Stellar cuisine is often the highlight of a trip, so when choosing where to stay, the quality of the food is a key consideration. Many of our recommended hotels and resorts boast Michelin-starred restaurants, while others are set on farms or ranches that produce sustainably grown ingredients harvested on-site. Often, such properties emphasize their reliance on hyperlocal produce by offering garden tours and culinary classes. Inventive preparation and impeccable service combine to create indelible memories.
Here are our top 12 properties in the United States where guests can savor gourmet cuisine and then head back to supremely comfortable accommodations, whether in a New England sanctuary, a hideaway next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or a haven in Oregon’s wine country. At the time of writing, these hotels and their restaurants are open and serving full menus, though some are limiting seating capacity, making advance reservations essential.
Situated in the colorful coastal town of Kennebunk, this stylish inn offers 26 guest lodgings and waterfront cottages, decorated with antiques and designer fabrics. While the comfort of the accommodations is memorable, the highlights of our numerous stays have been dinners in the justly acclaimed restaurant. Housed within two restored 19th-century barns, the rustically elegant dining room features original pine flooring, rafters filled with farm tools and double-height windows looking out to flower-filled gardens. This provides the setting for chef Matthew Padilla’s delicious contemporary New England cuisine. Padilla trained with such culinary legends as Michael Mina and Ron Siegel before landing at the White Barn Inn in 2018. The kitchen sources its ingredients directly from farms in the region and fishermen at local docks, and the freshness of the seafood and produce is evident in every bite. Not to be missed are the lobster in a Champagne-infused lobster jus served with gnocchi and pea purée, and the foie gras-encrusted beef tenderloin with morel mushrooms and summer squash.
The restaurant has long been a mainstay for destination dining in southern Maine so, although the menu changes regularly, Padilla will take requests from regulars for favorites such as bacon-wrapped scallops immersed in an oxtail consommé and drizzled with a maple-mustard cream. The restaurant is closed every Monday and Tuesday.
A National Historic Landmark situated on a 1,400-acre estate, this distinctive hotel, overlooks Lake Champlain. Lila Vanderbilt Webb and her husband, William Seward Webb, purchased the property in the mid-1880s, and with the help of more than 300 workers and landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted, they were able to fulfill their dream of creating a model farm employing only the most advanced techniques. Today, it functions as a nonprofit organization dedicated to educational programs intended to promote environmentally responsible agriculture.
The Webbs’ original home, a Shingle-style structure, contains 24 individually decorated rooms that feature period décor, exquisite patterned wallpaper and large picture windows. An elegant dining room provides a setting for seasonally inspired dishes prepared by Pennsylvania-born chef John Patterson. After beginning his culinary career as a sous chef at Gramercy Tavern in New York, then advancing to the position of head chef at Philadelphia’s celebrated Fork, Patterson was hired to helm the restaurant at Shelburne Farms last year.
Locally harvested ingredients take center stage. In Patterson’s words, “Everything is treated with love here. And because of that you can taste the difference.” The farm encompasses a 7-acre mixed-vegetable garden, an area for raising livestock, a cheesemaking facility and a dairy barn. What isn’t grown on-site is sourced nearby. Menu highlights have included beef tartare served with tallow fries, the farm’s signature smoked cheddar cheese and sesame greens, and pasture-raised lamb accompanied by a cauliflower farro risotto and winter squash in a smoked tomato sauce. Touring the farm or enrolling in a culinary or environmental education session add other dimensions to the experience of this unique property. The hotel and restaurant will reopen in 2021.
Set on 300 acres of wildflower meadows and rolling hills in central Vermont, this magical retreat can feel like a bucolic second home, albeit one with a private art collection and a huge variety of outdoor activities. The 20 distinctive lodgings, including a self-contained four-suite enclave facing a pond, feature featherbeds and sitting areas with fireplaces that open onto screened porches. Hand-painted murals, American folk art and rich maple and pine woodwork adorn atmospheric lounges.
The farm-to-table culinary program is customized: Guests forgo menus and entrust the chef to deliver each course based on their stated preferences. Chef Nathan Rich’s seasonal cuisine, backed by a 15,000-bottle wine cellar, is deservedly renowned. Rich worked his way up through the ranks at several hotels, including Lake Placid Lodge in the Adirondacks, to his current preeminence. He cooks with ingredients procured from local farms within as tight a radius as possible. Milk, eggs, chicken and pastured turkey are sourced from Kiss the Cow Farm, and organic vegetables, herbs and flowers are purchased from Fable Farm, both located just five minutes from the resort. Meals can be enjoyed in locations throughout the property, including on a garden terrace and atop a ski hill. Gourmet picnic lunches, which may include dishes such as tamari-grilled quail with a ginger-apple slaw, and cold poached lobster with lemons, can be requested in advance.
