Personal Growth

Why JW Marriott is planting edible gardens in its lodges

The luxurious resort model has been planting gardens on its properties since 2019. The most up-to-date one—a 7-foot-tall terrarium full of herbs—sits within the foyer of its Manhattan location.

Marriott Essex House, New York [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

The terrarium was designed by Lily Kwong, whose eponymous panorama design studio has beforehand labored with H&M, St-Germain, and the French clothier Joseph Altuzarra (who can be her cousin). The terrarium is a part of a broader initiative known as the JW Garden, for which the resort chain crops fruits, greens, and herbs to make use of in its kitchen and spas.

Marriott Essex House, New York [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

To date, one-quarter of JW places, or about 25 lodges, have gardens ranging in dimension from a small terrarium to a rooftop backyard to a full greenhouse. Over the subsequent few years, the corporate plans to plant a backyard in each single one in all its 103 properties. For the initiative to make a real affect, these gardens would must be nearer to a greenhouse than a terrarium, however at scale, the idea may assist present a mannequin for self-sustaining lodges and eating places world wide.

Lily Kwong [Photo: Liza Voloshin/courtesy Marriott]

In New York City, the terrarium is extra of an artwork piece than a viable backyard, and although the herbs will probably be harvested usually, they’ll be coupled with a separate plant shelf within the resort’s restaurant, the place the chef can use varieties like mint, oregano, and rosemary for cocktails and spice rubs. Like the terrarium, this three-shelf system is positioned the place visitors can see it.

But the foyer is the place the magic lies. Bursting with 5 variations of mint, plus thyme, rosemary, and flowering parsley, the miniature panorama sits in a custom-designed cherrywood cupboard concerning the dimension of a wardrobe. Herbs develop on a mattress of stucco, domestically foraged moss, and imposing rocks present in Brooklyn. Created by Brooklyn-based design studio Līmen, it options scalloped edges impressed by the columns within the resort foyer. A hidden string of UV lights helps stimulate the herbs’ development.

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, California [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

The terrarium is Kwong’s third—and smallest—backyard for JW Marriott. At the resort in Palm Desert, California, her spa-adjacent backyard, accomplished in January, options native crops and edible herbs chosen for his or her therapeutic advantages: Think sage for its antimicrobial properties, and cacti for pores and skin irritations. “Before we had CVS and Whole Foods, the forest and the jungle were our medicine cabinets,” Kwong says.

JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa, California [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

At the Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, accomplished in March, she designed an out of doors backyard with benches, and 4 quadrants surrounding an enormous planter overflowing with rosemary. “The JW brand is really committed to holistic well-being and creating these mindful moments, so I wanted to create this meditative circular inner sanctum where people could retreat,” Kwong says.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, Florida [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

The scale of Kwong’s initiatives could appear comparatively small, however “a little bit goes a really long way, and that’s the beauty of the herbs,” she says. More vital, her designs have helped put Marriott’s initiatives on the map. The impetus for the JW Garden program got here from the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes, in Florida, which constructed a chef’s backyard proper exterior its restaurant in 2012; it additionally had a farm boasting chickens, geese, and honeybees.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, Florida [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

Since then, the model has grown a community of gardens throughout its total portfolio. In downtown Shanghai, the JW Marriott Marquis has a rooftop backyard, and in Italy, the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa features a chef’s backyard and an olive grove.

“The amount of space a hotel has will dictate how much they can grow and incorporate into the guest experience,” says Bruce Rohr, JW Marriott’s world model chief. That half is essential. Back in Manhattan, the JW resort is positioned inside a Nineteen Thirties artwork deco constructing with no outside house. This, mixed with how vital visibility was to the model, explains why Kwong’s terrarium was positioned within the foyer.

JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, Florida [Photo: courtesy Marriott]

Just how a lot of the produce at any JW resort is sourced from the gardens stays unclear. And for the initiative to actually make an affect, lodges would wish much more house. But within the meantime, initiatives like Kwong’s assist amplify this system and lift consciousness concerning the significance of rising your individual meals.

“To me, these herb gardens are really like a portal into a reconnection with the rhythms of the land,” says Kwong, who began her own residence backyard final 12 months (first with greens, then tomatoes and strawberries). “I find people can be quite landscape-blind, and it’s good to reconnect them to the incredible power and beauty of the natural world, and really put it on display.”

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