Star chefs are feeding the creative energy of a new breed of American hotel, whether with a luxe brasserie menu or an artisanal ice cream truck.

By Food & Wine
September 18, 2015
Hotel South Beach
1 South Beach hotel
| Credit: Luis Garcia

Hotel South Beach: Miami Beach

THE HOTEL This is the first property by 1 Hotels, a new line with a strong focus on sustainability. The eco ethic is clear in big and small ways: “Do Not Disturb” signs are printed on repurposed cardboard from shipping containers, Teslas are on call for guests and—most significantly—chef Tom Colicchio runs all the restaurants, including the one by the pool.

THE CHEF “We spent months sourcing everything from Florida—we even found a fantastic burrata,” says Colicchio. At Beachcraft, he chars local octopus on a custom wood-burning grill to serve with a smoky-sweet ancho chile sauce; for his cabana menu at the poolside Sand Box, he fills tacos with kale slaw and yuca-encrusted lionfish, an invasive species. (One way to reduce the number of lionfish threatening local marine ecosystems is to eat them.)

Doubles from $499; 2341 Collins Ave.;

The Durham Hotel: Durham, North Carolina

The Durham Hotel
Credit: Travis Dove

THE HOTEL Chef Andrea Reusing always admired the midcentury architecture of Durham’s abandoned Home Savings Bank. Now she’s helped transform it into The Durham Hotel, where everything from the coffee to the rooftop concerts highlights local talent.

THE CHEF At her Chapel Hill restaurant, Lantern, Reusing cooks Asian-inflected dishes. At The Durham, she will pay tribute to America. “Mark Twain wrote amazing letters home from France about craving simple food, and I was inspired by that,” she says. Her loose translations include grilled pork ribs with celery seeds.

Doubles from $249; 315 E. Chapel Hill St.;

Baccarat Hotel: New York City

Baccarat Hotel
Credit: Frédéric Lagrange

THE HOTEL Baccarat, the French crystal company, launched this opulent hotel on 12 stories of a new midtown Manhattan skyscraper directly across the street from MoMA.

THE CHEF Shea Gallante, an F&W Best New Chef 2005, runs the “brasserie de luxe,” Chevalier. His clever, brilliant interpretations of French classics include a grand seafood platter with uni and an update on coquilles St. Jacques (gratinéed scallops). As evidence of this smart and loosened-up approach, Gallante offers many tasting-menu options: Guests can choose anything from two to 11 courses.

Doubles from $790; 28 W. 53rd St.;

South Congress Hotel: Austin

South Congress Hotel
Credit: Wynn Myers

THE HOTEL The owners of Austin’s superpopular Sway and La Condesa restaurants opened this complex of neatly arrayed bungalow-style buildings. Their aim is to lure pedestrians in from busy South Congress Avenue, hence the hotel’s open layout: There are fantastic restaurants and snack stops at every turn.

THE CHEFS Two chefs oversee South Congress’s restaurants. Michael Paley, who made his name at 21c Museum hotels, runs Café No Sé, a locavore spot inspired by L.A.’s Sqirl. He is also the talent behind Central Standard, a loose interpretation of a steakhouse, where baked sweet potatoes stuffed with chorizo and avocado replace the usual sour-cream-topped kind. Paul Qui, a F&W Best New Chef 2014, will run the omakase counter, Otoko, opening this fall with a focus on raw and cooked fish.

Doubles from $289; 1603 South Congress Ave.;

The Old No. 77: New Orleans

The Old No. 77
Credit: Paul Costello

THE HOTEL The Old No. 77 gets its energy from New Orleans’s young artists and the food artisans championed by chef Nina Compton. That’s evident even in the idiosyncratic minibar, stocked with Swamp Pop’s Filé Root Beer (filé, made with sassafras powder, is a key gumbo ingredient).

THE CHEF Compton (left) fell in love with New Orleans while filming Top Chef. Her hotel restaurant, Compère Lapin, is a mash-up of influences: Caribbean (she’s from Saint Lucia), English (she has a British grandmother) and Italian (she trained at Scarpetta in Miami Beach).

Doubles from $117; 535 Tchoupitoulas St.;