for: chic vibes
Housed in the former home of the Hennessey (cognac) family, this slick new hotel opened in January with mod-cons aplenty, from Nespresso machines to super-speedy Wi-Fi, and yet it still feels authentically French, not least because of the Haussmannian architecture. Service is exceptional – attentive but not over the top – and the in-room dining is excellent; go for chablis with smoked salmon and homemade blinis in bed. There’s a good gym, bathrooms are majestic-looking - all white and grey marble - and showers are big enough for an army.
Stella loves: The view – it doesn’t get much more French. Balconies overlook the flat city rooftops for miles around, and sunsets are epic.
Out and about: Situated in the 8th arrondissement, a stone’s throw from the Champs-Élysées, it’s the perfect base from which to wander to the Place de la Concorde and Arc de Triomphe (10 minutes on foot), or along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower, just over a mile away. The Palais de Tokyo and the Paris Museum of Modern Art are also a short stroll.
Read the full expert review: La Clef Champs-Élysées Paris
Double rooms from £270 a night, room only; the-ascott.com
Edited by Laura Powell. Reviews by: Marianne Jones; Sophie Goodwin; Tina Nandha; Jessica Doyle