Some folks travel purely for Instagram-worthy photo ops, some for wildlife-spotting, and others for seat-of-their-pants, adrenaline-fueled thrills. Others, still, are keen to build entire vacations around the best places to eat, drink, even cook. With that in mind, here are three of the best hotels for foodies in Europe.
Lime Wood Hotel & Spa (Hampshire, UK)
Not long ago, English cuisine was the butt of many a culinary joke. However, sometime around the turn of this century, the country decided to do something about its status on the cooking scene. Hampshire’s Lime Wood Hotel & Spa is a five-star experience in every sense of the word, from the rooms to the spa to the world-class restaurant. Chefs Angela Hartnett (a renowned culinary auteur who trained under Gordon Ramsay) and Luke Holder (whose resume includes some of London’s most acclaimed restaurants) together helm the onsite Hartnett Holder & Co. The menu is heavily inspired by classic Italian cooking crafted from house-grown ingredients, all served in a beautiful dining space that balances proper British sophistication with the comforts of your Nana’s living room. But it’s HH&Co Backstage, the onsite cooking school, that’s the real draw for traveling foodies. Classes are taught in a relaxed atmosphere that’s as suitable for beginners as aspiring master chefs.
Hôtel Mas De Peint (Camargue, France)
Throw a dart at a map of France, and you’re bound to hit a town, city, or province that’s ideal for foodie travelers. Camargue is no different. Uniquely situated between the two branches of the Rhône River delta, this region of southern France is well-known for its rich red rice, massive ranches, and ideal proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, which ensures fresh seafood is never far from your plate. Hôtel Mas de Peint deftly takes advantage of all of these points. The five-star, family-owned boutique hotel is situated on a 525-hectare working ranch. The onsite restaurant relies heavily on locally sourced crops and produce, and the intimate dining area is situated right inside the kitchen. The long list of other available activities includes Jeep rentals, horseback riding, bike tours, and visits to the local Museum of Rice (far more interesting than it sounds, particularly for foodies).
L’Andana (Tuscany, Italy)
Even amid the impossibly beautiful vineyards and endless green countryside of Tuscany, L’Andana stands out. The 19th-century estate hotel owes much of its contemporary fame and glory to legendary French chef Alain Ducasse. The elegant and sophisticated property boasts all the five-star luxuries — including a swanky spa, plus refined guest suites with stone fireplaces, clawfoot tubs, and lavish furnishings — that one would expect of a high-end Tuscan hotel. But it’s the onsite dining that draws foodie crowds. La Trattoria Enrico Bartolini, in particular, is the hotel’s own Michelin-star restaurant — a modern eatery situated in the ancient granary of Grand Duke Leopold II of Lorraine. Every aspect of the experience is world-class, including the most authentic Tuscan cooking, an open kitchen concept, and an exclusive 600-bottle wine cellar. Panoramic windows in the dining area overlook the rolling hills, olive groves, and vineyards of Tuscany. When you’re ready for some fresh air, head outside, where you’ll find tennis courts, a driving range, and two garden-style pools.