Room with a bloom: European hotels with beautiful gardens
You’re never far from nature on a Lakes & Mountains holiday. Sometimes, all you need to do is step outside your hotel door to be surrounded by natural beauty. From formal flower beds to age-old lemon groves, we’ve rounded up our favourite hotel gardens – perfect if you’re looking for inspiration for your own plant-filled patch, or just love enjoying other peoples’.
Du Lac et Du Parc Resort, Riva, Lake Garda
One of our TUI Platinum hotels, it’s easy to see why the Du Lac et Duc Parc Resort regularly gets 5-star reviews from guests. It’s stylish, modern and sets the bar high with its spacious rooms, private balconies and luxurious, glass-fronted spa. And then there are the grounds.
Set on the lakeshore, the hotel’s surrounded by its own park filled with leafy beeches, pines, poplars and palms. And being among so much lush greenery isn’t just a treat for the eyes, it’s also known to reduce stress and boost health – the Japanese even have a word for it, shirin yoku or forest bathing.
Step out for a stroll and follow winding paths to discover two ornamental ponds, or wander to the lake’s edge for views across the water to the mountains beyond. On sunny afternoons, you can’t beat a leisurely soak in the pool. And if you do fancy getting out and about, the Sigurtà Park botanical gardens are an easy day trip from the hotel, in the nearby city of Mantua.
Hotel Grand Des Iles Borromees, Stresa, Lake Maggiore
From its wrought iron balconies to the chandeliers and marble floors, this is every inch a grand Belle Époque hotel. Step outside, and the gardens are just as elegant, with their formal flower beds and Classical statues.
Opened in 1863, the hotel was a favourite for high society, and was even mentioned in Ernest Hemingway’s novel, A Farewell to Arms. Follow in their footsteps and take afternoon tea on the sun terrace by the manicured lawns. Or end the day in true Italian style with a passeggiata (an after-dinner stroll) and walk along gravel paths lined with flowering rhododendron bushes. And of course, no stay in Stresa would be complete without visiting the islands of Lake Maggiore – famous for their lush gardens, tropical plants and palaces.
Hotel Poiano and Poiano Apartments, Garda, Lake Garda
Surrounded by 60 hectares of Mediterranean greenery, you don’t even have to leave the hotel grounds to stretch your legs here. Wander past oleander bushes and olive groves, and down avenues shaded by slender cypress trees. And head out around sunset to smell the scent of roses, violets and hydrangeas from the flower garden.
Overlooking it all is the main hotel, with its terracotta-coloured walls and natural stonework. The rooms have balconies and terraces, so you’ve got somewhere private to sit and take in the views. Or to make the most of the outside space, go for an apartment – they’re separate from the main building and have their own gardens with parasols and loungers.
With so much space around, there’s room to fit in some fantastic sports facilities too. Enjoy some lengths in an Olympic-sized pool, get competitive on the tennis court or 5-a-side pitch and even have a go at archery.
Hotel Saalbacher Hof, Saalbach
This bright yellow hotel has everything you’d want from an authentic Austrian stay, from the friendly staff to the rustic décor in the restaurant and bar. But what you might not expect to find is a 3,000m² rooftop garden.
The hotel’s built into the hillside and the lawn runs right up to the roof’s edge, so you can enjoy panoramic views of the wooded Glemm valley. Rockeries break up the green grass, adding pops of colour here and there. Look closely and you’ll spot mountain flowers like crocuses and primulas, as well as alpine ferns and succulents.
Enjoy the peaceful space with a guided meditation or yoga session. And for something a little more energetic, you can walk the short distance to the Schattberg gondola to explore mountain paths and meadows scattered with wildflowers. Eager to discover more about the local flora? Go to one of the hotel’s herbal workshops, where you can learn about the health benefits of wild plants.
Hotel Romantik, Zell am See
Dating back to 1493, the Romantik is one of the oldest hotels in Zell. Head around the back of the building to find the mature gardens – sheltered by a row of tall trees, it’s a tranquil spot just moments from the historical centre.
At its heart are the fragrant rose bushes, bursting with deep red and pale pink blooms. And on warm summer evenings, the French windows in the restaurant are left open so you can enjoy the scent of the flowers while you eat.
When you’re not relaxing at the hotel, you can catch a train to Salzburg or join a guided day trip with TUI. The city’s famous for its gardens, from the flower-filled grounds of the Mirabell Palace to the leafy avenues and water features surrounding Hellbrunn Palace.
Hotel Bergland, Seefeld
Frescoed walls and balconies overflowing with flower-filled window boxes – the Bergland is just how you’d imagine an Austrian hotel to look. And while the gardens may not be the biggest around, the owners have gone the extra mile to make them a beautiful and relaxing space.
Shrub-filled borders soften the edges of neat lawns and a wooden deck is tucked away in one corner. You can sit back with a cool drink while you listen to the soothing sound of water from the nearby fountain. And if you feel like venturing further afield, don’t miss the hotel’s guided walks, where you’ll be shown the local area and can take in the alpine flora.
Hotel Wengener Hof, Wengen
With its wooden chalets and Belle Époque hotels, Wengen’s pretty as a picture – and there are no cars here, so it’s peaceful too. Set on the hillside overlooking it all is the Hotel Wengener Hof.
It’s surrounded by simple, landscaped gardens that reflect the natural alpine scenery. Follow stone-flagged paths past dwarf pines and conifer bushes to a small pavilion, where you can take in the big mountain scenery of the Lauterbrunnen valley. The botanical gardens on the Schynige Platte mountain are nearby as well. Hop on the cog railway and clack your way up to spend the day discovering alpine plants, like spring crocuses and edelweiss.
Then in the evenings, settle back at the hotel to enjoy some of that famous Swiss hospitality. You can savour local specialties in the dining room, before soaking up sunset views on the terrace while you sip a glass from the impressive wine list.
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