When travelers think of over-the-top hotel experiences, they often reflect on events that occurred in grand spaces. A stately event in a lavish ballroom where drinks flowed freely throughout the evening, a festive pool-side party complete with a celebrity DJ or time spent searching for birdies and eagles on a spacious golf course.
However, intimate spaces can offer their own special allure. From a private wine cellar and a tiny bar to dining in a bank vault, these small spaces provide big experiences.
Deer Path Inn, Lake Forest, Illinois
Deer Path Inn, a luxurious English-inspired boutique hotel offers guests an intimate dinner experience in their secret wine cellar, which dates back to the 1800s. An ideal and historic setting for special gatherings and dinners, the innkeepers are offering guests access to an exclusive and customized five-course dinner paired with a selection of some of the property’s finest wines for two or four guests. The private wine cellar also doubles as a venue for an intimate wedding or elopement.
Caribe Royale Orlando, Orlando, Florida
Caribe Royale is home to some of Orlando’s best fine dining and tucked away in the AAA Four Diamond Venetian Chop House is a cozy bar. With vibrant art, funky patterns and tiny, yet fully stocked shelves, this bar is perfect for a nightcap following a delicious meal. This space comfortably fits 10-15 people.
Alaia Belize, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize
The Cellar at Sea Salt is a distinguished private dining space surrounded by the hotel’s curated wine collection. The space can accommodate up to ten guests, creating an intimate setting for meetings and celebrations. The Cellar offers dinner service from Alaia’s international dining concept, Sea Salt, incorporating locally influenced flavors and fresh catches of the day paired with a selection of wine, Belizean beer and cocktails courtesy of expert mixologist Subhash Sankar. Alaia Belize is located just offshore from the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. The hotel features a piano bar, three restaurants, four bars, an onsite dive shop, three pools including Belize’s first-ever suspended rooftop pool and lounge with 360-degree views.
Bellyard, Atlanta, Georgia
Located at the center of Atlanta’s burgeoning West Midtown neighborhood, the area’s newest boutique hotel, Bellyard, is home to a local dining hotspot, Drawbar. The restaurant anchors the third-floor lobby and includes a bar, lounge, outdoor terrace and private dining option. Guests looking for a personalized dining experience that still feels part of the restaurant’s energy can book a 15-person space within the Drawbar living room. Ideal for small gatherings and dinners, guests will have access to the restaurant’s full menu of craft cocktails and elevated Southern cuisine (think: bourbon-glazed salmon or a spicy chicken sandwich). Executive Chef Christina Wai spearheads the culinary program with an inspired menu of fresh dishes with an unexpected Asian twist. The history of the city and its interconnectivity are shown in both the food and drink served.
21c Museum Hotel, Lexington, Kentucky
In the center of downtown Lexington, a 108-year-old former First National Bank Building was revived to become an 88-room boutique hotel and contemporary art museum, 21c Museum Hotel Lexington. As part of the renovations, the hotel used an original bank vault to create The Safe, an intimate dining experience within their signature restaurant, Lockbox. Complete with a massive over-sized door lock and exposed gears, The Safe seats 11 guests and offers diners the opportunity to enjoy a menu of locally sources dishes such as char-grilled quail or bay sea scallops. After dinner, guests can check out a rotating set of modern art exhibits throughout the hotel.
Club Med Michès Playa Esmeralda, Dominican Republic
Swapping cocktails for chocolate, the Secret Chocolate Room at this luxury all-inclusive resort is a first-of-its-kind kid’s speakeasy featuring unlimited sweets (i.e. three chocolate fountains, cake and ice cream) crafted with locally-sourced cocoa. Throughout dinner at family-friendly restaurant Cacao & Co, children will receive clues to crack the code needed to enter the hidden room. Once they find the room’s secret location after dinner and type in the code, magical doors open featuring a spectacle of sounds and light, granting access to a room full of sweets galore.