A Love Letter to Room Service Cheeseburgers

Luxury travel isn’t a first-class flight. It’s a room service cheeseburger.

Closeup of Cheeseburger

Nothing feels more luxurious than ending a long day with a room service burger.

Nathan Dumlao

When someone mentions “luxury travel,” what comes to mind? It might be a five-star resort or first-class plane tickets. It might be Michelin-star restaurants and fancy spa treatments. Perhaps it’s a soaking tub or private plunge pool. All of that would be incorrect. None of those things provide quite the luxurious experience that a cheeseburger from room service does.

Working in travel, I often travel for work. And I don’t just mean the dreamy nature of working at a travel magazine, where we get to take trips to write articles or produce videos for YouTube or Instagram. I mean for meetings or events with my colleagues. And as much as we enjoy each other’s company, I sometimes find myself feeling a bit too much togetherness. That’s to say, when many of the staff will get together for dinner or drinks after the meeting or event is done, I will generally stay in my room to “get work done.” Or if we all arrived the night before “togetherness” was set to begin, I’ve been known to say my flight gets in a little later. . . . Here’s a little secret: I’m actually ordering room service. And every time, it’s a cheeseburger.

Picture this: You’ve been in meetings all day, you come up to your hotel room, take a shower, put on the fluffy white bathrobe, and turn on the TV. Shortly, there’s a knock on the door and a smartly dressed waiter delivers a perfectly cooked burger, a side of fries, and—if they really know what they’re doing—tiny jars of sauces. You put your feet up and savor every moment. It’s not just the burger, it’s the experience.

If you’re getting Home Alone “a lovely cheese pizza, just for me” vibes, you’re not wrong and I’m not ashamed. Traveling for work can be tiring and even taxing at times. Having to be “always on” can drain the social battery pretty fast. And what better way to recharge than with a classic comfort food followed by a food coma? Trust me, you will never sleep better in your life.

How to have the perfect room service cheeseburger experience

There are a few necessary components that will set the scene for comfort. First, a robe. Nothing will make you feel fancier (even in a midrange hotel, and even on a work trip) than getting out of real person clothes and into the hotel’s plush robe. You may be tempted to steal it, but it’s probably not a good idea.

Next, find something to watch—nothing that requires too much thought. Cooking competition shows or a movie you’ve seen a thousand times are always a solid bet. Comfortable outfit, comfort shows, comfort food. Are you sensing a theme?

And finally—the burger. Remember with room service, it may take a bit of time to get your burger. So if you want to order before you don your robe and pick your show, that might make sense. As for me, it’s the first thing I do upon arrival. There may be some more interesting burgers on the menu with different cheeses or toppings, but for the true luxury, you’ll want to stick with a classic burger with the melty American cheese. Choose your side wisely as well. If there are Parmesan fries, get them. The best things in life are cheese. And like airport calories, room service calories don’t count. If you’re really lucky, they’ll send the dipping sauces in tiny jars (cute!), which is extra fun because if you don’t use them you get a tiny souvenir! Yes, I have little Tabascos in my purse from these experiences, but hey—you never know when you’ll need a hot sauce. Optional extra fanciness: Get yourself a glass of prosecco.

Where to find the best room service cheeseburger in NYC

Have I convinced you to give this version of luxury a try? Here’s where to don a plush robe and treat yourself to a taste of the good life on your next trip to New York.

The Thompson Central Park

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The Thompson is known for its hidden, cash-only burger restaurant, Burger Joint, so it’s only natural that the hotel would make a perfect room service burger. You can bring the room service menu up on the TV, which features many choices, from salads and appetizers to a large selection of pizzas, and more classic entrées like roasted chicken and Atlantic salmon. What you’re looking for is the Burger Joint Burger (it also has a Beyond Meat version). It is a classic cheeseburger with classic toppings: lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions. You’re faced with a choice of cheeses but remember, we are here for melty American cheese. It all comes on a pillowy soft bun, and yes, there are Parmesan fries and tiny jars of sauces (read: souvenirs). The rooms are basically the size of small apartments, with a kitchen area, a living space, and the bedroom, so there are many places to enjoy your burger, but I would be remiss if I didn’t suggest you go all in on indulgence and have it in bed, sandwiched between your sheets. It’s OK, I won’t tell.

Rosalie Tinelli is a senior audience development manager at AFAR overseeing social media and newsletters. She can also be found writing voicey opinion pieces for AFAR.com.
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