During the summer, it's almost impossible to stay indoors come happy hour. While the cooler months -- spent with friends crowding in cozy bars and huddling by the fire -- are fast approaching, there's still time for some rooftop boozin' -- and fortunately, enjoying the sun and stars with a drink in hand is made easy at some of our favorite hotels. Offering stunning vistas and delicious cocktails, these rooftop bars are destinations unto to themselves in cities far and wide.
The Refinery Hotel is a stylish urban boutique in New York‘s Garment District, located in a historic building that was once a tea salon and hat factory. The property’s past inspired its present industrial-chic design, and small details such as decorative milliner’s tools pay homage to the building’s former function. The property’s cool rooftop bar — aptly named Refinery Rooftop — offers gorgeous views of the Empire State Building and a rotating menu of seasonal cocktails designed by Alex Ott. Reservations are recommended at this swanky spot where DJs are known to perform on Thursday and Friday nights — but guests of the hotel may have a leg up on getting through the door.
The AC Hotel Malaga Palacio is an excellent anchor for exploring the vibrant street life of this bustling Costa del Sol town in Andalusia. And one of the best vantage spots to take in the entire breadth of the city is at ATICO, the hotel’s bar and restaurant. The spectacular views make ATICO a popular spot with guests and locals alike.
Part of the Design Hotels chain, the 133-room Fresh Hotel is a stylish property in the gritty Athens neighborhood of Psiri. But bright pops of color, nearby bike rentals, and panoramic views of the Acropolis from the rooftop bar still attract a cool-kid crowd. Open until 2 AM and serving tasty Mediterranean fare into the wee hours — alongside delicious cocktails — Ari remains a favorite for Athenians and tourists looking to start or end a night.
In the heart of Barcelona, this stylish property bills itself as a “gay hotel” that is “hetero-friendly.” It is in the heart of the Eixample neighborhood, the city’s dynamic gay area with great restaurants and nightlife. And the rooftop Sky Bar is the cherry on top of a boutique bent on seduction: Pretty people flock here on Sundays for the afternoon pool party and on the weekends before heading to other venues to bask in the city views and enjoy a cocktail. This is a good choice for couples, gay or straight, looking for a sexy atmosphere and modern scene.
This luxury boutique hotel stands out for its incredible views — guests can take in the nearby Colosseum from the rooftop restaurant and lounge, Aroma, as well as from their rooms. Aroma offers fine dining alongside those oh-so-spectacular views. The vibe here is certainly more relaxed that at some of the other options on our list, but for a nice glass of champagne or an after-dinner drink you can do little better in Rome — at least as far as views and atmosphere go.
ME London is a design hotel in a prime location right on The Strand. From the dark lobby to the chic, minimal rooms there is an artistic and exclusive atmosphere to the hotel. All of the on-site restaurants, lounges, and bars — including the trendy rooftop bar, Radio — are destinations in their own right, attracting both locals and visitors. Radio is an exclusive destination that is frequented by some of London‘s best and brightest (and therefore can be a bit difficult to access at times, even for hotel guests).
The Hotel Alhambra Palace merits the adjective “grand” — the impressive building is more than a century old and housed a hospital during the Spanish Civil War. A hotel since 1942, this property is a short quarter-mile away from the Alhambra (the palace and fortress complex dating back to the 11th century) up a steep hill — which can be glimpsed from the Miradores Dining Terrace. Offering spectacular views of all of Granada, this restaurant, bar, lounge-combo is the place to be on a weekend night.
The W Washington D.C. is housed in a gorgeous Beaux Arts building dating back to 1917. The trendy brand hotel offsets its quiet location with great features, including fusion cuisine from Jean-Georges Vongerichten; a lovely spa and gym; Whatever/Whenever service; and, of course, a fashionable rooftop bar, POV. This swanky enclosed terrace has stunning views of the Washington Monument — that only get more impressive as you sip or swig some of POV’s specially-designed cocktails.
Just three blocks from Rodeo Drive, this flashy Beverly Hills boutique features a guests-only rooftop pool and bar overlooking the Hollywood Hills, and high-design rooms with Italian linens, 37-inch flat-screens, and minibars stocked with Dean & Deluca products. Partying doesn’t come cheap here, but this is L.A., and having swanky rooftop bar ABH on-site is an easy way to see and be seen — as well as a great way to actually see the Hollywood Hills in the distance.
The Z is a hip boutique in the up-and-coming neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens. Stylish rooms have dark gray accent walls with funky murals, floor-to-ceiling windows offering sweeping Manhattan views, and tons of fun details. The attractive, industrial-chic lounge is the meeting point for guests during both the day and night, and offers a solid drinks and tapas menu well into the evening. The views and atmosphere on the Z Roof make it a must-stop for drinks for guests and locals alike.
The Hotel Breakwater’s highlight is its location — on Ocean Drive, across the street from the most popular area of Miami Beach. Featuring handsome, modern yet minimal decor, the hotel is attractive without feeling stuffy. The rooftop lounge (where a Calvin Klein underwear ad was shot) is a popular nighttime spot, and the pool (though small) is sleek, and has views of the ocean.
The Thompson Toronto is every bit as hip as its sister properties. The lively patios and bars, renowned dining at Scarpetta, and unique rooftop infinity pool attract young, trendy crowds, and the property is located in a newly gentrified area of Toronto known for its nightlife scene. The hotel’s rooftop bar, with stunning panoramic views of the Canadian metropolis, is a popular spot for Canuks and visitors alike.
To learn more about Kristina Fazzalaro, visit her on Google+
All products are independently selected by our writers and editors. If you buy something through our links, Oyster may earn an affiliate commission.