Most tourists visit London for the historic attractions and architecture, but where you stay and how you eat can make or break any visit to London. Consider staying in a top London luxury hotel which also has an award winning restaurant to cut down on expensive taxis trips. Other advantages of dining where you stay include being able to charge the whole stay to your bill, which can be beneficial when claiming company travel expenses, and after indulging in award winning food and a good bottle of wine it is much more pleasant to stroll back to your room trying to get a ride back to the hotel.
Some top London luxury hotel with fine dining choices for the Summer 2012 include:
Connaught Hotel, Mayfair
The on-site and understated Espelette Restaurant is actually one of London’s Michelin star establishments, located in one of Mayfair’s best luxury hotels. French chef, Hélène Darroze, provides a true gastronomic experience from afternoon tea to signature dinner entrees.
You will know you are dining at the Foliage Restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental, as beneath each glass plate is a freshly pressed leaf picked fresh from the grounds of Hyde Park opposite. With al-fresco or indoor dining, this Michelin star restaurant will make any stay at the Mandarin Oriental absolutely perfect.
Superbly located just off Knightsbridge, the Berkeley is one of London’s top luxury hotels and a beautiful place to return to each evening. Choose to dine casually at Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Café or more upscale with Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley. Both chefs have a Michelin star and offer exquisite cuisine.
Dining at the Metropolitan gives guests the opportunity to sample the delectable Japanese-style menu developed by chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, better known simply as Nobu. Coupled with the five star service of this London luxury hotel, it makes a great base for sightseeing.
No list would be complete without including Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester. Two Michelin star dining created by one of the world’s greatest chefs is a great reason to stay at the Dorchester, one of the top London five-star hotels.
According to the Miami New Times, luxury hotel breakfast buffets are being seriously affected by the economic downturn. Locals are apparently posing as guests and helping themselves to free hot breakfasts, muffins, bagels, fruit and whatever else may be on offer. Hotel General Managers in luxury hotels in Miami are reporting that the problem is worse in hotels where the buffet is on the first floor, or visible from street level.
Many luxury hotels have a two-tier system; free breakfast for those with room keys and a charge of anything from $12-30 for non-residents. In practise, these hotels rarely ask guests to show their room key. They simply ask for their room number before seating them, for fear of causing barely-conscious guests a bad start to their day. However, this is allowing brazen free-loaders the chance to enjoy a tasty breakfast for free on a regular basis.
Some on-the-ball restaurant managers in boutique hotels know all their guests on sight. However, many city hotels in Miami have a stream of one-night guests who are catching flights. Adam Zembruski, spokesperson for Pharos Hospitality was quoted as saying, “When I was GM, I was very hands on and knew most, if not all of my guests personally. More importantly, they knew me. So, I was out there at breakfast every day – and knew the regulars (so) the ‘outsiders’ stuck out like a sore thumb.” While some hotel managers involve the police, others either give the offender the bill or remove them as quietly as possible.
by Gillian at Luxique
Thanksgiving is generally a quiet time for luxury hotels as business travelers head home for the long weekend. However, many hotels have come up with a new service to keep their staff working – offering take-out Thanksgiving dinners with all the trimmings.
The Fairmont Washington D.C. is offering a turkey dinner for 10 with all the fixings for $275 – much cheaper than dining out, yet eaten in the comforts of your own home without the hassle in the kitchen. Locals can order the Turkey-to-Go package in advance, consisting of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, vegetables and a choice of pie for dessert. Hungry customers then drive up to the hotel collection point and the steaming boxes are loaded into the car by hotel staff.
Other Fairmont hotels in major cities are offering similar deals while the Ritz Carlton Tysons Corner offers something a little different. Their Thanksgiving meal for six at $279 includes a roasted beet salad with goat’s cheese and candied pecans, butternut squash soup and a seasonable casserole of vegetables to accompany the traditional turkey.
Spokesperson Diane Bulger from the Fairmont Washington comments, “It’s a nice way for the people who live in the community to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving in their homes without the stress of preparing everything themselves.”
So if you haven’t pre-ordered your Thanksgiving turkey yet, maybe a luxury hotel in your local area has the perfect answer.
Green is apparently “in” in top hotels worldwide. Luxury hotels in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles are recognizing the importance of offering guests some tranquil garden space, even if they are situated in the middle of a busy city.
During the summer guests prefer an outside space to sit and enjoy in drink amidst flowering shrubs and shady trees. For hotels where outdoor space is limited, innovative designers have created full-scale rooftop gardens with waterfalls and cool reflection pools. Some hotels have totally embraced the idea and are growing their own herbs, fruit and vegetables in the gardens and some even have bee-hives!
