Choosing a hotel for your vacation is about so much more than just finding a place to sleep and take a shower. These days, many of the best family resorts in the U.S. are culinary destinations in and of themselves, often boasting critically acclaimed restaurants and on-site gardens that produce the freshest ingredients. At these foodie hotels, the food is a big part of the appeal.
Foodie Hotels with On-Site Culinary Experiences
If you’re the kind of traveler who thinks as much about what you’re going to eat as what you’re going to actually do on vacation, here are the top foodie hotels and resorts in the U.S. that are a dream come true for culinary connoisseurs like you.
The Essex, Vermont’s Culinary Resort and Spa – Essex Junction, Vermont
If you love cooking and learning from some of the best chefs in the country, The Essex is the foodie hotel to visit. Located between the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, it’s a beautiful foodie destination for the entire family.
As guests, you can take part in interactive cooking classes and workshops called the Cook Academy, where you can learn knife skills, sushi making, cake decorating, and other foodie arts from the resort’s culinary team. And for a closer look at how produce grows, you can take part in a complimentary garden tour with The Essex’s head gardener.
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The Inn at Hastings Park – Lexington, Massachusetts
On different occasions throughout the year, The Inn at Hastings Park hosts culinary weekends with Chef Trisha Pérez Kennealy. These foodie weekends are perfect for solo travelers or couples looking to get away and learn something new about cooking. The events, which are part of a special two-night package, are open to groups of up to eight, so everyone in your group will get one-on-one attention from the chef.
The special culinary weekends include 20 hours of culinary instruction, a farm and history tour, a four-course tasting dinner that you cook yourself, and a picnic lunch. Each foodie weekend has a distinct theme and is focused on the produce and protein that’s in season. Themes include Oktoberfest with beer tastings and a tailgate and bourbon tasting.
Hermitage Hotel – Nashville, Tennessee
Fans of the Netflix series Bridgerton are going to want to stay at The Hermitage Hotel, where they are known for their Talk of the Town tea service. The weekend tea has been revamped to include touches of Bridgerton, including a Nashville-themed letter which mimics Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers from the show.
The menu features classic tea sandwiches, delightful mini quiches, scones, and sweets. You will want to make a reservation through the hotel website for the Talk fo the Town tea service since space is limited at each seating.
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The Ritz-Carlton Orlando and JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes – Orlando, Florida
When you think about Florida, it’s probably the Orlando theme parks and Orlando water parks that first come to mind. But there’s more to Orlando than the sugary sweetness of Butterbeer and theme park food festivals.
At The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, and JW Marriott, Grande Lakes, you can reserve Curated Experience Weekends throughout the year. Each weekend includes a cocktail and tasting hour on the first night. The second day is filled with culinary activities from cocktail classes run by resort bartenders to pastry decorating with the resort’s pastry team or learning about dry-aged steaks from Chef John Tesar, who you might know from Top Chef.
Along with these foodie activities, the Curated Experience Weekends host a multi-course dinner Saturday night with live entertainment and a decadent Sunday brunch.
JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa – San Antonio, Texas
Located in the heart of the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa, the Cibolo Moon restaurant offers up a fresh take on flavors from around the world, including Mexico, Germany, Creole Louisiana, and Texas.
The restaurant’s bar, Cibolo Tequila Bar, is the spot to be before dinner or for a late night drink, and it’s the first bar in the Lone Star State to be certified by Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Commission for its knowledge of tequila. You’ll find more than 100 varieties of tequila to try, along with 10 house-made infusions. The bar can even accommodate private or group tastings for those looking to learn more about the agave spirit.
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Castle Hot Springs – Morristown, Arizona
While Castle Hot Springs is best known for its access to rejuvenating hot springs, it’s also widely known in the foodie community for its agriculture program. The resort grows more than 500 varieties of rare and indigenous fruits, vegetables, herbs, and florals on site, and all are used at the its signature Harvest Restaurant. The resort is focused on reducing food waste, so the culinary team dries, pickles, and ferments many items to help bring new life to produce while also adding new flavors to dishes on the menu.
The Massanutten Resort – Massanutten, Virginia
Each Tuesday at the Massanutten Resort’s Virginia BBQ and Pizza Co., local Pit Boss Debbie Meadows teaches guests everything there is to know about BBQ. The 90-minute class introduces different BBQ techniques and tricks, and everyone will get to try some BBQ right out of the pit. The classes are $20 per person and have a capacity of 20 people for a truly intimate and personalized BBQ experience.
