Category Archives: Hotel Restaurant Reviews

8 American Hotels with Sustainable Gardens


With the growing focus on eating locally-sourced foods, hotel restaurants are turning to area farmers for their produce, dairy and meats needs. It should come as no surprise that these same restaurants, while they have strong relationships with local purveyors, have a fiscal interest in growing their own food.

Just a few short years ago, who really considered farming a possibility within major city limits? Check out these popular hotel rooftop gardens across the USA.

Crystal Springs Resort

Crystal Springs Resort

Crystal Springs Resort, Hardyston, New Jersey

The Chef’s Garden at Crystal Springs Resort’s Grand Cascades Lodge brings fresh and local dining to a whole new dimension. This breathtaking al fresco restaurant allows guests a truly exceptional “garden-to-table” culinary experience set adjacent to a beautiful organic vegetables, flowers and herbs garden. The garden was designed to be beautiful, educational and to supply seasonal products to hotel guests, area residents and day visitors. When dining at the Chef’s Garden, guests can see resort chefs pick garden-fresh ingredients and use them to prepare their meal in front of them.

Essensia Restaurant + Lounge in the Palms Hotel & Spa, Miami, Florida

Located at The Palms Hotel & Spa in Miami, Essensia Restaurant + Lounge takes its farm-to-table philosophy to the next level by not only sourcing many of its products locally, it uses products from its 750 square feet Chef’s Organic Garden to create a menu focused on purity and taste.

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach Laguna Beach, California

This luxury hotel boasts, Studio Garden, an organic garden adjacent to its signature restaurant, Studio.

The garden is comprised of raised garden beds filled with herbs, vegetables and even fruits. Executive Chef Craig Strong, Studio Garden’s main gardener, incorporates the fresh ingredients in his inventive dishes at Studio and works with the mixology team to add the garden’s harvest to the cocktails at the various outlets. The resort’s Montage Laguna Spa even incorporates the garden’s herbs and produce in its spa treatment.

Waldorf Astoria Rooftop Garden

Waldorf Astoria New York

Rooftop Garden at the Waldorf Astoria, New York, New York

The Waldorf Astoria past, present and future has a rich tradition of roof top gardens. The rooftop garden originally opened in 1903 and was accessible by ticket only and featured two orchestras providing musical entertainment. Since its reopening in 2011, Executive Chef David Garcelon and his team have recreated the rooftop garden and added bee hives that have helped pollinate the many vegetables, fruits and herbs that are used in the hotel’s food and cocktails. The honey made from the rooftop bee hives is even used in the Guerlain Spa

Mar'sel Garden

Mar’sel Garden at Terranea Resort

Terranea ResortLos Angeles, California

At mar’sel, the resort’s upscale restaurant, Executive Chef Bernard Ibarra’s seasonal culinary approach inspired the extensive herb garden adjacent to the kitchen. Chef Ibarra ever-evolving menu is peppered with ingredients grown in the hotel’s garden and the hand-crafted cocktail often feature herbs and produced grown in-house also. The beaming sun and crisp breezes of Rancho Palos Verdes are the perfect conditions for a garden. The garden was designed and is managed by Home Grown Edible Landscapes and the company hosts hands-on gardening workshops throughout the year for guests.

The Iroquois Hotel - Chef Florian Wehrli

The Iroquois Hotel – Chef Florian Wehrli

The Iroquois HotelNew York, New York

At Manhattan’s Iroquois Hotel, Swiss-born Executive Chef Florian Wehrli has personally designed the rooftop garden at the boutique hotel. The ingredients grown are used to prepare the dishes at the refined yet comfortable French restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Wehrli has hand-built planters at his western New Jersey home and carried them to the hotel’s restaurant on the commuter bus. The full sun on the rooftop allows for proper light to grow anything from nasturtiums to the fennel to potatoes.

The Pyramid RestaurantFairmont Hotel, Dallas, Texas

The Pyramid Restaurant & Bar is the longest-running AAA / Four Diamond establishment in Dallas. The contemporary dining room features organic wood sculptures and crosscut tree welcomes guests as they enter the foyer. The popular restaurant offers a cuisine inspired by locally-sourced ingredients. To further its sustainability stance, The Pyramid Restaurant & Bar plants and tends to a 3,000 square-foot vegetable and herb garden on its rooftop. The ingredients harvested from the hotel’s garden complement the locally-sourced products in the dishes offered on the menus.

