From suites the size of hotels to pioneering spa experiences, not a stone has been left unturned in the luxury hotel industry. But for those seeking the ultimate spot of tranquility – whether to enjoy a sun-soaked coffee or to just lap up the ambiance only the lushest of greenery can inspire – nothing quite beats luxury hotel gardens.
And this is something that hotels are all too aware of. Across the globe, bastions of the hotel sphere carefully curate their gardens to provide guests with a secluded experience of what is usually the best of that region’s nature. Take Tokyo’s Hotel Chinzanso, which features one of the best spots in the city to admire the world-famous Japanese cherry blossom, or Ashford Castle in Ireland, which feels like stepping back into a simpler, more beautiful time.
With all that hotels have to offer – and their respective surroundings, too – the hotel garden remains an underrated, and yet utterly necessary, classic of the luxury genre. Here are our favorites from across the globe.
Ashford Castle, Ireland
The Emerald Isle boasts some of the world’s most enchanting scenes of natural beauty. Whether in the rain or the sun, it is almost impossible not to be utterly spellbound by the vivid greenery of the landscape’s rolling green hills, the sparkling lakes, the jagged cliffs and the rugged coastline. Ashford Castle, first built in the medieval period, only enhances the fairytale charm.
With the castle tracing back to 1228, the gardens were created by the Guinness family – yes, that Guinness – in the 1890s. Today, the gardens are massive and varied, with almost every aspect of the Irish landscape spectrum represented, from magical woods of ancient trees to gorgeously curated flower gardens.
There’s so much more to do than just admire. At Ashford Castle, the gardens are more than just aesthetic spaces of wonder; spanning over 250 acres of parkland, there’s a multitude of sports activities to engage in, too. For further adventures, guests are encouraged to take advantage of the rugged landscape and hike beyond the gardens into the surrounding mountains of Connemara and lakes of Corrib and Mask.
Le Bristol, Paris
A wonderful oasis within the center of the French capital, Le Bristol’s garden is an enchanting space that holds the baton of great European urban gardens of today with graceful success.
Meticulously planned with more than a touch of freehand eccentricity, garden designer Lady Arabella Lennox Boyd’s masterpiece balances the overspilling of wildflowers next to carefully trimmed hedges for a more English garden experience. The end result is a hotel garden that we could spend a whole weekend in, admiring the native French plants soaking lazily, handsomely, under the Parisian sun.
Hotel Chinzanso, Tokyo
Instead of a garden within a hotel, perhaps its fairer to describe Hotel Chinzanso as a hotel within gardens. Spanning over seven centuries of Japanese heritage, these gardens are weighted with historical and cultural gravity, a spine-tingling presence that is matched by the sheer beauty of the scene.
Cherry blossoms dominate the landscape during the spring month, and native flora blooms merrily along the gardens’ large pond, luscious waterfall, and twinkling springs that are scattered across the greenery.
Rich with artifacts, the gardens also feature a thousand-year-old pagoda transferred from the Hiroshima mountains and a large collection of stone lanterns. This really is the eastern Asian landscape at its most awe-inspiring and is a must-visit slice of serenity when in the urban metropolis that is Tokyo.
Hotel de Russie, Rome
Called “paradise on earth” by none other than Jean Cocteau, the heat was on for Rome’s iconic Hotel de Russie to deliver into the 21st century. Acquired by Rocco Forte in 2000, today this historic heavyweight of a hotel remains an unmissable part of every European itinerary, with Le Jardin de Russie one of the most spellbinding experiences in the Italian capital, which – considering this is Rome we’re discussing – is no light compliment.
Strikingly beautiful and utterly romantic, the classical architecture gives the gardens a timeless sense of majesty. Citrus scents waft through the space, courtesy of the fruit trees that sway in the breeze. Grab dinner at the restaurant for the ultimate Roman Holiday experience, if you can; this is one of the hottest restaurants in town, and outdoor tables are difficult to get a hold of.
11 Cadogan Gardens, London
From banking and business to fashion and film, London is the city that has seemingly refused to stop even once in its millennia-old history. One of the biggest cities in the world, the British capital throbs with a pulse that is almost unmatched in its pursuit of working hard and playing harder. Even rest and relaxation are taken seriously by Londoners; good luck trying to find a secluded spot in one of its many glorious parks when the sun is out.
So three cheers to 11 Cadogan Gardens for providing a spot of tranquility and serenity. Right in the heart of the stylish neighborhood Chelsea, a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace and the museums of South Kensington, 11 Cadogan Gardens gifts its guests the ultimate exclusive ticket in the city: Access to a private residential garden.
And what a beautiful garden it is. Studded with old oak and fresh cherry blossom trees, this is one of the best spots to admire the colors and scents of the vibrant English flora.