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Montage Palmetto Bluff – Bluffton, South Carolina
The serene low country of Bluffton, South Carolina, is home to the foodie-friendly Montage Palmetto Bluff resort. Every Saturday, the resort offers a unique culinary experience called The Chef’s Journey held in a private dining room at one of the on-site restaurants.
The Chef’s Journey is only available to book via a link through the resort’s Instagram stories on the Saturday prior to the event date. This is also how guests will learn what the genre of the dinner will be and how many courses it will include. For those who love culinary adventures, this foodie experience is perfect because you won’t know the exact menu until you’re seated to dine.
The Meritage Resort and Spa – Napa Valley, California
If you’ve ever wanted to dine among the grape vines in Napa then you’re going to want to check out The Meritage Resort and Spa in iconic Napa Valley. The Meritage offers a picnic in the vineyard where you can have a private two-hour lunch on nine acres of vineyards. The picnic features a curated picnic menu, and local wine is available to guests on Saturdays and Sundays.
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Foodie Hotels with Award-Winning Restaurants or Chefs
At some hotels, the culinary experience starts with the hotel restaurant itself. Here are the top foodie hotels in the U.S. where the hotel restaurants are a central attraction.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley – Calistoga, California
The Four Seasons Resort and Residences Napa Valley, scheduled to open later this year, is the first and only Napa Valley resort to operate on an active winery. The resort’s dining options will be spearheaded by Michelin-starred executive chef Erik Anderson’s TRUSS Restaurant and Bar.
The restaurant will feature a menu tha’ts influenced by French techniques, fine dining, and modern cuisine. The team of chefs at TRUSS will source as much as possible from local farmers and purveyors, including California Caviar Co. and Wolfe Ranch.
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Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass – Phoenix, Arizona
The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass is home to Kai, the only AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant in Arizona. The restaurant is owned by the Gila River Indian Community and features a menu that reflects the creativity and history of the local Native American culture. The tasting menu at Kai changes seasonally. In past years, it has featured items like grilled buffalo tenderloin and vanilla bean poached lobster tail.
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Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans – New Orleans, Louisiana
Opening this summer, the new Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans features two signature restaurants run by James Beard Award-winning chefs. Miss River, run by Alan Shaya, will feature dishes like whole carved buttermilk fried chicken, salt-crusted Gulf red snapper, and Louisiana oyster patty with flaky puff pastry. The second restaurant will open later in the year and be run by Louisiana chef Donald Link. Not much is known about the restaurant yet other than that it will be on the fifth floor, and overlooking the hotel pool and Mississippi River.
Food-Themed Hotel Rooms at Foodie Hotels
Sometimes the culinary travel experience starts in your own hotel room! At these foodie hotels, even the rooms are mouthwateringly good.
The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel – Kennebunkport, Maine
The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel offers a new crustacean-inspired room called the Maine Lobster Suite, which is tastefully adorned with lobster-themed pillows, art, and bedding. Each stay includes a lobster-laden food experience including exclusive access to a lobster-themed menu curated just for the suite, a dinner for two at the hotel restaurant, and a cruise on the Rugosa Lobster Boat, where you’ll learn how to haul lobster traps. The Maine Lobster Suite is available to book May 26 through October 3, 2021.
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Sanderling Resort – Outer Banks, North Carolina
Located in one of the best family vacation spots in the U.S., the Outer Banks’ Sanderling Resort will outfit one room for the entire month of June for donut-themed accommodations in partnership with the wildly popular Duck Donuts, which has its flagship location just down the road from the resort. The donut room will include donut-themed bedding and throw pillows, a donut and coffee bar with Duck Donuts coffee and a DIY donut kit, donut pool floats, and more.
SLS South Beach – Miami, Florida
For those looking for a truly unique private dining experience at a hotel, you’ll want to consider the SLS South Beach’s Omakase Suite located in the Tower Penthouse, which was designed by Lenny Kravitz. This foodie hotel suite located in one of Florida’s best beach towns features a curated Omakase menu from Chef Hiro Asano.
During dinner you’ll be treated to dishes like hamachi and watermelon tartare, along with a signature sake pairing. And when dinner ends, you can order more cocktails while lounging on the private rooftop terrace or listening to a collection of vintage records.