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2 weeks ago

These Luxury Hotels Are Home to World-Class Restaurants and Bars

From the bright lights of Dubai to the quiet streets of Sonoma, these hotels take their food seriously.

By John O'Ceallaigh

There’s plenty at play when it comes to distinguishing a good luxury hotel from one that’s truly exceptional, but so much of that alchemy comes down to the quality of a property’s bars and restaurants.

Consider how there are few moments more pleasurable than those languid mornings when you can linger for hours over an unrushed breakfast (that perhaps eventually draws to a close with a pyramid of buttery pastries still warm from the oven). Who has time for such indulgence unless on vacation?

What about those first cocktails served just right on a warm summer’s evening, or the sense of discovery you enjoy over a dinner served proudly by locals, who understand that these dishes are the gateway through which many visitors fall in love with the locals’ culture and sense of hospitality?

From an intimate Sonoma address where a well-matched chef and farmer show the most immense respect for seasonality, to a Moroccan retreat that provides an unparalleled sensory immersion in all the flavors and colors of the country, these five hotels promise a culinary experience without comparison. These are places where magic happens and memories are made. Bon appétit.

[See also: Atlantis the Royal: Still Dubai’s Hottest New Opening]

Atlantis the Royal, Dubai

Could 22 offers sky-high light bites and cocktails at Atlantis the Royal / ©Atlantis

Dubai’s architectural ambition and audacity are expressed in full, fantastical force at the soaring Atlantis the Royal. Resembling an elongated stack of Jenga blocks and placed towards the apex of the pancake-flat Palm Islands, the 43-story resort debuted last year with a showstopping performance from Beyoncé — it was the singer’s first headline set in five years. Her appearance secured global attention for the property, but perhaps it also distracted from another reality.

With 17 restaurants and bars on-site, including one of the world’s largest collection of celebrity chef-branded restaurants, the Royal is a bona fide dining destination that has contributed to Dubai’s growing recognition as a fully fledged epicurean epicenter.

Among those venues, Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner revives curious British dishes that were commonly eaten in centuries past. Returning, in a culinary sense, to Tudor times seems incongruous in such a future-minded city, but it makes for an unexpected and fascinating evening. At sociable Jaleo, Spanish chef José Andrés celebrates the simple, satisfying flavors of his childhood with a comforting menu of tapas and paellas.

[See also: The 13 Best Restaurants in Dubai]

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Gastronomy buffet
Gastronomy at Atlantis the Royal / ©Atlantis

Other venues are unapologetically vibrant and lively — this is a celebratory property where travelers expect to have a good time. At Ling Ling Dubai, Asian specialties running from fluffy barbecued duck bao to sea bass satay are served to a pulsating electronic soundtrack; dinner often ends with dancing. At the elevated open-air Cloud 22, Mediterranean dishes and cocktails are offered as guests lounge in submerged daybeds that afford views beyond the sky-high infinity pool and onwards to the swooping fronds of the Palm and the city’s ever-evolving skyline. The panorama is surreal and completely spectacular.

But whatever indulgences take place the night before, it’s always worth waking up in time for breakfast at Gastronomy. It hosts one of the world’s most extravagant and abundant buffets, featuring everything from dim sum to dessert counters. At the on-site coffee roastery — a first among Dubai’s many high-end hotels — bean sommeliers can blend bespoke brews for every guest. Cups tend to go well with a croiffle, the bakery’s signature pastry that gently crisps buttery croissant dough in a waffle maker.

Fancy something a touch more healthy? With its own vast pool and situated seconds from the sea, Nobu by the Beach serves the chef’s signature feather-light sashimi.

The Royal Mansion from $100,000 a night.

Contact, +971 442 630 00,

Four Seasons George V, Paris

Le Cinq has three Michelin stars / ©Four Seasons

A magnet for Michelin devotees, this record-breaking Paris palace has more star-spangled restaurants than any other hotel in Europe. Alongside its flagship Le Cinq’s three stars, Le George has one and L’Orangerie has two.

As you’d expect, it’s Le Cinq that’s the fanciest — the elaborate and extravagant dining experience is the antithesis of on-the-go casual dining. Invariably beautifully attired and typically celebrating a very special occasion, diners sink into gold-plated Louis XIV medallion chairs before submitting to impeccable multi-course menus that might feature spaghetti gratin with truffle, ham and artichokes, or sea bass with caviar and buttermilk — an ode from Brittany-born chef Christian Le Squer to the coastal flavors of his childhood.

