TPG staff’s 15 favorite hotel bars around the world
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The TPG team has reviewed a lot of hotels over the years, all around the globe. Sure, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into these reviews, such as counting the number of towels in the bathroom and timing the room service delivery. However, these stays also include more exciting experiences, such as taking a dip in the hotel pool, enjoying a lavish breakfast (or two), admiring the views and, perhaps best of all, having a drink at the hotel bar.
An unforgettable hotel bar is the sum of many factors but should definitely have fantastic ambience; friendly, competent staff; and, of course, delicious cocktails. Bonus points for a great view and tasty bar snacks. The following hotels house our favourite bars from recent stays.
The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach in Florida
The Lapidus Bar in the newly reopened Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, in Miami should be on everyone’s list for visiting South Florida — even if you’re not staying at the hotel. The crown jewel at the property, this bar instantly transports patrons to the days when Miami was at the peak of its glamour, with gold and jewel tones used abundantly and set in contrast to black and white finishes. Order yourself a cocktail served in a very ’50s-inspired coupe glass and pay special attention to the chandelier, which was designed specifically for this space but looks like it’s been there since the hotel first opened decades ago.
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
If you ever find yourself at one of TPG’s all-time favourite resorts — The St. Regis Maldives — you must sip a cocktail (or two) at the property’s Whale Bar. With a giant, open “mouth” rising out of the infinite sea, you can understand where the bar gets its name. Admire the spectacular sunsets with a glass of Champagne from the St. Regis’ signature sabering ceremony or sip a tropical cocktail, all while soaking in views and atmosphere you’ll never forget.
Conrad Bora Bora Nui in French Polynesia
For a bar that the whole family will love, look no further than the Upa Upa Lounge Bar at the Conrad Bora Bora. The food menu features sushi but has kid-friendly options too. And, adults can count on a tasty cocktail. The best feature is its half-inside-half-outside setup that has both a see-through glass floor that’s sure to delight the kids and an outdoor dock that gives you a front-row seat to some magnificent sunsets.
Four Seasons Casa Medina in Bogotá, Colombia
Chatting with bartender Carlos at the trendy Castanyoles bar at the Four Seasons Casa Medina Bogotá was a memorable experience for TPG Reviews Editor Nick Ellis. Carlos was passionate about creating cocktails using local Colombian spirits, and his love for his city was contagious. You know a hotel bar is seriously awesome when the locals come in for cocktails. Its gorgeous half-inside-half-outside setting only made things better.
W Aspen in Colorado
The new W Aspen’s signature WET Deck has more than just gorgeous views. The bar area is chic yet cozy and delivers drinks poolside in the summer or around the fire pit in winter. Even though the hotel just opened recently, Summer Hull, Director of TPG Travel Content, is confident the beautiful bar area will be an “absolute hotspot during the peak après-ski season.”
The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa
The Silo’s rooftop is enticing, thanks to its panoramic views of Cape Town’s waterfront, skyline and famous Table Mountain, but there’s a bar that The Points Guy himself liked even more. The Willaston Bar‘s drink list includes carefully crafted cocktails and an array of South African wines. And can we talk about those famous floor-to-ceiling windows The Silo is known for? The space is completed by jewel-tone velvet armchairs and contemporary chandeliers for a relaxing, luxurious bar experience.
The Shanghai Edition in China
With nine bars, it’s hard to decide which of the Shanghai Edition’s drinking establishments to visit first. The Hiya rooftop bar takes the cake for the best views, but the lobby bar is a great place to elbow up for a cocktail, too. Here, guests will find a pool table, elegant velvet benches and a bar that seems created just for Instagram.
The Cape in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
The Cape, a Thompson Hotel and new(ish) member of the Hyatt Portfolio, wowed TPG Travel Editor Melanie Lieberman with its gorgeous views, stunning pool and perhaps the best hotel bathtub in existence, a freestanding copper-leaf structure from which you can enjoy ocean views while ensconced in bubbles … but we digress. The best place to grab a drink at this property is the rooftop bar, with intimate cabanas and inviting tables overlooking the Sea of Cortez.
The Academy London in the UK
If teatime (read: happy hour) in an antique British Georgian library tickles your fancy, the Alchemy Bar at the Academy London is just the spot for you. The hotel is part of Hyatt’s new and expanded partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, and the bar has velvety chairs, dim, moody lighting and stocked bookshelves, in addition to a serious collection of gin. Carlos, the bartender (not to be confused with the bartender from Bogota), walked me through the history and flavours of some of the gins, helping me choose just the right one for my martini.
The Jaffa in Tel Aviv, Israel
One of the most stunning hotel bars we’ve seen, The Chapel at the Jaffa Hotel was a convent before the space was renovated and the hotel rose in its place. The result is spectacular. Sip your delicious (albeit pricey) cocktail here beneath the soaring, arched ceilings and restored stained-glass windows. We promise, you won’t feel the need to repent!
Park Hyatt Tokyo in Japan
It may seem odd to visit New York while in Tokyo, but the Park Hyatt Tokyo’s New York Bar on the 52nd floor is a highlight of the hotel, especially if you’re in the market for a classic and intimate atmosphere. The views of the Tokyo skyline are nothing short of stunning and the evening jazz performances make the ambience even more inviting. If it looks familiar, it’s probably because you’re remembering it from the movie “Lost in Translation.”
Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve in Puerto Rico
Positivo Sand Bar at Dorado Beach has many of its tables directly in the sand (as you might have already guessed from the bar’s name). It gives off lively Caribbean vibes, and the ambient lounge music sets the tone for a blissed-out sunset cocktail experience. Bury those toes in the sand while you sip a mojito and admire the crashing waves
The St. Regis Venice in Italy
The St. Regis Venice is a new property overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. Although TPG himself found it hard to leave the beautiful balcony of his suite, he got great service at one of the properties’ two bars, the eponymous St. Regis Bar. With both outdoor and garden seating, the bar has views of Venice you’ll always remember. And the bar’s rose-gold shakers give offer a little taste of old-school Italian glamour.
The W Palm Jumeira in Dubai
The SoBe bar at the W Palm Jumeirah is a colourful, whimsical place to sip an artfully shaken cocktail and enjoy Dubai’s warm temperatures (there’s an outdoor area too). The bar perfectly encapsulates a South Florida vibe, with a Miami-inspired cocktail menu, fuchsia lighting and palm trees. Since the bar doesn’t have any city skyline views, it may be even more fun to sit inside and take in the bar’s expertly graffitied interior.
The St. Regis Rome, Italy
The St. Regis Rome’s lobby bar has an adjacent library, a room that could be in an Italian Renaissance palace. With design touches like gold, antique candlestick holders, vintage fireplaces and coffee-table fashion books, you can sip your Aperol spritz in major style.
Featured image of The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.