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Food + Drink

The World’s Coolest Hotel Bars

From Bali to Boston, the world's coolest hotel bars have the “it” factor to draw Jetsetters from around the world. Here our favorites.

See recent posts by Peter Schlesinger

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Artesian at The Langham, London

At The Langham, London’s Artesian bar, visitors sit in crocodile leather seats—done in sleek shades of blue and purple—to watch mixologist Alex Kretana whip up drinks inspired by a rare cookbook from Salvador Dalí. Everything is served in fittingly surrealist vessels—smoking jewelry boxes, mechanical elephants and netting, for example. Little wonder Drinks International has named Artesian the world’s best bar for four consecutive years.

RELATED: 12 London Hotels We Absolutely Adore

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Sky Bar at lebua at State Tower, Bangkok

On the rooftop of Bangkok’s 810-foot-tall State Tower, the aptly named Sky Bar has views over the sprawling skyline and the Chao Phraya River. Come for sunset and order a Hangovertini. Cast and crew members from _The Hangover 2 _enjoyed this blend of Martini Rosso, green tea liqueur, apple juice and rosemary-infused honey while filming several key scenes to their sequel. No worries, the tasty drink is infinitely better than the movie that inspired it.

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Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle Hotel, New York

Rich leather banquettes, 24-karat gold leaf ceilings, nickel-lined tables and $24 cocktails: at any other bar, all this would add up to a pretentious evening out. Not at Bemelmans. Friendly staff keep this Upper East Side landmark from falling into the holier-than-thou trap, as do the whimsical animal murals from Ludwig Bemelmans. The genius behind the Madeline books painted the charming scenes in exchange for room and board in the 1940s.

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Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa, Bali

Sitting on top of a limestone ledge 45 feet above the Indian Ocean, Rock Bar at Ayana Resort and Spa has become the island’s go-to spot for sunset-watching (to get there, guests can climb down more than a hundred steps or take a funicular from the resort). To accommodate the growing crowds, Rock Bar added a staggering nine extra decks in 2015. So now everyone can get an epic view while a DJ spins records in a booth carved right into the rock formation.

RELATED: Bucket-List Bali: The 6 Spots You Need to Know

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Barreto Londra at Hotel Fasano Rio de Janeiro

Philippe Starck and Hotel Fasano’s Italian owners designed Barreto Londra as an homage to their favorite city, London. The result is a British punk meets Roman holiday vibe, with oversized leather armchairs, vintage album art, and a Union Jack flag done in Italy’s red white and green. It’s one of Rio’s most exclusive clubs, so leave the flip flops behind and act cool when you happen to see Madonna or Gisele.

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Photo by Fran Parente


Lobby Bar and Three Keys at Ace Hotel New Orleans

You’ll find New Orleans’s "in" crowd camped out on retro couches and sipping sazeracs in the lobby bar of Ace’s Big Easy outpost. An eclectic collection of artwork adds extra charm to the French Deco space, built as a massive furniture store in 1928. Bar patrons usually end up listening to live music, DJs or salon-style discussions at Three Keys, the hotel’s gem-box of a concert hall adjacent to the lobby.

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Photo courtesy of Singita


The Lodge Bar at Singita Ebony Lodge, South Africa

Guests at this exclusive safari camp in South Africa's Sabi Sands Game Reserve near Kruger National Park converge for gin and tonics at its open-air, thatch-roofed bar after returning from game drives. But the wildlife viewing doesn't end there. From the bar’s terraced decks, which lead down to the Sand River, they can watch elephants and the occasional lion, cheetah or leopard pass by. The show continues well into the night, when the South African sky comes alive with stars.


Alibi at The Liberty, Boston

At the base of Boston’s tony Beacon Hill neighborhood, Boston’s The Liberty transformed a former jailhouse into one of the city’s chicest hotels. Its lobby bar is in the historic octagonal atrium, but Alibi is in the old “drunk tank”—where the police held over-intoxicated Bostonians. Original cell walls and vintage celebrity mugshots (complete with their quoted alibis) set the scene, while cocktails with cheeky names (“Serving Thyme,” for example) make light of the building’s grim past.

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The Broken Shaker at Freehand Miami

Elad Zvi and Gabe Orta effectively brought mixology to Miami when they opened The Broken Shaker in 2012 at luxe-hostel Freehand. Since then, bigger, splashier hotels have opened with bigger, splashier bars, but none enjoys the immense popularity of this poolside hotspot. Evenings here bring a diverse crowd of resident European backpackers, hipster Floridians, and wealthy guests from other (much more expensive) hotels. Everyone mingles under the stringed lights, sipping on punches made with ingredients grown onsite.

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