Sip and Savor: The Best Hotel Bars for Winding Down (or Up) with a Winter Cocktail

- Joy Pecknold, Passport blog editor

Nothing squelches holiday spirit like a few hours of mall shopping during the busiest time of the year. To pick yourself up again, here’s a tipple: seek refuge in a hotel bar and quench your cocktail thirst. Click in for our roundup of favorite places and potions.

The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island gets in the holiday spirit with the hotel beautifully decorated for the season, and heart-warming cocktails too. The mansions of Vanderbilt, decked out in lights, are nearby and make a perfect post-drinks activity.

You can’t go wrong at the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City. Their Rose Bar is at once warm, inviting, hip and happening, and it’s not everywhere you can sit in a Julian Schnabel-designed chair, gaze on a Jean-Michel Basquiat painting and sip a Christmas cocktail.

The Royalton New York has one of the sexier, moodier lobby lounges we’ve seen. Put down your shopping bags, take a tufted leather chair and, with drink in hand, watch the comings and goings.

At the Thompson Toronto, you can take your pick of three see-and-be-seen spots, but our favorite is the stylish rooftop lounge which offers a cool perspective on the city, and beautiful people adhering to a strict dress code, which includes no “tank tops (for men)” and “Bachelor/Bachelorette party sashes, masks, buttons, pins, hats, etc.”

The Huntley in Santa Monica offers a few views to cocktail from at their Penthouse restaurant and bar. Have a four-person tête-à-tête by the fireplace, saddle up to the circular bar or take a booth by a window that looks out over the beach. The Santa Monica Pier isn’t far if you need to walk off what you imbibed.

There’s a bevy of bar options at Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia. The 1927 Lobby Lounge offers a delicious winter and classic cocktail menu, of which the namesake “Hotel Georgia” is a must-try. They also have some zero proof sippers for those abstaining (the “False Creek” passed our taste test with flying colors). There’s also the award-winning Hawksworth Restaurant bar and lounge or casual Bel Café.

London Syon Park has a much lauded cocktail list. Kiwi Collection’s Daniel Szelényi’s tipple tip is to have a “Little Voices”, it’s his second most favorite cocktail.

The Connaught was awarded “World’s Best Cocktail Bar” at Tales of the Cocktail’s Annual Spirited Awards recently. Further proof, Food and Wine Magazine declared that it has the top two drink makers in London handling their extensive cocktail list. We love their Martinis.

The bar at Dukes London is supposedly where Ian Fleming invented “shaken, not stirred”. But the best drink is the “Tiger Tanaka” made with ginger infused vodka.

The Artesian Bar at The Langham in London recently won “Best Hotel Bar” at the Annual Spirited Awards. Their “Langham Cobbler” is quite nice, especially sipped while seated in a cool, purple leather chaise.

At the Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire’s Bar 1086—named after the year the estate was founded—drink in the room’s soothing palette of cream and white, as well as a “Millionaires Martini”, which is a bit like boozy lemonade. Camp yourself near the fire for a long winter’s round of cocktails.

Prestonfield outside Edinburgh is where the late Queen Mum used to sneak in for her weekly G&T. Nurse your classic cocktail of choice in front of a fireplace in one of the cozy salons.

For après ski at Aurelio Lech in the Austrian Alps, Licca Lounge is where you kick up your tired feet, in front of the roaring fireplace preferably. They’ve got a great selection of grappa to bring out your inner Italian.

After your last ski run, the Le Portetta in Courchevel, France lets you get right to après with their Fire and Ice bar, as they describe it, “a new outdoor bar right at the bottom of the main piste with huge log burning fires, flaming torches, wood fired pizza oven, ice shots, fur snugs, [and] heated bar seating.” Yes, please.

For a cool setting in the city, seek out the Mandarin Oriental Munich. They transform their rooftop into a ski chalet over the winter where they serve a variety of drinks.

If your New Year’s resolutions include “learn a new skill”, the Dylan in Dublin, Ireland can help. They offer two-hour cocktail masterclasses, where you sip, soak in tricks of the trade and shake up your own drink.

Read more on food and wine:
Sip and Savor: Wine Taste Then Stay the Night at These 20 Vinous Hotels and Resorts
Sip and Savor: 6 Sweet Dessert Recipes from the Kitchens of Luxury Hotels
Sip and Savor: A Delectable Dinner Unhurried at Westchester’s Homestead Inn
Sip and Savor: Dessert Passes for Dinner at Preview of Andaz Liverpool Street’s Scrap Lab Series for the London Design Festival

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