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Mingalabar! All this week we've been focusing on one of the fastest changing hotel scenes on the globe: Burma, or Myanmar. (For Burma or Myanmar, see here - as fence-sitters, we'll be using the two interchangeably throughout the week.) We’ve already covered your hotel basics, and looked at Yangon: its most expensive hotel, its most historic hotel and its weirdest. Today, we're moving north, on the road to Mandalay.
This looks like a river, but it isn’t just any river. This is the Irrawaddy River, one of the most evocative names in the world (the Mississippi, the Danube, the Nile, the Irrawaddy, etc etc) thanks to the likes of Rudyard Kipling, who referred to it as the Road to Mandalay.
This is the view from the rooftop bar and restaurant at the Ayarwaddy River View Hotel in Mandalay, Burma (the river bisects the country; Ayarwaddy is the current government's spelling). Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay is far more frenetic and modern than Yangon. Stay in the city center, as we did our first night, and you’ll probably wish you hadn’t come. Staying on the Irrawaddy, however, is like sleeping in a different city.
From the rooftop – and from the river-facing rooms – you can see fishing boats, trawlers, and the little cruisers going up and down to Bagan. You can see people washing in the mornings, and the sun setting over the hills in the afternoon. In the evening, look out the other side at the city – there’s a lively temple right behind the hotel.
This is an instance when you’re really paying for location – our entry level room was $100, with a city view (a river view would have been $20 more). The room itself was basic, three star standard – definitely not on a par with other $100 we stayed at in Myanmar. But the location was everything, and hey, they throw in a free ‘traditional’ puppet show on the roof every evening.
Unlike New York, the list of rooftop bars in London isn’t that long, and even fewer can boast floor-to-ceiling windows with river views and outdoor space for al-fresco lounging and drinking, but Rumpus Room has both.
It doesn’t feel this long, and yet it feels like forever – the Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago in November, and the city is marking the anniversary on November 9 by lining up 8000 helium balloons along a 7.5 mile stretch of the old border between east and west.
Obviously no hotel wants to be seen to be taking advantage of an event of such historical importance, but the Hotel de Rome has drawn up a pretty sober package, valid November 7-10.
The Fall of the Berlin Wall package includes three nights accommodation and breakfast, a three hour private guided tour of Wall-related sites, a trip to the Asisi Panorama near Checkpoint Charlie, and a two hour Trabi tour (in an iconic East German Trabant car). They’ll also throw in champagne and currywurst as you watch the balloons on the 9th from the hotel rooftop terrace.
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If there’s one thing that’ll get us on a plane to Athens, it’s a designated selfie spot. We jest, of course – but the idea of a designated selfie spot was so
horrifying compelling that during an afternoon in Athens last week, we had to go and see it for ourselves.
The selfie spot is at the Grande Bretagne in Syntagma Square (Athens' main square), though to our relief, when we asked at the concierge desk where to find it, they had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. To save you the mortification of trying to explain the concept of a selfie spot to an Athenian - right there in the cradle of democracy, literature, philosophy and everything else that selfies run in the face of - just head to the rooftop bar and restaurant.
The selfie spot, it has to be said, is incredible in the flesh. Of course, an Acropolis view in Athens is no big deal - the majority of hotels have them from rooftop terraces, if not from the rooms themselves. But most Acropolis views are not like this (the only one that comes close, we reckon, is the Hilton, which is a little further out of the city center). The Grande Bretagne not only dominates the skyline around it, meaning you’re looking straight at the Parthenon, but glance to your left and you’re looking straight at the Greek Parliament, with the Evzones soldiers trooping around the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every hour.
Hotel Selfies / Selfies / Hotel Social Media / Athens Hotels / Luxury Collection Hotels / Greece Hotels / Hotel Rooftops / → All Tags
Selfies. You either love them or you hate them but no matter how you feel about them, you are taking them. Just admit it. You’re taking them in the car, at the club, at concerts, at sporting events, at the playground, the beach, the rooftop bar, and even from your bed. Especially from your bed.
But at the Hotel Grand Bretagne in Athens, you’re gonna want to get out of your bed for that selfie because the hotel has a designated “Selfie Spot" on the GB Roof Garden Restaurant. The spot marked with a selfie icon is actually the best spot on the terrace to take a selfie so that you can show off your newly acquired Grecian glow with a precise view of the Acropolis in the background. For Millennials, we'll put it in terms that you can understand--The Acropolis will photobomb your selfie.
The hotel is a Luxury Collection Hotel from Starwood in Syntagma Square but rates aren't crazy out of control. We found a prepaid rate for next weekend for 278 Euros. That's for a classic room with two beds. A king bed with butler service was also available for 303 Euros. Fortunately, you can get your selfie on without booking a room as the GB Roof Garden Restaurant is open for lunch and breakfast. Now, let me take a selfie.
[Photo: SPG Greece]
Just as London was sweltering through one of the stickiest days of the summer so far, did Ace Shoreditch open its rooftop bar and terrace last night, crowning its nearly year-old European venture on the hotel’s 7th floor together with a number of meeting spaces.
Running along virtually the length of the building, the terrace offers views ranging from the City (you can see the famous Gherkin in the above shot) to St. Paul’s, the Barbican, Centre Point at Tottenham Court Road, and the far north.
It’s a tale as old as time: You get a pool. Your neighbor gets a pool. You add a hot tub. Your neighbor adds a bigger hot tub and builds a deck. You build a bigger deck, add a grill the size of a Buick, and throw a massive summer block party that becomes the talk of the neighborhood for generations hence. Your children’s children will tell tales of these kebabs.
