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Prague already has a Four Seasons and an eminently likable boutique hotel, the Josef. So competition is stiff for the 99-room Mandarin Oriental (, which opens this month in a converted 14th-century monastery. The hotel has turned the building's Renaissance chapel into a spa—a sacrilege to some but heaven to others.

In Venice, Bauer Hotels owner Francesca Bortolotto Possati has put her new Palladio Hotel & Spa ( inside an Andrea Palladio–designed convent on Giudecca Island. The spa is by Daniela Steiner, a brand that has already proved itself at the glittering Badrutt's Palace in Saint Moritz, Switzerland.

The Grand Hôtel Stockholm ( in Sweden has acquired a historic building of its own—the adjoining 76-room Burmanska Palace, with interiors done in seven different styles, including Jugend, Gustavian, and rococo. The 3,500-square-foot penthouse opens this month with a sauna and private ten-seat cinema.

In Los Angeles the newly redone Sunset Tower Hotel ( is bringing yet more glamour to the once-rundown Sunset Strip. "I love what Paul [Fortune] did," says Sofia Coppola of the hotel's designer, who also did Marc Jacobs's pad in Paris. "You feel elegant and comfortable and never want to leave."

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