Banyan Tree, Bangkok
There has long been a debate about which Bangkok rooftop restaurant is the best: Sirocco, which claims to offer the highest al fresco dining experience in the world, on the 63rd floor of the Dome at lebua, or Vertigo, on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok. While Sirocco, which is by the river, is slightly higher, Banyan Tree is more central, at the heart of the business district, so the views are even better, taking in both river and city. Expect to be offered seared bay scallops, roasted snow fish and tenderloin Wagyu – and refreshing cocktails such as a Vertigo Sunset (Malibu, pineapple juice, cranberry juice and lime juice) at the adjoining Moon Bar.
If you are going to stay at the hotel, try to book a bedroom as high up as possible, as all have floor-to-ceiling windows that offer the most amazing views. There is also a very good award-winning spa, a health club and an outdoor swimming-pool on the 21st floor. While you are not right next to the river, you are not far away, so be sure to join one of Banyan Tree’s nightly Apsara gourmet river cruises.
Palazzo Manfredi, Rome
It is easy to become slightly blasé about spine-tinglingly beautiful ancient monuments when in Rome, because there are just so many of them, but I will never get blasé about the view from Ristorante Aroma at Hotel Palazzo Manfredi, which is so close to the Colosseum, you could flick an olive stone at it. In fact, the only things between it and the hotel are more ancient ruins. With only 15 elegant rooms and suites (there were 16 but the glorious new Colosseum Suite has been fashioned from two of them), the hotel has a grand but warm, intimate feel about it. Definitely the sort of place you dress up for dinner, Ristorante Aroma is encased in glass in winter but for the rest of the year it is easily Rome’s best al fresco dining terrace.
The utterly delicious seasonal regional food is by Giuseppe Di Iorio with such delights as anchovy flan in a tomato sauce, swordfish parcels with mature Provolone cheese, pine nuts and fresh tomato coulis, and yellow pumpkin risotto. If you are looking for something a little less formal, you can always opt for G&Ts in the hotel’s candlelit rooftop American Bar.
Hôtel de Paris, Monaco
Opened in 1864 to accommodate the influx of high-rollers going to the adjacent Place du Casino de Monte-Carlo, this belle époque monument of a Monaco hotel is probably the glitziest place to stay, although not for the faint of heart or pocket. While the three Michelin-starred Le Louis XV-Alain Ducasse is in some ways the hotel’s main event, I prefer the eighth-floor rooftop restaurant Le Grill, serving a reinterpretation of classic Mediterranean dishes (chilled Brittany lobster, black truffle with spiked artichokes, imperial tangerine soufflé, etc), for its sea views and its retractable roof, ideal for star-gazing on summer nights. The hotel’s dining options are complemented by one of the finest wine cellars in the world.
The other highlight is the Thermes Marins Spa, which is connected to the hotel by a tunnel and has a huge sea-facing indoor seawater pool. The hotel begins an ambitious, four-year refurbishment next January and while it will remain partially open, they cannot confirm whether the sliding roof will be retained, so go now while it is still intact.
If comfort and glamour win you over more than a sense of place in a hotel, you will probably love the Delano Marrakech, a modern hotel in the Hivernage district of Morocco’s imperial city. Bringing its unique brand of Miami-chic to north Africa, this luxury urban resort designed by Jacques Garcia has lots of bold, Moroccan-influenced design statements but is unrepentantly international. There are three restaurants, including an excellent seasonal northern Italian (try one of the head chef’s signature risottos), and Namazake, an upscale Japanese sake and sashimi affair on the top floor of the hotel. This spills out on to a lovely timber-clad rooftop deck, also home to the Sky Lounge bar, which has breathtaking panoramic views of Marrakech, taking in the medina, Agdal Gardens, the imperial ramparts and the Atlas mountains.
There are also three pools, several boutiques, the Pearl Spa – offering everything from a traditional Moroccan hammam experience to aromatherapy facials – and, opening later this year, a subterranean nightclub.