Greenery in Hotels

By Sukhmani Bhore

Landscaping is an important component of hotel design and plays a crucial role in enhancing the property’s value. Landscaping is no longer limited to just creating green spaces outside the building but latest trends show that the gardens are beginning to move indoors too. Exquisite gardens are now being created within the confines of hotel buildings. 

The idea of interiorscaping has come into popularity over the past decade and today this has been gladly embraced by the hospitality industry. Hotels today are being designed with specific areas kept strictly for interior landscaping plants.

The Green Benefits
 
The most obvious benefit of greenery in hotels is that adding plants and greenery inside hotels adds to the charm and attractiveness of the building and create a welcoming environment. 

Besides cosmetic benefits, there are environmental and health benefits too of keeping plants inside hotels. Adding plants to interior spaces can increase oxygen levels. Plants release roughly 97 percent of the water they take in. Plants release moisture vapour, which increases humidity of the air around them. Thus indoor plants can increase the humidity of a room, which helps keep respiratory distresses at bay.  At the same time, plants remove toxins f r o m air.  

Studies suggest that greenery within hotels is known to provide greater job satisfaction to the staff and greater health benefits to the guests and staff alike.

There are other benefits of plants in hotels. Indoor plants help in directing or controlling pedestrian traffic towards significant landmarks, such as exits, check-in desks, escalators, etc. They can subdivide or enclose a large space into separate areas, reduce glare and reflection f r o m strong lights and act as screens to block out undesirable views or to create privacy.

Plants can also play their roles in softening the hard unappealing features of a building, and the plants’ potential can be used by the hospitality sector creatively. Thus it is no wonder that hotels are making efforts to provide their guests with a direct contact and access to the green spaces within their properties.

The Right Places for Plants 

A popular method of water display in the hotel is the fountain. Many hotels have indoor fountain to maintain humidity in the air and to provide a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. Hotel lobbies can incorporate indoor fountains surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers, which can not only add to the beauty and aesthetics of the hotel, but also can give the hotel a more welcoming look.  

Waterfalls too can be constructed within a hotel, landscaped with beautiful plants and natural rocks. Guests in the hotel will be encouraged to come out of their rooms and relax in the soothing sights and sounds of the waterfall, whose beauty can be spruced by the plants. 

Indoor garden is also a wonderful option to creatively use the potential of plants in the hospitality sector. Indoor garden can transform a stale boring hotel lobby into a vibrant living space. Indoor gardens can provide year long greenery and colour and look stunning. However, proper care needs to be given towards selecting the space for indoor gardens, as light and ventilation are important issues to be kept in mind. Beautiful Zen gardens, rock gardens, water gardens, etc can be easily created while keeping in mind the theme and look of the hotel.

Many hotels have pools. The landscape surrounding the pool is just as important as the design of the pool itself. No matter how well a pool may be constructed, if it is not landscaped nicely, it will only look bare. Whether the pool is indoor or outdoor, plants can play a crucial role in bringing out its beauty. Designers pay a lot of attention to pools and take great care in making the pool area an aesthetically pleasing and relaxing space. Plants that have less aggressive root systems and shed less should ideally be chosen for landscaping near the pool of the hotel. 

Hotels can give their guests direct access to green spaces by constructing rooms that open up onto decks and terraces. A mixture of hard surfacing and grass along with potted plants and water features can create an exquisite oasis for hotel guests to relax in.
 
Roofs of the hotels can also be ideal places for planting greenery. Hotel roofs planted with low-maintenance plants can improve the thermal performance of hotel buildings, helping to keep them cool in warm weather and insulating them in winter. The plants and the thin layer of soil also work like a sound barrier, particularly when they are wet, helping to reduce noise pollution. Hotels can even grow their herbs and vegetables on their roofs, to be subsequently used in the kitchens.

Green walls or vertical planting systems are an amazing mix of engineering ingenuity and beauty. Placed anywhere in a hotel, these walls can create amazing and striking views. Green walls can provide a stunning backdrop for a reception desk at a hotel lobby.

Open air atriums and courtyards are also ideal platforms to incorporate green spaces in hotels, which can help increase relaxation to guests. Meals served to guests in open, well landscaped spaces add to the charm of outdoor dining. 

And plants are absolute must in five-star hotels’ dining rooms as they can not only create a beautiful relaxed ambience which is so much essential for a classy dining experience, but can also absorb most of the fumes f r o m the food and kitchens. Designers don’t limit themselves to simple potted plants but in fact are coming up with a lot of funky ways to incorporate greenery in hotel’s dining rooms.

The Trend of Miniature Gardens 

Besides placing plants in these above mentioned spaces, the hotels can also experiment with miniature gardens. Miniature garden is a very new concept in India. Here an entire garden scene, including gazebos, furniture, houses, etc. is scaled down to fit into small containers, some even as small as coffee cups. 

They can be placed anywhere in a hotel f r o m guest rooms to lobbies, on reception desks or even on every dining table in the restaurants. The accessories are reusable and these miniature gardens are extremely low on maintenance. Although mini in size, these gardens in most cases can guarantee to pack a major punch to any hotel’s décor.
 
The Author is the Director, Archtech Solutions. 
 

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