Four Great Culinary Vacations

It doesn’t matter if you love or hate the term “foodie.” Food-centric vacations are here to stay, and even the nonculinarily inclined can enjoy these four great vacations that put food at the center of all the fun without sacrificing the destination or the hotel experience.
The Brown Palace Hotel & Spa – Rooftop Bee Workshop
Hosted by the property’s own beekeeper, guests learn the ins and outs of tending bees so they can implement hives at their own homes. Guests receive an arrival amenity consisting of all of the bounty from the Brown’s rooftop bee hives; including: Honey Lavender Soap, spa treatments featuring the honey, even a beer created in collaboration with a local brewery.
Four Seasons Resort Whistler – Chef-Led Farmers Market Bicycle Tour
The executive chef at the property personally leads bicycle farmer’s market tours from the resort’s front door. Following the farmer’s market, guests return to the property for a cooking lesson (with the market’s fresh bounty), and a gourmet meal at the chef’s table. Guests learn how to pick the best produce and learn cooking skills that they’ll be able to use in their own kitchens when they return home.
Travaasa Hana – Traditional Hawaiian Net Throw
Traditionally passed down through generations of native Hawaiians down from father to son, guests learn the art of catching fish with Hawaiian nets, then return to the property for a lesson on preparing the fish and cooking it. (Picture shown above).
Four Seasons Resort Vail – Mushrooms & Mercedes Expedition
Four Seasons Vail has partnered with Larry Evans, a renowned mushroom forager (who knew there even was such a thing) to offer guests a unique day trip to hunt for mushrooms and cook and enjoy a gourmet dinner upon return to the property. Evans gives guests an overview of what types of mushrooms to hunt for, what to avoid, and how to property pick and clean mushrooms. The highlight of the experience for most attendees is when the group reconvenes in the kitchen of Flame, the signature restaurant.

Travaasa Destinations opens first hotel in Austin, Texas

Travaasa Destinations, a new collection of experiential hotels, chose Austin, Texas for the first location of their new brand.

The 70-room Travaasa Austin overlooks Lake Travis and is a half-hour drive from downtown.

Guests pay an all-inclusive rate which includes meals, daily spa treatments and as many activities as they wish. In keeping with the new brand’s five directives or “pillars,” the Austin hotel features adventure, culinary, culture, fitness and spa components with a regional and local twist.

The 70 rooms, spread across seven lodges, all feature Queen-sized beds with organic linens (a bummer, because this writer totally prefers a King). Guests can choose between Hacienda rooms, which include flat-screen TVs, or Spa Casita rooms, which are complete with yoga mats and stretching ropes, and are ideal for unplugging. All guest rooms offer a deck or patio.

“Travaasa Austin truly embraces the culture and beauty of the region from its musical history to its Western roots and allows guests to experience it in an authentic way,” said Tim Thuell, the hotel’s general manager.

%Gallery-121854%The 11 room spa, which features a hot tub, dry sauna and infinity pool, places an emphasis on both authentic local treatments and fitness. Services include body treatments, massages, facials and energy balancing services utilizing the all-natural skin care lines.

We’d book their signature massages, inspired by the music of Austin and Texas-influenced musicians, such as Willie Nelson and Janis Joplin – they come complete with a keepsake gift. Fitness offerings focus on balance, posture, core strength and flexibility, ranging from Barre Fitness to a core and thigh routine that incorporates a mechanical bull.

The dining options reflect a farm-to-table concept with Texas-fusion inspired cooking to produce dishes like a flourless chipotle chocolate cake. The wine list also features selections from organic, biodynamic and boutique winemakers in addition to some of Texas’s finest wineries.

Weekday prices start at $480 per person including accommodations, three chef-prepared meals, snacks, a daily spa service or off-property activity such as golf, and all on-property activities. A current 30% discount is being run for select dates.

Travaasa Destinations will introduce its second property, formerly the Hotel Hāna-Maui, Travaasa Hāna, in June 2011.