Floral designs may be a deliberate marketing strategy today with guests apparently able to gauge the kind of experience they are going to have by the blooms in a hotel foyer or restaurant table, but Zara Horner just enjoys the beauty
The right flower in the right place can make a positive and lasting impression. A great floral arrangement can bring a touch of nature to an inside space, it can reflect not just the image, but the soul of a place.
Enhancing image may just be a stem away nowadays, but people have been using flowers for all sorts of reasons for centuries: to commiserate, to propose, to say thank you, or well done, but perhaps most of all we use flowers to decorate, to bring cheer and happiness and to mark special occasions … such as the festive season.
And… like food and drink, festive floral displays are social media gold!
The Fairmont Peace Hotel
The Shanghai icon recently won first place in the Top 15 Best Hotels in China in the Condé Nast Traveler 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards. And the floral displays would cetainly have played a part. Kitty Zhang from Ming Flower who does the arrangements at the hotel changes the displays in the lobby and public areas once a week. “The flowers are designed to match the hotel’s art-deco design and colour palette,” Zhang explains. “For the lobby flowers at this time of year we use red, green and yellow to attract guests’ attention and match the theme and design of the hotel. For other areas, we design around the surrounding environment and colour of the area to match, but also to stand out.” Zhang says guests are overwhelmingly positive in their response and many of them “are curious about the type of flowers since we use some special varieties imported from Thailand and the Netherlands.”
InterContinental Hong Kong
Christmas is big in Hong Kong and the hotel is known to embrace the festive spirit in its floral displays. “The hotel is known for the huge Christmas tree” erected in the lobby every year, and holiday decorations which adorn spaces throughout the hotel, Carole Klein executive director PR and communications says. For the festive occasion the flower beds at the hotel entrance are changed to seasonal pointsettias which are also used to decorate the lobby. Likewise at reception, guest relations and the concierge desk there will be festive arrangements and decorations. “The lobby lounge has small holiday-themed arrangements on each table which change weekly. The Club InterContinental Lounge has a large floral arrangement at the entrance. Our in-house florist Blooms and Blossoms monitors all the flowers to refresh and change as needed – depending on the area and type of flowers.”
One of Hong Kong’s most well-known and loved hotels The Peninsula has its own in-house floral team in charge of all floral decorations in the hotel, ranging from showpieces in the lobby to in-room floral arrangements to personalised bouquets. Billy Wong is senior florist: “For the showpieces in the lobby we change them every week and for smaller sized arrangements in our restaurants, we change them every five days depending on the location. However, during the festive season, we mainly use festive decorations largely lit candles and Christmas wreaths instead of fresh flowers in the lobby and other public areas.”
Wong and his team prepare three large floral arrangements in the lobby; for restaurant Gaddi’s “we very often use roses and at Spring Moon, our Cantonese restaurant, we have a small bamboo centerpiece on every table.” Guests love the flower arrangements so much Wong often sees them having photos taken next to the arrangements.
The Mulia, Bali
Bali’s newest award-winning resort heralds its self as “epitomising extravagence and opulence, redefining sophistication,” and the floral arrangements appear to adhere to that. Mulia Blossoms the in-house florist changes the displays seasonally and are looking forward to providing special arrangements for the festive season. Interestingly, “We always try to maintain the flowers to ensure longevity, to ensure no wastage.,” a spokesman tells AHCT. Particular favourites are: bougainvillea; cymbidium orchids; lavender; calla lilies and amaryllis. “We rotate and change the flowers often. So it is difficult to list them all. But over the festive season we will use blah blah blah blah blah blah and blah.” Guest response is always positive. “They are especially impressed by the fact the displays are modern and combine imported with local varieties.”
The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi
At The Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi an “in-house team of experts create floral arrangements using a variety of fresh flowers, sourced from daily trips to the local flower market,” says Deepak Sarin, executive housekeeper. Favourites include, carnations, lilies, orchids, roses, anthuriums, benicias and hydrangeas. The flowers are changed every two days. “Each space in the hotel is characterised by a particular kind of flower or arrangement. For example, Machan, the 24 hour international eatery has pink mokara flowers. Daisies are always on display at The Emperor Lounge and Wasabi by Morimoto is well-known for its display of purple orchids” The floral display in the lobby is the most photographed site at the hotel and it is tailored to suit special occasions.
“We always incorporate flowers as part of our traditional Indian welcome to guests – this has been a ritual at the Taj Mahal Hotel for over three decades now,” Sarin says, adding that guests respond with “delight… often followed by wonder about whether the flowers are real!”