Oenophiles who show a particular appreciation for the encyclopedia-sized wine list might secure a surprise invitation to a disused quarry. Some 46-ft below the property, this distinct setting once provided stone for the nearby Arc de Triomphe but now houses the hotel’s 50,000 bottles of exceptional wines, with a €60,000 (approx. $65,600) 1959 Pétrus Magnum the priciest among them.

[See also: Inside the Most Exclusive Hotel Suites in Paris]

le george paris
Le George serves sharing dishes inspired by Mediterranean cuisine / ©Four Seasons

Back at ground level, Le George serves made-for-sharing Mediterranean cuisine in an airy, elegant setting decorated with prize pieces by French brands such as Baccarat and Lalique. Dishes like pumpkin soup with ricotta, mushrooms and chestnuts are unfussy and nourishing. On the other side of George V’s marble courtyard at L’Orangerie, plant- and fish-based dishes like coconut carpaccio with spicy herb tartar and goji berries are not only intensely flavorful but refreshingly light and healthy.

Royal Suite from €27,000 (approx. $28,000) per night.

Contact Nada Rachidi, reservations manager,, +33 149 527 100,

Raffles Singapore

Raffles Singapore / ©Raffles

Revered by locals for well over a century, Raffles Singapore takes its responsibility as an ambassador for this food-obsessed city seriously. Spread across the pretty colonnades and lush lawns of the 19th-century landmark, its extensive selection of restaurants and bars are of such consistently high caliber that this historic hotel could also be justly categorized as a dynamic dining district.

Guests staying at the grande dame for the first time invariably toast their arrival with a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar, where it was created in 1915. Originally intended to resemble a fruit punch so its potency could be enjoyed discreetly, the rose-pink drink has become so synonymous with Singapore you’ll see it depicted on magnets and postcards. The Long Bar’s take on the now ubiquitous creation has moved with the times, though: Blended with pineapple juice, lime, gin and grenadine, it’s light and refreshing and cuts through the Singapore heat beautifully.

You’ll probably see families celebrating birthdays over afternoon tea at the immaculate Grand Lobby, an appropriately named meeting place flanked by Victorian columns and illuminated by a colossal hand-blown crystal chandelier. An institution since the 1890s, the nearby Tiffin Room draws from Singapore’s cultural diversity to serve top-class North Indian cuisine, with dishes like octopus kebabs with basil and spicy mint chutney, or scallop coconut curry with tamarind and lemongrass.

La Dame de Pic at Raffles Singapore / ©Raffles

A magnet for seal-the-deal business meetings during lunch, the handsome Butcher’s Block draws in convivial bookings at night with a hearty and elemental menu of nose-to-tail specialties, often cooked over wood fires or baked within smoldering embers. Here, tender lamb is served simply with miso, carrot and brown butter; dry-aged duck comes with black garlic and grilled dumpling.

The two most extravagant dining experiences of all, however, are helmed by big-name chefs who are globally recognized masters of their craft. For her first outpost in Asia, chef Anne-Sophie Pic’s La Dame de Pic occupies a sweeping heritage room in the main building that is now shaded in pretty pastels and decorated with peony motifs. Alongside impeccably balanced dishes like langoustine and caviar with ginger flower, vanilla and lychee, the restaurateur’s French origins are evident in the attention paid to desserts and pastries — they’re some of the most beautifully presented you’ll find in the city.

For an immersion in elevated Chinese cuisine, yì by Jereme Leung presents the esteemed chef’s interpretation of provincial dishes throughout China. Knowledgeable staff can deftly explain the intricacies of the country’s regional specialties, before recommending the likes of Shanghai-style honey-soy-smoked cod with okra and turnip, or Sichuan-style shredded black chicken with jellyfish.

The Sarkies Suite (Presidential Suite) from $18,000 per night.

