Luxury Hotels


Hotel food comes in all sorts and sizes. In Cannes, at The Carlton, A Regent Hotel, newly-appointed MD Pierre-Louis Renou found he was overseeing a Cannes Film Festival lunch this last Wednesday, 22nd May – image above. Jane Mackie, SVP Luxury and Lifestyle IHG, co-hosted, along with the senior relevant execs from Vanity Fair. Guests sat at a single 10-metre table at the hotel’s Beach Club, and signature dish was Homer Lobster Brioche – imagine this, with Whispering Angel, wow. This shows brilliantly how a top global hotel can serve food outside a restaurant.

And then there is food served by a hotel in a hotel-run inside restaurant. Now some may have picked up that Girlahead generally does not like tasting menus. The courses are so small that all you get is one taste and you’ll never know if the next tastes are as good because there’s no chance to put anything else in your mouth.  And they take so long, course after course after course – which from a sustainability viewpoint is not good when it comes to dish-washing.

Mind you if there is also à la carte as an alternative to the tasting menu that is a different matter. That’s what happened at Fairmont Windsor Park, under half an hour’s drive west of Heathrow.  The 251-room rural resort, in 40 acres of a 150-acre park owned by impressive entrepreneur Surinder Arora, has a superb flagship dining venue, 1215, named for the year of Magna Carta, signed at nearby Runnymede. After a glass of Laurent-Perrier in the hotel’s Schroders Bar, called after the building’s previous owners, the savvy progress to 1215 for Tim Sheed’s food. And the nice thing is that you do not have to plough through an entire seven-course tasting menu. Go à la carte, and local, say starting with a side of broccoli and going on to a main entrée of  Windsor Park venison with baby parsnip, celeriac-topped venison-mash tartlet, and venison gravy. The whole, in this hotel-run restaurant, was further enhanced by absolutely superb home-made breads with butter coloured with, a jus of whey and herbs.

And then, of course, hotel food can be served onsite but prepared and served by an outside operator. Mandarin Oriental’s street-side restaurant RK  is a partnership with celeb chef Gordon Ramsay and it works brilliantly. Publicity is attracted by the hotel, its reputation, the Ramsay name and his reputation – and his Hell’s Kitchen series, on FOX and Hulu. The salmon with fennel dish below was shot at the Boston restaurant on the day of the 2024 Marathon when hundreds of thousands of spectators, as well as runners, were streaming past outside, along Boylston, and the noise though the open windows synced with the calm inside. A perfect moment for a glass of another Rosé, Ramsay’s own, naturally.