Three garden-variety urban getaways
Photography Eric Laignel (1 Hotel)
Aman made its name as a luxury brand with secluded hideaways in far-flung spots like Bali and Bhutan. So it came as a bit of a surprise when, in December 2014, the brand opened a property on the top six floors of a 38-story skyscraper in the heart of the world’s largest metropolis, Tokyo. But when you consider that the Otemachi Tower sits amid nearly an acre of cultivated forest—centered on a rain-fed stream and made up of more than 56,000 plants, including Japanese andromeda and Konara oaks—the pairing makes sense. The sylvan theme extends up to the hotel proper, where the reception desk is carved from the massive trunk of a 250-year-old camphor tree, vases carry bouquets of blossoming twigs, and craggy bonsais compete for attention with panoramic views of the Imperial Palace Gardens.
1 Hotel Central Park
NEW YORK CITY
In space-starved Manhattan, plant-loving apartment dwellers have to get creative, filling cramped rooms with succulents and living walls to let a little green in. Opened last August a block south of Central Park, the second outpost of the new 1 Hotels brand (after the one in South Beach) follows the same model. The result? You never feel far from the great outdoors. Take the brand’s signature nature scent, which combines cedar and eucalyptus leaves with moss and is meant to evoke the smell of the forest floor; or the front door, which is made up of 16,000 fallen twigs. Outside, the bottom three stories crawl with English ivy, and public spaces and guest rooms brim with sustainable touches like reclaimed white oak, preserved moss, and terrariums from Brooklyn’s Sprout Home, made with recycled remnants from a nearby glass studio.
Gardens loom large in London society, so it’s no surprise that some of the city’s poshest properties come with their very own pocket-size Edens. A member of the Firmdale Hotels group, Number Sixteen is made up of three white stucco Victorian townhouses in South Kensington. Reached through a sunny orangery, the recently renovated garden features a lily-pad-filled reflecting pond and is dotted with metal bistro tables where you can take afternoon tea. Firmdale design director Kit Kemp, who’s responsible for the brand’s trademark cozy-chic decor, brings the garden motif indoors with the property’s grandma-approved collection of antique birdcages, bright pops of lemon yellow and pea green, and an installation of paper butterflies cut from old books. If you’re feeling inspired, Hyde Park is just a stone’s throw away.