This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s lifestyle blog, Luxury Defined.
From wine-based wellness in France to tailored tuition from Tokyo’s top sushi chefs, our editors have found the most exciting destinations for foodies eager to sate their appetite for gourmet travel. Here are eight gastronomic journeys to get hungry for…
- University Arms, Cambridge, UK
The refurbishment of Cambridge’s oldest hotel, University Arms, is a collaboration between architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, offering 192 rooms and suites across four floors. Dining options are equally impressive, with the kitchen presided over by award-winning chef Tristan Welch.
Fittingly for a hotel located in the renowned university town, University Arms, recently renovated by architect John Simpson and acclaimed interior designer Martin Brudnizki, pays homage to Cambridge’s academic heritage. Rooms are decorated in differing shades of Cambridge blue, as are suites, named after famous university alumni such as Stephen Hawking and Charles Darwin. Each suite comes with its own private library, as well as complimentary bottles of port, whisky, and sherry to sip while you read. The hotel’s restaurant, Parker’s Tavern, run by award-winning chef Tristan Welch, offers dishes such as a truffle risotto, honey- and thyme-roasted Norfolk duck, and a not-to-be-missed rice pudding soufflé.
- Mavros Safaris, Zimbabwe, Africa
Mavros Safaris prides itself on using the most knowledgeable and sensitive experts on Africa to act as guides. And setting up the gourmet bush kitchen in breathtaking locations is part of the adventure.
Foodies looking for adventure might like to join “Safari Butler” Dean Dewdney, of Mavros Safaris, on an off-road trip around the far reaches of Zimbabwe. With his gourmet bush kitchen and craft gin bar discreetly stored in his four-by-four, Dewdney leads guests through rural communities where they will meet locals and eat in unique locations. The custom itinerary begins in Harare with an overnight stop at Highlands House and features stay at a private home in Nyanga National Park and a trek to Mutarazi Falls—the second-highest waterfall in Africa—two nights at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, and two nights at an exclusive tented camp.
- Soneva Fushi, Maldives
Soneva Fushi is a groundbreaking &lsquoaway’ resort in the Maldives, pioneering a trend for back-to-nature luxury holidays. The Once Upon A Table restaurant has seats for just eight diners.
If there are still some star chefs you need to check off your “have eaten their food” list, you may be interested in a series of 20 exclusive Michelin Guide dining experiences running at two Soneva resorts until mid-2019. At Soneva Fushi in the Maldives the experience is all the more special, as each dinner takes place at the resort’s new overwater dining destination—an exclusive restaurant bathed in starlight with just eight covers. From your exclusive vantage point surrounded by the inky blue of the sea at night, watch chefs such as Tom Aikens and Tim Raue cook unique menus that are as fantastical as the setting in which they are served. A stellar line-up indeed.
- Badrutt’s Palace, St. Moritz, Switzerland
Badrutt’s Palace is a historic luxury hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland. First opened in 1896, today the hotel has 157 rooms and eight restaurants, alongside its well-appointed spa and Palace Wellness program.
Fans of relaxed alpine vacations might wish to visit Palace Wellness, the newly renovated spa at Badrutt’s Palace, a Saint Moritz hotel as famous for its clientele as its lake and mountain views. New men-only options are available, and there’s an indoor infinity-edge pool and open-air heated pool. Suites are timelessly classic, with Persian carpets on terracotta-tiled floors, flock wallpaper, and brocade-upholstered armchairs. Eight dining options are featured, from small plates at Michelin-starred IGNIV by celebrity chef Andreas Caminada to Nobu Matsuhisa’s signature nikkei cuisine at La Coupole/Matsuhisa.
- Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges, Courchevel, France
Fouquet’s, the well-known Parisian brasserie, is reimagined with heat lamps on the terrace at Courchevel’s Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges. Enjoy French culinary classics, as well as traditional dishes inspired by local flavours and the best quality ingredients.
If no winter season is complete without a night or two in a chalet surrounded by crisp, fresh snow, take a look at Hôtel Barrière Les Neiges. The hotel’s 42 rooms and suites, with cabin-inspired interiors full of cozy fur-and-cashmere throws, all have magical views and balconies from which to watch the sun go down, while its Maison Orcel ski room offers a range of skiwear and equipment along with services including daily maintenance, boot warming, and boot fitting. There are plenty of opportunities to enjoy fine dining after a day on the slopes—BFire restaurant offers wood-fired cuisine overseen by celebrated Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco, while Fouquet’s, sister to the famous Parisian brasserie, features traditional French cuisine—standout dishes include black truffle fondue, lobster and ginger fricassée, and the impressive Mont Blanc dessert.
