By Kelsey Ogletree
Beautiful arrangements of flowers have always adorned countless lobbies and dining rooms, but these days, hotels and restaurants are doing even more to bring the outside in – not only incorporating blooms to pretty up a space, but creating entire experiences around them. (It makes sense: Just the sight of flowers can trigger the release of “happy” chemicals in your brain, such as dopamine and oxytocin.) Flowers can evoke strong travel memories too, from traipsing through lavender fields in France to picking poppies in California. Here’s what five hotels and restaurants are doing to encourage guests to stop and smell the roses – and the ranunculus and the tulips and the eucalyptus…
Flower Carts in Chicago
Forget the bar cart: At Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink – a hybrid restaurant, cocktail bar, and flower shop that opened in Chicago this spring – an in-house florist rolls a flower cart between tables each evening. Diners can choose from a premade weekly bouquet or build their own with an assortment of in-season stems, from ranunculus to spray roses to eucalyptus – then display it in a built-in vase on their table. After dinner, guests can have the flowers wrapped up to take with them and pretty up their hotel room.
Spa Treatments in Italy
From fragrant magnolias to brilliant rhododendron, local blooms inspire several treatments at Grand Hotel Tremezzo’s T Spa on Italy’s Lake Como. The Grand Garden Ritual, for example, includes an aromatherapy massage with blended floral oils, while the Lake Como Sleep Ritual features a full-body wrap using lavender grown adjacent to the property. After their treatments, guests can lounge by the spa’s Piscina dei Fiori (Flowers Pool) to experience total bliss – just do so before November, when the 91-room hotel closes for the season until April. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily, a 60 euro spa credit, a complimentary wine tasting, and more.
Flowers Everywhere in England
Though only open since last September, the 45-room Heckfield Place in the English countryside has already hosted a tulip festival that featured 25,000 brightly colored bulbs in bloom. Guests staying at the elegant Georgian manor estate can take part in guided walks around the hotel’s two walled gardens (including cutting their own flowers) and seasonal workshops led by London-based florist Kitten Grayson, who crafts all of Heckfield’s floral installations using plants grown on its 400-acre grounds. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and one complimentary lunch for two.
Tableside Arrangements in Portland
Chef Naomi Pomeroy loved creating centerpieces for her northeast Portland restaurant, Beast, so much that she opened a flower shop, Colibri, a mile away, last year. Diners can add a custom arrangement to their dinner reservation and have it waiting at their table – a way to “double down and make it extra special,” says Pomeroy of the French restaurant’s six-course tasting menu experience. Some guests get so into the flowers, they book a spot in Colibri’s seasonal workshops to learn how to arrange them on their own.
A Life-Size Display of Flowers in Vegas
Walking through the Conservatory at the 3,933-room Bellagio in Las Vegas isn’t just an Instagram moment – it’s a feast for the senses. The rotating floral displays, which are free to the public, perfume the air, while tailored background music transports travelers further into the display’s theme. Right now, that’s La Dolce Vita, which runs through September 7; this fall, autumn will be in full bloom through a captivating display of leaves, trees, and pumpkins from September 13 through November 30. Virtuoso travelers staying at Bellagio receive breakfast daily, a $50 dining credit, and a $50 spa credit.
Top Photo: Machine: Engineered Dining & Drink (Roshan Louise-Julie)