The hotel complex is a good place to hide away – traditional Moroccan garden design values creating respite from the bustle of daily life. “Every garden belongs to its location’s culture and history,” says Spanish landscape architect Luis Vallejo, who designed the Royal Mansour’s grounds. “Within the medina, with its dense and winding spaces, we strove to achieve an extraordinary space for the hotel guests.” Vallejo’s green thumb has touched projects from private estates in Morocco, Spain, Israel, and the Middle East to the Santander Group’s massive Madrid headquarters.
He brought the Royal Mansour grounds to life with inspiration from Moroccan agrarian terrain, traditional Arabic courtyards, and Andalusian garden culture. Here, the surroundings engage all five senses – and that, of course, is by design. “A garden should have a sense of a relationship between time, color, volume, scent, and sound,” Vallejo says. Walkways skirt 400-year-old olive trees and splashing fountains, pass the hotel’s spa, and lead to breakfasts of fruit juice, cinnamon-dusted orange slices, and almond-and-argan-oil butter at La Table. Meandering the grounds, guests can spy at least seven citrus species, including tangerine, calamondin, kumquat, bitter orange, and grapefruit.
Travelers love the hotel and grounds for their hand-designed craftsmanship and horticulture – not to mention the gracious staff and two Michelin-starred chefs – but a deeper allure comes into play amid the stillness of date palm and fiddlewood trees. “The Royal Mansour estate is meant to be an oasis, literally and figuratively,” Vallejo says. Above all, it’s a place to rest – and dream. “A garden should always encourage the visitor’s imagination,” he adds. Royal Mansour is in good company with these six other hotels where lush landscapes draw travelers outside.
In September, the fields of Otahuna Lodge explode with yellow daffodils. The seven-suite estate outside Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island has a 125-year-old park with a great lawn, a Dutch garden filled with the bouquet of lemonwood and viburnum, and a potager orchard that’s home to hazelnut trees and five species of pumpkin. Virtuoso guests receive breakfast daily and a lunch or picnic basket with a bottle of local wine.