Long considered an afterthought by travelers, hotel restaurants are making a comeback in a big way. Overall, hotels have seen an increase in the percentage of total revenues from venues, which means more revenues are coming from restaurants/other venues, according to STR, a data solutions company that helps clients to strategize and compete within their markets. Inflation does have an impact on these numbers.
Perhaps inspired in part by the HBO series White Lotus, where guests set up camp at the resort’s restaurant throughout their entire Italian vacation, hotel restaurants are showcasing the allure of hotel dining thanks to innovative cuisine, stunning design and dreamy ambiances. These hotel restaurants, which opened over the last year, are drawing rave review from patrons and are doing their part for the resurgence of the hotel restaurant.
UMI Rooftop + Tokyo Kitchen at Thompson Playa del Carmen, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
UMI Rooftop + Tokyo Kitchen, a new Japanese Izakaya-style restaurant by Chef Román Osamu, opened its doors at Thompson Playa del Carmen on Dec. 6. Inspired by the North Pacific Ocean, this gastronomic experience envelops your senses in Asian flavors through its local, seafood-based menu. UMI offers views of the Caribbean Sea to complement its dishes, ranging from sashimis, makis and nigiris to grilled octopus and salmon teriyaki. The venue immerses guests in a multi-sensory experience through its cuisine, atmosphere and service, transporting diners to Japan in the midst of Eastern Mexico. DJs and live performers with curated playlists create a lively ambiance contrasted with the serene aesthetic that pair perfectly with UMI’s sake, beer and cocktails.
Vita at Rock House, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
Vita, the signature restaurant at Rock House, a boutique luxury hotel that opened in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos last May, brings unexpected Amalfi Coast cuisine to the Caribbean. The restaurant is tucked into the cliffside and perched 30 feet above the sea, showcasing panoramic views of the island’s renowned turquoise waters and boasting natural stone walls, hand built by local artisans with limestone excavated during the hotel’s construction. Conceptualized by Chef Dennis Boon, Vita’s menu features authentic Italian dishes with a hint of island flair, from slow-cooked octopus and vitello tonato to lemon spaghetti with Caribbean lobster. Vita also offers craft cocktails and an exceptional wine list primarily featuring Old World wines that complement that restaurant’s Mediterranean atmosphere. For a special moment, guests can also arrange private dinners on the 130-foot jetty surrounded by the sparkling sea.
Jalao NYC at Radio Hotel, New York, NY
Jalao NYC opened at Radio Hotel, Washington Heights’ first-ever full-service boutique hotel, in August 2022. Led by the internationally recognized contemporary Latin restaurant group, Richard Sandoval Hospitality, Jalao NYC is part of the Orgullo Dominicano and pays homage to its predecessor, Jalao Santo Domingo, which has been serving traditional Dominican food with a modern twist in La Zona Colonial since 2016. The menu includes popular items from the flagship location in addition to dishes made exclusively for the New York market, with fresh, local ingredients and nuanced flavors celebrated within the Dominican community. Highlights of the main menu include signature dishes such as Pecao’ Frito (boca chica style deep-fried red snapper), Chuleta Cancan (pork tomahawk), Paila Jalao (a palomilla onion-steak with crispy pork belly and longaniza-sausage) and the Mofongo Mar y Tierra (the ultimate Dominican Surf and Turf of shrimp and crispy pork belly with garlic mojo and option for lobster enhancement).
AperiBar at LUMA Hotel Times Square, New York, NY
Charlie Palmer’s newest NYC dining concept, AperiBar – set at LUMA Hotel Times Square – caters to a shift toward a European way of eating: small bites, sharing, lingering at the table over wine or an aperitif. The expertly crafted wine list with 100% Italian varietals – including 23 different Proseccos and Italian sparkling wines – shine a new light on how high-quality these varietals can be. With freshly extruded pasta via Acobaleno, the menu incorporates ingredients presenting the very best Italy has to offer, from Caputo flour to imported buffalo mozzarella and olive oil, with an emphasis on delectable pizza.