Escapes for Foodies & Winos
Meals worth flying for. Also, many of these are on working farms, so you can experience the whole production line (without necessarily getting your hands dirty).
Maison BrasRoute de l'Aubrac, Laguiole | +33.5.6551.1820
This subtly futuristic hotel and restaurant in Laguiole (yes, the birthplace of the knives) is the home of Michel Bras, and accordingly, it draws legions of foodies every year (it's had three, unwavering Michelin stars since 1999). It's tucked away in a tiny corner of France—in a town with a population that hovers at about 1,000—far away from pretty much everything else. In fact, it's a 10 hour trip from Paris, which is why there's a hotel on-site. Bras is celebrated for sublime, and beautifully complex cooking: One salad for which he's famed has 50 ingredients (though miniscule amounts of each).
Hotel AtrioPlaza de San Mateo, Cáceres | +34.927.242.928
Come to Atrio Restaurante Hotel (a collaborative effort between Chefs Juan Antonio Pérez and José Polo and architects Emilio Tuñón Álvarez and Luis Moreno Mansilla) for the world-famous dining, and stay for the serene aesthetics. Located in the history-rich town of Cáceres, this castle-turned-hotel is a study in pristine, minimalist luxury. Situated in a stone building that dates all the way back to medieval times, the fourteen guest rooms are sleek yet comfy and most have two-person tubs and enchanting city views. While the two-Michelin-starred restaurant is known for serving some of the most indulgent dinners in all of Spain (to be enjoyed in a stark-white space decked out with original art by the likes of Andy Warhol), the daily breakfasts are not to be missed. For oenophiles, the property’s wine seller—stocked with an impressive assortment of Champagnes and vintages from wineries big and small—is a destination all in itself.
Hotel Can Boix de Peramola25790 Peramola, Lleida | +34.973.470.266
Mother Nature blessed this idyllic little corner of Catalonia with rugged mountain ranges, lush greenery, and plenty of open space for all manner of outdoor activities (bird watching, tennis, hiking, dips in the massive open-air pool). But more than anything, it’s the on-site restaurant—specializing in traditional Catalan cuisine—that has travelers booking return stays upon checkout at this family-owned hotel. (The land has been in the Pallares family since 1763). Though not particularly memorable, the guest rooms are spacious and come with all the modern amenities needed for a comfortable stay. But the truth is, with so much to explore you won’t be spending much awake time indoors.
Melia BilbaoLehendakari Leizaola 29, Centro | +34.94.428.0000
Melia Bilbao takes up prime real estate in the center of Bilbao, walking distance from the Guggenheim Museum and the breathtaking Doña Casilda park. Its jewel tone-dipped guest rooms are furnished with modern elements and make for the ideal five-star home base from which to explore all that Basque Country has to offer. But even more impressive than the the hotel’s sculptural interiors is its in-house restaurant, Aizian. Chef José Miguel Olazabalaga’s traditional Basque menu has earned him high praise from foodies and a Michelin star. For those seeking a more chill atmosphere, head to Q lounge for tapas and cocktails.
Hotel Marques de Riscal1 Calle Torrea, Elciego | +34.945.180.880
This futuristic hotel—designed in 2006 by Frank Gehry—is a rainbow undulation on a Spanish hillside in Basque Country. Inside, it's just as wonderfully theatrical, whether it's the slick rooms (tilted walls, tons of glass and steel, bursts of bright red), or the culinary fireworks. As you look through the cathedral windows at the Rioja vineyards outside, you'll be feasting on red wine caviar and red shrimp carpaccio at the Michelin starred main dining room, presided over by chef Francis Paniego. While it's really about eating and drinking here, there's also a Caudalie spa.
Flocons de Sel1775 Route du Leutaz, Megeve | +33.0.450.214.999
Located in the French Alps, Megeve has all of 4,000 permanent residents though it's booming in the winter (it came into its own in the early 1900s, when the Rothschilds started coming and everyone else followed). It's also home to this culinary hot spot, which has earned three Michelin stars—it justifies the trip, whether you're strapping on skis or not. Helmed by Emmanuel Renaut (The Crillon, Claridges), who earned his first Michelin star in his early '30s, the food here is as gorgeous as it is delicious. The Relais & Chateux accommodations are both modern and modest—besides a handful of suites, there are some small houses for rent, too.
Rosewood Castiglion del BoscoCastiglion del Bosco, Montalcino | +22.214.171.124.70.78
Situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Val D’Orcia, this centuries-old estate south of Siena is truly incredible: Beyond the fact that you walk amidst remnants of walls from the 1100s, it’s surrounded by Brunello di Montalcino vineyards, there’s a world-class golf course, on-site truffle hunting, and the food is unbelievable. There’s a fancy restaurant, but there’s also a casual pizzeria—and kitchens in the villas where you can feast on bread and incomparably sweet tomatoes. While it's plenty romantic, they have a lot of activities (including cooking classes) for kids.
Les Crayères64 Boulevard Henry Vasnier, Reims | +126.96.36.199.90.00
The first reason to pop the bubbly? One hour from Paris, and you're in Champagne, literally. This stately, turn-of-the-20th-century chateau in Reims, France is situated in the namesake region of the good stuff. The second? The timelessly elegant, double-Michelin-starred Brasserie le Jardin has over 600 labels to choose from. Do not pass up the cheese cart.