The 2018 Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens Announced

The grounds of these iconic historic hotels have the most beautiful historic gardens

WASHINGTON--()--Historic Hotels of America® has some of the finest historic hotels with the most magnificent and breathtaking gardens. From fields of tulips (over 16,000!) to massive cacti that have been growing since the 1920s, there are an array of flora and fauna among the historic gardens at these legendary historic hotels and historic resorts that must be explored, viewed, and experienced in person. These beautiful gardens range from grand estate size formal gardens to informal fields of seasonal colors to intimate herb gardens.

Romance blooms in the gardens of historic hotels whether making a romantic proposal to celebrating a very special occasion. These storybook gardens have been meticulously cared for by many generations of gardeners.

Here’s a sampling of the 2018 Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens:

Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
The gardens at Mohonk reflect the influence of the French, Italian, and mostly English style of landscaping of the turn of the 19th century. Mohonk’s founder, Albert Smiley was the original designer of these colorful gardens. Each year, more than 1,000 flats of seasonal flowers are planted throughout the grounds at Mohonk. One outstanding feature of the gardens is the combination of sweeping lawns and open vistas with stately trees as focal points, surrounded by spectacular rocky cliffs. Guests can stroll beyond the formal areas into the rose, herb, and cutting gardens. Cedar pergolas, arbors, benches, and summerhouses handcrafted by Mohonk’s rustic carpenters over the past century, enhance the natural aspects of the Mohonk landscape.

Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan
Grand Hotel's grounds include more than 25 separate planted gardens that account for over one and a half acres of maintained garden beds. The hotel's front porch, the world's longest is lined from end to end with more than 1,375 of the hotel’s signature Americana Red Geraniums in 147 planting boxes. More than 2,500 geraniums are planted around the grounds. Over 150 varieties of flowers grow throughout more than 40 separate ornamental planting areas. Every season, the garden beds are planted with more than 50,000 annuals and more than 60,000 flower bulbs. Flower boxes, pots, and the more than 150 combination baskets include over 5,000 annual flowers. The carriage roadside triangle gardens on the east side of the hotel are filled with more than 16,000 tulip bulbs that burst forth each spring with radiant colors to signify the start of another magical gardening season on Mackinac Island. Guided garden tours at the hotel are led by some of the most experienced garden and grounds staff members. The movies Somewhere in Time and This Time For Keeps were both filmed around Grand Hotel and offer glimpses of the gardens and grounds.

Jekyll Island Club Resort (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
The Sunken Garden is one of the most notable gardens at Jekyll Island Club Resort and was a part of Crane Cottage’s original floor plan that was designed by David Adler and Henry Dangler. Crane Cottage was designed in 1916 and constructed in 1917. Historically, the Sunken Garden was anchored with boxed oranges trees that the resort then later replicated in the late 2000s. The most memorable space in the garden are the lush trellises. The ivy arches are admired and captured in photographs daily by guests, visitors and locals. The trellises are beautiful year-round, but May through July are the optimal months for visiting. In July, the orange and yellow lantana bushes are in full bloom, attracting dozens of monarch butterflies to the edge of the garden.

Airlie (1892) Warrenton, Virginia
Adjacent to the main house, the formal gardens are 118 years old and have largely remained unaltered since their initial plantings. In addition to the boxwood hedges, original fixtures include an Italian-made bird basin, bird house, and sun dial. Many weddings and special events are held in the formal gardens throughout the year. Over 100 varieties of flowers and special ornamental plantings can be viewed on the grounds. Located on a secluded corner of Airlie’s front lawn is the Peterson Butterfly Garden. With the organic air of a cottage garden, the quiet babbling of a small stream, natural stone fences, and tranquil surroundings, it is designed to attract butterflies. A gazebo serves as the focal point of the garden and has become a favorite backdrop for wedding ceremonies and photo sessions.

The American Club (1918) Kohler, Wisconsin
The gardens in Kohler were planted in 1913 after Walter J. Kohler, Sr., traveled to Europe to study garden cities. He then worked with the Olmsted Brothers to plan the green spaces that beautify the Village of Kohler and Kohler Co. campus. In 1981, following the renovation of The American Club - once home to immigrant workers, turned into a luxury hotel, the gardens developed further. There are over 7,500 annuals planted on the grounds of the hotel each year. These annual displays are changed out twice a year to offer returning guests a new seasonal explosion of color. There are a variety of gardens on site, including The Wisconsin Room Courtyard. This garden’s focal point, a grand cedar arbor, supports a variety of decorative vines and casts its majestic shadow upon the bluestone terrace and its surrounding perennials. Another notable feature of the grounds at The American Club is the Fountain Courtyard. This courtyard offers outdoor seating to guests of The Greenhouse, a charming antique solarium from Chorley, Lancashire, in the north of England. There are arbors on each side of the courtyard covered in wild grape vines.

