Billed as the world's finest short-stay hotel, Stiletto, (, a new $9.3 million building in the gentrifying neighborhood of Camperdown, has everyone in Sydney talking. Its swank suites were designed by Hip Group, best known for creating the five-star eco-hotel Longitude 131º at Uluru. The sensual lines, rich color palette, and whimsical touches were inspired by Philippe Starck: a room called the Library has books painted on the wall, though no one's coming here to read. (Rooms start at $218 a hour.)

Of course, not everyone is thrilled with having a brothel, even a high-style one, on the block. The local Catholic college, which is located (unfortunately for the school) directly across the street, tried to stop Stiletto in its heels. But the sex trade is legal in New South Wales, and the owners—a consortium of Asian investors who do not reveal their identities no matter how nicely you ask—won over the town council with their discreet brothel, which replaced the notoriously rowdy Student Prince pub. "We wanted to remove the sleaze," says communications manager Lisa Williams—and employing a full-time flack is only one step in that direction. "People are very surprised when they walk in the door," she says. "Most of them admit they haven't even stayed at a hotel as nice as this before."
—Daniel Radosh