Contact Amy Ang, director of commercial strategy,, +65 641 212 89,

SingleThread Healdsburg, California

SingleThread is still a hard reservation to obtain, eight years after its opening / ©Garrett Rowland

Even by wine-soaked Sonoma’s sky-high standards, SingleThread’s culinary credentials are unassailable. The first and only three-Michelin-starred address ain the county, this restaurant with rooms is in many ways a biography of its owners Kyle and Katina Connaughton, the executive chef and head farmer, respectively. After stints working for world-class chefs and in agricultural roles in England and Japan, the California couple came home with a hunch that others in the state might appreciate a refined dining experience that fuses unadulterated, ultra-fresh local produce with the most delicate aesthetics and a thoughtful approach to service rooted in Japanese principles of hospitality.

If anything, they underestimated their concept’s potential popularity. When SingleThread opened in Healdsburg in late 2016, diners were immediately wowed by the quality and beauty of innovative menus that would change rapidly — rather than considering crop cultivation in relation to spring, summer, fall and winter, Katina’s farming practices had been influenced by the Japanese belief that there are 72 ‘microseasons’ — so there is always something new and just exactly right to showcase.

SingleThread’s 24-acre farm is five miles away from the restaurant / ©Kim Carroll

Nowadays, guests can combine overnight stays with a visit to SingleThread’s 24-acre regenerative farm about five miles from the property. With its bountiful orchards, olive trees and iridescent hummingbirds flitting over its fragrant floral gardens, it’s idyllic — a clear labor of love. Here, a farm store sells just-harvested produce and decorative pieces by local artisans; inspiring on-site workshops educate visitors in all things bucolic, an uplifting way for city types to reconnect with nature and build up an appetite before dinner.

Back at the inn, 10-course menus still change continually. You might enjoy the likes of trout smoked gently over cherry wood; simmered eggplant with miso, plum and black sesame; and a tangy apple sorbet with white truffle and chestnut purée. Of course, wine is sacred in Sonoma, so the most invested drinkers are often inspired to complement their meal with the restaurant’s ‘Unforgettable Wine Pairing’ of exceptionally rare and elusive vintages.

While a guaranteed dinner reservation is perhaps the most prominent privilege afforded to guests who manage to book one of SingleThread’s five elegant bedrooms, other epicurean discoveries await. Kitchenettes are stocked with local cold-pressed juices, house-made sweets and beautifully presented onigiri. For those staying two nights, be sure to set aside time for an evening of in-room dining, said to be without comparison anywhere else in the country. Wrapped up in plush robes and pillowy Sasawashi slippers, couples can order comforting donabe hot-pot dinner sets to their rooms that might feature Hokkaido-style seafood or pork meatballs with homemade tofu.

SingleThread Suite from $1,850 per night.

Contact Haley Callahan, guest experience director,, +1 707 723 4646,

Royal Mansour, Marrakech

An ornate private dining room at Royal Mansour, Marrakech / ©Royal Mansour

A peaceful marvel somehow just minutes from the mania of Marrakech’s medina, the Royal Mansour was built by Morocco’s king to showcase the incredible creative and cultural heritage of the country. It’s almost as much an immersive design museum as a resort, and pretty much every decorative detail you see here has been produced by a best-in- class Moroccan artisan.

That sense of precision and pride extends to a portfolio of dining experiences that are typically acknowledged as being the best of their kind in the city, country or continent. Take La Grande Table Marocaine — which, given the King’s endorsement, could well stake a legitimate claim as the world’s most finessed Moroccan restaurant. As oud musicians strum melodically, diners are invited to discover elevated takes on much-loved dishes, like Tangier-style royal sea bream with Jerusalem artichoke, saffron and fennel, or a dessert of orange blossom-infused milk pastilla.

Similarly extravagant, chef Helène Darroze’s La Grande Brasserie goes big on full-bodied French dishes like lobster vol au vent packed with aromantic black truffle, all complemented by immensely simple, completely pleasurable sides like silky mashed potatoes soaked in brown butter. Although everything everywhere somehow feels innately refined at the Royal Mansour, the vibe is more relaxed at open-air pan-Asian restaurant Le Jardin, where guests feast on king crab with ginger and basil, or grilled eggplant with pine nuts and pomegranate, under the shade of fragrant fruit trees.

The Grand Riad from $39,900 per night.

Contact, +212 529 808 080,

This article appears in the 03 Jun 2024 issue of the New Statesman, Summer 2024

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