Surrounded by 22 acres of parkland designed by legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, this stunning hotel is housed within a restored 19th-century Florentine-style palazzo. The property is located a four-minute drive from Tanglewood, the famed summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Wheatleigh’s 19 guest accommodations are accented by modern art and decorative objects from around the world.
The hotel’s Italianate grandeur and flawless service are augmented by chef Jeffrey Thompson’s award-winning restaurant, the Portico. Thompson, a native of Colorado Springs, trained there at the Broadmoor Hotel, before arriving at Wheatleigh in 2002. His focus is on the highest-quality ingredients, mostly procured from local farms, to create menus showcasing elevated contemporary French cuisine. Look for foie gras served hot in a duck bouillon with pickled cherries, dover sole in a brown-butter emulsion presented with baby artichokes, braised endive and parsnip, and a dessert of whole roasted figs set atop an olive oil cake and accompanied by a Meyer lemon sorbet. Thompson presides personally over every meal, which ensures that the standard of cooking never falters. The dining room, which expands to a glass-enclosed colonnade offering magnificent views of the Berkshire hills, has only eight tables, making reservations an absolute necessity.
In addition to Thompson’s gourmet restaurant, Wheatleigh offers themed wine dinners every Monday evening, occasions described as “a modern interpretation of the Gilded Age dinner party,” plus family-style barbecues accompanied by live jazz every Wednesday night from late June through early September. Themed dinners will resume in 2021.
Set amid 113 acres of meadows and woodlands in Litchfield County, this one-of-a-kind property comprises an 18th-century mansion, plus 19 extraordinary architect-designed cottages (one housing a restored 1968 Sikorsky Sea King Pelican helicopter) and an exceptional restaurant overseen by chef Chris Eddy. Having trained under star chefs Alain Ducasse and Daniel Boulud, Eddy moved to Connecticut to work at Winvian when it opened in 2006. Back then, the kitchen garden plot was around 50 square feet. Over the years, he has cultivated 3 acres of gardens, which now encompass organic vegetable and herb beds, three greenhouses, fruit trees, a root cellar, a henhouse, an apiary and an area for raising sheep, chicken and pigs. The farm having expanded, the Smith family, owners of the estate since 1948, made the decision to rebrand the property from Winvian Resort to Winvian Farm.
Eddy’s exceptional “seed-to-table” cuisine is served on a porch overlooking lush farmland or in a cozy dining room. Backed by a varied wine list comprising 500 labels from 13 countries and 37 regions, the daily changing menu always offers a house salad augmented by in-season fruit, such as watermelon or peaches, and a handmade pasta of the day. Memorable dishes have included roasted duck breast accompanied by a corn masa galette and grilled zucchini, and poached Atlantic halibut with coconut and garden greens. (A children’s menu is available.) Cooking classes, garden education lessons and wine-tasting sessions can be arranged. Winvian Farm is both a luxury resort and a culinary destination. The restaurant is closed every Tuesday.
One of the principal reasons to book a stay at this 23-room country inn, located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains 70 miles west of Washington, D.C., is to enjoy a leisurely meal in its celebrated three-star restaurant. Chef Patrick O’Connell, owner of the inn since 1978, is at the helm of the kitchen. The estate encompasses a farm that yields an abundance of high-quality produce each year. Farmer-in-residence Joneve Murphy manages the dwarf cherry tree orchard, the greenhouse and several vegetable gardens, as well as the chickens and livestock. Working in tandem, O’Connell plans menus up to six months in advance. His passionate dedication to the farm-to-table philosophy is reflected in his seasonally changing menus that showcase ingredients that have, in many instances, been harvested that very morning.
O’Connell had originally striven to be an actor but, in his own words, “soon found the living theater of the restaurant world more compelling than the stage.” At dinner here, each course, served by a discreet staff in formal attire, resembles a miniature work of art. Huge silk lamps hang above tables, creating a feeling of intimacy. (There are also two dining tables in the kitchen for those who want a close-up view of the chefs in action.) Supported by a 14,000-bottle wine cellar, the French-inspired cuisine is highly imaginative. For example, the herb-crusted lamb loin carpaccio is paired with a refreshing Caesar salad ice cream, and the lemon-scented panna cotta is served with roasted eggplant purée and a scoop of basil ice cream. Reservations are hard to come by, but hotel guests are guaranteed tables. The hotel and restaurant are closed every Tuesday.
