How to grow The List The List: Our top 7 favourite hotels

The List: Our top 7 favourite hotels

A great holiday isn’t just about where you go and what you see, it’s also defined by where you stay. 

So when we plan a tour we don’t just look for the most exciting gardens, we also search out great hotels. We look for enchanting locations, interesting buildings, great views, charming service and those little extras that keep us coming back. 


Here, some of our team share their personal favourites.

 


Relax by the pool at the Victoria Hotel in Vietnam. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

1. Hotel Kanaya, Japan

Where is it?

This famous old hotel is on the outskirts of Nikko, 128kms north of Tokyo, home of the Tokagawa shrine, with its Shinto and Buddhist temples. The hotel overlooks the Oomarato Mountain range and has views over the turbulent Daiya River.

What is it?

The hotel was built in 1873 to accommodate wealthy international guests who came to ski in the nearby mountains and to walk the many hiking trails. It is built in western style with traditional timber features including sliding screens and panels. Famous guests include Emperor Hirohito, who stayed at the Kanaya for the duration of WW 2; HRH Princes Margaret; US General Macarthur; and Audrey Hepburn. Photographs of these guests line the upstairs gallery.

Why do we love it?

Ross Garden Tours has been travelling to Japan ever year for more than three decades and have come to know the Hotel Kanaya company president, Takayasu Akiyama, who personally greets our group. We love the beautifully furnished, dimly illuminated and rather exclusive lounge/bar in the heart of the hotel with its giant stone fireplace and bevelled glass windows. Guests can play old LP records and sip a tipple from an enormous range of whiskies.

Visit

www.kanayahotel.co.jp

 

The panoramic views from a corner toom in the Kanaya mean you never want to close the shoji screens! The Shinkyo Sacred Bridge was built in 1638 to carry the body of the Tokagawa Shogun to his burial place. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

2. The Queensbury, England

Where is it?

This luxurious hotel is in Bath, just up the road from the Assembly Rooms where Charles Dickens gave public readings and Jane Austen (along with her literary characters) attended balls. Around the corner are the architectural wonders of The Circus and Royal Terrace.

What is it?

Originally commissioned as a residence by the 8th Marquess of Queensberry, the hotel is spread across four adjoining Georgian terraces of lovely Bath stone, with 29 individually decorated rooms. (It was the 9th Marquess of Queensberry who wrote the modern rules of boxing, and who strenuously objected to the relationship between his son Lord Alfred Douglas and Oscar Wilde.)

Why do we love it?

The labyrinth of rooms, passageways and small staircases that join the houses is romantic and charming (and fortunately there’s also a lift!) and the hotel is also home of the renowned Olive Tree restaurant, one of the best in Bath.

Come with us

We’ll be staying at the Queensberry Hotel, Bath, for two nights in late May, after we’ve attended opening day at the unforgettable Chelsea Flower Show. We’ll be exploring this beautiful city and wandering the gardens of Stourhead – the earliest and most picturesque of the English Landscape movement.

Go on your own

www.thequeensberry.co.uk

 


The Queensbury stretches across four Georgian terraces in Bath. Photo - photolibrary

 

3. Hotel Duminy-Vendôme, France

Where is it?

If ever there was a well-situated hotel, it’s this one in the heart of Paris, just a few steps to the Tuileries and a five-minute walk to Place de la Concorde, the Champs-Élysées, the Ritz, the elegant Place de Vendome and the Louvre.

What is it?

This neoclassic building has been beautifully renovated as a boutique hotel, small and friendly with loads of Parisian charm. It was part of the block called Convent des Feuillants (Feuillants' Convent), from 1587 until the French Revolution when it became home to the Five-Hundreds' Council (Conseil des Cinq-cents) which established the new law system. During the Second World War, the buildings of this block were used as a headquarters for the German Occupation.

Why do we love it?

We just love walking to so many of the major attractions of Paris! And the breakfast is fabulous, served in the spacious vaulted underground cellars, with mouth-watering pastries.

Come with us

On the Ross Garden Tour of France in early June we spend our first five nights in this hotel, then we set off to explore the Loire valley, Provence and the Cote d’Azur.

Go on your own

www.hotelduminyvendome.com

 

The vaulted underground cellars of the Hotel Duminy-Vendôme, where breakfast is served. Photo - Hotel Duminy-Vendôme 

 

4. Ipanema Plaza, Brazil

Where is it?

