The 15 most amazing hotel bars we drank at this year
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The TPG team has reviewed a whole lot of hotels this year, located all around the globe. Sure, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into these reviews, such as measuring the height of the shower heads, counting the number of towels in the bathroom and timing the room service delivery. However, these stays do include slightly more exciting experiences, such as taking a dip in the hotel pool, enjoying a lavish breakfast (or two), spending some time admiring the views and, perhaps best of all: having a drink at the hotel bar.
An unforgettable hotel bar is the total sum of many factors, including a fantastic ambience, a friendly, competent staff and, of course, delicious cocktails. Bonus points for a great view and tasty bar snacks. For one reason or another (but probably many reasons), these were our favorite hotel bars from stays this year.
Chatting with bartender Carlos at the trendy Castañyoles 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 the love for his city, Bogotá, was contagious. You know a hotel bar is seriously awesome when the locals come in for cocktails. And, its gorgeous half-inside, half-outside setting only made things better.
The brand new W Aspen’s signature WET Deck has more than just gorgeous views. The bar area is chic yet cozy, and delivers poolside drinks in the summer — or serves cocktails around the fire pit during the winter. Even though the hotel just recently opened, Summer Hull, director of TPG travel content, is confident the beautiful bar area will be an “absolute hotspot during the peak après ski season.”
Though the Silo’s rooftop is enticing, thanks to its panoramic views of Cape Town’s waterfront, skyline and famous Table Mountain, there’s a bar that TPG himself liked even more. The Willaston Bar’s drink list includes carefully crafted cocktails and an array of local 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, luxury bar experience.
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 some of the best views, but the lobby bar is a great place to elbow up for a cocktail, tool. Here, guests will find a pool table, elegant velvet benches and a bar that seems created just for Instagram.
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 where you can enjoy ocean views while ensconced in bubbles … But we digress. The best place to grab a drink at this property by far is the rooftop bar, with its intimate cabanas and inviting tables overlooking the Sea of Cortez.
If teatime (read: happy hour) in an antique British Georgian library tickles your fancy, you’re in luck — the Alchemy Bar at the Academy London is just the spot for you. Part of Hyatt’s new and expanded partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World, the hotel 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 flavors of some of the gins, helping me choose just the right one for my martini.
One of the most stunning hotel bars we’ve seen, The Chapel at the Jaffa Hotel is appropriately named: It was formerly a convent, before the space was renovated and the hotel rose in its place. And the result is spectacular. Sip your delicious (albeit price) cocktail here beneath the soaring, arched ceilings and restored stained glass windows — and we promise, you won’t feel the need to repent!
Although it may seem odd to visit New York while in Tokyo, 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.”
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 ocean waves
The St. Regis Venice is a brand-new property overlooking Venice’s Grand Canal. Although the Points Guy himself found it hard to leave the beautiful balcony of his suite, he was pleased to get great service at one of the properties’ two bars, the eponymous St. Regis Bar. With both outdoor and garden seating, the views of Venice from the bar are ones you’ll always remember. And the bar’s rose-gold shakers give patrons a little taste of old-school Italian glamor.
The Hotel Banke is housed in the former Crédit Commercial de France bank building, dating back to the early 20th century. An ode to the Parisian hotel’s financial past, the bar features golden bull busts above a metallic gold sofa. The circular bar (with more gleaming details) is particularly striking, so make sure to snap some photos while you enjoy your drink.
The SoBe bar at the W Palm Jumeirah is a colorful, whimsical way to enjoy both an artfully shaken cocktail and Dubai’s warm temperatures (there’s an outdoor area, too). The bar perfectly encapsulates a certain 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.
Although the Waldorf Astoria Bangkok has six bars and restaurants, the Loft, on the 56th floor, is one of the best. An Art Nouveau-inspired space with views of Bangkok’s impressive skyline, the bar is a chic place to spend an evening. There, TPG contributor Eric Rosen enjoyed a Manhattan-style cocktail from The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book menu, infused with Thai basil, vermouth, chocolate bitters and coriander maple syrup before heading up to the secret Champagne bar on the 57th floor.
Although the Edition Times Square has a few bars, one of the best is the outdoor bar, The Terrace. Covered with sprawling ivy and greenery and decorated with Moroccan-inspired candles and vintage chairs, it feels like you’re no longer in the midst of frenetic Manhattan — save for the occasional honking of a taxi cab below. The bar space was inspired by the Miami Beach Edition, which is why it probably feels warm and tropical.
The St. Regis Rome’s lobby bar has an adjacent library, a room that feels distinctly like part of an Italian Renaissance palace. With design touches like gold, antique candlestick holders, vintage fireplaces and fashion coffee table books, you can sip your Aperol spritz in major style.
Featured image of the Shanghai Edition by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy.