Best of the Best 2012: Hotels: Corinthia Hotel London

Set on the Thames riverfront in a sprawling Victorian-era Belle Epoque building, the Corinthia Hotel London (+44.20.7930.8181, www.corinthialondon.com) has reshaped London’s luxury-hotel landscape since opening in April 2011. Built for roughly $480 million—in a shell that previously housed the Hôtel Métropole and, later, offices for the Ministry of Defense—the groundbreaking 294-room property took four years to complete. The finished project features such superlatives as a four-story, 35,000-square-foot subterranean Espa Life spa and wellness center; an on-site Harrods store; and seven themed bi-level penthouses. Dine at one of two grand, high-ceilinged restaurants or stop by the David Collins–designed Bassoon Bar before stepping out to Trafalgar Square. ($505–$28,525)

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