I am really excited to be among the jury of world travelers to elect Wallpaper* magazine’s Best Urban Hotels 2013 list. The jurors – including Gordon Vene Klasen, director of Werner Gallery (New York), Cynthia Chua, the founder of Esprit Group (Singapore), Thornsten Schmidt, chef and owner of Aarhus (Copenhagen), Guglielmo Miani, president and CEO of Larusmiani (Milan) – have clocked up thousands of air miles and stayed in dozens of top-notch hosteleries in a variety of countries around the globe. We’re meant to represent the discerning traveler, the one who wants a real experience in a fabulous setting that somehow represents something special about the culture we are visiting. The days of the mammoth brand, mono-cultured chain hotels are over! At the same time, we want efficiency and ease – WiFi and a house spa are no longer optional extras, they’re a must. The shortlist is out now, and it includes some tried and true favourites – the Palazzo Gritti in Venice, the Shangrila in Mumbai, the Copacabana Palace in Rio… – but also some nice surprises like the Hotel de Nell in Paris, the Park Royal on Pickering in Singapore and London’s Café Royal. Sadly, only one Sydney hotel made the grade; the QT Hotel, on Market Street. Surprisingly, a hotel that doesn’t rest on the laurels of a harbour view. Worth thinking about, Sydney!