New hotels include some sophisticated architectural spectacles - check out Foster + Partners' Dolder Grand in Zurich or Piero Lissoni's industrial-chic Conservatorium Hotel in Amsterdam, as just two examples.
The latest trend is to sell linked apartments or villas benefiting from the same design and style, and sharing the extensive facilities and five-star service. These "branded residences" provide reassuring familiarity for buyers who demand a certain service level and a pleasing design aesthetic.
Branded residences typically come at a premium. According to Knight Frank research, it averages 31 per cent, with the highest premium going to less well-established locations. In return, investors get "a sense of security from strong brands which can also allay fears over things such as foreign laws and taxes", says Robert Green of Abercrombie & Kent International Estates.
Studios and apartments at the Icon Brickell Miami enjoy Ritz-Carlton service. Image: Robin Hill
Vibrant and in demand
The 111 spacious apartments and 15 villas at Ritz-Carlton Residences in Miami Beach offer Italian flair and modern design from Milan-based Lissoni, and elite Ritz-Carlton service, with prices from £1,193,000.
This is one of only 10 stand-alone Ritz-Carlton Residences in the world and its great facilities and seven acres of gardens attracted 30 international buyers in the first month of sales.
The Icon Brickell complex in downtown Miami is made up of three 58-storey towers by European-based residential and hotel design company yoo. The 1,800 apartments share a 300ft pool, several restaurants, a club room, spa, gym and interiors inspired by Philippe Starck. Resales start from £176,000 for a studio and there is a full-time concierge to collect dry cleaning, book restaurants and generally streamline your busy life.
The luxury villas alongside the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum
Next month sees the opening of the Mandarin Oriental Bodrum, a 102-room hotel on a flower-filled hillside with three private bays in south-west Turkey. Alongside the hotel are 98 stone-and-glass contemporary villas and 116 flats for sale from £967,000, backed by Asian super-brand Mandarin Oriental and sharing the hotel's pools, vast spa, gym, tennis courts and six restaurants.
"Bodrum is an established resort where Turks from Istanbul like to holiday," says Meral Asci of Turkish developer Astas Holding. "It has the potential to be a leading Mediterranean resort. By linking with the best brands, we are placing a marker on the world stage." Over 70 per cent of the homes have been sold, to buyers from Europe and the Middle East.
From £397,500: flats and villas at Anahita in Mauritius, with a Four Seasons link
Indian ocean escape
A 12-hour flight from London, Mauritius is making a name for itself as a safe and beautiful Indian Ocean holiday island, with good golf courses and an efficient infrastructure. Anahita is a 213-hectare resort just 45 minutes from the airport in the quieter but beautiful south-east, with an Ernie Els golf course, a four-mile stretch of beach and a Four Seasons Hotel, one of the most popular hotels on the island. Île aux Cerfs, a sandy island with long, empty beaches and another golf course, is opposite.
Two- and three-bedroom apartments and large detached villas in the latest phase start from £397,500. Although these are not branded residences, the resort's association with the Four Seasons has been helpful in attracting buyers and setting standards, according to Jo Leverett of selling agents Savills.
Owners can have guaranteed rental yields of four per cent for three years on certain apartments, and maintenance starts from about £380 a month.
Abercrombie & Kent International Estates: www.akinternationalestates.com
Ritz-Carlton Residences at Miami Beach: www.theresidencesmiamibeach.com or One Sotheby's International Realty (www.onesothebysrealty.com)
Icon Brickell: through www.yoo.com
Mandarin Oriental Residences: www.mandarinorientalresidencesbodrum.com and www.savills.com
Anahita: through Savills (www.savills.co.uk)