10 Best Foodie Hotels in Europe Slideshow
The farm at Ballymaloe has been in operation since 1405, and you can get a taste of its heritage with eggs laid that morning by the hotel’s chicks, jams and marmalades canned on-site, and local stoneground oatmeal. The associated Ballymaloe Cookery School nearby hosts wine weekends, a full range of one-day workshops, and afternoon demonstrations. If you fall hard for Ballymaloe’s rustic charm, you can check in for a full 12-week cooking course.
Intercontinental Park Lane London
Chef Theo Randall, a veteran of London's River Café (which has been called the best Italian restaurant in Europe, Italy included!), now runs an eponymous restaurant in the Intercontinental London Park Lane. Randall’s talent for courting British heritage producers mixed with his joyful take on rustic Italian fare leaves guests sated and smiling. At monthly cooking classes, Randall gushes over local purveyors and how to bring out the best in their ingredients. There’s a similarly bubbling enthusiasm over at the hotel’s Cookbook Café. Here kids don mini chefs caps and muck about with cookies and cakes, while parents enjoy the unlimited-Bellini brunches (one of the hottest tickets in town).
It's no surprise that Nimb Hotel, owned by the Grønlykkes, one of Denmark's culinary first families, has fast become the go-to hostelry for foodies interested in experiencing Denmark’s culinary renaissance. You should start at the Michelin-starred Restaurant Herman, where the butter on the table was churned that morning from milk from the hotel’s on-site dairy. That dairy, glass-enclosed to reveal all to visitors, also produces the hotel’s cream, yogurt, and cheese. At the more casual Brasserie, chefs work in stations throughout the dining room preparing red deer with pickled salsify and juniper, and pike with dill hollandaise. In the Løgismose shop, you can buy housemade cheese, Summerbird chocolates, and fresh bread for picnics out back in the Tivoli gardens.
Grand Hotel Europe
St. Petersburg, Russia
Not even a Dostoyevsky novel could begin to match the rich history contained in the walls of the Grand Hotel Europe (the writer was, however, a frequent guest). You’ll take your breakfast in the same room where Rasputin dined, Tchaikovsky grapped post-concert bites, and Elton John performed. There’s a historical shine to the cuisine itself, especially in the Caviar Bar & Restaurant, where you can sample faithful renditions of regional Russian cuisine, sip vintages from a wine cellar consistently rated as one of the best in the world, and sample house-made draughts guided by the country’s only vodka sommelier.
Villa San Michele
Set in a 15th-century Franciscan monastery designed by Michaelangelo, the Villa San Michele has to be the world’s most scenic spot to learn the art of pasta-making. The hotel cooking school offers classes in regional and seasonal Italian cuisine, and in the fine art of Chianti tasting. Classroom instruction in augmented with trips into the countryside to visit farms and wineries. Kids can get in on the action with chocolate-tasting excursions and romps through the hotel gardens.
Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons
Great Milton, England
At Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, food isn’t just one of the offerings, it’s the entire focus. Founded by Raymond Blanc, one of the pioneers of Britain’s culinary renaissance, this quaint Oxfordshire manor has held on to its two Michelin stars for more than 25 years. Full-day cooking courses are divided between wine-tasting, sauce and stock basics, and instruction on recreating some of the hotel’s classic dishes. You’ll also get an introduction to the two-acre vegetable, herb, and tea gardens where many of the raw materials for your meals come from.
The Regent Berlin
If foraging in gardens or learning how to make stock isn’t exactly your idea of vacation, consider something with a bit more glitz. The Regent Berlin has it in spades — Richard Gere and Angelina Jolie rested their well-coiffed heads here — but it also has the culinary chops to back it up. The Berlin grand dame has the city’s only two-Michelin-star restaurant, Fischers Fritz, an over-the-top indulgence complete with a water sommelier and one of only six lobster presses in the world (enjoy the fruits of its labor for $185 per person). Prepare your children (or yourself) for the experience with the restaurant’s afternoon etiquette classes. Or, for the ultimate splurge, book the Kitchen Table, where you can watch as the staff prepares a bespoke tasting menu with specially paired wines.
Hotel Marqués de Riscal
Wine is the guiding passion of the Frank Gehry-designed Hotel Marqués de Riscal in Spain’s Rioja region. It’s the ideal base for wine exploration, from the on-site winery to the insider access the hotel arranges for surrounding vineyards. Both the formal Restaurante Marques de Riscal and the more casual Bistro 1860 are overseen by chef Francis Paniego, the first chef to earn a Michelin star for Riojan cuisine. The wine focus carries over into the spa, whose vinotherapy treatments include cabernet body scrubs and clay and merlot body wraps.
Le Moulin de Mougins
Picasso died in this tiny French village 15 minutes from Cannes, but these days it sees more culinary pilgrims than art-lovers. That's mainly thanks to Le Moulin de Mougins, whose two-Michelin-star kitchen, one the preserve of the legendary Roger Vergé, is now in the skilled hands of chef Alain Llorca. Learn some of his secrets at the on-site culinary school, which offers casual cooking and pastry instruction as well as wine-tastings.
Dolder Grand's castle, rising over Zurich, has a bit of a devil-or-angel attraction. Seven-course tasting menus are served in Heiko Nieder's Michelin-two-starred restaurant, with views across the city to the Alps. Cooking classes focus on rich fare like venison and Swiss pastries. But there’s also an on-site medical wellness center offering fitness regimens, detox, and, if all else fails, liposuction.