updated 6/17/2008 10:01:12 AM ET 2008-06-17T14:01:12

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: Various through 2008

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The deal
From the U.S. and England to Mexico and Japan, we’ve scouted the coolest design hotels recently opened around the world. From a designer property in a Regency-era townhouse in London to a Mexico hotel converted out of a water purification plant, each of these luxury lodgings showcases a unique distinctive style that makes the splurge worth it.

The Bowery Hotel, New York
One of New York’s latest openings, The Bowery Hotel in Manhattan’s trendy Lower East Side is a unique property. According to The New York Times, “the hotel evokes the Gilded Age of red waistcoats, hand-set bricks and wood-paneled elevators. And the views from the upper floors are positively grand.” The on-premise Gemma restaurant offers a cozy candlelit ambience. Units start at $425/night.

La Purificadora, Mexico
Housed in a historic water purification plant, this stylish boutique hotel in Mexico’s Puebla features a string of minimalist guestrooms, a rooftop bar and a glass-walled swimming pool. Concierge.com writes, “The hotel, comprised of 26 rooms named after the letters of the alphabet, is an amalgam of old and new, a trend that goes hand in hand with the industry's move toward historic preservation and "recycling." Units start at $175/night.

Haymarket Hotel, London
Right at the heart of London’s theater district, this designer townhouse showcases a 60-foot swimming pool in the basement, lit by a changing wall installation and surrounded by stylish seating areas. Each of the 50 rooms and suites is individually designed. The New York Times writes, “The bedrooms are surprisingly — stunningly — large by London standards, with furnishings that are a mix of modern pieces and antiques.” Rooms start at $480/night.

Hotel Screen, Kyoto
Strong on sustainability, this eco-deluxe hotel in Japan’s Kyoto features the so-called Candle Night once a week, when the electricity is turned off and candles are lit to conserve energy. Concierge.com writes, “Hotel Screen in Kyoto has 13 rooms, each created by a different artist or designer, whose visions range from the all black-and-orange Screen Suite to the Mystic Room, which is based on the idea that lots of white drapes flowing from the ceiling is soothing.” Rooms start at $435/night.

The Dollars
Rates quoted above are the minimum you’ll pay to stay at one of these properties. All of the hotels do run occasional specials, when the rates drop considerably. Check the Web sites for details.

The Catch
Cool design comes at a hefty cost.

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