June 12, 2009

Heat may rise, but these three new rooftop spots are the coolest places to spend a sultry city night. Sanctuary (1745 James Ave.; 305/673-5455), South Beach's latest confection, has hit on a winning combination: a low-key crowd, killer kumquat mojitos, private cabanas, and Art Deco–skyline vistas. Set on the 22nd floor of the San Diego Marriott, the aptly named Altitude Skybar (660 K St.; 619/696-0234) is a fantasy garden lounge with a 15-foot waterfall and lava-rock fire pit, but the real draw is a bird's-eye look into neighboring Petco Park (so close you'll hear the crack of the bats). The diminutive Spa Vitale (8 Mission St.; 415/278-3788), atop San Francisco's new Hotel Vitale, has two outdoor infinity-edged soaking tubs surrounded by bamboo. Book a bathing ritual at dusk, when nearby office buildings glitter like stars.
—JAIME GROSS

Spa Vitale

A spa with a view, Spa Vitale is located on the penthouse level of Hotel Vitale with views over the Bay and access to a rooftop bamboo garden outfitted with 14-foot-deep private tubs for bathing al fresco. Customers enjoy the spa's many massage options, including side-by-side massage for couples and the San Francisco treat, a foot and leg massage with the spa’s signature lavender organic sugar scrub and peppermint foot masque. The bathing ritual, which includes seasonally fresh bath products, an herbal beverage, and a cucumber wash, can be added to any service.

Altitude Skybar

Altitude Sky Lounge is an open-air bar on the rooftop of the 22-story San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter. Views of the city's skyline are the main attraction at this bar, where specialty cocktails such as chocolate martinis are served and a DJ plays hip-hop and house music. PETCO Park ball games are visible from seats along the edge of the bar. Altitude also provides blankets, heaters, and an outdoor lava fire pit to keep guests warm.

 

Sanctuary

Located just a few steps from the clubs and lively atmosphere of Collins Avenue, this two-story boutique hotel provides an unexpected respite from the hustle and bustle of South Beach. No run-of-the-mill rooms are found here: each room are outfitted with a rainforest showerhead, custom custom made-free standing armoires, and full kitchen with Calcutta marble countertops. All of the hotel's 30 suites overlook an exotic Japanese garden courtyard and has their own private terrace. Other hotel amenities include a rooftop pool and bamboo garden.

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