In France, there is a tradition of the restaurant-inn. Michelin-starred chefs are sprinkled throughout the boonies, where the food grows, and include accommodations, so people can make a pilgrimage, eat and sleep off the food coma. Like the five-star Georges Blanc complex in Vonnas or the three-star Le Relais Bernard Loiseau in Saulieu (which thrives despite Loiseau’s 2003 suicide, under the chef’s protégé Patrick Bertron). As you can see from the links, modest inns have been replaced by luxe spa-sporting mini EuroDisneys.
With the opening of Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Kaua‘i Grill on Nov. 19 at the reborn St Regis Princeville Resort on Kaua‘i—with Vongerichten in attendance—Hawai‘i may be getting its own version of this dine-and-doze experience.
That weekend—dubbed the Epicurean Weekend—the hotel offers a $195 kama‘aina rate and 20 percent off in the restaurants and spa. (The rack rate is more than $800. It’s a great deal.) The service is as incredible as the view of Hanalei Bay. And then for $199 you can attend the Nov. 20 Kaua‘i Grill gala opening dinner—cocktails on a terrace with that million-dollar view, a three-course dinner (Vongerichten himself will be in the kitchen) in the Astor Ballroom, followed by live music and dancing. To book a spot at the gala dinner, contact Hue Oldham at email@example.com or 808-826-2741.
The restaurant has a stunning entrance—scarlet hibiscus blooms suspended in a clear plastic door. Inside Tilt-a-Whirl booths face the picture windows looking out on, you guessed it, Hanalei Bay. It will be an incredible experience—eating 21st-century food against a backdrop that still looks like a pre-contact eden.
Photo top by Kecia Lum.