Aria Hotel Budapest

Darabos Gyorgy/Courtesy of Aria Hotel Budapest
August 02, 2017

Nothing beats exploring an unknown city by foot, but we recommend taking the elevator to the rooftop.

From here, it all begins to make sense: how the streets fit together, where land touches sea. You spot ancient wooden junk boats and elephant herds — then turn around and order a drink. All this can happen at the spots listed here, where luxury is a given and the views are always spectacular.

Related: The Top 100 Hotels in the World

But don’t take our word for it — go see for yourself. The Hong Kong skyline at night can feel like your own private light show. And nothing can rival the thrill of getting sweaty on a dance floor overlooking St. Isaac’s Cathedral.

You won’t want to leave these rooftops, but who could blame you. Linger a while longer and you just might see the sun peek over the red roofs of Old Town Dubrovnik.


Shoreditch House London

3 of 11 Tom Mannion/Courtesy of Shoreditch House

Shoreditch House, London, England

What the bedrooms of this trendy boutique hotel lack in floor space its rooftop restaurant more than makes up for with sweeping views of east London and the city. Flooded with sunlight and adorned with lush greenery and lavender beds, the space adjacent to the pool feels like a hip greenhouse tucked away in the sky, says Greg Tepper, founder of Exeter International in Tampa, Florida.

Intercontinental Hong Kong

4 of 11 Courtesy of Intercontinental Hong Kong

InterContinental Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Some say the location is the draw of this superb five-star luxury hotel; for Lynda Turley of Alpine Travel in Saratoga, California, it’s the dazzling rooftop view that’s the main attraction. The Kowloon side, with expansive views of Hong Kong Island, is “especially stunning at sunset,” she said, “when you can watch the lights of the city come alive.”

Hotel Stari Grad Croatia

5 of 11 Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Stari Grad

Hotel Stari Grad, Dubrovnik, Croatia

This eight-room boutique hotel offers arresting views of the stone streets and ancient red roofs that define the Old Town, says Tepper. Dinner at the romantic Above 5 Rooftop Restaurant is a must, but be sure to reserve in advance, as there are only 10 tables available.

Aria Hotel Budapest
6 of 11 Darabos Gyorgy/Courtesy of Aria Hotel Budapest

Aria Hotel Budapest, Budapest, Hungary

Seated next to St. Stephen’s Basilica, this contemporary boutique hotel designed by Zoltan Varro features Neo-Baroque-style furnishings and the High Note SkyBar. One of the few rooftop bars to stay open year-round, SkyBar serves delicious small bites and cocktails, says Nagy of Protravel.


Grand Bretagne Athens

7 of 11 Courtesy of Grand Bretagne

Grand Bretagne, Athens, Greece

This luxurious eight-story hotel offers a rooftop experience as indulgent as its regal interiors. The five-star GB Roof Garden Restaurant has first-rate views of the ancient Acropolis, bustling Syntagma Square and the Parliament, not to mention the original Olympic Stadium. Dinner at night is especially dreamy, says Turley of Alpine Travel.

La Sultana Marrakech
8 of 11 Courtesy of La Sultana Marrakech

La Sultana, Marrakech, Morocco

The views from this swanky rooftop demand to be seen, says Andrea Malis, a travel advisor with Camelback Odyssey Travel in Tucson, Arizona, especially at sunset, when you can hear evening prayers in the background. “Seeing the rooftops of Marrakech while hearing the sounds, smelling the spices and flavors cooking below and as the skies turn pink is an amazing experience,” she said.


The Silo Hotel

9 of 11 Mark Williams/Courtesy of The Silo Hotel

The Silo, Cape Town, South Africa

London designer Thomas Heathwick added multi-faceted windows to the historic grain silo complex to give it the illusion of being slightly inflated. Six floors above Table Bay harbor, guests swim in an infinity pool and enjoy Sunday Roast served by chefs on carving trolleys in The Granary Café, says Lindblad.

The Alpina Gstaad

10 of 11 Reto Guntli/Courtesy of The Alpina Gstaad

The Alpina Gstaad, Bern, Switzerland

Guests feel as if they’ve entered a fairytale at the new 56-room Alpine retreat, says Lindbland. The pool supplies ample views of the German-speaking canton’s snow-capped mountains, rolling hills and red deer year-round. Don’t miss the Panorama Suite, where the lounge opens onto a large private terrace.


andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge

11 of 11 Courtesy of andBeyond Phinda Rock Lodge

ol Donyo Lodge, Kenya

For unrivaled views of the plains near two popular national parks — Amboseli and Tsavo East — this 20-bed eco-lodge is hard to beat, says Turley. Rebuilt and redesigned in 2008 with help from the conservationists and filmmakers behind Great Plains Conservation, ol Donyo encourages guests to bike alongside giraffes and go on horseback safaris.