Milan may be the mecca of luxury designer brand hotels, but the idea is spreading.

Italian jeweler and luxury goods retailer Bulgari, opened the first of its designer hotels together with the Ritz Carlton chain in the luxury shopping area of trendy Milan in 2004. Since then there have been a host of fashion designer-name hotels springing up there and elsewhere. The Maison Moschino opened in Italy’s fashion capital in 2010 and there’s an Armani hotel set to open there soon.

These are at the high-end of the high-end hotels and, short of a lottery win, it’s unlikely that we will be able to afford a night there but it’s good to know how the other half live. Bulgari ‘guests’ can enjoy a ride in a Ferrari, the attentions of a personal shopper and have their bags unpacked on arrival and packed on departure.

And now an 85-bedroom, six-star hotel in London’s Knightsbridge, which will be branded by Bulgari, is set to open in 2012 in time for the Olympics. The Prime Knightsbridge hotel, opposite Harrods, aims to provide the largest hotel rooms in London, with an average room size of around 645 sq ft.

If you find all this just a tad vulgar, not to mention expensive, one fashion inspired hotel that might appeal, and is actually affordable, is the Christian Lacroix boutique hotel ‘Le Petit Moulin’ (www.paris-hotel-petitmoulin.com) in the historic Le Marais area of Paris. Housed in a 17th century building, it was the French capital's oldest bakery before being converted into a four-star hotel by Lacroix. Rooms start at €190 per night.

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