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Magnificent Gardens 2018
Most Magnificent Gardens
Historic Hotels of America® has some of the finest historic hotels with the most magnificent and breathtaking gardens. From fields of tulips (over 16,000!) to massive cacti that have been growing since the 1920s, there are an array of flora and fauna among the historic gardens at these legendary historic hotels and historic resorts that must be explored, viewed, and experienced in person. These beautiful gardens range from grand estate size formal gardens to informal fields of seasonal colors to intimate herb gardens.
Romance blooms in the gardens of historic hotels whether making a romantic proposal to celebrating a very special occasion. Enjoy leisurely strolls in these storybook gardens that have been meticulously cared for by many generations of gardeners. Grow your own ever-blossoming memories in the Historic Hotels of America beautiful gardens. Read about our top gardens for 2019.
Come see how these gardens grow with the 2018 Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens:
|Hanover Inn Dartmouth (1780)
Hanover, New Hampshire
Hanover Inn has an unusual garden accessible to guests: the Brout Orchid Collection of 1,000 orchid plants. Housed in the Dartmouth College Life Sciences Greenhouse the collection is the gift of Alan P. Brout, Dartmouth class of 1951. His donation of nearly 1,000 individual plants represents over 30 years of collecting and caring. Alan is still very involved with the collection, finding new and unusual orchids to bring to the collection. Open to the public on weekdays free of charge, the Life Sciences Greenhouse is one of Dartmouth’s hidden gems. The 6,000-square-foot botanical oasis also serves as home to a dry room with desert plants and a sub-tropical room featuring a large fern collection along with a number of fragrant jasmine, olive and pomegranate plants.
|The Inn at Monchanin Village (1799)
The Inn at Montchanin Village has a full-time horticulturist and its own off-site greenhouses, which provide exquisite colorful landscaping on the grounds. Plantings help define spaces and create private garden nooks for guests to enjoy. The restaurant at the Inn, Krazy Kat’s, offers dishes with herbs and vegetables grown in the gardens of this historic hotel. Guests can access the historic buildings via a maze of ornate gardens featuring beautiful flowers and fragrant herbs.
|Antrim 1844 (1844)
Located within feet of the estate’s elegantly appointed mansion, are breathtaking formal gardens. Changing seasonally, the gardens feature thousands of flowers, trees and shrubs. With carefully placed walkways accentuated by twin bronze fountains, the formal gardens are surrounded by over 50 varieties of English Tea Roses, which reach a height of up to five feet in the fall. The gardens were brought back to life by owners Richard and Dorothy Mollett in the early 1990s, in part based upon the original design of the original owner. An herb garden is located beside the hotel’s original ice house, providing the seasonings for the restaurant’s incredible cuisine.
|French Lick Springs Hotel (1845)
French Lick, Indiana
The French Lick Springs Hotel formal gardens were originally constructed in a Japanese style and have remained as such through the decades. Traditional Japanese gardens are a small representation of a peaceful landscape, punctuated with a tranquil water feature, making the gardens at the resort a perfect setting for an outdoor cocktail hour, reception or wedding. There is a new gardening experience at French Lick Resort, The French Lick Academy. Guests who sign-up for the experience can tour the West Baden formal garden and greenhouse and have their questions answered by the resident gardening expert, Todd Schrank.
|Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (1847)
Point Clear, Alabama
Located along Mobile Bay and 171 years old, the Grand Hotel is an iconic, historic hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. More than 70 massive live oak trees dripping in Spanish moss are featured throughout the resort's lush landscape surrounded by acres of brilliant Southern azaleas, roses, camellias, colorful annuals and lush vegetation. The Grand oaks are legendary. From a secret garden for customized meals for couples to the chef's garden with more than 70 kinds of edible plants, the Grand's 550 pristine acres feature a stunning selection of color. The live oaks and fresh mint are the most beloved garden elements by Grand guests and are critical to the resort's Southern charm. In addition to oaks, fresh mint has been grown for decades at the Grand Hotel and is the signature ingredient for the resort’s famous mint juleps.
|Nottoway Plantation and Resort (1859)
White Castle, Louisiana
Nestled along the banks of the Mississippi River is the majestic Nottoway Plantation. There are 16 live Oaks that are registered with the National Live Oak Society and remain a cherished element of this resort. Many of the trees are as old as 150 years. Events and wedding ceremonies are planned under the canopies of theses majestic trees because of the natural beauty of the branches. A working vegetable garden and herb garden is in use by the kitchen to complement dishes with fresh ingredients. Abundant varieties of roses are staples used on the grounds at Nottoway with more than 100 of them planted throughout the grounds.
