From the Mouths of CEOs: World’s Top Hotels

ritz battery park.jpgWe’re guessing you don’t read Institutional Investor, so we read it for you! Curious as to how their audience of frequent traveling CEOs and deep-pocketed financiers weighed in on this year’s annual II survey of the world’s best hotels, we thought we’d break it down for you–from an aesthetic perspective. Below is our obsessively-researched look at II‘s top five hotels, with an eye to their design attributes rather than say, the quality of the steaks and the proximity of Bloomberg terminals. At which one of these luxury establishments will you be spending Thanksgiving?

1. Ritz-Carlton, Battery Park (New York)
Opened: 2002
Architect: Polshek Partnership
Designer: Frank Nicholson
The look: Curved “to resemble a 1920s ocean liner,” so that two-thirds of guests face the harbor, not the highway. Clean lines and sparse, art deco-inspired spaces, accented by granite counters and subdued abstract paintings by New York artists. Above is a photo from a guest room.
You won’t find here: Your grandfather’s Ritz, mahogany wainscoting, crystal chandeliers, the ornate or the fussy.
Fun fact: Roaming the main restaurant is a nomadic saucier, ready to douse your meal with any of ten sauces, including truffle, red wine, or peppercorn gravy.

2. Four Seasons (San Francisco)
Opened: 2001
Architect: Handel Architects in collaboration with Del Campo & Maru Architects and Teodoro Gonzalez de Leon
Designer: Frank Nicholson
The look: Modern sculptures; pale grey, celadon, and beige accents; large windows overlooking the Yerba Buena cultural center.
You won’t find here: The Hotel Costes soundtrack
Fun fact: The first completed skyscraper of the 21st century in San Francisco (it opened in January 2001).

3. Adlon Kempinski (Berlin)
Opened: 1997
Architects: AIC Bauplanungs and Patzschke, Klotz and Partners
Designers: Ezra Attia Associates and AB Living Designs
The look: Inspired by the original Adlon hotel, a meeting place for Weimar-era glitterati. Six-story yellow limestone exterior with a squat green roof [swoon], art deco-inspired lamps, marble floors, Oriental carpets, cherry furnishings, a stained glass dome based on a painted ceiling design by Carl Friedrich Schinkel for the tea salon of Friedrich Wilhelm IV at the Berliner Schloss.
You won’t find here: Philippe Starck for Kartell gnome tables.
Fun fact: Nearly 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev still gets a standing ovation every time he walks into the lobby.

4. Four Seasons (Hong Kong)
Opened: 2005
Architect: Rocco Design
Designers: Yabu Pushelberg, Wilson & Associates, and KCA International Designers
The look: Bifurcated. Half of the rooms have Chinese-style decor (read: brocade-a-go-go, ink paintings); the other half reflect more Western influences (pale woods, silk-paneled walls). Lap pools are tiled in iridescent blue mosaics that recall neighboring Victoria Harbor.
You won’t find here: Lava lamps.
Fun fact: Located in the International Financial Center, a complex that is also home to the world’s longest escalator system.

5. Four Seasons (New York)
Opened: 1993
Architect: I.M. Pei (Pei Cobb Freed & Partners) and Frank Williams & Associates
Designer: Chhada Siembieda & Partners and Betty Garber Design, Consultant
The look: Honey-colored French Magny limestone limestone exterior, foyer with towering columns and an onyx ceiling. Rooms feature silk-lined walls and English sycamore furniture.
You won’t find here: Primary colors.
Fun fact: Guests of the Ty Warner penthouse on the 52nd floor have unlimited use of a chauffeured Rolls Royce or Maybach as well as a 24-hour-a-day personal assistant.

Rounding out II‘s top ten hotels for 2007 were the Ciragan Palace Kempinski (Istanbul), Baur au Lac (Zurich), Sukothai (Bangkok), Arts (Barcelona), and Bristol (Paris).