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We loved their rooftop bar back then, and we love it now, as the hotel recently re-launched the rooftop space with a new name: The Moon Room. A local blog went over to check out the bar, and in doing so, learned that it is the first hotel restaurant in the US with a roof made entirely out of solar panels.
The 107 glass panels apparently provide enough energy to power the whole bar, as well as part of the floor below. Pretty impressive, huh? (They also make for some cool light effects, as evidenced by these photos).
Elsewhere on the ceiling are sphere-shaped light fixtures that resemble different planets in the solar system. The turquoise walls and NASA uniform-wearing-waitresses add to the effect, though our favorite snapshot from the opening night might just be the dessert: homemade moon pies!
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If your first thought is 'Mojito!' when you see this picture, then you're on the right track.
Since last summer, the Westin New York Grand Central has quietly been working on a modest but respectable rooftop veggie garden way up on the hotel's 41st floor. Located smack in the middle of midtown (the Chrysler Building is so close you can touch it), it seems like an unlikely place to be growing…well, anything. But urban farming is trendy these days, and a hotel's gotta go what a hotel's gotta do, right?
383 feet above Manhattan, ten dirt-filled tubs with arugula, mesclun lettuce, rosemary, heirloom tomatoes, and "mojito mint" are being overseen by the hotel's Executive Chef, Brian Wieler (pictured), who tends to his green leafy sprout-lings like a proud dad. And not one to cut corners, Chef Wieler has also ensured the garden is 100% organic, with only organic plants, soil and fertilizer being used. And now, as spring gets going, he is starting to harvest some of the mini-crops.
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It was sheer luck that we happened to catch up with the General Manager of Tántalo Hotel in Panama City several months ago. We were visiting Casco Viejo for lunch, and when we ended up (on the recommendation of several locals) at Tántalo Kitchen, the hotel's ground floor restaurant, we figured we'd better ask for a tour.
A few of the things Tántalo has going for it are: an excellent location right in the heart of Casco Viejo; a hip, young crowd constantly streaming through the doors all day long, and, most importantly, a truly tantalizing collection of murals, photographs, paintings and quirky furniture scattered around the entire hotel.
There are only 12 rooms total, and each of them boasts its own unique design, such as the second-floor Octopus Room, whose walls are covered by the long, curly tentacles of a giant blue and white octopus. One of the tentacles even holds up a sign reading 'Pipi Room,' pointing the way to the bathroom.
Though it's only been open several months, Hotel Monaco Philly is already the hottest ticket in town, as far as rooftops are concerned. The hotel's 11th floor Stratus has become legendary for its outdoor patio, indoor bar, two private lounge areas, and outdoor fireplace*.
Most days of the week, it's possible to head up to Stratus, enjoy a few cocktails and be on your merry way. But the lines to get in on Friday and Saturday can get pretty long, and once you enter the bar, it can be difficult just finding a seat.
As a result, Monaco will soon start issuing membership cards just to access the bar. We heard from an employee that a designated number of seats will be set aside each night for card-holders. Of course, hotel guests get priority automatically, but when it comes to random people walking in off the street, Stratus members will definitely have the upper hand.
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After striking out in Miami and long after ditching plans for an LA location, Gansevoort Hotels has landed in a pretty spectacular place--Las Vegas. Specifically, the old Bill's Gambling Hall on the Las Vegas Strip.
On Friday, it was announced that Caesars Entertainment, the parent company of Caesars Palace, Paris Bally's, Bill's and a bunch of other casino hotels, would be turning Bill's into the Gansevoort Las Vegas. USA Today reported:
The Old West-style casino hotel, which closed last month, will reopen in January as the Gansevoort Las Vegas, with rates starting at $249 a night. The building's currently in the midst of a $185 million renovation that will transform the guest rooms, casino space, restaurants and public areas into stylish, upscale spaces.
Things are moving along over at The Refinery, Manhattan's upcoming 1920s-themed hotel housed in an old hat factory. Though the building is still under heavy construction, owners are aiming for a May opening date, which ought to coincide nicely with rooftop season. And hey, wouldn't you know it: the hotel's going to have a swingin' rooftop bar.
Housed atop the 101-year-old Neo-Gothic building, the still-unnamed 3,500 sq ft rooftop space will boast a full kitchen, a giant retractable glass ceiling (meaning you can go even during non-rooftop season), a fireplace, a fountain, twinkly lights, and reclaimed wood from old water towers decorating the ceiling. Oh, and the Empire State Building looms so close it feels like you can reach out and grab it.
