Lounge Lizards Chill Lounges in Hot Hotels

  • Date: Friday, 02 January 2009

Lounge lizards know that the ideal place to hang out has to incorporate certain qualities: it must have a distinct style, be intimate, and a little sexy.
In short, the vibe should feel almost like home-without mom, dad and Great Aunt Suzy feasting on leftover Christmas ham-and equipped with a fabulous bar, hors d'oeuvres, music and ambiance.

From hotspots catering to young Hollywood to throwbacks to a different era, check out some of these lounges that are tucked inside hotels, so even out-of-towners can join the party.

Mbar
InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa
Paradise Valley, AZ
Even when Arizona's winter temperature drops under 60 degrees, the vibe inside Mbar is warm and sultry. Besides the requisite plush couches and candlelight, this lounge is also one of the best spots to watch the sun set over nearby Camelback Mountain while listening to the sounds of Spanish guitar music.
Nestled inside Prado, the signature restaurant of the new InterContinental Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley (part of metropolitan Phoenix) Mbar opened in November 2008, and is already a see-and-be-seen spot for locals.
And for good reason. Mbar is chic (caramel-colored leather bar stools, carved wood-accent tables and eye-catching art), and, in true Southwest style, boasts a wide selection of agave tequilas. Among the signature cocktails: the "Fountain of Youth" which blends the potent liquor with au currant acai, pomegranate and citrus juices.
Meanwhile, a menu features high-end tapas, including New Caledonian prawns,  eggplant tapenade and hand-sliced Serrano ham. If you have a bigger appetite, the M Burger is served with brioche, Manchego cheese, aioli and hand-cut French fries. Out-of-towners are also discovering the 34-acre resort, set in the desert and inspired by the Andalusia region of Southern Spain, complete with Spanish-inspired courtyards, gurgling fountains and lemon trees.
4949 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley, Arizona; 480-627-3200,

Skybar
Mondrian Hotel
Los Angeles
There are plenty of trendy accommodations in L.A., but the Mondrian, a boutique hotel along Sunset Boulevard, is a standout. For one thing, if you want to break through the velvet rope of Skybar-a longtime gathering space for celebrities and beautiful people-all you need is a guest-room key. One night at the Mondrian and you'll be rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's elite.

Perhaps best of all, an evening at Skybar offers a classically "L.A." kind of night. Think balmy weather, lounging al fresco, and panoramic views of the city.
8440 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, California; 323-650-8999,

ArtBar Lounge
The Liaison Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C.
In the nation's capital, where lawmakers, lobbyists and power brokers mix and mingle at work and play, happy hours can sometimes feel like one big networking-fest.

Nothing wrong with that, but for those who prefer to end the day someplace with a mellower feel, enter the ArtBar Lounge inside The Liaison Capitol Hill.
The lounge is part of the hotel's recently launched destination restaurant, Art and Soul-the latest offering of Chef Art Smith. (The James Beard Award-winning chef and cookbook author is probably best-known as being Oprah's former personal chef.)
The hotel's lobby flows into the restaurant, lounge, and bar areas, and it's certainly thought-provoking. Iconic six-foot paintings of world leaders, such as Martin Luther King Jr., and Gandhi, line the walls. There are white leathery seats (built-in conversation nooks), Space Age-style lighting, 16-foot glass walls, shiny red chairs, a pinstripe couch, and floral arrangements (including congratulatory bouquet from Lady O, herself). And, of course, there is the (obligatory) amazing view of the district's distinctive skyline.

The restaurant serves up Southern and Chesapeake Bay fare, so bar appetizers include distinctively regional dishes like Rappahannock River oysters with pimento corn mignonette and spice-rubbed ahi tuna with fried green tomatoes and sour pickle relish.
415 New Jersey Avenue, NW, Washington, DC; 202-638-1616,

The Leopard Lounge
The Chesterfield Hotel
Palm Beach, FL

The Chesterfield Hotel is a place where English tea is served daily alongside plates of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. It's not difficult to win over fans with that kind of service.

But step into The Leopard Lounge and it's a whole other world. On one evening, a pianist was plucking out Frank Sinatra tunes, while ladies and gents (yes, gents) dressed for the evening (no jeans allowed here), swayed on the dance floor. All around are touches of the signature red and leopard trimmed décor that gives this famed lounge its reputation.

From highballs to martinis, bartenders at The Leopard Lounge know how to make a mean drink. Stop by on the right night and you may even spot celebrity frequenters like Whitney Houston and Rod Stewart. This lounge is purr-fect.
363 Cocoanut Row, Palm Beach; 561-659 5800

The Colony Hotel
Royal Room Cabaret
Palm Beach, FL
Not far from the Leopard Lounge is the Royal Room Cabaret inside the Colony Hotel. This upscale and elegant boutique hotel has so many dining and other options onsite, guests need not venture beyond the palm trees or swimming pool.
Yet as the name suggests, the establishment has made a name for itself as a venue where one can lounge while watching cabaret. Top performers such as Broadway baby Ben Vereen show up regularly, and season tickets are highly coveted. Drinks flow and service is superb.

And don't think of this as your grandmother's night out. Loungers of all ages are hanging out on a typical weekend, patrons dance into the wee hours to live entertainment (a band that performs Motown standards performs regularly) and a lively spirit permeates throughout. A royal experience, indeed.

155 Hammon Avenue, Palm Beach; 800-521-5525,
By Donna M. Owens for PeterGreenberg.com.

Lounge Lizards Chill Lounges in Hot Hotels