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Celebrating 2019 – ‘The Year of The Vegan’ – in luxury and style…

Since The Economist published a short article in late 2018 entitled ‘The Year of The Vegan’, predicting that “2019 will be the year veganism goes mainstream” many have coined this phrase, whilst many others have chosen the lifestyle. Writing “Where millennials lead, businesses will follow” they could not have been closer to the truth with big businesses now desperate for their own slice of the vegan cake. Many luxury hotels and resorts have adapted, created and innovated to be sure that they can offer plant based food to meet the growing demand for vegan travel. We have stayed at some of the finest hotels and resorts around, and the growth and availabilty of vegan cuisine has been rising steadily. That was until this year when the luxury travel industry seemed to truly embrace veganism meaning there were a multitude of exciting plant based options available. We’ve been celebrating 2019, ‘The Year of The Vegan’ in luxury and style and here’s 12 of our favourite plant based experiences from the past 12 glorious months. January 2019: JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort – Phu Quoc, Vietnam JW Marriott Emerald Bay Resort is a whimsical playground that has been conjured up by the luxury hotel architect extraordinaire, Bill Bensley and has to be seen to be believed. We enjoyed a selection of plant based delights throughout the resort as the chefs were eager to impress with ‘off menu’ creations including this salad like no other salad from ‘French & Co’. February 2019: Fusion Resort – Phu Quoc, Vietnam Fusion Resort Phu Quoc is a luxury wellness resort where you can enjoy a plant based breakfast next to your own private pool before embarking on a series of all inclusive spa treatments from the expansive and serene ‘Maia Spa’. The toughest decision we had to make during our stay was whether to order these Banh Xeo savoury pancakes for breakfast every day, or actually try something else on the menu. March 2019: Evason Resort – Hua Hin, Thailand Evason Hua Hin is a luxury coastal resort on the Gulf of Thailand with a unique and incredible plant based offering. They are home to the leading plant based culinary academy in the region, Blue Lotus Hua Hin. Sign up for a ‘Weekend Intensive’ or ‘Speciality Cuisine’ course and you could be creating dishes as vibrant and delicious as this trio of tacos that we made during our stay. April 2019: Six Senses Duxton – Singapore Six Senses Duxton and sister property Six Senses Maxwell in Singapore are the first city centre properties from Six Senses, a brand synonymous with luxury resorts, sustainability, wellness and healthy cuisine. We can honestly say that these ‘Chilled Organic Vine-Ripened Tomatoes’ from ‘Yellow Pot’ at Six Senses Duxton are the tastiest tomatoes we have ever eaten. May 2019: JW Marriott Hotel South Beach – Singapore JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach is a modern and stylish hotel with a convenient location in the heart of Singapore offering multiple F&B outlets throughout. Akira Back is where we enjoyed a veritable plant based feast. The menu features a number of vegetarian and vegan options, but request a vegan menu at the time of booking for that extra special experience with dishes including this ‘Crispy Tofu with Kochujang Soy and Finger Lime’ which was sublime. June 2019: Shangri-La at The Shard – London, England You can’t fail to miss The Shard, an impressive skyscraper that opened in 2013 and houses one of the finest hotels in London, Shangri-La at The Shard. This luxury property is home to TĪNG which offers unrivalled views of the surrounding city and a ‘modern British menu’ which features the most incredible carrot based dish we’ve ever tasted. July 2019: La Suite West – London, England La Suite West is a boutique hotel just a short walk from Hyde Park and home to ‘Café Forty One‘, the only 100% plant based hotel restaurant in London. Hotel guests and diners are in vegan heaven and can enjoy breakfast, lunch, all day desserts and afternoon tea in the dining room, or al fresco on the terrace. There were many highlights but it was this millefeuille with pistachio and seasonal berries that made us smile the most. August 2019: Shangri-La Hotel – Paris, France Shangri-La Hotel Paris is the former home of Prince Roland Bonaparte and overlooks the Eiffel Tower and River Seine, it’s a palatial property that oozes elegance, style and grandeur. The culinary team have been at the forefront of promoting plant based cuisine to their guests from around the world. We missed the monthly ‘Green Dinner’ but were lucky enough to enjoy the simply sublime vegan afternoon tea which should be on your plant based bucket list for sure. September 2019: Cordis – Hong Kong Cordis Hong Kong is a modern upscale hotel located in the heart of Mongkok and home to the elegant ‘Ming Court’, their one Michelin starred Cantonese restaurant. As part of the excellent Green Monday initiative they have introduced plant based options at Ming Court and also the other F&B outlets throughout the hotel. We loved our vegan dining experience at Ming Court and also loved the ‘off menu’ creation for breakfast featuring an Impossible Burger with porcini mushrooms, asparagus and pan fried potatoes. October 2019: Soneva Fushi – Baa Atoll, The Maldives Soneva Fushi is considered by many to be one of the most exclusive resorts in the Maldives, maybe even the world, so the opportunity to visit was one we were extremely excited by. Our excitement was not just about experiencing this barefoot luxury tropical island, but to dine at the first and only 100% plant based restaurant in the Maldives. ‘Shades of Green’ is set within an organic garden and that’s where your dining adventure starts, foraging with Chef Jenefer as she explains the ingredients and concepts that will form your memorable meal. Wow. November 2019: Amilla Fushi – Baa Atoll, The Maldives Amilla Fushi translates to ‘My Island Home’ and oh my, do we wish we could call this minimalist and stylish luxury resort home. Our white washed overwater villa complete with private pool was straight out of a dreamy design magazine and we felt very much at home. Knowing that there was a vegan menu that is available throughout the resort, in addition to plant based dishes on the exisiting menus, meant that we never wanted to leave. December 2019: Treeline Urban Resort – Siem Reap, Cambodia Being able to call Treeline Urban Resort our ‘local’ is a very special feeling. This design led hotel with a passion for the arts boasts a riverside location and is just a few hundred metres from our home. The fact that they have recently introduced a vegan menu and plant based dishes elevates our passion for this luxury boutique hotel to the highest level meaning we are happy to end 2019, ‘The Year of The Vegan’ at HOK, their signature restaurant. If we thought that the rise of veganism had peaked, we would happily relive our 2019 vegan travel adventures again as they were remarkable. But we are confident that this was just the start and 2020 will be bigger and better with plant based and vegan options becoming the norm at luxury hotels and resorts around the world. Long may it continue… Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Eyers

