Five Best: Restaurants With Rooms
Where to find fine food with luxury accommodation to match
Saturday 15 May 2004
El Bulli Hotel, Spain
El Bulli Hotel, Spain
Most people have, by now, heard of Spain's most celebrated chef/alchemist, Ferran Adria and his restaurant El Bulli near Barcelona. They will also know that the average wait for a reservation is a year. But you can get a taste of El Bulli at The El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza in the Andalucian village of Sanlucar la Mayor, 10 minutes drive from Seville. Guests can sample some of the most popular dishes from its more famous sibling in the Michelin-starred gourmet restaurant, La Alqueria, contained within this stunning Moorish-style farmhouse. The hotel's 44 guestrooms are luxuriously decorated and there's the added bonus of a swimming pool to help work off some of those calories. Double rooms start from €310 (£220) per room per night with breakfast.
El Bulli Hotel Hacienda Benazuza, Sanlucar la Mayor, Andalucia, Spain (00 34 955 703 344, www.elbullihotel.com)
Ballymaloe House, Ireland
Ballymaloe House, with its 34 guestrooms, is a wonderful location for a relaxing country house hotel weekend, but one of the major factors that sets it apart, is the restaurant. Overseen by Myrtle Allen, the emphasis on the menu is on the freshest locally sourced ingredients. A house-party atmosphere prevails and guests inevitably retire to the drawing room for a post-prandial tipple or a coffee. Double rooms start from €97 (£70) per person, based on two sharing a standard room. Dinner costs €55 (£39) per person without wine.
Ballymaloe House Hotel, Shanagarry, Co. Cork (00 353 21 465 2531, www.ballymaloe.ie)
Brothers Gaetano and Giovanni Trovato's refined Arnolfo restaurant is an altogether different proposition from many of the trattorie that dot the Tuscan landscape. Arnolfo is housed in a 16th-century building in the hilltop medieval village of Colle di Val d'Elsa midway between Florence and Siena. Gaetano's new-wave Tuscan cooking has earned him quite a reputation. The spring menu features dishes such as rabbit with Vin Santo and a casserole of goat from the Crete Senesi with thyme and artichokes. Best of all, the four simple but elegantly furnished guestrooms are a short stagger up the stairs. Doubles start from €160 (£115) per room per night based on two sharing with breakfast. Tasting menus start from €80 (£57) per person.
Arnolfo, via XX Settembre 50, Colle di Val d'Elsa, Tuscany (00 39 0577 920 549; www.arnolfo.com)
La Maison Troisgros, France
La Maison Troisgros is one of France's most celebrated temples to haute cuisine. And, since it opened in 1930 it has garnered a worldwide following. Gourmands beat a path to Roanne, just to the west of France's gastronomic capital, Lyon, to sample inventions from the Troisgros kitchens, such as milk fed chops with mustard seeds and horseradish mousseline and crispy salt cod with an infusion of grey shrimp. Those who want their beds to be as close to the dinner table as possible can retire to the adjoining 18-room hotel. Decorated in a serene minimalist style, the walls are adorned with modern art. There is also a specialist library for food lovers to browse through.
Double rooms start from €215 (£153) per room per night. The daily-changing tasting menu starts from €165 (£117) per person without wine.
Hôtel Restaurant Troisgros, Place Jean Troisgros, Roanne, France. (00 33 1 4 77 71 66 97, www.relaischateaux.com).
Simon Rogan's self-styled gastronomic restaurant with rooms, housed in a 13th-century former smithy, caused something of a stir when it opened last year in the Lake District village of Cartmel. The menu features dishes such as "brushed tuna, smokey flavour, and lovage squirt" and "Berni's crab, warm jelly of woodruff with sweet pistachio fudge" and has certainly proved a success. So much so, the existing seven guestrooms in the restaurant building have been added to with the opening of Bluebell House. A pretty 15th-century house, it boasts four new double guestrooms decorated with antiques.
Double rooms start from £110 per room per night with breakfast. A seven-course tasting menu costs £50 per person without wine.
L'Enclume, Cartmel, Cumbria (01539 536 362, www.lenclume.co.uk)
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