Hotels shake up cocktail and dining offerings

Felicity Long

Do travelers care enough about a great cocktail to influence their choice of destination or hotel? Common sense says probably not, but for some, an inventive drink can add a dash of fun to a vacation, especially when paired with great food.

An increasing number of hotels seem to think so, judging by the proliferation of big-name bartenders and showy menus at hotel bars.

Take Shangri-La, for example, whose European hotels — Shangri-La The Shard, London and the Shangri-La Paris — just launched new cocktail and dining menus tied to the brand’s new global campaign, Find Your Shangri-La.

The company even hired Grammy award-winning director Dave Meyers to showcase the promotion by creating a brand film that plays on the whimsical side of traveling the world.

The collection of imaginative cocktails and mocktails inspired by the campaign are available now through the end of the year and include such tempting names as the Daydreamer, Taste of Eden and the Sky is the Limit. 

The new dining menus — inspired by Chinese and regional Asian cuisines but unique to each hotel and interpreted through the hotels’ local culinary cultures — are available now until Aug. 13 at select hotels across the group.

Signature cocktails in Venice

Meanwhile, the Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, a five-star hotel and former flour mill on Giudecca Island, unveiled a new cocktail menu at its Skyline Rooftop Bar for the summer.

The 16 new signature cocktails, masterminded by bar manager Sebastiano Scarpa and his team, includes The Gentleman, a twist on the classic martini made with Stucky 1895 Gin, thyme-infused olive oil, pepper and citrus peel, and the Tower, a new take on the bloody mary with whisky-pleated essence and tequila in a tall glass and designed to look like the red-bricked tower of the Molino Stucky building.

Alcohol-free options, an increasingly notable trend in the U.S., are also available and incorporate local ingredients.

The property is unveiling live alfresco events to highlight the new culinary and cocktail menus, including Sky Beats DJ sets and celebrations around World Gin Day on June 10, World Rum Day on July 8 and World Tequila Day on Aug. 6.

Award-winning bartenders in Greece

Not to be outdone, Greece’s Blue Palace, a Luxury Collection Resort on Crete, is celebrating its 20th birthday this year with a series of 20 special events throughout the summer, including full moon parties at the beach and street food festivals. 

This summer, the property’s Arsenali Lounge Bar is hosting a series of events with guest mixologists, including David Rios, winner of Diageo’s Best Bartender Championship; Plakidas Achilleas, a former World Class Greece Bartender of the Year winner and the award-winning Aristotelis Papadopoulos. 

The property is pairing the events with 20% discounts on accommodations, 20,000 points on Marriott Bonvoy and 20% off dinners throughout the season. 

We would be remiss not to include Scotland in this sampling of cocktail-forward destinations, and The Balmoral in Edinburgh is just one of the many options. The property’s Bar Prince offers La Vie en Rose, just one of its signature cocktails, composed of a Bombay Sapphire Gin, Chambord, freshly squeezed lemon juice, hibiscus syrup and topped with Champagne. If that doesn’t suit, the bar also offers 500 unique varieties of Scottish whisky.

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