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4 Hotels That Beautifully Showcase Biophilic Design


Hacienda AltaGracia’s holistic Well spa.
Hacienda AltaGracia’s holistic Well spa.

These spots bring new meaning to the concept of letting nature in.

More and more hotels are creating environments that blur the line between structure and nature – think living green walls, open-air suites, and sustainable gardens. This practice is known as biophilic design, a concept focused on building spaces that are compatible with nature and that unite botany and sustainability with form and function. Biophilic design is about more than just adding plants to a room: The goal is to create a harmonious human connection with nature that also benefits the environment. Here, a few hotels that celebrate this symbiotic relationship.



The lush view from one of Hacienda AltaGracia’s casitas.


The lush view from one of Hacienda AltaGracia’s casitas.
The lush view from one of Hacienda AltaGracia’s casitas.

Hacienda AltaGracia, Auberge Resorts Collection – Costa Rica

Hacienda AltaGracia’s 180 acres of untamed rain forest in the foothills of Costa Rica’s Talamanca Mountains set the mood for a wellness-centered getaway. The resort constructed its 50 casitas to blend into the environment, incorporating walls of windows for a seamless flow from bedroom to balcony. The holistic Well spa offers immersive experiences such as forest and crystal bathing, best complemented with a visit to the resort’s new butterfly garden. There’s also an on-site coffee farm, an organic vegetable garden, equine stables, and five miles of hiking trails – all of which were intentionally created for encouraging uninterrupted exploration. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.


A garden oasis at Lumière at the Fairmont Century Plaza
A garden oasis at Lumière at the Fairmont Century Plaza

Fairmont Century Plaza – Los Angeles

Biophilic design isn’t limited by geography – it’s often incorporated into urban spaces as well, offering city-goers a welcome natural respite. A recent revamp of the 485-room Fairmont Century Plaza intentionally removed some of the distinction between outdoor and indoor spaces by integrating greenery and other elements into common areas. The lobby invites nature in with an expansive living green wall and a marble-ensconced waterfall feature, but the most showstopping change is its floor-to-ceiling windows that retract belowground, filling the space with the best of Southern California’s abundant natural light. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.


Hôtel Martinez’s L’Oasis du Martinez.
Hôtel Martinez’s L’Oasis du Martinez.

Hôtel Martinez – Cannes

After a recent renovation, the 410-room Hôtel Martinez’s central courtyard, once a concrete-filled space, is now L’Oasis du Martinez, a decadently landscaped Mediterranean garden bursting with flowers, palms, and Italian cypress trees. Guests can explore walking trails and tranquil nooks meant for meditating, swim in the outdoor heated lap pool, and sip an Evasion (coconut water, mango, passion fruit, and ginger) at the new juice bar. Glass walls connect the French Riviera hotel’s fitness center and new Spa by Carita to the lush landscape. Applebee Travel Professionals travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 dining credit. .


 Hotel South Beach’s eco-sleek lobby.
Hotel South Beach’s eco-sleek lobby.

1 Hotel South Beach – Miami

A dramatic moss mural art installation anchors the lobby at the trendy, 426-room 1 Hotel South Beach, an oceanfront LEED Silver-certified property. Almost everything at 1 Hotels, a mission-driven brand laser-focused on sustainability, is repurposed with style: Fallen trees from South America’s rain forest take on new life as furniture, while regional coral stone and beetle-kill pine serve as headboard design elements. (Guests rest on sustainably sourced linens and mattresses.) Meals at Plnthouse features locally sourced, organic, and plant-based dishes (try the kabocha squash croquettes with confit jalapeño pepper sauce), and a house electric vehicle is on hand for jaunts downtown. Upon departure, guests can participate in the hotel’s One Less Thing initiative and leave behind one item of clothing to be donated to the Miami Rescue Mission. Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 hotel credit.




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