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The chic rooftop terrace at Hotel Sant Francesc, Palma de Mallorca

Europe’s hottest hotel rooftops

Depending on the time of day, these hotel rooftops can be your moment of peace or the start of your party. Whichever vibe you prefer, we’ve made sure each of the following sublime terraces supplies iconic views, top service and a great menu – just in time for the sizzling summer nights ahead


01/07/2024

Cayo Coco at The Hoxton Vienna

The Hoxton, Vienna

For many years, The Hoxton has been King of the Hotel Lobby. These days, though, the ever-photogenic brand is just as famous for what’s going on at the top of the building. At its latest opening in Vienna, another picture-perfect, party-ready rooftop joins the fray: Cayo Coco, a highball of Havana cool in the heart of the Austrian capital. Pull up a seat closest to the city’s classical façades and tuck into a world of devilishly deep-fried goodness: we’re talking the crispiest coconut shrimp, cheesiest cassava fritter and juiciest chicharrónes – served with pineapple salsa, hot honey butter and zesty mojo verde. And while non-staying guests are free to indulge, you’ll want to book a room: The Hoxton’s gorgeous little pool is for hotel guests only.

High Life says: The cocktails are a work of art, but the dedicated shot menu (with pickled pineapple chasers) really gets things going.

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Very possibly Palma’s most perfect pool (also opening image)

Sant Francesc Hotel Singular, Palma

It should feel sinful boozing at the foot of the sacred Basílica de Sant Francesc, gazing across to Palma’s spectacular, spikey cathedral, but we can’t help but think the Big Guy would approve. Putting you eye to eye with the top of Sant Francesc’s 13th-century sandstone church (one of the best preserved architectural icons in all of historic Palma) this hotel’s perennially sun-soaked rooftop bathes in nigh-on heavenly light, making it just as perfect for a peaceful early morning coffee as it is an early evening aperitif. Its defining feature, though, is Palma’s most perfect pool, and a glassy respite from the heat. Note that this terrace is strictly guests-only, so you’ll need to book one of the singular (get it?) 32 rooms – or ten individually designed suites – to enjoy it.

High Life says: Ask for a Sant Francesc Sour (vodka, cranberry, lime and lavender) while you strategise your tapas order.

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Native lobster with fregola at Kioku by Endo, Raffles London at The OWO

Raffles London at The OWO, London

You remember the shot: it’s Skyfall, and Daniel Craig’s 007 surveys London’s political heartland from a Whitehall rooftop. Well, this one isn’t that. But it is the one right next door. We have, of course, scaled Raffles London at The OWO – the result of a £1.5bn, eight-year renovation of Churchill’s old gaff: the legendary former War Office. Since this is a Raffles, you’d expect the rooftop to be something wildly luxurious, and so it is: high-end Japanese joint, Kioku by Endo – making Endo Kazutoshi the envy of every chef who begged for the gig. With as many tables outside as there are in, you can claim a berth overlooking the London Eye, Nelson’s Column or Big Ben – request your preferred icon upon booking.

High Life says: Try the ‘Tuna Trolley’, a tableside experience delivered by one of Endo’s sushi masters.

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Roof with a view at Lumi in Lisbon

The Lumiares, Lisbon

Ah, sweet Lisbon: ‘the City of Seven Hills’ and what can feel like a thousand rooftops bars. Don’t know where to start? Make things easy with a trip to the frequent ‘Best Rooftop of the Year’ scooper at the northern tip of Bairro Alto – the city’s former aristocratic hangout and most historic neighbourhood. Here, the Lumiares’ Lumi rooftop welcomes a pleasant breeze from the Tagus River and serves up delectable Portuguese petiscos from lauded chef João Silva. Located on this all-suite boutique’s fifth floor, Lumi pops a cooling colour-wheel of rich creams, burnt oranges and verdant greens amid Lisbon’s instantly recognisable rooftops, with views all the way out to the patriotic Castelo de São Jorge.

High Life says: Once you’ve experienced Lumi’s iconic brunch-a-thon, head down to sister hotel, The Vintage, for a smaller, leafier version of the same thing.

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Sunny days at Madame Rêve, Paris

Madame Rêve, Paris

The biggest rooftop on our list, Roof – all 1,000sqm of it – can fit up to 250 people. And knowing Madame Rêve’s popularity, it’ll need to. Since opening in 2021, this former Louvre Post Office reno has become the reservation. You need only wait for Paris Fashion Week to see its signature sloped windows and honeyed tones increasingly appear across your social media feeds. It’s the highest rooftop in central Paris, so you’ll spy the Eiffel Tower (best viewed at night), Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre, the Pompidou Centre and, closest of all, the Gothic church of Saint-Eustache. Lean back on one of the butter-yellow loungers – a nice nod to Rêve’s room décor – and delight in pricey-but-worth-it finger food, surrounded by cherry trees and the most stylish patrons you ever did see.

High Life says: Hotel guests get exclusive early access to the whole space – including its pool table – from 4pm.

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Romance is in the air at Florence’s Il Tornabuoni Hotel

Il Tornabuoni Hotel, Florence

In a rejection of rooftop IKEA-ification, Il Tornabuoni’s fourth floor terrace reflects its city’s particular un certo non so che with romantic wrought-iron furniture and a matching lattice wraparound, separating punters from Firenze’s terracotta sprawl below. It opens at 5pm, meaning the whole thing is, frequently, lit by the enchanting afterglow of a Campari-red sunset, which you’ll watch fall slowly behind cathedral spires and the low-slung silhouette of distant mountains. The warmly lit floor lamps, meanwhile, have the happy habit of making even the most dressed-down tourist look like an Italian film star. Enjoy your aperitivo following a stroll around neighbouring Giardino di Boboli, just across the Ponte Santa Trinita – a two-minute walk from this game-changingly central boutique.

High Life says: The bar up here makes a mean cocktail, but its expert espresso martini is the most ordered.

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