Sumptuous restaurant meals are one of the decadent pleasures of traveling. But there are times—say, after a long day of exploring or business meetings—when the idea of eating dinner in a bathrobe seems equally compelling. Happily, now that many of the world’s top hotels offer five-star room service, there’s no need to sacrifice haute cuisine for comfort.
Once considered the last resort of weary business travelers (and the subject of Marx Brothers’ comedy), room-service dining has finally come into its own. Gone are the days when hotel guests could expect only defrosted seafood and soggy breakfast pastries on their trays; now, sophisticated dishes made with artisanal ingredients are making their way upstairs. Some are even whipped up by superstar chefs; at New York City’s Chambers Hotel, for instance, guests can order sublime French-Asian dishes from Má Pêche, the ground-floor restaurant run by David Chang (of Momofuku fame).
Among the many other room-service treats you won’t need to lift a finger to enjoy (unless that finger is helping to hold a fork) are lunchtime specialties like Wagyu-pastrami sandwiches (at the Little Nell in Aspen) and custom-mixed cocktails (at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel). The delivery is as memorable as the food at Twin Farms in Vermont, where servers light candles, uncork wine and dim the lights for a private romantic dinner. The pièce de résistance, though, may well be at Le Taha’a, a French Polynesian getaway, where ukulele-strumming canoeists deliver breakfast to guests’ overwater bungalows.
Restaurateurs, beware…eating in is the new eating out.