More and more, travelers are seeking natural and outdoor destinations for their calming and restorative effects, eager for a peaceful break from the acute stressors of the past 18 months. As such, the intentional use of architecture and interior design to bring the outdoors inside is a growing trend in the travel space. For example, Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo is a cliffside resort town on a pristine 1,400-acre private peninsula. In the lobby, guests will discover that the forest is truly inside, with a design inspired by the tropical area surrounding it. In the bedroom, guests will find floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors that invite the magic of the rainforest inside.
Skyline Lodge, Highlands, North Carolina
Skyline Lodge is nestled in a temperate Appalachian rainforest and is surrounded by green peaks, two nearby waterfalls, and views of rolling mountains. Skyline Motor Lodge’s reimagined layout naturally encourages guests to spend as much time as possible outdoors, with its exterior hallway, large patio, and shared outdoor courtyard with string lights. Inside the rooms and on-site Oak Steakhouse restaurant, interior design by Mey & Co, picking up where the surrounding nature stops, with terracotta floors, original stone walls and fireplaces and organic, natural and textured elements (cork headboards, exposed stone, woven textiles and furniture in wood). In all spaces, a calming color palette of greens and neutrals reigns, while floor-to-ceiling windows and balconies in each room pull outward and allow guests to feel truly immersed in nature just beyond.
the sylvan, Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is nicknamed “the city in a forest” for its abundance of trees. As a nod to the nickname, the city’s newest hotel is Sylvan, from the Latin word Sylvie, which means “wood” or “forest”. Directed by Goodrich and the Kimpton design team, the hotel’s very space is visually connected to the greenery inside and out, with elements of the surrounding nature placed throughout; rich greens, warm wood tones, handcrafted ceramic details and living plants. Willow bar, a natural wine bar, is a garden getaway in the heart of the city, with a towering oak willow tree looming above, cafe lights strung everywhere, a climbing vine wall and lots of lush greenery, creating a enchanting outdoor garden atmosphere and more underscoring the hotel’s intention to honor and preserve nature within the city.
Andaz Bali, Indonesia
Opened in April 2021, the overall concept of the resort reflects the location and draws inspiration from the surrounding villages, from its intimate scale with buildings nestled amid lush greenery to the use of the distinctive red brick, a building material traditional in Sanur. The center is the village square where the open and barrier-free design invites customers and local residents to come together. Set in low-rise clusters, accommodation and facilities are spread across a lush tropical landscape following cardinal directions, which play an important role in the Balinese Hindu religion. The rooms, suites and villas are designed in a contemporary Balinese style, using local materials such as bamboo, andesite stone, marble and teak wood.
Hotel Mar Monte, Santa Barbara, California
Reflecting the rising tide, the hotel spaces flow effortlessly from inside to outside over three acres of Spanish-influenced land, from the hotel lobby and lounge to meeting spaces and event, restaurant concepts and outdoor terraces. Based in Los Angeles Beleco directed the interior design of the Hotel Mar Monte. Bright white walls create an airy and welcoming atmosphere in the lobby and living room. Beamed ceilings and arches are complemented by chandeliers, terracotta tiled floors, and an artistic large-scale ceramic tile installation behind the front desk, bringing Spanish-style elements to the space in a color palette earthy muted.
La Maison du Lac in Canandaigua, Finger Lakes, New York
Cate Mills, VP of Design for Long weekend, says: “I designed the Willowbrook Spa with the intention of making the colors, textures and light airy feel cohesive with those of The Lake House in Canandaigua. I brought specific plants directly from the property’s grounds indoors as well as sprigs of herbs to flavor the chilled water or place them in bud vases for their scent and greenery. I used locally sourced white oak wall panels and a hand carved beech slab for the fireplace mantel, both native to the area. It was important for me to evoke a sense of region in this space as there are so many wonderful plants, herbs and flowers growing naturally in the Finger Lakes.
The Renaissance New York Chelsea Hotel, New York, New York
Located in the flowery Chelsea district, The Renaissance is on the former site of the famous Chelsea Antiques Garage. Wally Aubuchon, senior interior designer at Stonehill taylor says, “Our design concept at Stonehill Talyor centered around a secret garden tucked away on the streets of New York. To channel the history of the site, we have layered hidden treasures in public spaces and bedrooms, guiding guests through an experience of wonder and discovery. Lush greenery weaves in the lobby arcade as well as the penthouse bar and outdoor rooftop pool, giving the impression of an oasis in one of the tallest rooftop pools in town.
The Boca Raton, Boca Raton, Florida
“With a renewed emphasis on connecting to the outdoors, the hospitality industry is more sensitive to the positive influence of nature on health and recreation,” notes EDSA CEO Scott LaMont. “Consider the Boca Raton in Florida. In an effort to reintroduce heritage property into its outdoor roots, we helped the team of owners re-prioritize outdoor spaces to enhance the overall guest experience and broaden their appeal. Through a series of upgrades and transformations, all areas of the property have been refined, including new public spaces, remarkable restaurants, and renovated and refurbished rooms.
Cape Town, a Thompson hotel, Los Cabos, Mexico
Perched just above Los Cabos’ famous white sands and designed by architect Javier Sanchez, The Cape, a Thompson Hotel combines modern architecture with open-air design and integration with its natural Baja surroundings. for a contemporary and organic atmosphere. Two pools and a duo of outdoor spa cabins seem to spring from the natural rock formations. All suites offer picturesque ocean views and many come with binoculars for whale watching, people watching, or just daydreaming all day.
The Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, Japan
“When designing the Presidential Suite at Mandarin Oriental, Tokyo, I took inspiration from the bonsai garden and brought this green color palette and natural, organic feel to the space,” said Jeffrey Wilkes, director and founder, DESIGNWILKES. “We wanted to give the illusion of looking at the sky through the trees when designing the bedroom ceiling and the carpet design evokes the world of Origami. We want the guest staying in the Presidential Suite to feel a sense of calm upon entering the room with its naturalistic design taking inspiration from the Japanese landscape and culture. “