The Kyoto Grand Hotel in Los Angeles is one to look out for. This Asian inspired hotel has meandering footpaths and calming water features in its gorgeous Japanese gardens which offer great views of Downtown from its rooftop position.
The Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City has a chic garden on the roof with a retractable glass roof for showery days. The herbs and garnishes used in cocktails and cuisine are grown onsite.
A colorful array of summer flowers can be enjoyed in the English gardens at the Surrey, also in New York City. Sip Muddled Lemonade surrounded by the scent of lavender in this serene space.
Those staying at the Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, NY can take exercise classes on the roof in the shady green terrace gardens where plants attract butterflies and birds. Horticulturists will enjoy staying at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. They can potter around the basil and pepper plants in the herb garden and admire the dwarf cherry, pear and plum trees which fruit in season. There is also a bee hive and the honey is used in the kitchen of the signature restaurant.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
Fairmont Hotels continue to come up with some innovative new luxury hotel packages for food and drink lovers. How about the aptly named “Keep the Catch” Boston Harbor Lobster Packages at the Fairmont Battery Wharf Hotel?
Guests accompany the chef on a private lobster boat to learn the secrets of baiting, dropping and hauling in lobster traps around historic Boston Harbor. At the end of the trip, guests return with their catch, which is then prepared in the kitchen to their liking. The cost includes a night’s stay in a deluxe waterfront room, a boat tour, a souvenir lobster book and a place at the Chef’s Counter in the Aragosta Restaurant. It’s the perfect stay for lobster aficionados and guests are sure to learn plenty of tips for catching and preparing this gourmet dish.
Cheese-lovers may prefer the Grand Fromage Package offered by the Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver. Described as a farm-to-fork tour, this artisan adventure offers a cheese-making course at a cheese farm in Agassiz. The luxury hotel stay also includes a three-course tasting menu paired with wines at the hotel’s Griffins Restaurant, dinner for two at Au Petit Chavignol (one of Vancouver’s best restaurants for artisan cheese), and a surprise welcome with local wine and cheese.
Still in Canada, Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York offers a more down-to-earth experience for food buffs. Chef-led experiences include a trip to the St Lawrence market with secrets on how to choose the best cuts of meat and produce. The rest of the two-night stay is pleasantly taken up with coffee for two at Pasta Mia, sample tasting at Golden Orchard Fine Foods, pea meal bacon sandwiches for two at the Carousel Bakery, a walking tour with a local historian and a six-course menu in EPIC, the hotel’s signature restaurant.
These great short packages in luxury hotels are ideal for those wanting to enjoy more than just a spa package. Fully organized themed trips can be a great way to experience luxury hotels around the world and memorable vacations for little more than the price of a hotel room.
by Gillain at Luxique Luxury Hotels
If you are one of those people for whom the day does not start until you see the bottom of your Starbucks mug, then this is great news for you. Starbucks has agreed to supply coffee to half a million luxury hotels in the U.S. with their single-serve coffee being provided for coffee machines in partnership with Courtesy Products.
Although Keurig has the lion’s share of the single serve coffee maker markets, sales of Kraft’s Tassimo coffee makers are also likely to shoot through the roof as discerning travelers staying in luxury hotels get to sample the convenience of a freshly brewed Starbucks by their bedside.
For those who do not speak fluent espresso, the Tassimo/Keurig coffee makers are hot beverage systems which produce a variety of beverages (tea, hot chocolate, café latte, espresso or even macchiato) by being fed a neat sealed disc of ingredients which the natty machine interprets from the barcode, opens, processes and drips into a real pottery mug.
Starbucks continue to make inroads into single-serve coffee since their launch of sachets of on-the-go instant coffee called VIA, also made with travelers and office workers in mind. Although instant coffee is the norm in the UK, in America it has always been looked down on as an inferior product. However, the new single-serve coffee machines manage to cater to both parties, providing freshly brewed coffee without having to faff around with correctly sized coffee filters and dispose of messy grounds.
by Gillian at Luxique Luxury Hotels
So now we know – airline food isn’t that bland after all, it’s the cabin noise that makes it seem so.
A team of scientists think they’ve worked out that the level of background noise affects intensity of flavour and perceived crunchiness. While louder sound reduces the reported sweetness or saltiness, it increases the measure of crunch.
“There’s a general opinion that aeroplane foods aren’t fantastic,” said Andy Woods, one of the researchers. “I’m sure airlines do their best and given that, we wondered if there are other reasons why the food would not be so good. One thought was perhaps the background noise has some impact,” he told BBC News.
In a comparatively small study, 48 participants were fed sweet foods such as biscuits, or salty ones such as crisps, while listening to silence or noise through headphones. In noisier settings, foods were rated less salty or sweet than they were in the absence of background noise, but were rated to be more crunchy.
