Hotel bars in Asia get a sexy makeover

Once functional watering holes for road-weary business travellers, hotel bars in Asia are getting major makeovers so that they aren’t just stylish enough for discerning hotel guests, they’re cool enough for locals too.

Jigger and Pony, Singapore
  • Natasha Hong
  • January 2019

After a brief spell as the uncool brother to the spate of new speakeasy, bespoke and mixology bar openings, the hotel bar is cool again in Singapore. With in-house spots like Manhattan opens in new window hanging on to number one spot on Asia's 50 Best Bars list for two years running, and the decision of local stalwart Jigger & Pony opens in new window to set up shop at the Amara Singapore, punters are beginning to consider adding a hotel bar or two to their bar hopping circuits.

Jigger and Pony, Singapore
Jigger and Pony, Singapore.

"We see that guests see the hotel they stay at as an extension of the lifestyle they want to immerse themselves in and experience in the city," says Jigger & Pony's co-owner Indra Kantono. "We designed Jigger & Pony such that after dark, it becomes the living room of the city where locals and visitors alike gather together." Across its new digs, they confirm that message with its cosy palette of teak, burnt orange and peacock blues, and plush booths that huddle groups of friends there for birthdays, heart-to-hearts and just-because gatherings. On the hospitality end, it's the same charming service that delivers classic cocktails with a twist which keeps the crowds coming back for more — hotel lobby or not.

Three stunning hotel bars in Asia to check out

Room 309, The Pottinger, Hong Kong
Room 309, The Pottinger, Hong Kong.

1. Room 309, The Pottinger, Hong Kong

Like most hotel rooms, entry to Room 309 opens in new window is by invite only. What hides within though, isn't a romantic liaison or a place to rest your head — it’s a 20-seater by local bartending legend Antonio Lai.

The Loft, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok
The Loft, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok.

2. The Loft, Waldorf Astoria Bangkok

Bangkok loves its rooftop perches and adds another with the Waldorf Astoria opens in new window popping up in its skyline. Housed up on level 56, The Loft channels glamorous New York bars with its Art Nouveau looks and namesake cocktails like gin-and-citrus Astoria, and the Waldorf, which addles bourbon with Thai basil and coriander.

Bar Trigona, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur
Bar Trigona, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur.

3. Bar Trigona, Four Seasons Hotel Kuala Lumpur

The clues to this must-visit hotel bar's opens in new window cocktail programme lies in the name — the trigona bee is native to the country, and here, head bartender Ashish Sharma turns to local and sustainable sources for ways to add a touch of Malaysia to classic recipes.