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Resorts chart a new course

for all-inclusive dining

BY

CORRINA ALLEN KIERSONS

T

HE TYPICAL RESORT ESCAPE USED TO BE ABOUT

sun, sand and a pool or two — preferably one with a bar

you could swim right up to for the perfect frozen piña

colada. Traditionally, these vacation destinations weren’t

typically known for their fine dining options. But now, not

only are they upgrading the all-inclusive elements that

guests know and love, they’re also making entirely new

unexpected experiences a part of the package, especially

when it comes to what’s on your plate and how it gets

there. In terms of quality, sustainability, variety, authentic-

ity and (most importantly) taste, resorts are stepping up

their food and beverage game in a big way.

TEAMWORK! RESORTS ARE BETTER TOGETHER

This trend is all about sharing the love: come dinner time, hotels

team up to host guests from sister properties nearby, giving

travellers a change of scenery and the experience of a fun night out

on the town (where ‘the town’ equals yet another gorgeous stretch

of sand a short jaunt down the beach). It also provides partnering

properties with the opportunity to show off a unique dining venue,

a famed or Michelin starred chef, or a special feature highlighting a

particular resort’s strength (like Secrets Akumal Riviera Maya’s

amazing and perfect-for-a-craft-beer-festival patio). AMResorts’

Heart of Mexico Food and Wine Festival gives guests access to

gourmet meals at four hotels along the Mayan Riviera, each with its

own unique brand of evening entertainment ranging from luxury

fashion shows to high-end mezcal tastings to the aforementioned

craft beer-sipping celebration.

THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS TREND:

YOU CAN TAKE IT WITH YOU

The post-vacation, overdid-it-at-the-buffet

diet is no fun. But like with every other

aspect of our lives (see: that mindfulness

app on your smartphone), wellness is

making major headway into the world of

travel and resort stays. Without sacrificing

flavour, resorts are reserving room on the

buffet for gluten-free options, vegan dishes,

vegetables-as-mains, and pickled and

fermented produce. Destinations like St.

Lucia’s Jade Mountain have their own

organic farm supplying their hotel kitchens.

Guests can tour the farm-to-table opera-

tion to see exactly where all that fresh,

delicious food comes from (be sure to

check out their gorgeous orchid house

while you’re there!). And at Barcelo’s Royal

Hideaway resort, buffet dining now means

poke bowls, ginger smoothies, and fresh

honeycomb with which to sweeten your

yogurt and chia seeds. For those just

dipping a toe into the world of healthy

eating, there’s also an on-site nutritionist to

help plan a new eating routine.

FALL/WINTER

2018 •

B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A

19

JOURNEYS

18

B O N V I VA N T T R AV E L . C A

FALL/WINTER 2018

EAT LIKE A WELL-FED LOCAL:

SERVING UP REGIONAL SPECIALTIES

This approach thinks outside the “international

buffet serving up everything from pork chops to

pancakes” box and instead highlights the dishes

and ingredients your destination is known for –

think: chile rellenos in Mexico, kweyol kebabs in St.

Lucia, or the tuna dishes eaten for centuries by

local Andalusians in Spain. Good food is one of the

highlights of any trip (“Parts Unknown” host

Anthony Bourdain built an entire career around

that fact) and while we love a cold beer and plate of

fries by the pool as much as anyone, seasonal

cooking and local specialties are one of the reasons

we travel – new flavours are all part of the

adventure. At Barcelo’s Royal Hideaway Sancti

Petri, Bluefin tuna is sourced from local Cadiz

fishermen who catch them along their yearly

migration path through the Strait of Gibraltar. The

resort serves it with mushroom and sea nettles for

an authentic taste of the Mediterranean. Similarly,

at Grand Velas’ Los Cabos property, the local catch

of the day is served up poolside in a traditional

Mexican ceviche.