Caterers have long been aware that they need to add large amounts of salt or sugar to the meals and the ‘white noise’ experience while flying could be the reason.
by Andy Moreton
There are many reasons for visiting the Capital and staying in one of the the top luxury hotels in London – the world-class shows, theatre, opera and ballet; the unrivalled opportunities to truly shop ‘till you drop, even at London prices; the museums and art galleries, many of which are now free to enter, and the legendary gourmet dining. There are at least 5570 restaurants in London, according to the Yellow Pages, and many more pubs and coffee houses, snack bars and take-aways so you should be able to dine somewhere different every night for the next 27 years without having to repeat yourself.
However, in reality, we are creatures of habit, and having found somewhere good to dine out, we would rather return there than risk disappointment elsewhere. Many of London’s finest restaurants are an integral part of the luxury hotels in London which are found in Capital’s most prestigious areas. With expensive taxi fares and impossible parking, it makes sense to dine where you are staying. Here are some of London’s very best restaurants, complete with adjoining luxury hotel accommodation.
One of the city’s best restaurants is tucked inside the five star Connaught Hotel in Mayfair. Although you may feel out of place without a jacket and tie, Hélène Darroze, one of France’s most distinguished chefs has brought her Michelin-star cuisine to London for a gastronomic experience to savor. The more informal Espelette restaurant also offers signature dishes by Hélène, along with delectable afternoon teas.
Equally Michelin star-studded is the Foliage restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental. Nestled in one of the top luxury hotels in London, the restaurant enjoys a Royal Park on either side hotel and al fresco dining on the terrace in the warm summer evenings is an unrivalled experience. Attention to detail includes the waiting staff collecting leaves from Hyde Park and placing them beneath the bespoke glass plates to truly set the scene for an amazing experience.
The five star luxury Berkeley Hotel in London boasts possibly the finest dining with not one but two award-winning restaurants. Gordon Ramsay takes on New York’s café scene with his Boxwood Café whilst Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley presents a total food euphoria.
Finally, be prepared to be dazzled by an exciting international restaurant set in one of the premier luxury hotels in London. Nobu offers a delectable Peruvian-Japanese menu in the Metropolitan Hotel. Founded by world-renowned chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa and presided over by Executive Chef Mark Edwards, this specialty cuisine cannot fail to impress. Coupled with the legendary service and contemporary interior design, this luxury hotel in London’s Park Lane makes a truly refreshing place to dine and to stay.
by Luxique - A Unique Collection of Luxury Hotels in London
More evidence of Tokyo’s place at the summit of fine dining has come with the latest issue of that culinary bible, the Michelin guide.
The guide has awarded its coveted 3-star honour to eleven restaurants in the Japanese capital – one more than Paris. It is now Michelin’s most decorated city with 261 stars spanning 197 establishments. It should be said, however, that Tokyo has some 160,000 restaurants, compared to Paris’s 50,000.
“Tokyo has become the world culinary capital, ahead of Paris,” said Jean-Luc Naret, the guide’s Director-General. He told Parisians:
“Forget everything you know about Japanese food. Just go to the other side of the world, and you will understand what Japanese food is all about.”
About two-thirds of the selected restaurants in Tokyo offer Japanese cuisine, such as soba (noodles), sukiyaki (hot pot), fugu (blowfish), sushi and tempura, while the remainder are mainly French and Italian.
by Andy Moreton
The Japanese capital is also blessed with fine places to stay. Luxique can help you secure the best rates at one of five luxury hotels in Tokyo, including the exceptional Grand Hyatt Tokyo and the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo.
A leading US magazine has named Tokyo as the world’s hottest city for food lovers – for a second consecutive year.
Food and Wine singled out the Japanese capital for its cutting edge restaurants and superb ingredients. “Tokyo is the best food city hands down,” said the magazine’s travel editor, Jen Murphy. “That’s where chefs are going for innovations. They are so far ahead of us.”
The magazine said Japanese chefs were dictating the world’s dining trends with their fierce devotion to seasonality and respect for aesthetics.
Barcelona came in second, followed by Copenhagen, London and New York. Of Copenhagen, Food and Wine said: “The world’s foodies are fascinated by the city and its avant-garde chefs, who experiment with unconventional ingredients.”
One surprise was that Paris slipped out of the top list. “Right now, there’s no new excitement to the food scene there,” claimed Ms Murphy.
Also out is Food and Wine’s 2009 list of the top restaurants at hotels worldwide. It includes Celadon at the Sukhothai in Bangkok; Moo at Omm in Barcelona; NoMI at the Park Hyatt in Chicago; Lung King Heen at the Four Seasons in Hong Kong; Le Meurice at Le Meurice in Paris and Mathias Dahlgren at the Grand in Stockholm. All these luxury hotels are bookable at the best rates through Luxique.
by Andy Moreton