There’s something immediately and infinitely stylish about hotel bars. Maybe it’s the entrance via an overly perfumed lobby or maybe it’s the thought that you could just check-out on reality and check–in upstairs if the mood took you – but for me – hotel bars are the best.
The quiet service, the perfectly set lighting, the reassuringly expensive drinks list, the feeling that Champagne is 100% the correct bar order regardless of the time of day… Choosing just a handful has been hard, because my love affair truly runs deep, but if you find yourself in any of these parts of the world – I wholeheartedly suggest taking the time to stop in.
A stylish bar warrants a stylish wardrobe. Whether its an understated Tee, or dress and sling-backs, Lisa Haynes guarantees your get-up will meet their dress code requirements.
The Connaught, London
The Connaught Bar is one of two bars within The Connaught Hotel and is found at the far end of the lobby and not to be confused with The Coburg at the front. The latter is perfectly nice – but the former… Now then.
Designed by the formidable David Collins Studio in it’s heyday of greatness, this soft grey marbled room is just glorious. Black accents, foxed mirrors and animal print leather just meld together to make the most cohesive, calming, grown-up space. With no allowances made for standing, its comfort all the way as you’re deposited into a low leather armchair and immediately brought a tasty palate cleanser to get you started. How nice. The drinks are overseen by Agostino Perrone who has just celebrated ten years at the bar and whose attention to detail and level of care is truly something else. To drink here is to feel loved and whether its 4PM or far, far later – this is a wonderful place to spend an evening. I would suggest making a reservation, as once they’re full – they’re full.
Sticking with the David Collins interiors – you could also check out The American Bar at Gleneagles – an art deco vision which plays on the shadows cast by the impeccable lighting.
Katamama was a long time in the making. Mainly because every single brick was made on Bali to owner Ronald’s exacting requirements. The first hotel from the Potato Head family of bars and restaurants, this has a level of detail that is so complete, it’s almost unrecognisable at first. The fabrics and the furniture are all made using Balinese dyes and techniques as such the whole hotel seems to have grown rather than been built. The Akademi Centre of Mixology is unlike any other hotel bar in that it’s utilitarian style and more hands on approach to making drinks doesn’t scream luxury. However – the quality of the ingredients and the care from the staff make this an unusual yet glamorous place to be. There’s also a gorgeous pool bar and the hotel is on the grounds of the original Potato Head Beach Club so there’s plenty of drinks options to choose from if you’d rather be waited on hand and foot.
If you’re visiting Bali – you should also check out The Slow if you’re looking for somewhere cool and kinda grown up in Canggu.
NoMad, New York
There’s so many good things about The NoMad. The restaurant is one of them. As is the very comfortable faded grandeur of the hotel rooms with large roll top baths at the end of the bed. There’s also a very nice bar (The Nomad Bar) that anyone can stop by and visit, which is all well and good – but can obviously get very busy. The Library Bar however, is reserved for hotel guests only and is an oasis of calm in the heart of Midtown. Perfectly lit and stuffed full of books this two-level space is heaven. The drinks list is perfectly formed with some clever twists and unusual ingredients but the staff here are impeccably trained so simply give them a hint of what you fancy and they’ll do the rest. Bliss.
Did you know?
The NoMad has one of the world’s smallest bars hidden away in one of the rooms. Perfect for a group of no more than four, this is an invite-only affair with drinks made to perfectly suit your palate and a design theme that changes as and when the mood takes them. My last visit was Tiki.
Edinburgh Grand, Scotland
This hotel is grand by name and grand by nature. The muted colour palette, the outrageous stairwell, the attention to detail throughout – swoon – but it’s the bar in the basement that really adds another layer. Created and run by Edinburgh powerhouse Stuart McClusky, this bar would be world class in any city. Housed in the vaults of what was once a bank – there are delicious original details alongside some very luxe interiors and as would be expected – fantastic cocktails. There are DJs and a very late license so this is definitely somewhere to head to after hours if you’re visiting the city.
While you’re in the building be sure to visit the other bars and restaurants within the hotel – a brand new Hawksmoor and The Register Club on the second floor which is a terribly grand drawing room with an excellent wine list and views to die for.
Hotel de Crillon, Paris
Having just had a sizeable refurbishment throughout – the bar at the Hotel de Crillon was certainly not overlooked and Les Ambassadeurs is simply – gorgeous. There’s so so much marble, a fresco painted ceiling and the obligatory grand piano in the corner. So far, so hotel-bar-chic. The upholstery, the light fittings, the bar top and more are all touched with gold and so the space feels warm and welcoming and outrageously glamorous. The menu has a heavy focus on Champagne and over 100 producers are showcased – but this is a democratic list and there are some options on there that won’t break the bank, which comes as a very welcome surprise. All in – just a stone’s throw from the Champs Elysees – this is one of the most wonderful rooms in Paris.
If you like the sound of this, why not visit Scarfes Bar in Holborn, London, which is also housed within a Rosewood Hotel and is yet another example of a hotel bar done right.