Why Hospitality and Hotel landscapes?

I always notice the landscape.  I have lived all over the place and the landscape or the products of it are always what I remember.  I remember I found it utterly frustrating coming from Colorado and wide open plains to upstate New York when I went to college.  There were so many trees, getting lost was easy because, unlike home,  I couldn’t  see for miles and just generally work myself in the right direction.  When my grandparents came for graduation they commented about feeling claustrophobic, I totally got it.

So a few years ago, when we returned from England back to the northeast, I had this strange nostalgia driving through Connecticut about the way the trees looked on the side of the highway.  A noticeably different overall look than highway forests in the UK, or France, or Florida, or Northern California, or Canada, or Russia, or Norway or…or….or….  I have always thought it might be interesting to make a study of how forests and wooded areas look different from the highway, but I am not sure what the point would be.

Anyway, coming to my point, I bring this all up to answer a question that was recently asked of me,…. why landscapes? and why residential design? and why hospitality design (that is the landscapes around hotels, resorts, restaurants, spas and other great destinations)?  This is why.

I love to travel so writing about it makes me happy, but also there is a trickle down effect— what you see in hotels today is often what you see in homes tomorrow.  When it comes to design, I like to be an early adopter.  And hotels (at least the best ones) recognize that they are part of a travel experience and the culture of their location and they should be all about creating authenticity to highlight what is special and interesting about the place.  It could simply be the plants that thrive on that land and the food that they produce, or going to greater extent, and with design, making a place that is extraordinary.

The act of removing myself from one environment to another is so completely inspiring and rut breaking, that I want to share that with you.   So that is why I talk about what I talk about here.  So I can daydream about all the places I haven’t been and share the ones I have, I can study them and learn from them and you, my dear readers, can take inspiration too and create your own local places that I am sure would be so interesting to visit.

So with that, I want to share with you my all time favorite hotel garden (to date) . This is the garden of the Hempel Hotel in London…I have always found such inspiration in this picture.  It is a stunning design, but also proof positive that a garden or landscape, when well designed can be the whole reason for visiting a place.

Hempel Hotel Garden

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.


  1. Michelle Derviss on December 1, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    The garden that you show is a picture of loveliness.

    I also recognize that resort design highly influences and inspires residential design.
    I like your analogy of the ‘trickle down effect’.
    So true.

    I’ve been fortunate to travel a little bit during my life.
    The following are my favorite resort gardens that have inspired my landscape design practice.
    In Oxfordshire UK : Le Manor aux Quat Saison

    In Bali ( many favorites but the ultimate was ) The Oberoi -http://www.oberoibali.com/Hotel/Hotel-Overview.aspx

    In Napa Valley : Auberge du Soleil – http://www.aubergedusoleil.com/html/accom.shtml

    In Kauai : The Grand Hyatt

    – – link to 2 photo albums – Bali resorts and the Grand Hyatt resort in Kauai.



  2. rochelle on December 2, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Wow, Michelle we are two minds thinking alike…. I love Le Manor too…haven’t been to the others…but they are amazing looking – thanks for sharing. Also, so great to have other designers reading…makes me feel good.

  3. rochelle on December 2, 2008 at 8:12 am

    Michelle – do you know, is the oberoi in bali designed by Bill Bensley? It looks like it… I am going to research… I am preparing a posting on him…he is one of my design heroes.

  4. Michelle Derviss on December 2, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    I’m not sure if Bill Bensley worked on the Oberoi.
    I would look in the new book, Paradise by Design, that was just published on his resort designs but I have lent this book to a client to inspire her to let me do some water features on her project.
    Have you seen his new book ? It is my absolute favorite !!!

    I went to Bali 2 years ago with an eclectic group known as ‘The Hortisexuals’. We went to tour cutting edge Balinese residential and resort gardens.
    We were treated to the opportunity to meet Made Wijaya and view several of his projects including his own studio and home where he served us the most exotic tasting tropical lime juice martinis. – Thank goodness we had a driver !
    Also have the opportunity to meet several other designers and view their projects.

    Another fantastic resort that I had a chance to visit was the Novotel Benoa, designed by Bill Bensley. – That garden and resort is fantastic ! – http://www.novotelbenoabali.com/photo/index.htm

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