by: José Berrocoso //
Nutritionists are divided over whether or not breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but hoteliers are firm in their view: breakfast is the way to gain loyal customers. When we are on holiday, a proper breakfast seems not only like a life-sustaining part of our morning routine but also the ultimate expression of holiday indulgence. With lavish spreads and dishes that seem more appropriate on a gourmet-tasting menu, the best hotel breakfasts in the world offer a decadent array of specialties that go above and beyond.
Starting your day with a hearty, tasty and satisfying breakfast is especially important when travelling; you need enough energy for your days of sightseeing and adventures! Plus, you get the chance to sample more local cuisine and see what local people eat at different times of the day.
So wake up and smell much more than coffee!
SIX HUNDRED HECTARES OF PURE PLEASURE
Where: Valdepalacios, Relaix & Chateaux, Spain
Set in a grand Spanish manor house amid a rambling 600-hectare estate near Toledo, the Hotel Valdepalacios experience constitutes an indulgence of all the senses. It is a Relais & Châteaux property where the beauty of the setting is ripe for gastronomic exploration and pampering. Enter the enclosed courtyard where cobblestones pave the way, manoeuvre the water features and iconic cypress tree to draw up at a grand palace with true Spanish flare, peach-walled and ivy-clad.
The main structure is home to the Tierra restaurant, which will be the highlight of your stay. Situated in an elegant dining room with lofty ceilings, marble floors and French-style furniture, Tierra owes its Michelin star to the outstanding quality of service, as constructed by José Carlos Fuentes. The experience here befits the Hotel Valdepalacios concept which idealises the coming together of nature, culture and cuisine. Special extensions of this experience include cookery courses and tastings of olive oil.
For further sensory pleasures, enjoy a declicious breakfast with organic products, which will make your morning sweeter, or more savoury! Try their signature sheep’s yogurt with homemade fig jam, pastries, all-styles free range eggs, a selection of national cheeses, Spanish churros and, of course, Spanish omelette. And delight in the exquisite service and refined decoration.
After an exquisite breakfast it’s time for wellbeing and beauty treatments. Facilities here include a Turkish bath, a hydrotherapy bath, and an indoor swimming pool. An outdoor pool can also be sought in the grounds.
EXOTIC MARRAKECH AT ITS FINEST
Where: La Mamounia, Marrakech, Morocco
In Northern Africa lies the ancient, exotic kingdom of Morocco, which for centuries, has been seen as a symbol of mystery, magic and seduction. Amongst this cultural backdrop is the stunning city of Marrakech, which bursts with colour, history and life.
In traditional Moroccan style, complete with intricate patterns and arabesques based on Berber and Arab-Andalusian architecture, La Mamounia is set in royal gardens, marked by Moorish opulence. The hotel, situated near the famous Jamaa El Fna Square has 209 rooms (including 71 suites), gardens, a spa with hammams (Moroccan traditional baths) and three riads.
The sprawling gardens are ripe with citrus trees, fragrant rose blossoms, ancient olive groves and a vegetable garden where one might see La Mamounia’s chefs foraging for ingredients to be prepared each morning for the extraordinarily lavish buffet breakfast, which is served in a poolside pavilion setting with lush garden views. The breakfast includes some great croissants and cakes as well as Moroccan specialities with a multitude of spicy notes and aromas. Tea comes with nearly every meal and breakfast is no exception. It couldn’t be more perfect.
DETOX & CLEANSE AT THE FARM
Where: The Farm at San Benito, Philippines.
The Farm at San Benito is the original eco-luxury holistic medical wellness resort located in Lipa, Batangas, a 90-minute drive south of Manila, Philippines. Since it opened in 2002, the resort’s team of certified medical and wellness experts has pioneered the concept of integrated holistic medical wellness, drawing the ancient teachings of the East and West with scientifically proven results. The Farm specialises in preventing and addressing some of the most alarming and prevalent lifestyle illnesses in today’s society through detoxification, weight management, diabetes prevention, heart health and stress and pain management, among others.
