It all started in Belgium when culinary communications agency Hakuna Matata partnered with The Fun Group, an amusement park ride installer, to offer the first Dinner in the Sky — in which buckled-in diners eat at a table suspended from a crane, dangling 150 feet or so in the air — back in 2006. Now you can experience elevated dining in sunny Puerto Vallarta, on the lush grounds of Casa Velas Resort. You’ll get a highly choreographed culinary extravaganza, incorporating a musical soundtrack and various announcements over an on-board sound system as you're lifted into the air with 22 fellow diners.
Similar in many ways to a luxe amusement park ride, the Dinner in the Sky experience begins with a ground-level complimentary cocktail hour, where drinks like the Sky High mixed with Skyy vodka, lemon soda, grapefruit juice, and blue Curaçao are planted in your hand. You'll also be signing a waiver that indemnifies the operators should anything go wrong. But don't worry — this is merely a formality, thanks to the stringent safety guidelines, exceeding the highest European standards.
Next you'll walk down a grand walkway to the launch platform, lit on both sides with tiki torches. Getting strapped in takes a while ,and when it's finally time to make your steady and gradual ascent by crane, it's entirely possible that you won't immediately notice your departure from earth, since there's absolutely no bouncing or swaying as you rise.
Strapped into a sports-car-like bucket seat, chairs are anchored to the table and swivel slightly from left to right. You are quite confined by the body harness and chair design, which at points can make it difficult to eat without lifting the plate to your mouth. But your chair does have a thrilling feature that's perhaps best enjoyed after liberally downing the tequila shots that are served along with the wine pairings between courses. Pull back a lever to recline, stretch back, and stargaze if it's nighttime.
Your hour-long experience includes a three-course gourmet dinner featuring a rotating lineup of dishes like lobster lasagna and beef fillet served atop polenta with truffles. These meals are prepared by top chefs including Mikel Alonso and Bruno Oteiza — disciples of Spanish superstar Juan Mari Arzak, “Best Chef in Mexico” Xavi Pérez Stone, and Mexican TV personality Chef Yolanda Yanar. Everything is prepared in advance, but the elevated dining space is equipped with a six-tray oven and two electric stove tops for finishing. Spectacular views of surrounding Banderas Bay and the Sierra Madre Mountains in the distance compliment the gustatory extravaganza.
Casa Velas Resort is just one of many locations around the globe offering Dinner in the Sky. Since 2006, installations have risen in the skies of 45 countries throughout Europe, and in Australia, Japan, India, Dubaï, South Africa, Brazil, the United States, Canada, and China, as well as elsewhere in Mexico. Although Dinner in the Sky will only be available at Casa Velas until February 28th, future dates are already scheduled for 2018-19 so stay tuned for your next opportunity!
Photos courtesy of Casa Velas & Steve Mirsky. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored visit.