I’ve spent the last ten years adventuring around the globe. If you had told me back in 2006 when I strapped on my backpack bound for Paris (my first solo adventure) that by the age of 30 I’d have the opportunity to visit over 80 countries I’d have probably wept with happiness and asked you to be my Fairy Godmother.
As a travel journalist it’s my job to suss out and storytell about life’s loveliest luxuries and I realize I’ve developed a strong patriotic pride (read: romance) for the Four Seasons experience. The brands founder Isadore Sharp is a Toronto-based business icon who opened his first hotel in 1961. For nearly 50 years, the Canadian-based company has transformed the hospitality industry by combining friendliness and efficiency with the finest traditions of international hotel keeping.
When mouthing the words “Four Seasons” at a dinner party eyebrows raise, backs straighten and elbows quickly slide off the table. The brand is synonymous with luxury and each of its hotels from Mumbai to Miami, Toronto to Tokyo offer visitors looking for the creme de la creme, the finest experience in destination. I realized this past year that some months I actually spend more time living as a guest at Four Seasons then in my own apartment back home. Keen on living the dream?
10 Four Seasons Hotels You Need to Visit Now
I feel ever so fortunate that I live a short 10 minute stroll to the Four Seasons flagship property in Toronto’s ritzy Yorkville neighbourhood. After covering the Toronto International Film Festival beat for the last three years I’ve spotted many a Hollywood A-Lister relaxing at Four Seasons Toronto as they enjoy a pause from the adrenalin rush of the red carpet.
My favourite spot to hang at the brands flagship is spacious dBar. Located a stones throw from the hotel’s luxurious lobby, dBar features sky-high ceiling with windows that offer a splash of natural light. Some of the city’s best cocktails are crafted here. While the mixologist is always working on something new, my favourite sippable moment was via Flower Mojtio (featuring brilliant orchid bloom) and Manhattan-esque “The Yorkville” adorned with sweet kirsch cherry. Famed French Chef Daniel Boulud prepares the nibbles here so there’s always something addictive to devour over the cocktail hour.
Located in the remote Baa Atoll UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is located on a 44-acre private island, a natural wonderland fringed by a spectacular two-kilometre long lagoon. The resort was designed by visionary Sri Lankan architect, Murad Ismail, and showcases a simple, contemporary blend of traditional Maldivian and Sri Lankan forms. The airy buildings each adhere to regional styles – from the 45-degree pitch of the high thatched roofs to the use of coral walls. Entry to each residential domain is via its own turquoise gate featuring lush vegetation providing maximum privacy.
My favourite spot to rest and relax at the resort is at Sea Bar located a short stroll from the main pool and lobby. The chic al fresco bar is set up over the ocean so guests can sip cocktails and lounge on plush nautical inspired furniture by Dedon design while enjoying the calming lap of turquoise waves at sunset.
At Four Seasons Bora Bora, traditional thatched-leaf roofs adorn every building, made from the leaves of the indigenous pandanus tree, grown on local plantations and woven by local craftsmen. Each of the resort’s 100 overwater bungalows measure over 100 square meters and are located on branching piers that extend into the heart of Bora Bora’s inner lagoon. Inside, hardwood floors and walls are stained in a light palette that suggests driftwood or coral, while small lagoon windows fill the space with magical, turquoise tinted sunlight as it reflects off the water. Rooms are appointed with framed indigenous artifacts, from fishing lures fashioned from mother-of-pearl to fans made of coconut palms. I instantly swoon for the massive soaking tub adjacent to the bedroom which offers the most remarkable jaw dropping views best enjoyed via bubble bath. Each bungalow features a sun-deck featuring chaise lounges, a covered dining area and ladder to the water which forces one to whisper “honey we should really take a quick dip before dinner.”
After a long day spent running around Cairo, the bathroom in my suite at Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza acts like an urban oasis for exhausted Pharaoh-philes as marble floors lead to relaxing deep-soaking tub with verbena-scented soaps and slathers provided by my favourite L’Occitane from France. Spend your morning watching the sunrise over the River Nile in posh terry cloth robe and cozy bath slippers on a private outdoor terrace!
Olea is the signature restaurant at Four Seasons Amman where guests experience home-style Levant cuisine in an atmosphere that reflects the renowned hospitality and generosity of the Eastern Mediterranean region, where food and cooking are seen as expressions of affection. Olea has been thoughtfully designed to offer a comfortable experience similar to that found in a local home, gathered around a family table. The restaurant also includes an outdoor terrace where guests can dine al fresco while enjoying their choice of shisha and admiring the chef’s well tended herb garden. Be sure to order a glass of Saint George Merlot, Jordan’s most internationally lauded winery.
