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Love fine food and wine? Love to travel the world looking for wonderful luxurious experiences? Then you, dear reader, are a culinary tourist. And you’re not alone. From visiting Michelin-starred restaurants in Paris to scoping out the local food truck scene in Bangkok; from sampling the offerings at the local wineries and craft breweries in the Hamptons to a glorious sojourn in Tuscany, delicious experiences abound.

You can always seek these out on your own of course – sometimes getting lost in a new location and discovering off-the-beaten-path marvels is the best experience of all. Or you could book a local travel guide to show you the ropes. But more and more now, you can launch your foodie pilgrimage right from your 5-star hotel room. 

Around the world, luxury hotels have developed unique opportunities for guests to experience their local foodways. At the best properties, you’ll find everything from cooking classes using local produce and heritage recipes to an on-location garden, farm or orchard (it might even be right over your head, on the roof). There are high-end exclusive dining experiences – and hard-to-score reservations at some of the best-rated restaurants on the planet. The best of them, though, invite you right into the kitchen.

At these nine uber-luxurious locations, you’ll definitely be staying in for dinner:

Hotel Chocolat in St. Lucia is a dream destination for chocolate lovers, and would be particularly good for a multi-generational group with little ones. One thousand feet above the glittering Caribbean lies a 140-acre cocoa plantation with 14 sleek cottages. Here, the focus isn’t so much on the beach (although the island is full of lovely ones), but – as the hotel’s name suggests – on chocolate.  The Tree to Bar Experience allows guests to create their own chocolate treats. The experience starts with a walk through the estate’s cocoa groves, selecting ripe cocoa pods to harvest from the tree – it ends with making your own chocolate bar. The tour includes an experience of each step in-between: from the cocoa seedling nursery to the fermenting room and sun drying station to grinding and mixing. And of course, there’s lots of tasting. Afterward, head to the spa for a chocolate-filled Cocoa Rejuvenate spa treatment.

Hotel Chocolat St. Lucia

At the Belmond Villa San Michele you can live the foodie dream by learning the secrets of Tuscan cuisine.  The hotel’s Executive Chef Attilio Di Fabrizio teaches “hands-on” classes, where guests partake in preparing, tasting and cooking right alongside the chef. And if you’re travelling with kids, there’s a Young Chef’s Academy, too. Located on the hillside just above Florence, this Renaissance-era ex-monastery overlooks the wide sprawl of the city, and has a facade that is said to have been designed by Michelangelo himself. Molto bene!

Belmond Villa San Michele

The Adelphi Hotel in Melbourne, Australia is truly scrumptious (evocation of the character from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang fully intentional). Priding itself as the world’s premier dessert-themed hotel, the vibe here is playful and modern with swinging couches, stools that look like candied treats, sweet pillow fragrances and a restaurant that whips up dessert-themed cocktails.  At the restaurant Om Nom (as in the sound you make when eating something delicious), dinner, brunch and high tea are served. The menu offers both savory and sweet dishes – and sweet dishes with a savory touch (like a foie gras macaron). And if by chance you haven’t had your fill at the restaurant, each room comes with a jar of candy curated by Happy Lab, one of Australia’s best candy shops. Sweet.

Interior of the Adelphi Hotel, Melbourne

Get your hands dirty at luxury farm hotel Babylonstoren located in one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa. The property has its own fruit and vegetable garden, vineyards, honey bees, ducks, chickens and even a prickly pear maze. The Farm Hotel holds regular workshops to share knowledge with visitors, not only about their garden, but also about gardening in general (for example, how to grow the makings of a summer salad); baking (including the secrets of bread baking); and cooking (like mastering the art of asparagus). When wine time rolls around, you can venture into the farmhouse’s wine cellar for a tasting of their locally produced vintages.

Babylonstoren, South Africa

Slip into the skin of a great chef at the Chef Academy at the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo – Monaco.  At Joël Robuchon, the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurant, you can learn directly from head chef Christophe Cussac, chef de cuisine Romain Heim and pastry chef Patrick Mesiano. Guests will learn to make one savory dish and one sweet dish under the tutelage of this trio of famous chefs. Then during the evening, roles are reserved, and guests can enjoy dinner at the Chef’s Table watching their tutors prepare dinner in the open kitchen.

Hotel Metropole, Monte Carlo-Monaco

At the Ritz Paris, you can learn to make macaroons, create a cocktail at the famous Bar Hemingway, or prepare and enjoy a seasonal dish with one of the hotel’s renowned Chefs.  You don’t even have to be a guest of the hotel to partake in classes, which means that culinary enthusiasts – be they novices, experienced Chefs or budding young cooks – can attend and improve their skills.  And don’t worry – even though all of the classes are conducted in French, they’re simultaneously translated into English. The L’Ecole even offers a Culinary Arts Diploma to those who complete the entire Cuisine and Pastry Making curriculum.

Hotel Ritz, Paris

If you enjoy feasting on Thai, the Kata Rocks Thai Cooking School is a great place to learn more about the variety of flavors, methods and ingredients that make up this cuisine, while also taking in the beautiful local surroundings.  Here you can learn how to grind and blend the often spicy pastes that are the backbone of Thai cuisine directly from Head Chef Tu, who learned these skills from his mother at the tender age of 8.  After chopping market-fresh meat and vegetables, and refining your stir-fry and stewing techniques, you can tuck into a feast of warm, aromatic dishes before retreating to you luxury seaside villa.

Kata Rocks

Perhaps you enjoy eating more than you enjoy cooking? We feel you – its vacation! If you’re feeling too chill for a hot kitchen, look no further than the 23-course molecular gastronomy tasting menu at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.  Tucked away in a small private room adjacent to Jaleo’s bustling bar and paella grill, é by José Andrés offers a clever and creative tasting menu of Spanish avant garde dishes. The 9-seat chef’s table has only two seatings per evening, with chefs rolling out course after course, many cooked right at the table and meticulously plated with tweezers, dry ice embellishments, and novelty dishware – including plaster replicas of Chef Andrés’ hands. Now that’s really a hands-on culinary experience right there.

The Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas

At the 4-star Home Ranch in Clark, Colorado, just a few miles north of Streamboat Spring, you’ll find the only Relais & Chateaux-affiliated guest ranch in Colorado. You can be an agri-tourist and explore the Upper Elk River Valley during “a classic Western vacation with a gourmet twist.” Chef Jonathon Gillespie creates “Colorado comfort cuisine” from the on-site organic garden, greenhouse and ranch-raised livestock. Master gardener Allison Mecklenburg hosts farm tours. In the fall, High Mountain Harvest Weeks provide a special itinerary focused on farming and culinary activities.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in recent years from televised travel-food shows, it’s that experiencing the food and drink of the communities we visit can be a profound way to experience and understand the local culture. So arrive with an open heart, a curious mind, and an adventurous palate, and you might find yourself deeply fed by it all.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.