Looking to wow a foodie who seemingly has experienced it all? Look no further than the incredible wealth of culinary delights housed in Virtuoso hotels worldwide. With the help of your Virtuoso Travel Advisor, you can book some of the best tables in the world helmed by celebrated chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Joel Robuchon and Daniel Boulud.
With 94 Michelin-starred restaurants in 13 countries and a total of 143 stars, Virtuoso properties are thriving in the culinary tourism boom. The foodie blog The Daily Meal has also included 53 restaurants at Virtuoso hotels on its list of the 101 Best Hotel Restaurants Around the World.
Part of the appeal of an outstanding meal while traveling, stated Catherine Scown, is the desire to experience things in person rather than on a computer screen. The senior director of marketing at Virtuoso hotel Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong said, “What we cannot experience through sight, we need to experience with the other senses of our body. And so we travel to see these things in the flesh.”
Scown’s property occupies a unique position in the culinary pantheon. Four Seasons Hong Kong is the only hotel in the world to house two restaurants with three Michelin stars. Lung King Heen is a mecca for dim sum lovers, with dishes like garoupa fillets with ginger and spring onion soy in a bamboo basket. On the other side of the culinary coin, French-themed Caprice serves mouthwatering langoustine lasagne and chanterelle mushrooms in a shellfish bisque.
Part of the thrill of culinary travel is savoring local specialties and ingredients. Aude Bourgouin Lebarbier, press relations manager at Virtuoso property Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, commented, “Eating is really part of local habits and sharing local culinary habits is a good way to discover a foreign way of life.” The hotel’s three-star restaurant, Alain Ducasse, celebrates local culture with meals like the one-dish cookpot homard pommes de mer featuring lobster from the Brittany region.
Travelers’ desire to sample local cuisine to have a more profound experience has played a significant role in the foodie boom. “Travelers are genuinely interested in understanding where their food comes from,” observed Jennifer Chiesa, senior public relations manager at Virtuoso hotel Meadowood Napa Valley in St. Helena, California. “They want to learn about the region they are dining in and why it’s so special so that they feel even more connected.” The Restaurant at Meadowood brings that to life with its farm-to-table philosophy, such as its locally sourced guinea hen baked in a salt crust with Meadowood garden herbs. The Restaurant is one of only two restaurants in the Western U.S. to earn three Michelin stars.
By planning ahead, Virtuoso member advisors can provide their clients with a trip-making meal. Many restaurants are booked weeks or even months in advance. A good rule of thumb: book the meal, then the flight. When making a reservation, ask questions, and determine how the restaurant can cater to each client with perks like special tasting menus and wine pairings. It also pays to get a feel for the cuisine of different regions, both through travel and advance research.
“People will travel to the ends of the earth for a unique culinary experience,” commented Scown. “They will save to splurge. The pleasure of enjoying good food or discovering new cuisine is worth travelling for – and it is very much part and parcel of the entire experience.” With the right guidance, Virtuoso member advisors can make that experience something to savor for a lifetime.
Find out more about working with a Virtuoso Travel Advisor.