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

Summer’s best terraces and rooftop retreats

One of the greatest pleasures of summer in the city? Retreating to a rooftop hideaway or sun-dappled terrace, to dine alfresco, drink in the views, or cool off with a swim. We’ve rounded up six exceptional addresses 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 you won’t forget: 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 beef, meanwhile, is grilled, pan-fried, or served in a terrific tartare.

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

Mahjong Roof Garden at Mandarin Oriental, Munich

For stylish alfresco drinking and dining, this slick new rooftop restaurant and bar is open from May until the end of September. Its glorious wraparound views take in the Old Town’s spires and gabled roofs, along with the turreted town hall and twin-domed cathedral. The terrace itself has a panoramic bar and infinity pool, while the lounge is the work of iconic French design house Roche Bobois. Sights ticked off, claim a low-slung sofa and explore the polished cocktail list, kicking off with a Gin Basil Smash or summery Mahjong Spritz.

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 miso-spiked ceviche, perfect maki rolls, and the finest Pisco Sours this side of Lima. Follow the regulars’ example and start with 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 and cushioned daybeds edge two dreamy rooftop pools, while staff are on hand with fresh towels and cool drinks. Settle into a cushioned daybed with a Mandarin mocktail, sweetened with the hotel’s own-label honey, and enjoy the view. It takes in Al Bidda Park and the glittering skyscrapers of West Bay; at sunset, look out for traditional teak dhows, sailing across the bay. After an afternoon swim, head down to Gelato for seasonal sorbets and Doha’s most decadent ice-creams.

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

Set on the city’s waterfront, behind palm-edged lawns, the Emirates Palace is next-level opulent, with its soaring domes, intricate mosaics, and acres of gold leaf. For matchless views, check into the magnificent Royal Khaleej Suite. Dinner at dusk on its private balcony is headily romantic, looking out on the Arabian Gulf and the hotel’s white sand beach.

Atelier di Carne

Spectacular vistas come as standard at Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, where three new restaurants look out on Paradise Bay. On a deck over the water, Hakkasan is East-meets-West sleek, with its tasselled lanterns, geometric screens and modern Cantonese menu. The must-tries? Its lychee martini, and Peking duck with caviar. Alternatively, book a table on the terrace at Atelier di Carne, and sample Tuscan butcher Dario Cecchini’s sublime, flame-grilled steaks. Last but not least, there’s the seafood-focussed Lucca by the Sea. It’s an alfresco offshoot of Istanbul’s coolest hangout – now with front-row views of the Aegean.

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