Host a Private Chef Dinner at a California Boutique Hotel
Elegant décor, an intimate setting, and impeccable hospitality: you couldn’t ask for much more when planning the perfect dinner party. Unless, of course, you’re able to pull off a private chef and an iconic location. Many boutique inns offer all of this and more, making them the ideal choice for a private dinner. Here are five California boutique hotels ready to host a talk-of-the-town event that your guests might just want to extend into an indulgent weekend.
R INN NAPA
A modern hideaway in downtown Napa, R INN NAPA is a discreet pied-à-terre for hosting private dinners. Both individual guests and full property buyouts have access to a fully equipped gourmet kitchen and a range of onsite dining venues. Just off the kitchen, a swanky private dining room seats up to 10 around a large farm table. In either the sleek lobby or the outdoor terrace, the inn can set up long tables to accommodate up to 34. Guests renting the inn’s adjacent two-bedroom bungalow can also host dinners in the bungalow’s private outdoor dining room, which is housed in a converted 100-year-old redwood garage. Guests have the option of bringing their own chefs or working with local Napa chefs vis-à-vis the inn. One of the private chefs they work with most frequently can customize menus ranging from causal family-style meals to lavish multi-course affairs.
Located on the site of the oldest pub in San Luis Obispo County, Brasserie SLO at Hotel Cerro is ideal for a private dinner that reaches back into history. The restaurant’s expert culinary team creates customized dinner and wine pairings for parties of up to 10, using ingredients from the abundant Central Coast agricultural community and produce from their own edible gardens. Seating is in the restaurant’s Distillery & Wine Room, an elegant venue with exposed brick walls, copper fixtures, and illuminated floor-to-ceiling racks filled with local wines from the area. From a custom copper Holstein, Brasserie SLO also crafts artisanal spirits and liquors utilizing botanicals harvested from the Central Coast. These botanicals—tangy citrus oils of bitter orange, Kaffir lime, and Meyer lemon; warm aromatic spice notes of coriander, lavender, and cinnamon—serve as muses for inspired signature cocktails and desserts.
Timber Cove Resort
On the Sonoma Coast, savor a private dinner as the sun sets over the ocean at Timber Cove Resort. The resort’s exclusive private dining room, Coast Commune, features endless ocean views and a 12-foot dining table handmade by a local craftsman from a single redwood tree. Coast Kitchen, the resort’s own coastal wine country concept, offers seasonal fare with clean, crisp presentations and caters to private parties of up to 14. In addition to the private parties, the resort is hosting a series of monthly Wine Maker Tasting Dinners in 2023. Each month, a local winery will pour and talk about its wines, each of which will be paired with a four- to five-course meal curated by Executive Chef Ronald Andrade. The first dinner of 2023 (January 19th) features the wines of SeeBass Family Vineyards, paired with broiled Point Reyes oysters, hamachi crudo, grilled Sonoma lamb, local beef tenderloin, and a Sonoma County cheese plate. Reservations for the dinners can be booked on the Coast Kitchen website.
The McClelland House
When the owners of The McClelland House embarked on a luxurious, top-to-bottom renovation of their Napa bed and breakfast in 2021, they sought to reimagine the inn’s kitchen as an open-concept space and a showcase for chefs. They wanted to create a space for hosting private dinners as well as cooking demonstrations. The new kitchen features a gorgeous blue LaCanche range imported from France and gleaming marble countertops with bar stools from which guests can watch chefs prepare meals. The space also includes a lounge with a wine chiller, fireplace, large-screen television, and cozy seating. Venues for dining at the inn include informal spaces in the kitchen and adjacent bar, a formal dining room that seats up to 14, and an outdoor terrace that can be configured to seat more. The inn will happily arrange for Napa chefs and sommeliers to host an extraordinary private dinner.
Palihouse Santa Barbara
For a private dinner that will appeal to the most astute of tastemakers, Palihouse Santa Barbara is an excellent choice. Relatively new to the Santa Barbara lodging and dining scene, Palihouse is intimate and elegant, a coastal hideaway in the heart of downtown’s historic Presidio neighborhood. The hotel describes its design as “vintage preppy meets American-Riviera,” with a menu that reflects the quintessential lightness and freshness of coastal California cuisine (think avocado toast, inventive salads, and fresh seafood dishes). The hotel can also create customized prix fixe menus for small groups, served in their private Club Room. The room is hidden away near the back of the property behind tall hedges and the outdoor pool. It’s a discreet entertainment venue just steps from the hotel’s tranquil Mediterranean-style courtyard, living room, and cocktail bar.