The Farm believes that being human means being truly alive and that whole-food and plant-based eating is the way to truly live, as the human body is designed to experience daily nourishment through nature. The Farm is home to one of Asia’s first and finest restaurants offering vegan cuisine as well as Alive! Restaurant, which serves delicious raw food, the majority of which is gown on-property. This award-winning restaurant practices innovative food preparations and serves delicious and innovative vegan dishes using organic ingredients which are high in fibre, essential nutrients, rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients probiotics and key enzymes the body needs.
In addition to serving healing foods, The Farm uses their 2,000+ coconut trees to produce their own sustainable virgin coconut oil. This is used as the base for all their bathroom amenities, in various spa treatments, in the kitchens and even in their non-toxic cleaning materials.
The Farm offers some great breakfasts options including some very innovative dishes using vegan/organic ingredients. Favourites include raw vegetables and fresh fruits, ‘corn scramble’, granola, healthy cereals, vegan cheese and homemade cononut crackers or homemade jams.
THE RESTORATIVE BACK-TO-NATURE EXPERIENCE
Where: São Lourenço do Barrocal, Portugal
São Lourenço do Barrocal is a recently restored 19th century farmhouse hotel, winery and spa located on a historic family estate in a wild corner of Portugal’s unspoilt Alentejo region. The 780-hectare estate and monte alentejano has remained within the same family for over 200 years but fell into ruin following Portugal’s political turmoil in the 1970s and the forced collectivisation of farms in the region.
The 40-key farmhouse hotel offers a range of spacious guest rooms and cottages housed within the original farm buildings along a central cobbled street, with a vernacular design showcasing local craftsmanship and heritage features. The interiors draw inspiration from the local farm villages, with traditional terracotta brick floors and whitewashed walls complemented by soaring vaulted ceilings, beautifully crafted wooden furnishings, softly-textured handcrafted wool throws, and artworks inspired by the history of the estate.
The wonderful farm-to-table breakfast at São Lourenço do Barrocal is served at an ancient long wooden table, showcasing the best seasonal organic produce including artisanal bread, seasonal fruits (freshly picked oranges, lemons, grapes, strawberries, persimons, quinces, apples, watermelons), a wide range of local charcuterie and home-made cakes, jams and pastries with eggs to order, honeycomb from a local producer, fresh goat cheese and cured sheep cheese and baked apples with cinnamon – it’s a breakfast extravaganza!
The surrounding fields include vast organic gardens and olive groves, with endless activities to fill guests’ days. The 20m outdoor pool provides a meditative space to swim, inset with a huge granite barrocal rock. The stables house Barrocal’s own horses, which can be ridden through the estate to discover the Neolithic monuments dotting the landscape, or up the hill to the medieval town of Monsaraz.
INDULGE IN THE ARABIC COFFEE EXPERIENCE
Where: The Chedi Muscat, Oman
The Chedi Muscat was one of the first stylish resorts to rise on the Gulf of Oman. Today, it remains a standard-bearer for quiet luxury and minimalist design. It’s located on a long stretch of private beach and 21 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens. Sparkling waters, vibrant gardens and dramatic mountains as seen through the grand windows in all 158 tasteful, well-appointed guest rooms and suites heighten the calming effect of the natural and timeless environment.
Each morning, a sumptuous and ultra-stylish breakfast buffet is spread out along the main restaurant’s four open kitchens. Be sure to leave enough time to ensure you’ve located and ransacked every station.
The hotel is delivering more and more local delicacies so you can taste the country you’re visiting. Pamper your palate with sugar and spice and everything nice, but be prepared for some serious zing.
Forget everything you thought you knew about coffee, expand your caffeine horizon and surprise your taste buds. We all have our own, very specific way of enjoying our coffee and have personalized our intake to perfection. Often, spiced with cardamom and served with dates, this is a coffee experience like no other and an exceptional Instagram opportunity. Arabic coffee is no joke, and a must when visiting the GCC countries.