City views from rooftop bar Terrat and the plant-fringed pool at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

Summer’s best rooftop retreats

One of the greatest pleasures of summer in the city? Retreating to a rooftop hideaway, to dine alfresco, drink in the views, or cool off with a swim. We’ve rounded up five exceptional rooftops worth travelling to, whether you’re dreaming of a pool with a view or dinner below the stars

Wooden tables set up for service at alfresco Tasca

Tasca at Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai

Walking into this beachfront address is an experience that you won’t forget easily: think doormen in frock coats and fedoras, and an avenue of crystal-leafed bronze trees. The ace in its sleeve, though, is the rooftop. A glinting infinity pool meets the blue of the Arabian Gulf, while Tasca is the city’s hottest table. Two-Michelin-starred Portuguese chef José Avillez is behind its menu; don’t miss his creamy Tempura Avocado, or the specially-imported Blue Lobster. Wagyu Sirloin, meanwhile, is grilled, pan-fried, or served in the ultimate steak sandwich.

View across the Munich skyline from The Terrace rooftop at Mandarin Oriental, Munich

The Terrace at Mandarin Oriental, Munich

For stylish alfresco dining, this slick rooftop restaurant and bar, is open from May to early October. Its glorious wraparound views take in the Old Town’s spires and gabled roofs, along with the turreted town hall and twin domes of the Frauenkirche Munich (also known as the Cathedral Church of Our Lady). Sights ticked off, settle into a stylishly low-slung sofa, and consider the polished cocktail list. You can’t go wrong with a Frozé (frozen rosé), classic Negroni Highball or simply a glass of Perrier-Jouët Champagne. The opulence extends to the food, with a selection of outstanding sushi by Matsuhisa Munich; try the California rolls made with delicate snow crab, cucumber and avocado.

Views over the city from the rooftop pool and bar, Terrat, at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

Terrat at Mandarin Oriental, Barcelona

A gold lift whisks you up to Barcelona’s most glamorous rooftop, bordered by an elegant, guests-only dipping pool. Bask on a sun-warmed lounger or get an aerial view of the city, including the filigree, fairy-tale spires of Gaudí’s Sagrada Família. The biggest draw, though, is Terrat, masterminded by Peruvian super-chef Gastón Acurio. Enjoy Ceviche Nikkei, perfect maki rolls, and the finest Pisco Sours this side of Lima. Follow the regulars’ example and order the Parmesan scallops – laced with truffle foam, and far too good to share.

A man swimming in the rooftop pool at Mandarin Oriental, Doha

The Pool at Mandarin Oriental, Doha

Whether you’re into poolside lounging or racking up the lengths, the eighth-floor terrace at Mandarin Oriental, Doha delivers. Curtain-swathed cabanas edge two dreamy rooftop pools; settle into a cushioned daybed with a Mandarin mocktail, sweetened with the hotel’s own-label honey. Staff are on hand with fresh towels and cool drinks, while the sun-dappled terrace at Mosaic is perfect for lunch. The view takes in Al Bidda Park and the glittering skyscrapers of West Bay; at sunset, look out for traditional teak dhows, sailing across the bay.

Two woven chairs facing the sublime beach on the terrace of the Royal Khaleej Suite at Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

The Royal Khaleej Suite at Mandarin Oriental Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi

Sitting in the heart of Abu Dhabi with its beautiful façade and private beach and marina is the iconic Emirates Palace. For the most spectacular views of the Arabian Gulf, book a stay in the Royal Khaleej Suite; with a private balcony overlooking the pristine sea, you’ll be dining in one of the most luxurious private rooftop spots in the city. Lucky for you, the hotel also boasts a beautiful outdoor terrace at one of its 12 restaurants, Hakkasan, where you can relax in a cabana and take in the city sights at dusk.

The snow-capped Atlas Mountains at night beneath a starry sky

An MO guide to alternative city sights

Whether you’re looking for staycation inspiration or planning your next trip, our destination experts reveal their must-see hidden sights to enjoy in cities across the world