Chains Opt for Healthy Dining

A number of hotel chains have been busy revamping their food and beverage offerings, mostly to reflect the increased interest by consumers in healthy dining. Here's a look at some of the recent announcements:

  • Westin Hotels is teaming up with SuperFoodsRX to offer health-enhancing foods that are rich in antioxidants and phytonurtrients. According to Westin officials, the new menu offerings aren't diet foods. Rather, the program, part of the brand's commitment to personal renewal of its guests, highlights fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins that are known to improve well-being and longevity.

    The chain is rolling out the initiative at 25 Westin properties in the U.S. and Canada and will go global in 2008 with the introduction of the Westin Signature Breakfast.

    The SuperFoodsRX philosophy embraces “food synergy,” the notion that certain foods paired together are even more nutritious than when eaten separately. Examples include avocado with tomatoes or spinach, cinnamon with whole grains such as oats, and honey with low-fat or non-fat yogurt.

    Westin and parent company Starwood Hotels & Resorts recently said it plans to eliminate all artificial trans fats from the f&b operations of its hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean by the end of the year.

  • The culinary team at the Gaylord Palms Resort near Orlando recently made a commitment to support local, organic and sustainable farming. As part of the ambitious program, Gaylord chefs work with the hotel's purchasing department to source local fruits, vegetables and seafood. Selection, of course, depends on seasonability and availability of items. In winter, when harvests are more bountiful, the culinarians expect to have greater choices available.

    The hotel cited several reasons for the initiative. Shorter farm-to-table time allows produce to fully ripen before picking, which improves the flavor profile of the fruits and vegetables. Other reasons include a commitment to support the central Florida economy and cost savings from lower shipping costs.

  • Wyndham Hotels rolled-out a new breakfast program, Fields & Sun, that the chain says emphasizes personalization, fresh ingredients and outstanding service. The breakfast features Bear Naked granola, organic hot cereal, made-to-order eggs, fresh baked muffins and a regional selection of at least fruits and berries.

    All breakfast customers receive a complimentary fresh smoothie before ordering.

Crowne Plaza Upgrades Meetings

Meeting and banquet room comfort is a commitment for Crowne Plaza. The chain recently announced several public space upgrades to reinforce its “The Place to Meet” product positioning. Among the improvements:

  • By the end of the year, new ergonomic Herman Miller chairs will be installed in all break-out meeting rooms booked for full-day business meetings.

  • All Crowne Plaza properties will also add updated flex-back banquet chairs for social events and general session meetings. All hotels will have the new chairs by the end of 2009.

  • A new lighting initiative enables meeting planners and presenters to control pre-set lighting schemes with the touch of a hand-held remote control or wall-mounted switch panel.

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