Paul Eyers is co-founder of Vegan Food Quest who write about luxury hotels and resorts in Southeast Asia with a focus on sustainable travel, eco travel and vegan travel. Currently based in Malaysia, Paul also writes about sporting events and some of the finest golf courses throughout the region.

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  1. That’s some year of great vegan dishes. Have you ever thought of putting it together as a calendar? It wouldn’t have to be a commercial project. You get some great deals online now where you can publish your own one-off books and calendars. It would give you some lasting memories of eating in some stunning locations. You could even paste in some of your descriptions that you’ve written over the year.

    1. Haha Pete, an important question indeed! We are cooking vegan Xmas dinner here in Siem Reap, Cambodia for 6 friends. Roast potatoes, all sorts of veg including vegan cauliflower cheese, mushroom and onion gravy, individual nut roasts, cranberry sauce and a Field Roast ‘Celebration Roast’ that was delivered by a friedn from New York. Everything home made apart from the Field Roast. Starter of avocado and vegan prawn (made from chick peas) salad with spicy homemade vegan mayo. Christmas Pudding, vegan mince pies and vegan chocolate cake. We’re very excited….what about you?

    2. I still dip in and out of veganism. Not sure that I ought to be admitting this but for Christmas I will have to fit in with the family and go for the traditional roast turkey dinner. Maybe next year we can have our first vegan Christmas, inspired by some of your ideas.

    3. hi Pete
      good luck with having your first ever vegan xmas next year! in the meantime keep on “dipping in” more than “dipping out” and you’re moving in the right direction :)

  2. As a business owner in the tourism industry (Sweden) I can absolutely attest to the growth that you’ve seen in your part of the world re demand…..Here in Skåne, the county is known as the ‘Pantry of Sweden’ there is no shortage of fantastic produce being grown on our doorstep and a comprehensive and growing list of Vegan options available off of the shelf! We are now shaping our accommodation options to specifically attract and cater for Vegan travellers! (That Millefeuille in this post – wow!)

