The best hotel stays make you feel like you’ve escaped everything for a while to take on a new way of life. Forget the décor, the service, and the restaurants—nothing makes a hotel feel like more of an escape that a stunning garden. From sprawling landscapes to manicured lawns, rolling meadows to elegant topiaries, here’s our look at some of the best hotel gardens in the world.
By Christina Valhouli
Christina Valhouli writes about travel, beauty, and lifestyle trends. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Post, and Departures.com. Follow her on Twitter.
Bodysgallen Hall & Spa
British country-house hotels are all known for their spectacular gardens, but Bodysgallen is a standout. This luxury hotel is one of three Historic House Hotels of the National Trust and sits on more than 200 acres of land, with a mix of formal and wild landscaping. Walking around the property, visitors will find a walled garden, lily-pad-dotted ponds, follies and a 17th-century parterre of box hedges filled with herbs. Volunteers can help work in the garden, and the head gardener also leads tours.
Insider Tip: The name “Bodysgallen” is thought to mean “house among thistles” or “the abode of Cadwallon,” a sixth-century chieftain.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Wales Guide
WHERE: Los Angeles
Los Angeles feels very far away when you’re staying at the Hotel Bel-Air, situated on 12 quiet, landscaped acres. A massive renovation in 2011 created new eco-friendly gardens while preserving its horticultural history. Landscape designer Jon Goldstein of Johnny Appleseed Landscaping moved and replanted 483 historical trees and over 4,000 plants. New water-saving features were also added during the renovation.
Insider Tip: The hotel’s Swan Lake is home to three swans, Chloe, Athena, and Hercules Jr. During the renovation, the lake was upgraded with a new circulation and filtration system that saves more than 250,000 gallons of water a month.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Los Angeles Guide
WHERE: Lake Como, Italy
Located on the shores of Lake Como, this luxury resort has 25 acres of landscaped Italian and Baroque gardens dating back to the Renaissance. A member of Leading Hotels of the World, Villa d’Este features multiple parterres, bridges, and a tree-lined avenue leading to a statue of Hercules hurling Lichas into the sea. Thanks to the jasmine and rose bushes and olea fragrans trees, the grounds are also beautifully scented.
Insider Tip: One of the most famous specimens in the garden is the 500-year-old plane tree (Platanus occidentalis) growing between the main building and the Queen’s pavilion. The tree’s circumference is roughly 26 feet.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Lake Como Guide
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
WHERE: Skaneateles, New York
If the landscape at the Mirbeau Inn & Spa looks familiar, there’s a good reason. The gardens at this resort in the Finger Lakes were inspired by Monet’s in Giverny, down to the pond dotted with lily pads and a bridge. The Monet Gardens include blue and yellow iris, water lilies, and Chinese wisteria. Don’t miss the rose garden, or the Club Suite Grass garden, which has Japanese silver grass.
Insider Tip: “Skaneateles” is an Iroquois word meaning “long lake.” Don’t want to stand out as a tourist? It is pronounced “skanny-atlas” but “skinny atlas” is also frequently heard.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Finger Lakes Guide
Powerscourt House & Gardens
WHERE: Wicklow, Ireland
The gardens at Powerscourt House date back to the 1700s and were designed to replicate the grandeur and beauty of Versailles and Schonbrunn. The 47-acre garden is one of the best in Europe, and includes a lake and terraces. There are also Japanese and Italian gardens to explore, as well as statues commissioned by the Viscounts of Powerscourt.
Insider Tip: Powerscourt is also home to a pet cemetery, believed to be the largest in any private Irish garden.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Wicklow Guide
WHERE: Pasadena, California
The Langham Huntington, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, has two beautiful gardens set against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains. The Horseshoe Garden is a park-like enclave behind the hotel, which includes magnolias, roses, and creeping fig. The Japanese Garden features a step-down waterfall pond spanned by a curved footbridge, as well as azaleas, bamboo trees, and date palms.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss the Gamble House, located near the Langham Huntington. This National Historic Landmark was built in 1908 and is an Arts and Crafts architectural masterpiece.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Pasadena Guide
WHERE: Nairn, Scotland
The only guaranteed way to see the beautiful gardens at the stately Boath House is to be a guest at the hotel or dine at the restaurant. Boath House is located on 22 acres near Inverness, and the property features a wildflower meadow and woods, as well as a walled garden that is home to beehives and hens. Streams crisscross the land around the Boath House and guests can view swans, geese, and ducks on-site. The design is largely formal with contemporary touches, such as newly-planted grass gardens inspired by the Dutch design movement.
Insider tip: Boath House is also home to a two-acre ornamental lake that is stocked with trout, while the bog garden hosts an array of frogs, toads, newts, and dragonflies.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Great Glen Guide
CuisinArt Golf Resort & Spa
Gardening in the Caribbean comes with its own set of challenges, such as extreme heat and limited water. But CuisinArt crafts beautifully landscaped grounds with an eco-friendly approach. The resort offers weekly landscaping tours so guests can learn more about how the gardens combine tropical fragrance, color, and texture. Look out for coconut, date, and tamarind trees on the property. CuisinArt is also home to a half-acre hydroponic farm (the first in the Caribbean), which produces fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs for the resort’s restaurants.
Insider Tip: Feeling hungry on the tour? The landscaping manager will help crack coconuts or shake dates off the trees for guests.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Anguilla Guide
The American Club Resort
WHERE: Kohler, Wisconsin
The gardens at the American Club Resort in Kohler Village have an impressive pedigree. Designed by Walter J. Kohler, Sr. in collaboration with the Olmsted Brothers (the masterminds behind Central Park), the hotel’s 1,000-acre gardens include multiple courtyards, fountains, gazebos, and a greenhouse.
Insider Tip: Kohler Village is a planned community conceived about 75 years ago by Walter Kohler, the son of Kohler Company founder John Michael Kohler.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Wisconsin Guide
WHERE: New York City
Step into the gardens at The Out NYC and it’s hard to believe you're in the middle of Manhattan. The hotel offers plenty of green space, thanks to its multiple courtyards. For chilling out, there’s the 2,000 square-foot Great Lawn, dotted by beanbags, and the Bamboo Garden. There’s also a spa atrium and sun deck for those looking to catch a few rays post-treatment.
Insider Tip: The hotel is located in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen. This once-rough neighborhood was also the inspiration for the musical West Side Story.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s New York City Guide