Travel special: Kick back in style at the coolest lounge bars this season
MINI ISLAND MARVEL
MASIMA LAGOON ISLAND BAR, LIKULIKU LAGOON RESORT, MALOLO ISLAND, FIJI
Ultramarine mingles with deep Prussian on gently lapping Pacific waves around this most unique island lagoon bar. Extending to brightly upholstered comfy al fresco sofas and stools that punctuate this aquamarine jewel, the bar itself is simple yet amply endowed with Fijian eco-accented interiors, layout and an easy going rejuvenation mood. Fijian cocktail fusions, world-class premium wine labels, choice single malts and white spirits create a sunset sonata for residents of this award-winning deluxe five-star boutique resort.
Our choice for that evening was a fine, medium-bodied vintage Marlborough Pinot Noir from New
Zealand with Fijian tidbits on the palate. ‘Spectacular’ seems like a trivial word for this prized oceanfront setting, with its mind-stilling panoramas of the lagoon, while the wind whispers and wafts
by whimsically, mesmerising our senses into total silence. As the colours metamorphosed into spectral shades every minute, the sun was in no hurry to dip down, and we walked to the tiny island’sedge too cheer a marvelous theatrical closure of yet another fine day. Guitar strings, native songs and foot-tapping lent enchanting glows to candlelit spots at the bar and around. Nothing came close to this Pacific paradise. Vinaka! (That’s Fijian for ‘thank you’).
FALK’S BAR, HOTEL BAYERISCHER HOF, MUNICH
Few exclusive bars in the world can claim a certain ‘legendary’ honour even before their opening. This distinguished rendezvous, ensconced in the fabled Hall of Mirrors at this grand imperial landmark, dates back to 1839, the only World War II untouched surviving space in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. The spacious décor leaves one open-mouthed in awe and admiration. The traditional meets the futuristically modern, just as the stunning stucco ceiling and interplay of changing colours at the bar entice the city’s
night adventurers, as we settle in a mirror-graced alcove to capture a few resplendent moments. Reflecting the royalty of Bavarian rulers and their preference for exemplary monuments, this landmark is home to some of the finest champagnes, select spirits, classic cocktails, classy aperitifs —all relished at a genteel Operatic pace, lilted by immortal symphonic renditions of classical music
maestros, juxtaposed with jazz tunes and even soulful arias.
THE WORLD’S HIGHEST...
OZONE, THE RITZ-CARLTON HONG KONG, CHINA
Jaw-dropping views captivate your gaze across the stunning and picturesque Victoria Harbor below and beyond — from an elevation of 490 meters, the highest floor in this grand luxury outpost. As the bejeweled city lives up its global grandeur, we take in the tizzy heights in strobe neon psychedelia at this landmark destination — the highest bar in the world, at the world’s highest grand luxury five star hotel. This spectacular rooftop entertainment venue for the upwardly chique movers and shakers lays out its large-hearted sparkle as the hottest, trendiest and most patronised nocturnal den in all of Hong Kong. The alluring aura of orchestrated mood lighting, and strobe lights that we were washed in, were accompanied by choice signature cocktails stirred up by an award-winning global mixology expert, and an exotic selection of Asian tapas and Japanese specialties. DJ beats and hip global numbers blended with the captivating vistas of the city, and the harbour below, to add a psychedelic dimension to our hearty evening out.
THE LOUNGE, ATMOSPHERE, BURJ KHALIFA, DUBAI
Dazzling, iconic downtown edifices glitter in miniature delight and visual opulence as the waltzing of Dubai’s famed Musical Fountain presents a veiled dancing maiden below us. Atop the world’s tallest tower, a part of the world’s tallest fine dining restaurant, a privileged and unforgettable evening makes for lifetime memories.
End-to-end wide-angled vistas of the sparkling city of gold add to the spectacular setting, as limited edition Beluga caviar and period champagne usher in your presence. As our sparkling rose from Epernay, France found bubbling expression in our crystal flutes, we also got to enjoy soft pianoforte notes uplifted by Diana Krall’s nostalgic lilt. Signature martinis and blue blood single malts met soft
murmurs and smiles over the small eats and hors d’oeuvres served up for us to savour. High above the clouds, this exalted mahogany-draped pedigree bar glistened with svelte resonance akin to a bespoke journey into space. As we pondered over the uninterrupted skyline and the horizon yonder, we did indeed feel very welcome… Ahlan Wasahlan!
BEACHCOMBER LOUNGE BAR, SUN-N-SAND, JUHU
The warm vibe and camaraderie at the Beachcomber Lounge at Mumbai’s Sun-n-Sand Hotel is affable. The five-star deluxe watering pad is decked with a snazzy new, backlit Tiger onyx bar with awe-inspiring frames of the art deco swimming pool, and the calm Arabian Sea washing Mumbai’s iconic Juhu beach. The interiors radiate an earthy sense of sophistication with the tobacco brown marble flooring lit softly by the Andromeda chandelier in brown Murano glass. Spacious and plush leather chairs create an imperial character, while the paneling behind the bar is Eucalyptus veneer. The venue is a favourite among top Bollywood and TV personalities, head honchos from the showbiz and entertainment industry who relish the canapés and choicest spirited mixes in good measure.
Sipping on choicest signature cocktails, premium top world wines and spirits make for a relaxing evening for bar guests, as they revel in the lengthening sunset tones. Soft jazz pianoforte lends an unstrained, unwound mood amidst diffused lighting and the comforting ambience. The Beachcomber Lounge’s pride is an exciting cocktail menu designed by renowned mixologist, Dré Masso, who has been involved with the London cocktail scene for close to two decades, working and running bars across London and San Francisco, and also bagged the prestigious title of “UK Bartender of the Year” thrice.
Dré’s unique cocktail menu employs uniquely local flavours and ingredients, included in Beachcomber Signature Cocktails showcasing Indian flavours synched with premium spirits and liqueurs. Famous tipples like Marvelous Mumbai Mary, which blends typical spices like garam masala, turmeric, coriander, paprika and cumin with puréed tomatoes and citrus vodka.
Other signature cocktail belugas include Millionaire Martini, Mango and Rosemary Mojito, Beachcomber Crush and Double Espresso Martini. For the predominantly hot and humid Mumbai weather, later drenched by the yearly monsoons, the Beachcomber experience is a merry mix ’n’ toss of uplifting colourful sojourns.
THE HOWDAH LOUNGE BAR, EVOLVE BACK KAMALAPURA PALACE HAMPI
At this eco-designed five-star royal luxury resort on the edge of the world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hampi, we wallowed in the regal splendour of expansively gorgeous environs decked in princely pomp. Customised design and innovative zeal envelop your gaze as giant wood carved tusks, a placid water pond, graceful palatial arches and a stimulated dimensional white elephant occupying dramatic position behind the bar counter, create wonder and curiosity, egged on by fine world wines and monarchy-inspired cocktails. The glory and prosperity of the ancient 14th century Vijaynagara Empire’s grand heritage monuments come alive in every element of this establishment.
Extra-sumptuous handcrafted lounge chaises and couches, mashaal-shaped lighting posts
and views of an open royal courtyard, and al fresco dining spaces lend an air of magnificence. Choice canapés and grilled treats bring in the excitement of relaxing and reviving spirits at this singularly superlative regal destination. As we raised our glasses to cherished moments, we found our conversations being coloured with poignant tales of imperial wealth, global appeal, harmony and cultural richness of the great Vijayanagara kings.