It’s al fresco dining season again, and hotels are getting creative with their outdoor setups. From a rustic-elegant set up overlooking the Spanish hillside, to a romantic beach tryst on a private South Sea island, here are 10 over-the-top open air set ups that take picnicking to a new level.
Elevating the African bush picnic to new heights, quite literally, safari camp operator Cheli & Peacock Safaris now offers picnics on top of Mount Kenya. Helicopter up to the summit, where a healthy lunch and South African wines are arrayed on a blanket. In the course of the afternoon, guests will be treated to the sight of rare Kenyan wildlife in a setting that typically even the most intrepid bush explorers never reach.
When it comes to packing a basket, the St. Regis hotel in Georgia’s sassy Real Housewives city takes care of business. An entire “picnic basket menu” features such items as fried green tomato sandwiches on pumpernickel and Fluffernutter sandwiches with homemade marshmallow creme and almond butter. There’s no single set location to eat this picnic—the hotel assumes that guests will be exploring around the Blue Ridge, along the Chattooga River, or in another of the wonderfully scenic drive destinations nearby Atlanta.
Sometimes location is everything—case in point, this St. Regis South Seas jewel. The menu hardly matters when the setting is a white sand lagoon in tropical paradise. It’s offered as part of the St. Regis Bora Bora’s “romance menu” (no surprise there) that’s geared toward new-marrieds, but is available to any guest who wants to create their own magical moment in paradise.
New York City
Foraging hasn’t caught on in Manhattan—for fairly obvious reasons—but the Peninsula Hotel Group has managed to locate a forager based in New York’s most popular borough and engage his services for a very special enrichment experience. He takes guests through Central Park on a mission to locate and identify all sorts of edible produce that exist right under people’s noses. The picnic that follows is not park-foraged (no one could be that bold), but it’s delicious all the same.
Another very special al fresco adventure available by request from Peninsula Hotels is a beach picnic on the secluded Sai Kung Peninsula. If you’re one of those people who think that Hong Kong is nothing but skyscrapers, noodle shops and aggressive merchants, then you’re in the majority—but you’re wrong. The island has huge expanses of parkland and white sand beaches like Tai Long Wan, pictured. The catch is, this beach has no road access, so the Peninsula brings guests by heli, James Bond-style.