|Mohonk Mountain House (1869)
New Paltz, New York
The gardens at Mohonk reflect the influence of the French, Italian, and mostly English style of landscaping of the turn of the 19th century. Mohonk’s founder, Albert Smiley was the original designer of the show gardens. Each year, more than 1,000 flats of seasonal flowers are planted throughout the grounds at Mohonk. One of the outstanding features of the gardens on the grounds are the combination of sweeping lawns and open vistas with stately trees as focal points, surrounded by spectacular rocky cliffs. Various paths invite guests beyond the formal area and into the rose, herb, and cutting gardens. Cedar pergolas, arbors, benches, and summerhouses handcrafted by Mohonk’s rustic carpenters over the past century, enhance the natural aspects of the Mohonk landscape. Since its inception in 2012, Mohonk’s Children’s Garden has been a place for guests of all ages to touch, smell, taste, and learn about various plants.
|Wentworth by the Sea (1874)
New Castle, New Hampshire
The Wentworth by the Sea’s intimate gardens make a lovely backdrop for weddings in the gazebo. The highlight is a Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial cherry tree located on the tranquil lawn opposite the main entrance to the hotel. It is one of the trees descended from the iconic Washington, DC cherry trees that are planted around the state in honor of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty and New Hampshire citizen diplomacy. The Portsmouth Peace Treaty Living Memorial cherry tree project was launched in 2012, the 100th anniversary of the planting of the Washington, DC cherry trees, when historians discovered the DC trees were arranged by the Mayor of Tokyo to ‘thank America for its help during the Russo-Japanese War.’ The focus of that help was President Theodore Roosevelt's orchestration of the peace conference that took place in Portsmouth in the summer of 1905. The cherry tree is part of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty Trail -- a self-guided walking tour. Free maps are available from the hotel’s concierge.
|Basin Harbor Club (1886)
There are over 15,000 square feet of gardens encompassing this 132 year old, 700 acre historic resort. On average, 12,000 annuals are planted each year. Basin Harbor’s original gardens date back to 1911, when second generation host, Allen Penfield Beach completed his senior thesis at the University of Vermont on "How To Landscape A Resort" and took that thesis literally, laying out the blueprint for the gardens. Weekly garden tours are offered to guests as well as flower arranging classes.
|Grand Hotel (1887)
Mackinac Island, Michigan
Grand Hotel's grounds include more than 25 separate planted gardens that account for over one and a half acres of maintained garden beds. The hotel's front porch is the world's longest and completely lined from one end to the other with the hotel’s signature Americana Red Geranium, totaling 1,375 geraniums in 147 planting boxes. The hotel uses more than 2,500 geraniums throughout the grounds. Over 150 varieties of flowers can be found at the Grand each and every season, spread throughout more than 40 separate ornamental planting areas. The yearly planting material at the hotel can be quite staggering. This season's garden bed plant material alone consists of more than 50,000 annuals, as well as the 60,000 flower bulbs that are planted each fall. In addition, flower boxes and pots include more than 150 combination baskets, and well over 5,000 annual flowers. The most memorable aspect of the gardens at Grand Hotel include the roadside triangle gardens on the east side of the hotel. These gardens are filled with more than 16,000 tulip bulbs that burst forth each spring with radiant colors to signify the start of another magical gardening season on Mackinac Island. Guided garden tours at the hotel are led by some of the most experienced garden and grounds staff members. Tours are offered for Grand Hotel guests Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The movies Somewhere in Time and This Time For Keeps were both filmed around Grand Hotel and offer glimpses of the gardens and grounds.
|Jekyll Island Club Resort (1887)
Jekyll Island, Georgia
The Sunken Garden is one of the most notable gardens at Jekyll Island Club Resort and was a part of Crane Cottage’s original floor plan that was designed by David Adler and Henry Dangler. Crane Cottage was designed in 1916 and constructed in 1917. Historically, the Sunken Garden was anchored with boxed oranges trees that the resort then later replicated in the late 2000s. The most memorable space in the garden are the lush trellises. The ivy arches are admired and captured in photographs daily by guests, visitors and locals. The trellises are beautiful year-round, but May through July are the optimal months for visiting. In July, the orange and yellow lantana bushes are in full bloom, attracting dozens of monarch butterflies to the edge of the garden.
