There’s no place quite as intimate as the bar of a grand hotel. No matter where they are—New York, Paris, or Tokyo—they all seem to share a similar timelessness and an air of discretion, not to mention a handsome collection of barware. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite rendezvous spots around the world. And since they’re in the finest hotels in the most romantic cities, why not make a weekend of it?
An Upper East Side institution, this Art Deco lounge with its legendary Madeline storybook murals, dimly lit nooks, and white-tuxedo-jacketed waiters serving classic cocktails has been enticing couples since the 1930s. The piano player turning out Cole Porter tunes doesn’t hurt either.
Best Seat in the House: The leather banquette directly across from the bar. Sit side by side for a clear view of the baby grand.
From high on the forty-first floor, the twinkling Tokyo skyline—and the bar’s glimmering paper lanterns—truly cast a spell. Hey, it worked for Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Lost in Translation, shot on-site.
Best Seat in the House: Near the windows at sunset to see the sun drop behind Mount Fuji.
Follow a moonlit stroll along the canal with a nightcap in this sixteenth-century palazzo turned luxury hotel. The bar drips with rococo flourishes, from the ornate marble fireplace to the lavish gilded mirror. There are even museum-worthy frescoes on the ceiling.
Best Seat in the House: The far right corner table. It overlooks the Grand Canal through one window and the Rialto Bridge through another.
In a city this mercilessly romantic, Le Bar 228 still eclipses all other hotel bars. Nowhere else will you find a room as subtly glamorous, with dark-wood walls, cognac leather chairs, and three spectacular Lavalley murals that practically glow.
Best Seat in the House: Any of the leather sofas meant for two. The best ones have a view of the murals or are near the pretty glass cabinet filled with flickering candles.
Because this is an Ian Schrager hotel, it has not one but two bars designed for getting cozy with your date (would you expect anything less from the man behind Studio 54?): the seductively sleek Lobby Bar and the oak-paneled, library-ish Punch Room (which is reservations-only).
Best Seat in the House: Sidle up to the glossy bar in the Lobby; reserve a table near the fireplace in the Punch Room.
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