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A View From The Top

Rooftop Bars and Restaurants Offer Unique Perspective For Guests

Tuesday, November 06, 2018
Steve Pike
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“On the roof, it's peaceful as can be."

When she wrote those lyrics in 1962, chances are that future legendary singer Carole King wasn’t thinking about one of today’s more popular food and beverage trends. That is, rooftop bars and restaurants.

Each is a great way for guests and locals to share sunsets and evening views of the host city. Each also is a great way for a hotel/resort to show off its F&B operations; and just as important, create an additional revenue stream for the F&B departments.

“There’s something about being up above the city with never-ending views that feels naturally inspiring and awe-inducing. In that way, our rooftop pool & bar, Azul, is more than a place for lounging and great dining, it’s really a destination,” said Brandt Tiffany, general manager of the Westin Austin (Texas) Downtown. “It’s a place that locals and guests seek out, whether it’s to catch a sunset, to see the city from a new perspective or to get away from the hustle of city life.

“So, from a business perspective, we’re able to attract more patrons beyond those using our hotel services and restaurants, both guests and locals, as well as drive organic notoriety for our property as a whole with regular events and activations on the rooftop,” he said.

Azul is the highest hotel rooftop pool and bar in Austin—on the 20th floor of the Westin Downtown Austin, which is located in the heart of Texas’ capital city.

“As such, we feel an inherent responsibility to make sure the experience is as optimized as possible for hotel guests and local visitors alike,” Tiffany said. “Any rooftop begins with the space and architecture: the area should create a sense of place that expands upon the views and compounds the euphoric feelings of being above the city. With that in mind, we recently renovated our entire space, revamping cozy cabana spaces and adding striking communal elements.

“Equally importantly, the F&B component has to not only complement the space, but also live up to the views. For example, playing off our fun and bright ethos of Azul, we honed in with a menu meant to surprise and delight. Lastly, in this industry, if you’re not innovating, someone else is. You have to get creative. Our team is masterful when it comes to keeping the space fresh, from throwing 90’s Halloween Bashes to the creation of our one-of-a-kind Mermaid Above Austin experience. We want our guests and locals to feel that passion we’re putting into Azul each and every day,” he added.

How’s this for creative? WATR at 1 Rooftop at 1 Hotel South Beach has a retractable roof that protect its guests 18 floors above Miami Beach. WATR is located on the highest rooftop in South Beach with 360-degree views of our city and Atlantic Ocean.

“The retractable roof has been a great addition to our venue,” said Fernando Cruz, executive chef at 1 Hotel South Beach. “We do a lot of evening activations with DJs, pop-up shops and holiday celebrations. With Miami’s unpredictable weather, these events used to be subject to cancellation if the weather was not cooperating. In addition to having this sense of security for the rainy season, we are also able to secure more private events for our groups that stay in-house for business retreats and conventions.

“WATR is the most popular restaurant in our hotel, so whether you’re coming for the food or are looking for a beautiful location to propose to your significant other, this venue is a huge attraction for our hotel. I think rooftops have always, and will always be, popular in Miami Beach. Our year-round perfect weather and beautiful ocean views will always be a perfect destination for tourists and locals,” said Cruz.

At Le Méridien/AC Hotel Denver Downtown, 54thirthy is Denver’s highest open-air rooftop bar, soaring 20 floors above the Mile High City.

“Having a superlative is always a good place to start,” said Christy DeSiato, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing. “From there, it’s important to set the stage with the right design—including lighting and furniture—and great music. The lounge-like atmosphere and multiple fire pits make it appealing for friends to gather and stay awhile, and the fire pits also help allow us to remain open into the cooler months. This year, we’re welcoming guests to 54thirty into November.”

Given that most Denver hotels don’t have a rooftop restaurant or bar, DeSiato said, 54thirty puts Le Méridien/AC Hotel in the position to offer our guests a unique amenity that sets it apart from the competition.

“You truly do get the best of both worlds at 54thirty,” DeSiato said. “Le Méridien/AC Hotel Denver Downtown is in the heart of the city, so you get to enjoy that scene while also taking in the views of the mountains to the West. And, at the end of the day, those views are why locals live here and why tourists visit the city.

“Also, since 54thirty has remained busy since opening. When the rooftop reaches capacity it allows guests to trickle into the property’s other restaurants and bars, where we can build additional revenue. And from a meetings, weddings and groups standpoint, the rooftop offers a unique space for a variety of events, increasing our ability to generate interest and revenue in that space, as well.”

Steve Pike
Hotel Interactive® Editorial Division

Bio: Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than ...
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