These chocolate-centric hotels are the excuse you needed to plan your vacation around eating dessert.

By Amy Louise Bailey
July 08, 2019
Courtesy of Soneva Fushi

What makes a hotel truly desirable? For many, location, design, and service are at the top of the list. Others, however, seek out places that speak to their specific interests. And if one of your interests happens to be chocolate, we have delicious news.

Over recent years, turning chocolate into an experience that extends well beyond the dessert menu has become a rising trend. Hoteliers from the Caribbean to China are featuring dedicated ateliers, chocolate-making courses, spa treatments utilizing cacao, wine pairing sessions, and chocolate painting classes, among other indulgent activities. Some have gone so far as to base their brands entirely around chocolate, featuring mocha-shaded references throughout and luring in aficionados from around the world.

Whether you’re interested in a full-fledged immersion or you’re simply seeking an indulgent escape, Travel + Leisure has identified some of the best chocolate hotels in the world, where the most devoted enthusiasts are sure to be in their element.

Hotel Fabrica do Chocolat: Viana do Castelo, Portugal

Ever wanted to step inside Hansel and Gretel’s candy house? Or wake up in a Willy Wonka-themed room? It’s entirely possible at Portugal’s Fabrica do Chocolat hotel, which has candy-themed suites and a museum that is totally dedicated to chocolate. Guests can also indulge in cocoa without the calories at the hotel’s spa, which features a "chocotherapy" treatment menu with a range of regenerating therapies using a pure cocoa that is believed to have cardiocirculatory benefits. Fabrica do Chocolat also offers chocolate tasting and making workshops, making it a popular destination for birthdays and events. And, of course, the fairytale references are extremely popular with children.

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc: Antibes, France

Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc is synonymous with the glamour of Slim Aarons and the Cannes Film Festival, but it’s also notable for its magnificent Chocolate Atelier led by Lilian Bonnefoi and his team of nine expert confectioners. Here you will find decadent seasonal creations and beautifully made chocolates that are sure to satisfy even the most particular connoisseurs. And from May to September each year, an ice cream bar is set up with a selection of homemade flavors that can be topped with caramelized fruits and the Atelier’s signature chocolate — perfect for enjoying by the famed cliffside pool. This French Riviera icon has always been revered for its culinary prowess and is one of the most spectacular places to dine along the entire coastline. If there was ever a place to pull off the engagement-ring-in-the-dessert scenario, this is it.

The Chocolate Boutique Hotel: Bournemouth, UK

As the name would suggest, this hotel is entirely themed on chocolate, and since opening in 2006, it’s become a destination for sweet-toothed travelers from around the world. “It’s the original hotel that is fully themed on chocolate,” says owner Gerry Wilton, who has made a name for himself doing corporate team building events using chocolate as the central concept. Guests of the hotel can have indulgent chocolate fountains delivered to their rooms, paint portraits with chocolate, learn how to make truffles, and attend chocolate wine pairing courses — they’ve thought of basically every activity possible. Naturally, the theme extends into the décor, with chocolate artwork adorning the hallways and mocha shades featured throughout.

The Point: Saranac Lake, NY

The term "all-inclusive" is taken to another level at The Point, where you can order artisan chocolate creations around the clock, even if a craving strikes at 3 a.m. There are s’mores kits, handmade chocolate bars decorated with roses left during night service, and guests can have private camp fires set up, complete with flasks of hot chocolate and fresh bottles of Kahlua for decadent cocktail-making expeditions. The 11-room boutique resort was once the Rockefeller family’s holiday escape from New York, and today, it remains a luxurious destination where virtually anything can be arranged. The resort’s sous chef is available for interactive culinary experiences, so experimentation with desserts and pain au chocolat is on offer for those with a penchant for sweet things.

 

Bulgari Hotel Shanghai: Shanghai, China

Since opening last June, Bulgari has elevated the standard of luxury in Shanghai, bringing its quintessential Italian flair to the city along with its fabulously decadent chocolate boutique, Il Cioccolato. The boutique is Bulgari Hotels’ second (the first was launched at Bulgari Dubai in 2017) and it offers a variety of artisan chocolates that are as meticulously crafted as its jewelry. Unique flavors such as rosemary and lemon, fig and balsamic vinegar, and gorgonzola and orange are on show, all made with a raw cocoa that features nearly four times the antioxidants of regular dark chocolate. Bulgari Hotels is set to roll out new openings in Paris, Moscow, and Tokyo over the next three years, but whether they will also feature Il Cioccolato boutiques is yet to be revealed.

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat: Soufriere, St. Lucia

Located on a lush cocoa plantation, Boucan by Hotel Chocolat is an elegant enclave that fuses stunning scenery with decadent cuisine. The boutique hotel was opened in 2010 by Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris — British chocolatiers who set out to provide a comprehensive chocolate experience. Guests can be fully immersed in the production process, from sourcing cocoa pods on the sprawling 140-acre estate to fermenting, mixing, and sampling different varieties of chocolate. The hotel is also renowned for its spa, Cocoa Juvenate, which offers cacao-based treatments in breezy rooms overlooking Saint Lucia’s majestic Pitons.

Baur au Lac: Zurich, Switzerland

The Swiss art of fine chocolate is brought to life at Zurich’s luxurious Baur au Lauc, which offers a chocoholic package that is perfect for couples seeking an indulgent escape. The package involves white chocolate martinis at the chic Rive Gauche Bar, a degustation dinner at Michelin-starred restaurant, Pavillon, complete with chocolate desserts, hot chocolate and biscuits during turndown service, and wine tasting sessions paired with the hotel’s signature 1844 chocolate. Baur au Lac has been in the same family for six generations, and an inherent enthusiasm for chocolate is something that has been passed down and celebrated over the years.

Royal Mansour Marrakech: Marrakech, Morocco

Moorish opulence is exemplified at the Royal Mansour — one of the most stunning hotels in all of Marrakech. It’s a place that would land on many bucket lists for various reasons, but having an on-site Chocolate Laboratory is a big draw for foodie travelers. The luxurious hotel also has an executive chocolate chef who is available for private classes where guests can experiment with indulgent creations and tour the laboratory. Those who appreciate excellent cuisine and the finer things in life are sure to be right in their element at this iconic Moroccan destination.

Soneva Fushi: Kunfunadhoo Island, Maldives

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If crystal clear waters and pristine beaches are your thing, then Soneva Fushi is one to bookmark. It’s also one for chocolate lovers, given it’s the first luxury resort to feature complimentary chocolate rooms filled with delicious creations made by in-house chocolatiers. The menu is constantly evolving, but passion fruit pralines and cardamom truffles are just some of the flavors that are on offer. The eco-chic resort has a sister property, Soneva Jani, also in the Maldives, and one in Thailand, Soneva Kiri, both of which feature chocolate rooms and offer guests 24-hour access.

Hotel Amigo Rocco Forte: Brussels, Belgium

Brussels is recognized as the world capital for chocolate, so it’s no surprise that some of its leading hotels offer dedicated packages for guests to immerse themselves in its culinary culture. One of these hotels is the chic Hotel Amigo Rocco Forte, which has partnered with renowned local Maître chocolatier, Laurent Gerbaud, to offer a special chocolate lovers' package, including a workshop where guests can be educated on the Belgian art of chocolate-making and can tour his famed atelier, just a short stroll away from the hotel. Sweet treats and amenities are also left in the rooms each day.

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