13 Hotels with Next-Level Food Experiences

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13 Hotels with Next-Level Food Experiences
Culinary tourism has exploded in the past few years. That kind of trip usually includes things like finding the highest-rated restaurants, getting let in on locals’ favorite taco joint, and sampling fresh produce at a farmers’ market. More and more, however, you can start that delicious journey right where you’re staying. Many hotels are making food and drink their primary focus through teaching guests how to make local dishes, growing fruits and veggies on their own land, or theming the entire property after a specific cuisine. At these 13 hotels around the world, guests won’t be ashamed to say they stayed in for dinner for a night or two; the delicious experiences might be worth the trip alone.
By Alina Polishuk, AFAR Contributor
Courtesy of Four Seasons Napa
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    1. Four Seasons Napa
    Expected to open in early 2019, the Four Seasons Napa will be a dream destination for anyone who knows a thing or two about wine. The resort and residences have partnered up with acclaimed winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown to give guests a true taste of Napa Valley living. Temporary guests will have the opportunity to participate in tastings and tours, while residence owners can create, harvest, and bottle their own signature wine blends with direction from the on-site winery.
    Courtesy of Four Seasons Napa
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    2. Blackberry Farm, Walland, Tennessee
    Many restaurants tout the “farm to table” label, but few do it as authentically as Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. At this ruggedly luxurious inn, the land provides for its inhabitants. Gardeners on the property’s 4,200 acres harvest fruits and vegetables for the hotel’s restaurant and on-site brewery, while local agriculturalists provide dairy and meat for its butcher and dairy shop. Guests not only experience the bounty of the land each time they sit for a meal at the Blackberry Farm restaurant, but they are also offered the opportunity to watch live cooking demonstrations, go on a Farmstead tasting tour (which culminates in a selection of cheeses, meats, and local brews), tour the wine cellar, and walk the gardens with the Farm’s master gardener.
    Courtesy of Blackberry Farm/Facebook
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    3. The Plaza Food Hall, NYC
    The Plaza, one of New York’s most iconic landmarks, is not just for high tea and Eloise sightings. Gourmands visit from far and wide to check out the hotel’s concourse-level Food Hall. It’s home to nearly 20 purveyors of the divine. From Lady M Confections (of crepe cake fame) and La Maison du Chocolat to Luke’s Lobster and Olma Caviar Boutique, there’s a little something for everyone.
    Courtesy of the Plaza Food Hall
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    4. Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
    When a long day of travel calls for a hotel robe swaddling and some room-service indulgence, look no further than the Chicago Athletic Association. Because at this hip hotel in downtown Chicago, Shake Shack is on the room service menu. The restaurant is located on the ground floor, which means eating that Shack Stack and cheese fries in the comfort of a fluffy hotel bed without the soggy downsides of a delivery burger.
    Photo by Lucas Richarz/Flickr
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    5. Boucan, St. Lucia
    Although Hotel Chocolat is a chocolate brand of international acclaim, it does have an actual hotel to its name. Opened in 2012, Boucan is situated on Hotel Chocolat’s cocoa plantation in St. Lucia and is a dream destination for chocolate lovers. Sure, having the stuff present in all areas of the hotel is fabulous (chocolate massage, anyone?), but the hotel’s most enticing experience is the “tree to bar” class. Guests not only get a tour of the plantation and a lesson on the chocolate-making process, but they are also invited to make their own customized bars to take home.
    Courtesy of Hotel Chocolat
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    6. Belmond Villa San Michele, Florence, Italy
    You know that fantasy you’ve had of jetting off to Tuscany for an indefinite time to learn the secrets of making authentic Italian cuisine? Yeah, we’ve had it too. But since we can’t all be Dev from Master of None, there’s Villa San Michele, a Belmond hotel in Florence that offers some middle ground. The hotel’s renowned cooking school guides students through traditional pasta, risotto, and soup making, while overall themes change each season. This summer, for instance, focuses on Tuscan fish, while fall classes will highlight local mushrooms. For parents who prefer winetasting to child wrangling, the Belmond even offers classes for the family’s littlest chefs.
