Letter from the Editor: Hotels Now — Taking the Pulse of an Industry Vol: 113

July 2014
Antoinette Bruno
Antoinette Bruno, CEO and Editor-in-Chief


StarChefs lives in hotels. We visit nearly 100 different properties across the country and the globe each year, often staying in several different resorts, inns, and other lodgings within each city. Hotels have provided the infrastructure, comfort, and acted as an ad-hoc company headquarters on our tasting trips and Rising Stars events for more than 10 years. From accommodations in coastal New England to California and from Singapore to Peru and, most recently, Puerto Rico, we’ve seen trends take hold and lift off. In this Dishrag dedicated entirely to the hotel industry, we’ve compiled a list of the latest top trends as StarChefs has experienced them over the past year, hotel hopping our way through the world of hospitality.

Chef Marius Blin of Estérel at the Beverly Hills Sofitel in Los Angeles is a trend setter. He’s leading the charge for more healthful hotel eating without sacrificing taste, style, and satisfaction. Blin is designing whole menus with calorie caps that don’t restrict the capabilities and creativity of a chef. And from Sofitels to the Chicago Peninsula Hotel to the Mandarin Oriental in San Francisco, amenities are more post-modern, post-haste, and personal than ever. Social media is being applied as a device to curate the guest experience on an especially intimate level.

How the physical spaces take shape and are utilized within hotels is also changing. Common spaces such as lobbies and lounges as well as stuffy restaurants are being transformed into casual communal venues for eating, shopping, or coffee sipping, often times flowing seamlessly and stylishly into one another. Hotels are redefining and reclaiming these spaces, creating new concepts and sometimes contracting out the space to other hospitality industry ventures.

Ambitious and imaginative chefs are spear heading restaurants in hotels that could easily stand on their own, serving to enhance the properties reputation, while drawing in tourist and locals alike. StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef Levon Wallace of 21c Museum Hotels, has made Proof on Main a vehicle for his “wannabilly” cuisine in Louisville, Kentucky—making the restaurant a tourist attraction in and of itself, as well a hip hangout for the natives. Rising Star Chefs Colin Bedford of Fearrington House in North Carolina, Justin Walker of Earth in Maine, and James Hackney of Twenty-Eight Atlantic in Massachusetts are similarly at the helm of destination restaurants integrated seamlessly into their larger hotel properties.

We rely on and love hotel professionals, from the chefs and pastry chefs, to the sommeliers, bartenders, concierge, and doormen. In this Dishrag are the best of the trends, food, and people in hotels as we’ve seen it. In the coming months we have much traveling and tasting ahead, and we’ll be staying at and visiting hotels near and far from our Brooklyn HQ. StarChefs will be in New York, Boston, Chicago, Anaheim, San Francisco, Orlando, Seattle, Las Vegas, Charleston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Paris, Morocco, and Madrid. Send us your nominations and get real-time updates on what we’re eating and where we’re staying by following us on Twitter and Facebook. And come stay by us in Brooklyn for this year’s ICC. Get you tickets here

Antoinette Bruno