The Stars Align
Have passport, will travel for the stars—and by stars, we mean Michelin stars, which are essentially like passport stamps to a gourmand. Mesmerizing, coursed-out dining experiences aside, these spots are also some of the most elusive reservations in the world—requiring you to book upward of six months or more in advance to score a table for two. But if planning dinner reservations months out won't cut it, here's a little trick of the reservations trade: Book a night at a fancy hotel with a Michelin-starred restaurant inside.
Full disclosure: Booking a room at a swanky hotel abroad is going to create some negative space in your wallet, but (literally) rest assured it's well worth it for the sole purpose of when that postdinner food coma hits, a plush, king-size bed is just an elevator ride away. And about those coveted restaurant tables? Turns out dropping several thousands will speed up the process, as in many luxurious hotels actively cater to hotel guests' every need and have put seats aside for this scenario.
In fact, many discerning travelers seek out spots where five-star lodging and Michelin-starred restaurants join forces. It's a definite mash-up of the best of all worlds—impeccable service and wildly satisfying gastronomic fare. Here are seven spots around the world with Michelin-starred restaurants in the comfort of your own (temporary) home.
Arguably the most luxurious hotel in all of Paris, the Four Seasons Hotel George V goes down in culinary history with three Michelin-starred restaurants a stone’s throw from one another, for a total of five stars. Tick off three with chef Christian Le Squer's French-inspired tasting menu at Le Cinq, one more with chef David Bizet at L'Orangerie, and a fifth and final star with Simone Zanoni at Le George—all without ever stepping foot outside of this Parisian palace.
Taglioni with black truffle and parmesan cream at Le George | Photo: Jean Claude Amiel
Hop across the pond to get royally pampered at The Dorchester hotel and enjoy a memorable dinner at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester. Feast on executive chef Jean-Philippe Blondet's contemporary French cuisine that's almost too pretty to eat. Menus are seasonally set given what's locally abundant, but every day Tuesday through Friday promises a real treat, as The Lunch Hour menu changes weekly.
Dry-aged beef, artichoke and bone marrow | Photo: Pierre Monetta
A night at Palazzo Manfredi is a night that will go down in the books. Spendy but absolutely worth it, the hotel's Suite Colosseum promises a luxury Jacuzzi bubble bath with extraordinary views—as in, directly facing the Colosseum. It also sets the tone for a magical rooftop dinner at Aroma, a Michelin-starred restaurant helmed by Giuseppe Di Iorio on the rooftop. When weather permits, the restaurant's rooftop retracts to show the sky, adding one more reason as to why it's one of the city's most-booked restaurants.
Handmade pasta at Aroma | Photo: Palazzo Manfredi
It's only fitting that Seta—meaning "silk" in Italian—is the most hyped-about restaurant in Italy's fashion capital. Housed in the stylish Mandarin Oriental, Milan, the two-starred Michelin restaurant draws in quite the crowd by way of chef Antonio Guida's culinary talent. Find astounding bites that pay homage to the chef's childhood in southern Italy, plus a mixture of French and Tuscan influence. Don't feel like getting all dolled up to head downstairs for dinner? Guida also oversees room service menus, so you can nosh on Michelin-worthy bites in the comfort of a plush robe and slippers.
Campari, grapefruit, cherry and white chocolate | Photo: Mandarin Oriental, Milan
Wolfsburg, home to Volkswagen's headquarters, is also home to a Ritz-Carlton and its three-Michelin-starred restaurant, Aqua. The property's industrial-meets-nature setting pairs perfectly with executive chef Sven Elverfeld's locally sourced, modern European dishes.
The dining room at Aqua | Photo: Gary Schmid
Experience the world's first three-Michelin-starred Cantonese cuisine at the Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong's Lung King Heen. Weekend dim sum brunch is best enjoyed from a coveted window table overlooking Victoria Harbour. Think traditional steamed dumplings and buns, barbecued pork, and more, with a fanciful twist.
Dim sum at Lung King Heen | Photo: Four Seasons Hong Kong
Chocolate and cheese may come to mind for food lovers road-tripping through Switzerland, but spending the night in a charming medieval village should be up there, too—if only for the fact that one can stay and feast on an extravagant meal at Restaurant de l'Hotel de Ville Crissier. The restaurant, which has held its three stars since 1998, is often referred to as one of the world's best and serves seasonal fare alongside a notable wine list.
Noisette de chevreuil | Photo: Restaurant de l’Hôtel de Ville de Crissier
A visit to St. Helena in Napa Valley calls for an off-the-grid weekend getaway to Meadowood Napa Valley and—most importantly—an obligatory reservation at The Restaurant at Meadowood. Chef Christopher Kostow, the third-youngest chef in history to receive three stars, is deeply committed to showcasing the valley’s most impressive farm-to-table fare. Locals divulge that the three-course tasting menu at the chef’s table is a way to experience Kostow’s excellence without putting a huge dent in the wallet.
The dining room at Meadwood | Photo: Meadwood Restaurant
Jenn Rice is a food and travel writer constantly traveling for cheese, tacos and kouign amann pastries. Follow her on Instagram @jennricewrites.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.