Having a great lunch at a luxury city hotel is always special. Combine that with unique ambiance and a view and it becomes unforgettable. Here are five city hotels in the world that offer it all. I’ll never forget them and I guarantee you won’t either.
The first is in my home town, New York. Asiate restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel serves one of the best Sunday brunch-with-a -view, in all of Manhattan. It’s a pre-fixe sit down (not buffet) in an Asian inspired room. Arrive around 1:30 and plan to dine for three hours. In the winter months when the days are short and the sun is descending you’ll see the deep purple hues hanging over Central Park and the residential high rises of the East Side. It’s a great finale to a wonderful afternoon. You’ll need a reservation well in advance.
The second is Orchids at the Halekulani in Honolulu. This is the hotel’s casual restaurant and is adjacent to the pool. The view of Waikiki Beach and the many surfers constantly gliding to shore over the perfect wave is always mesmerizing. The Halekulani is on a peninsula which juts onto the beach. People who are walking past have to walk over a catwalk, so all at once they are center stage for anyone who is dining at Orchids. It’s never boring!
The third is Ciragan Palace in Istanbul. The dining room in this former Ottoman palace is not only beautiful with great food, but the view of the Bosporus is spellbinding. Here you are dining in Europe while looking at beautiful gardens, and beyond that Asia, while a constant parade of boat traffic ploughs the straights between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara as it has for centuries.
The fourth is Ajax Tavern in Aspen at the Little Nell Hotel. Aspen is a resort but it’s also very much a city as well. The restaurant is at the base of Aspen Mountain by the gondola so the view is exceptional. It’s always been a great place for very good comfort food but the combination of people from all over mingling with the locals is a big part of what it’s about. You’re bound to see either someone famous or at least the best ski outfits outside of St. Moritz.
My last pick is in South America at the bar and restaurant overlooking the pool on the roof of the Hotel Fasano in Rio de Janeiro. When the elevator door opens your eyes will pop and your jaw will drop. The views of beautiful white sand Ipanema Beach with its pounding surf and the surrounding lush green mountains just doesn’t get any better. The produce in Rio is wonderful so do try the caesar salad. Look behind you and up and you’ll get a glimpse of Christ the Redeemer guarding Rio. You’ll understand all at once why Carioca’s always tell you that God is Brazilian.