Many hotels and resorts sit on sprawling, manicured grounds. More often than not, these grounds are kept as a visual treat for guests. But a handful of establishments are going against the grain in terms of land use by growing their own food on-site.
Edible Landscaping: A Delectable Idea for Hotels and Resorts
From cultivating honey on a rooftop to a complete farm-to-table experience, opportunities abound for this promising hospitality trend.
Hotels Leading the Way in Eco-Hospitality
Edible landscaping is a key amenity in eco-hospitality, a movement that aims to minimize the industry’s impact on the community and environment. Unlike a sustainable green space, an edible landscape encourages more engagement from hotel employees and guests.
Hotels have their own unique contributions to the movement. The Brown Palace Hotel and Spa in Denver, for example, has a rooftop that hosts bee colonies, which then supply the sweet nectar that goes into the hotel’s line of bath and beauty products. The honey also goes into the guest’s afternoon tea. In Jamaica, the Round Hill Hotel and Villas offer a full sensory experience to guests. Its farm-to-table restaurant menu focuses on what’s growing in the resort’s on-site garden. Guests can also pick produce and have their harvest included in their meals.
Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa, a boutique hotel in upstate New York, offers a taste of country living with vegetable plots, a livestock barn, and spacious orchards. As part of its Sprouting Project, Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort houses a state-of-the-art aquaponic greenhouse that grows fish in 500-gallon tanks. The nutrients discharged by the fish then provide fertilizer to several varieties of herbs, tomatoes, and lettuce – a symbiotic relationship in action on the hotel’s luxurious, oceanfront grounds.
Starting a Delectable Green Space
There are countless ways to build an edible landscape. A hotel or resort with existing beds can easily incorporate herbs, vegetables, and fruits. But the light and soil conditions should meet the needs of the varieties you plan to grow.
Growing edible food on a balcony is a good strategy to elevate the in-room experience. You can plant fruit trees in large planters or herbs and salad greens in trough planters for guests to enjoy. Container gardening, alone, presents many opportunities for growing food since you can control the soil condition, manage pests and diseases, and move them around where the light conditions are ideal.
For urban hotels, the biggest challenge will be finding a location that receives six to eight hours of full sun, a key requirement for growing most vegetables. There are, however, several plants that thrive in low-light conditions, such as arugula, beets, carrots, cabbage, broccoli chard, and kale, all of which are worthy of a spot in your restaurant menu. If space is tight, planting in rows or beds may be impractical, since edible gardens have strict spacing requirements. If space is an issue, consider vertical and trellis planting or using raised planters, instead.
More than being an eco-conscious choice, an edible garden can also be a luxury amenity that can help increase a hotel or resort’s profit. It might take time to get a substantial ROI, but one thing is for sure, it’s possible for hotels to grow their food anywhere, whether it’s on a sun-bleached rooftop in Denver or 10-acres of farmland in Peru.