Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of Fairmont Hotels since 1973. I was seven years-old and my father took the family to see Liza Minnelli performing in the Venetian Room at the luxury chain’s Dallas property. Here’s how I describe the experience in my book Alphabet City:
It was the waning days of 70’s hotel cabaret but I dressed as if it were the second coming. For weeks, I pranced around the living room with a top hat and cane found in my stash of dress up clothes singing along to the cassette recording of Cabaret. I was perfecting a heart-wrenching rendition of “Maybe This Time.” At Liza’s performance, I quietly mouthed the words as I sat enraptured by her every word, not, gesture and sequin.
Given my long history with Fairmont, I was delighted when they tweeted me in response to my post about becoming a vegan (for two weeks). While I received many messages of shock from friends convinced I’d joined the dark side by abstaining from animal protein, Fairmont took a more supportive approach. Knowing that I travel frequently, they wanted to make me aware of their Lifestyle Cuisine Plus—a new menu available upon request catering to guests with specific dietary needs including macrobiotic, raw and vegan diets.
I’ve been tracking this trend of hotels working to please the most foodie-demanding clients, and so far, this Fairmont program takes the cake (gluten free, of course). Not only does Fairmont’s Lifestyle Cuisine Plus menu encompass selections that address issues like diabetes and heart health, but their chefs across the globe have been trained to create these special menus that still reflect the locale. So it’s not a cookie-cutter approach. If you’re macrobiotic you’ll enjoy Fairmont Beijing’s Arame with Sunflower Seeds, Chives and Mustard, and if you’re “raw” you’ll delight in Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club’s Zucchini, Carrot, Portobello and Cashew Butter Pave. Honestly, I haven’t seen options this global and this tailored from anyone else. Perhaps best of all, their special social networking website www.everyonesanoriginal.com has recipes for many of the healthy recipes, including the ones listed above.
I’ve been looking for a reason to navigate my way back to Fairmont’s Banff Springs Hotel, a property I visited with my grandmother and mother back in 1981. As I’m reading the travel journal I kept when I was 12, I clearly wasn’t impressed with the food. I have a sneaking suspicion I might be now.