Pedestrians scurrying down the streets of Chelsea might catch a faint whiff of grilling octopus and roasting vegetables floating down from the top of the Hôtel Americano. 10 floors above their heads, Chef Buenconsejo stands behind the fiery open grill of the rooftop bar known as La Piscine, sizzling meat-laden skewers beneath the bright sunlight. Guests await their Mediterranean meals by the bar’s namesake pool, gazing into the cool, shallow waters and sprawling out on imported Italian lounge chairs and cozy cabanas. Others lean against the railing, sipping mojitos, caipirinhas, and margaritas from the bar’s three tequila menus as they gaze out over the cityscape to the north and east or the Hudson to the west—views lauded by reporters from The New York Times.
When winter falls on the city, the bar experiences a toasty metamorphosis—glass walls and ceilings cover the rooftop, the pool transforms into a bubbling hot tub, and the bartender changes back into a snowman. Staffers round out the ski-lodge atmosphere by serving guests with cups of warm sake and steaming fondue, along with fluffy robes and slippers.