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If luxury hotels are meant to give travelers a heightened experience of the destination, there may well be no more dramatic experience than the brand new Shangri-La Hotel, Lhasa, set to open this April.

Located in one of the highest inhabited points on earth, the 279-room hotel itself is built on a plateau nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. Nearby cultural attractions (Potala Palace, Jokhand Temple, Sera Monastery) are in abundance, but it's the structure itself that's drawing all the attention.

With traditional Tibetan architectural details aplenty, the new Shangri-La Lhasa gives a very definite sense of place through its 21 foot bell-shaped lobby chandelier, its floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the mountains, a spa, a Tibetan tapas bar and adjoining restaurant and even an oxygen lounge to help acclimate guests to the high altitude.

Online reservations officially begin this week (rates from $380.50). Here are some more shots from inside the breathtaking new property...

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