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5 of the best places to drink a martini

The Connaught, London

Shaken or stirred? Wet or dry? Twist or dirty? There is a fine art to ordering the perfect martini and a science to making it – if you take care of the first part, these hotel bars will do the rest. By DELILAH KHOMO

Lifestyle

THE CONNAUGHT, London

From the wood-paneled dining rooms to the warming coal fires, The Connaught oozes classical British style, but the real draw is its superb martini trolley in the landmark bar. The delivery from head mixologist Ago Perrone is pure theater: while you peruse the extensive menu of artisan vodkas and gins, he’ll sculpt the perfect block of ice before shaking or stirring to your liking, then adding bergamot or vanilla or lavender essence to perfume your drink. The little extras – delicate John Jenkins crystal glasses; Smythson cocktail cards to take home as a memento; ordering a signature Jean-Georges Vongerichten truffle pizza on the side – makes this one of the most memorable bars and most delicious cocktails you’ll ever experience. So good, in fact, that you’ll want to book the monthly masterclass with Perrone so you can learn the art of making the ultimate martini at home.

SHOW BUSINESS
The Connaught’s head mixologist provides a spectacle as he mixes your martini
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Maharaja magic
Step back in time at the Taj Rambagh Palace’s Polo Bar

THE TAJ RAMBAGH PALACE, Jaipur

The former home of the Maharaja, this Mogul-inspired hotel is the most glamorous hangout in Jaipur to enjoy a martini. At the Taj Rambagh Palace, the rhythm of a more elegant era is conjured by the pigeon wallahs, who are employed to shoo away the birds from the inner courtyard fountains. Every evening, the resident palmist is on hand to read your fortune on the veranda, a short stroll away from the legendary Polo Bar, where you can sip your vodka martini under art-deco chandeliers.

HOTEL BEL-AIR, Los Angeles

This iconic hotel has been an LA-insider favorite ever since it opened in 1946, and the spirit of the Hotel Bel-Air’s pleasure-mad movie colony still remains. Hollywood’s see-and-be-seen clientele clamber for the bar’s top table to enjoy Monroe’s Passion martinis – named in honor of Marilyn Monroe, who loved the hotel’s swan lake and sumptuous rooms – and delicious hamburger sliders from star chef Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant.

STAR DRAW
LA’s legendary Hotel Bel-Air offers low-key elegance and high-quality drinks

LE BRISTOL, Paris

Detox to retox in the most decadent manner at this palatial hotel on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where you can enjoy the fabulous ritual of a Russian Banïya at the rooftop spa, a transformative experience which combines birch-twig beatings with plunges into freezing water. Afterwards, head to the bar to sip the perfect icy vodka martini or the signature martini cocktail, the Sea Vesper, made with vodka infused with oyster leaves (a plant that tastes like an oyster). The whole place oozes high-octane glamour, with murals by French artist Thierry Bruet and an authentic Aubusson tapestry by Charles Pinçon. Five-star Michelin chef Eric Frechon has even created the ultimate martini accompaniment, caviar d’aubergine fumé – a caviar and smoked eggplant tapas dish on grilled bread.

LIQUID GOLD
The hotel’s signature Sea Vesper martini is best enjoyed in the elegant Le Bar du Bristol

LE SIRENUSE, Positano, Italy

The summer seat of the noble Sersale family has remained the heart of Positano since they turned their home into this iconic hotel in 1951. Aside from enjoying the most exceptional views of Italy’s glamorous coastline, Le Sirenuse’s rooftop bar, Franco’s, with its amazing Giuseppe Ducrot fountain-sculpture, mixes the world’s best martini with a twist thanks to the local grapefruit-size variety of lemons grown on the Costiera. The bar staff will squeeze and spritz the peel over the surface of your drink, resulting in a citrus hit you won’t get anywhere else.

ROOFTOP WITH A VIEW
Revel in the vivid colors – and luscious lemons – of Positano in the iconic Franco’s bar