Instead Of Outdoor Dining, Restaurants Are Offering Private Meals In Hotel Suites

Outdoor dining doesn’t concern me from a risk perspective. Covid-19 spreads mostly via aerosols in indoor settings. As we’ve adapted to the ‘new normal’ these past 9 months, outdoor meals have been a way to still go out while practicing appropriate caution.

As the weather has turned colder in much of the country this presents a challenge. It’s no longer viable for many restaurants to attract diners to an outdoor setting. So some restaurants have turned to offering meals inside private hotel suites.

  • Hotels are frequently empty, so there’s an easy unused resource to leverage
  • Private rooms provide guests the comfort and safety of outdoors, without being subject to the elements.

Private hotel rooms do mean being exposed to shared air through HVAC systems, so the risk may not be quite as low as outdoor dining, but you’re actually farther from other diners and there don’t appear to be many documented cases of Covid-19 spreading through building ventilation. You’ll still be exposed indoors to a restaurant’s wait staff, but not for prolonged periods.

Several restaurants are taking the approach of serving meals in hotel rooms, often where the restaurant is in the same building or adjacent.

  • Walnut Street Cafe, Philadelphia is in the same mixed-use building as AKA University City hotel, 23 floors above, and owned by the same real estate group. They serve a 3 course dinner for $65 plus a $50 room charge and call it the “Walnut Suite Cafe” experience. Guests who wish to stay overnight credit the $50 towards a $275 room rate. They accommodate up to 15 parties in one and two bedroom suites, matching their indoor dining capacity downstairs.

  • Le Crocodile, Brooklyn uses 13 rooms in the Wythe hotel offering a 3 course $100 meal for parties of 4-10 people.

  • Hewing Hotel, Minneapolis has converted rooms into private dining spaces.

  • Uni, Boston at the Eliot Hotel serves ramen and sushi in guest rooms and pipes in the music from the restaurant for ambiance.

  • Nomad Hotel, New York offers meals in empty suites as well.

Reportedly average checks are higher in hotel suites than at normal restaurant tables, with guests more likely to splurge on nicer wine which is high-margin for restaurants making the whole proposition win-win for the restaurant and hotel which sees room revenue from underutilized space as well.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Part of the enjoyment of going out to dinner is seeing other people. I’m just not sure I’d do something like this. I think I’d just as soon get delivery and eat at home. I just read that 43% of all small business does not have enough cash to make it to June and 48% don’t have enough money to make it to January 1st, so I’m all for restaurants doing whatever they can to survive. If we lose 70 % – 80% of small business 2020 is going to look like the good ole days.

  2. In Europe, I just eat in restaurants like a normal person.

    Why are people still talking about this? The media needs to get over itself and find something else worth the time to discuss.

    There are a lot more problems in the world that is getting close to having 8Billion people, than coronavirus….

  3. I love this idea. of course it’s different from dining in a restaurant with the buzz and such but it could be very nice for a private dinner and it’s the essence of Yankee ingenuity to take two problems and combine them to create a solution.

  4. The governors of NY and CA are shutting down restaurants. But never mind that indoor dining in New York was only associated with 1.4% of traced covid-19 cases, and for outdoor dining 0% was proven. For private parties: 75%.

    Data driven?…

    “Part of the enjoyment of going out to dinner is seeing other people.”


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