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Long viewedas the ugly stepsister to Shanghai and Beijing, Guangzhou is hitting its stride. The Zaha Hadid–designed, daringly asymmetrical GuangzhouOpera House (pictured above) opened recently and it’s garnered a lot of notice amongarchitecture circles for its glass-and-granite frame and spider web-likeinteriors. Other notable new buildings include the Guangdong Museum, theGuangzhou New Library, and the Canton Tower. Meanwhile, five luxury hotels areopening this year, including the Four Seasons and W Guangzhou.

JenniferChen is Travel+ Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.