Letting loose and getting a little wild on vacation is a given in our book. An exotic locale, sexy strangers, zero obligations. Let’s face it – sometimes it’s just more fun to party out of town. Anything goes in the world’s top party cities (we're talking Vegas, Rio, London) and, these days, the coolest carousing goes down at the hottest hotel in town. Bump-and-grind mega clubs, the ever-popular rooftop bar, sexy pool lounges, trendy restaurants, and venues for concerts, movie-screenings, and even sports events – our top 10 party hotels have all the necessities for an all-night rager or two. Best of all, checking into one of these hotel hot spots means you’re guaranteed VIP access to the city’s most coveted nighttime hangouts (a few on our list also have venues reserved for hotel guests only). Plus, no taxis or town cars are necessary; your room is just an elevator ride up (or down, in some cases). So pack your dancing shoes, some aspirin (for some not-so-happening mornings), and get ready to get your groove on at these top party hotels across the globe.
Few cities demand as much unadulterated partying as Las Vegas, and the towering, 4,004-room ARIA Resort and Casino (www.arialasvegas.com) in the 68-acre City Center (both opened in December 2009), has quickly become one of the Strip’s hottest party hosts. Partnered with The Light Group, the name behind Sin City clubs like JET and The Bank, ARIA executes its onsite nightlife scene with die-hard carousing in mind: Three of the party hotel’s eight bars and lounges mix cocktails 24/7 (the rest close at the early-bird hour of 4am), so it’s all too easy to keep the party rolling until the wee hours without even stepping foot outside the resort. Head to Haze, the resort’s onsite nightclub, for a chance celebrity sighting (Mariah Carey, Usher, and Katy Perry have all held events at the 25,000-square-foot space) or look for notable gourmands at one of the 17 restaurants, which have celebrity chefs like Jean-Georges, Masayoshi Takayama, and Michael Mina at their helms. Floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city grace all the guest rooms as do automated curtains (so you can catch some shut-eye after the sun comes up), one-touch lighting and temperature controls, and gadgets that automatically notify the front desk when batteries are running low. Rates start at $129 on weekdays, $199 on weekends. www.arialasvegas.com
The happening Buddha Bar restaurant and lounge chain dominates the world’s top party cities (London, Paris, and Sao Paolo all claim Buddha Bar outposts) with a reputation for attracting scenesters prepped for all-night revelry, so it’s no wonder that the hot-spot brand now offers hotel rooms in equally groovy environs. The chain opened its first Buddha Bar Hotel (www.buddha-bar-hotel.cz) in January 2009 in the old town of Prague, a city known for boisterous beer-swilling, but the scene here is far more hip luxury than bohemian beer hall. Decked out in statement-making reds, golds, and exotic prints, each of the 39 rooms also comes outfitted with rain showers, in-bathroom televisions, and high-def TVs that can play the music mixed by the DJs in the mezzanine-level bar. The swinging party hotel vibe continues downstairs where DJs spin nightly at the property’s namesake lounge, while the Buddha Bar restaurant dishes inventive Asian-Pacific Rim fusion cuisine and the more casual Siddharta Café offers international eats in what is dubbed a “Pop Art Eatmosphere” environment (think an Andy Warhol-inspired color palette with funky, semi-psychedelic décor). Rates start at approximately $494/night (€388); www.buddha-bar-hotel.cz.
While some may not associate Mexico City with jet-setting soirees, the country’s capital is in fact home to a handful of cutting-edge design hotels with Diddy-worthy party scenes. Opened in February 2009, Distrito Capital (www.hoteldistritocapital.com), the latest from high-design Habita hotel group, is the city’s hot-spot party hotel du jour. Located in the Santa Fe quarter (a growing business hub and shopping district), the svelte 30-room newbie towers above the city in a 28-story high-rise (the mixed-use building is also home to restaurants and residential condos) and features interiors by French designer Joseph Dirand (think tailored minimalism in a palette of muted grays, vintage furnishings and artwork, modern touches like mounted flat-screen TVs and retro accents like old-school rotary phones) – but the hotel’s forte is its public spaces, located on the fifth floor, which encourage social interaction and, consequently, partying. The open-air pool lounge, home to a sexy 65-foot pool, comes with killer mojitos, starry-night skies and city views, and DJ-driven weekend pool parties that commence at noon and wind down at dusk, with the unofficial after party at the 31st-floor Suite Royal, which wows with knockout city views, its own bar and gym. Next to the pool lounge, separated by a sliding glass wall, is the hotel’s fab restaurant serving artful Mexican fare courtesy of celebrity chef Enrique Olvera. Weekend rates start from $170/night for a double room; www.hoteldistritocapital.com.
