Plants are our newest design muse. When we talk about green designs, of course, we are talking about a level of environmental friendliness, but we are also talking about rekindling a connection with mother nature. Plants are not just objects to look at - guests and employees physically feel better with access to nature, even if just via an indoor plant nestled in a cafe. They feel more relaxed and calm. That is why we always encourage our clients to bring botanicals into their hotel designs. Every hotel needs the freshness and life that plants bring to the ambiance.
Using indoor plants is a subtle way to bring the outside world in. I’ve seen hotels that create elaborate indoor gardens, and hotels that simply place palms of grasses in a pot by the door. No matter how small the effort, every indoor plant always make a huge impact.
When choosing your indoor plants, decide the atmosphere you want to create. The plants you use in a spa-like setting are vastly different from a professional work space. Then, you will want to consider the maintenance and location requirements of each breed and variety. For example, Dumbe Cane is a popular leafy green plant that does not need direct sun. However, Moth Orchid has beautiful butterfly shaped flowers, but need careful care and plenty of bright light.
For me, hospitality goes beyond infrastructure. Indoor and outdoor spaces should be balanced. I am always so impressed when hotels pay as much attention to their landscape design as their interior design. The size and shape of the garden do not matter as much as the designer’s creativity. One should aim to create a space where guests come to relax and read a book...a place they do not want to leave.
When designing your garden, have fun with it! Include trees, rock formations, sculptures and benches. Create a unique path from recycled bricks or tiles from your building, or add a koi pond. Your guests will appreciate having a space set aside for them to “stop and smell the roses.”
Green Walls and Vertical Gardens
A vertical garden could also be considered if there is minimal space. Green walls are particularly breathtaking. There is something very visceral about walking into a hotel and seeing a whole wall full of vibrant, earthy plants. But your wall is not only beautiful, but it also serves to make the building more energy efficient by creating a layer of insulation, more relaxing by providing a sound barrier, and cleaner by filtering any toxins in the air.
Green walls can be costly to build, but they are easy and inexpensive to maintain. They often use recycled gray water from the hotel and are set up to automatic watering. When you consider how this asset can set your hotel apart from the competition, they pay for themselves very quickly.
Vicinity to plant life is not only beautiful. The closeness to nature is important to the psyche of both our guests and employees. They give our guests a reason to relax while offering employees a more comfortable working environment. Studies have even suggested that a connection to nature in the workplace reduces absences while increasing productivity. When did hotels get so confined by their brick and mortar that we forgot to make space for mother nature?