    1. thank you for your comment Seamus and good luck with your new vegan travel offerings for your guests! and yes, that millefeuille was incredible!

  3. It’s so great to hear that more and more people are educating themselves on the positive impact of plant based diets! I have definitely eaten a lot more vegan food this year than ever before and I continue to do so.
    I love that many places are providing plant based meals so that I have lots of opportunities to taste the delicious flavours and try new things.

    Looks like you have had a great year of travelling and eating! May it continue into the new year.

    1. Thanks Jodie, we’ve indeed had an amazing year of vegan travel and have lots of exciting plans for 2020! Good to hear you’re enjoying the plant based that you’re finding, keep it up!

  4. A friend linked me to this page, and I almost wish they hadn’t. Looking through a year of luxury dining has made me very hungry.

    Interesting that the trend is growing, but that quite a few of these hotels still require there to be a special request made. Perhaps in 2020 we’ll see plant-based options become more readily available, without the need for additional fuss. I hope so. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hope you’ve found something vegan and delicious to help with your hunger!

      From the 12 luxury hotels and resorts above, 10 of them have either a vegan menu, menu or vegan options on their exisiting menus. We’ are just always excited to try ‘off menu’ creations from the chef in addition to what is available.

      Next year the trend is going to continue gropwing, i’m sure of that!

  5. The Economist predicted it quite accurately then. I think many probably saw it a few years ago as being more of a passing trend and then it got trendier last year onwards, but it does seem to really be taking off. It’s a lifestyle though, not a trend, so I hope the products that are coming out stick around for those who ‘practice’ veganism. I think it comes with the greater awareness of our environment, animal rights and our health, so I imagine it’ll continue to gain momentum. Shame a lot of the choices, especially if you’re looking at clothing, are pretty marked up on price. Couldn’t do it myself as I eat meat and dairy but I do have at least 3 meat-free days each week and I look for the vegan and veggie options when I’m out fairly often. The choices have definitely improved in terms of the variety and the quality. Some excellent examples of that here.

    1. Hi Phoebe,

      3 meat free days a week is excellent and if everyone adopted this approach the benefits for our environment and our health would be huge.

      Regarding food prices we see a mixed approach from suppliers. We’ve dined in Michelin star fine dining restaurants where the plant based or vegan option is cheaper which is great. Other places seem to think they can charge the same for a vegan salad as they can charge for a much more extravagant (and packed with expensicve ingredients) non vegan option.

      I think as time moves on the options will increase for food and clothing meaning the peices will level out…

  6. I vaguely remember reading “The Year of the Vegan” piece in The Economist’s crystal ball-gazing edition “The World in 2019”. Literally just purchased “The World in 2020” and looking forward to seeing if there are any forecasts on veganism for next year.

    That “Year of the Vegan” was an informal title. Shouldn’t UNESCO be thinking of a formal “Year of the Vegan” to educate people to reduce the huge volume of meat consumed every year?

    1. We would love that Lydia if UNESCO championed a vegan diet and all of the benfits, let’s wait and see! I’m about to check out ‘The World in 2020’ and see if they’ve foolowed up with last years piece…

      Thanks for your comment and all the very best for 2020!

  7. JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach’s tofu dish reminds me a lot of this black sesame and pepper tofu dish from a Vietnamese bistro restaurant that I just simply adore. One of the best tofu dishes I’ve ever had. Also, this list just reconfirms my thoughts about most Vietnamese food being vegan and healthy.

    1. hi Debra
      Please tell us more about the restaurant in Vietnam as we are always keen to find new places! We love Vietnam and the food, we were there just last week in Hoi An and return next week to Saigon…

  8. I loved reading your 12 month diary of the wonderful places you have visited on your vegan food quest. Interesting to see The Shard in London, nobody would need to be persuaded to ‘eat up those carrots’. They looked delicious. The vegan afternoon tea at The Shangri-La in Paris looked incredible. Did you manage to eat everything?
    I agree with many of the comments above, the world has certainly moved on in terms of providing amazing food in equally amazing locations.
    Thank you for your insight into what is now available for the vegan traveller.

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