Our guide to the future of travel (#'s 12-26): Israel's first luxury resort; a tropical Thai retreat; a glass-walled cube in Hamburg; San Francisco's wired boutique hotel; Ian Schrager's latest New York project; and other openings
Marc Stüwe

Northern India's palace hotels are among the most luxurious in the world, and the latest, due in October, will be no exception. The 96-room Udaivilas is slated to have 30 acres of landscaped courtyards, domed lobbies, and airy, elongated hallways, all designed in the traditional Mewari style. The hotel is being set into a hillside by the shores of Lake Pichola, with a view of the City Palace in nearby Udaipur. Most rooms will average 600 square feet, and almost a quarter—including four oversized suites—will have their own private pool. Add to that amenities worth going the distance for, such as a spa specializing in Ayurvedic therapies, and a business center that will help solitude-seekers keep in touch. 800/562-3764.

Is there life after Aman?When it opens this fall, Phuket's Trisara will prove that there is. Nestled in one of the island's last remaining groves of virgin forest, the Thai resort is the brainchild of Anthony Lark, a 12-year Aman veteran who's now gone solo. The 50-acre resort and spa will have 40 ocean-view rooms (plus 14 privately owned villas), all with lap pools and separate outdoor showers and baths. But you're only as isolated as you want to be: Lark is also installing a PC with a flat-screen monitor in each room, so guests can mix a dash of business with a large dose of pleasure. 66-76/313-333, fax 66-76/311-999; doubles from $750.

Where do you go after designing the most talked-about museum of the early 21st century?To work for Ian Schrager, of course. Swissarchitecture duo Jacques Herzog and Pierrede Meuron are following up their internationallycelebrated Tate Modern museum in London bycollaborating with Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on Schrager's newest project, set to open late this year at Astor Place in lower Manhattan. While details are being well guarded, it should have around 200 rooms on 15 floors in a structure that's, well, anyone's guess. It's the first purpose-built hotel for Schrager, who, on the heels of last year's Hudson Hotel, once again will have New York's most anticipated hotel debut of the year.

Half a decade after launching the cheap but chic hotel group Malmaison, Scotland's Ken McCulloch is at it again, this time with a new brand of high-style, medium-priced hotels. The first Hotel Columbus bows this April in Monaco, on a stretch of waterfront just five minutes from the glitz and glam of Monte Carlo. Following a $10 million renovation of an existing building, the 160-room, 20-suite property will have boldly colored custom-made furniture and high-tech Internet capabilities in every room. McCulloch says that 10 additional Columbus hotels are planned through 2002, mostly in the United States and the U.K. 23 Ave. des Papalins; 377/92-05-90-00, fax 377/92-05-91-67; doubles from $162.

It may be a new hotel, but Seaham Hall, near Newcastle in northern England, has a storied past: built on the site of a Roman signal station, the 18th-century manor was the setting for the wedding of Lord Byron (who also wrote The Siege of Corinth here). When reborn this spring as a luxe retreat, Seaham will have 19 state-of-the-art rooms and, by fall, a Thai spa with a 60-foot pool and 17 treatment rooms. It's the latest project of software mogul—cum—hotelier Tom Maxfield, whose Lake District property the Samling is a longtime favorite of celebs like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Tyne and Wear; 44-191/427-3170, fax 44-191/456-4255; doubles from $278.

Located in the heart of Hamburg's media and fashion quarter, Side will be the first completely new, style-conscious hotel in years for the style-conscious German metropolis. Slated for a soft opening in March, the 11-story Side will be a glass-and-stone cube containing 178 rooms around a central atrium. The rooms' cream, white, and brown color scheme is courtesy of Matteo Thun—a Milanese designer known for his work on Missoni, Swatch, and Luca Luca stores—who is also creating the hotel's logo, flatware, cutlery, and even ashtrays. Suites will be on the top two floors,in a rectangular box that appears to float over the hotel below. And a eighth-floor terrace will have commanding views of the nearby opera house. 49 Drehnbahn; 49-40/309-990, fax 49-40/3099-9399; doubles from $172.

In the wake of the dot-com downturn, San Francisco could use a jolt of whimsy. So watch out for the future opening of m31, a space-age hotel named for the galaxy closest to the Milky Way. The 150 rooms will be fitted with multiple monitors for TV, video, and Internet; a bedside "nerve center" for controlling all the electronics; phones that convert to cellular for indoor-outdoor use; and modular furniture designed by architect Michael Gabellini, the man behind Jil Sander and Giorgio Armani shops. A glass-domed rooftop restaurant will have celestial maps and telescopes, while down below a massive spa will offer holistic health treatments. Connecting it all: hallways filled with "light gardens"—shafts of simulated natural light that glow differently during the day, at dusk, and at night. 80 Ellis Ave.; 800/553-1900.

Designed in 1908, the Beaux-Arts St. Paul Hotel in Old Montreal is one of the city's most historic landmarks. But thanks to a yearlong, $6.4 million renovation that will wrap up in April, its interiors will be the most contemporary in town. The design incorporates nature's core elements—fire, ice, earth, and sky. In the lobby, flames leap from a bronze fireplace set in an oversize wall of icelike Spanish alabaster. And the 96 rooms and 24 suites will reflect either earth (shades of brown, beds crafted of dark brown leather) or sky (grays and blues, floating plastic lamps, blue-glass worktables). 355 Rue McGill; 800/337-4685; doubles from $106.

20. FOUR SEASONS will have debuts in Caracas, Dublin, and Prague (all early this year), San Francisco (mid-2001), and Shanghai (late 2001). 21. RITZ-CARLTON will have an even busier year, with 11 hotels on the way: Half Moon Bay, California, and Key Biscayne, Florida (both open in March); Naples Golf Resort, Florida, and Istanbul (April); Coconut Grove and South Beach, Florida, and Boston (July); Doha, Qatar (September); and Sarasota, Florida, and two in New York City (December). Starwood will launch 22. Two ST. REGIS properties this summer, Monarch Beach in Dana Point, California, and Shanghai, as well as 23. four W hotels, in Chicago (two in spring/summer 2001), Times Square (summer), and South Beach (November). 24. PENINSULA also will have another hotel in the United States by this summer, in Chicago.

Named for a kingdom of ancient traders and set in the Negev desert, Le Domaine de Samshaba is Israel'sfirst ultra-luxurious retreat and the first hotel projectfrom French film director Claude Lelouch. Each of its 50 roomswill be built entirely of stone and will measure at least 1,000 square feet. A hot spring will heat the waters of the spa, where guestscan relax after an afternoon spent riding the hotel's Arabian horsesor an evening gazing at the stars from the on-site observatory.All this in a location so remote it will be accessible only via jeep,camel, or helicopter. Look for the property to open late this year.

There's nothing like staying true to your roots. Housed in a former newspaper headquarters, the Scotsman hotel is named for the daily that was churned out there for nearly a century. And while the team behind the chic boutique 42 The Calls in Leeds has done up the Edinburgh landmark in modern style, they've kept journalistic integrity in mind in their plans: the 63 rooms are categorized simply by size and given masthead-appropriate ranks (editor, publisher). Opening in April, the hotel will also house a screening room and theater, as well as a six-lane pool and low-key spa. 20 N. Bridge; 44-131/556-5565, fax 44-131/652-3652; doubles from $210.