Swing open the doors of the new suites at Leman Locke and it will become crystal clear that something delightfully eccentric is going on. From behind the curtains, Boston ferns poke, their curved fronds glowing in the daylight.
Orchids reach towards the ceiling. Peace lilies hug the bedroom walls and the bathrooms are positively bursting with foliage. The plants are so plentiful that it looks like seed bombs have gone off in the towel racks.
In one particular room, above a double bed is a living, breathing canopy of heart-shaped leaves from Devil’s Ivy and varieties of philodendron. Welcome to the houseplant hotel rooms in Whitechapel, London. It’s a jungle in there. Watch out for the snake plants.
An aparthotel, Leman Locke is pitched towards travellers keen to pitch up in a cultural quarter of the capital. But the design hotel might well become a pilgrimage of sorts for plant lovers, in particular, those with a regard for the indoor variety.
To promote the health benefits of plants and provide customers with a dose of ‘forest-bathing,’ the hotel has injected three rooms with simply stunning greenery.
Dreamt up by publisher The Joy of Plants and the trendy team at Leman Locke, some very experienced design specialists and gardening personalities have been roped in to get the verdure just right.
The rooms were put together by Oliver Heath, This Morning’s Michael Perry (Mr. Plant Geek) and the founder of Grace and Thorn florists, Nik Southern.
A biophilic designer, Heath has worked on projects such as The Garden School in Hackney, the Re: Mind Studio and the Vital Topics sustainability conference in Manchester.
Teeming with plant species, the new suites are certainly a quirky addition to London’s hotel scene.
Each room has a separate theme - but together they are a soothing showcase of how houseplants can boost overall wellbeing and even intimacy, the hotel says.
To perhaps further entice visitors to the limited edition rooms, people staying over in the plant populated quarters are promised choice tips on how to help houseplants thrive in their own homes.
Productivity, tranquillity & romance
In the Productivity Suite by Oliver Heath, Sansevieria and other plants thought to encourage productivity fill the room. It might sound airy-fairy, but studies have found that greening a workspace can be fruitful.
Science has repeatedly suggested indoor planting as a means to soothe maladies like stress. Among findings by researchers from the University of Exeter and the University of Groningen, it was discovered that plants have a positive psychological impact and enhance perceptions of air quality.
For those looking for a looser vibe, there is the Tranquil Room, designed by Michael Perry. The This Morning celebrity gardener has plumped for a lush majority of bromeliads and various shades of monsteras, like deliciosa and obliqua.
Meanwhile, the room beautifully crafted by Nik Southern is known as the Romance Suite. A proponent of the #greenupyourgaff hashtag, Southern’s experience extends to bridal arrangements and tropical installations. A standout feature of her space is the botanical canopy hanging above the room, cocooning the bed in a magnificent shield of leaves.
Chanel De Kock, from The Joy of Plants, said many people are waking up to the idea that houseplants can be more than decorative.
She added: “They are a powerful source of life that gives us so much more than they take.”
She said the team was keen to bring the botanics, normally reserved for communal spaces, into other areas - like bedrooms, bathrooms, and living quarters.
“Hotels have started to feature beautiful plant installations in communal areas for several years now but the botanical installations seem to end there,” she said.
“We know that people are inspired when they travel and take inspiration from the places they stay in, so this is a unique opportunity to stimulate guests with biophilic design.”
For now, Leman Locke’s plant suites may be temporary - with guests able to book in until November 10th. But by the looks of the designs, demand for their return will probably be through the roof like untamed ivy.