Thirteen new properties have joined Relais & Châteaux, four of which will open in 2019 (in the past, an establishment could only qualify for Relais & Châteaux membership after it had been open for several years). Relais & Chateaux says each of these properties embodies the values of the association: Being committed to preserving local heritage and the environment while offering unique experiences and top-quality services in exceptional settings. From walking in Mark Twain’s footsteps in Bermuda to tasting the history of the Mornington Peninsula through cuisine served in Melbourne to the return of the Alajmo brothers in Italy, Relais & Châteaux unveils its 13 newest members, all with histories to share.
Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee, U.S. (opening in February 2019) – The owners of Blackberry Farm have prioritized "overall wellness, outdoor adventure and inner serenity." Accommodations include cabins and cottages, while the hotel’s two restaurants (Firetower and Three Sisters) are helmed by chef Josh Feathers, who uses healthy ingredients and local flavors. The property also has an underground spa offering Ayurvedic treatments.
Rosedon Hotel, Bermuda – A five-minute walk from the capital and a short distance from the beach, the Rosedon Hotel has forty rooms decorated by artist Lee K. Petty. Guests can explore the tropical garden, which has bird of paradise plants, banana trees, hibiscus and frangipani. Leisure activities include golfing, boat outings and traditional, English-style afternoon tea. The Huckleberry Restaurant, named as homage to author Mark Twain, is popular for its steamed mussels and the gluten-free menu by chef Matthew Weber.
Grantley Hall, Grantley, U.K. (opening in June 2019) – Grantley Hall, located near Fountains Abbey in North Yorkshire, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a wellness retreat. Built in 1680 and surrounded by landscaped grounds, Grantley Hall has 47 rooms and suites with Lalique toiletries, a spa with an indoor swimming pool and extensive wellness facilities. The property has a diverse range of restaurants, from fine dining to modern British to pan-Asian. One of owner Valeria Sykes' top priorities is restoring the Grade II-listed mansion house back to its original splendor.
Hotel Plaza e de Russie, Viareggio, Italy (opening in June 2019) – Built in 1874 in the historic city center and offering sea views, the Hotel Plaza e de Russie was the first hotel to open for business in Viareggio. It serves as a good base for travelers looking to explore Elba Island, Cinque Terre and the surrounding medieval villages. The hotel, with Murano chandeliers and antique furniture, has 44 guestrooms and a restaurant, Lunasia, with one Michelin star by chef Luca Landi, who serves gourmet Mediterranean cuisine, seafood and local, in-season ingredients.
Le Calandre, Rubano, Italy – Founded in 1981 by two culinary enthusiasts, Erminio Alajmo and his wife, Rita Chimetto, Le Calandre is now run by Raf and Max, their two sons. Massimiliano (Max) Alajmo, after honing his skills in the kitchens of Alfredo Chiocchetti, Marc Veyrat and Michel Guerard, became chef at Le Calandre in 1994. Nine years later, he was awarded three stars by the Michelin Guide.
Ristorante Quadri, Venice, Italy – The Ristorante Quadri, another Alajmo Group property, has impressive views of Venice’s Piazza San Marco. The interior is designed by Philippe Starck and the authentic Venetian cuisine is by Silvio Giavedoni.
Château de Drudas // Photo courtesy of Relais & Châteaux
Château de Drudas, Drudas, France – The Château de Drudas, in the country’s Occitanie region, is a listed historic monument occupying an 18th-century residence. Owners Jean and Françoise Rossi have completely renovated the building in keeping with the style of that era (think: stucco, ornamentation, friezes, frescoes, parquet floors and wall hangings). The castle has 23 rooms, including six duplex suites, and a spa offering a choice of Californian, Ayurvedic, Swedish and Hawaiian lomilomi massages. Michelin-starred chef Éric Sampietro's gourmet menu places priority on plants.
Dragsholm Slot, Hørve, Denmark – The castle was built in the mid-13th century by the Bishop of Roskilde and renovated in the 20th century. The hotel now has 34 guestrooms, two restaurants and a church. An herb garden dating back to the castle’s early days, as well as fertile fields surrounding the property, give chef Claus Henriksen the ability to create his eco-friendly cuisine that changes with the seasons. Inside the castle and nearby, guests can enjoy a range of activities, from wine tastings and guided forest walks to flower-arranging workshops.
Palais Ronsard, Marrakech, Morocco (opening in February 2019) – Set in Marrakech’s Palmeraie and surrounded by greenery across 32,000 square feet, Palais Ronsard has décor in both contemporary and traditional materials, wall frescoes and custom-made furniture blending Baroque, neo-Moorish and Art Deco inspirations. The Palais has 22 suites and six rooms in pavilions with gardens and pools. The restaurant reinterprets Moroccan dishes with a light and delicate touch; for lunch, the Palais offers guest seating in the kitchen garden. Palais Ronsard is also an art showcase, hosting artist exhibitions and performances.
The Purist Villas & Spa, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia – The Purist Villas & Spa, surrounded by rice fields and lush vegetation, has only villas, which are are decorated with natural materials and local artwork from the personal collection of owners Yvonne Hulst and Alberto Cortes. The hotel’s restaurant, Café Balisimo, is overseen by Chef I Wayan Putu, who creates nutritious, season-specific menus. The spa offers a range of specialized Ayurveda treatments.
Gaggan Restaurant, Bangkok, Thailand – Gaggan, ranked fifth in the World's Best 50 Restaurants and located in central Bangkok, serves creative cuisine in a whitewashed, colonial-style wooden house. Chef Anand Gaggan created a menu reflecting his recollections of street food and the diversity of regional Indian cuisines. It also holds two Michelin stars.
Restaurant Sùhring, Bangkok, Thailand – After years of working in Germany, the Netherlands and Italy, twin brothers and chefs Thomas and Mathias Sühring opened Sühring in 2016 in a 1970s villa in downtown Bangkok. The establishment, already awarded two Michelin stars and ranked fourth on the 2018 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, has a casual yet elegant atmosphere. The brothers’ concept was to create an at-home ambiance in which guests can experience cuisine inspired by Germany, their travels and their childhood memories.
Laura at Pt.Leo Estate, Merricks, Australia – Laura, which opened in March 2018, was named after Jaume Plensa’s 33-ton cast-iron sculpture. In keeping with the moniker, the team serves fine cuisine in a modern and elegant setting within the Pt. Leo Estate, surrounded by its own vineyard and sculpture park. The dishes are the creations of culinary director Phil Wood and use the region’s finest ingredients and producers. Head sommelier Andrew Murch adds his epicurean expertise with a bespoke wine list.