Adjacent to the main house, the formal gardens are 118 years old and have largely remained unaltered since their initial plantings. In addition to the boxwood hedges, original fixtures include an Italian-made bird basin, bird house, and sun dial. Many weddings and special events are held in the formal gardens throughout the year. Over 100 varieties of flowers and special ornamental plantings can be viewed on the grounds. Located on a secluded corner of Airlie’s front lawn is the Peterson Butterfly Garden. With the organic air of a cottage garden, the quiet babbling of a small stream, natural stone fences, and tranquil surroundings, it is designed to attract butterflies. A gazebo serves as the focal point of the garden and has become a favorite backdrop for wedding ceremonies and photo sessions. Produce, flowers, and herbs in the four acre organic garden have been cultivated for more than 20 years. This garden provides a variety of herbs and cut flowers for the restaurants located at Airlie. In addition to providing all the vegetables for the restaurant, much of the excess produce is donated to the local community.
|Castle Hill Resort & Spa (1905)
This elegant resort in Vermont is surrounded by beautiful gardens and the majestic pine forests of the green mountains. Upon arrival, guests are first greeted by the beautiful gardens which have been maintained, as designed, in the original landscape blueprint. The resort’s landscaping was drafted by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., son of legendary landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.
|Castle Hotel & Spa (1910)
Tarrytown, New York
Castle Hotel & Spa is perched majestically atop one of the highest points in the region overlooking the historic Hudson River in the lower Hudson Valley in New York. This historic castle sits on 10 tranquil wooded acres that provide a respite of refinement and luxury. The manicured grounds provide a magnificent backdrop for the numerous celebrations, events, and weddings held at this historic hotel. The garden room, available for private events or meetings offers views of the manicured gardens and Hudson River.
|Claremont Club & Spa, A Fairmont Hotel (1915)
The historic Claremont Club has 22 acres of landscaped gardens. Included throughout the grounds are sumptuous rose gardens. Wild bees are welcomed at the Claremont, with a ‘bee hotel’ on the grounds, designed in organization with Pollinator Partnership to encourage bees in the area and pollination in the gardens.
|The American Club (1918)
The gardens in Kohler were planted in 1913 when Walter J. Kohler, Sr., traveled to Europe to study garden cities. He then worked with the Olmsted Brothers, whose landscape firm had designed Central Park in New York City, to plan the green spaces that beautify the Village of Kohler and Kohler Co. campus – a 50-year master plan. A second 50-year plan of growth, under guidelines established by The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, was completed in 1977. This plan actively called for continued community development in the Village of Kohler. In 1981, following the renovation of The American Club - once home to immigrant workers, turned into a luxury hotel, the gardens developed further. There are over 7,500 annuals planted on the grounds of the hotel each year. All the annuals are grown on the Kohler Campus by the gardening staff at the Kohler Landscape Greenhouses. These annual displays are changed out twice a year to offer returning guests a new seasonal explosion of color. There are a variety of gardens on site, including The Wisconsin Room Courtyard. This garden’s focal point, a grand cedar arbor, supports a variety of decorative vines and casts its majestic shadow upon the bluestone terrace and its surrounding perennials. Another notable feature of the grounds at The American Club is the Fountain Courtyard. This courtyard offers outdoor seating to guests of The Greenhouse, a charming antique solarium from Chorley, Lancashire, in the north of England. There are arbors on each side of the courtyard covered in wild grape vines.
|The Broadmoor (1918)
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The gardens at this historic resort were built in 1918. Spencer Penrose, the founder of The Broadmoor, asked the Olmsted Brothers, John Charles and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., to design the grounds to be as artistic, memorable, and unique as the resort. Using primarily native grasses, flowers, and trees, they designed elaborate gardens and walkways that beautified and unified The Broadmoor with its surroundings. The resort’s historian has records of original plantings which included over 800 varieties of plants in the front gardens alone. Many of the trees and landscaping reflect what was planted decades ago, still flourishing today. As part of the resort’s year-long centennial celebrations, The Broadmoor plans to place a special spotlight on the gardens and the Olmsted Brothers throughout the month of August. There will be classes and activities on spring planting, as well as walking tours of the Penrose House garden areas and Broadmoor grounds that Olmsted designed.
|OHEKA CASTLE (1919)
Huntington, New York
This historic castle features French inspired formal gardens with fountains, 10 reflecting pools, classic statuary, and tree-lined paths of London Planes, designed by the world-renowned Olmsted Brothers. Original gardens back in the 1920s also included English style walking gardens designed by prominent landscape designer, Beatrix Ferrand. Hollywood has used the backdrop of OHEKA’s gardens in the classic movie, Citizen Kane, as well as being featured in a popular Taylor Swift music video and on the television series, Royal Pains.
