HOTELIER INTERNATIONAL: WHAT IS THE ESSENCE OF GOOD LANDSCAPE DESIGN IN A HOTEL?
Randle Siddeley: The essence of good landscaping is where both the landscape and the hotel complement each other. You are creating a paradise. The interior and exterior need to be joined at the hip, all needs to flow freely. Also important is to arrive through the landscaping to your resort. I’ve seen so many hotels that are overpowering. It’s hard in city hotels to create a comfortable arrival, but the journey from the car to the hotel should be seamless.
HI: WHAT CAN HOTELS LEARN FROM PRIVATE HOMES WHEN IT COMES TO LANDSCAPING?
RS: Creating intimate spaces that you can escape to without feeling that you are among the other 100 or 200 guests that are staying there.
HI: Why are great exterior spaces important for a hotel?
RS: First impressions. You create the ambiance from the first approach. You want something seamless. You need to havethat transition, when you get out of your car and walk through an arcade or whatever the landscape, and you feel you’re relaxing. Feel your holiday is starting, feel that comfort… the views are so important.
HI: What’s a common mistake or problem you see in hotel landscaping?
RS: Big entrances. There’s often too much space given over to car arrival. It’s hostile. I was on holiday recently, and when I arrived at the forecourt of the hotel and it was this barren bit of hard landscape, it totally killed it. Fine, you might have a smart Rolls Royce, but you don’t need it in front of the hotel. Cars need to be moved away.
HI: What’s the best advice you have for a hotelier embarking on a new garden project?
RS: Don’t skimp on the landscaping. Landscape is something that matures over a period of time, so it’s important that what you’re creating can be allowed to mature properly, not that it have an instantaneous effect because it has been overplanted. Then, manage the landscape properly. You have to remember that we can spend millions, but if we don’t have the right people looking after it you might as well burn your money. I can’t emphasize enough the after-care. Grooming it, clipping it, that’s essential. Make sure you do create that first impression and that there is a nice green landscape as you approach the hotel wherever possible. If it’s not possible, see what else you can do. You see a lot of these live plant walls, which have become the latest fashion. I’m all for it. I think it’s phenomenal. It distinguishes you.