Not since the girl from Ipanema went walking have more heads turned towards the fashionable Ipanema beachfront in Rio de Janeiro. The 3-year-old Fasano (www.fasano.com.br) – a from-scratch concept of celebrated hotel design maven and architect Philippe Starck – of course provides the requisite decadent digs, exuding a sleek design scheme centered on four basic elements (wood, glass, marble, and steel) and a motif inspired by Rio’s '50s and '60s celebrated bossa nova heyday. But the Fasano’s real charisma stems from its storied public spaces – lounge/bar Baretto-Londra (an edgy yet elegant homage to London, owner Rogério Fasano’s favorite city); see-and-be-seen Mediterranean-inspired seafood restaurant Fasano Al Mare (helmed by the former chef of a three-star Michelin Florentine eatery); and a rooftop swimming pool, steam room, and January 2010-debuted spa. Together, they serve as a superlative microcosm of the Brazilian party capital’s legendary and seductive revelry. Party hotel den Baretto-Londra’s leather-clad aesthetic and exposed red-brick walls provide a glam-packed haven for chic Cariocas (Rio residents) and jet-setters, where classic rock tunes, weekend DJs, and the occasional live show supply the beats. It’s the exclusive, guests-only rooftop scene that is Fasano’s coup de grace, though, where free-flowing bar service and a sexy infinity pool overlooking Rio’s iconic beachfront landscape define the city’s most coveted perch for sunsets and stargazing – of both ilks (P. Diddy, Madonna, and Beyoncé count among past patrons).
The Fontainebleau (www.fontainebleau.com) has been a part of the Miami Beach scene since 1954 (now that’s what we call staying power) yet this old darling is new again, thanks to a $1 billion renovation completed in 2008. Its celebrity pedigree can’t be beat (old-school icons like Elvis and the Rat Pack used to prowl the halls) and now the Fontainebleau’s hot-spot LIV nightclub, considered one of the world’s best clubs by many, attracts A-listers like Jennifer Lopez, LeBron James (his switch over to Miami Heat a coincidence? We think not!), and Lady Gaga who performed at LIV’s New Year’s Eve party last year. The 30,000-square-foot DJ-catered venue features eclectic entertainment and a voyeuristic design (you can see the entire venue from nearly every corner of the space) and is reason alone for the Fontainebleau’s major “party hotel” status. And for those who crave a more mellow night (sans the velvet rope and VIP list), the Fontainebleau offers the more subdued, but no less glam, Bleau Bar in the hotel lobby and Glow Bar, a sophisticated pool lounge, open to hotel guests only, daily until sunset (with the pool in signature bowtie design courtesy of hotel architect Morris Lapidus). The guest rooms and suites, 1,504 in total, come with ocean views, blue accents, and personal 20-inch iMacs. After a long night out, hotel guests can nurse their hangovers with food from one of Fontainebleau’s 11 restaurants and lounges, including three haute eateries: Hakkasan, Scarpetta, and Gotham Steak. Room rates start from $189/night; www.fontainebleau.com.
— Dana Harris
Checking out your room at the Metropolitan London (www.metropolitan.london.como.bz) – with its minimalist sophistication, COMO Shambhala bath products, Egyptian cotton sheets, yoga mat, and sweeping views of Hyde Park from some – you may not feel like you’ve just checked into the biggest party hotel in London, but that you have (and your room key is as good as a VIP ticket). After lunch or dinner at the hotel’s Michelin-starred Nobu outpost, head over to the Met Bar. The party starts during Afternoon De-Light (Monday–Saturday, 3pm to 6pm), a (potentially) boozy take on English teatime where alcohol-optional mar-tea-nis are served alongside healthier versions of traditional scones and sandwiches. Things really heat up at night when the bar hosts the latest London DJs, music acts, and entertainers; past performers include bands Oasis and Kings of Leon as well as then-unknown comedian Russell Brand. The regular monthly schedule features themed events like “Rockaoke” (karaoke with a live band) and an electronica club night. The oh-so exclusive Met Bar is open to hotel guests and Met members only (aside from a small, impossible to penetrate, guest list) which makes booking a room here all the more appealing. True revelers will want to book the hotel’s Party Like a Rock Star – Sleep Like a Baby package (from £309/night; subject to availability), which includes such essential amenities as Purple Haze shots (champagne-topped passionfruit vodka concoctions) on arrival, VIP access to several London nightclubs, and a "Party Box" with an inflatable guitar and hangover-hiding eye mask. Published rates start at £390/night, but check the website as daily rates fluctuate; www.metropolitan.london.como.bz.
If you want to party in Paris with the in crowd, the Murano Resort (www.muranoresort.com) is the place. Situated on the border of the trendy Marais neighborhood, the Murano’s 43 rooms and nine suites (two with private outdoor heated pools) feature cutting-edge technology; each opens using fingerprint ID and can essentially transform into a personal disco, thanks to in-room stereos and a high-tech system for playing with the room lights’ colors and levels. Down in the bar lounge – actually two party venues separated by a glass wall with a DJ booth in the middle – you’ll find 180 types of vodka on offer. Paris’s young and fabulous gather here for nightly DJ sessions with special guests hitting the turntables on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Take a breather from the techno-fueled bedlam at the ground-floor Martini Terrace lounge (open air in summer, covered in winter), serving up Italian fare with smooth martinis until 2am. Even Murano’s dining options cater to the party set: The Murano restaurant has its own DJ and serves breakfast until noon (perfect for the hangover-prone). Plus, all rooms have an espresso machine for an immediate caffeine fix. Stay over on a Saturday and indulge in all-day Sunday brunch, available from 11.30am to 5pm. For a weekend romp, the party hotel offers the Rock n’Luxe package (from €600/night) for two nights in an M room, champagne upon arrival, round-trip airport transfers, unlimited mini-bar access, breakfast daily, and late checkout. Rates start at €350/night; muranoresort.com.
