Summer is finally here and London's top hotels are throwing open their doors and sprucing up their terraces for a series of exciting pop-ups. No holiday plans? No worries. Make a beeline instead for a rooftop garden that has been transformed into a chic Amalfi Coast hideaway, or perhaps a Provence-inspired balcony to quaff rosé. Keep checking our regularly updated guide throughout the season for the very best pop-ups across the city, from cocktails in a Mexican cabana to secret gin bars and bottomless Bahamian brunches. It's time for a stay-cation.
Laurent-Perrier Summer Terrace at Sea Containers Hotel
If you fancy a bit of seafood and fizz while overlooking the river, this pop-up is just the ticket: Sea Containers Hotel has teamed up with Laurent-Perrier to launch a special food and drink experience, complete with cocktails made from the champagne house's Cuvée Rosé. A strip of the hotel’s esplanade – which affords prime views of the Thames – has been turned into a colourful space with eye-catching décor and a mock red telephone booth. Kitschiness aside, the terrace menu is seafood-focused: tuck into overflowing platters of ceviche, oysters and prawns – all with a lovely, fresh-out-of-the-ocean sweetness. Get the dressed crab and scallop carpaccio, or splash out on the butter grilled lobster. To counter all the fish, the watermelon, cucumber, feta and mint salad is a nice palate cleanser – and makes for the ideal summery treat while you observe the action along the river.
Open until late September for lunch and dinner
Read the full review: Sea Containers London
La Dolce Vita at The Berkeley
Swerve the crowded Amalfi Coast this summer and hole up in Knightsbridge instead. The Berkeley has gone all out to transform its rooftop garden into ‘La Dolce Vita’, a chic hideaway inspired by Italy’s great hotels such as Il Pellicano and La Sirenuse. Sunseekers can head to the roof, usually reserved for hotel guests, to recline on the yellow and white striped sunbeds set among lemon and olive trees. Cool down with an Aperol Spritz or Negroni, before tucking into the likes of fritto misto, pizzetta, saffron arancini and tricolore salad - plus gelato and limoncello sorbet for afters, by the evening light of Acqua di Parma candles. Round off your day with the limited edition ‘La Dolce Vita’ spa treatment, which uses lemon salts and rosemary oil to help prepare skin for a long, hot summer. And if temperatures don't quite reach Italian heights, you can warm up in the covered pool area, sauna or steam room.
Open until September 1. Four-hour package £75 per person, including access to the rooftop garden and pool, sauna and steam room, a glass of Aperol Spritz and nibbles; £195 with spa treatment.
Read the full review: The Berkeley
Spirit of Summer at ME London’s Radio Rooftop
It’s decision time at ME London’s Radio Rooftop bar this summer, where the 'Spirit of Summer' takeover sees an English botanical garden occupying one of its terraces and a Mexican hacienda another. Both are only available for exclusive hire, so it’s best to bring along some friends. Margaritas are the order of the day at the Mexico-inspired space – a terracotta-coloured cabana decorated with plenty of tropical foliage and cacti – which is run by Patrón tequila. Enjoy jugs of fruity cocktails (choose from flavours such as watermelon, lime or mango), plus sharing platters laden with nachos, chorizo quesadillas, padrón peppers and mole sauce. Over on the other side, Bombay Sapphire is at the helm with two blue garden sheds decked out with hanging baskets, and blankets draped over garden furniture. Here bottles of Bombay English Estate come with interesting mixers and fresh garnishes, while Anglo-Indian sharing platters are piled high with treats such as bombay potato Scotch eggs, tandoori chicken and gin-cured salmon.
Open until late October. The Bombay Garden Experience (minimum six people) and The Patrón Hacienda Experience (minimum eight people) cost £75 per person.
Read the full review: ME London
Angler Terrace x Cambridge Distillery at South Place Hotel
Find a slice of Cambridgeshire countryside in the midst of the Square Mile as Angler (South Place Hotel's Michelin-starred restaurant) teams up with Cambridge Distillery for a gin bar on its rooftop terrace. Admire the meadow-inspired trailing flowers decorating the bar while sipping on a Cambridge Collins (£13.50), pepped up with ginger ale and Aperol, or a fragrant Kaffir Lime Gimlet (£13). For purists, the classic G&T is a good vehicle to show off the gin, which is flavoured with botanicals foraged from Cambridgeshire fields. You'll also want to tuck into the accompanying snack menu from Angler Head Chef Gary Foulkes, consisting of refined takes on classic bar snacks: think cuttlefish fritters with chip shop curry sauce and crispy pork brawn with Gentleman's Relish. There will also be a series of 'Tastings on the Terrace' dotted throughout the summer that tell the story of the distillery and involve plenty of samples.
