Clifftops, Cocoons & Cupolas
As any good restaurateur knows, how and where you serve your meals can be as important as what’s on the plate. Hotels have caught on to this, too, as evidenced by some of the unique, over-the-top, and extremely photo-worthy private dining experiences they are creating for their guests. Whether you’re in the mood for some romantic dining or a lively meal with the family, are planning a unforgettable proposal or just going for the Instagram likes, these nine hotels offer spectacular settings for a bespoke meal.
Dine Clifftop at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Oman
About two hours from Muscat, high on Oman’s Green Mountain, sits one of the more dramatic Anantara resorts in the portfolio. Opened in 2016, the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar resort looks out onto a sweeping panorama of canyons, plateaus, and rocky out-crops, with time-worn ravines weaving their way in between. These ancient views provide a singular backdrop for Anantara’s Dining by Design programme, which allows guests to enjoy private dining in key spots around the property. Enjoy a traditional mezze-style Omani breakfast just off your pool villa or canyon-side suite – the table is set nearly at the edge of cliff, so be forewarned if you’re afraid of heights – or opt for a candlelit meal on the glass railing-lined viewing platform, where Princess Diana once stood to take in these same vistas.
Go Underground at The Phoenician Scottsdale, USA
Built in the 1980’s, Scottsdale’s iconic The Phoenician resort was envisioned by its original owner to meld the spirit of the American Southwest with the elegance of Old World Europe. To represent the later, he travelled throughout the continent, buying decorative pieces and drawing design inspiration along the way – including from an elaborate wine cellar spied in an historic castle. Upon returning to Arizona, he had the cellar replicated at the hotel, and it still can be found in a hidden-away spot on the first floor, dubbed The Praying Monk room after a unique rock foundation found on nearby Camelback Mountain, the tasting room/private dining space features barrel-vaulted ceilings, brick archways, stained-glass artwork and rich furnishings upholstered in beautiful tapestries, setting an elegant scene for a wine-soaked meal.
READ MORE: Bulgari Resort Bali Offers Private Dining In Uluwatu
Get Nesting at Viceroy Los Cabos, Mexico
There’s no shortage of striking locations at this Sea of Cortez-side resort, which was designed in a contemporary style by architect Miguel Angel Aragonés, but among the most unique is the Nido Cevicheria + Bar. Evoking a giant upside-down nest, complete with branch-like walls and ceiling, the restaurant sits floating in a central water “courtyard,” linked to the main building only by a low-lit walkway. While normally a lively resort eatery specialising in robatayaki, Japanese grilled items, and fresh seafood, the dramatic structure can also be rented out for a private “Love Nest” dining experience – a US$25,000 (or RM102,883) “Love Nest” packages that includes dinner for two, a dedicated concierge and a photographer to capture the post-worthy pics.
Enjoy the Royal Treatment at Taj Rambagh Palace, India
Royal guest house, a handmaiden’s home, a Maharajah’s hunting lodge – this serene 19th-century estate outside of the Pink City of Jaipur has been them all. Still owned by a titled family, but operated as a luxury Taj hotel, the property makes every guest feel like an honoured one with plenty of regal touches – including the chance to dine anywhere on the estate grounds. A top choice is one of the domed cupolas set off the main terrace, overlooking the great lawn. There, surrounded by candlelight, impeccably outfitted staffers will lay the table with fine china, serve you multi-course gourmet meals, and generally treat you like the king or queen that you are.
Start Shucking at Saffire Freycinet, Australia
Located on Wineglass Bay in Tasmania’s incredible Freycinet National Park, looking out at views of pink granite mountains, the luxe, 20-suite Saffire Freycinet is one of the only places in the world where you can walk out into the water and eat fresh oysters straight off a farm. Organised by the Saffire guiding team and the family-owned Freycinet Marine Farm, the dedicated dining experience has guests donning waders and setting of into a wetland/ornithological site just off the hotel’s shores. There, glass of Tasmanian sparkling wine in hand, you’ll learn a bit about marine ecology, then settle at a dining table placed right in the water to enjoy freshly plucked and shucked Pacific oysters. It’s an experience that’s both uniquely Tasmanian and thoroughly memorable.
Take to the Sky at LondonHouse Chicago, USA
Perched on the banks of the Chicago River, in a building the blends historically preserved architecture with a modern glass tower, LondonHouse Chicago features some of the best views in town – which locals and guests alike flock to the rooftop bar to enjoy. But beyond the public terrace and lounge lies an even better viewpoint: a domed and pillared Beaux-Arts cupola that was part of the original 1923 building. Available to rent for proposals or intimate events and dinners – the latter stretching up to 20 courses, crafted by the executive chef – the circular space boasts 360-degree views of the city, from Lake Michigan to the Wrigley Building and beyond.
Be a Castaway at One&Only Reethi Rah, Maldives
How do you take dining experiences to the next level when your resort is already on an idyllic private Maldivian island? You set sail. For a truly private meal, One&Only Reethi Rah will whisk guests to a secluded sand bank in the middle of the Indian Ocean, where a private chef and host will be waiting with a lounging and dining area set-up beneath the open sky. Relax on cushy pillows, toes in the sand, while enjoying technicolor sunsets, glasses of bubbly, and artfully presented dishes crafted with ingredients from the chef’s garden.
Climb into a Treehouse at Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia
While fresh local and seasonal ingredients take center stage at all the restaurants at this Saint Lucian hideaway (which boasts its own superyacht marina), the connection between the environment and what’s on your plate really comes alive during a private dinner in the romantic Tree House. Tucked away among the botanical gardens of the calming spa grounds, the raised, open-walled platform makes for a particularly fairytale-like dining location –particularly at night, when its lit by the soft glow of lanterns and is fragrant with the scents of exotic flowers and chef-prepared menus.
Float Away (Or Not) At Balboa Bay Resort, USA
As one of the top waterfront hotels in tony Newport Beach, the recently renovated Balboa Bay Resort is a favorite with guests and locals for its unrivaled views of the watercolor sunsets and million-dollar yachts bobbing in the bay. To enjoy the scenic surroundings minus the crowds, book a private dining experience inside one of the resort’s classic electric Duffy boats – which you can steer out into the bay, or keep floating just off the hotel’s dock. Either way, you can stretch out in the boat to enjoy a full meal prepared by the resort chefs, glasses of your preferred beverages, and 360-degree views of the gently lapping water.