Kiyomizu-dera Temple

A fiery fall scene at Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto.

The Fall Trips You Need to Take

Six opportunities to take full advantage of this special time of year

Autumn “is a second spring where every leaf is a flower,” wrote French philosopher Albert Camus.

He was onto something. With the change from summer to fall, particular ways of enjoying the outdoors are at their best. Here are six opportunities around the northern hemisphere to take full advantage of this special time.

LISTEN TO LIVE MUSIC IN AUSTIN

Scorching summer days in the Texas capital give way to perfect weather come autumn, a time of year that’s packed with events and festivals like Austin City Limits (October 5 to 14), whose 2018 headliners include Paul McCartney, Metallica and Childish Gambino. “With all of the things going on, it brings a new energy to the city,” says Liz Bansch, a Concierge at
Four Seasons Hotel Austin.

Among Bansch’s favourite places to experience the “Live Music Capital of the World” is the Saxon Pub, a dive bar in South Austin. “It has the best acoustics, and the crowd is casual – you don’t get dressed up to go there,” she says. “They draw incredible artists; you can always count on a quality show.”

Music lovers can also take advantage of the Hotel’s partnership with Taylor Guitars, which allows guests to borrow an instrument and even schedule a lesson with a local musician.

And don’t miss drinks overlooking the lake at the Hotel’s redesigned lounge, part of a multimillion-dollar renovation to be completed this fall.

SIP AND SEE IN PRAGUE

Wine lovers will find plenty to enjoy during a stay at Four Seasons Hotel Prague. Partake in a tour of Salabka, a private winery in the Troja residential district dating back to the 13th century and founded by Emperor Charles IV.

“It’s quite the experience to meet the winemakers and hear their stories,” says Chef Concierge Petr Zezula. “In my opinion, you can recognize the winemaker’s personality in the wine.”

Guests can even join Salabka’s master winemakers in harvesting the grapes and, weather permitting, enjoy a plein-air lunch on the vineyard grounds, admiring the views of Prague.

Classical music fans in town between September 2 and 21 should track the schedule of the Dvořák Prague International Music Festival, which includes orchestral concerts and other events around the city.

TAKE A CITYWIDE TOUR IN BEIJING

Autumn is the best time to explore Beijing, with comfortably cool weather for climbing suburban mountains or people-watching in an outdoor café. The city’s countless attractions include Ditan Park, the Confucian Temple, the Guozijian Museum and, of course, the Great Wall.

Four Seasons Hotel Beijing offers two full-day tours led by private guides – one to the Great Wall and the other featuring sights in the capital city. On the capital city excursion guests will visit Drum Tower and the Sanlitun area, and take a rickshaw ride. On either tour, guests will proceed chiefly by limousine and enjoy a local lunch, returning to the Hotel in the end for a special seasonal dinner.

“As a native Beijinger, I strongly recommend climbing the renowned Xiangshan [Elephant Mountain] or hiking the Great Wall,” says Chief Concierge Peter Tang. “Both afford the most spectacular views of Shantung maples, smoke trees and pine trees.”

To add a bird’s-eye view of the Great Wall to the experience, the Hotel offers a private helicopter tour.

UNWIND IN SANTA FE

For those who feel a need to engage with nature, Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa has an answer: Its new Adventure Center facilitates guest excursions such as fly fishing, hiking, horseback riding and hot-air balloon rides.

A three-hour guided hike through rugged canyons and mesa country, followed by a spa treatment to soothe sore muscles, comes highly recommended. “Guests get a unique opportunity to discover Tsankawi, a lesser-known part of Bandelier [National Monument],” says Forest Fene, the Adventure Program’s lead guide. “With Santa Fe’s gorgeous fall weather and foliage, there is truly no better time to explore the city and this special New Mexico landmark.” And there’s no better time than after the hike for that spa treatment and a pre-drawn bath.

REVEL IN FALL COLOURS IN KYOTO

Kyoto is known for its vibrant coloured leaves (koyo, in Japanese) – especially during the last two weeks of November. In honour of the season, the team at Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto has created a map highlighting the best places around the city to witness this natural beauty. Chief Concierge Tomo Shinya recommends visiting Kyoto’s temples at night for a different kind of leaf-peeping experience. A few favourites are Kodaiji Temple, Entoku-in Temple and Kiyomizu-dera Temple, all of which are in the Higashiyama area and only 15-20 minutes by foot from the Hotel.

“And last but not least,” Shinya says, “if you want to take in the beautiful autumn colours in a quiet and exclusive setting without any crowds, pay a visit to the Hotel’s own Shakusuien pond garden.”

EXPLORE THE ARTS IN BOGOTA

Year-round good weather means there’s never really a bad time to visit Colombia’s capital city, but autumn brings with it a number of world-class cultural events. “Visiting in the fall gives you the opportunity to experience different artistic representations, including art, film and music,” says Carlos Cabrera, a staffer at Four Seasons Hotel Casa Medina Bogotá.

In September, there’s both the French Cinema Festival (September 20-22) and the weekend-long Jazz al Parque (September 22-23). And come October, the Bogotá Cinema Festival (October 19-24) is followed immediately by International Art Fair Bogotá (October 25-28). ARTBO, as it’s known, brings works by top-notch painters, sculptors, photographers and other artists from around the globe.

And from October 24-29, there’s the ambitious upstart Barcú, now in its fifth year. The festival includes film screenings, exhibitions at art galleries, musical performances and even creative activities for kids. “Be sure to ask the concierge for VIP passes to events, as well as an English-speaking tour guide,” Cabrera says.

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