This family-owned hideaway bordering Great Smoky Mountains National Park is as famous for exceptional cuisine as it is for deep comfort and refined Southern hospitality. Spread across a 4,200-acre estate, the resort is surrounded by a gentle and manicured landscape of lush rolling pastures, white wooden fences and an ornamental lake. The property comprises numerous buildings aside from the Main House, including a dairy barn, a farmhouse, and separate spa and stables complexes, plus an organic farm, creamery and bakery.
The formal gourmet restaurant, the Barn, serves the hotel’s celebrated “Foothills Cuisine,” that is, Appalachian ingredients prepared with a refined sensibility unique to eastern Tennessee. Chef Cassidee Dabney’s menus borrow from classic haute cuisine but highlight produce and products that are harvested on the property. With a wildlife-biologist father, Dabney was taught to have a profound respect for nature, and she learned gardening, cooking and canning at an early age. Her culinary career began with stints at the restaurants of Four Seasons’ resorts across the country, until she landed a job at Blackberry Farm in 2010 as a sous chef. In 2015 she was promoted to the coveted position of executive chef.
Regularly nominated by James Beard as a candidate for Best Chef in America, Dabney employs regional produce and housemade cheeses and charcuterie to create menus that have included poussin in a fennel-honey glaze with creamed pea dumplings, oyster mushrooms and summer squash, and smoked pork short ribs accompanied by charred cabbage, pickled ramps, rhubarb, crème fraîche and garden kale. The atmospheric setting for her meals is a century-old barn that was relocated from the Pennsylvania Dutch country. The grand and cavernous space, lit by candles in the evening, is an exceptionally romantic venue. Overall, the experience marries French three-star formality — Bernardaud china, sterling silverware, a monumental wine list — with Southern charm. To immerse themselves further in the farm-to-table ethos, guests can sign up for one of the daily cooking demonstrations, join master gardener John Coykendall to learn about seed preservation, and take farmstead tasting tours.
Lummi Island, Washington
Situated on tranquil Lummi Island in the San Juan archipelago, 100 miles north of Seattle, this gastronomic retreat comprises 21 comfortable accommodations. These are located both on-site and scattered around the island as much as a mile and a half from the main building. The property’s principal draw is chef Blaine Wetzel’s destination restaurant, which offers a creative prix fixe menu of at least 20 courses (with only one seating per night). Weather permitting, dinner begins on the waterfront patio where drinks and amuse-bouches are served. The rest of the meal is enjoyed in the intimate dark-toned dining room overlooking the Rosario Strait.
Wetzel grew up in Washington and apprenticed at Noma in Copenhagen. He has described his culinary approach as telling a “story about the land,” and he takes his local and seasonal philosophy to extremes, procuring the majority of the seafood from a single local fisherman, and sourcing vegetables, berries, edible flowers and herbs from the 1-acre Loganita Farm nearby. Wetzel and farm manager Mary von Krusenstiern work closely together on a daily basis to discuss not only what will be on the menu that night, but also what produce Wetzel will need six months hence. The farm experiments with new crops, and the restaurant purchases everything that it grows. Menus have included lamb skewers with spiced and fermented wildflowers, red mustard leaves and a cauliflower-and-hazelnut hummus, and a delicious dessert featuring strawberries on the vine drizzled with a lavender cream and accompanied by parsnip ice cream, whey caramel and chocolate anise hyssop.
In winter, Wetzel closes his restaurant and travels, visiting other chefs to exchange ideas and testing out dishes abroad that employ locally foraged ingredients. The time off allows Wetzel to continue to evolve his craft. This restaurant alone makes the trip to Lummi Island worthwhile; the charm of the inn is an added bonus. The hotel is seasonally closed from November to April. The restaurant is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday.
Located within the Willamette Valley, this eco-friendly hotel sits on a gentle, south-facing slope overlooking flower-dotted lawns, hazelnut trees and 5 acres of Pinot Noir vines. The décor of the 85 rooms and the vinotherapy spa display a wine-country theme. The gourmet restaurant, Jory, named for the type of volcanic soils found in the foothills of the valley, serves farm-to-table cuisine backed by an 8,000-bottle cellar. Chef Chris Smith is passionate about using sustainable products and ingredients procured from local farmers, including seasonal mushrooms foraged by Misty Mountain Mushrooms, and dairy foodstuffs from Briar Rose Creamery. Herbs and edible flowers come from the hotel’s 1.5-acre kitchen garden. Restaurant staff are eager to explain every dish and to identify the source of each ingredient.
