Green fingered enthousiasts who want to escape the wet English weather and get their fix of gardening this summer, need look no further than Orient-Express’ Reid’s Palace, located on the subtropical island of Madeira.
With a year-round tropical climate, the island is home to bountiful and luscious gardens with the hotel itself situated in ten acres of gardens. To celebrate this, the clifftop hotel has put together a dedicated Horticulturalists Heaven package, incorporating exclusive guided tours of Funchal’s botanical gardens, private gardening lessons in the gardens of the hotel and even a chance to help create one of the hotel’s floral pieces.
The experience begins with a visit to Funchal’s famous flower market with the hotel’s resident florist. Here, guests will be taught about the wide variety of flora and fauna that thrive on the island. Upon returning to the hotel, guests will be taken through a flower arranging session, creating one of the hotel’s elaborate floral displays. A visit to several of Madeira’s botanical gardens follows, and with a private guide guests are shown around the exotic species of fauna that thrive on their grounds. At the Orchid Farm for example, horticulturalists will be taught how the owners cultivate and cross-polinate to produce some of the more rare varieties found on the island. While at the Palheiro Gardens, which are famous not just for the variety of plants that grow there but for their settng 500 meters above sea level, guests can feast their eyes on the magnificent collection of camellias, centennial trees and the myriad of other flowers and climbers.
To put some of their newly acquired knowledge to use, green fingered guests can round off their experience with a session with the hotel’s head gardner, planting and tending to the renowned gardens which overlook the Atlantic Ocean.
Based on two people sharing, the three night package includes luxury accommodation, daily breakfast, return airport transfers, and one dinner per couple in the hotel’s Villa Cipriani restaurant. As a memento of their experience, guests are gifted with a set of seeds from the hotel’s groomed gardens. Prices start from approximately £1,281 (€1,600).