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Le Monde, Edinburgh 

16 George Street
Scotland EH2 2PF
Tel: 44 131 270 3900
Fax: 44 131 270 3901
view web site ›'s insider take:

A refurbished town house in the city center, this $22-million boutique hotel opened in March 2006. Its eccentric concept could have gone badly wrong—each of the 18 rooms reflects a different city's vibe and aesthetic—but discerning taste saves it from theme-park tackiness. Yes, you might wake up with a geographical hangover, but the levity adds a twist to the definition of luxury accommodation. The New York loft has exposed brick, brown leather sofas, Miles Davis CDs, Sex and the City DVDs, and the New York Times's front page delivered daily; Moroccan lanterns and mosaic screens are paired with burnt-ocher walls in the Marrakech suite, where the sound track is Tea in Marrakech, the movie provided is Casablanca, and the front page of Morocco's Al Jarida Al Maghribia newspaper shows up daily, whatever your language skills. Most of the rooms—divided into Club Class (standard), World Class (intermediate), and Different Class (best-appointed)—have 42-inch flat-screen TVs, and all bathrooms have pebble walls, deep baths, and rainfall showers. In the same building are an assortment of cafes, bars, and a nightclub that also follow the global theme, from Milan to Paris to Tokyo. Unlike in the rooms, the execution is an assault to the senses, but that's not keeping the crowds away—light sleepers should book rooms on the third floor to avoid the din.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

Occupying a handsome nineteenth-century stone building on George Street, Le Monde pulls off its design premise—leach of the 18 rooms is themed after a global city—by melding fantasy with comfort. Miami, for example, shows off framed photos of SoBe's Art Deco buildings and amplifies the theme with silver, cream, and tan Art Deco wallpaper. All rooms have nice touches that include lights controlled by bedside dimmer switches, an espresso machine, heated floors, and a low leather lounger. Bathrooms are especially well thought out: The window between them and the bedroom turns opaque upon locking the door, and behind a waterproof screen is a television that's operated by a waterproof remote control. The hotel has four bars—including Shanghai, a trendy lounge-bar in the basement, and Vienna, for quiet cocktails. The Paris Brasserie serves comfort food like smoked haddock-and-cod pie.

—2007 Hot List

When to go: Summer for the Edinburgh festival; fall for the gentle weather.

Which room to book: The themed decor works best in Miami, Paris, Marrakech, and Rio de Janeiro. 

Amenities: 24-hour Room Service, Bar/lounge

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