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15 of the world's best hotel bars

Ayana Resort & Spa's Rock Bar is perched just 46 feet above the Indian Ocean and offers a spectacular martini on the rocks.
Ayana Resort & Spa's Rock Bar is perched just 46 feet above the Indian Ocean and offers a spectacular martini on the rocks.
  • The Clift's swank Redwood Room offers a fantastic classic martini
  • From the furniture to the cocktail glasses, everything in Icebar is made of ice
  • Bascule Bar boasts the largest whisky selection in the Southern Hemisphere

(CNNGo) -- Your choice of hotel probably shouldn't be based purely on the merits of its cocktail menu. But these places have so much more than a great selection of drinks.

Rock Bar, Ayana Resort & Spa in Bali

Guests ride a special cable car down a dramatic cliff face to get to this brilliantly engineered bar perched just 46 feet above the Indian Ocean.

Once there, the experience is dramatic.

Bartenders pour creative cocktails set to beats spun from a DJ booth carved into the stone.

The minimalist space, designed by Yasuhiro Koichi of Japan's Design Studio SPIN, is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Bali. (Ayana Resort and Spa, Jimbaran, Bali, tel: +62 361 702222,

What to drink: A martini -- on the rocks, of course.

Redwood Room, Clift Hotel, San Francisco

The Clift's swank Redwood Room, founded in 1933 (the year Prohibition ended,) is a blend of old and new. Vintage deco lights shine on Starck-designed lounge furniture and plasma TVs displaying digital art hanging on original redwood walls.

The scene is loud, grown-up and slightly pretentious, just the way patrons like it. (495 Geary Street at Taylor St., San Francisco, California 94102, Tel: +1 (415) 775 4700,

What to drink: A classic martini, spruced with two blue cheese-stuffed olives.

Icebar, Icehotel, Copenhagen

A novelty, no doubt, but Icebar is still a marvelous place to, well, chill out.

Everything, and we mean everything, is made of ice, from the furniture to the cocktail glasses to the gleaming art.

Check out the raven in a cage, the full scale Harley Davidson and the boxes filled with miniature treasures -- all made of frozen H20.(Hotel Twentyseven, Løngangstræde 27, Copenhagen, Tel: +45 7027 5627,

What to drink: A vodka shot.

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Sky Yard, Drake Hotel, Toronto, Canada

A place so hip that just being there cranks up the cool-scale ranking, this rooftop bar is a constantly evolving cultural showpiece.

The garden-like space, lined with eastern-inspired booths and daybeds, plays host to indie film screenings, sing-alongs, art shows, clothing sales and bands. Groovy. (1150 Queen Street W, Toronto, Tel: +1 (416) 531 5042,

What to drink or eat: The menu changes constantly -- the theme can be "Tacos + Tequila" one week, and "Tiki Bar" the next. Ask for the latest specials.

Veranda Bar, Figueroa Hotel, Los Angeles

With dim lanterns, woven rugs, ornate pillows and bougainvillea, this poolside bar feels worlds away from downtown Los Angeles.

Located in a courtyard setting behind the Moroccan-style Figueroa Hotel, the quiet spot is a great place to get away from the chaos. (939 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, California 90015, Tel: +1 (213) 627 8971,

What to drink: The electric blue "Fire and Ice," served in a frosted martini glass.

Sky Bar, lebua at State Tower, Bangkok

For a night that feels out of this world, it only takes a trip to Sky Bar, the bar on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State Tower.

Anchored by a circular, glowing neon bar counter, the ultramodern deck offers giddying views of the Bangkok lights and river. (State Tower 1055, Silom Road, Bangrak Bangkok 10500, Thailand, Tel: +66 2624 9555,

What to drink: A glass (or three) of vintage wine. There are vast options to choose from.

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Bemelmans Bar, Carlyle Hotel, New York City

Dark and decadent, Bemelmans competes for the city's most dapper nightspot.

No detail has been left un-fancified: White-jacket waiters, nickel-trimmed glass tables, chocolate-brown leather banquettes and a 24-karat gold leaf-covered ceiling.

But the most interesting aspect of Bemelmans is the wall art by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the Madeline books and the bar's namesake. (35 E. 76th St., at Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10021, Tel: +1 (212) 744 1600,

What to drink: The Old Cuban, a mojito topped with champagne.

