Take Five: Chilled-out Rooftop Bars
When the sun shines, there's only one place to beat the city heat. Nicola Brady hits the roof, and finds the best spots in the world to kick back and sip a cocktail in style
Radio Rooftop Bar at ME London
Where: London, UK
Why: London is one of those cities that takes on a whole new level of romance when seen from above. The combination of old and new, the twisting streets and distant skyscrapers all merge into a glittering cityscape that feels like a film set.
The ME London is located in the old home of BBC radio, Marconi House. From the stylish rooftop bar on the 10th floor, you are blessed with amazing views of the city, from the winding Thames to the Houses of Parliament. It's not just a summer spot either - in the winter, an awning is put up to keep the terrace cosy all year round.
How: The bar is open to all on a first come, first served basis, though residents receive first available entry. Room rates start at £340 (€428), and you can fly to London with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) from €29.99 one way.
The Rooftop Bar and Terrace at the Marker Hotel
Why: When the sun shines in the city, you'll find a surge of people heading to the roof of the Marker Hotel, all looking for a drink with a view. And what a view it is - the entire city is laid out before you, along with the Dublin-Wicklow mountain range.
There are Taste Plates available for a light bite, with dishes such as 'Gin and tonic' cured salmon, chipotle spiced chicken wings and freshly shucked Galway oysters. Right now, you can also indulge in a concoction from their summer gin bar, with innovative infusions made on site and whizzed into unique cocktails. Think Hendricks infused with cucumber and elderflower, or Plymouth steeped in citrus. There's music too, with in-house DJ Gill spinning the summer tunes from 3pm-7pm each Saturday.
How: The bar is open to all on a first come, first served basis, so get there early. Check the website for up-to-date opening hours, as it can sometimes be closed for private functions. Room rates start from €189 per night.
The Roof Garden at the Hotel RaphaEl
Where: Rome, Italy
Why: There's nothing like a panoramic view that takes in sun-dappled rooftops, church domes and the quirks of an ancient city. From the terrace of the Hotel Raphael you can drink in all the sights of Rome.
The rooftop itself is as elegant as the views, with simple white seating and plant pots among the roof tiles. The hotel is also a member of Relais & Châteaux, an exclusive association of some of the world's finest character hotels and restaurants.
How: Nightly rates at the hotel start from around €280 in low season. The rooftop is usually open from April to September, depending on the weather, and booking is advised. Flights to Rome with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) start at €75.99 one way in September.
See: raphaelhotel.com relaischateaux.com
Upstairs at the Kimberly Hotel
Where: New York, USA
Why: There's no shortage of hip rooftop bars in Manhattan, but the penthouse level terrace atop the Kimberly Hotel is where New York's coolest head to see and be seen.
Located in the heart of midtown, guests are blessed with views of the iconic Chrysler Building, from 30 stories above the busy streets below. In honour of the neighbouring skyscraper, guests can partake in a Chrysler Cocktail, a zinger blending honey, citrus, cognac and champagne.
How: The rooftop is open for guests and visitors alike, all year round. Rooms at the Kimberly start from around $229 (€168) in low season. You can fly to New York with Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) from €269 one way in October.
See: upstairsnyc.com; kimberlyhotel.com
Vertigo at the Banyan Tree Bangkok
Where: Bangkok, Thailand
Why: While the bustle of Bangkok can feel a little overwhelming, there's a spot above it all where you can absorb the city in peace. It would be hard to beat the sheer height of the Banyan Tree rooftop, located at a staggering 61 stories above street level and providing incredible views of the city. From the chic terrace, you can enjoy a premium steak from the open-air grill, or a cocktail from the Latitude Lounge, which also has a wide range of spirits and sakes.
How: Vertigo is open every day (depending on the weather) for both guests and visitors, though booking is recommended. Room rates start at around €103 including breakfast. You can find return flights to Bangkok on BudgetAir (budgetair.ie) from around €595 in November.
NB: All prices subject to change/availability.