One of the greatest things about exploring a country is getting to know its culture by tasting the local culinary specialties. Whether it’s fluffy Ladakhi bread baked in the house of the former king or a celery and green apple granita in a Portuguese vineyard, we’ve put together a list of some of the best sustainable restaurants available in hotels around the world.
Junei Hotel Kyoto Imperial Palace, Japan
Let’s start from the first meal of the day. Indeed, breakfast sets the tone for the whole day and at The Junei Hotel , guests can enjoy an original Kyoto Vegan Breakfast experience. The meal is made from organic vegetables and gluten free foods, which do not use egg, milk, wheat, dairy products, meat, fish- no gelatin and any animal ingredients. Ingredients and seasoning are mainly organic. And what makes this even better is that this experience is currently available for free to travelers that book through Wayaj. A complimentary healthy breakfast is definitely one of the best ways to start a day exploring Kyoto!
Located next to the renowned Kyoto Imperial Palace, the Junei Hotel strives to offer an authentic experience of Japanese culture in a modern and sustainable way. Not only the hotel spaces are designed in traditional Japanese style, but it also offers several cultural experiences like the kimono dressing day and traditional Japanese dance show that allow the guests to immerse themselves in this unique culture.
Nimmu House, India
Nimmu House, a glamping and eco-resort located in Leh, in Northern India’s Jammu and Kashmir region, is known for its traditional villages, Buddhist monasteries, and trekking areas. Overlooking the old town’s bazaar and maze-like streets, is the 17th-century Leh Palace, which is modeled on Tibet’s Potala Palace, the Dalai Lama’s former home.
Staying at the resort, the manor of the former king of Ladakh, allows one a chance to enjoy the very unique Ladakhi cuisine. Breakfasts are served with fresh juice and fruit salad from their orchards and Ladakhi bread with homemade jam and butter. This traditional bread is thicker and made with whole-wheat flour. Cut the bread in the middle and add butter and almond jam to taste its sweet, melty goodness!
Lunches and dinners offer Indian, Asian, Mediterranean and French specialties, in addition to Ladakhi cuisine like momos (dumplings) and thukpa (a Tibetan noodle soup). Meals are served in a charming dining room or outside on the terrace with views of the Himalayan mountains.
El Tigre Vestido at Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation, Costa Rica
In the mountains of Santa Bárbara in Heredia, Costa Rica, enjoy the lush, natural beauty of the countryside by horseback or hike along scenic trails and marvel at the waterfalls dotted throughout the jungle. Traverse through Braulio Carillo National Park, home to the 2,906 meter (9,534 feet) tall Barva Volcano and the magnificent Barva Lagoon.
When staying in Santa Bárbara, the Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Inn offers a lasting positive impact with a minimal footprint at its El Tigre Vestido restaurant, which is set on a large terrace surrounded by gardens and orchards. Revel in breakfast amidst the aroma of coffee from the plantation and savor fresh fruits and vegetables from the organic garden, as well as eggs retrieved daily from their happy free-ranging hens.
For lunch and dinner try Latin fusion cuisine like grilled baby ears of corn bathed in lime butter and served with Rosa Blanca coffee mayonnaise. Their chef, Jose Pablo Gonzales also makes a delicious pork loin served with a java-laced salsa and fresh roasted carrots and onions.
The Finca Rosa Blanca Coffee Plantation Inn takes pride in more than providing meals made in the culinary tradition of Costa Rica. They also support creating a positive environmental impact with the inn receiving the highest level possible from the Costa Rican Certification for Sustainable Tourism program.
Museum Hotel, Turkey
According to industry insiders, Turkey is going to be one of the hottest tourist destination this year, and Cappadocia is definitely one of the most spectacular Turkish regions, from a natural as well as cultural point of view. Attractions include its distinctive “fairy chimneys” or “hoodoos,” tall, cone-shaped rock formations, Bronze Age homes carved into the valley walls, which were later used as refuges by early Christians, and the deep Ihlara Canyon houses with its numerous rock-face churches.
For an authentic and eco-friendly sojourn in Cappadocia, the Museum Hotel is the ideal place. The site has been meticulously restored and renovated from ruins, caves, and old houses to become the first luxury establishment in the area. It’s in a fantastic location to watch the hot air balloons that fly by on a daily basis.
At the hotel is Lil’a Restaurant. Ingredients from apples to walnuts are grown onsite using sustainable farming methods. If the food doesn’t come from their own land, local farm products from the neighbors are used. There’s nothing mass-made here! Care is also taken to employ the local population in eco-farming, beekeeping, and tending to the free-range poultry on the grounds.
Lil’a’s Chef Saygın Sesli enriches and interprets the flavors of the region by blending local ingredients into traditional dishes of Cappadocia like Tandoor Ribs with wheat stew cooked slowly over a wood fire. Chef Sesli also offers cooking lessons. Meet him in the morning to visit the butcher and spice shop and to pick ingredients from the hotel’s farm. Then, it’s off to the kitchen to start cooking! Guests can learn about the local cuisine and enjoy a delicious meal.
Six Senses Douro River Valley, Portugal
Winding its way through the Douro River Valley, the River Douro passes through panoramic scenery encompassing magnificent viewpoints and river beaches. This area just happens to be one of the oldest wine-producing region in Europe and it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
A carefully restored 19th century manor house, the Douro Valley Six Senses Hotel has inherited some of the local historic wineries. Oenologists with a passion for antique vintages can explore the original cellars, and taste special selection of Port wines aged in wooden casks for as long as 100 years!
Foodies, gourmets and Masterchef-wannabes can also enjoy a variety of experiences at this sustainable hotel, that scores 82 in Wayaj’s eco rating system.
From cooking classes, to learn some of the finer points of Portuguese cuisine, to secret destination dining experience with tables tucked into the woods by the river
(which sounds like the perfect setting for a marriage proposal 😉 )
and even a sit at the “Chef’s Table”, right in the kitchen to see all the action live.
The Vale de Abraão restaurant at the hotel is a celebration of the regional cuisine interpreted in a contemporary way. Vegetables and herbs, such as those used to make their original celery and green apple granita, come fresh from the onsite organic garden; while a wood-fired stove takes care of bread baking and local oven dishes, like the duck pie (empada de pato). The hotel offers several dining experiences: the Open Kitchen, an open space cooking station, on the Terrace, with spectacular valley views, and in the Dining Room, a more formal setup to dine in modern elegance.
Reserva do Ibitipoca, Brazil
The State Park of Ibitipoca is famous for its landscapes of waterfalls, peaks, ridges, caves, and natural pools. Many species of animals, like the endangered primate “Muriqui-de-Norte,” can only be found in this habitat.
Around the State Park sits the Reserva do Ibitipoca Hotel. Born out of an environmental project to preserve and increase the local wildlife, since in 2008, it has been expanded into a hotel with the objective to bring economic development in the region while fostering a passion for nature, the local community and guests’ wellbeing.
Here guests can experience high quality Brazilian cuisine privately or communally, which is a great way to meet other guests. Breakfast and lunch are buffets, while dinner is a three-course affair showcasing the Reserva’s homegrown organic produce. Special occasions call for a dinner on “the beach,” a sandy area high on a nearby mountain.
Be sure to try their “Pao de Quejo”. These typical bread balls are made with cassava flour and a local semi-soft cow’s milk cheese. You can even pop into the kitchen to see them made; the scent of warm cheesy bread just adds to the experience!