Incorporating tropical gardens into wonderful propertiesBy Tessa Prieto-Valdes
Philippine Daily Inquirer
What’s the best way to improve any property in the most natural way? Put in a tropical garden, of course! Any time a property has well-planned landscaping, especially a beautiful garden, the surroundings become more striking and remarkable.
I was quite impressed with the Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa (www.anantara.com), which has four-and-a-half hectares of lush greenery complementing the Thai-style structures of the hotel. Adding beauty to the naturalness of the entire property is the timeless Chao Phraya River, flowing beside Anantara and creating great synergy with its tropical gardens.
Surrounded by swaying palms, decade-old Banyan trees and blooming nature, the luxurious resort has superb lifestyle facilities including an expansive pool and pocket courtyards that lead to 11 dining restaurants around the hotel. The Anantara Spa is nicely placed in the South Wing, decorated with river stones and giant palms.
Redefining the resort’s luxury accommodations, the entire South Wing and its 169 rooms and suites were refurbished a couple of years ago. Contemporary Thai deign is reimagined through backlit mirrored panels and etched inscriptions, and the warmth of solid makha wooden flooring is balanced by the softness of Thai silk.
Space, light and views of the scenic river or lush gardens are accentuated by floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings. Three Deluxe room types are positioned to overlook tropical grounds or the age-old river life or are right beside the river.
The Junior Premier Suites feature a separate lounge with a full-length sofa, large ottoman and work desk, as well as a luxury bathroom with marble flooring and walls. Anantara’s Premier Suites boast a separate bar, an elegant dining area and a lounge area. The wrap-around balcony is accessible from both the living area and bedroom, and reveals impressive river views.
Anantara Resort truly lets its guests experience Bangkok’s colorful contrasts and indulgent waterfront lifestyle. With every room enjoying views of the lush garden setting, it is easy to never leave the resort.
Another great example of bringing in a verdant garden into a property’s look and feel is the Governor’s Residence Hotel (www.governorsresidence.com) in Yangon, Burma (Myanmar). This romantic, colonial-style mansion is blessed with a tropical garden and serene lotus ponds. Located in the elegant surroundings of the Embassy Quarter in Yangon, the quaint hotel is called the “Garden of the East.”
Upon entering the teak house, guests are instantly transported to decades past. The generous gardens only lend to the retro ambience, with shady trees and lotus ponds next to the fan-shaped pool.
The colonial house has Burmese charm set in this majestic, historic hotel. A lantern-filled garden lines the wooden walkway to the verandah with high ceilings and fans.
Of course, in our own country, there are great examples of lushly gardened resorts. The Farm at San Benito (www.thefarm.com.ph) is a sprawling resort in Lipa City, with villas spaciously set apart from each other and abundantly surrounded by coconut trees and other tropical plants.
The Farm’s refreshing views complement the Philippine style-structure and native interiors with modern amenities. It is a center for holistic healing and wellness and the classic tropical garden sets the backdrop for all the resort.
Strong design elements, bold foliage, dramatic plant colors and ponds make The Farm a garden paradise. The informal paths and “jungle” plantings with luscious palms and colorful foliage are perfect for the timber furniture and resort-style interiors.
A selection of perfectly placed palms and bamboo gives The Farm its tropical look. Several pocket gardens and waterfall features make the resort so relaxing and conducive for health and wellness.
The Farm recently opened The Narra Pool Villas, which have hill views of the palms and fruit-bearing trees. Each villa has its own private pool, and they are all spacious and beautifully designed. Floor-to-ceiling sliding doors make the outdoor charm flow into the inner space.
That’s three countries and three great examples of how to incorporate tropical gardens into wonderful properties. With our tropical weather and rich soil, there are so many more examples throughout the region. I only wish I could feature them all.
Visit www.tessaprietovaldes.com or follow @tessavaldes on Twitter.
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