|Ojai Valley Inn (1923)
Margaret Sears, celebrated landscape architect created the original gardens for Ojai Valley Inn, dating back to the 1930s. Sears also was responsible for the landscaping in the classic movie, Gone with the Wind. In 2008, Leland Walmsley, grandson of Sears followed in her footsteps and created an expansion to the Inn’s original gardens. Six gardens were added, creating a tropical oasis. Included in the expansion was an organic vegetable garden for the Chef whose restaurant overlooks the restored native creek-side habitat and two outdoor wedding sites. One of the most noted herbs at the Inn is the lavender that is found throughout the resort. Often used in wedding bouquets, lavender can be found planted in numerous places on the grounds, and perfuming the air in the award winning spa.
|The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park (1927)
Muriels Garden at Settlers Inn is an intimate cottage garden dedicated to the senses-sight, sound, scent and taste. The garden dates back to 1980, structured with plantings that are descendants from Muriel’s original gardens in Philadelphia. Muriel Rose Genzlinger is mother to the original owners of the Inn, Grant Genzlinger and the garden was named in her honor. Muriels Garden was designed by Michael Levine who has been updating the gardens for a decade. Open daily for all to view and stroll, there are several very tranquil spots throughout the garden; under the background heritage shade tree in the rear of the garden, stone yoga benches by the Lackawaxen River, and reflecting benches on the canal towpath trail in the woods. Muriels Garden is populated with 20 or so varieties of edible flowers that are used by the chefs at the Inn’s restaurant, the Chestnut Tavern.
|Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort (1929)
From the first moment one enters the 34-acre Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch Resort, beautiful flora and fauna can be seen all around. The walkway up to the historic archway features stunning, desert flowers frequented by hummingbirds, butterflies and lizards. The botanical gardens on-site feature varieties of agave, yucca, cactus and multitudes of annuals that bloom seasonally. The resort also features a chef’s garden and a bartender’s garden, filled with herbs, spices and citrus fruits to be used at both of the resort’s award-winning restaurants. This historic hotel originally opened in 1929 when it was a ranch school for girls. Many of the cacti and trees in the historical photos can be seen today, taller and fuller. Guests from all over the world come to the Hacienda to enjoy year-round sun which makes for incredible gardens and blooms.
|The Spa at Norwich Inn (1929)
The grounds at this historic hotel are flourished with perennial gardens, manicured lawns, courtyards, and a reflecting pool with fountains. Upon entering, guests travel down a private road, lined with century old maple trees. The grounds are abundant with well-groomed perennial gardens and century old oak trees.
|The Wigwam (1929)
Litchfield Park, Arizona
This luxury resort is surrounded by gardens and citrus trees, two blocks from Litchfield Park. All of the 331 guestrooms and suites feature outdoor patios, balconies or terraces with views of lushly landscaped gardens, vibrant flowers and mature shade trees. The trellis garden is a popular spot for events and weddings, in a manicured and vibrant outdoor setting.
|The Hotel Hershey® (1933)
Overlooking the iconic town of Hershey, the Hershey Gardens are a 23- acre botanical display featuring 11 themed gardens, including a historic rose garden with over 3,500 rose bushes with 175 cultivars. Among the themed gardens is a seasonal display garden, which features more than 20,000 tulips each spring, colorful annuals in mid-summer and vibrant mums in the fall. A one and a half acre children’s garden features 25 themed displays as well as chocolate scented, named, and colored flora. Since 1937, Hershey Gardens have delighted guests with a breathtaking assortment of flowers, shrubs, a stately collection of rare, signature trees vibrant seasonal displays. In 2016, the Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory opened, transforming the gardens into a year-round attraction complete with an indoor tropical butterfly atrium. The Hershey Gardens are located across the street from Hotel Hershey®, at one of Milton S. Hershey’s legacy properties. All overnight guests of the hotel receive complimentary admission to the Hershey Gardens.
|Royal Palms Resort and Spa (1948)
The grounds at the Royal Palms Resort feature whimsical stone walkways, manicured courtyards, hidden gardens and fountains. There are many lush gardens that can be found at this historic resort, including the Alegria Garden. This private outdoor garden is enclosed by four stone walls and surrounded by vibrant flowers and fragrant citrus trees, making it a great location for celebrating significant milestones. The Jardin D'Amore (Garden of Love) is a sumptuous garden nestled in a quiet, intimate area of the resort with gorgeous views of Camelback Mountain.
Read all our Top 25 lists:
Top 25 Most Haunted Historic Hotels
Top 25 Most Magnificent Gingerbread Displays
Top 25 Historic Hotels for a Romantic Proposal
Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens
Top 25 Most Magnificent Ceilings and Domes