Spring is in the air—as is a surging sense of optimism about eating out. As more states ease their indoor dining restrictions and the CDC has given the all-clear (for the most part) to the fully vaccinated for both traveling and small gatherings, restaurants are starting to feel alive again. The only problem is, with cases plateauing and variants still causing concerns, restaurant diners are not totally out of the woods yet. So the best option might be to split the difference and find a place that is lively and scenic, and also designed with safety in mind.
For that, look to a hotel. When indoor dining restrictions first went into effect, many standalone eateries struggled with finding enough outdoor space—whether on the sidewalk or in a parking lot—to make things worth their while. But hotels and resorts (at least, those that were able to stay partially open during the past year) that enjoyed the benefit of having extra space were able to get creative, with some creating private or socially distanced dining options in converted courtyards, around the pool, in the gardens and even in reconfigured suites.
One standout option, though? The rooftop restaurant, which comes with the added perk of great views. From the first-ever rooftop venue for a London icon to the first-ever rooftop restaurant period in a smaller Virginia town, here are six hotels—and one tourist attraction—that took their dining options to new heights during the pandemic.