Spring is here, and while it’s a great time to check out blooming flowers, you can also stroll among exotic plants and interesting sculptures. In the first installation of their series Luxe Lodgings, contributing writers Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno discovered hotels with unique landscape design that nurtures nature into art you that you can experience firsthand.
Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort harnesses the power of the Arenal Volcano, the heat of the Tabacon Hot Springs, and the energy of the surrounding rainforest. This resort was inspired by the largest and only 100 percent natural network of thermal mineral springs in Costa Rica and is now a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. We were impressed by the Shangri-La Gardens, six natural pools, a full bar, and cocoon-shaped cabanas where relaxation by book or cocktail beckons. This secluded spot is reached by climbing the stone steps to the top of the thermal springs where the temperatures are the hottest. The water is rich in minerals, just like the surrounding garden is rich in vegetation and wildlife.
Inkaterra Machu Picchu covers 12 secluded acres of pristine Andean Cloud Forest at the start of Machu Picchu Mountain. 85 casita-style rooms enjoy the grounds housing hundreds of flora species. Inkaterra claims the largest collection of native orchids in the world that are in their natural habitat and are open to the public. This group of 372 orchid species is also verified by the American Orchid Society. Here you can immerse yourself in the tropical environment through bird watching, hiking the Peruvian rainforest, or rejuvenating with spa treatments that use natural essences from the area.
The hand-restored 15th century villa Il Salviatino is situated within the sloping hills of Fiesole just outside of Florence, and is surrounded by 12.5 acres of private park. The five-star property boasts original frescoes watching over an elegant organic vegetable, fruit and aromatic herb garden, from where the seasonal pickings are used in Executive Chef Carmine Calò’s dishes at La Cucina restaurant. You can reserve a stay in Il Salviatino’s majestic Greenhouse Suites, which offer direct access to the villa’s Italian gardens. The suite’s terraces offer views of Florence and the famous Duomo.
Zurich’s historic Baur au Lac Hotel, established in 1844, is situated on the shores of Lake Zurich, surrounded by its own park. The hotel enjoys a unique location overlooking the lake and the Alps Since 2003, the gardens are transformed each summer into an outdoor art museum called Art in the Park, where the works of different notable post-modern and contemporary artists are featured. The sculpture show is created and curated by Gigi Kracht, the wife of Andrea Kracht, the sixth-generation owner of the Baur au Lac, and is done in cooperation with Zürich’s Galerie Gmurzynska. Last year the garden was devoted to British pop artist Allen Jones and featured six large stylized sculptures in the landscaped grounds of the hotel.
Monastero Santa Rosa is situated in an old monastery perched on the cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. The hotel is a semi-tropical paradise of architectural landscape design that descends from the top of the property like a waterfall of gardens, down multi-levels and culminating at the cliff-edge infinity pool. The Santa Rosa’s garden has approximately 5,000 plants imported from ten different countries that bloom in cycles throughout the seasons. In the tradition of exclusive estates and palatial Italian villas of yesteryear, the Mediterranean garden brings romance and history to the property.
Las Brisas Acapulco is surrounded by 40 acres of lush hillside landscape with cascading hibiscus overlooking Santa Lucia Bay. Santa Lucia, known as Bahia de Acapulco or Acapulco Bay, is loaded with natural beauty and cliffs, golden sandy beaches, and exotic tropical vegetation. This all-suite hotel has long been visited by celebrities. The charming bungalow-style rooms all have their own pools and spectacular views. Upon arrival, there is a flower petal path leading to your quarters. Pink and white jeeps will transport you from your casita to the resort facilities or to the private waterfront La Concha Beach Club.
Set within the 12-century ramparts surrounding the old medina, La Mamounia is an oasis of peace and plant life, hidden away from the bustle of the nearby souks. 700-year-old olive trees have watched time pass as well as many elegant visitors stroll through its gardens. Hotel La Mamounia was named for an 18th century garden that Sultan Mohammed III gave to his son, Prince Moulay Mamoun, for a wedding gift, and in 1923 the hotel opened right in the center of the royal gardens. Well-manicured and symmetrical in design, the space has orange trees bursting with fruit, cacti reaching toward the sky, and palm trees towering over it all.
Spiritual and enchanting, The Oberoi Bali is located on 15 acres of tropical gardens on the popular Seminyak Beach. Ancient Balinese temples are spread across the grounds with traditional Indonesian-style villas and thatched-roof lanais. Winding pathways with blossoming frangipani trees scent the air, and authentic Balinese artifacts contribute to the overall mystical experience.
By Angela Fairhurst and Natalie Compagno for PeterGreenberg.com