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8 Hotels for People-Watching
  • The Standard New York, High Line

    The Standard, High Line

  • Copacabana Palace

    Copacabana Palace

  • Hotel de Russie

    Hotel de Russie

  • Drake Hotel

    Drake Hotel

  • Burj Al Arab

    Burj Al Arab

  • Hotel Ocean Drive

    Hotel Ocean Drive

  • The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

    The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

  • Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

    Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat

April, 2013

We’re not saying that choosing a hotel for the opportunities it affords to stare at people is necessarily the most tasteful way to go, but sometimes we all feel the pull of the pageant of humanity. These eight hotels offer world-class people-watching.

1.

The Standard, High Line
New York, New York — There’s virtually no end to the people-watching at the Standard, High Line. The penthouse pool and discothèque is what hedonism looks like at its most dolled up. The biergarten sprinkles dirndl-clad servers into the mix. The High Line park itself is like a runway for the visiting comfort-is-key set. And even the guest rooms have something of a see-and-be-seen reputation, owing to the bathtubs in the windows above the Meatpacking district and the hijinks they invite.
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2.

Copacabana Palace
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — The name kind of says it all with this one; it’s a palatial hotel on Copacabana Beach, an enduring symbol of retro Rio glamour that still draws its share of guests hiding out from the paparazzi. To see it at its people-watching best, head to the pool-terrace, where well-to-do visitors mingle with suntanning cariocas.
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3.

Hotel de Russie
Rome, Italy — Book a room with a terrace and the street-side people-watching is about as good as any in Rome — or just hang out in the lobby library if your idea of a good time is watching loafing film stars read the newspaper.
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4.

Drake Hotel
Toronto, Canada — If you’re interested in seeing Toronto’s arts scene (and the people who make it), the Drake is your place, situated on Queen Street West where the hip Parkdale district meets the edge of the grittier neighborhoods beyond. The hotel’s Corner Cafe is a local institution for brunch, and the Underground hosts all manner of performers, musical and otherwise.
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5.

Burj Al Arab
Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Dubai’s Burj Al Arab is quite possibly the most over-the-top hotel in the world, with a clientele to match. Who books a hotel whose façade turns rainbow-colored by night and whose top suites have twenty-seven telephones and rotating beds? One good way to find out: take a meal in the under-the-sea restaurant with its cast of characters straight out of a Bond film, or don your Versace mesh to soak in the conspicuous extravagance in the Skyview bar.
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6.

Hotel Ocean Drive
Ibiza, Spain — There’s plenty of late-night people-watching in Ibiza, but for something different, grab a table at the day-after procession of late risers at Hotel Ocean Drive’s breakfast, mercifully served until four in the afternoon.
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7.

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada — Las Vegas is a very special kind of cosmopolitan, and the Cosmopolitan is an only-in-Vegas kind of hotel. Its nearly 3,000 rooms, dozen restaurants and 100,000 square-foot casino are a study in global opulence, and owing to the hotel’s location on the strip, Vegas’s usual human absurdity is just outside the doors.
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8.

Grand Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat
Cap Ferrat, France — If you want to go mingling with the beautiful people, a relentlessly stylish hotel on an exclusive island off the Côte d’Azur is a pretty obvious choice. It’s almost as if having all the right genes and the riches to express them were a pre-requisite for lounging in the sun at the hotel’s pool club, which makes for some awfully good people-watching while you lounge in the sun at the hotel’s pool club.
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