America's Best Hotels for Foodies
What’s more satisfying than a hotel with a luxurious four-poster bed, marble bath, wood-burning fireplace, and Blue Ridge Mountains views? How about a dinner courtesy of James Beard Award–winning chef Patrick O’Connell—and waiting right downstairs.
Guests of Virginia’s Inn at Little Washington don’t have to travel far for a world-class meal. Chef O’Connell’s creative dishes, such as carpaccio of baby lamb with Caesar salad ice cream and pappardelle with chanterelle mushrooms, apricots, and country ham, secured Little Washington the No. 1 ranking among America’s best hotels for foodies, as chosen by T+L readers in the World’s Best Hotels 2012 survey. It’s one of the winning hotels heating up the U.S. hotel culinary scene, from the best New England lobsters to the tastiest farm-to-table California fare.
At The Peninsula Chicago (No. 12), foodies can savor skyline views while indulging in chef Lee Wolen’s creations at buzzed-about new restaurant The Lobby. “The best chicken you’ve ever eaten has just gotten better,” raves Time Out Chicago food editor David Tamarkin about the whole roasted chicken stuffed with thyme, brioche butter, and lemon zest.
Related: America’s Best Cities for Foodies
Michelin-starred chef Bruno Davaillon recently took the helm of Mansion Restaurant at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek (No. 7), a Dallas icon of luxury. His menu of haute Texas dishes with a French twist—king crab butternut squash soup and bison tenderloin au poivre, for instance—has given local and visiting foodies a new reason to check in.
Seeking out slower-paced indulgences has its own appeal, when it comes to enjoying both a meal and a destination. Those who ditch the city for the old-growth rainforests of Gold Beach, OR, are rewarded with chef Scott Guynn’s “slow food” cooking at Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge (No. 6). The cozy lodge’s dining room offers communal seating, family-style dining, and Rouge River views—paired with local wild chinook salmon.
Or sink your teeth into the ultimate farm-to-table country experience at Blackberry Farm’s The Barn (No. 5) in Walland, TN. Chef Joseph Lenn’s five-course southern “Foothills Cuisine” comes fresh from this Smoky Mountain’s 4,200-acre farm.
Whatever your idea of foodie paradise, there’s a hotel among these top picks that is sure to get your vacation plans cooking.
No. 1 Inn at Little Washington, VA
At the inn’s dining room, surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, chef-owner Patrick O’Connell puts an imaginative spin on familiar dishes and always uses ingredients sourced nearby. Pairings come from the 14,000-bottle cellar.
What to Order: Carpaccio of baby lamb with Caesar salad ice cream.
No. 2 Triple Creek Ranch, Darby, MT
Chef Jacob Leatherman draws on global influences at the hotel’s bistro, where foodies settle in for the seven-course Chef’s Table service, with views of West Fork Canyon.
What to Order: The menu changes daily, but look for pan-seared Alaskan salmon with white-bean stew.
No. 3 Wentworth Mansion, Charleston, SC
Traditional Lowcountry cooking with a healthful edge is the philosophy of chef Marc Collins, who whips up intricate dishes in a 19th-century kitchen—hence the restaurant’s name, Circa 1886.
What to Order: In winter, try antelope au poivre with Burgundy-braised vegetables and whipped Brie.
No. 4 Amangiri, Canyon Point, UT
Wood-oven cooking, rustic fare, and locally sourced, seasonal produce are chef Shon Foster’s specialties at this exclusive resort’s open kitchen–dining room—complete with vistas of Utah’s dramatic desert landscape.
What to Order: The menu changes daily, but look for the 45-day, in-house dry-aged, American Wagyu tomahawk steak. And in late spring and early summer, when the resort’s plum trees are dropping their fruit, ask the kitchen to make a plum tart for dessert.
No. 5 Blackberry Farm, Walland, TN
A 200-year-old, exposed-beam, barn-turned-restaurant is the ideal country setting for chef Joseph Lenn’s signature “Foothills Cuisine,” where food comes fresh from this Smoky Mountain’s 4,200-acre farm. The five-course southern experience is paired with a 160,000-bottle cellar.
