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Mr. Advani

Food & Beverage

More High-End Travelers Crave Fuss-Free Upscale Comfort Food

By Nikheel Advani, Chief Operating Officer & Principal, Grace Bay Resorts

Luxury travel and dining have always been associated with fine restaurants and over-the-top menus; however, more and more high-end travelers are craving fuss-free comfort foods, particularly those that use recipes and ingredients rooted in a destination's heritage and culture. At Grace Bay Club, we remain committed to sharing the Islands' unique culinary traditions that showcase the absolute best quality products, all while offering a dining experience that caters to our guests' exact preferences.

Each of the resort's restaurants are all-oceanfront venues with local, ocean-to-table ingredients on offer. Embracing our motto of understated luxury, the serene seaside setting of Grace Bay Club continues to provide guests with top-notch comfort and Caribbean cuisine in an upscale, yet relaxed environment.

Comfort: The New Luxury

Instead of crafting a dish using rich ingredients and oils, chefs now cherish a "less is more" motto, striving to create light, healthy and unique menu items to better accommodate the modern traveler's palate.

We opened our Krave Restaurant just before the start of the decade, right as gourmet comfort food was beginning to gain traction. Offering guests an informal dining experience at The Estate, Krave serves Caribbean-inspired comfort food with a twist, serving dishes with unexpected ingredients in a relaxed atmosphere adjacent to the Estate Pool. The family-friendly restaurant offers eclectic lunch and dinner menus featuring dishes such as Caicos Crab Cakes, Estate Angus Burger, Island Vegetable Tempura, Chef`s Famous Honey Chili Ribs, Crab BLT Sandwich and Parmesan Fries.

We wanted to experiment in this area further, so we were among the first to launch a pop-up restaurant program in 2012, welcoming a toes-in-the-sand dining concept with dishes ranging from meatballs and beer to skewers and rose.

With our guests' comfort always top-of-mind, we sought to create great food you can eat simply with your hands and not fuss with cutlery. Our mission is for Grace Bay Club to provide a care-free environment while still masterfully incorporating fine cuisine. Recently, we unveiled the concept for our 5th annual pop-up restaurant with the revival of our very first endeavor, Stix on Grace Bay. The serene seaside setting of Stix pairs a range of gourmet dishes served on sticks and skewers paired with a variety of delectable rosé wines. For the foodie-minded traveler, there is no better place to visit in Turks and Caicos than Grace Bay Club. Changing annually, the resort's pop-up restaurant concepts have included Jars, serving dishes in various shaped jars, Biere et Boules, featuring globally inspired meat balls, and Kone, showcasing playful bites in sweet and savory cones.

Guests can also convene at the 30-foot-long communal tables while taking in the splendor of the pristine blue seas. Characteristic of Caribbean style, the bar at Stix is located under a palm-tree-thatched hut, while the lounge area features oversized cushions and stools in a mix of blue and white that provide unobstructed views of the ocean. The setting perfectly combines the relaxed spirit of a beach day with an elevated menu offering dishes straight from the surf.

Stix is an old-school favorite among our guests and we are excited for this popular concept's triumphant return. We have brought back all of the Stix classics, but also tapped into our creative side to introduce new distinctive dishes for a version 2.0. Menu highlights include Tiger Prawn Cocktail, Bocconcini Skewers, Caicos Lion Fish, and Jerk Roasted Corn on the Cob. Guests with a sweet tooth can enjoy Banana Cream Puffs, New York Cheesecake and Island Coconut Crunch.

Seaside Setting

A departure from formal dining, Grace Bay Club provides guests with a delightful, breezy setting directly on the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach. This open-air and inclusive setting delivers a more engaging experience for hotel and island visitors alike.

Comfort food also translates to ambiance, and nowhere is that more evident than at our Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, the premier gourmet oceanfront restaurant in Providenciales. Lapping waves make the perfect soundtrack for a meal created with island inspiration, often from the ocean's bounty. The Raw Bar's open kitchen concept features the highest quality, fresh ingredients and modern interpretations of classic Caribbean dishes while incorporating contemporary techniques. The extensive menu includes a Tasting of Turks Conch that highlights the local delicacy in salad, chowder, and fritters; fresh Caicos Spiny Lobster and Caribbean Red Snapper accompanied by Caicos Corn Risotto.

All of the fish that we serve our guests is caught fresh, straight from the waters off the Turks & Caicos Islands. From mahi-mahi carpaccio to our Caribbean spiny lobsters, guests dine on the freshest ingredients the Caribbean has to offer. Our resort also produces its own sea salt made from the ocean waters that is infused with flavors including Porcini, Lemon, Honey and Chocolate. Plus, we use fresh coconut from the resort's own palm trees to make a variety of delicious coconut infused dishes.