A renaissance continues to rock LA’s formerly business-only Downtown neighborhood. The past decade has brought slick residential condos, a concert hall, plenty of art galleries, and stylish bars, restaurants, and party hotels (the rooftop at The Standard Downtown remains a trendy drink spot) and, now, the transformation – from a no-fly zone to a stylish city enclave – is nearly complete with the unveiling of the enormous, 2.5-billion-dollar L.A. LIVE (www.LALive.com), a sports, entertainment, and hotel complex next to the STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre. Considered the cornerstone of Downtown’s new entertainment endeavor, the Ritz-Carlton at L.A. LIVE (www.ritzcarlton.com), opened in April 2010, is stacked on top of the also new JW Marriot and the Ritz-Carlton Residences on the upper floors of a 54-story, LEED-certified tower, and features a sleek, contemporary aesthetic (a fresh look for a Ritz) and a swank full-service spa. Just steps away from the hotel, guests can take advantage of L.A. LIVE's offerings – bowl at Lucky Strike Lanes, dine at restaurants like Katsuya or Rosa Mexicana, catch a Lakers game, rage at a Lady Gaga concert (she has shows scheduled at the STAPLES Center in August 2010 and March 2011), perhaps even attend the Grammys next year – then head for some pre- or post-event partying to the Ritz’s Club Lounge on the 23rd floor for cocktails and sweeping city views; the rooftop pool lounge, Ion, on the 26th floor; or WP24, Wolfgang Puck’s onsite Asian restaurant. Coordinate your Los Angeles city stay with one of these upcoming, hot-ticket events: Rihanna, the X Games, Lady Gaga, American Idols Live Tour 2010, and Roger Waters. The hotel’s I Love L.A. LIVE package, priced from $309/night, includes a guest room, 10 percent off dining, valet parking, and any two L.A. LIVE add-ons like Bowling with shoe rental at Lucky Strike Bowling, movie tickets at Regal Cinemas, ESPN Zone Game Cards, and Grammy Museum tickets. Standard rack rates go for $309/night; www.ritzcarlton.com.
New York's 18th-floor Top of the Standard (formerly “The Boom Boom Room”) alone could earn hotelier Andre Balazs’ Meatpacking District property a spot on this list. The uber-exclusive rooftop club at The Standard (www.standardhotels.com) has already hosted the likes of Madonna, Jude Law, and Courtney Love, but expect the VIP cachet to spike even more when the space reopens its clubbing hours in late 2010 as a “private social club” (so say our insider sources; the space currently shuts down at 10pm but is open for daily sunset service). Thankfully, The Standard’s four other bars still draw crowds. Biergarten and The Standard Grill cater to more casual types, with hearty brews, outdoor seating, and a more relaxed atmosphere than many of the nabe’s velvet-rope spots, while DJs spin Friday and Saturday nights at The Living Room. For sky-high panoramas of the Hudson and High Line Park, guests can flock to Le Bain, a new rooftop space outfitted with Astroturf carpeting, metal-framed plastic lawn chairs, and an indoor pool bar one floor below (complete with sparkly disco ball). The party hotel’s 337 guest rooms seem to be an afterthought here, but the amenities certainly won’t disappoint: Floor-to-ceiling glass walls with city and river views, mood lighting, and Kiss My Face organic bath products. Rates start at $295; www.standardhotels.com.
The lightning bolt motif that traverses this party hotel’s sleek 27-story glass facade is just the first indication that theWit (www.thewithotel.com) is positively sizzling. The ROOF lounge, its year-round indoor/outdoor crowning glory, has been Chicago’s reigning “it” spot since its May 2009 debut, granting skyline and starry views; roaring fire pits; a menu of signature cocktails and small plates; and danceable beats doled out by weekend DJs or via the live rock and pop bands showcased in the June 2010-debuted concert series, ROOFLIVE (held twice monthly in summer/early fall). Add to that theWit’s bustling Loop location (just a stone’s throw from top theaters and eateries); duo of popular on-site restaurants; tricked-out movie theater available for private party screenings; and, oh yeah, some 300 stylish guest rooms to harbor your hangover in and you have just the energy-infused, merry-making recipe to whip up a regular roster of party-minded patrons. And theWit isn’t about to gather any moss on its primo party-circuit status: Though they say lightning doesn’t strike twice, its newly debuted second-floor Phoenix Lounge is already creating some sparks, with a menu of classic cocktails, a reader-friendly wine-list (“Lush Red”, “Buttery White”), and Mediterranean-inspired small plates rounded out by chic décor (black velvet chairs, silver leather banquets, modern sculpture) and live evening acoustic sets from local artists (Thursdays through Saturdays). Summer rates go for $229/night; www.thewithotel.com.