Last updated: August 2023 / Above photo, courtesy of Villa Bokeh
For fellow food-first travelers, planning a getaway based on equal parts cultural and culinary cravings is par for the course. Blending both to perfection? These 7 epicurean experiences offered by luxury escapes around the world, giving guests an elevated and authentic taste of the local culture.
From a tea time-like encounter celebrating native maíz in Guatemala to a one-table tasting menu on a private island in Mexico, these bucket list-worthy foodie affairs are feeding your wanderlust in the most satisfying of ways. The only challenge? Deciding which to indulge in first.
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Tea & Maíz Pairings at Villa Bokeh
Newly opened Villa Bokeh – a Relais & Châteaux property – is a celebration of Guatemalan culture, craftsmanship and conviviality. Located along the lush outskirts of historic and colorful Antigua, the colonial-style hacienda overlooks a majestic landscape not just harboring soaring volcanos but also native superfoods. One such power plant? Maíz (corn), a vital ingredient synonymous with the country and it’s local Mayan community.
Inside the villa’s kitchen, Executive Chef Marcos Saenz honors the indigenous ingredient by bringing it to life with the unique “Experiencia Maíz. This tea time-like experience pairs the restorative beverage with bite-sized treats made from different maíz varietals, offering a culinary dive straight into Guatemala’s roots.
Stay smarter: Book Villa Bokeh through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
6-Course Sanctuary at Jade Mountain St. Lucia
Travelers who want to fully immerse themselves in a gorgeous tropical environment need look no further than St. Lucia’s Jade Mountain Resort. The property’s cliffside “Sanctuaries” feature such oceanfront luxuries as private infinity pools, 24/7 butler service, giant four-poster canopy beds and sweeping, open-air views of the twin Piton mountains and azure Caribbean Sea. Three-walled rooms mean the fourth is entirely absent, allowing sleeping, soaking, and star-gazing to merge seamlessly.
And while you’ve no doubt experienced the time-honored ritual of room service, how about seriously elevated room service? Reserve the “Six in Your Sanctuary” experience to indulge in a 6-course tasting menu of exquisite local sea fare paired with sommelier-selected wines, all in the privacy of your own room-with-a-view. Add a private, in-room serenade by an acoustic guitarist for a truly romantic and unforgettable getaway.
Stay smarter: Book Jade Mountain St. Lucia through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
Tuscan Wine Tasting at Grand Universe Lucca
The charming city of Lucca remains one of Tuscany’s best kept secrets, where Grand Universe Lucca is bringing the region’s best grapes front and center with their Tuscan Wine & Olive Oil Experience package. Offered for stays of at least three nights, the epicurean journey features three immersive wine tasting experiences: the Montalcino, Montecarlo and Super Tuscan & Chianti Classico. Guests may choose to try two of the three, all paired with a fragrant olive oil tasting and insightful intel on the local production process. Plus, a selection of local charcuterie and cheese.
Post-tasting guests are invited down to the subterranean Eterno Wine Cellar, where ancient wall remnants are preserved right alongside the retreat’s masterful rotation of Tuscan wines.
Stay smarter: Book Grand Universe Lucca through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
Picnic Like It’s 1959 at Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino
In the Caribbean, Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is transporting guests to 1960s coastal glamour with a rad retro picnic. Surrounded by powdery soft white sand and endless turquoise ocean, epicureans will be swept back in time upon opening a wicker picnic basket-turned-time machine. Think: copies of TIME Magazine from the 1960s, sweet treats popular in the 50s, iconic Coppertone sunscreen and Coca Cola-branded cups, not to mention nostalgic yo-yo’s, magic 8 balls and a pair of cat eye shades – all spread across a kitschy red and white gingham blanket.
The menu reads as a veritable picnic dream, counting several kinds of sandwiches in addition to snacks ranging from artisanal olives to watermelon to chocolates. Plus: your choice of refreshing lemonade, ice’d tea or a bottle of chilled rosé. Not even close to your average picnic, this far out beach feast is sure to delight the whole family.
Stay smarter: Book Aruba Marriott Resort through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
Crate to Plate at Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club
It’s all about aquaculture at Cape Cod’s award-winning Ocean Edge Resort and Golf Club. Here, guests are invited to come out of their shell and learn something new during a unique Crate to Plate Experience. Expanding on Ocean Edge’s popular Oyster Bed Tours, the experience starts on the resort’s own peaceful, private beach. The same beach that a fleet of oyster beds, visible during low tide, happen to call home. After some time exploring these locally known “Brewster Flats,” aqua-curians will head up to Ocean Terrace for an oyster shucking demo revealing how the local delicacies are farmed and why they’re important to the Cape Cod fishing community. After learning how to shuck and prepare them yourself, you’ll wrap the experience with the best part – an oyster tasting.
Stay smarter: Book Ocean Edge Resort through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
Starry-Skied Dining on a Private Island at W Punta de Mita
At this luxe beach resort nestled along Mexico’s coveted Riviera Nayarit, laid-back escapes brim with local culinary experiences in every corner. Case in point? Mesa1, an exclusive alfresco dining experience that offers just a single nightly seating under the stars. To reach the native parota tree-carved table, diners will need to follow an over-water stone path leading to an enchanting private island. The suspended pathway disappears once you’re seated.
Here, you and your dining companion(s) will indulge in a customizable seven-course chef’s tasting menu catering to any palate. The experience is offered daily for two to ten guests, and you’ll want to reserve well in advance.
Stay smarter: Book W Punta de Mita through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.
Luxury Sips, Suites & Private Jets at Quintessence Anguilla
At Relais Châteaux property Quintessence Anguilla, better known as the island’s “Tropical Grand Mansion,” one of the Caribbean’s most exclusive wine collections awaits. A staggering 2,000+ bottles line the stone, brick and red-cedar cellar, designed and curated by Quintessence Owner Geoffrey Fieger. Ask the resident sommelier for access to the Fieger Private Wine Collection, home to such premium bottles as SALON Brut, Blanc de Blancs, Le Mesnil- Oger, 2004 Champagne, Château Latour, Premier Grand Cru, Pauillac, 1982 and Château Lynch-Bages, Pauillac, 2000.
Better yet, book the luxury hideaway’s “Bruts, Blancs & Beaches” package to not only have access to said cellar, but arrive (and depart) in style on your own private jet from Tradewind Aviation. Not to mention you’ll be staying in the property’s postcard-perfect Penthouse Suite, complete with a special vintage to kick-off your oenophile escape.
Stay smarter: Book Quintessence Anguilla through Under the Palm and enjoy VIP treatment and perks – for free.