Gardens have a way of nourishing your soul. Maybe it’s the floral-tinged fresh air, the sight of blooming gardenias and cherry blossoms or the soothing sounds of a trickling stream that makes you feel closer to nature, even when the space is in the midst of a city landscape. Or perhaps it’s simply that they provide a peaceful oasis during the most hectic of times.
We unearthed a range of hotel gardens from all over the world that can help revive you. From the rolling hills of Ireland’s countryside to an urban Japanese forest that once belonged to samurais, these gorgeous green spaces will provide some nourishment.
As if a location along Lake Como weren’t breathtaking enough, this celebrity favorite is surrounded by 25 acres of centennial trees, statues of figures like Hercules and vibrant Lady Banks roses, Southern magnolias and Chinese wisteria. The gardens exemplify the Baroque scenery of Lombardy, while also incorporating Renaissance and romantic styles.
The most striking spot on the grounds is perhaps the grassy mosaic garden, where a one-bedroom villa is covered in ornate and elegant pastel mosaics.
You’d never suspect that this 17-acre hideaway resides in bustling Tokyo. The 1878 garden will make you forget all about the city with its three-story pagoda, gourd-shaped pond and roaring waterfalls. It turns pink with 20 varieties of cherry blossoms and camellias (the hotel is known for the flower, which has been growing there in abundance since the 14th century) in the spring, and it transforms into fiery red, orange and gold in the autumn.
But the best time to walk the trail may be during summer nights, when the fireflies descend, a rare phenomenon in these parts.
The K Club, Kildare, Ireland
This bucolic Irish retreat has gardens along the river Liffey dating to the 19th century. There’s much to see on the 700 acres, but The K Club makes it easy with a 40-minute self-guided walk that starts at the immaculately manicured Panel Garden, which blooms with seasonal flowers, and includes stop-offs at a tiny island and an arboretum.
Meander along the rolling countryside and peek at unusual specimens, like the Lawson cypress, tulip tree and Straffan snowdrop, a white drooping bud that is unique to the hotel (a gardener discovered it here in the 1880s).
Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, San Diego
A former citrus ranch, this sanctuary has an abundance of lemon and orange groves. But you’ll discover much more as you traverse its 45 acres. The grounds host other fruit (loquat, pomegranate), ornamental plants (bougainvillea), succulents (aloe, agave), echiums (pride of Madeira), a rose garden and bountiful trees (Canary Island and wild date palms, plus a 55-year-old ficus).
Don’t miss the splendid Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star spa, whose verdant outdoor spaces are transportive.
Created about 800 years ago, the 100,000-square-foot garden first belonged to the residence of Shigemori Taira, the eldest son of a 12th-century samurai. It is one of the last remaining gardens from the end of the Heian Period.
The circuit-style ikeniwa, or pond garden, instills peace as you amble along its tree- and water-lined paths. The ancient garden takes on a new look each season: it bursts with cherry blossoms in the spring, fuchsia crape myrtle in the summer, maple leaves in the autumn and plum blossoms in the winter.
Mirbeau Inn & Spa Plymouth, Massachusetts
If you find Monet’s “Water Lilies” paintings captivating, visit Mirbeau. The hotel modeled its green space on the French impressionist’s own gardens in Giverny. Stroll the grounds to see trees like red maples, dogwoods and weeping willows; shrubs such as dwarf fothergilla, redleaf ninebark and bush clover; flowers like daylilies, hydrangeas and magnus coneflowers; and of course, a replica of the iconic green bridge stretching over a waterlily-dotted pond that Monet made famous.
The Langham Huntington, Pasadena
At the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, this pink landmark counts four gardens within its 23 acres. Wander through the serene Courtyard, where a stone path leads you around a pond and among pear blossom trees, and then take in the palm-lined Horseshoe Garden, which has been featured in the 2003 film Seabiscuit and ABC’s The Bachelorette: Ashley & J.P.’s Wedding in 2012. Be sure to also check out the Japanese Garden, with its step-down waterfall pond, curved red footbridge and cherry blossom trees.
Hotel New Otani Tokyo The Main and Hotel New Otani Tokyo Executive House Zen
These sister hotels share a 10-acre Japanese garden with ancient stone lanterns, scarlet bridges, koi ponds, gushing waterfalls and seasonal blooms, like sakura and hydrangeas. Come fall, rich reds and yellows blanket the once-green trees. The must-see garden is more than 400 years old and once belonged to several samurai lords.
While The Main’s rooftop Red Rose Garden is only 20 years old, it’s still a destination. Awash in 30,000 red roses of varying sizes, shapes and breeds, it uses compost made from restaurant leftovers and recycled drainage water. The 27,000-square-foot garden and its rose-woven gazebo provide a bright backdrop.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire, England
Sprawling across 500 acres of gardens, pastures and woodlands, this idyllic English country escape begs to be explored. Pass through the black metal gates and dovecotes to enter the Walled Garden, which dates back to the 16th century. Depending on the time of year, lupines, canna lilies, hydrangeas and agapanthuses can sprout here.
While the space is large, the stately heritage-listed brick walls give it a more intimate feel. It’s the most romantic place on the property, which is why it’s a setting for many outdoor weddings.
Hundred-year-old olive trees and indigenous oaks and redwoods shade this sunny hillside haven. Lavender, clipped boxwood and myrtle add dollops of color, as does the valley’s vista.
While the scenery alone is lovely, the garden stands out for the more than 100 sculptures that sprinkle the landscape. Crafted by more than 60 California artists, it is one of the most comprehensive sculpture gardens in the state.
Rosewood San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
In San Miguel de Allende, this five-acre hotel created a garden courtyard it dubs Casona (or “mansion”). It mimics the viceroyalty period architecture of 1521 to 1821, when wealthy haciendas positioned rooms around a central outdoor space. A fountain would sit in the middle as a symbol of lineage, since having running water directly to your home was rare. Of course, Casona has one, too, along with indigenous flora and fragrant lavender.
La Quinta Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, Palm Springs
This desert oasis teems with greenery throughout its 45 expansive acres. It’s home to up to 14 varieties of citrus trees, including oranges, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines. And its many flowers are swapped out seasonally (three times yearly). The vivid floral hues, citrus scent and the blazing sun make it a paradise.
It’s no wonder legendary director Frank Capra frequently visited here to find creative inspiration. He called the hotel his “Shangri-La for script-writing” and penned the 1934 film It Happened One Night here with Robert Riskin.
Greenery is embedded right into the walls of this eco-chic SoBe hotel. Living walls dot the property, from the elevator banks to the presidential suite. The exterior holds one of the largest preserved moss walls in the U.S. with 11,000 plants that reduce the heat island effect, offer refuge for local fauna and manage rainwater runoff.
But the lobby features the most eye-catching of them all. Designed by Plant the Future, the air-purifying living wall doubles as an art piece depicting a man (made of plants) who swims across the rippled white surface.
These living walls are found at other 1 Hotel properties. One block away from New York City‘s most well-known green space, 1 Hotel Central Park has an impressive three-story English-ivy-covered exterior. A sophisticated irrigation system detects when plants are thirsty, and it’s controlled via smartphone.