Tree Huggers


When it comes to creating that sought-after outdoor dining spot, why not do the reverse and bring the outdoors inside? All it takes is some well-placed trees and a bit of design whimsy.

At the 280-room Barceló Milan, the Spanish hotel company’s first entrant into the Italian city of fashion and design, diners are immediately transported to a wintery birch forest. The wallpaper on one entire wall of the hotel’s ultra- modern restaurant is actually a reproduced photo of a birch forest by well-known Italian photographer Maurizio Marcato. The opposite wall is decorated with intertwining real birch branches and towering tree trunks, making the forest-dining illusion even more surreal. Skies may be grey and wet in Dublin, but diners at Sophie’s, inside Dublin’s newest boutique hotel, the 52- room Hotel Dean, can imagine they are sitting terrace-side on the Greek Isles, soaking up the sun, as they take in the restaurant’s 360-degree view of the city, while dining under massive, ancient live olive trees.

Leave it to Four Seasons to get in early on the whole tree-themed dining concept. At the chain’s luxury New York City stalwart, the 368-room Four Seasons Hotel, diners at The Garden restaurant can grab a table between the enormous tree trunks of African acacia trees, while they nosh on the likes of house specialties such as lemon ricotta hotcake and seared ahi tuna burger. Surely, this is the spot responsible for sowing the seeds of countless dreamed-about African safari travels.