Hotel Wonders

All of these hotels have opened within the last four years, and each is an example of awe-inspiring design in its own right. You can stay in a wave-like skyscraper in Chicago, a stack of cantilevered cubes in Portugal, or a hotel tucked into the wild cliffs of an Australian island. And, even better, it won’t cost a fortune to spend a night in these architectural wonders.

Southern Ocean Lodge (Kangaroo Island, Australia)

<br/>Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island, Australia

This hotel opened in 2008 and consists of 21 suites cascading down a windswept slope, following the natural curve of the land, each with floor-to-ceiling glass walls and sweeping views of the Southern Ocean. Suites were constructed from lightweight materials steel screw piles, timber framing, iron cladding that could be carried in to create minimal disturbance to nature, and which also could handle the challenge of building on precarious soil conditions. $1,000 per person per night.

Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)

<br/>Marina Bay Sands in Singapore

This trio of 55-story towers opened in 2010 and hold an incredible 2,561 hotel rooms, plus a museum, casino, convention center, waterfront promenade, shops, and restaurants. Architect Moshe Safdie has said that his challenge “was to create a vital public place at the district-urban scale-in other words, to address the issue of megascale and invent an urban landscape that would work at the human scale.” The towers are connected at the top by the cantilevered, two-and-a-half-acre SkyPark, home to gardens, 250 trees, a public observatory and a 492-foot swimming pool all perched high in the sky. $350 per night.

Axis Viana Hotel (Viana do Castelo, Portugal)

<br/>Axis Viana Hotel in Viana do Castelo, Portugal. See more photos of the hotels at <a href='http://www.budgettravel.com/slideshow/photos-the-hotel-worlds-most-striking-architecture%2C8367/?cnn=yes' target='_blank'>BudgetTravel.com</a>.

The 88-room Axis Viana Hotel was a striking addition to the folkloric village of Viana do Castelo when it opened in 2008. The exterior is made up of reflective aluminum, black glass, and green stone, and the cantilevered design changes the shape of the hotel depending upon your vantage point. The contrasting interior consists of white finishes and materials including wood and stone. It’s all edged by a shimmering outdoor pool and surrounded by views of the Lima River and Mount St. Luzia. $100 per night.

Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel (Chicago, Illinois)

<br/>Radisson Blu Waterfront Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden

Architect Jeanne Gang literally made waves in a city full of iconic skyscrapers with her showstopper building. The 82-story glass structure’s exterior has undulating concrete balconies resembling the swirls and ripples of nearby Lake Michigan. Such a unique design brought with it a unique construction challenge each floor plate is a different shape, which means a different concrete pour was required for every story. To manage it, the concrete was poured into a specially designed flexible metal edge that was reused over and over again an important detail for green architecture.

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