Not so long ago, the average hotel mini bar included the bare-bones basics — water bottles and soda, peanuts, a few select candy bars, and a can of chips. But since the world’s first hotel mini bar debuted — at the Hong Kong Hilton in 1974  — the concept has dramatically evolved. Today’s libation-and-snack stations are radically elevated, void not only of locks, keys and basic fare, but many are increasingly are not mini at all. These are the very best mini bars revealed during travels this year.

Each hotel is being equally honored in no particular order.

Palazzo Garzoni, Venice, Italy

Courtesy, Palazzo Garzoni

The ‘mini bar’ inside our Italian-sleek, modern-chic,  two-bedroom residence, Terrazetta, at Palazzo Garzoni, a meticulously restored 15th-century residence hotel, in the heart of Venice, is not mini at all. It is a full-scale and deliciously Italian — a Smeg — refrigerator and discreetly hidden into the wall. Prior to our arrival, Marco Rizzo, the palazzo’s onsite host and manager, pre-stocked the Smeg with Champagne, eggs, bacon, water (sparkling and still), yogurt, and cream for coffee (a fancy commercial-grade Italian coffee maker rests on the marbled counter). On the dining table, fresh flowers, a Venetian blown-glass bowl overflowing with fresh fruit, homemade bread, jam, Nocciolata (Nutella), and marchini cookies (a Venice specialty) await. 

Fauchon L’Hôtel, Paris

Courtesy, Fauchon L’Hotel

Paris’ Fauchon L’Hotel (from the famed Fauchon French gourmet food and delicatessen company, founded in 1886), has received acclaim for its Gourmet Bar, a custom-made, hand-signed Sacha Lakic-designed pink armoire that opens to reveal everything French. We are talking macarons, pink Champagne, truffles, specialty French chocolates, and of course, wine, spirits, sodas, and selection of Fauchon teas and coffees. 

The Pridwin, Shelter Island, New York

Courtesy, The Pridwin

Everything about the 33-room (16-cottage) The Pridwin, overlooking Peconic Bay on Shelter Island feels timeless — in the most upscale, reimagined kind of way. Think newly refurbished white clapboard cottages, double-sided wood-burning fireplaces, salvaged chandeliers, and retro furnishings. The in-room snack bar (and drawer) is no exception. In my corner room, overlooking the sparkling bay, I find hot tea with golden honey, coffee and cream, sparkling and still water complete with vintage green stemware for sipping, Cracker Jacks, old-style, with the prize included, and Tate’s chocolate chip cookies from nearby Southampton.

Joali Maldives

exquisite mini bar at Joali Maldives
Courtesy, Joali Maldives

Featuring glass decanters designed by Turkish artist Feleksan Onar, the in-room, all-marble bars at Joali Maldives are beyond decadent. Included are rose-gold water bottles, top-of-the-line blenders, and bowls of fresh fruit for guests to make their own smoothies. There is also coffee — make it yourself from a vintage-style espresso machine. 

Velas Resorts, Mexico

artisan mezcal, grand velas resorts, mexico
Courtesy, Grand Velas Resorts

Mezcal lovers will love the mini bar option at Grand Velas properties. Olvídame Si Puedes (“Forget Me If You Can”), an artisan mezcal, was created exclusively for Grand Velas Resorts by a master mezcalero. The white crystalline mezcal is made with 100% Espadin agave. After maturing for more than six years in the central valleys of Oaxaca, the agave is harvested and distilled (twice) in a copper alembic still before revealing notes of smoke, herbs, and cooked agave. The mezcal is stocked complimentary inside the in-suite mini bars of Grand Velas properties in Los Cabos, Riviera Maya and Riviera Nayarit, Casa Velas, and the new Grand Velas Boutique Los Cabos. 

The Greenwich Hotel, New York

the greenwich hotel, Tribeca
Courtesy, The Greenwich Hotel

Maybe the A-list celebs who make their home away from home at Tribeca’s The Greenwich Hotel, owned by actor Robert DiNiro, do so for the property’s stringent privacy policies: no cameras or photo taking allowed. Or maybe they just love indulging in the minibar (an oversized metal basket), filled with guilty sugar pleasures — complimentary movie-esque candies like Swedish fish, Twizzlers, and Charleston Chews, alongside Uncle Jerry’s dark pretzels, Tate’s cookies, and Deep River potato chips.

Kimpton Blythswood Square, Glasgow, Scotland

Introducing a new concept in minibars, Kimpton Blythswood Square has rolled out its wellness mini bar, featuring products like kombucha, iodine-filled seaweed capsules, salted seaweed crisps (made from umami-rich Scottish seaweed, quinoa, and sea salt), and an Ishga self-care bath set (rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals), guided Ishga yoga flows, and Swell sound therapy, alongside yoga mats, an exercise ball, and foam roller.

Cover, courtesy of Canva; words by Shari Mycek.

(Travel Curator may earn a commission from booking links on this page)