Ahh nature! It’s like your grandma’s chicken soup. It’s healthy, it’s the perfect pick me up and unfortunately, it’s available for a limited time only. So make the most of it while you can.
Bar the lucky ones living in the shade of majestic mountains or by sparkling blue seas, most of us have a bit of travelling to do before getting our fix of fresh air and sunshine. But even if you don’t have the Machu Picchu for a neighbor, there’s an alternative where you can disconnect from four walls and halogen lights with barely any commute time.
You can always step out into your garden.
Gardens are pockets of Nirvana that fit snugly in the four walls of your backyard and if you’re not doing it already, you owe yourself some zen time among your flower beds and lawn every once in a while. Or even better, you can catch some head space in one of these hotel gardens on your next holiday.
The majestic gardens listed below are considered among the best in the world and were made in the name of Prince’s, dynasties and aristocrats of a bygone era; but their beauty is timeless. Without further ado, we take you around the world from the deserts of Morocco, to misty Imperial China on a search of these natural gems.
The wedding gift of Prince Moulay Mamoun, La Mamounia’s gardens predate the hotel by over a century and is a landmark in its own right. And what a landmark it is. The Garden delights guests with acres of centuries old olive trees, fragrant flower beds and Zellij tiled pavilions in which to rest and contemplate the exquisite surroundings, just like the Princes of old.
2. Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal: Les Jardins du Palais Royal.
The Grand Hôtel du Palais Royal overlooks les Jardins du Palais Royal and is within walking distance of icons such as Le Louvre and the Comédie Francaise Theater, but no matter how Parisian it is, when you walk by its symmetrically arranged trees and guzzling stone fountains, past the sunbathers who clink and raise their wine glasses, past the squinting pétanque players and of course, the lovers locked in embrace on the lawn, you can’t help but feel that you’re someplace else.
3. Aman at Summer Palace: Summer Palace Gardens
The Summer Palace Garden is the best preserved Imperial Garden in the world, a miracle considering its beauty fell prey to the Opium wars and the Boxer Rebellion. The destruction prompted Empress Dowager Cixi to spend the entire budget originally dedicated to her Royal Navy, to restore the garden’s former glory. And the results are as mesmerizing as you’d expect.
The Lake Kunming takes up a large part of the garden and in the morning mists, it looks practically ethereal.
A marble boat stands high above the water, bridges and archways are everywhere to be found, a Buddhist temple towers atop Longevity Hill, and recreations of traditional riverside shops add to the old world charm. The garden is a world within a world and it’ll easily take you a day to soak in all its wonders, which is why the Aman at Summer Palace is the ideal HQ from which to do so.
Located in the former imperial retreat of the Summer Palace, this Aman resort is minutes away from a number of UNESCO heritage sites, including the Summer Palace’s gardens. One of the (many) perks of staying here, is the private access to the Summer Palace grounds which guests can visit even when closed to the public. If you want a taste of historical Beijing, this is the best way to go.
4. Villa d’Este: Gardens
The Villa d’Este’s 25 acres garden transformed landscaping in Europe and its influence can be felt to this day.
Commissioned by the Este family, the garden was an attempt to match the levels of luxury found in Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli. Built to emulate the Hanging Gardens of Babylon overlooking Lake Como, the Villa d’Este’s gardens are a triumph in that regard.
100 elegant fountains line the promenade, a collection of Roman statues decorate the lawns, centuries old Cypress trees are preserved in the lower grounds and sculptor Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s, the Fountain of Neptune, serves as the garden’s magnificent centerpiece.