Best hotel bars: The world's 10 most impressive

MOON BAR, BANGKOK

One of the rooftop bar pioneers is just as on-trend as ever, 61 floors above Bangkok's raucous din atop the Banyan Tree Bangkok. It's so chic that grilled scallops with toasted hazelnuts and coriander count as bar snacks. The signature drink – Malibu with pineapple, lime and cranberry juice – is named for the spectacular sunsets. After dark, you can stargaze through telescopes and enjoy 360-degree views over light-twinkled Bangkok. See banyantree.com

DAS LOFT, VIENNA

Avant-garde French architect Jean Nouvel designed the spectacular Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom. The crowning achievement – quite literally – is Das Loft, which eyeballs Vienna's old town, although you'll be distracted from the view by video installations in the ceiling by Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist. Giant eyeballs blink, forest scenes come and go, and goldfish swim by, making you wonder if you haven't overindulged in your gin-based Bijou cocktail. See dasloftwien.at

PDT, HONG KONG

Here's proof you don't need a rooftop view or even windows in a great bar. This tucked-away New York-style speakeasy at The Landmark Mandarin Oriental is reached through a "secret" telephone booth and fits 25 customers, providing an intimate, almost illicit atmosphere. The cocktail menu is wildly creative – try Big Fan, based on tequila, pink peppercorn and guava – and is matched with bar snacks from a Michelin-starred chef. See mandarinoriental.com

SKAI BAR, SINGAPORE

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Memorable bars
SKAI Bar at Swissotel The Stamford (credit Accor Hotels)

SKAI Bar at Swissotel The Stamford. Photo: Masano Kawana

The 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford is the best spot in Singapore for evening outlooks, providing panoramic views over the colonial-era district, Marina Bay and downtown skyscrapers. Sophisticated bar snacks complement that inventive cocktails, which are inspired by the botanicals of various elevations (such as sea level and alpine peaks) and offer unusual ingredients such as shiitake mushroom, soursop, liquorice and prickly-pear cordial. See skai.sg

ST CLOUD ROOFTOP, NEW YORK

When the historic Knickerbocker Hotel underwent a half-billion-dollar refit, its rooftop bar was the new-look showpiece. Though only 16 floors up, it's wedged into the grand building's Beaux Arts façade and overlooks the pulsating heart of Times Square. The terrace is dwarfed by surrounding skyscrapers and ceaselessly blinking neon. Three "Skypods'' for private groups are lodged into the hotel's mansard roofs. See theknickerbocker.com

AER LOUNGE, MUMBAI

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Memorable bars
AER Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai (credit Four Seasons Hotels)2

AER Lounge at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai. Photo: Jaideep Oberoi

This luminous, minimalist tapas and mezze lounge occupies the entire 34th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel. Though no longer Mumbai's highest bar, it's the best. Lights are turned low; waiters provide torches for perusing the cocktail menu. Views through the glass balustrades take in the city and Arabian Sea. When it gets windy, fear not, since special weights prevent your champagne flute from taking flight. See fourseasons.com

THE BAR, PARIS

This intimate, hidden-away bar in the boutique Hotel Daniel gets the thumbs-up for its sheer unexpected exuberance and over-the-top Chinoiserie. Birds and flowers erupt on hand-painted wallpaper, cushions are plush, carpets oriental, silk shimmers and you feel you've strayed into some exotic novel in which eighteenth-century China and twenty-first-century France elegantly collide. Just the place to kick back with a kir royale and pretend you're a pasha. See hoteldanielparis.com

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MO BAR, BEIJING

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Memorable bars
MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing (credit Mandarin Oriental Hotels)2

MO Bar at Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing. Photo: Supplied

The recently opened Mandarin Oriental Wangfujing's trump card is its expansive terrace overlooking the yellow upturned roofs of the Forbidden City; a glorious spot when the sun sets like a fireball behind distant hills. Tucked into the terrace corner adjacent to dining venues is MO Bar, hung with mirrors and globe lighting. Carefully considered, expertly prepared cocktails are inspired by Beijing culture and flavours. See mandarinoriental.com

12TH KNOT, LONDON

This suave lounge at Sea Containers hotel sits high above artsy entertainment district South Bank, with the dome of St Paul's popping across the Thames River and balconies allowing you to soak up the view. The décor is chic and colourful, with plush sofas you can sink into, a shiny gold bar and glittering chandeliers for a touch of Great Gatsby. Friday evenings go off with the after-work crowd. See seacontainerslondon.com

SALON LYAUTEY, FES

This rooftop bar at Hotel Sahrai has a rather pedestrian cocktail menu, but can't be beaten for gob-smacking views over Fes, the world's largest intact medieval city, encased in battlements and blue hills. As the moon rises the music spins, light glitters from chandeliers and potted palm trees rustle in the breeze. The skilful combination of classic Moroccan and contemporary French architecture is arresting. See hotelsahrai.com

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