Grotto Bar, Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa, Maui, Hawaii

OK, so a card key is required for this one (the bar is only open to hotel guests,) but we just had to include it in the list.

Inside a dim cave enclosed by dual waterfalls, this swim-up bar is an adult refuge in a resort oozing with pool-splashing tikes.

With underwater stools and water jets massagers, it's hard to leave. (200 Nohea Kai Drive, Lahaina, Hawaii 96761, Tel: +1 (808) 661 1234,

What to drink: An ice-cold piña colada.

Connaught Bar, The Connaught Mayfair, London

The Connaught Bar simply has it all: ultra-stylish decor, impeccable service and some of the most killer cocktails ever shaken (not stirred.)

With textured walls in platinum, leather chairs and white marble floors, the parlor, designed by David Collins, is a work of modern luxury.

Not to mention, the bartenders are award winning.

Senior mixologist Erik Lorincz reigns as the Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year 2010 and Agostino Perrone holds the title of International Bartender of the Year 2010. (Carlos Place, Mayfair, London, W1K 2AL, United Kingdom, Tel: +44 (0)20 7499 7070,

What to drink: A Mulata Daisy, rum, lime juice and sugar, kicked up a notch with the tang of fennel seeds and sweet chocolate liqueur.

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Alexander's Bar, Hotel Grande Bretagne, Athens

One of the classiest places in town for a cocktail, Alexander's Bar has a crazy selection of premium spirits and impeccable service.

The trademark fixture of the bar, and the hotel itself, is the rare 18th century tapestry of Alexander the Great's entrance into Gavgamila. (Constitution Square, Athens 10564, Greece, Tel: +30 210 333 0787,

What to drink: A glass of exotic Midori liqueur over ice.

Il Palazzetto Wine Bar, Palazzetto Hotel, Rome, Italy

Located over the Spanish Steps, this terrace bar is a great place to view Rome's dolce vita.

The classy watering hole is part of the opulent, Renaissance-era Il Palazzeto palace, home to Rome's International Wine Academy.(Vico del Bottino, 8 - 00187, Rome, Italy, Tel: +39 06 69 934 1000,

What to drink: Choose from 400 different wines.

Blu Bar on 36, Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks, Sydney, Australia

Set on the 36th floor of the Shangri-La Hotel in The Rocks, the New York-inspired bar offers views of Darling Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.

A marble hallway entrance opens to two distinct chambers, a fluorescent blue bar and a lounge. The latter features minimalist décor, plush seating, dim lighting and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. (176 Cumberland St, Sydney, Tel: +61 (0)2 9250 6013,

What to drink: The Holy Amigo, a blend of Herradura tequila, Crème de Peche and peach bitters packs a punch.

Level 8, Kilimanjaro Hotel Kempinski, Dar es Salaam

With views over the port of Dar es Salaam, Level 8 is the spot to kick back after working or running around.

Late at night, the space transforms into a cosmopolitan lounge. (Sokoine Drive, Dar es Salaam 9574, Tanzania, Tel: +255 (0) 22 213 1111,

What to drink: Well-chilled champagne.

Bascule Bar, Cape Grace Hotel, Cape Town

While tiny in square footage, Bascule Bar on the Victoria & Albert Waterfront packs a punch, boasting the largest whisky selection in the Southern Hemisphere.

Views of the Waterfront Marina and across to nearby Table Mountain are extraordinary from the bar's bottom-conforming leather sofas. (Cape Grace Hotel, West Quay Rd., Waterfront, Cape Town, 8001, Tel: +27 (0)21 410 7238,

What to drink: Any one of the 450 whiskeys.

Rooftop bar, La Purificadora, Puebla, Mexico

There's nothing ordinary about a rooftop bar where travelers can watch guests swim through a glass-walled pool while knocking back cocktails.

Mexico's top architect Ricardo Legorreta leaves no detail behind in this modern space that works in purple, Tetris-like sofas, granite walls and glass-floored balconies.

At night, for better or worse, the bar feels like a club as tourists attack on multiple fronts. (Callejón de la 10 Norte 802, Paseo San Francisco, Barrio el Alto, Puebla, 72000, Tel: +52 222/309-1920,

What to drink: The bar's signature cocktail, a mixture of mandarin, pineapple and Curaçao.

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