Pool Wars: Suburbia Edition.
City hotels aren’t immune from wanting to keep up with the Joneses. So we can't help but wonder if last summer’s rollout of Rooftop @ Revere, the Revere Hotel Boston Common’s swanky seventh-floor hangout for sipping, sunning and swimming, was a contributing factor to the Colonnade Boston Hotel's splashy redo of its rooftop pool.
This summer’s heightened Colonnade experience still boasts the city’s only outdoor roof top pool. (The Revere’s pool is in a glass-enclosed annex to the terrace.) But added to the scene are billowing white cabanas available for private rental, a 12-seat full service bar, and plenty of chic new lounging areas set upon oh-so-tropical bamboo flooring.
You’ll be able to tipple pitcher cocktails with your fellow sun worshippers, and nibble on a new rooftop food menu that includes spicy rubbed swordfish tacos and Regina Pizzeria pies. (At this point, presumably, you’re already bathing suit-ready.)
Boston are you ready for this jelly?
Jell-O shots: they’re not just for parties in your parents’ basement anymore!
On Saturday, May 17, the swanky lounge Rooftop @ Revere will reopen for the season, inviting hotel guests and local glitterati (read: drunk girls in strappy heels) to sip, sun, and swim on a spacious and sunny terrace with skyline views on the seventh floor of the trendy Revere Hotel Boston Common.
If you've had a chance to draw yourself some tan lines during last year’s inaugural season, you know some of what to expect: shady white cabanas offering a hint of Miami gloss; oversized, fantastical statues that bring a hint of the local art scene; and cute staffers serving light bites and pouring drinks while outfitted in Pret-a-Surf, a fashion-forward surf and swimwear line co-designed by the entertainment editor of Vogue and famed photographer Annie Leibovitz’s studio manager. (In other words, they’re totally photo-ready for #selfies.)
We sprung forward over the weekend, so you know what that means: rooftop season is here!
Granted the weather is not exactly rooftop bar ready yet, but the Viceroy New York is doing their bit to will it so by opening up the final, and possibly most anticipated, part of the hotel: The Roof.
The 29th-floor bar will supplement Kingside, the Viceroy's street-level bar and restaurant, which opened late last year, and is, like the rest of the hotel, designed by the inimitable Roman and Williams. Here's how the design firm described the new al fresco spot:
“With walnut ceilings, custom leather sofas accented with caramel-colored woods, and brass details, The Roof is the clubhouse of the spaces, all clad in iroko. Top it off with the most inspiring, not to mention romantic, view of the city you can imagine! This is the perfect spot to take in New York’s energy from a luxurious perch.”
That would be the rooftop of the Ritz-Carlton Vienna, more specifically Atmosphere Rooftop Bar & Lounge, where it was frightfully cold when we took advantage of being in the Austrian capital to peruse the most recent European addition to the group.
We were outside just long enough to see how during the summer it must be a lovely spot, with views over the city’s rooftops, and as the plaques on the edge indicate, various Ritz-Carlton hotels far off in the distance. Downstairs, we toured the public spaces inside the combined four historic palaces and a few of the 202 rooms & suites – read on for more.
Holiday Hotels / Holiday Hotel Decorations / Christmas Hotels / London Hotels / UK Hotels / Hotel Rooftops / Hotel Cinemas / → All Tags
The world is officially in "Countdown to Christmas" mode and now, so are we. Every day until Christmas we'll be featuring a hotel that's in a holiday mood--whether it be with gigantic gingerbread houses, over-the-top Christmas decorations, thrilling lighting displays and best of all, Santa appearances. But of course, any hotel can assemble a fake tree, put on some lights and declare themselves "festive." Which is why we're looking at hotels that are really going ALL OUT. Know of a hotel that's super excited for Christmas? Let us know!
Let’s face it: At the beginning of the Christmas season, we have warm, fuzzy thoughts of snuggling in front of the fire with a hot toddy in hand and "A Charlie Brown Christmas" on the telly. Next thing you know, we’re fighting with crowds in malls, dragging the Christmas tree through the damn door, and making grocery lists for the three full days it’ll take to make all those holiday family feasts. Where did that warm, all-over glow go?
The Berkeley Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge is doing all they can to bring that fleeting festive feeling back with their rooftop Winter Cinema.
Known as a happening rooftop terrace overlooking Hyde Park in the summer, the hotel’s Health Club & Spa has transformed the space into a pine-filled forest with twinkly lights, rustic-chic wooden chalets built for two and a cinema screen more than large enough to accommodate Jimmy Stewart’s face.
The Refinery Rooftop is partitioned into three sections: indoor, outdoor and indoor/outdoor. We can't wait to watch the snow falling against the retractable glass roof over the indoor-outdoor section while sipping a new fall cocktails by resident spirit sorcerer, Alex Ott -- we like the Fall Spice Margarita.
The Gansevoort Park Rooftop features a 40-ft indoor/outdoor heated rooftop swimming pool with wrap-around terraces, indoor/outdoor fireplaces and striking city views of the Empire State Building. For the truly winter-averse, the Park Lounge offers an indoor retreat floor-to-ceiling windows with views of Park Avenue.
The partying at the Plunge Rooftop Bar + Lounge at Gansevoort Meatpacking never stops -- not even in the freezing winter thanks to its indoor/outdoor terrace with retractable glass roof.
A truly year-round destination, Jimmy at the James has cozy fireplaces to keep you warm -- before or after making use of the private rooftop pool and outdoor showers.