Villa d’Este, Italy
There are ravishing views over Lake Como from the Villa d’Este, one of Italy’s iconic places to check in. This villa-turned-152-room hotel was built in 1538 for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and its verdant gardens have been evolving ever since – the photogenic high-point is the Roman Baroque-style, 16th-century mosaic nymphaeum. Take a walk up the sloping grounds, through the headily scented plants and flowers and the views of the lake are even more magical. A new one-bedroom villa set in the gardens called the Mosaic House was also unveiled recently.
Cernobbio, Italy (00 39 03 134 81; villadeste.com). Doubles from €460 (£350), B&B.
Les Jardins du Manoir d’Eyrignac, France
Set in the heart of the enchanting landscape of the Dordogne, just outside Sarlat, Eyrignac’s gardens are considered among the most beautiful in France. Owned by the same family for more than 500 years and centred around an historic manor house, the gardens are divided into seven themed areas, including an impressive section of topiary. There are enchanting views of The Kitchen Garden from the windows of the chocolate-box pretty L’Annex du Manoir, a self-catering property.
Salignac, Dordogne, Périgord, France (00 33 5 53 28 99 71; eyrignac.com). One week’s self-catering at L'Annex from €750; sleeps four.
Biltmore Estate, North Carolina, USA
The Vanderbilts were one of the fabulously wealthy dynasties of America’s Gilded Age. In the late 1880s George Washington Vanderbilt started creating the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate and its palatial chateau-style mansion, which is still North America’s largest privately owned home. The surrounding grounds were turned into one of the country’s most impressive gardens laid out by Frederick Law Olmsted – the rose gardens alone contain more than 250 varieties. There are a few different places to stay on the estate, but the two-bedroom Cottage is a real charmer, built in 1896 by the mansion’s original architect, Richard Morris Hunt. It is now decorated in suitably grand style and is available for overnight and longer stays.
One Lodge Street, Asheville, North Carolina, USA (001 866 336 1245; biltmore.com). The Cottage from $1,500, B&B; sleeps four.
La Mamounia, Morocco
Sir Winston Churchill spent many happy hours behind his easel in the gardens of La Mamounia, calling it “the most lovely spot in the whole world”. With towering palm trees, orange trees, 700-year-old olive trees and the intoxicating scent of rose bushes, the 18th-century gardens of “Arset el Mamoun”, from which the hotel takes its name, were a gift to Prince Moulay Mamoun from his father, Sultan Mohammed III. The now legendary hotel was built in 1923 and had a makeover in 2009 at the hands of French designer Jacques Garcia; the hotel’s swimming pool, tea house and Moroccan restaurant are also tucked into the gardens’ 20-acre expanse.
Avenue Bab Jdid 40, Marrakech, Morocco (00 212 524 388 600; mamounia.com). Doubles from £445 room only.
Hotel New Otani, Tokyo
Despite being located in the teeming streets of Tokyo, there is a real sense of Zen-like calm in the gardens of the New Otani Hotel. The gardens predate the hotel by almost 400 years, when they were part of a residence owned by Samurai Lord Kato Kiyomasa. Fast forward to 1964, when local businessman Yonetaro Otani built the hotel and renovated the gardens to welcome visitors for the Tokyo Olympics the same year. Along with the scarlet red Taikobashi Bridge, one of the other standouts is the six-metre-high waterfall that looks particularly spectacular when dusk falls and the gardens are illuminated.
4-1 Kioi-Cho, Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo, Japan (00 81 3 3265 1111; newhotani.co.jp). Doubles start from 24,000 yen (£150), room only.
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