Vegan Vacations Are On The Rise

Vegan Vacations

When Eleven Madison Park, one of the world’s most praised restaurants, returned in New York after the pandemic with an exclusively vegan cuisine, forks dropped all over the world. Chef Daniel Humm of the restaurant Davies and Brook, which is located inside the exclusive Claridge’s hotel in London, wanted to make the same switch to a plant-based menu. When the hotel refused, he had no choice but to walk away from the business deal. They didn’t seem to grasp the message: vegan cuisine isn’t going away.

Veganism is inspiring the travel sector to rethink its culinary practices as the demand for plant-based meals continues to grow. Finding restaurants in holiday areas that offer interesting vegan options has traditionally been a difficult task for meat- and cheese-free tourists, often resulting in very disappointing meals or meat ingestion by mistake.

“As people have taken steps towards a more vegan lifestyle, travel has needed to adjust as well,” says Diana Edelman, founder of Vegans, Baby, a vegan cuisine blog and tour company that strives to make traveling as a vegan easier through customized dining recommendations, events, and vacations. With tour firm Alluring Africa, Edelman will conduct a plant-based vacation across South Africa in June.

Hotels and resorts dedicated particularly to vegan travelers are springing up all over the world, from major cities to far-flung beaches. The vast majority emphasize sustainability and social responsibility, and they differ in price, allowing vegan tourists to choose between cheap getaways and lavish splurges.

Database of vegetarian-friendly hotels Vegan Welcome has 135 hotels in 22 countries, according to Thomas Klein, the company’s founder and CEO, who also runs Veggie Hotels. There are 18 vegan-only venues among the 135 total. The number of vegan hotels has grown a lot in the last five years… We get requests [to be listed] from hotels almost daily,” Klein says.

La Vimea, in Northern Italy’s alpine region, is one of the properties. This eco-friendly, adults-only resort claims to be Italy’s first vegan hotel. The 40-room hotel’s vegan breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals, which include plenty of pasta, are made completely of local food and organic ingredients.

YO1 Health Resort in Monticello, New York, has the sole vegan restaurant on the other side of the Atlantic. Guests can observe and learn how chefs prepare plant-based foods like butternut squash chowder and eggplant rollatini through a glass divider in the kitchen.

Germany’s Lindenberg defies tradition with a trio of vegan hotels in Frankfurt, a place known for sausages and meat-heavy meals. (This year, the brand will launch a fourth location on the other side of the world in Bali.) Fruits, herbs, and vegetables are sourced from the company’s own permaculture in the Taunus mountain range.

“We have decided to go purely vegan as a consequence of our own knowledge development as humans in the environment of a young hospitality business… As we collectively strive to be sustainable and conscious of what we do and how we do it, there are a variety of outcomes at the end of each day. Being plant-based is just one of them,” says Lindenberg, managing director Denise Omurca.

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Palmaïa, the House of AïA, opened in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as an eco-friendly, vegan-only refuge. A wide range of wellness practices, from yoga to meditation, are matched with delicacies like smoked carrot toast and a piled-high veggie burger. The vegan meal isn’t the only thing on offer; the bath products are, too.

Beyond boutique hotels, the trend is taking on. Vegan visitors are increasingly being accommodated by mainstream travel industry behemoths, such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, as well as Sandals resorts, which have considerably extended vegan options on their menus in recent years. The sleek veggie-focused eatery Razzle Dazzle is featured on Virgin Voyages’ ships, which began in 2021.

While it’s a good idea to be open to a meatless diet before arranging a stay at a vegan-only establishment, it’s not required. “I have heard that the clientele of these resorts are often not vegan… They would like to try a healthier way of eating, and if they enjoy the food while on vacation, they might then feel comfortable trying to cook some vegan meals at home,” says Veg Jaunts and Journeys CEO Kim Giovacco.

Vegan diets are beneficial for a multitude of reasons, including improving nutritional value, preventing animal suffering, and reducing environmental impact. Vegans and vegan-curious people will have more opportunities to travel and eat healthier as plant-based eating becomes more mainstream.

A trip to such locations can double as a trial run for omnivorous travel journalist Ali Wunderman, who recently stayed at Palmaïa and NewTree Ranch in Healdsburg, California. “Vegan-only resorts give vegan-curious travelers the chance to try on the vegan lifestyle for the duration of their stay… so they go home with a deeper understanding of how versatile and delicious a vegan lifestyle can be,” she said.

Source: “The Growing Trend of Vegan Vacations” by Shondaland

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