Great culinary experiences are no longer limited to the dining room. Hotels are taking guests beyond the plate and into the gardens, sea, and cellars. Here, five of our favorites to try now.
The Little Nell Hotel, Aspen
The wine program at the Little Nell hotel, in Aspen, has employed 10 of North America’s 158 Master Sommeliers throughout its storied past. It now offers a three-day Wine Academy every spring at which you can learn the ins and outs of food pairings. You’ll visit the Little Nell’s renowned cellar and spend your days sampling a wide selection of its 20,000-plus bottles at the hotel’s private club atop the 11,200-foot-tall Aspen Mountain. Rooms from $225 per person.
Viña Vik, Chile
From March to May you can join the harvest team of the renowned Viña Vik in Millahue, Chile. Guests at the stylish vineyard hotel start work at 11 p.m. (to keep the grapes cool, a key consideration for wines from warm climates), learning to choose and clip the best bunches before tasting the freshly pressed juice. The wine you helped make is aged for four years before a six-liter bottle is sent to your home. From $1,900 for three nights.
Angama Mara, Kenya
Angama Mara, Kenya’s beloved safari lodge, now has a vegetable garden with stunning views of the Maasai Mara National Reserve. You’ll handpick crops such as sukuma wiki (a local collard green) along with a form of maize called ugali for the staff to prepare a fresh salad. The alfresco lunch includes the local sourdough, Kenyan mursik cheese, and chilled rosé. Rooms from $1,200.
Gstaad Palace, Switzerland
Switzerland’s grand Gstaad Palace hotel lets you “rent” a cow whose milk will produce Swiss Alp cheese for you. Alp cheese is made only in the summer when cows can graze at higher altitudes. You’ll visit the nearby organic farm to learn about cheese making, and you can even meet your adopted cow in the scenic mountain pastures high above the valley. The cheese can be taken home or mailed to you throughout the rest of the season. Rooms from $650.
Ponta dos Ganchos, Brazil
In Brazil’s southern province of Santa Catarina, the Ponta dos Ganchos—a resort with just 25 bungalows on a private peninsula—enlists the convivial local fisherman Edézio Santos to take you out on the gorgeous Ganchos Bay to explore historic oyster farms. Guests slurp the prized mollusks moments after they come out of the water and wash them down with sparkling rosé. Santos is a descendent of Portuguese immigrants of the 18th century, so he provides a firsthand experience of the village’s nearly 300-year-old fishing traditions. Bungalows from $650.