Last updated April 2022
For fellow food-first travelers, planning a getaway based on equal parts cultural and culinary cravings is par for the course. Blending both to perfection? These 8 epicurean experiences offered by luxury escapes around the world, giving guests an elevated and authentic taste of the local culture.
From a tea time-like encounter celebrating native maíz in Guatemala to an idyllic wine and olive oil experience in Tuscany, a clam “chowdah” cook-off on Cape Cod to an exclusive, one-table tasting menu on a private island in Mexico, these bucket list-worthy foodie affairs are feeding your wanderlust in the most literal, and unforgettable, of ways. The only challenge? Deciding which to indulge in first.
Above photo, courtesy Villa Bokeh
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Tea & Maíz Pairings at Villa Bokeh
Newly opened Villa Bokeh – a Relais & Châteaux property – is a celebration of Guatemalan culture, craftsmanship and conviviality. Located along the lush outskirts of historic and colorful Antigua, the colonial-style hacienda overlooks a majestic landscape not just harboring soaring volcanos but also native superfoods. One such power plant? Maíz (corn), a vital ingredient synonymous with the country and it’s local Mayan community. Inside the villa’s kitchen, Executive Chef Marcos Saenz honors the indigenous ingredient by bringing it to life with the unique “Experiencia Maíz. This tea time-like experience pairs the restorative beverage with bite-sized treats made from different maíz varietals, offering a culinary dive straight into Guatemala’s roots.
Book your stay at Villa Bokeh.
Mezcal Lab at Marriott Cancun Resort
Tacos, tequila and one of the world’s most famed beaches — just three of many reasons to book an escape to Cancun. Here, Marriott Cancun Resort sits on one of the longest, most privileged and sparkling stretches of sand along the entire Mexican Caribbean coastline. Inspired by neighboring Tulum’s bohemian atmosphere, the tropical getaway’s SacBé Beach Shack features macrame hammocks, in-sand tables, oversized pillow seating and a variety of elevated Mexican street fare paired with the country’s finest, and famed, spirits: tequila and it’s smoky agave cousin, mezcal. At this boho beachfront eatery mezcal novices and connoisseurs alike are invited to enjoy the Mezcal Lab experience: an intimate and exclusive pairing under the guidance of the resort’s on-property Mezcalier. The five-course menu is paired with different artisanal mezcals, where the spirit’s signature smoky and floral notes come to life with the vibrant flavors of each decadent dish.
Book your stay at Marriott Cancun Resort.
6-Course Sanctuary at Jade Mountain St. Lucia
Travelers who want to fully immerse themselves in a gorgeous tropical environment need look no further than St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain Resort. The property’s cliffside “Sanctuaries” feature such oceanfront luxuries as private infinity pools, 24/7 butler service, giant four-poster canopy beds and sweeping, open-air views of the twin Piton mountains and azure Caribbean Sea. Three-walled rooms mean the fourth is entirely absent, allowing sleeping, soaking, and star-gazing to merge seamlessly. And while you’ve experienced room service, how about seriously elevated room service? Reserve the “Six in Your Sanctuary” experience to indulge in a 6-course tasting menu of exquisite sea fare paired with sommelier-selected wines, all in the privacy of your own room-with-a-view. Add a private, in-room serenade by an acoustic guitarist for a truly romantic and unforgettable getaway.
Book your stay at Jade Mountain.
Tuscan Wine Tasting at Grand Universe Lucca
The charming city of Lucca remains one of Tuscany’s best kept secrets, where Grand Universe Lucca is bringing the region’s best grapes front and center with their “Tuscan Wine & Olive Oil Experience” package. Offered for stays through January 2nd, 2023, the epicurean journey features three immersive wine tasting experiences: the Montalcino, Montecarlo and Super Tuscan & Chianti Classico. Guests may choose to try two of the three, all paired with a fragrant olive oil tasting and insightful intel on the local production process. Plus, a selection of local charcuterie and cheese. Post-tasting guests are invited down to the subterranean Eterno Wine Cellar, where ancient wall remnants are preserved right alongside the retreat’s masterful rotation of Tuscan wines.
Book your stay at Grand Universe Lucca.
Night Brunch at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
Sure, you’ve had brunch on a Sunday – “day” being the operative word. But when’s the last time you brunched at night? Effectively flipping the switch, La Vista at Aruba Marriott Resort has turned brunch into a starry-skied affair with its new Night Brunch experience. On the first Friday of each month, La Vista transforms into a lively brunch scene complete with DJ, colorful cocktails and and mouthwatering brunch-inspired bites. Think Dutch Style Pancakes, Churros, Sous Vide Eggs and Chicken & Waffles, to name a few. Guests are invited to kick things off by grabbing a welcome drink from the greenery-wrapped bellini wall, where they won’t be able to resist an IG snap against the neon “Cheers” sign. Further night-brunch beverages include the Sunset Mimosa (with Ciroc Red Berry, prosecco, grenadine and OJ), Gordon’s Grenade (a twist on the gin & tonic with a splash of cranberry) and a selection of booze-free mocktails – all of which are served in a gifted souvenir glass to keep the party going at home.
Book your stay at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino.
Clam ‘Chowdah’ Cook Off at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
Too many cooks in the kitchen? Not at award-winning Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club. The Cape Cod retreat offers numerous family activities ranging from kayaking to pickleball to Oyster Tours, and most recently: a signature Clam “Chowdah” Cook Off. You and your cooking companions will learn how to make New England’s most prized dish step by step, then have the opportunity to put your own spin on it with the aid of savory add-ins like corn, tomatoes, carrots and leeks. To cook up some friendly competition the resort’s chef will taste-test the resulting creations, then dish out a dining credit to the winning chef-in-training. The quintessential coastal experience is exclusive to overnight guests and available for groups up to ten guests.
Starry-Skied Dining on a Private Island at W Punta de Mita
At this luxe beach resort nestled into Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, laid-back escapes brim with local culinary experiences in every corner. Case in point? Mesa1, an exclusive alfresco dining experience that offers just a single nightly seating under the stars. To reach the native parota tree-carved table, diners will need to follow an over-water stone path leading to an enchanting private island. The suspended pathway disappears once you’re seated. Here, you and your dining companion(s) will indulge in a customizable seven-course chef’s tasting menu catering to any palate. The experience is offered daily for two to ten guests, and you’ll want to reserve well in advance.
Book your stay at W Punta de Mita.
Luxury Sips, Suites & Private Jets at Quintessence Anguilla
At Relais Châteaux property Quintessence Anguilla, better known as the island’s “Tropical Grand Mansion,” one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive wine collections awaits. A staggering 2,000+ bottles line the stone, brick and red-cedar cellar, designed and curated by Quintessence Owner Geoffrey Fieger. Ask the resident sommelier for access to the Fieger Private Wine Collection, home to such premium bottles as SALON Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil- Oger, 2004 Champagne, Château Latour, Premier Grand Cru, Pauillac, 1982 and Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, 2000. Better yet, book the luxury hideaway’s “Bruts, Blancs & Beaches” package to not only have access to said cellar, but arrive (and depart) in style on your own private jet from Tradewind Aviation. Not to mention you’ll be staying in the property’s postcard-perfect Penthouse Suite, complete with a special vintage to kick-off your oenophile escape.
Book your stay at Quintessence Hotel Anguilla.