In early June, tennis titan Rafael Nadal and Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias opened Tatel Miami, a lavish Spanish restaurant inside Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Ritz-Carlton, South Beach. The swanky new address will be ideal for fans of sea bream ceviche and rubbing elbows with South Florida socialites.
The Dominican Republic’s Eden Roc at Cap Cana entices you to its lush grounds with Summer Culinary Discovery, a package stuffed with luxurious accommodations, private transport and daily three-course meals. So, if you’re looking for a tropical paradise with a side of salmon skewers and skirt steaks, few places are more appetizing.
To declare food an important part of a hotel stay is akin to saying that Alain Ducasse knows a little something about black truffles — it’s a gross understatement. Cuisine is obviously vital in vacationing. You know it. Hotels know it. Our Forbes Travel Guide inspectors know it, too.
In fact, the following properties have cooked up such an impressive culture in their kitchens that they’ve earned some of our highest culinary ratings. Be it with service, selection or sheer deliciousness, these eight hotels have dining experiences worth checking out immediately after you’ve checked in.
The Point, Saranac Lake, New York
If You’re Hungry For: A sense of home
As a boutique property, this Five-Star hideaway can freely think (and act) outside the box. With round communal tables near a large stone fireplace and an ever-changing menu (Thai green curry chicken one night, barbecue snapper the next and assiette of rabbit the following evening), the Great Hall feels like home.
And the fact that bartenders often remember your drink order only makes you feel more like family.
The Peninsula Tokyo
If You’re Hungry For: A different experience
You can’t go to Tokyo without trying kaiseki, a multicourse Japanese meal of intricate dishes containing seasonal ingredients and a meticulous presentation. Sample it at this sleek Five-Star hotel’s Kyoto Tsuruya, an outpost of the heralded Kyoto restaurant.
But don’t leave without visiting Peter: The Bar — The Peninsula scored among the highest worldwide for best bar service. Under metal trees and purple lighting, sip the distinctive Tokyo Joe (Bombay Sapphire, ume liqueur, Drambuie and cranberry and lemon juices) served in a stemless martini glass balanced on metal-cage-like stand.
The Goring, London
If You’re Hungry For: Attention to every detail at the table
A meal at this Five-Star treasure’s Dining Room is nearly a transcendent experience — and we can declare that even before you dive into the scrumptious salt marsh lamb or chicken coconut curry.
The thoughtful staff here knows the menu inside and out, shares trivia tidbits — who knew the queen’s mum adored eggs drumkilbo so much? — and helps arrange meals for the next day.
The Villas at Ayana Resort Bali
If You’re Hungry For: A picturesque setting
This Five-Star Bali winner tempts with Dava, an open-air venue that spotlights seafood and steak alongside vistas of the resort grounds and the Indian Ocean, and the iconic, Instagrammable Rock Bar, where you can sip cocktails amid rocks about 46 feet above the waves crashing in the ocean.
It also offers a range of other epicurean delights, including a buffet of Hong Kong-style dim sum at Ah Yat Abalone Seafood Restaurant, Indonesian food in a lotus pond setting at Padi and traditional Balinese fare with cultural performances at Kampoeng Bali.
But our favorite foodie option just might be the three-course champagne breakfast that is delivered on a floating tray in your private pool.
Belmond Hotel Cipriani, Venice
If You’re Hungry For: Well-rounded elegance
This Five-Star Venetian treasure delights in a host of ways. Gabbiano Bar takes an elevated stance on snacks by offering fresh chunks of Parmesan cheese and beautifully plated canapés — it’s one of the few hotels to put out a traditional full canapés spread, not just measly peanuts.
Not to be outdone is the experience at Belmond Hotel Cipriani’s Oro, a beloved eatery that fully satisfies with its views of the lagoon and executive chef Davide Bisetto’s menu of imaginative Italian dishes.
Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles
If You’re Hungry For: Some pampering
Ordering in is a must at this Los Angeles hotel — it aced the room service category. Without having to leave your room, enjoy a high-quality restaurant meal complete with elegant china, having the waiter place a napkin on your lap, receiving a wine tasting and indulging in an assortment of fresh breads.
Our inspectors dined on everything from a cheeseburger topped with aioli and shallot marmalade to rigatoni alla Norma. But the menu runs the gamut from Maryland crab cakes and tuna tartare to charcuterie and cheeses. Of course, you can order everything from tempranillo to champagne to pair with your in-room meal.
If You’re Hungry For: Great food with a side of gambling
Food is not an afterthought at this colossal casino hotel. In fact, it boasts two Five-Star restaurants. Aurora crafts Italian cuisine inspired by Puglia, so expect a lot of fresh fish and seafood. Don’t miss the cheese — especially the burrata — as it’s one of the best offerings in Macau.
Tenmasa is among the top tempura restaurants in the area (ingredients are flown in from Japan several times a week). Sit on a tatami mat and order battered and crispy everything from eel to snow crab legs.
And if you feel like dining in, the room service menu will satisfy with selections such as oven-baked tiger prawns, Hainan chicken and Portuguese-style baked pork chop rice.
Kyoto Hotel Okura
If You’re Hungry For: Some variety
Culinary exploration is the reason to stay in this historic Forbes Travel Guide Recommended hotel, which offers 11 places to eat and drink. Get piping-hot, fresh bread from the onsite bakery or take in Kyoto vistas and nearly 60 dishes rotating throughout the day from the 17th-floor Orizzonte buffet.
Go to Pittoresque for contemporary French cuisine starring seasonal ingredients paired with selections from its wine cellar. Tokiwa lays claim to one of the city’s longest and most impressive teppanyaki grills. Or try Irifune, which delivers views of a Japanese garden, Kyoto cuisine, a tea room and sushi bar.