Travel Smart:
Cooking in Your Room

Gourmet’s European correspondent finds some food-friendly hotels.
european apartment kitchens

A new breed of apartment hotel in Europe now offers travelers a chance to save some money and have a little fun by whipping up a simple meal in surprisingly well-equipped kitchenettes. There isn’t really enough space in these galley spaces to cook a leg of lamb, but anyone who haunts local shops and markets—and hates to leave empty handed—will be thrilled.


Lux 11, Berlin
On my last trip, I bought half a dozen different types of German sausage from the superb food hall at KaDeWa department store and did a fabulous fry-up in my room. In addition to a small fridge, the kitchen came with an induction stovetop, microwave oven, and a miniature dishwasher.

Hotel Denit, Barcelona
Similarly, the little kitchen at this chic hotel meant I could shop for simple but delicious suppers at nearby La Boqueria, one of Europe’s great markets.

Base2Stay, London
While it might sound mad to cook “at home” in either Paris or London, it all depends on how tired you are. I was quite happy one night in my room to heat up chicken tikka masala, from the nearby Marks & Spencer in Earl’s Court, make a side of rice, and eat the meal accompanied by a bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc—with my feet propped up on the coffee table and Little Britain on the telly. A restful evening, and economical, too.

Mama Shelter, Paris
The hipster haven designed by Philippe Starck, in the trendy 20th Arrondissement, caused a sensation after opening, but the press never mentioned the mini kitchens, preferring to concentrate on the stellar crowd instead. You might want to put off cooking this summer, though, because the hotel is throwing an open-air BBQ on the roof (Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday, with brunch on Sunday). For about $60, you can feast on grilled eggplant, tuna kebabs, Angus beef, and eggplant, with lentil salad and strawberry tart on the side. It’s first-come, first-served, so reserve your place at one of the picnic tables or on an oversized day bed.

Sertl says: Even if you’re not cooking in your hotel, visiting markets is a great way to organize a morning out, often taking you to a new neighborhood in a city you thought you knew. In Barcelona, La Boqueria has no rivals—it’s quite a sight—but Berlin, London, and Paris boast a staggering variety of shopping meccas all over town. Don’t miss them.

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