The Broadmoor (1918) Colorado Springs, Colorado
The gardens at this historic resort were designed and planted in 1918. Spencer Penrose, the founder of The Broadmoor, asked the Olmsted Brothers, John Charles and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., to design the grounds to be as artistic, memorable, and unique as the resort. Using primarily native grasses, flowers, and trees, they designed elaborate gardens and walkways that beautified and unified The Broadmoor with its surroundings. The resort’s historian has records of original plantings which included over 800 varieties of plants in the front gardens alone. Many of the trees and landscaping reflect what was planted decades ago, still flourishing today. As part of the resort’s year-long centennial celebrations, The Broadmoor plans to place a special spotlight on the gardens and the Olmsted Brothers throughout the month of August. There will be classes and activities on spring planting, as well as walking tours of the Penrose House garden areas and Broadmoor grounds that Olmsted designed.

Ojai Valley Inn (1923) Ojai, California
Margaret Sears, celebrated landscape architect created the original gardens for Ojai Valley Inn, dating back to the 1930s. Sears also was responsible for the landscaping in the classic movie, Gone with the Wind. In 2008, Leland Walmsley, grandson of Sears followed in her footsteps and created an expansion to the Inn’s original gardens. Six gardens were added, creating a tropical oasis. Included in the expansion was an organic vegetable garden for the Chef whose restaurant overlooks the restored native creek-side habitat and two outdoor wedding sites. One of the most noted herbs at the Inn is the lavender that is found throughout the resort.

The Hotel Hershey® (1933) Hershey, Pennsylvania
Overlooking the iconic town of Hershey, the Hershey Gardens are a 23- acre botanical display featuring 11 themed gardens, including a historic rose garden with over 3,500 rose bushes with 175 cultivars. Among the themed gardens is a seasonal display garden, which features more than 20,000 tulips each spring, colorful annuals in mid-summer and vibrant mums in the fall. A one and a half acre children’s garden features 25 themed displays as well as chocolate scented, named, and colored flora. Since 1937, Hershey Gardens have delighted guests with a breathtaking assortment of flowers, shrubs, and a stately collection of rare, signature trees. In 2016, the Milton and Catherine Hershey Conservatory opened, transforming the gardens into a year-round attraction complete with an indoor tropical butterfly atrium. The Hershey Gardens are located across the street from Hotel Hershey®, at one of Milton S. Hershey’s legacy properties. All overnight guests of the hotel receive complimentary admission to the Hershey Gardens.

Other noteworthy Historic Hotels of America historic gardens worth visiting include:

Hanover Inn Dartmouth (1780) Hanover, New Hampshire

The Inn at Montchanin Village (1799) Montchanin, Delaware

Antrim 1844 (1844) Taneytown, Maryland

French Lick Springs Hotel (1845) French Lick, Indiana

Grand Hotel Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa (1847) Point Clear, Alabama

Nottoway Plantation and Resort (1859) White Castle, Louisiana

Wentworth by the Sea (1874) New Castle, New Hampshire

Basin Harbor (1886) Vergennes, Vermont

Castle Hill Resort & Spa (1905) Cavendish, Vermont

Castle Hotel & Spa (1910) Tarrytown, New York

Claremont Club & Spa (1915) Berkeley, California

OHEKA CASTLE (1919) Huntington, New York

The Settlers Inn at Bingham Park (1927) Hawley, Pennsylvania

Hacienda Del Sol Guest Ranch (1929) Tucson, Arizona

The Spa at Norwich Inn (1929) Norwich, Connecticut

The Wigwam (1929) Litchfield Park, Arizona

Royal Palms Resort and Spa (1948) Phoenix, Arizona

“Discovering, exploring, and experiencing the historic gardens of Historic Hotels of America should be on everyone’s bucket list,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Director, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Whether a guest wants to walk alone, take a romantic stroll with a loved-one, enjoy a perfect setting for long un-interrupted conversations, or just take a restful quiet stroll, these historic gardens are truly magnificent and create wonderful long-lasting memories you can take home.”

To learn more about Historic Hotels of America’s most magnificent gardens, go to

About Historic Hotels of America®

Historic Hotels of America is the official program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation for recognizing and celebrating the finest Historic Hotels. Historic Hotels of America has more than 300 historic hotels. These historic hotels have all faithfully maintained their authenticity, sense of place, and architectural integrity in the United States of America, including 46 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Historic Hotels of America is comprised of mostly independently owned and operated historic hotels. More than 30 of the world’s finest hospitality brands, chains, and collections are represented in Historic Hotels of America. To be nominated and selected for membership into this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old; has been designated by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark or listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places; and recognized as having historic significance. For more information, please visit


Historic Hotels of America
Heather Taylor
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications
Tel: +1 202-772-8333
Fax: +1 202-772-8338

Release Summary

The 2018 Historic Hotels of America Top 25 Most Magnificent Gardens Announced.


Historic Hotels of America
Heather Taylor
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications
Tel: +1 202-772-8333
Fax: +1 202-772-8338