Connaught Bar, London
London does a great martini. And while there’s more than one winning hotel to head to, at the Connaught it’s really a no-holds-barred affair. Take your seat in the elegant space, and the barman will push over a trolley brimming with Tanqueray No. 10 gin, vermouth and bitters – preparing your drink as you watch and customising it to your taste.
Alternatively, order their irresistible Vesper martini, Number 11: made with Grey Goose vodka, the Connaught’s own gin, Amalfi lemon oil and a distillation of exotically spiced bitters. It’s worth the eye-watering £25/US$34 price tag.
Rock Bar, Bali
Bali has some of the world’s most beautiful sunsets. There are few better places to witness them, piña colada in hand, than Rock Bar – a popular drinking hole at Ayana Resort and Spa on the Jimbaran coast.
Surrounded by crashing aquamarine waves, the bar sits partially on land – and partially on a turret built into the rocks, lending sweeping views of the waves and the sky. As the sun slinks down, DJs play from a booth carved into the cliff face and your Rock My World – vodka, yuzu puree, kaffir lime leaves – disappears in a few sips.
The Carousel Bar & Lounge, New Orleans
This quirky bar has been serving drinks at Hotel Monteleone for more than 70 years, and it’s attracted some esteemed guests: Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams included. But even without such an illustrious roll call it would be worth visiting.
Equal parts merry-go-round and ‘serious’ bar, the 25-seater revolving space is decked out like a circus. This being New Orleans, it’s practically obligatory to order a Sazerac, served in a chilled glass rinsed with Herbsaint anise liqueur. Or get the Vieux Carré: Sazerac Rye, Pierre Ferrand 1840 Cognac, Bénédictine, vermouth and bitters.
Whether you’re after a bar with a view or a bedroom with a view, the Ritz-Carlton in Pudong is your place. Zip by lift to 58th-floor Flair, and you’ll be rewarded with a near-panoramic perspective of Shanghai – including the landmark Oriental Pearl TV Tower, so close it feels like you could reach out and touch it.
If the weather’s nice, take a seat on the outdoor balcony and start on the cocktails; say, a floral Morning Rose, with lychee, raspberry, rose and Champagne. The food is good too, especially the sushi, which includes a lobster roll with asparagus, lettuce, sweet shrimp and tobiko.
Le Churchill, Marrakech
One of Marrakech’s most iconic hotels, glam La Mamounia has hosted celebs and politicians aplenty since it first opened its doors in 1923. On more than one occasion that included Winston Churchill, and now the hotel has both an elaborate suite and a bar bearing his name. The latter is a dimly lit hideaway; a secret-feeling space. Pull up a seat at the intimate bar and order a whisky and cigar. Or some Champagne – the list is epic, ranging from Dom Perignon 2009 (by the glass!) to Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises 2006.
Le Rooftop, Paris
You’re mostly here for the view: a perfect panorama of the Eiffel Tower, framed by Haussmann rooftops. But this being The Peninsula, one of the French capital’s most luxurious hotels, the drinks at this rooftop bar are pretty top-notch too.
Sit back on warm summer night atop cushy banquettes and let servers bring you a glass of house rosé (Whispering Angel) or a gin and tonic. Then nurse your drink as the evening turns to night and the lights of Paris’s most iconic tower switch on.
Bemelmans Bar, New York
New York and great hotel bars go together like peanut butter and jelly. But Bemelmans, in the historic Carlyle Hotel, has something no others have: epic original murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, creator of the classic children’s Madeline storybooks.
Come early to study the detailed drawings of Central Park – ice-skating elephants and picnicking rabbits – then sit back for the live music that kicks off at 5:30 every night. Cool piano is followed by sublime jazz, the perfect backdrop for sinking a punchy Old Fashioned.
Harry’s Bar, Venice
It looks simple with its round wood tables and cream walls, but this place is one of Venice’s most legendary drinking holes. Set in the glamorous Hotel Cipriani in San Marco, Harry’s has played host to all kinds of big names in its 90-year history, from Katherine Hepburn and Orson Welles to Joe DiMaggio and Ernest Hemingway (he really got around).
Many put the success of the place down to its warm, hospitable atmosphere and service. It could be that – or it could be its achingly good Bellini. A drink that, as it happens, was invented right here.
Laplaj, St Martin
This is the kind of beach bar where you could spend the entire day. Tear your eyes away from the turquoise waters beyond, and you’ll find yourself with a whole host of tropical-style sippers to choose from: ginger mojitos, mai tais and frozen margaritas as well as that guilty pleasure, frosé (icy rosé wine, elderflower liqueur and strawberries).
The Belmond La Samanna is one of St Martin’s finest (and priciest) places to stay, and this bar channels the hotel’s chic status with its cool clientele and stylish peach and cream décor.
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