1. Fasano, Rio de Janeiro
Ipanema beach is only a Frisbee-throw away; there's a view of Christ the Redeemer from the rooftop infinity pool – locations don't come better than this. Younger sister to Sao Paulo's Fasano hotel, the Rio outpost's rooms are designed by Philippe Starck, who has gone for a warm, mid-century style: a lot of wood, eclectic light fittings, marble bathrooms. A three-star Michelin restaurant specialises in Florentine seafood and the Carnaby Street-inspired Londra bar is a hangout for Brazilian celebs.
Fasano Hotel, Avenida Vieira Souto 80, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (00 55 21 3202 4000; www.fasano.com.br). Doubles start at US$500 (£263), room only.
2. Casa Bosca, Valencia
This is a great retreat. The villa and guesthouse can be rented by room or taken over by a group. The six rooms, all with designer bathrooms and Wi-Fi, are close to the America's Cup regatta area. Pool, terrace and lounge are on hand, and the vibrant city centre is 10 minutes away.
Casa Bosca, Carrer Isabel de Villena 139, Valencia, Spain (00 34 679 96 69 93; www.casabosca.com). Doubles from €175 (£146); or €1,000 (£833) for the house, with breakfast and afternoon tea.
3. The Tides South Beach, Miami
This Art Deco treasure re-opened last year after a re-design by Kelly Wearstler. It may be a little on the beige side, but it's hard to grumble at a hotel where all 45 suites have ocean views.
The Tides South Beach, 1220 Ocean Drive, Miami, Florida, US (001 305 604 5070; www.tidessouthbeach.com). Suites start at US$315 (£166), room only.
4. Viceroy, Santa Monica
As owners of The Tides South Beach as well as this Californian retreat, the Kor group has America's urban beach hotel scene pretty sewn up. But, as you might expect from a hotel near Beverly Hills, the Viceroy is more classic in style than its Floridian counterpart. Set half a block from Santa Monica beach, its 162 rooms are swankily sophisticated, with designer bedlinen, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries and huge flat-screen TVs.
Viceroy Santa Monica, 1819 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, California, US (001 310 260 7500; www.viceroysantamonica.com). Doubles start at US$398 (£209), room only.
5. Mantra South Bank, Brisbane
A twist on the theme, this contemporary hotel isn't by the sea, but by Streets Beach, a man-made river beach. The central location means its 161 rooms and apartments are popular with business travellers. If river swimming sounds an adventure too far, you can always take a dip in the hotel's lap pool instead.
Mantra South Bank, 161 Grey Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia (00 61 2 8062 5000; www.mantracityhotels.com.au). Doubles start at A$219 (£105), room only.