Five Best: Bars with a View

Have a drink while you drink in the sights, says Adrian Mourby
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The Independent Travel

Bar Longhi, Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice

Bar Longhi, Hotel Gritti Palace, Venice

Hemingway stayed at the Gritti and wrote his last novel, Across The River and into The Trees, in an upstairs room now dedicated to him. When he wasn't starting fights at Harry's Bar, Papa also drank in the hotel. The Longhi takes its name from the Venetian Rococo artist Pietro Longhi - two of his paintings grace its walls. One of the city's most famous hotels, the Gritti was built in 1525 as a palace for Doge Andrea Gritti. Its guestbook, the Libro d'Oro (golden book), reads like a Who's Who of bons vivants: Mick Jagger; Winston Churchill; Burt Bacharach; Clark Gable; Somerset Maugham. The bar's green marble interior is impressive, but what people come for is the terrace with its spoon-backed chairs, blue and gold mooring poles and a view that takes in the Grand Canal, from Santa Maria della Salute up to the Guggenheim and beyond. If you're feeling flush, ask for a Gritti Special (Martini Dry and Bitter Campari, plus a few drops of China Martini with an orange twist), expertly mixed by head barman Roberto Pellegrini.

Hotel Gritti Palace, Campo Santa Maria del Giglio, Venice (00 39 041 794611; www.starwood.com). Doubles from €797 (£570), without breakfast

The Lounge Bar, Klein's Camp, Tanzania

Set high on a bluff that overlooks the migratory routes that animals take across the Serengeti, Klein's takes its name from Al Klein, a legendary Big White Hunter who bought a stretch of land up here in the Thirties.

When his old hunting lodge was demolished, safari operator CCAfrica built a camp of luxury thatched cottages for people who prefer to capture their game with telephoto lenses.

The bar has a 120-degree panorama overlooking a plain populated by huge numbers of elephant and giraffe. Service is friendly to the point of insistence, with white-coated waiters keen to top up your glass. The ambience is old leather and mahogany; the view is straight out of The Lion King.

Klein's Camp, Klein's Gate, Serengeti, Tanzania (00 27 11 809 4300; www.kleinscamp.com).

Doubles from US$395 (£247) per person, including all meals, drinks and safaris

Château Eza, Côte d'Azur, France

A medieval castle overlooking St-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is the setting for a brand new bar designed by Spanish style guru Christina Macava. Eza is a boutique hotel with 10 suites which clings to the mountainside above the Riviera village of Eze. The new bar-lounge has been created so that guests can enjoy tapas and aperitifs throughout the day.

While the castle retains its original walls and fireplaces, the hotel is a mix of old and new favoured by Macava; many of the suites have Jacuzzis and DVD players. The bar opens on to a spectacular south-facing terrace with tables and parasols where guests can enjoy the splendour of the sun setting over the Med. Château Eza, Rue de la Pise, Eze, France (00 33 4 93 41 12 24; www.chateaueza.com). Doubles from €230 (£164), without breakfast

The Oriental Lounge, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore

The calmest bar in the world floats silently on the 19th floor of this chic modern Singapore hotel. The Mandarin Oriental is on the banks of the Singapore River, facing Boat Quay with its mass of gigantic office blocks. In the lounge, however, all is serene. Black leather armchairs and laquered tables are arranged with oriental simplicity. Friendly staff keep your champagne glass filled and provide a constant supply of Malay and Chinese delicacies to nibble. There's also a small library if you grow tired of the view. The only problem is that you won't want to go and see the Colonial Quarter; just sit, drink and soak up the sights.

Mandarin Oriental, 5 Raffles Avenue, Singapore (00 65 6885 3599; www.mandarinoriental.com). Doubles from S$232 (£76), including breakfast

Veghera Jetty Bar, Elounda Beach Hotel, Greece

Crete's Elounda complex was built by local architect Spyros Kokotos, who describes himself as not so much a proprietor as the hotel's most demanding guest. From his bungalow on the headland, the multi-millionaire designed his hotel as a sequence of villages along the shoreline of Mirabello Bay.

Lying at the end of a stone breakwater, the Veghera Jetty Bar is set out on decking, beneath a mast that gives a distinctly nautical feel. Waiters in service whites add to the impression that you are on a ship. To reach the bar, guests walk along the breakwater, swim from the beach or moor their yachts nearby. A great place to top up your tan.

Elounda Beach Hotel, Crete (00 30 28410 63810; www.eloundabeach.gr). Doubles from €390 (£278), with breakfast

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