Combine beautiful beaches with botanical gardens and you’ll wind up with a resort along the lines of Kona Kai, in sunny Florida’s Key Largo.
Ethnobotany, the focus of these botanical gardens, is the scientific study of the relationships that exist between people and plants. As on-site ethnobotanist Rick Hederstrom whisks you around a complimentary tour of the gardens at this luxury resort, situated 80 minutes’ drive from Miami, you may begin to realise just how vital plants are to our survival. Even some pharmaceutical medicines such as aspirin were inspired by plants.
Kona Kai’s gardens, which were first planted only recently in 1997, feature more than 42 different palm species, 25 native plant species, 21 types of grasses (including 11 bamboo species), 15 tropical fruiting trees and over 150 different orchid specimens. You will find plants whose existence can be traced back to the age of dinosaurs; plants with eerie names like zombie palm, elephant ear and elephant bush; and plants whose resin or sap is used on poison darts and blowguns.
One of the prime reasons that we love plants is what they offer aesthetically. And so it is in Kona Kai – the lush, scented hotel garden creates a tropical paradise vibe that, combined with the Florida heat and welcoming décor, makes it easy to relax. Of course if you do want a bit of action, you can always check out the tennis courts or try out the kayaks or paddleboards.