Nurturing both your mind and body on a spa vacation is a given. Taking care of yourself both inside and out is meant to bring inner peace and relaxation. While taking care of the body, it’s critical to focus on what you put in it. However, for the traveling food lover and spa connoisseur, it's crucial to never sacrifice quality and flavor while enjoying spa cuisine.
Many of world’s most luxurious spas are now making this easy by offering exceptional culinary creations that have added health benefits to go along with them. Some spa menus can include a mixture of juices, smoothies, and light fare like salads, while others are offering awe-inspiring dishes.
The term "spa cuisine" was introduced and coined by Four Seasons Restaurant in 1983 and has taken off ever since. Many spas jumped on the bandwagon to offer dishes that avoided salt, cream, oil, and butter, while many today are even going beyond creating low-fat dishes.
What makes a spa-cuisine menu outstanding is the willingness of the spa and restaurant to cater to dietary restrictions and requirements. Chefs and spa directors can often sit down with clients prior to their arrival to discuss likes, dislikes, and intolerances. This way, the menu is hand-crafted for the ultimate experience that will leave you saying "ohm."
The Mayflower Inn and Spa is all about customization. Within their restaurants on property they offer signature spa dishes even if you haven’t made it to your facial yet. While in the spa itself, they can create healthy spa lunches for each client. Helen Brown, spa director, told The Daily Meal that they can produce a special menu designed for each guest. Spa guests also have the option to sit down with a nutritionist to create a menu plan during their stay. "We have spa-inspired dishes on all menus, prepared in a healthful manner," Brown explained.
At The Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes spa and Les Thermes Marins in Cannes, France, it’s all about the delicious and nutritious bento box. Both spa restaurants offer protein-filled bento boxes that are steamed to the client’s liking and paired with healthy fruits and vegetables, for a light, well-balanced meal.
Another standout in the world of high-class spa cuisine is Gaia Retreat & Spa, in Byron Bay, Australia. With a variety of vegetarian and vegan options, the award-winning spa also offers culinary specialties like the stack of smoked yellowfin tuna and curried king prawn with avocado, tomato, lettuce, and Mediterranean dressing.
The Daily Meal’s spa list incorporates spas that made the cut from our 2011 list, but also includes new additions that have received critical acclaim and buzz in the media. The spas included have award-winning menus and acclaimed chefs and can tailor menu items to the customer’s own preference.
For a spa-inspired night at home, try making Mayflower Inn & Spa's Pear Carpaccio at home by following this recipe.