Our restaurant offers over 150 wine labels from more than 10 countries hand-selected by in-house sommelier, Kris Jackman. In addition to our comprehensive collection of wines by the bottle, we offer a diverse Wines by the Glass program representing six countries, as well as a variety of half bottles that provide guests with an alternate option to the by the glass program. Touching on the island's natural beauty and tropical surroundings, the restaurant incorporates playful nods to the beach setting in its colors and décor.

At Grace Bay Club, we are blessed to have beautiful Mother Nature be the ultimate backdrop. We are truly fortunate to be located in such a gorgeous part of the world, and appreciate every opportunity to welcome both frequent and new guests to our home.

Local Ingredients with a Twist

The local culture of Turks and Caicos mixed with the island's natural ingredients creates a vibrant flavor that is unique to our islands. While at our restaurants on-property, guests can get an authentic taste of the island's soul through the fresh, local cuisine we have on offer-particularly in dishes we've adopted that Turks & Caicos Islanders consider "comfort food" such as curry, jerk barbecue, cracked conch and grilled fish. Today's traveler has caught on to the philosophy of traveling to a particular city simply to try a new restaurant or a specific dish, so in the kitchen at Grace Bay Club we offer guests authentic culinary experiences each time they visit.

We enjoy sharing the Islands' unique culinary traditions while also being creative in our approach. Local seafood has always been a staple of the island diet, including locally-caught conch, lobster and fish with Caribbean seasonings. We play with these ingredients by creating innovative pairings, flavors and cooking styles and building upon flavor profiles that are tried-and-true among locals. We are always inspired by what the island has to offer, intertwining the Turks and Caicos culture into every dish we create. At the same time, we constantly educate ourselves on the latest culinary trends and strive to regularly evolve our menus and dining experiences to keep things exciting for our guests.

We always recommend guests try conch the first time they visit us, as it is the islands' favorite local delicacy and is incorporated into a variety of delicious dishes that showcase its versatility. At Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, we serve conch as a small, shareable appetizer to spotlight its many forms: cracked, in a salad, in the form of conch fritters, and in conch chowder. At The Grill, we serve two conch dishes in the Island Soul Food section of the menu: the first is a conch chowder and the other is a conch salad plated with spicy guacamole.

Since Grace Bay Club is fortunate to welcome back many past guests for return visits each year, we also try to incorporate interesting new twists and surprises, and to put new spins on classic dishes. For example, in response to the lionfish that was invading our prized coral reefs, we altered our fish taco recipe to use that fish - creating a unique and delicious comfort food while at the same time contributing to the market demand for fishermen to harvest this invasive species.

Island Tradition

Turks & Caicos has become an international destination for culinary experimentation, which has been particularly evident since the First Annual Caribbean Food & Wine Festival in 2011. The event has paired world-renowned chefs, winemakers and restaurateurs, such as Gail Simmons and Christina Tosi, with local talent to celebrate Caribbean cuisine. The festival sells out every year with people flying to Turks & Caicos just to attend this culinary event.

This year, our brainchild Caribbean Food & Wine Festival turns six, and will again be held in partnership with the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board and The Wine Cellar. We're delighted that this event had developed to be voted among the three best of its type in the region. The event is all about taking our local flavors and ingredients, and pairing them with the greatest international chefs and wine makers, including Xoliswa Ndoyiya who was Nelson Mandela's personal chef. And while we love welcoming celebrated chefs from around the world, an emphasis on Turks and Caicos' own tastes and culinary talent brings depth to the experience.

At Grace Bay Resorts, we distinguish ourselves in our ability to offer guests authentic, local experiences during each visit. For the foodie-minded traveler there is no better time to visit Providenciales than during the Caribbean Food & Wine Festival. In today's ever-changing travel landscape, we see continued interest from travelers who want to immerse themselves in the culture of a specific locale, and particularly through its cuisine.

We take pride in a local community that is very passionate about food, with some of the finest offerings in the Caribbean today, and we aim to embody a dining experience that is both comfortable yet luxurious. We continue to use the island's authentic culture and cuisine to our advantage, as we experiment with new ingredients, flavors and tastes. We believe each dining experience should be unique and memorable, and with our ever-changing menus and pop-up restaurant concepts, we continue to fulfill those desires in the unforgettable islands of Turks and Caicos.

Mr. Nikheel Advani, Chief Operating Officer for Grace Bay Resorts, oversees the operation of Grace Bay Club, the West Bay Club and The Residences at Grace Bay and The Dunes. He is also involved in the acquisition of new Grace Bay Resorts. Mr. Advani has played an integral role in the resort’s overall growth. He served as the top operational executive at Grace Bay Club as it evolved from a $14 million, 21-room boutique hotel to a full-service luxury resort with 82 suites and residences now valued at over $250 million. Mr. Advani founded Grace Bay Club Hotel School. It is designed to train local hospitality staff. Mr. Advani can be contacted at 649-946-5050 or nikheel@gracebayresorts.com Extended Bio...

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