Home Hospitality Discovering Local Flavors, from Cape Town to Crete

Discovering Local Flavors, from Cape Town to Crete


Culinary masterclasses in Austria. Organic gardens in Crete. A Michelin-starred restaurant in Germany. Contemporary takes on the traditional cuisines of Cape Town and Nairobi. At these 10 hotels, located around the world, the flavorful experiences on offer create destinations in and of themselves.

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In Nairobi, the Village Market Group has become synonymous with a forward-thinking hospitality concept that is rooted in not only overnight stays but also in gastronomic experiences. The menu at Jiko, the restaurant at the group’s Tribe Hotel, finds inspiration in cuisines from across the African continent and acts as a tribute to local farmers. Seasonal dishes highlight crisp flavors and fresh, organic ingredients: The current menu boasts a forest mushroom soup seasoned with baobab powder and a sesame-crusted paneer paired with roasted vegetables and berbere-spiced fries. Meanwhile, the group’s Trademark Hotel is home to Harvest, an open-grill brasserie where an international menu finds its roots in a Kenyan’s love for meat. Here, dishes are crafted with farm-fresh ingredients, while the speakeasy-style bar and eatery Hero serves creative sushi rolls and Japanese-inspired dishes alongside whimsical cocktails.

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Ascending a marble staircase to the sixth floor at Cape Town’s Gorgeous George, visitors will discover the rooftop Gigi Restaurant and Bar. Known equally as the neighborhood’s living room and the place where Cape Town goes to play, this all-day eatery and bar relies on sustainable, ethically sourced ingredients and produce, ranging from free-range eggs and artisanal cheeses to pasture-reared beef and line-caught fish from sustainable fisheries. As a result, poolside DJ sessions and signature events can be enjoyed alongside expertly crafted cocktails, local wines, and conscious cuisine.

On the Greek island of Crete, cuisine is central to the way of live—a fact recognized by the island’s UNESCO-protected food heritage. Cretan Malia Park takes this designation seriously, as expressed in each of its eight onsite food and beverage outlets. Specifically, three restaurants—Almyra, Mezze, and the Beach Shack—are curated by renowned chef Athinagoras Kostakos and stand out for their selections of sustainable Cretan, Italian, and Mediterranean specialties, crafted with ingredients handpicked from the resort’s onsite garden and additional produce sourced from local farms.

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Located lakefront along Lake Maggiore’s promenade in Minusio, Switzerland, Giardino Lago’s all-day Lago Restaurant serves modern Mediterranean fare. Antipasti include ceviche and beef tartare, which can be followed by mouth-watering homemade risottos and pastas, such as veal ravioli with burrata and black truffle, decadent meats, or delectable vegan options. For those who want to savor it all, there are also multicourse tasting menus available. Before or after dinner, the Roof Lounge offers the perfect spot to kick back and relax under white canopies with palms swaying in the breeze and a cool cocktail in hand.

In Lech am Arlberg, in the heart of the Austrian Alps, Rote Wand Gourmet Hotel is a feast for the senses. The hotel’s à la carte restaurant, The Rote Wand Stuben, boasts topnotch Alpine cuisine and a legendary fondue; Rote Wand Chef’s Table, set in a schoolhouse from the 1780s, presents chef Julian Stieger’s gourmet reimagining of long-term sustainable mountain cuisine that reorientates the palate to the forests and gardens of the Alps; and the lounge and bar offer exquisite snacks and sublime cocktails. Plus, guests and locals alike can join the property’s new culinary community, Friends and Fools, which hosts a range of events, masterclasses, and workshops.

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Across the border, in the picturesque Bavarian Alps, Das Achental in Grassau, Germany, offers a stunning setting to enjoy excellent Alpine cuisine. Since its opening, the onsite restaurant es:senz has earned two-Michelin stars under the purview of Executive Chef Edip Sigl. Here, the culinary experience reflects the natural bounty of the surrounding Chiemgau region through partnerships with local farmers. Sigl and his team have conjured up specialties such as Chiemsee whitefish on tomato kombucha and saddle of venison, from regional hunters, on raisin sauce. More casual culinary moments can be had at the hotel’s White Stag restaurant, while Bavarian delicacies can be enjoyed at the Hubertushütte.

Farther north, in central Germany, FREIgeist Göttingen Nordstadt channels the flavors of southern Europe. At the Weights & Measures bar, signature drinks are inspired by Mediterranean destinations, while the restaurant East of Italy celebrates the art of the Italian kitchen with a Levantine twist that incorporates the flavors of Israel, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon. Family-style mezzes and Neapolitan pizzas are served alongside truffle pasta, orzo with shrimp and feta, lamb shawarma, and oyster mushroom kebab. On the sixth floor, the FREIgeist Skybar boasts unbeatable city views, and a Viani Alimentari presents Italian delicatessen fare to enjoy onsite or on the go.

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At the Vertigo Hotel in Dijon, France, guests are welcomed with a drink at the Embassy Bar, a central hub at the hotel that evolves from morning to night. A buffet or à la carte breakfast is followed by a 24/7 food service where everything is served in innovative glass jars. Come evening, champagne, vintage wines, signature cocktails, and gourmet tapas can be enjoyed within the elegant setting, replete with an original decorative ceiling from the late 1800s, gilded frames, and a striking chandelier.

The rooftop 360° Restaurant and Atelier Cocktail Bar at Bohemia Suites & Spa in Playa del Inglés, Gran Canaria serves up stunning ocean views alongside casual dining experiences. Influenced by global tastes but without losing the essence of the Canary Islands, highlights from this season’s menu include the marinated Spanish beans with Canarian fish, cold avocado, and salmorejo and the free-range chicken with banana mojo. Beyond sourcing as much produce as seasonally and as locally as possible, the hotel has also become known for having one of the most varied and complete wine cellars in Gran Canaria.

About Design Hotels

Design Hotels™ represents and markets a curated selection of over 300 independent hotels in more than 60 countries across the globe. More than a collection of hotels, the company is a collection of stories. Each property reflects the ideas of a visionary hotelier, an “Original”, someone with a passion for genuine hospitality, cultural authenticity, thought-provoking design and architecture. Each “Original” stands for the individual, aesthetic and service-driven experience that his or her hotel provides.

In 2017, Design Hotels™ launched Further, a traveling laboratory for experiential hospitality that transforms hotels across the globe into temporal hubs of thematic exploration. The mission behind Further aligns with the values of the future-facing Promad, a new generation of traveler embracing progressive travel and global nomadism. First identified by Design Hotels™ in collaboration with leading futures consultancy The Future Laboratory, the purpose-driven, self-actualizing Promadic movement is set to shape the future of hospitality.

Founded by Claus Sendlinger in 1993, Design Hotels™ offers its members insightful travel industry knowledge, from market trend consultancy to international sales representation. The company has its headquarters in Berlin and branches in London, Los Angeles, New York and Singapore. In 2019, Design Hotels™ joined forces with Marriott Bonvoy, enabling its member hotels to have both a greater and more selective reach while offering its Community the benefit of the industry’s leading loyalty program.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of nearly 8,000 properties under 30 leading brands spanning 139 countries and territories. Marriott operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company offers Marriott Bonvoy®, its highly-awarded travel program. For more information, please visit our website at www.marriott.com, and for the latest company news, visit www.marriottnewscenter.com. In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.

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