When room service becomes restaurant service

When room service becomes restaurant service

While room service is critical to any worthy hotel’s food and beverage operation, oftentimes it’s treated as just that — a necessity. The simple luxury of being able to order food to one’s room is enough of a treat for some — even if it’s only an omelette or a club sandwich. If you’re lucky you’ll find 24-hour fresh baked cookies on the menu like they offer at The Gansevoort South Beach. 

Yet regardless of what’s being served, the metal cart is wheeled into your room, and maybe the contents are unloaded onto a nearby tabletop. Sometimes the sheer joy comes from scarfing a cheeseburger in bed — reinforcing the fact that you’re on vacation and the crumbs can immediately be eradicated by housekeeping. But at a recent stay at a Maldivian resort, Cocoa Island, the act of ordering room service was more like ordering an entire restaurant to your room. 

We had just landed from Hong Kong, with a delayed layover in Bangkok, and while we contemplated heading to the island’s singular restaurant, Ufaa, the idea of staying in our sweatpants and enjoying our complimentary bottle of honeymoon champagne won over. Besides, with only one kitchen on the island, the room service menu served all of the restaurant’s items as well as healthy COMO Shambhala Cuisine alternatives. A feast was ordered: Crisp Red Snapper, Beetroot Salad, Yellowtail Ceviche, Lobster Pizza, Vegetable Nori Rolls, Housemade Naan and Flourless Orange Almond Cake. 

Dinner arrived, and we were asked if we’d like to dine at the table or on the balcony. Cocoa Island is comprised of 33 villas, all situated on stilts in the Indian Ocean, and it was 75 degrees F — a cool night. Having just arrived, we jumped at the opportunity to eat outside and thus it began. The butler meticulously began setting the table —arranging placemats, pouring drunks, icing the half-drunk bottle of champagne, opening our napkins. He asked for a time to return to clear out plates, and as quickly as he came, he was gone. And there we were, a perfectly set table before us, relishing the incredible freshness of Raffaele Dadone’s fusion of Mediterranean and Southeast Asian flavors as the waves lightly crashed against our stairs into the ocean.

Turns out our private terrace would become one of our favorite restaurants in the world — as much for the food as it was for the service.