The menu, served in a dining room featuring natural stone, handcrafted Oregon-wood furniture and walls lined with local artwork, offers contemporary regional fare with global inflections. Smith often surprises diners with Asian-inspired dressings or sauces that enliven dishes and elevate the flavors of local produce. Look for local albacore set atop a black rice risotto and paired with blistered Padrón peppers and a yuzu aioli, or halibut in a citrus vinaigrette accompanied by a corn-and-squash succotash and daikon radish.
Occupying a former post office, this five-bedroom gastronomic inn is the fulfillment of a dream for Kyle and Katina Connaughton. Kyle spent years cooking on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island, at three-star chef Michel Bras’ restaurant, then moved to England to work for British chef Heston Blumenthal at three-star restaurant the Fat Duck. Eventually, the Connaughtons decided to open a place of their own, which led to the debut of SingleThread Inn in 2016, located in the heart of Healdsburg.
The property is driven by the Japanese notion of omotenashi, or a complete dedication to hospitality. This is especially visible in the 52-seat restaurant. With custom-woven screens, subdued lighting, dark wood accents and flower arrangements in handcrafted ceramic vessels, the dining room is an homage to Japanese aesthetics, as is the procession of dishes in the 11-course tasting menu, which can be customized to suit omnivores, pescatarians and vegetarians. The produce, herbs, flowers, honey, eggs and olive oil are all sourced from the Connaughtons’ own farm, located 7 miles away. Tended by Katina, it encompasses a greenhouse, chicken coops, an heirloom fruit orchard, olive trees, an apiary and a cattle paddock. (Farm tours can be arranged.)
Memorable dishes have included yellowtail with barrel-aged ponzu, Cara Cara orange, komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) and Saikyo miso, cured foie gras and Chioggia beet accented with cocoa and rhubarb, and wagyu beef over eucalyptus with salsify, snow peas and burnt onion. Multicourse breakfasts are complimentary for hotel guests. The “Sonoma Breakfast” comes with a seasonal vegetable salad, housemade yogurt and kinako soy flour crêpes, while the “Japanese Breakfast” showcases miso-pickled king salmon, dashimaki tamago (Japanese-style omelette) with sweet corn, fresh yuba (bean curd skin) and preserved vegetables. SingleThread is first and foremost a sophisticated restaurant, with a small stylish inn attached. The restaurant is closed every Tuesday and Wednesday.
In a perfect location just a few blocks from Ocean Avenue and famed Carmel beach, this 20-room retreat is best known for its gourmet 12-table restaurant, Aubergine. Helmed by chef Justin Cogley, it offers Asian-influenced central Californian menus, highlighting local seafood.
Prior to his career as a chef, Cogley was a professional figure skater and spent years touring in Asia, Australia and Europe. On his travels, he acquired a passion for food and wine that led him to enroll at a culinary school in Oregon. After graduating, he trained under Charlie Trotter at the Elysian Hotel (now the Waldorf Astoria) in Chicago. Eventually, Cogley decided to put down roots in Carmel, becoming Aubergine’s executive chef. In 2013, he founded the Rediscovering Coastal Cuisine culinary event, at which chefs from all over the country come together to collaborate on a 12-course tasting menu that highlights ingredients from California’s Central Coast.
Menus have included an oyster starter in a yuzu emulsion with a cucumber gelée, an artichoke tart topped with slivers of white anchovy and shredded mint, Dungeness crab with young coconut, and rib-eye with kohlrabi in a sunflower-miso marinade. Last year, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, making tables even harder to come by. However, hotel guests are guaranteed a dinner reservation. Overall, L’Auberge is an intimate hideaway that is ideal for couples seeking exceptionally delicious cuisine. The restaurant is closed every Monday and Tuesday.
Big Sur, California
Set high above the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, amid the rugged wilderness of the Santa Lucia Range, this peerless resort has long been a particular favorite of Andrew Harper members. A stay at Post Ranch Inn is essentially about rediscovering tranquility. The 40 accommodations lack televisions and alarm clocks, prompting guests to disconnect and focus on the natural world around them. Along with the magnificent 180-degree ocean views, the superb Sierra Mar restaurant draws visitors back to the property time and time again.
Originally from North Carolina, chef Elizabeth Murray has had diverse culinary experience, ranging from a spell at world-renowned Noma in Copenhagen to several months working at a casual seafood restaurant on Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Nowadays, she lives at Post Ranch Inn and helps tend the kitchen garden in her free time. Murray’s varied menus center on seafood, sourced from the ocean visible from her dining room. Typical dishes have included white sea bass crudo in a sweet and tangy nectarine-and-almond-infused marinade, and abalone with shiitake in a cauliflower cream with nasturtium. When making a reservation, specifically request a window table so as to enjoy views of the glorious Big Sur coastline.