Mr Hudson on 10 of the most striking hotel bars in Europe
Once considered little more than practical pit stops following afternoon shopping sprees and night-time misadventures, style-savvy hotel bars have since re-emerged as the places to be seen and linger about. Skilled mixologists, eclectic entertainment and comfy seating are a given; the standout bars invest in interiors with an extra shot of pizazz. From quiet boutique corners for cosy conversation to elaborate designer mega-venues, Europe is the perfect spot for luxury lounging.
Sky Bar at the Tivoli Hotel, Lisbon
Stunning in its minimalist simplicity, Lisbon’s exclusive Sky Bar at the Tivoli Hotel is all about the views. Arguably one of the hottest seasonal cocktail spots around, the décor is a testament to lounge lizard decadence. Dark hardwood floors contrasted with pale furnishings and an array of generously cushy pillows for lazy lingering. Drinks are served with a side of live musical performances on weekends ranging from a line-up of DJs and bands of multiple genres.
La Banca Bar at Hotel de Rome, Berlin
A dramatic décor of rich velvet and plush leather seating, sleek metal and strategic iridescent lighting attracts the fashionable crowd to La Banca, Berlin’s latest see and be seen hideaway. Moody musical performances are the norm at this Italian-style venue inside Hotel de Rome, the former Dresdner Bank, providing an interesting complement to the striking views, which include the regal Berlin State Opera House and historic Bebelplatz.
G-Bar at G-Rough Luxury Suites, Rome
Just a short distance from the romantic Piazza Navona, this 17th-century boutique beauty’s understated elegance attracts art lovers and Rome’s chic bon vivants to the fabulous G-Rough Luxury Suites. The G-Bar offers a sophisticated palette of coppers and neutral furnishing surrounded by a rotating collection of curated artworks. The wine gallery specializes in boutique regional wines served by the glass or at your discretion.
Floor Two Bar at the Grand Hotel Kempinski, Geneva
When an enviable panoramic proximity to the famous Jet d’Eau Fountain and Lake Geneva isn’t the main reason you’d visit Floor Two Bar inside the Grand Hotel Kempinski, then you’ve definitely stumbled upon something special. A choice location for leisure drinks or business meetings due in large part to its ample seating capacity and wireless connection, the elaborate lighting effects instantly create a decidedly intimate albeit festive mood after dark.
Courtyard Bar & Garden at Hotel Único, Madrid
Set in the courtyard of a 19th-century palace, the terrace bar of the stately Hotel Único is not your typical relaxation spot. The spacious, well-manicured urban garden with classic white wrought iron seating and cushioned sofas, offers 24-hour service (weather permitting, of course) and crafty menus designed by Michelin-star chef Ramon Freixa; a most sophisticated scene in the Salamanca district, the poshest shopping area in Madrid.
Hotel Único Courtyard Bar & Garden Madrid
Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental, Paris
Sparkling like a flute of fine champagne, the opulent Bar 8 at the Mandarin Oriental in Paris might project a bit too much glitz for classic taste buds, but it rarely leaves one indifferent. The bar area, a smooth marble slab highlighted with gold undertones and surrounded by wood walls bedazzled with faux gems, complemented by dim-lighting and reflective silver fringes, is a chic spot for sexy lounging à deux.
Icebar by Icehotel at Nordic C, Stockholm
Ice bars are nothing new in Europe, but if trekking to the sub-zero temperatures of northern Sweden for the original Jukkasjärvi Ice Hotel seems less than ideal, then Nordic C’s version in Stockholm is the next best thing. Carved from the same Torne River ice as in the seasonal hotel, all drinks are served in (what else?) ice glasses. And for the quintessential experience, carve your own chill masterpiece with an onsite ice sculpture instructor.
The Artesian at the Langham Hotel, London
Located in a compact corner of the tony Langham Hotel in London, the Artesian features woodsy Oriental touches and eye-pleasing, shell-shaped lounge chairs in prune and faux-reptile textures. Catering to a diverse crowd of glam regulars, the star attraction here is the selection of surreal creative cocktails with provocative names like “Death of the Hipster” and “Bedroom Escapades” – guaranteed to raise an eyebrow or, at least, a chuckle.
Café Vienés at Casa Fuster, Barcelona
Renovated in 2004, the grand, dramatic golden roof supported by marble columns in a cushy parlour room rich with curved crimson couches and glistening dark marble flooring mirrors the decadent opulence of Casa Fuster’s one-time residents. Overlooking the swank Passeig de Gracia shopping avenue in Barcelona, Café Vienés caters to jazz aficionados on Thursday evenings and doubles as a sophisticated coffee and cocktail corner the rest of the week.
Bar Barbou, Lounge & Gardens at The Dylan, Amsterdam
Situated near Amsterdam’s chintzy shopping district, De Negen Straatjes, the trio of ambiance lounge areas at The Dylan are as welcoming as they are posh. Sleek and modern, Bar Barbou features a neutral décor and homey fireplace. The eclectic lounge is perfect for cocktails or food and wine parings, a house specialty. A vision of refined elegance, the garden is surrounded by brick exteriors, greenery and cushy sofas for a sweet repose.
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Artesian Bar London
Bar Barbou Amsterdam
Bar 8 Paris
Floor Two Bar Geneva
La Banca Bar Berlin | Photo: Rocco Forte Hotels