Starting from the century-old auberges dotting the French countryside, the combination of a satisfying meal and comfy bed is the stuff of great travel. Plus, what can be easier for the diner than stumbling into bed after an all-out meal? Fortunately for the food-obsessed traveler, some of the biggest name chefs are also in the hospitality game. They’re not merely satisfied with operating a restaurant in someone else’s hotel — these entrepreneurial chefs have their hands in running both.
There is a spate of upcoming chef-run hotels: In London, the offal-loving chef Fergus Henderson has paired up with Trevor Gulliver to extend St. John’s “nose-to-tail” mantra table-to-bed with the St. John Hotel, which will open in March 2011. Avant-garde chef Pedro Sujiana has started work on his long-held dream: a 21-room hotel and spa on the grounds of his three Michelin-starred Akelarre restaurant in San Sebastian, Spain.
These upcoming spots have a rich legacy of excellent chef-r un hotels around the world to draw upon, from Maison Pic in Valence, France, which has been run by four generations of the same family, to the newer York & Albany in London, mega-chef Gordon Ramsay’s sole hotel project.
Having a renowned chef’s vision extend to the hotel can translate to far more than just a stellar hotel restaurant. In the case of L’Andana, famed chef Alain Ducasse’s sole property in Italy, it means dishes prepared with olive oil produced on the inn’s estate. At Bras in Laguiole, France, it means guests can open their room’s floor-to-ceiling windows out onto the Aubrac plateau, the inspiration for Michel Bras’s phenomenal cooking.