What to Order: The chicken dumplings are a foodie favorite.
No. 6 Tu Tu’ Tun Lodge, Gold Beach, OR
The Pacific Northwest serves as inspiration for chef Scott Guynn’s “slow food” cooking, focused on fresh, local ingredients. The cozy lodge’s dining room has communal seating, family-style dining, and gorgeous Rouge River views that encourage you to linger over your meal.
What to Order: Wild chinook salmon grilled over mesquite.
No. 7 Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
This Dallas icon of luxury houses the Mansion Restaurant, where chef Bruno Davaillon took over last year, earning acclaim for his haute Texas dishes with a French flair. Foodies will be tempted to splurge on the personal Chef’s Table—as many courses as you like, suited to your tastes.
What to Order: The Mansion Tortilla Soup is a staple and happens to be comedian Bill Cosby’s favorite.
No. 8 Post Ranch Inn, Big Sur, CA
From 1,200 feet above the surf, diners gaze out on the Pacific from the inn’s cliff-side restaurant, Sierra Mar, where newly appointed chef John Cox dishes up NorCal-inspired creations using indigenous ingredients from the property’s living roof, on-site garden, and 100-acre ranch.
What to Order: Indulge in the eight-course Big Sur Tasting menu. Or try the wild boar with Post Ranch bay laurel.
No. 9 Waldorf Astoria Chicago
This chic 60-story skyscraper recently closed its Michelin-starred RIA, but foodies are still flocking to its European bistro, Balsan, for chef Herve Cuyeu’s updated classics, interpretative American favorites, and family-style dining.
What to Order: Braised veal cheek with cippolini onion, speck, pomme purée, and mushroom Nage.
No. 10 Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, Chatham, MA
New England cuisine with a worldview is the philosophy of chef James Hackney, whose seasonal menu at posh eatery Twenty-Eight Atlantic is crafted around Cape Cod seafood and produce. Served with sweeping, waterfront views of Pleasant Bay.
What to Order: The butter-braised lobster, naturally.
No. 11 White Barn Inn, Kennebunk, ME
This 19th-century inn compound includes a clapboard 26-room main house, three outlying riverfront cottages, and at its center, the restaurant, which encompasses two 1820s stone barns. Here, chef Jonathan Cartwright cooks up Maine-inspired American and European dishes.
What to Order: The seasonal prix fixe–only menu changes weekly; keep an eye out for butter-poached smoked lobster.
No. 12 The Peninsula Chicago
Twenty-foot windows offer unrivaled city views from this luxe hotel’s hot new restaurant, The Lobby. Chef Lee Wolen recently took charge and is already garnering five-star reviews for his contemporary, approachable American fare.
What to Order: Whole roasted chicken stuffed with thyme, brioche butter, and lemon zest—and meant for two.
No. 13 The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, Truckee, CA
At this family-friendly Northstar at Tahoe ski resort, restaurant Manzanita features killer views, an open kitchen, and San Francisco star chef Traci Des Jardins’s comfort food with a French twist.
What to Order: Red wine–braised short rib with horseradish potato purée.
No. 14 The Peninsula Beverly Hills, Los Angeles
Dine alfresco year-round at this elegant hotel’s rooftop restaurant, The Belvedere, where chef James Overbaugh maintains SoCal’s only AAA Five-Diamond ranking and caters to health-minded foodies with gluten-free, contemporary fare.
What to Order: Seared ahi tuna with Prince Edward Island mussels, saffron aioli, and an inspired bouillabaisse broth.
No. 15 The Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, Tucson, AZ
At this desert paradise’s acclaimed CORE Kitchen & Wine Bar, flanked by a saguaro cactus forest, chef David Serus gives a southwestern accent to American dishes. Come back for more on Sundays, when the Market Brunch includes a seafood bar, raw bar, and fresh-baked pastries.
What to Order: Sea bass with Arizona citrus, endive, and chorizo chimichurri.