The New York Hilton Midtown hotel's year-old restaurant sells locally made chips, ice cream and juices.

The New York Hilton Midtown hotel’s year-old restaurant sells locally made chips, ice cream and juices.

Travelers’ growing hunger for “hidden gems,” “local favorites” and “authentic cuisine” for years has been forcing hoteliers to get increasingly creative to please our picky palates. And they can’t stop now!

Today, most chains – Hilton, Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, Hyatt, etc. – in wildly varying degrees acknowledge local flavors, so it will be fun to see how the players try to stand out with farm-to-table restaurants, rooftop lounges, to-go offerings and even turndown treats.

Examples of evolution of the “local” food and drink emphasis in big chains:

  • In 2007, Starwood named a “chief beer officer” for its Four Points by Sheraton brand to identify regional craft beers worthing serving
  • Several years ago, Marriott hotel restaurants began moving past Pepsi to introduce locally made sodas
  • As Hyatt has developed its lifestyle brand Andaz over the years, it made locally sourced mini-bar snacks a brand staple
  • Last year, the No. 1 biggest hotel in New York – the Hilton New York Midtown – stocked to-go baskets with enough locally produced drinks, ice creams, chips and other foods to rival a large Big Apple deli

On Saturday, I’ll describe one new example of how one chain highlights local flavors in an unlikely way – but for now, here’s my question for you….

Readers: Can you share an example of how a Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Sheraton, Westin or another chain hotel recently impressed you by capturing the local flavors of a given destination?