FIVE GARDEN HOTELS GROWING IT FOR THEMSELVES

As London’s Ham Yard Hotel launches its Summer Sessions this week, shaking up cocktails with botanicals from their own rooftop garden, we take a look at the hotels doing it for themselves and being self-sufficient with their produce. From honey to herbs to vegetables, this is how their garden grows…


1. BELMOND LE MANOIR AUX QUAT’SAISONS

A real trailblazer on the hotel kitchen garden front has got to be the Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. Set in the glorious Oxfordshire countryside, it’s home to 11 gardens and orchards, including a two-acre organic vegetable and herb garden. The hotel grows over 90 types of salads and vegetables, all of which are served up at Raymond Blanc’s double Michelin-starred restaurant. It’s also just pioneered the very first gardening school within a hotel. Run by Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons’ Head Gardener, Anne Marie Owens, participants will stroll through to the gardens to the Hartley Botanic Glasshouse for some interactive, hands-on tuition – plus a delicious lunch.


2. THE PIG

Another hotel championing the traditional kitchen garden is The Pig at Combe. This latest addition to The Pig (with sibling properties in the New Forest, Southampton, Dorset and near Bath) opened last summer in Devon’s Otter Valley, and is home to no fewer than three walled kitchen gardens. The Vegetable Garden, Herb Garden and Infusion Garden are used to create the hotel’s delicious menu, with any ingredients that are not picked from the kitchen gardens sourced from within a 25-mile radius.


3. THE SAMLING

Up in the Lake District and with arguably some of the best hotel views on earth, The Samling offers a completely unique take on the kitchen garden. Run by Bjorn Abraham, it boasts a seed exchange project; an innovative idea that sees them exchange seeds with top restaurants across the globe and plant them in their development garden back in the Lake District. The produce from the gardens is then used in the menus at the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant.


4. HAM YARD HOTEL

Running right through August, the brilliant Ham Yard Hotel (part of Kit Kemp’s Firmdale Hotels) is hosting a series of well-curated Summer Sessions centred around the botanicals they grow on their own rooftop. The series kicks off with Summer Sundowners up on the roof terrace (until August 8th), during which you can sip gin and tonics, Pimms or Aperol Spritzes adorned with freshly picked fruits, herbs and garnishes. Afterwards it’s on to Garden to Glass (August 12th to 18th), when mixologist Eoin Kenny will show off his cocktail menu designed to use Ham Yard Hotel’s kitchen garden ingredients, including borage, lemon verbena and scotch bonnet chillies. The sessions will conclude with Rosé on the Roof (August 19th to 29th), featuring a flight of four rosés from around the world.


5. THE MARK: ST ERMIN HOTEL

ooh honey…look what our bees have made #honey #homegrown #bees #lovebees #urbanbeekeeping #beekeeping

A post shared by St Ermin's Hotel (@sterminshotel) on

Also offering something rather unique is The Mark: St Ermin Hotel in London’s Westminster. The hotel’s rooftop is home to 350,000 Buckfast honey bees, all living in custom-built hives – it even has a rather inventive ‘bee hotel’ for visiting bees, ladybirds and lacewings (don’t worry, it’s all behind glass!). Chef Adam Handling has created a signature Honey Afternoon Tea, which comes complete with lemon honey cake and delicious sea-salted honey macaroons. The hotel also offers urban beekeeping taster workshops with beekeeper Camilla Goddard. Tickets cost £25.00pp and include a honey cocktail at the Caxton Bar afterwards. This year’s been a sell out; but tickets for next year will be up for grabs from January.

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Sara D'Souza

Sara d’Souza is a travel content strategist on the MSN specials team, contributing editor to the Travel Edit and travel writer for ELLE, ELLEuk.com, Red Online, Sunday Times Travel, MSN Travel and Upward Curve inflight magazine, Visit London, Jetsetter and Virgin.