6. Villa La Massa, Florence, Italy
Il Verrocchio restaurant at Villa La Massa, just outside Florence, has a stunning outdoor terrace overlooking the River Arno, with a view of the hills of nearby Rufina beyond. Try the hearty Baccala con fagioli vongole e pomodorini (Cod with clams, beans, and tomatoes.)
For anyone drawn to Florence’s Renaissance wonders but discouraged by its busy centro storico, here’s an answer: 15 minutes south of the golden city, perched on a meandering bend in the River Arno, sits Villa La Massa. Set in 22 acres (9 ha) of parkland, the Medici villa dates from 1552 and was transformed into a 21-bedroom hotel in 1953, becoming a favorite of Hollywood celebrities of the era including Gregory Peck, Barbara Hutton, and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. In 1992, David Bowie and Iman held their wedding reception there.
Now boasting 41 rooms across four buildings, Villa La Massa has recently opened Casa Colonica—an old farmhouse refurbished into four super-large luxurious suites, each different yet harmoniously configured around a central courtyard. Interior design firm ArchFlorence has imbued each with a calm modern palette of warm grays and pastels, while stone, wood, and wrought iron retain the Tuscan feel. Enormous beds are laid with silks and linens, and furnishing and fittings are handcrafted by local artisans.
Produce for the main Il Verrocchio restaurant starts life in the organic kitchen garden and comes alive in summer on the terrace. Changing seasonal menus draw from the traditional Tuscan repertoire. The strong 300-bottle wine list is similarly a concentration of the best from this rich region, the home of Chianti Rùfina—at 1,312 feet (400 m) above sea level, the highest sub-Apennine vineyards—and the Nipozzano vineyards of Tuscany’s Frescobaldi Estates. Paolo Michele, Villa La Massa’s restaurant manager, is a beguiling force of nature—a big man with a welcoming warmth and good humor, the embodiment of la dolce vita.
- Les Sources des Caudalie, Bordeaux, France
Among the Grand Cru vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Bordeaux, Les Sources De Caudalie encompasses a five-star hotel, Vinothérapie Spa, two-Michelin star restaurant La Grand’Vigne, country-inn restaurant La Table du Lavoir, and Rouge, its wine bar and fine-food counter.
Unfolding across 193 acres (78 ha), Florence and Daniel Cathiard’s wine empire includes not just the vineyards that make up world-renowned Château Smith Haut Lafitte, but also a five-star hotel, Les Sources des Caudalie, home to three restaurants and the award-winning Caudalie Spa with its grape-infused skincare treatments and products. The Cathiards bought the Bordeaux property in 1990 when Château Smith Haut Lafitte vintages were little known. Seeing their potential, the couple carried out extensive works to convert the farm buildings and Carthusian monastery into a larger-scale organic operation.
The estate is a family affair—the hotel is run by the couple’s youngest daughter, Alice, and the spa by the eldest, Mathilde. In charge of the two-Michelin-starred restaurant, La Grand’Vigne is Nicolas Masse, whose tasting menu is an ode to nature.
- Aman, Tokyo, Japan
A destination hotel for discerning foodies, Aman Tokyo boasts four impressive dining options. Arva sits 33 stories above ground level and offers Italian heritage dishes created with the finest local ingredients such as Sagamihara eggs and Yamanashi Nakamura Farm guinea fowl.
Visitors to Japan‘s capital looking to truly savour the culture should check in to Aman Tokyo, which recently introduced a series of immersive adventures designed to help guests connect with the local community. Aman’s Japanese flagship, situated high above Tokyo’s buzzy Otemachi district, can arrange for you to dine at Tsurunaka, a traditional ry?tei that prioritizes guests above all else for a taste of “the real meaning of Japanese hospitality.” If you fancy honing your own sushi-making skills, a masterclass will give you the opportunity to make your own nigiri using fresh fish sourced from the world-famous Tsukiji fish market, all under the watchful eye of sushi master Katsuaki Suzuki.
Luxury Defined Editors, Christie’s International Real Estate