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8 beach hotels with incredible dining experiences

On a relaxing beach break, aside from a little exploring, the main focus of the day tends to be dining. Some of the best luxury resorts have moved away from the standard buffet restaurant, creating innovative culinary experiences. Audley specialists have suggested their top beach hotels which offer something different at meal times, from breakfast on a traditional dragon boat in Indonesia to the organic, farm-fresh ingredients of the Caribbean. Shanti Maurice, Mauritius On the relatively untouched southern coast of Mauritius, the chic Shanti Maurice is set in a private horseshoe-shaped cove with honey-shaded sand. Its dining is inspired by this cove, focusing on fresh local fish sourced straight from the sea. Their Fish Shack restaurant is a rustic gathering of reclaimed driftwood furniture set up on the sand. The menu depends on the previous night’s catch, with tuna, lobster and sea bass  grilled to order in front of you. Salads and sides are served on a washed-up boat, picked from the restaurant’s organic garden. Shanti Maurice, Mauritius Prepared using traditional cooking techniques and recipes, the meals give you a taste of  Mauritian culture, accompanied by rum from a local distillery and beer from the village brewery. To add to your experience, the resort also regularly invites a local elderly woman to the resort to prepare a traditional home-cooked meal, served family-style around one table in the hotel’s herb garden. Velassaru, The Maldives Candle-lit beachside dining is a possibility now at many beach hotels. None do it quite so well as the luxurious island resort of Velassaru in the Maldives. Aptly named ‘Sand’, their slick oceanfront restaurant has a simple layout of elegant tables, well-spaced for privacy and interspersed with candles. Set right on the water’s edge, shoes are optional. Velassaru, The Maldives A hot stone grill and alfresco cooking stations enable you to watch your food being prepared – a modern fusion of Eastern, pan-Asian and continental dishes. The ’catch of the day’ sashimi served with passionfruit is a highlight, as well as the chef’s own mojito sorbet recipe to finish. For a special occasion, book the private overwater pavilion. Saman Villas, Sri Lanka Jutting out on a rocky peninsula from the southwestern coastline of Sri Lanka, Saman Villas is a well-appointed 26 suite hotel. Its architecture is inspired by the graceful lines of Buddhist temples. The hotel takes advantage of its coastal location by offering private dining around the resort. Tables can be set up on the beach, by the pool or in the gardens, but the most dramatic setting is a terrace on the rocks. Saman Villas, Sri Lanka Following a lit walkway, the small wooden terrace is discreetly built into the rocky coastline, with the waves crashing below.  Tucked away from the hotel, you’re left with an unspoiled view of the ocean and the beach stretching off to the side. The head chef has designed a Sri Lankan five-course tasting menu, an ideal way to try the local specialities of fish curry and spicy sambol, a chilli and coconut side. Belle Mont Farm, Saint Kitts and Nevis Located on the tiny Caribbean island of Nevis, Belle Mont Farm hosts private guesthouses offering a typical Caribbean laid-back indulgence, with cuisine to match. Centred around an organic farm, it’s not surprising that food is a real focus – 90% of the hotel’s produce is grown on site, or from local farmers. Anything that can’t be produced on site is ethically sourced. Belle Mont Farm, Saint Kitts and Nevis You can take an early morning tour of the farm’s nursery with a farmer, followed by breakfast served under a 250 year old mango tree in the orchard. For dinner, try farm dining: right in the middle of the vegetable patches is a 6 m (20 ft) table seating up to 30 guests. Caribbean dishes, made from farm-fresh ingredients, are brought out on huge platters and passed from guest to guest. This sociable experience is a great way to relax into Caribbean life. Cap Maison, St Lucia Built in a former sugar plantation on the northern tip of St Lucia, Cap Maison is a boutique resort clustered atop a cliff overlooking its private cove. The hotel’s creative fusion of French and West Indian cooking has become so well known, it’s prompted them to create their own cookbook, ‘Recipes from Saint Lucia’. Cap Maison, St Lucia The Rock Maison is the highlight, a private wooden deck built onto a shoal on the water’s edge. Enjoy a sunset dinner here and your chilled champagne and canapes will be zip-lined down to you from the restaurant on the cliff above. They’ll even send down flowers for a special occasion. The spiny lobster is a speciality, as well as the seafood tower – a medley of the day’s catch. Book the experience for lunch, as you can slip into the seemingly purpose-built rock pool nearby. Tugu Lombok Sat proudly on the northwest coast of Lombok, Tugu is a stylish resort with a focus on Indonesia’s heritage. Buildings are designed using local techniques, with a mix of Hindu-inspired art and Dutch colonial architecture. The dining options match this ethos, with a wonderful array of eclectic locations. Tugu Lombok Breakfast can be enjoyed on the deck of a traditional dragon boat, watching the sun rise over the island. Private dining can be arranged on the roof of the restaurant, surrounded by ancient Hindu statues lit with oil lamps. For pure indulgence, the Moonlight Spa dinner experience begins with a beachside deep tissue massage followed by a secluded dinner on the beach under the stars. Datai, Langkawi Surrounded by virgin rainforest, Datai is a relaxed resort on Langkawi, off the west coast of Malaysia.  The five restaurants are all well reputed, but their Pavilion Restaurant really makes the most of the hotel’s location. Built on 30 m (98 ft) stilts, the restaurant ’floats’ in the canopy of the rainforest, with views through the branches of the Andean Sea beyond. At night, the open-air pavilion is gently lit by candle light and you can hear the chatter of the wildlife that surrounds you. Datai, Langkawi Serving gourmet Thai cuisine, a few meals here are the perfect introduction to the Thai palette, with sour tom yum soups and richly spiced massaman curry. The mango sticky rice is a particularly good desert and the potent Ram Buh Thai cocktail is the hotel’s signature aperitif. Gaya island Resort, Malaysia Gaya island lies 15 minutes off the north coast of Malaysian Borneo. Guests can relax in wooden villas scattered across the west of the island. Part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park, its restaurant, Fisherman’s Cove, only uses fresh fish caught using sustainable practices. This alfresco fine dining restaurant features a sleek, modern design and attentive service, boasting views across to Mount Kinabalu. Gaya island Resort, Malaysia The menu changes daily to fit with the day’s catch. Mud crab, red lobster and giant tiger prawns are regular options – simply decide on your preferred method of cooking and sauce. Clams and local snails are local delicacies, along with delicious grilled fresh. Secluded private pavilions can be booked for special occasions. Craig Burkinshaw is Founder of Audley Travel. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Craig Burkinshaw

Craig Burkinshaw is Founder of Audley Travel. Audley Travel is a tour operator offering tailor-made trips around the world. All of Audley Travel’s country specialists have travelled extensively or lived in the areas they specialise and continue to visit regularly as part of their role. They will not only show you the highlights but include many of the lesser-known, authentic experiences on offer. Audley care deeply about the places they travel to and work hard to ensure they have a positive impact on the wildlife and communities. All trips are carefully built based around your specific interests, tastes and budget.

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  1. Banyan Tree Phuket also offers a great dining experience at sunset, even if Phuket (mainland) beaches are not exceptional; most important is the magical feeling of the location :)

  2. I’ve never known a hotel to invite locals to prepare a family meal like the Shanti Maurice does. That’s a really sweet touch, makes it authentic and more like a home away from home. I love al fresco dining. It seems silly not to make the most of the outdoors when the scenery is so gorgeous and the weather is lush.

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