Two Pretty Views in Istanbul
Visitors to Istanbul with a penchant for pomp and pageantry have the opportunity to visit two distinctive Four Seasons properties with a heart for the historical: a majestical palace on the Bosphorus and repurposed prison in Sultanahmet. Both hotels offer the luxurious Four Seasons experience we have come to know and love: inspirational design lines, stunning views, warm smiles, attentive service and top notch culinary offerings.
Upon arrival to Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus skip across white marble and plop into a seat at Italian-inspired Aqua. The restaurant offers a picturesque al-fresco dining experience on a terrace overlooking the river. A chic retreat on Istanbul’s glorious seafront, this converted 19th-century Ottoman palace is surrounded by shimmering indigo water and serves up Istanbul’s best steaming bowls of pappardelle and risotto.
If you’re looking for the perfect spot in the Turkish capital to indulge in a rooftop cocktail be sure to climb up the staircase at Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet and spill out onto the deck at posh A’Ya Rooftop Lounge. The views here are truly spectacular, offering visitors an unobstructed view of The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. If your plans in Istanbul are rushed be sure to at the very least pop by for a drink at sunset. Order the bartenders signature cocktail, Prison Rose, a sweet sipper featuring pomegranate, apple, rose water and vodka.
Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire is the poshest rural retreat in all of England. The Library located inside the Manor House has been restored to its formal glory as an elegant, beautifully appointed residents’ lounge. Decorated in warm earth tones, The Library boasts an abundance of lush armchairs, supple sofas and coffee tables for relaxation and luxury. The speciality served up here each afternoon is High Tea, a quintessential British thing to do.
Start by choosing your favourite sipper from a selection of loose leaf tea’s, served in steaming pot with milk and sugar cubes. Nibbles include finger sandwiches (cucumber cream cheese, celeriac carrot cheddar, smoked salmon mousse, prawn cocktail, roast beef with horseradish cream) sweet pastries (caramelized honey Battenberg, strawberry cream macaron, mint and chocolate chip macaron, blackberry apple chocolate opera and slices of banana, chocolate and carrot cake), and freshly baked plain and apple cinnamon crumble scones slathered with strawberry jam, tart lemon curd and Cornish clotted cream.
Four Seasons Scottsdale’s 1.7 million sq ft property is set on the site of the former Crescent Moon Ranch, a finishing school for wealthy debutantes operated by a member of the Kellogg family. Arizona’s only Four Seasons Hotel offers a cool contemporary southwestern aesthetic with colours inspired by the Sonoran Desert in full bloom. The resort layout is expansive but feels intimate as I stroll along a winding path encountering lush cactus garden and a family of wild bunnies. The backdrop to the two-tier pool is a jaw dropping view of Pinnacle Peak which at sunset ignite with warm hues of yellow, crimson and pretty pink. For those that require a refreshing quench in the desert a plunge at the Four Seasons pool followed by sips from mint muddled mojito are as heavenly as ones holiday can get.
Four Seasons Hotel Mexico DF offers 240 deluxe rooms and luxury suites in a colonial-style building at the centre of Mexico City’s historic Paseo de la Reforma. The stunning 8-story building was designed around a quiet garden courtyard which for many of the city’s who’s who acts as not just the focal point of the Four Seasons but more importantly, an urban oasis where one can escape the hustle and bustle of the capital while remaining in the beating heart of the city centre.
Upon arrival at Four Seasons Mexico DF, VIP guests are greeted by a glass of sparkling Moet at check-in. Joel Cortez, Front Office Manager details this special touch, “We look to greet guests with a flourish of luxury accompanied with the warmth reminiscent of Mexican culture: mi casa es su casa (my home is your home). We are careful to balance the swift efficiency that our business travellers seek with the more placid pace and in-depth conversations that our leisure travellers enjoy to ensure that we personalize each interaction as much as possible.”
If you’re looking to make a splash while dinning in Vegas, take a stroll to the southern tip of the Strip, skip through Mandalay Bay and find a quiet oasis at Four Seasons Las Vegas. The hotel’s petite lobby offers a boutique vibe compared to the monstrous properties Vegas is so well known for. Fresh flowers bloom, a wee bar serves up creative cocktails and dimly lit dinning room beckons romantic couples in search of a decadent dinner.
Located off the hotel’s main lobby, renowned chef Charlie Palmer’s restaurant is one of the most innovative steakhouses in Las Vegas. The upscale dinning room balances space and privacy with an understated, club atmosphere dressed in warm ochre palette and dark mahogany. Flip through leather-bound menu and you’ll find steak and seafood favourites which are best paired with the sommelier’s eclectic wine list representing some of the finest producers in the world.