Travel: Chef’s Suite

<< Back to Robb Report, May 2003

A home-cooked meal is a source of comfort rarely found while traveling. However, the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has successfully fused home and hotel by installing a high-end kitchen in its Grand Premier Suite. Guests, many with personal chefs in tow, have been booking the $2,500-a-night room months in advance since it opened last July.

Like the meals prepared in it, the en suite kitchen, which was de- signed by Bulthaup, is as good as anything you could have at home. It features marble floors, granite countertops, and cherry wood cabinetry, and it is equipped with a Miele convection oven, a Gaggenau ceramic glass cooktop, and a Sub-Zero refrigerator that can hold enough food for more than a week’s worth of meals, which is appropriate considering that most guests reserve the suite for weeks at a time.

"I never stayed in a suite with such an extensive kitchen," says one entertainment industry executive who occupied the penthouse suite with his wife and their three children last year while their new house was being completed. (The suite can be expanded to two bedrooms for an additional $500 a night.) "It was just like being home," he says. The family’s personal chef prepared three meals a day in the suite. Because the wife follows a special diet, the arrangement was particularly convenient for the family.

The success of its first suite kitchen has the Four Seasons Beverly Hills considering adding two more. Christian Paier, president of the Beverly Hills–based private chef placement agency Private Chefs Inc., is not surprised by the appeal of the Grand Premier Suite, considering the demand for private chefs. "Before, having a personal trainer was the hip thing," he says, "but now private chefs are." Chris Tosdevin, Bulthaup’s vice president and design director in Los Angeles, agrees that the Four Seasons’ suite kitchen is a logical response to the growing popularity of personal chefs. "People are much more conscious about everything having to do with their lifestyle, especially with their eating habits," he says, adding that it is becoming increasingly common for people to travel with their own nutritionists or chefs. At least one other hotel has taken notice of this trend. When the Grand Hyatt Tokyo opens in May, it will feature two Bulthaup kitchens, each available for booking with a personal or hotel chef and attached to a private dining room.

The concept of private kitchens and suites with top-of-the-line cooking appliances is as new to personal chefs as it is to hotels. When asked whether he has ever cooked for an employer at a hotel, freelance private chef Roberto Cortez, who has worked on private yachts and planes, was surprised by the question. "No," he answered, "you have to use the hotels’ chefs. They won’t let chefs come in like that."

The Four Seasons at Beverly Hills begs to differ.

Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, 310.273.2222, www.fourseasons.com/losangeles; Grand Hyatt Tokyo, +81.3.5770.1234, www.tokyo.grand.hyatt.com

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