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Our little black book of enchanting places


Cocktails in the clouds

Posted in HOTELS + VILLAS By Maggie O' Sullivan

I recently revisited Obelix, Rainer Becker’s bar and grill on the 32nd floor of The Shard. It was still light when we arrived but dark by the time we left, so we got two versions of the same panorama: fascinating by daylight, when you can play name-the-landmark, and stunning by night when the city is lit up like a Christmas tree. Unless you want to sit at the bar, you do need to book, but even if you don’t get a table by the wraparound picture window (we didn’t), you still get a fantastic view. The best show in town – whether you’re visiting London for the first time or have lived here for 30 years, as I have.

If you’re after an iconic view and a cocktail, here are three I recommend and one that’s still on my wish list.View of Central Park from Mandarin Oriental, New YorkMandarin Oriental, New York

There are lots of great views in New York and lots of great cocktails. At The Mandarin Oriental, at the top of the Time Warner Center, you can have both. This view over Central Park and W 59th St is from the massive window in the Lobby Lounge on the 35th floor – you get the same view from the bar, but when it’s crowded you can’t always see it. Book a table for afternoon tea or have cocktails with Eastern-inspired bar snacks.Cloud 9 Bar, Grand Hyatt ShanghaiCloud 9 Bar, Shanghai

Cloud 9 Bar is on the 87th floor of the Jin Mao Tower and while the tower might only be the third tallest in Shanghai, Cloud 9 bar is still one of the highest in the world. It belongs to the Grand Hyatt so it’s all very smart and sophisticated, with lots of polished chrome and mahogany, and the cocktails are named after stars. But check the weather forecast before you go: when I visited a few years ago, it was so foggy, I couldn’t see a thing.Armani Hotel, DubaiArmani Hotel, Dubai

In Dubai is has to be the super chic Armani as it’s based in the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower. The only problem is that the hotel occupies 11 floors of the tower, and most of the public areas are at ground level. So the thing to do is to take the world’s fastest lift up to the observation platform on the 124th floor first (you have to book), then when you’ve done marvelling at the 360º view of the Emirate, go back down to the Armani lounge. Alternatively, there’s a cocktail bar on the 122nd floor called At.mosphere. Wherever you have your cocktail, the Burj Khalifa really is worth doing as it brings home the fact that this modern metropolis has been carved out of the desert.Ozone bar at the Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong

Ozone, Hong Kong 

This is the bar on my wish list. Part of the Ritz-Carlton, Ozone is on the 118th floor of the ICC tower. It's not so much that I want a bird's eye view of Hong Kong (I've done The Peak twice), but this bar claims to be the tallest in the world and sipping a Dragontini (vodka, Chambord, raspberry, lime, elderflower, basil and yuzu foam) 1,060ft above sea level would certainly be an experience. I'll be checking the forecast first though – like Shanghai, Hong Kong is famous for its fog.

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