This luxurious hotel is in the heart of the elegant Ipanema district in Rio de Janiero, just 100 metres from the beach.

What is it?

It’s a modern hotel with full facilities including a roof-top swimming pool with panoramic views of the beaches.

Why do we love it?

It’s all about the location here: you can walk along Roberto Burle Marx’s famous boulevard to Copacabana in one direction and Leblon in the other, stopping for a coconut juice at one of the many bars along this famous strip.

Come with us

We will be heading to Brazil and Argentina in October. Our tour begins in Buenos Aires then moves on to Bariloche in Patagonia, Iguacu Falls and finishes in Rio de Janeiro.

Go on your own

http://www.ipanemaplaza.com.br

 


The Ipanema district of Rio de Janeiro lies between the beach and the lake, and plays an important cultural role in the city, with galleries, theatres, bookshops, street carnivals and markets. We love that the Ipanema Plaza Hotel is right in the action. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

5. The Victoria, Vietnam

Where is it?

The Victoria is in Can Tho, on the banks of the Hau River, in the heart of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

What is it?

The hotel is in a charming French Colonial style and is the only luxury hotel in the Mekong Delta. The shady tropical gardens go down to the water’s edge, and there’s a fabulous pool, and delicious food. There’s even a pet water buffalo called Bravo!

Why do we love it?

Imagine the scene: evening cocktails, geckos gripping the walls, fans gently whirring overhead, tropical night fragrances – you can almost imagine Graham Greene appearing from the shadows smoking a cheroot and wearing a white fedora! It’s that sort of place.

Come with us

Can Tho is in the far south of Vietnam and we travel there to get a taste of the tropics, understand the fascinating delta life and visit the incredible floating markets at Cai Rang. The visit features early on in our itinerary and sets the scene for a memorable trip every March.

Go on your own

www.victoriahotels-asia.com

 


The grand entrance to the Victoria Hotel in southern Vietnam. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

6. Hotel Molino Stucky, Italy

Where is it?

This new hotel occupies the restored 19th century Molino Stucky Flour Mill and Granary on the Giudecca, an island across the canal from the city of Venice.

What is it?

In 1882 this simple red brick building was given a makeover with an elegant neo-gothic facade reminiscent of a medieval castle, complete with tower! At one time more than 50 tons of flour were produced here every day. The building is recognised as one of the most beautiful flourmills in Italy and it’s a landmark of Venice.

Why do we love it?

There’s a peaceful atmosphere here, away from the crowds and frenetic activity of the city, yet it’s just a short boat ride across the Guidecca Canal to be back in the throngs. Some rooms have a fabulous view of the city, especially beautiful at night with a rising moon.

Come with us

This hotel makes a great base to explore Venice, always popular with Ross Garden Tour travellers. Our next tour of Italy starts in Rome on October 23, 2010 then moves to Viterbo, Sienna, Florence, Venice, Verona and finishes in Stresa on Lake Maggiore on November 10.

Go on your own

www.molinostuckyhilton.com

 


The imposing façade of Italy's most beautiful flurmill, now the Hotel Molino Stucky, in Venice. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

7. Cable Beach Club, Broome

Where is it?

This hotel sits behind the sand dune of Cable Beach in Broome, Western Australia. The restaurant faces the beach and the Sunset Bar is the perfect spot to watch the sun setting and the camels returning from their evening walk along the beach.

What is it?

The hotel is a complex of two-storey timber buildings and bungalows built by Lord Alastair McAlpine, who fell in love with Broome and its beaches. He built this retreat in 1988 in Chinoiserie style to reflect the influence of 19th century Chinese pearlers. There are interesting cultural artefacts scattered throughout the resort.

Why do we love it?

I love the panoramic coastline views, especially when enjoyed over a leisurely breakfast, or an evening stroll. It makes a great base to explore Broome, the gateway to The Kimberly.

Come with us

The Ross Garden Tour of Western Australia starts in Broome with five nights at Cable Beach, then we spend three week discovering the best of the state’s wildflowers and finishing up in Perth.

Go on your own

www.cablebeachclub.com

 

 

The Cable Beach Club in Broome, WA. Photo - photolibrary.com

 

Text: The Garden Clinic/Ross Garden Tour team 

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About this article

Author: Linda Ross

Garden Clinic TV