Gastronomic Getaways: The Rise of Celebrity Chef Hotels

    The culinary travel trend just keeps on growing, and now there’s an even more immersive way to to follow our favorite chefs around the world, as some of the world’s top cooks expand into opening their own hotels. From the legendary Roca brothers to other leaders in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, these are the chefs putting food at the forefront of the hotel experience.
    Casa Caminada
    Renowned architect Gion A. Caminada—a distant relation of Andreas Caminada—used local wood and stone to design Casa Caminada in Switzerland, while Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola filled the interiors with objects and fabrics made by local craftsmen. Banner image: D’une Île, Christian Braut

    Boutique hotel Casa Caminada is located in the grounds of Schloss Schauenstein, a historic castle that sits amid tree-shaded gardens in a small town in the Swiss Alps. This bucolic hideaway is the setting for the eponymous three-Michelin-starred restaurant of lauded chef Andreas Caminada, for which he was awarded the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ 2019 Sustainable Restaurant prize. In October 2018, the chef and his team opened Casa Caminada in Schloss Schauenstein’s old stables. Describing this property as a tribute to his homeland of Switzerland and local crafts, the chef integrated a restaurant, organic bakery, and nine wooden-beamed guest rooms—some with mountain views—into the light-filled space.

    Related: Discover 6 of the Best Contemporary Swiss Architects

    Mathias Kotzbeck, who previously worked at Schloss Schauenstein, leads the kitchen with dishes celebrating the region’s produce. Expect to dine on classic Swiss plates with local meat such as venison, vegetables from local farms and the castle garden, artisan bread from the hotel’s organic bakery, and mountain cheese that’s been matured in Casa Caminada’s cellar.

    Casa Maria Luigia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

    Casa Maria Luigia
    Step inside Casa Maria Luigia and you’ll find a main hall with painted ceiling, glass-enclosed portico, vinyl-record room, cocktail room, and family-style kitchen, along with 12 individually decorated rooms featuring walnut floors, Dedar fabrics, and handcrafted ceramic tiles. Image: Marco Poderi

    Casa Maria Luigia, a recently opened guesthouse set in the Emilian countryside, is the work of husband-and-wife team, Massimo Bottura and Lara Gilmore, known for raising Bottura’s restaurant Osteria Francescana to three-Michelin-star world-leading status and cocreating the not-for-profit organization, Food for Soul. They have transformed an 18th-century property surrounded by 200-year-old oak trees into a destination filled with contemporary art and sculpture, and both vintage and contemporary furnishings.

    The pantry is filled with Emilian produce such as Parmigiano Reggiano, and the adjacent Carriage House serves hearty breakfasts and celebratory dinners on communal tables by an open kitchen. If you’ve not managed to get a table at the notoriously hard-to-book Osteria, then try the hotel restaurant’s tasting menu made up of the destination restaurant’s signature plates. When you’re not sating your appetite, head outside to explore the grounds complete with vegetable garden and swimming pool.

    D’une Île, Normandy, France

    D’une Île’s menu showcases beautiful local produce. The property has just eight guestrooms, each with minimalist decor that complements the 17th-century structure. Image: Alexandre Guirkinger

    In French, D’une Île translates to “from an island.” This name draws on the hotel’s location in the secluded conservation area of Le Perche in southern Normandy. A short distance from Château de Voré and Petite Rochelle Gardens, the small hamlet of five 17th-century stone buildings sits amid fields and the forest. In 2018, this rural property was taken over by Bertrand Grébaut and Théo Pourriat, the chef-owners of one of Paris’s most talked-about restaurants, Septime, which is currently at number 15 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

    The small hotel now combines the charm of its remote setting, flourishing gardens, and natural stone and wood-beamed sunlit rooms with seasonal and sustainable food. Settle into the cozy dining room with fireplace or out on the terrace and delve into menus showcasing the meat, vegetables, and cheese from artisan producers, alongside fish from the nearby Chausey Islands. Dishes are paired with organic wines and an afternoon tea of homemade pastries is served daily.

    Casa Cacao, Girona, Spain

    El Celler de Can Roca
    The Roca brothers, who are behind the successful El Celler de Can Roca (pictured), are finalizing their plans to provide an immersion into the world of chocolate. Image: Wim Jansen

    The extraordinarily accomplished Roca brothers are the next chefs to make their hotel debut. Owners of El Celler de Can Roca, which regularly tops the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, have focused this time on Jordi Roca’s dream of running his own chocolate factory-cum-hotel. The establishment will be located just across town from the brothers’ restaurant in the old Clínica de L’Esperança of Plaça Catalunya. Callís Marès Arquitectes and Tarruella Trenchs Studio are behind the renovation that will result in Jordi’s chocolate workshop on the ground floor, with Hotel Casa Cacao taking up the four upper floors.

    Another Roca family member, Anna Payet, will be developing the brothers’ hospitality philosophy at the hotel, combining her experience in tourism and years spent with the restaurant. As well as 15 rooms, the hotel will have a terrace on the top floor where you’ll be able to enjoy a breakfast of local and seasonal food with one of the best views in Girona. Casa Cacao’s debut is planned for February.

    D.O.M. Hotel, São Paulo, Brazil

    Alex Atala’s D.O.M. hotel in São Paulo, Brazil will follow in the footsteps of the chef’s popular restaurant of the same name (pictured). The hotel is slated for a 2021 opening and will feature multiple restaurants and 145 rooms. Image: Ricardo D’Angelo

    Avoiding the typical-to-this-trend gastronomic boutique hotel, Brazilian chef Alex Atala is planning an enormous 145-room, 22-residence property encompassing an event space, a spa, and a large section of the hotel dedicated to gastronomy. At least five restaurants will be integrated into the culinary space, with some openings possibly being taken up by the chef’s equally prominent chef friends.

    Atala has long been known for doing things differently; the chef, who was formerly a DJ, has won widespread acclaim for his São Paulo restaurant D.O.M. with never-seen-before dishes that combine bold experimentation and unusual ingredients from across Brazil. You might find yourself dining on the jambuherb from the Amazon region, teleost fish from the north, or baru nuts from the central west. This same bold approach can be expected at D.O.M. Hotel, which promises an unmistakable Brazilian feel prevailing throughout every aspect of the experience, from the architecture to the food.


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