Four Seasons destinations are filled with the poetry of the world, from the heady aroma of cherry blossoms in Kyoto to the vibrant hues of coral reefs that surround the atolls of the Maldives. With a cooking lesson, a cocktail class or a barefoot walk along the beach at sunset, your surroundings come alive through sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.
From mid-March to early April, a sweet, delicate aroma of vanilla, lilac, rose and almond lures travellers to Japan. The scent of sakura (cherry blossom) season is almost as powerful as the sight of the white and pink petals that open for this brief season. Kyoto is one of the most famous cities for sakura viewing. Like a springtime snow flurry, petals sprinkle down the breeze, float in the canal and decorate The Philosopher’s Path.
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto celebrates the season with every sense. The Hotel’s Chef Concierge Tomo Shinya can arrange for guests to experience the beauty of sakura day or night, with picnics along the Kamo River and night-time walks in parks such as Maruyama Park where blooms are illuminated by lanterns. At the Hotel’s 800-year-old Shakusui-en Pond Garden 37 sakura trees grow allowing guests a private and peaceful hanami (sakura viewing) experience away from the crowds. Afternoon tea in the garden is accompanied by sakura-scented sweets and a bouquet of blossoms at the table. In the evening, head bartender and master mixologist Raul Navarro crafts blush-coloured cocktails like the Sakura Sour, an infusion of plum wine and coffee grain whisky topped with pink petals.
No matter the time of year, the Spa treats all senses to achieve a state of true relaxation. As you enter the spa, an aroma of roasted organic green tea leaves transports guests to the Uji region of Japan. After a few deep breaths, a therapist will pour this roasted green tea into a traditional lacquer bowl filled with warm water to soak the guest’s feet and apply an exfoliating sea salt scrub. This pretreatment ritual sets the tone for a blissful spa session.
The exquisite art throughout the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze will transport guests to the Renaissance period, particularly the 15th-century frescoes in the Royal Suite. Curated experiences add to the sense of place. The Hotel has exclusive access to the Ponte Vecchio’s only open-air terrace. A four-course dinner on this fourth-floor terrace is inspired by the many jewellery stores that dot the bridge. Or dine in a private 15th-century palazzo once inhabited by Leonardo da Vinci while enjoying private service and one of the city’s best views of the Duomo. Balance the indulgence with personalized yoga sessions led by the Hotel’s personal trainers around the property’s fragrant gardens.
The Maldives is a blend of azure sky, turquoise sea and emerald-topped islets. Three Four Seasons resorts ignite the senses, each in its own way. The adventure teams at all three properties will help you channel your inner Jacques Cousteau and feel weightless in the water. Feel the thrill when you come face to face with a bright yellow clownfish or swim side by side with a sea turtle on a snorkelling or diving excursion.
At the dreamy hideaway of Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru you’ll notice the scent of sandalwood and flicker of tiki torches as you cycle the island’s winding jungle paths by night, breathing the warm evening air. Sink into a state of relaxation while lazing in an overwater net at Seabar, surrounded by 180-degree UNESCO Biosphere ocean views. Sip a sweet Landaa Colada, featuring homemade coconut-aged rum and papaya syrup, and savour the juicy succulence of freshly grilled reef fish by torchlight, lulled by the sound of the ocean at Fuego. And don’t miss an al fresco Shirodhara treatment at the Spa & Ayurvedic Retreat. The combination of a stream of warm oil being poured onto your third eye and the unmistakable call of Asian koels in the surrounding foliage is a recipe for tranquillity.
Kuda Huraa is known as the garden isle, and you’ll know why as soon as you arrive at the Resort’s flower-filled promenade. A dazzle of vibrant pink bougainvillea welcomes guests. Experience the rush of catching your first wave during a surf lesson, or inhale the scents of cumin, garam masala and coriander as you master Indian cuisine during a cooking class at Baraabaru. The stress-relieving sensation of powder-soft sand on your bare feet during an evening beach stroll or the restorative benefits of the sun’s warm rays on your face underscore the healing powers of nature.
A stay at Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah is all about embracing the sound of silence, sense of solitude and sparkling 360-degree view of the Indian Ocean from the endless white sands of your very own island. You’ll delight in seeing the resident pod of dolphins swimming past your private beach each morning, or hearing the splash of baby sharks in the luminescent lagoon beneath your overwater villa.
The town of Santa Fe is an arts magnet, and just beyond the city centre lies stunning wilderness laced with history and culture. The Resort’s on-site Adventure Center and signature Adventure by Design program, led by a team of expert local guides, can personalize an outdoor adventure to your fitness level and interests, such as geology or Native American history. “My passion is sharing the unexpected side of this magical destination with guests who are visiting for the first time,” says lead adventure guide and adventure program manager Hans Loehr. “There is no better reward than watching someone experience the stories, culture and inspiring physical beauty of northern New Mexico through our curated adventure programs and then begin planning their return trip.”
A day-long hiking excursion, for example, might take in other-worldly rock formations and hidden canyons on the ancestral lands of Native Americans. The Spa at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe is the perfect follow-up. Situated on a spiritual vortex, the spa naturally lends itself to mind-body-spirit rejuvenation. Of the many spiritual enhancement rituals on offer, the Sage Smudging Ceremony is meant to awaken all of your senses to help you recentre mind and body by clearing negative energy.
From the moment you step off the plane, you know you’re in Anguilla. The air feels different. The colours are more vibrant. The smells are a mix of sweet florals and salty breezes. Locals describe the island as “tranquillity wrapped in blue,” and from the moment your feet hit the soft powdery white sand and your gaze falls upon the crystal blue sea, you’ll understand exactly what they mean. Slip into an island state of mind with an outdoor yoga class. The Resort’s classes are held on Barnes Beach, allowing yogis to take in the fresh morning breeze and the sounds of gentle waves. “It is always our pleasure to help guests unlock the true essence of Anguilla through curated, in-the-know experiences, for an experience that is authentic and goes beyond the Resort,” says Diego Angarita, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort and Residences Anguilla.
The Resort’s Concierge can arrange an array of adventures that stimulate the senses. Scuba-diving excursions on any of Anguilla’s 33 pristine beaches promise an awesome show of tropical fish, sea turtles and untouched coral reefs. Those who prefer to stay dry can opt to spy turtles from the comfort of a glass-bottom boat or take in majestic Caribbean views plus adrenaline by scaling the Resort’s unique climbing wall.
Anguilla is known as a food lover’s paradise. The Resort’s culinary team will dazzle your taste buds with island flavours. At SALT, you can bite into the restaurant’s signature conch fritters enhanced by stunning sea views. Or taste an Anguillian Johnny Cake – an island staple – at Bamboo Bar and Grill. No visit to Anguilla is complete without a rum punch, or two or three. The Concierge points guests to toes-in-the-sand institution Blanchards Beach Shack for the dangerously delicious drink.