Travel and design are two forces that co-exist. After all, to travel is to take in the world’s scents, sounds and sights. The world’s most luxurious hotels often rope in the best architects and interior designers to build the property from the ground up, while paying homage to the culture of the city it is in.

Today’s new breed of luxury explorers have a sharpened (and more sophisticated) taste in design and art, often craving places with a unique personality that embraces their surroundings or tells a story — and that’s what owners of the top-tier hotels are successfully providing. You can’t deny that stepping into a gorgeously-designed lobby can significantly improve your experience at a property.

Whether it’s a brand new hotel or refurbished grande dame, here are some of the most stunning design-led hotels to check into this year.