Back Story: Hyatt threw out the reception desk when it invented Andaz in 2007, so guests can feel like the hotel is their private pied-à-terre.
Where You’ll Find Them: Hollywood, New York, and London, among other cities. Resorts are set to open in Turks and Caicos, Maui, and Costa Rica.
Standout Feature: Open kitchens and locally sourced ingredients make Andaz dining spaces feel less like restaurants and more like dinner parties.
Guest Profile: Sophisticated, style-minded travelers who don’t want to be pegged as tourists.
Parent: Wyndham/Chatwal Wotels & Resorts
Back Story: Father-son hoteliers Sant and Vikram Chatwal recently partnered with Wyndham, which will manage and franchise this high-concept luxury brand.
Where You’ll Find Them: New York City, Bangkok, and Kochi, India. South Beach and downtown Manhattan open this year; Dream D.C. is set for 2012.
Standout Feature: Playing on the brand’s name, all hotel rooms have a dream dictionary for guests to consult. Plush bedding and thoughtful lighting help carry out the theme.
Guest Profile: Creative-industry types who don’t mind spending a little more to stand out from the masses.
Back Story: Ian Schrager is the mastermind behind this new brand, which brings avant-garde street cred to the traditional Marriott name.
Where You’ll Find Them: Waikiki and Istanbul so far. More planned for London, Barcelona, South Beach, and Mexico City.
Standout Feature: Sleek and spare lines are the brand’s hallmark, but each property pays tribute to its locale: surfboards and ukuleles grace the walls in Waikiki, while Istanbul has silk carpets and rosewood paneling.
Guest Profile: Nightlife connoisseurs, plus Marriott loyalists who like earning and using rewards points in vibrant urban settings.
Back Story: The Hong Kong–based luxury chain, famous for its restrained Asian elegance, is showing a more relaxed and colorful side with its new Kerry brand.
Where You’ll Find Them: Shanghai (opened in February) and Beijing (set to open in 2012).
Standout Feature: Interactive dining: Shanghai’s Cook restaurant has 11 “theater kitchens,” and the bar brews its own beer. Guests can have a label custom-made.
Guest Profile: Families with kids who’ll love the two-story play zone, and business travelers who want to blow off steam in Shanghai’s largest hotel fitness club.
Back Story: The French chain launched the So brand last year to attract a younger, more style-minded clientele.
Where You’ll Find Them: Mauritius. Bangkok opens in late 2011.
Standout Feature: Regionally inspired design—four Thai designers are decorating different sections of the Bangkok property; the architecture of So Mauritius echoes the crescent-shaped beach next to it.
Guest Profile: Travelers looking to soak up the local color while enjoying French-style service and sophistication.
Back Story: Taj rebranded more than a dozen of its most contemporary properties last autumn to the Vivanta by Taj name, updating the century-old chain’s image.
Where You’ll Find Them: Indian business hubs, such as Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Delhi, and resort destinations, including Goa and the Maldives.
Standout Feature: Several properties feature Rhythm, a combined work-play lounge where suite guests can make photocopies and mix cocktails.
Guest Profile: Guests seeking a less formal (and often more affordable) alternative to the flagship Taj properties.