From the Namibian bush to Lisbon’s posh city centre, from the Michelin Guide’s London headquarters converted to a restaurant to the palms of Quito’s historic district, all of Relais & Châteaux‘s new members have a deep desire to share their story and their local heritage. They offer travellers places where nature is a precious resource to be preserved; where healthy, local cuisine is a watchword; where wellbeing is a must.
Among the new additions is Restaurant Orana in Adelaide, which takes the tally for Relais & Chateux’s Australian members to five, including:
- Tetsuya’s, Sydney
- Laura at Pt Leo Estate, Mornington Peninsula
- The Louise, Barossa Valley and
- Hentley Farm Restaurant, Barossa Vally
The newcomers include:
Bibendum, London, United Kingdom – two Michelin stars
Behind the magnificent Art Deco facade of the building that once housed the Michelin tyre company – as well as the headquarters of that firm’s celebrated red Guide – is one of the most popular eating establishments on the London scene. In the swanky Chelsea district, chef Claude Bosi relies on his French heritage and Lyon roots to offer a traditional French cuisine of high quality, with creative modern touches revealing frank and audacious flavours.
Gut Steinbach Hotel, Reit im Winkl, Germany
Not far from the Austrian border, facing the Chiemgau Alps, the Gut Steinbach Hotel & Chalets (sister hotel of the Relais & Châteaux Park-Hotel Egerner Höfe) stretches over 50 hectares and is designed to be fully sustainable. Sports enthusiasts and nature lovers will be delighted with the plethora of outdoor activities on offer amid breathtaking surroundings. The hotel consists of a main building and a number of cottages dotting the banks of a pond; each of the seven chalets has its own yard, fireplace and relaxation area. The restaurant serves cuisine that honours farm-to-table principles, featuring vegetables grown in the garden on the grounds and animals raised on site.
Le Domaine de la Klauss, Montenach, France
In the heart of the land of three borders (Luxembourg, Germany and France) lies Le Domaine de la Klauss. Behind its imposing stone architecture is a cocoon of wellbeing, with an 800-square-metre Gemology spa offering matchless moments of relaxation. Each suite here is individually decorated and bears the name of a member of the owners’ family, giving pride of place to local stones. In the kitchen, chef Benoit Potdevin takes tremendous care with his culinary creations, utilising ingredients from the establishment’s own kitchen garden and free-range farm.
Valverde Hotel, Lisbon, Portugal
On the stylish Avenida da Liberdade, the Valverde Hotel rises like an elegant townhouse, its classical facade enchanting the eye with volute columns and sculpted ornamental friezes. Cross the threshold into an intimate world created by architects and interior decorators José Pedro Vieira and Diogo Rosa Lã: a realm of discreet luxury, 1950s furniture, velvet armchairs, paintings and engravings. The Pateo is the perfect place for quiet conversation or private reflection, with a streamlined swimming pool encircled by lush vegetation. In the kitchens, chef Carla Sousa channels her Cape Verdean pedigree into the flavours of Portuguese cuisine.
Taverna Estia, Naples, Italy – two Michelin stars
Mario and Francesco Sposito inherited their detail-focused passion from their parents’ restaurant: Francesco in the kitchen-lab and Mario as a sommelier. The warm atmosphere and meticulous wine selection create the perfect platform for the superbly crafted dishes reflecting the gastronomic history of the Naples region, the Amalfi Coast and Italy, more broadly. On the restaurant menu, the producers (farmer, butcher, pasta-maker) are given their due before the delicious listing unfurls in a flavour-filled ode: smoked artichokes stuffed with pecorino mousse, parsley and seasonal garlic, black truffle or Genovese-style Neapolitan pasta.
Epako Safari Lodge, Omaruru, Namibia
In the mountainous realms of the Namibian bush bordering the Damaraland region, the Epako Safari Lodge combines the refinement of a luxury hotel with the raw beauty of wildlife. Here, guests traverse the lands of the San, whose presence can be detected in many places around the lodge by virtue of their rock paintings. Visitors can also observe the activities of an astonishing variety of animals on the reserve’s 11,000 hectares: white rhino, leopard, spotted hyena and brightly coloured birds. The lodge offers a distinctive human sanctuary amid one for wild beasts.
Restaurant Orana, Adelaide, Australia
Chef Jock Zonfrillo champions native Australian ingredients in his fine-dining restaurant in Adelaide Australia, Restaurant Orana. He has travelled into Indigenous communities for decades, meeting and learning from the Elders, translating their sophisticated gathering and cooking techniques into the Restaurant Orana menu.
A meal at Restaurant Orana opens the mind – it’s educational, delicious, creative and respects Indigenous ingredients, culture and methods. Diners can encounter more than 60 native ingredients across 18 courses, from Moreton Bay fig shoots to strawberry.
Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador
On the historic Plaza San Francisco, a celebrated site in Quito’s old town, Casa Gangotena towers around a palm-framed patio. The cream-coloured, neoclassical architecture glows in regal splendour, while the interiors – a wonderland of painted ceilings, rich woodwork and gleaming mirrors – radiate warmth and welcome. Spend time on the terrace with a panoramic view of the square and the Ecuadorian capital’s diverse neighbourhoods. The restaurant offers traditional cooking to sustainably grown ingredients, sourced from many of the country’s regions. Menus are reflections of Ecuador’s culinary essence, embellished with Spanish and European influences.
Hotel del Parque, Guayaquil, Ecuador
The Hotel del Parque has the privilege of being inside the boundaries of the Parque Historico de Guayaquil. This tropical oasis is a verdant sanctuary, where travellers can savour the site’s eight hectares on foot, discovering more than 50 animal species. The hotel is set on the banks of the Daule River and home to patios where hundred-year-old trees watch sedately over fountains, orchids and birds.
MARCH 2019 – MV Theory cruise vessel – Galápagos – Ecuador
Aboard the MV Theory, sister boat to the MV Origin, guests will explore the Galápagos, a natural archipelago listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the course of this extraordinary cruise, the crew will ensure travellers enjoy an unforgettable experience in the lap of Mother Nature, honouring the maxims of preservation and respect.
Lead image: Restaurant Orana