When room service is dismal, it makes you long to be home in your own bed. When it's great, though, you don't care if you ever see your home again. The hotels that understand this will send up the kitchen's absolute finest--no rubber chicken or diamond-hard melons--but they'll do much more than that. We perused room service menus the world over in search of hotels that go the extra mile, places where a call on the bedside phone can procure, say, real Loch Fyne kippers, a personal mixologist or a star chef's signature dish. You want your breakfast delivered by canoe? No problem. Here's where to go.
the best specialties
A true power breakfast, with high-energy carrot-ginger juice and a super healthful fruit salad of papayas, berries and mangoes, kicks off the day at London's One Aldwych.
Snow-white mozzarella, blood-orange juice and jet-black espresso are breakfast staples at the Cipriani in Venice.
Om food--or, more precisely, macrobiotic cuisine--is offered at every Ritz-Carlton hotel in America.
Poached finnan haddie, Scots porridge and Loch Fyne kippers (the holy grail of Scottish fish) are available at Gleneagles in Auchterarder, Scotland, and, like all other breakfast items, they're included in the room rate.
A daily special available only through room service (recently it was Pacific snapper with oak-grilled vegetables and cilantro sauce) might be the most exclusive meal you can get at the very exclusive Beverly Hills Hotel.
Regional comfort foods are featured on the new "Just Like Home" section of the room service menu at any Hotel Inter-Continental. There's chicken quesadillas in Los Angeles, deep-dish pizza in Chicago and--at any Inter-Continental in the United States--meat loaf and mashed potatoes.
The entire cheeseboard appears on a trolley that rolls to your room when you order a simple piece of cheese with your café complet at The Ritz in Paris.
The best wake-up call in Canada is found at Hastings House on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia. A basket of pastries is discreetly placed inside your door, filling your room with the smell of freshly baked muffins.