Open until the end of August; 'Tastings on the Terrace' will be held on 29 June, 27 July and 31 August from 3-4pm, priced at £15 per person.
Read the full review: South Place Hotel
Icéclairs all round at The Savoy's Melba
Looking for something sweet that takes the edge off summer heat? The Savoy has the solution at its pâtisserie, Melba (named after Auguste Escoffier’s famous pudding). Enter the Icéclairs: light choux pastry filled with handmade ice-cream in a range of flavours, from pure dark chocolate to Sicilian pistachio. It gets more indulgent as you tailor the treat to your tastes, drizzling them with chocolate, caramel and raspberry sauce (and a dark, milk or white chocolate glaze) before moving on to toppings: cookie dough, caramelised hazelnuts, popping candy, and more. Icéclairs – as delicious as they are pretty – cost £5.
Available until mid-September
Read the full review: The Savoy
Au Soleil Balcony at Le Méridien Piccadilly
Provence comes to Piccadilly this summer at Le Meridien’s Au Soleil balcony. The hotel has joined forces with Mirabeau wines to serve up what will likely be rivers of rosé on its sunny terrace, which has been dressed up with retro parasols, floral backdrops and straw hats on the tables. Kick back, play some backgammon (just ask for a set) and order a round of Provençal classics such as Niçoise salad, ratatouille and pissaladière. Going with a crowd? Book the ‘Go Slow Table’, which celebrates the art of leisurely dining – a concept rather lost in London – and lasts at least three hours with a welcome cocktail on arrival, savoury and sweet sharing platters, plus two magnums of Mirabeau Pure rosé (£69 per person; based on four sharing). Not quite ready for your riviera summer-in-an-afternoon to be over? Pick up a Mirabeau Frosé Popsicle to go.
Open until the end of September. Free wine tastings are available on June 24, July 9 and August 13; the 'Go Slow Table' can be booked daily (from June 21) by parties of four or more.
Read the full review: Le Méridien Piccadilly
The Secret Herb Garden at the Royal Horseguards Hotel
Gin is everywhere, but not everywhere is like the Secret Herb Garden near the banks of the Thames. This al fresco speakeasy is hidden behind Whitehall Garden at The Royal Horseguards Hotel, which boasts historic connections to royalty and British prime ministers; despite this grandeur, the garden is a calm oasis where summer spritzes – plus herb-inspired cocktails – are mixed and pizzas crisp in an outdoor oven. The hotel has teamed up with Fever Tree to offer gin and tonic masterclasses (£30) on the last Thursday of the summer months. But the best thing is garnishing your own G&T with the herbs (lavender, rosemary and mint) found throughout the secret garden.
Open until the end of September. Gin and tonic classes are on 27 June, 25 July, 29 August and 26 September.
Read the full review: The Royal Horseguards
Brunch on the Beach at The Montague
The Beach Bar returns to The Montague on the Gardens hotel in Bloomsbury for another Bahamas-style pop-up complete with generous bottomless brunch. A cocktail menu includes tropical classics – piña coladas; Sex on the Beach – as well as mimosas and bloody Marys; knock back as many as you fancy during a two-hour session, which costs £39. The brunch menu is comprised of sharing platters featuring Cumberland sausage with red onion chutney, black pudding Scotch eggs, avocado and smoked salmon on toast, and more. Dessert is an ice cream cone – it is summer and you are at the 'beach', after all.
Every Saturday and Sunday until September 15
The Norfolk Boys Menu at Dukes London
Popping up for one night only at Dukes London is chef Tom Aikens, who will join the hotel’s head chef Nigel Mendham to create a six-course tasting menu celebrating all things Norfolk, inspired by the chefs' joint heritage and happy times spent by the seaside in the county. Guests can expect impeccably sourced produce with dishes such as Norfolk gin and beetroot-cured cod with Kings Lynn brown shrimps and Cromer crab with burnt celeriac. On the night, those dining will have the opportunity to meet both chefs and hear their tales from Norfolk. For those who miss out on tickets, a number of dishes from The Norfolk Boys menu will be available at Dukes' GBR restaurant throughout the summer.
The Norfolk Boys evening will take place on July 9. Tickets cost £125 per person and include a welcome drink upon arrival, a six-course tasting menu and wine pairing.
Read the full review: Dukes London
Contributions by Emma Beaumont, Benjamin Parker, Venus Wong and Rachel Cranshaw