The Sprouting Project at Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort, Amelia Island, Florida

The Sprouting Project consists of an advanced aquaponic greenhouse, an expansive organic garden, a large collection of beehives and a soon-to-be completed smokehouse. Guests can join one of the resort’s chefs every Saturday for a tour of the Sprouting Project, including seeing the aquaponic greenhouse, garden and apiary in action

If you’ve visited any of these amazing places, please post a comment to let me know what you thought!

Safe travels,


Hotel Restaurant Review – Terrace Pointe Café


Photo by Wynn Las Vegas

Photo by Wynn Las Vegas

Terrace Pointe Café is one of Wynn Las Vegas’ more casual dining options. The space is richly-appointed and offers panoramic views of the meticulously-manicured gardens surrounding the resort’s pool. There’s outdoor dining available, but with the arid heat of Sin City, the indoor seating with its floor-to-ceiling windows is a better option.

Breakfast at this luxury Vegas hotel is simply outstanding and a special treat. From the giant coffee cups holding rich, dark brew to the ultra-fresh juices, to the high-quality tableware, guests are made to feel pampered as soon as they sit.

Berries Granola and Greek Yogurt

Berries Granola and Greek Yogurt

The menu offers options for everyone. A favorite is the homemade granola with rich Greek yogurt with berries. There’s also a corned beef hash skillet that features eggs cooked to the guest’s liking, peppers, onions, scallions and country potatoes. For fans of egg benedicts, there are four options: classic, with pork belly, with a lump crab cake or for diners who can’t decide – a plate with one of each kind. For the health-conscious patrons, there’s also a juice bar.

Terrace Pointe Café is open daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. for breakfast and lunch. In a town with stimulus overload, the calming atmosphere of this restaurant is something I appreciate when I’m in town for business and it’s an ideal way to begin one’s day.



Hotel Restaurant Review – Triomphe


Bison Tartare

Bison Tartare

A few months back, I had the pleasure of once again tasting Florian Wehrli’s delectable food when I hosted a client for lunch at the popular Manhattan restaurant, Triomphe, where he’s the Executive Chef.

This talented chef from Switzerland uses classic techniques and the freshest ingredients available to craft dishes that are both striking and wonderful. After completing his culinary training in Switzerland, Chef Wehrli apprenticed under the tutelage of renowned Chef Georges Wenger at his two-star Michelin restaurant.

The posh Iroquois Hotel in midtown Manhattan is home to Triomphe, which opened in 2000. The sophisticated yet relaxed French restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Since Chef Wehrli joined Triomphe, he’s created a rooftop chef’s garden at the Small Luxury Hotels-affiliated property. Chef Wehrli grows produce, herbs and eatable flowers he incorporates in his dishes.

The lunch menu offers options categorized as Small Plates, Luncheon Salads, Main Plates and To Share. There’s also a prix fixe menu dubbed the $44 on 44th which features a three-course meal within 60 minutes with a selection of three starters, three entrées and two desserts.

BouillabaisseThe menu has changed since we visited to accommodate the season, but my guest and I shared and enjoyed the Bison Carpaccio with Dijon Mustard and Tête de Moine Cheese ($16). The dish was as delicious as the presentation was beautiful – paper-thin slices of bison adorned with a floret of Tête de Moine, a cheese popular in Chef Wehrli’s homeland of Switzerland. On our next visit, I’ll order the Jumbo Sea Scallops with Morel Cream and Sweet Potato Pancakes – how great does that sound?

For our entrées, we selected the Crema de Bleu Stuffed Free Range Chicken Breast ($27) and the Deconstructed Bouillabaisse ($26). The substantial chicken breast with its perfectly-crispy skin was flavorful and juicy and the Jersey sweet corn and heirloom peppers succotash with a Huitlacoche sauce was bright with fresh corn flavor. The bouillabaisse featured fresh squid, clams, shrimp and striped bass in a saffron broth. Each of the items in the bouillabaisse was poached separately to conserve the individual flavors of the fish and seafood then combined in the unbelievably-fragrant saffron broth. The fish was masterly-cooked and the seafood as fresh as could be.

SorbetsVarious sorbets and gelatos ($9) served with berries was our pick of dessert – a refreshing, finish to an excellent meal.

Triomphe uses the Coravin™ Wine Access Technology allowing the staff to offer some of the finest wines by the glass without ever pulling their corks. Wines range from $13 to $25 for Champagne.

I’m looking forward to also visiting Triomphe for breakfast as the beautifully-appointed dining room would be the perfect place to begin the day.

Triomphe – 49 West 44th Street New York, NY 10036. 212.453.4233.