In Nature | Room With a View

TRAVEL  | By LINDSEY TAYLOR |  MAY 10, 2013, 11:30 AM


Some of the most thrilling nuances of a great landscape only become apparent in the brightness of dawn or when the afternoon light casts sharp shadows. But since many of the best gardens are private, gaining access to them at these magic hours can be a challenge. Thankfully, this is changing, as hoteliers across the globe have tapped major landscape architects to plant and design the greenery around their hotels. The result: a set of properties with outdoor spaces that are destinations in and of themselves. From the manicured grounds of a manor house in the Cotswolds, to a walled courtyard in Stockholm, to a working Cape Dutch farm in South Africa (and even to the lush tropicals planted by Arnaud MauriËres and Eric Ossart at Dar Al Hossoun in Morocco), these are gardens worth traveling for.

Hotel Il Pellicano, Italy Nestled into a hillside on the Argentario coast, this hotel has long been a hideaway for jet-setters. Its gardens, terraced into the property’s steep terrain by Paolo Pejrone, one of the country’s most talented landscape architects, spill over with aromatic herbs and bougainvillea. (Rooms start at about $550.)

Dar Ahlam, Morocco This 19th-century desert casbah has views of the Atlas mountains, as well as gardens with almond and date trees, and ancient palms. The designer is the Parisian Louis Benech, best known for his renovation of the Tuileries, and recently tapped as the first gardener since Le Nôtre to design a new grove at Versailles. He’s also responsible for the spectacular grounds at the Loire Valley hotel Château de la Bourdaisière, which has more than 200 types of dahlias and more than 600 types of tomatoes. (About $640.)

Golden Rock Inn, Nevis With views of the Caribbean, this hotel is a collaboration between the Miami-based landscape architect Raymond Jungles (a disciple of the Brazilian designer Roberto Burle Marx) and its artist-owners, Brice and Helen Marden. A tropical hilltop Xanadu, the grounds contain a labyrinth of paths, layered in vegetation, with modest cottages tucked into the landscape. (About $210.)

Babylonstoren, South Africa This hotel in Cape Winelands is also a working farm that dates back to 1690. The French architect Patrice Taravella, also known for his magnificent gardens at the Loire Valley’s Prieuré d’Orsan, used more than 300 types of plants and fruits on the property. (Rooms start at about $370.)

Ston Easton Park, England A Palladian mansion in Somerset surrounded by 30 acres of parkland first designed by the 18th-century gardener Humphry Repton. In the 1970s, Penelope Hobhouse, England’s reigning queen of herbaceous borders, updated the Victorian kitchen gardens and planted roses and flowers for cutting. (About $210.)

Ett Hem, Sweden An early-20th-century Arts and Crafts-style house in Stockholm has been converted into a boutique guesthouse with interiors by the designer Ilse Crawford. The Swedish landscape architect Ulf Nordfjell took charge of the courtyard, a tucked-away retreat that feels worlds apart from the city streets. (About $590.)

Temple Guiting Manor, England A 14 th-century estate in Gloucestershire that features the work of Jinny Blom, a young English garden designer who is also responsible for the grounds at the Moshe Safdie-designed Corrour Lodge in Scotland. At Guiting, Blom used dry stone walls to divide 14 acres into 18 outdoor rooms — with an orchard, terraced gardens and a pleached hornbeam walk underplanted with bearded iris. (About $540.)

Palazzo Parisi, Italy Set above the village of Oliveto, this 16th-century fortress — available as a villa rental — has views of the wooded Sabine Hills. The designerArabella Lennox-Boyd has spent the last two decades restoring the house and creating a lush, simple setting with Italian olive trees planted alongside English roses and lavender. (About $6,125 a week.)

Hotel Endsleigh, England It’s worth the three and a half hour journey from London to Devon to luxuriate in this beautiful house overlooking the Tamar River. The property was one of the last projects by the 18th-century landscape designer Humphry Repton, and the garden still reflects much of his design. The current owner, the designer and hotelier Olga Polizzi, has updated the interiors. Stay in large bedrooms with walls covered in exquisite botanical wallpapers and with sweeping views of the garden. Stroll the property’s 108 acres and get lost in romantic woodlands dotted with follies and grottos. Take note especially of the massive leaves of the gunnera plant, which grows so well in this climate. About $287 dollars; hotelendsleigh.com.

Le Prieuré D’Orsan, France In 1991 the married French architects Patrice Taravella and Sonia Lesot purchased a derelict 12th-century monastery and garden in the Loire Valley. They embarked on an extensive renovation, and now the property is part of the Relais & Chateaux hotel association, with wood-paneled guest rooms and a restaurant fueled by the offerings from the gardens. The grounds, maintained by the head gardener Gilles Guillot, are influenced by medieval tapestries, with fanciful topiaries, orchards, winding paths, high hedges and a kitchen garden spilling over with herbs and vegetables. About $321; prieuredorsan.com.

Lunuganga Estate, Sri Lanka Near the Bentota River, the late, celebrated Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa transformed an old rubber plantation into a 25-acre work of art, creating a series of outdoor rooms influenced by his time spent in England and Italy. (One can detect elements of the English Stourhead estate.) Once Bawa’s country home — and now a six suite retreat — the main house and outbuildings, courtyards, loggias and verandas are built in his signature tropical modernism style, merging streamlined minimalism with the rich color and dense textures of the jungle. $160;geoffreybawa.com.

La Petraia, Italy Located in the heart of Tuscany’s oldest wine region, La Petraia is a labor of love for its proprietors, the food writer Susan McKenna Grant (who is also the hotel’s chef) and her husband, Michael Grant. The restored 12th-century main house has four guest suites, appointed with hand-forged iron beds, artisan-made mattresses and locally woven linens. Outside, the focus is on vegetable gardens; abundant plots yield year-round produce. Grant’s tasting menus, designed around the daily harvest, are reason enough to stay. About $327; lapetraia.com.