    Courtesy of Belmond Villa San Michele
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    7. Adelphi, Melbourne
    For anyone with a taste for the sweeter things in life, the recently revamped Adelphi in Melbourne is a must-visit. Not just because it’s home to Om Nom, a sugar-centric restaurant that offers madly creative dishes like the “granny smith’s panna cotta party” and the “smoking rosemary carmelita cigar box,” but also because the entirety of the place is dedicated to desserts. Far from rooms themed like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, the Adelphi is a funky and well-designed spot that happens to have the occasional licorice-shaped stool in its lobby. The free minibars are, unsurprisingly, packed with small-label snacks both sweet and savory and restocked daily.
    Courtesy of the Adelphi
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    8. Babylonstoren, Cape Winelands
    A jewel of the Cape Winelands and located just outside of Capetown, South Africa, Babylonstoren is revered for its beautifully preserved gardens and luxurious accommodations. The land, which has been a fixture of the Cape since the late 1600s, produces fruit, vegetables, and native flora, and is home to bees, ducks, chickens, and a prickly pear maze. For wine enthusiasts, Babylonstoren is also home to 178 acres of vineyards, from which it produces nine of its own wines. Guests and outside visitors who seek a hands-on activity can sign up for a series of gardening workshops, while those in the mood for kicking back can venture to the farmhouse’s wine cellar for a tasting.
    Courtesy of Babylonstoren
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    9. Hacienda del Sol, Costa Rica
    Unbelievable food experiences don’t have to be synonymous with stretch pants and sugar comas. In fact, at Hacienda del Sol, it’s quite the opposite—unless your stretch pants are yoga pants. The menus at this luxury wellness retreat mostly consist of raw, vegan fare packed with organic ingredients and local superfoods. Imagine waking up without the carb and wine hangover that so often comes with vacation. Instead, a morning at Hacienda del Sol might consist of an open-air yoga class, followed by a papaya smoothie with a side of zucchini crepes with avocado and tahini.
    Courtesy of Hacienda del Sol/Facebook
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    10. Belcampo, Belize
    If the name Belcampo sounds familiar, that’s because it is—the company’s California-wide butcher shops are known for their high-quality organic meats. But Belcampo took its mission to create sustainable food experiences a step further with Belcampo Belize, a sustainability-focused resort in Punta Gorda. The hotel restaurant’s menu fuses Mayan, East Indian, Creole, Garifuna, Latin, and Indo-Caribbean cuisines into one while also sourcing 70 percent of its ingredients from local land.
    Courtesy of Belcampo Belize/Facebook
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    11. Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires
    At the Palacio Duhau, a Park Hyatt property in Buenos Aires, the property is home to a collection of over 5,000 bottles of Argentinian wine and a dedicated cheese room: a hedonist’s dream. The hotel property’s maître fromager hand selects artisanal Argentinean cheeses, which rotate through the room 40 at a time. The restaurant, Duhau Restaurante and Vinoteca, serves the local queso with a selection of housemade breads and marmalades.
    Courtesy of Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
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    12. Sofitel, Luang Prabang
    Laos’s surrounding neighbors take up plenty of real estate in the American dining market (Thailand, Vietnam, and even Myanmar, to an extent), but it’s tricky to find true Laotian cuisine beyond its borders. At the Sofitel Luang Prabang, guests unfamiliar with local dishes are invited to join the hotel’s chef on a journey through the market and into the kitchen. Although breakfast is included in the day’s list of activities, filling up is unwise; students are also taught how to make four traditional Laotian dishes, which are then shared for lunch.
    Courtesy of Sofitel Luang Prabang/Facebook
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    13. Mandarin Oriental, Singapore
    The island nation of Singapore has no shortage of world-renowned dim sum eateries, and guests of the Mandarin Oriental won’t have to look far to get their fix. Cherry Garden, arguably one of the best spots in town, is located on the hotel’s fifth floor. Although its decor has a traditional East Asian aesthetic, the cuisine gives classic siu mai and xiao long bao a run for their money. Instead, Cherry Garden’s menu is slightly more avant-garde; think crispy prawns with wasabi aioli and fish roe, deep-fried escargot dumplings, and steamed pork dumplings with baby abalone.
    Courtesy of Mandarin Oriental Singapore
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