“The days of the lukewarm prime rib and a club sandwich are long gone,” said chef Nate Tilden, who opened the restaurant Clyde Common in the Ace Hotel Portland nine years ago. “Hotel guests are more discerning and savvy than before. They travel for food more now than ever. When they are on vacation, they are here to eat.”
Nate has a point. Over the past decade, hotels have upped their food game, seeking out serious chefs with a clear point of view. Classic properties like The Four Seasons are partnering with celebrity chefs, and newer brands like Ace and Eventi are curating chef-driven restaurants in their highly-stylized hotels. The result: some of the most exciting restaurants are now located inside hotels.
“The hotel restaurant industry has been steadily evolving from the late ’90s, with early players like Bill Kimpton and Ian Schrager who recognized that F&B could be part of the attraction of the hotel,” said Robert Mandelbaum, Director of Research Information Services for CBRE Hotels America’s Research.
“These operators realized that if they were to contract with a local celebrity chef, then they would not have take on the F&B, which is very management-intensive and not very profitable for hotels. The formula is a win-win, because the restaurant enhances the reputation of the hotel, and the restaurateur is given access not only to dining room revenue, but also to revenue streams from banquets and room service, which are profit centers.”