08/18/2010 03:06 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Design Matters: 15 Hotels That Make a Grand First Impression (PHOTOS)

Walking into a hotel for the first time is like meeting a blind date -- first impressions count and if the hotel (or date, for that matter) doesn't appeal it's likely you won't go back for seconds.

Hotels hire the best of the best designers to create that unique first impression. Working with space, color, dimensions and textures are just part of the equation - culture, history, art and social elements add to the decor. The end result: a dramatic space that leaves a lasting impression.

It's not just what's inside the front doors that matter, though. Your first impression could be winding road that drops you at the front gates or the private boat ride that leads you to your bungalow on the water. We captured some of the best hotel entrances and lobby designs from around the world so you can get acquainted with the finer things on the first floor, before retreating to your room for the night.

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