Top 5 Hotel Restaurants in the World
The rise of celebrity chef culture has produced some remarkable results in the food and restaurant world over the past decade. Some good, many bad. With the limelight squarely on star chefs to produce stellar results with each new venture, standards have gone up. And so has the bar to impress.
That pressure and the inherent scrutiny from the food press and public is felt more intensely at luxury hotels than the usual chef estalishments. More and more, hotel executives are coughing up major dough to lure the biggest names in the restaurant world to their lavish confines. In many instances, the restaurants, as well as the chef names associated with them, have become as big a draw as the hotels themselves.
The benefits of chef star power are many and for some hotels, the rewards far outweigh the risk and high investment costs. Whether they want to revamp a drab reputation, augment food and beverage sales in the long-term or draw in a sophisticated foodie crowd and use the restaurant as a loss leader, luxury hotels have jumped on the star chef bandwagon with gusto. With that in mind, here are the best hotel restaurants in the world.
Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, London, England
The brash blond bulldog known as Gordon Ramsay has become a mega-industry in the past ten years, with restaurants, television shows in the UK and the United States, cookbooks and an assortment of products that bear his stamp of approval. His ascent to the top of the celebrity chef summit is a testament to his work ethic and charm but in all the hype of his persona, people tend to forget that the man can really cook. His tutelage under Marco Pierre White and in France laid the foundation for one of the most successful careers in the history of chefdom. Ramsay simply knows the game better than anyone and has the formula for successful restaurant concepts, from the kitchen to service, down pat. His restaurant at the posh Claridge’s Hotel London is no exception. To quote Ramsay himself, “it’s the best address in London.”
With Claridge’s, Ramsay has “the ultimate stage” from which to create. The best seat in the house is the chef’s table, a leather banquette-lined table for eight on a raised platform in the kitchen, directly above the area where cooks place dishes for delivery to hungry diners. After a world class dinner, you may feel a bit broke. Check out other luxury London hotels through HotelClub.
Jean-Georges, Trump International Hotel, New York City
Ask a native or frequent visitor to New York City where to eat and invariably, they will mention a restaurant run by the tireless Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His resume includes more than a dozen Manhattan restaurants, over 1,000 employees in his business empire and a slew of accolades to boot. The crown jewel in his empire however, is the aptly-titled Jean-Georges, in the ultra-swank Trump International Hotel. With the enviable address of 1 Central Park West, Jean-Georges represents all that is exclusive and posh about New York City, the most obvious of which is the association with the name Trump.
The decor, but most importantly, the food and service, live up to the expectations one would have of such a powerful partnership. Jean-Georges received three stars when the first Michelin restaurant guide for New York City came out in 2006. The restaurant has held those stars over the years, which is no small feat. You can find other hotels in New York City if the Trump International Hotel is a bit pricey for you.
JoÃ«l Robuchon at the Mansion, MGM Grand, Las Vegas
If there is one chef who stands out among his peers in terms of professional admiration, esteem and respect, it is the man who bears the name of the restaurant in the MGM Grand hotel and casino complex in Las Vegas. Others may be more famous, with more household name recognition but JoÃ«l Robuchon is the only man with the title “Chef of the Century”. His elegant and innovative food and record total of 17 Michelin stars are on full display in the opulent Mansion restaurant.
Las Vegas may not have had a reputation to lure the likes of Robuchon in the past but over the past decade, the city has undergone a considerable transformation. Once a seedy outpost for gamblers, Sin City is now a family-friendly draw where gastonomy is as much a part of the action as blackjack. Chefs like Bobby Flay, Wolfgang Puck and Emeril Lagasse share the spotlight with Celine Dion and Cirque de Soleil with tourists. But for truly fine dining, Robuchon at the Mansion is the place to be in Las Vegas. Other world class hotels in Las Vegas can be found on the Strip.
Alain Ducasse, Plaza AthÃ©nÃ©e, Paris
Many star chefs who crash and burn in their own ambitous plans simply want to be like Alain Ducasse. The powerhouse and perfectionist French chef has the skill of a craftsman and a work ethic that tires cooks half his age. His Alain Ducasse Group, with over 1,400 employees, 20 restaurants, books and other projects, was the model for other subsequent chef empires.
Two of the best reviewed restaurants in the world, both housed in fabulously luxurious hotels, are run by Ducasse. The first is Plaza AthÃ©nÃ©e in Paris, an absolute must-stop for any visitor to Paris with a sizable budget to blow on ingredients like foie gras, truffles and lobster. The grand entrance hall of the Plaza hotel beckons diners into the restaurant and hints at the Parisian formality of the meal to come. Bring your dinner jackets, your credit cards and an empty stomach. With Ducasse, meals are not so much eaten, as they are appreciated in the way of fine art or a symphony. Dinner at the Plaza may even last as long as a night at the opera, which of course, is all part of the experience. Other Paris hotels may have a similar atmosphere and luxury feel, but visit Plaza AthÃ©nÃ©e in Paris before considering other nearby hotels in Paris.
Louis XV, HÃ´tel de Paris, Monte Carlo
Louis XV is the foundation of the Alain Ducasse empire. The restaurant has become a destination point for those who flock to Monte Carlo for a taste of the good life, not to mention with jet set Monaco socialites. What Ducasse has done with Louis XV over time is produce the quintessential luxury hotel restaurant. Regardless of the association with the gorgeous HÃ´tel de Paris, it is consistently one of the best restaurants on the planet. For splendor and elegance, there are few that can match Louis XV.
The attention to detail is what strikes you. Other restaurants with three Michelin stars or various types of plaudits generally pay close mind to items like flatware, the tablecloths, the bread, the glasses and service of course. But none do it like Louis XV. The scrutiny devoted to every inch of the restaurant borders on obsessive. Needless to say, the attention to the plates is what interests most and it is there. From appetizers to desserts to the wine list, every item has been selected and prepared with utmost, unparalelled care. For that reason alone, Louis XV is at the top of our list of hotel restaurant destinations. You can find more hotels in Paris striving for the next best restaurant recognition.