No doubt, we'll be heading up here to sample a few cocktails once the doors open. But how about the rooms themselves?
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Even though its winter, you can still take advantage of the relatively drama-free weather on the Left Coast where the rooftop shenanigans live-on. Remember, these haunts are available year-round and come with a side of schwanky--hold the frostbite. So grab your date and enjoy these rooftop destinations for your next romantic romp west of the Mississippi.
Suite 700, Hotel Shangri La, Santa Monica, CA
Hotel Shangri-La Santa Monica's Suite 700 open-air bar & lounge is the epitome of swank with its Art Deco Hollywood glamour combined with epic views of the Pacific sunset. It's no wonder the hotel was named after the earthly paradise James Hilton spoke of in Lost Horizon. Treat your date to a fire pit and some popcorn chicken avec cocktail, and get lost watching the flames. Or watch the killer sunsets. The nice thing about Shangri-La is you can stay indoors in the lounge if it's breezy, or venture onto the rooftop, so its the best of both. Weekends can be crowded, so try a weeknight or just come early if you want some elbow room.
It’s World Travel Market in London this week, and the soon to open ME by Mélia London used the occasion to host a preview of its Radio rooftop bar and terrace. We jumped at the chance to attend, having been tempted by ME with an experience that would “connect with each guest’s aura”.
Located on the corner of Aldwych and Strand, Radio certainly delivers when it comes to views: you get the full panorama over Somerset House (lit up in red above, with the skating rink being prepared for the winter) of the river Thames, down east to The Shard, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s, and the City, with the London Eye and Big Ben to the west. On the other side Covent Garden and the West End stretch out in front of you.
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We hate to see rooftop season go, and with fall officially beginning tomorrow, places will start closing up shop soon. Which is why we've asked our HotelChatter editors and contributors to pick their favorite hotel rooftops around the US and Europe in case you haven't visited one yet. Ever the optimists, we'll say there are a few weeks of prime rooftop hopping left before annoying things like rain, wind chill factor, and snow block us from the outdoor lounging we love so much.
Use this guide to get your pre-Fall affairs in order!
Pod 39, New York City
Word's gotten out about midtown's newest hotel rooftop bar, located on the 17th floor of the Pod 39. And why not? Enclosed by a series of majestic terra cotta columns and slender brick archways, the al fresco space feels more like a re-discovered Greek temple than the regular old Manhattan standby. But, it's a bar alright. Cocktails like the delicious Weathervane (rye whiskey, grapefruit juice, campari, ginger, and a sprig of fresh rosemary, $12) make a great accompaniment to up-close views of the Empire State Building, Chrysler Building and neighboring Queens. (ASchechter, Assistant Editor)
See the rest of the picks after the jump!
We tempted you last week with the glassware drawer you’ll find in each of the bedrooms at London’s new South Place Hotel, and as promised we're following up with a full tour of this week-old property.
Mid-way between Liverpool Street and Moorgate, on the street from which it takes its name, this is the first hotel venture of restaurant group D&D London, as we learned when we first took some snaps of the construction earlier this summer.
Fun fact: Sit outside on the terrace on South Place and you’re in the City of London. Cross the threshold into restaurant 3 South Place and you’ve stepped into the borough of Islington. Just as the hotel straddles these two parts of London, it brings together a focus on art & design with plenty of opportunities to eat, drink & socialize.
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As August has officially rolled into September, we’ve had to say goodbye to the summer that never really was in London (weather-wise that is) and turn our hope towards the early fall months to still be able to hotel rooftop at some of the city’s newest hotels.
One of the places on our list to hop into the express elevator for as soon as possible is Radio, the 10th floor rooftop bar, lounge & terrace at ME by Mélia London.
The last time we talked about the hotel, and as part of our London hotel openings to watch for this year, we were hoping for a September 1 opening. We still saw plenty of people with hard hats wandering around this past weekend, and the reservation system allows bookings from September 28.
What else is there to look forward to at ME by Melia London? Stay tuned to find out!
It has been years, literally, since we heard any news about the rooftop bar that was supposed to open at New York's Jane Hotel. Back in 2008 we managed to get a peek at what the space looked like at the time with its killer views of the Hudson River but by the following year, plans for the bar were seemingly gone with the wind. Until today.
Alas just because you scored a $79 cabin room at the hotel (with shared bathrooms down the hall) doesn't mean you will have access to the rooftop oasis.