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What does Relais & Chateaux really mean?

May 27th, 2011 3 Comments

Is it a chain of hotels like the Four Seasons? Is it a seal of approval like Michelin? Is it a travel guide like Fodors?

None of those descriptions are accurate.

Relais & Chateau is a collection of the best hotels and restaurants around the world with extraordinary gastronomic experiences. The brand signifies luxury accommodations and Michelin-caliber food.

For the last two days I have experienced a local Relais & Chateau resort – Dos Brisas – and can hands down say chef Craig Shelton, who equates to Joel Robuchon and David Bouley, lives up to the honor. Surrounded by green pastures and star-filled skies, I was in complete heaven. The picture-perfect casitas coupled with the organic farm-to-table menu has made for an amazing getaway.

My point with his post is for you to understand what you should expect from a Relais & Chateau. Because they’re all over the world, I can’t explain what each will look like, but every dish presented to you should be a work of art.

Take a look at these masterpieces I devoured in the last two days:

Seared tuna with fresh out of the ground lettuce. Sauce I can’t remember, but it was amazing.

More fresh out the ground lettuce with sliced pears, smoked trout, and dijon dressing.

“Almost every vegetable we have on the farm” soup topped with herbs and a mussel I never dreamed I would enjoy.

Pork tenderloin unlike any other I’ve had (if I only I had written down all of the descriptions for these dishes!)

Soft shell crab in paella with escargot.

Lobster and tuna over a cabbage and onion deliciousness in with a light paprika sauce.

My favorite dish during my entire stay! Fresh blueberry mousse!!!!!!

Pineapple almond tart with creme fraiche ice cream

Chocolate caramel tart with candied pecans. I’ll be posting a video with the pastry chef soon!

As you’ve probably noticed, the plates are small, but the courses are numerous! This is probably only HALF of the dishes I’ve had in a day and a half. Don’t even get me started on their fresh breads…

The best part about most of the Relais & Chateau resorts is that you pay a substantial amount for the room, but most of the food is included. At Dos Brisas, the room rate takes care of your breakfast delivery (fresh baked scones, coffee, granola with yogurt, fresh oj, and coffee) and a four course lunch.

If you’re a foodie like me who consults Food+Beverage or Wine Enthusiast before you travel, I highly recommend looking into the R&C properties. I won’t vouch for all 475 of them. I’m just saying, take the name into consideration when you travel.

(Full Disclosure: Dos Brisas graciously hosted me to review their property honestly.)

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  • yuuum, bubbling soft shell crab in paella with escargot!!!

  • Doug

    Hi Mary, great review, but it is Relais & Chateaux.

    • Well, we all know my attention to detail is atrocious, but I’m going to blame this one on Dos Brisas. I wrote the post after a mesmerizing 5 course dinner!

      But thank you for the correction ;)