1. Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris
Four Seasons Paris
Courtesy Four Seasons Paris
In between spearheading the hotel’s extravagant displays, Leatham’s client list is vast, from the Kardashians to Oprah Winfrey.
Despite his hectic schedule, lucky guests can score a (free!) two-hour workshop with him, dubbed The Jeff Leatham Experience, resulting in a bouquet with bragging rights. (Nonhotel guests can also partake for 200 euros.)
2. The Kitano Hotel, New York
If you can time your visit for March, odds are good that you can also admire his annual ikebana exhibit at the hotel, which this past year included 23 floral arrangements. (Yes, cherry blossoms were among them.) While The Kitano doesn’t offer any ikebana classes, fear not. The hotel can arrange private classes with Noda himself, who also teaches at the Ikenobo Ikebana Society.
3. The Pulitzer, Amsterdam
Mention the Netherlands, and tulips are one of the first things that spring to mind.
The hotel’s florist, Season Flowers, has also filled the interior with colorful tulips that complement the décor. Don’t worry if you miss prime tulip season, since the impressive displays are changed on a weekly basis and often highlight whatever’s in season. Even better, the hotel offers a flower shop right off of the lobby, so you can fill your room with all the stems you desire.
4. Bellagio, Las Vegas
Rotating exhibits are sure to impress no matter when you visit. Previous themes have covered Japanese spring, Chinese New Year, an underwater paradise, seasons and major holidays. And because this is Vegas, this floral spectacle is free and open to the public 24/7.
5. Claridge’s, London
(Tip: If you want to be the first in the know, the floral team changes the displays in the wee hours on Friday mornings.)
While the creations are always jaw-dropping, they outdo themselves for holidays and events. Upcoming arrangements will be coordinated with the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in May, which is to be expected. Although how many hotel floral displays will also feature a tennis theme for Wimbledon?
There’s even a McQueens shop in the hotel — never mind if it isn’t a special occasion. Or take a one-day master class at McQueens flower school to really elevate your flower game.
6. The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai
Taj Mahal Palace
Courtesy Taj Mahal Palace
Besides the lobby, keep your eyes open for creative floral displays everywhere, from the restaurants to rooms.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, you just may find a heart-shaped arrangement and rose petals all over your room. Flowers throughout are a mix of local and imported, coordinated with the seasons as well as India’s many festivals. As an additional touch, all spa guests are welcomed with flower leis.
(Inside tip: You’ll know you’re in the company of VIPs if you spy floral umbrellas at the entrance.)
7. The Dolder Grand, Zurich
Florists go to great lengths throughout the property, which involves refreshing 20 sites every morning. Fastidious duties range from tailoring room arrangements based on the décor and feel to ensuring that there are no mixed flowers in public areas.
While the floral arrangements in the lobby are always grand, the pièce de résistance is the annual eight-foot-tall Easter egg. The 3,000-pound creation takes 24 hours and more than 12,000 carnations to execute, resulting in your childhood dreams realized.
8. Gaylord Opryland Resort, Nashville
Courtesy Gaylord Opryland
In fact, many of the plants bloom year-round, thanks in part to a climate-controlled environment and air exchange system. Leave plenty of time to explore the three separate gardens.
The Garden Conservatory is the oldest, having opened in 1984, and is filled with 10,000 tropical plants. The Cascades Atrium is where you’ll find the most flowering plants, plus a waterfall. The Delta Atrium has a more subtropical feel, along with native Southern species. Get a partial overview of the latter by riding a boat along the quarter-mile-long river.
Be sure to book a garden atrium room if you’d like to gaze at the botanicals every chance you get.
9. Hotel Metropole, Monte Carlo
Instead of sticking to traditional flower arrangements, hotel artistic director Perrine Guyonnet, or Miss Rose as she’s commonly known, incorporates an array of items that work with her vision, whether it’s flower-filled birdcages suspended from the ceiling or a floor-to-ceiling faux wedding cake decorated with layers of flowers.
For example, the current mood is spring, represented by a full-size cherry blossom tree in the lobby. Past moods have included Grace Kelly, Exotic Chic and Over the Rainbow.
10. Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina, Kapolei, Hawaii
She and her team tend to design around seasonal blooms, with an emphasis on local varieties. For example, the whimsical peacock took advantage of seasonal Dendrobium orchids and the low-wind factor.
(Unlike the average hotel, they have to take the wind and other weather into consideration, since the resort has an open-air lobby.)
Beyond arranging flowers, Tagawa and her team also create designs around events and holidays, such as a larger-than-life rooster for the Year of the Rooster. If you’re considering holding a wedding at the hotel and want to take your flowers in a different direction, you’re in luck. For one lucky couple, Tagawa arranged thousands of loose orchid heads on the grass in order to recreate a traditional Hawaiian quilt pattern.
11. Nanjing Green Towers, Nanjing, China
Forget being wowed by flowers and greenery in a hotel lobby. At Nanjing Green Towers, two entire buildings will possess that wow factor when they open in 2018 in the Pukou District.
Designed by Stefano Boeri Architects, the facades will be draped in about 1,100 trees and 2,500 plants and shrubs — a living building, if you will.
But this magnificent feat isn’t just for show.
As Asia’s first vertical forest (the Italian architecture firm has already constructed one in Milan), the plant life will help combat air pollution by absorbing 25 tons of carbon dioxide every year.
The larger tower will house mostly office space, along with a museum and green architecture school.
A 247-room Hyatt hotel complete with rooftop pool will occupy the smaller tower, so you can experience one of the word’s only vertical forests for yourself.
Meredith Rosenberg is a New Jersey-based travel writer for the Travel Channel, Conde Nast Traveler and more.