Best Foodie Hotels: Culinary Britannia
British food used to be the laughing stock of the world, but these days rules the waves. Luxury food and travel writer Mark Southern discovered the top five Michelin-starred hotel breaks for foodies in the UK and Ireland.
The Atlantic Hotel, Jersey
Less than an 40 minutes from London, and officially the warmest place in the British Isles, Jersey makes the ideal short-haul hop and ‘foodie’ destination.
As the name suggests, The Atlantic Hotel boasts spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean, with waves crashing onto the rocks a few hundred feet from your balcony the dramatic and romantic setting.
The influence of the sea is carried into the Michelin-starred Ocean Restaurant, where Executive Head Chef Mark Jordan serves up a variety of maritime delicacies from his coastal and countryside larder. vTemptations include roasted fillet of sea bass with lobster risotto and champagne bubbles, loin of venison with chocolate tortellini and passion fruit miniatures to share.
The Dorchester, London
Sometimes a cliché rings true because it simply is so, whilst The Dorchester isn’t the most surprising name on this list, it’s very simply at the top of its game in almost every capacity, including its cuisine.
Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester offers an experience that encompasses exquisite contemporary French cuisine, modern design and highly professional, bespoke and friendly service orchestrated by Restaurant Director Nicolas Defremont and his energetic team.
Head chef Jocelyn Herland, who trained in Alain Ducasse’s most prestigious restaurants, crafts an exciting menu which consistently respects and champions current seasonal produce – many sourced from the British Isles.
In January 2010, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester was awarded three Michelin stars and maintained this honor in 2011.
For the ultimate luxury, guests can enjoy an unforgettable experience at the celebrated private dining room Table Lumière, surrounded by 4,500 shimmering fibre optics and the exclusive use of a collection of Hermès china, Puiforcat silverware and Saint-Louis crystal.
Afterwards, treat yourself to the Oliver Messel suite for wonderful views of the London skyline and one of the most famous hotel rooms in the Capital.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire
Many celebrity chef projects remain just that; a ‘project’, and not a labour of love from its eponymous creator.
Raymond Blanc has made sure this isn’t the case with this superb weekend break destination, and has concocted a truly special blend of food and luxury.
Le Manoir is a 15th century Oxfordshire hotel including 32 individually designed rooms set in beautiful grounds. More recently, an orchard is being launched to further complement the gardens, of which the restaurant collects ingredients from the vegetable and herb gardens throughout 8 months of the year.
Obviously, Le Manoir caters to expert food lovers, with its two-Michelin starred menu and expert team delivering the freshest ingredients and delicious modern French cuisine.
There is also a comprehensive wine cellar to complement any dishes chosen by guests. There are also many Cookery School courses throughout the year and places are highly coveted. These can be combined with hotel stay for the ultimate foodie holiday package.
St Endoc Hotel, Cornwall
The South West of England has a special heritage in both the nation’s cuisine and holidaying history, but many once-great institutions have been left behind as the world got smaller.
One place that did keep up is St. Endoc in the town of Rock.
A classic seaside hotel re-invented. That’s the ethos behind St. Enodoc Hotel with its emphasis on comfort, design and great food. Positioned above the Camel estuary with sweeping views across the water, it is the perfect place to relax by the sea and enjoy some of the best food Cornwall has to offer.
Double Michelin starred chef Nathan Outlaw is in charge of food. There are two restaurants, the Nathan Outlaw Seafood and Grill and Restaurant Nathan Outlaw which is currently basking in the glory of being named as Best Seafood Restaurant in the UK.
It’s a bit of a trek, but the sea air, the old-fashioned luxury and the great food will make it worthwhile.
The Cliff House Hotel, Waterford, Ireland
For those willing to jump on a plane to experience great food weekends, Ireland has a hidden gem waiting just 40 minutes from London.
The five star Cliff House Hotel in Waterford is distinguished as much for its design and sea views as for the spa experience and the region’s most exquisite food – The House Restaurant is Ireland’s only One Star Michelin Hotel Restaurant.
Whether you enjoy the Head Chef Martijn Kajuiter’s delicious mix of Irish cuisine and international expertise in The House Restaurant or the 18-seater private dining room, the food speaks for itself, with Kajuiter’s kitchen using only the finest of local ingredients.
The intimate, 39-bedroom hotel is sewn into the coast, overlooking the historic village of Ardmore, in West Waterford, Ireland. It is at once holiday and hideaway, full of Irish charm and warmth.
It is as true to the trusted service standards of a bygone age as to the subtle, stylish comforts expected by 21st century visitors.